Episodes

EPISODE 14: Now You See It…

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 13, Agent Cuccaro relayed several facts about the chicken industry, showing us as consumers just how powerful our purchasing power can be. William will now tell us about one of his most personal and important investigations. Sometimes things don’t appear as they are in reality, so this week William and Patrick go undercover to find out the truth about a local municipal recycling program and discover how that plastic bottle you use may end up in our oceans.

 

PATRICK: Agent N, I’m still spinning from all that important material we uncovered about my drugged up chickens! Thanks for highlighting those facts and helping our readers to be more informed. We have made the purchasing adjustments in our home and feel much better as a result.

 

WILLIAM: Good stuff, Patrick! It feels great when we can have some power as a consumer. So regarding that county recycling truck I followed… Well, I didn’t. Not yet anyway.

 

PATRICK: Why in the world not, Agent N? You’ve got the tracking skills of a pedigree bloodhound when it comes to sniffing out Green posers, waste and abuse of the consumer!

 

WILLIAM: My reasoning was simple really. Those were some friendly dudes hanging off that truck…they were working hard, too! I just didn’t want to get anyone upset, so I chickened-out on the surveillance. Natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free chickening-out, of course!

 

PATRICK: So, just exactly how are you going to explain this to your kids? You had this whole surveillance plan in place so you could teach them about “where that plastic bottle goes”.

 

WILLIAM: Agent Cuccaro, I did my research. And further, I tapped into my kid’s school lessons. When I spoke to my son about “where all the recycled materials go”, I was surprised! He actually told me a pretty accurate tale of what is supposed to happen with various recyclables, from a first graders view, that is. I was blown away that the schools seem to try hard to offer some “Green Ed” at a very young age.

 

PATRICK: Yes, they are certainly ramping up that type of info in schools. But what are we, shall we say, “mature” folks to do when it comes to truly understanding the recycling processes where we live?

 

WILLIAM: As a taxpayer in your district or municipality, you can be sure that in the last few years some sustainability initiatives have been developed. The City of Atlanta, for instance, way back in 1978, began a program called Keep Atlanta Beautiful, which acts as an advisory board and community organizer to move sustainable practices forward on a municipal level. It’s an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc., which most “mature” Americans will remember because of this guy:

 

 

PATRICK: I remember him well! It was a strong message the first time I saw it and it’s still just as compelling in today’s world. Actually, the message may be even more critical now considering how the planet has been harmed in so many preventable ways. Those tears he shed are real.

 

WILLIAM: Yes, for sure. So many areas around our city, our state and across the country have various organizations that expend tremendous energy and gather untold  resources to help Green causes. They often have helpful materials or can provide resources that educate caring individuals who want to be part of the solutions.

 

Many have fantastic volunteer programs in place, too, some of which can get the whole family involved. Keep Atlanta Beautiful has an amazing Community Recycling initiative in place that offers outlets for folks to recycle everything from electronics to paint. It’s not just plastic, cardboard and Styrofoam anymore!

 

The long and short of it is really this:

 

It comes down to the individual and their practices of sustainability in their daily lives. So, listen up, Agent C, because this is where I bring it back to being personal for me as an individual and for my family.

 

As my son and I talked things over, I couldn’t help but think where in fact do MOST of the potentially recyclable materials around the world end up? Rivers and oceans, that’s where! So many nations, both developed and undeveloped, have really scary practices in place that dump millions of pounds of assorted waste into the sea, or in some instances, into their primary water source! Insanity on the loose! I can cite some pretty extreme examples in China and a few other countries around the world.

 

Read this: How Much Are We Trashing Our Oceans?

 

PATRICK: Wow, that is some depressing stuff, Agent N. I would much rather have heard about you getting into a brawl with those recycling truck dudes you mentioned!

 

WILLIAM: I am sure that would have been entertaining, but entertain this: My son, one individual at seven years old, KNOWS that it is bad for Mother Nature when we don’t make the individual efforts to recycle at home or anywhere we occupy space in our daily lives. Our schools, our workplace, anywhere we consume are great places to apply some planet-saving steps to our daily process. At a young age, he has started to grasp reality and WANTS to apply that tremendous energy to what is fundamentally the right thing to do.

 

PATRICK: From another angle, many of the things we have discussed in our articles from the inception of The Green Files collectively could make a difference if practiced daily. Like buying locally. Encouraging the availability of organic foods at the places we shop. Build a garden or plant a tree. Recycle and repurpose everything you can.

 

But most importantly, let your tax-paying voice be heard on a local level that sustainability is not only important and trending larger every day, but that in fact we expect our municipalities to put the programs, tools and funding in place to facilitate citizen participation in all things Green.

 

WILLIAM: You are so right, Agent C, about the collective force and energy that can actually make a difference…locally and globally! Now I just hope that those bins of household materials that we sort make it to the right places to convert the garbage to something new and useful. I don’t want the slight-of-hand that says, “Now you see it, now you don’t, so it really doesn’t matter”. I want measurable results and I want them for my kids’ futures.

 

PATRICK: Well, it sounds like your son might be following in your special agent shoes, wouldn’t you say?

 

WILLIAM: Absolutely! He wants me to install a tracking device on that recycling truck the next time they drive by!

 

To be continued…

 


 

Do you know what happens to your recycling? Have you ever investigated where the recoverable materials you’re diverting from landfills is actually going? Please, share with us in the comments section below.

 

Join us next week when Special Agents Patrick Cuccaro and William Neal talk about the super exciting arrival of spring…and how to plan for it with “Green” in mind.

 


 

This week’s 3Rs…

 

What is Revealed?

 

REVEALED: Georgia State Arbor Day

 

 

 

 

What is Revered?

 

REVERED: Chattahoochee Riverkeepper

 

 

 

 

What is Reviled?

 

REVILED: Trash In Our Oceans

 

 

 

 


 

Special Agent
Patrick Cuccaro
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Special Agent Patrick Cuccaro possesses an analytical mind and keen intellect. As Past Chair of the Georgia Restaurant Association (2012)—representing more than 4,000 restaurants and 100,000 employees—he casts a studied eye towards one of the country’s largest creators of waste—the food industry. Armed with a vision for…[more]

Special Agent
William Neal
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Agent William Neal is a hardened professional in the culinary industry. Well…maybe not hardened, since his favorite quip is “Never trust a skinny chef!” Agent Neal has held some interesting posts throughout his career. Starting as a chef, he became a…[more]

 

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Episodes

EPISODE 13: Chicken on Drugs

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 12, our special agents were on a roll. Not only did they expose the pitfalls of packaged food labels, but they also got on a bit of a health kick! This week, Patrick and William talk about other potentially hazardous practices employed by the food production industry…

 

PATRICK: Well, I’m happy to say, Agent N, that I have successfully embarked on a bit of a diet this New Year. Yep, healthy veggies, lots of water and plenty of lean chicken—the foundation of a nutrition plan that has helped me to shed a few pounds. And half the wine—just temporarily, mind you.

 

WILLIAM: Great job! I’m working on it too, Patrick. The water consumption thing is important for sure…most of us don’t really drink all the water we should.

 

Funny thing, but many people don’t know this about the water in Atlanta: We have one of the highest rates of kidney stones in the country, which is directly tied to the mineral content of our local water. The water I drink is tap water, but I’m careful to filter it for that very reason.

 

You know they say the pain from a kidney stone is only a bit less painful than childbirth. Wow! No thanks–I’d rather not find out!

 

PATRICK: I have a question about that William……Who are “THEY”?

 

WILLIAM: What do you mean?

 

PATRICK: Well, it seems that every time someone gives advice, offers words of wisdom, or otherwise tells you what to do, it’s always followed up with: “You know THEY say…blah, blah, blah.”

 

So, I want to know just exactly who this “they” person really is! Are “they” a certified expert? Are “they” someone with supreme knowledge well above us plebeians? Are “they” some kind of clairvoyant to whom we should pay attention?

 

WILLIAM: That is an excellent point! I have never really looked at it that way, but then again, I’m proud to say we often don’t see the world the same way! That, Agent C, is precisely what makes us a dynamic and well-balanced team!

 

PATRICK: Agreed.

 

WILLIAM: So, let’s get down to the reason we are here today. Let’s talk about my recent investigation into that chicken you’re eating so much of lately.

 

We know all about the hormones added to beef, in milk, etc., but for some reason chicken always seems to escape the attention paid to those who care what is fed to animals in our food chain. Chicken is a horror story, but a horror story with a happy ending where the good guys win!

 

PATRICK: I’ll bet you’re referring to the tons of antibiotics and vaccines pumped into the eggs even before they hatch! Can you even begin to visualize that? UGH.

 

Eggs

 

WILLIAM: Yes, it all has to do with money, and lots of it. The poultry producers are incentivized to grow those birds as fast as possible to harvesting weight, and hedging their bets against costly diseases in advance is the reason for this massive inoculation.

 

PATRICK: Logic dictates that the problem is the same in chickens as it is with over-doing it with antibiotics in humans. The little bugs we try to keep away simply become resistant to the antibiotics and vaccines over time, which then creates “super bugs”. A real problem for people, especially kids, our elders and those with compromised immune systems.

 

WILLIAM: True! The massive coops used to house thousands of birds being grown for our tables are ripe for disease due to the filthy conditions. But here’s the good news or the “knight in shining armor”, when it comes to chicken. Sales of antibiotic-free chicken have soared over the last few years. Growers, like Purdue Farms, and grocers are learning through the power of the purse what consumers want, and we want chickens free of these additives.

 

Even the fast food industry has paid attention. National chains such as Chipotle have built an entire brand around marketing the fact that they use hormone- and  antibiotic-free chicken in their kitchens.

 

PATRICK: Supply and demand, Agent N, supply and demand! Our commerce system is governed by this simple principal, so it IS a happier ending when people use their purchasing power for change.

 

WILLIAM: Our use of healthfully-raised chicken in the catering world, the authenticity of which is monitored by our chefs, has accelerated in the past few years, and I see a day coming very soon when every bird we prep will have a traceable and healthy pedigree.

 

PATRICK: Yes, Affairs to Remember is certainly leading the way in several areas of Green catering for Green events, but weaving as many natural ingredients into our recipes has always been a focus for the company.

 

WILLIAM: Every time I collaborate with our culinary team on designing the right menu for my clients, I’m struck by not only their enthusiasm for Greening our product, but also by their extraordinary knowledge of local resources. Case in point and in relation to this discussion, we’ve found Ashley Farms to be a reliable go-to supplier for hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken.

 

PATRICK: Switching gears here for just a sec…All of this investigating we have been doing on the food chain and the misleading practices of the food industry makes me wonder how many other sustainable practices are subject to the same shell game?

 

WILLIAM: Funny you mention that. Remind me in our next episode to tell you about the garbage and recycling practices of the county where I live. Over the holidays one of my kids asked me about exactly WHERE all the recycling items were going to end up after they were picked up. He asked me, “In the garbage?” It really got me thinking…Do I really know where all those plastic bottles, cans and cardboard go after they leave our carefully separated bins? Are recyclables actually being recycled?

 

PATRICK: Lemme guess. You followed the recycling truck again, didn’t you?

 

WILLIAM: You bet! You can be sure I’ll do anything to give my kids the important info they need, and we owe it to our readers!

 

PATRICK: I’m excited to hear the rest of this story.

 

To be continued…

 


 

Do you know how your protein is raised? What research resources do you use to confirm your protein’s “healthy” authenticity? Please, share with us in the comments section below.

 

Join us next week when Special Agents Patrick Cuccaro and William Neal explore what happens to recyclables after they leave the curb.

 


 

This week’s 3Rs…

 

What is Revealed?

 

REVEALED: Urban Coop Tour

 

 

 

 

What is Revered?

 

REVERED: How do we get to Green?

 

 

 

 

What is Reviled?

 

REVILED: Why haven’t we caught on? It’s worked before!

 

 

 

 


 

Special Agent
Patrick Cuccaro
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Special Agent Patrick Cuccaro possesses an analytical mind and keen intellect. As Past Chair of the Georgia Restaurant Association (2012)—representing more than 4,000 restaurants and 100,000 employees—he casts a studied eye towards one of the country’s largest creators of waste—the food industry. Armed with a vision for…[more]

Special Agent
William Neal
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Agent William Neal is a hardened professional in the culinary industry. Well…maybe not hardened, since his favorite quip is “Never trust a skinny chef!” Agent Neal has held some interesting posts throughout his career. Starting as a chef, he became a…[more]

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