DMC Sustainability Series: Preparing sustainable, locally-sourced holiday meals

An award-winning Rochester chef shows us how to go green this holiday season and waste less.

Posted: Nov 13, 2019 5:18 PM
Updated: Nov 14, 2019 8:30 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Destination Medical Center, known as DMC, is an economic development initiative that aims to make Rochester a global hub for health, wellness and much more.

DMC holds a monthly sustainability series which focuses on different ways to go green. 

"So everything goes back to the DMC development plan that was written back in 2014. so sustainibility, energy efficiency, food security were kind of the key elements of that plan," said Kevin Bright, DMC's Director of Energy and Sustainability.

November's Sustainability Series was about going green in the kitchen. Award winning chef Paul Berglund talked about how to create a sustainable and locally- sourced holiday meal. This is an especially important concept for local farmers.

"Sustainability has always been part of what I've tried to do with farming. And I'm try to get that word out to other people so they can understand how their food choices affect sustainability, not only in the food arena and farming arena, but in the environmental arena and the economic arena," said Pam Benike, a farmer from Elgin who helped Berglund with the presentation.

"So it's not just one piece, there's all of these things that fit together into one big system," Berglund said.

This is a timely conversation, as many people are getting ready to prepare holiday meals.

"For a home food purchaser and cook, I think there's maybe three things to consider. There's meal planning, so what goes into the meal. Where you purchase your food, and then what you do with leftovers," said Berglund.

This may not be the time of year when fresh fruits and vegetables come to mind, but there are still options.

"There's still local food, even in the winter time here in Minnesota. Here in Rochester there's a winter farmer's market, you can purchase food directly from farmers," Berglund said.

A survey by the American Dairy Association finds 94% of Americans admit to throwing away food at home. The average person tosses 250 pounds of food each year. But there are choices you can make this holiday season that will help you waste less.

"When you're done with Thanksgiving dinner and you still have that lot of turkey leftover, you can make a soup, you can turn it into a pasta dish. There's a lot of things you can do to keep using the leftovers," said Berglund.

Not only is Berglund an award-winning chef, he's also a director of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota. His latest project in Rochester is called "Fat Noodle." It's a series of pop-up, pasta-themed dining experiences at Benedict's.

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