In search of the truth, Special Agents William Neal and Patrick Cuccaro explore the mysterious Green world of sustainable special events and catering. What myths will they shatter? What will they uncover?
The Truth is out there…so we’re told.
In Episode 16, William and Patrick buzzed over some bee facts and taught us just how important bees are, not only to flowers, but to the dining table and the world’s ecology. This week they take a look at the upcoming spring “party season”, how we get ready and the environmental connection.
“Spring is Nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’.” – Robin Williams
WILLIAM: Good day, Agent Cuccaro. How are you today, sir?
PATRICK: My, my, my, aren’t we a little formal today, Agent N?
WILLIAM: Yes, I am, Patrick. I can’t help it. Spring party season is just around the corner and I’m just itching to flash around town in my tux attending all the spring galas, weddings and parties! In fact, I’m attending the big gala at The Fox Theatre, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the successful “Save the Fox” campaign! I can hardly wait!
PATRICK: Hey, wait a minute! You are not a guest at that event or any other Affairs to Remember parties, agent Neal. You are the caterer, the expert planner, the designer extraordinaire, the agent of sustainability at many, but NOT a guest!
WILLIAM: I know, but to excel, it’s really important to be in the mindset of a guest. This is a key element to our event craft, wouldn’t you say?
PATRICK: Point well taken.
WILLIAM: One of our strengths at Affairs to Remember is an awareness of the deep connection between the guest experience and how we operate. So, the way I look at it, it is critical to walk in the shoes of the guests!
PATRICK: You’re right on target. And our clients’ guests are as excited about spring as we are about sustainability! Gardens are starting to bloom, the bees are doing their important work and parties are popping up all over town!
WILLIAM: And along with the party season comes planning. Lots and lots of planning, that is. Schedules are coordinated. The word “diet” takes on new meaning. The house needs painting. Gardens are prepped. Invitations are sent and received.
So, let’s break it down, Agent C, by each one of the activities I just mentioned. What if every one of our readers made a commitment to take these normal activities and layer in some Green practices?
For example when scheduling trips or outings this year, wherever you go, perhaps visit a local organic farmer’s market. Or maybe visit a sustainable farm. It’s possible that the location you weave into a vacation has some sort of interesting natural science museum or renowned nature preserve. This could benefit not only you, but your kids or other family members.
Also, we should mention the museum’s other life, which is being one of the most sought after special event venues in the Southeast for large fundraisers, weddings and parties.
WILLIAM: Yes, it is a gorgeous spot for an event! But as we spring forward, perhaps this year the diet on which you embark takes on more emphasis on “Greening up”. Organic produce, focus on limited natural meat products and emphasizing fresh products, not pre-packaged or frozen. And what if when you put that fresh coat of paint on the house this year, you first do some research. Not only try to find the best product for your home, but make sure it’s a more Green product than other more traditional paints.
PATRICK: And remember to dispose of those paint cans, leftover paints and cleaning supplies in an environmentally responsible manner. Atlanta Paint Disposal is one local resource.
WILLIAM: And that garden we have been talking about, it’s never too late to start your own personal composting. There are great contraptions out there for assistance in making rich compost from organic refuse created in our home kitchens. Check out local sources for innovative products to help you, like the Farmer D Organics Signature Composter. Talk about a nice garden tool!
But also, think of this… How fantastic would it be to have some friends over for dinner and cook for them something you grew yourself? Guy Fieri and his fancy outdoor kitchen have nothing on you! Or how about gifting someone you care about with vegetables you harvested and canned? You GO, Martha Stewart!
PATRICK: Love the inspiration!
WILLIAM: These things are fun to do, and they become something I call “He He!” or “habitual efforts helpful to the environment”. That is to say that in everyday life there are little habit adjustments–and big ones, too–that we can make that, over time, have a measurable impact. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. Buy organic apples for lunch rather than commercial ones. Recycle your paint, your electronics, your batteries…not just the everyday plastics and aluminum.
PATRICK: Speaking of plastic and aluminum, can you imagine the amount of bottles, cups, plates and other disposables that get used during the spring party season?
WILLIAM: Take a minute to contemplate this… According to the Georgia Restaurant Association, restaurants in our state alone generated over $16.5 billion dollars of gross revenue. That is billion with a “B”! Think about the portion of those dollars that went to items that use glass, plastic or aluminum in their delivery systems–alcohol products, sodas, and bottled waters, to name just a few.
When you begin to follow the money and realize the sheer number of plastic and aluminum products used by the hospitality industry, it can stagger the imagination. This $16.5 billion dollars, my fellow agent, does NOT even account for recyclables used by hotels, event venues, caterers, and even businesses and schools.
PATRICK: More and more, contemporary establishments in the foodservice industry are incorporating environmentally sane habits into their systems and culture. These restaurants, hotels, caterers and other foodservice operators are busy developing new and innovative methods of hospitality waste management, methods of saving energy and, overall, the industry is paying much more attention to sustainability.
These establishments have learned that with new systems in place, they can be more efficient, save money and be “more Green”. But the big lesson for these forward-thinking hospitality folks is that they have found new and PROFITABLE customers who appreciate their sustainability initiatives.
WILLIAM: Although the terms “farm-to-table” and “slow food” have been at times over-used, there is still a significant and ever-increasing population of consumers who want sustainable habits to be a part of the culture of where they spend their hard-earned money. Me included!
PATRICK: Yes, they do, and I count myself as one of those who makes the same demand, more and more. This is not a trend–it’s a megamovement!
To be continued…
Please share with us and other readers in the comments section below what aspects of Green you’re going to incorporate into your spring events–special occasions, parties and even home life.
Join us next week when William and Patrick investigate another subject that comes up in the spring: Travel. They’re going to check out “eco-tourism”, which you might be surprised to find is in your own back yard!
This week’s 3Rs…
REVEALED: Sustainability at Emory
REVILED: Not Knowing Where Food Comes From