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Making a sustainable statement


When Christchurch artist Joel Hart created the mural for a new café in Rangiora three years ago, a name for the café literally emerged from the artwork. So, ‘Fools of Desire’ was born, as was the next chapter of the fantastic hospitality journey – 12 years and counting – Elisa Leach and partner, and also co-owner, Karl Horwarth have been on.

 

 

To say Fools of Desire is unique is an understatement. Innovative, fun, eclectic, diverse, exciting – these are a few words that come to mind while sipping a ‘Bullet Proof Coffee’ – a double shot espresso blended with Karikaas butter and coconut oil.

Locally sourced, organic and healthy ingredients, produce and baked goods all flow from the core values that are deeply important to Elisa. Connection and sustainability underpin everything she does and provides. “Connection with guests, with the community is really important to me,” she says. “We focus on our local suppliers, so we get as much as we can of organic coffee, tea and produce, so that it is aligned with being light on the planet.”

That’s been the Fools of Desire philosophy for the three years it’s been open. Utilising solar energy, aiming to be zero waste by using recyclable and compostable materials, sourcing local beers and ciders, driving the ‘plastic straw-free Rangiora’ movement and housing a thriving bee hive – and using the honey in some dishes – inside the café are just some of the things Elisa and the team are doing to aid the environment.

Another level of sustainability is the consideration of alternative protein sources – good for humans and good for the planet. Hence, in addition to the vast array of vegetarian, vegan, keto, and traditional offerings on the menu, you will find locusts. They’re not compulsory, of course, but they are available for those who want to test their boundaries. “We really want to start a conversation with people about sustainable protein,” Elisa says.

It’s a global conversation. The UN says there are more than 1900 edible insect species on the planet. Locusts and ants are favourites. According to National Geographic, “stinkbugs add an apple flavour to sauces and are a valuable source of iodine.”

“We have some huhu grubs in the freezer,” Elisa says with a grin.

Will they and more insects end up on the menu?

“You never know. Maybe. Probably.”

 


 

A Sustainable Hempire


“Hemp seeds are safe to eat, nutritious, and do not have a psychoactive effect,” said Food Safety Minister, the Honourable Damien O’Connor, in a Beehive press release in November 2018, regarding changes made to the regulations controlling the production and sale of hemp seed food products.

 

 

This was no surprise to those who know the history and benefits of the plant that US President George Washington wanted “planted everywhere”. And good news to those on the cutting edge of an imminent revolution. One such revolutionary is Pharmacist Brendon McIntosh, Kaiwhakahaere of Plant Based NZ, the parent body of several brands with a growing inventory.

During post-graduate studies into nutritional and environmental medicines, Brendon was introduced to the benefits of hemp as a food source and the base of a multitude of products. After his studies concluded, he teamed up with Brad Lake, whose background is in rural banking. He’s seen firsthand the evolution and the limitations of the agriculture industry in New Zealand. He also recognises what the future will look like.

“Synthetic foods coming through, transition to plant-based diets, people moving away from high-animal-product diets; New Zealand needs to be prepared. We can’t pretend what we’ve been doing for the last hundred years is going to work for the next hundred years.”

Initially, Brendon and Brad sold hemp seed oil and protein powders at local markets. Under the banner of ‘The Brothers Green’, they are now available in New World supermarkets. A range of hemp seed-based skincare products is available nationwide in pharmacies, under the brand ‘Kōaka’, which loosely translates into ‘hemp’ in Te Reo Māori.

 

Hemp fibre has been widely used for a variety of products for thousands of years – paper, jewellery, rope and sails in the age of sailing ships, animal bedding, building materials, and latterly in the production of cars, biofuels, purification systems, and, of course, clothing.

The addition of an apparel line was a natural progression for company. Enter Sustainable Fashion Designer Eden Sloss. “Hemp is the most sustainable crop. It’s the strongest natural fibre we can grow for textiles,” she says.

The ‘Original Canvas’ brand is Eden’s baby. Short and long sleeve tees and hoodies so far, expansion is guaranteed. She’s been to China (the largest producer of hemp fabrics) recently, sourcing ethically grown and produced materials; a catalogue is in production and more retail outlets are buying into the ethos that sustainable is the way of the future.

 

“We’re trying to make it more accessible,” she says, “because there is demand and it’s growing”. Check out @originalcanvas_nz on Instagram.

Winning the Foodstarter Award, a competition to find New Zealand’s most innovative food product, driven primarily by Foodstuffs South Island and The Ministry of Awesome, has allowed The Brothers Green to take the business to the next level. The industry expertise and promotion from the award will see the launch of the Hempy Bar, a healthy hemp-based snack bar for kids. Watch New World supermarkets for that in September.

Brendon, Eden, Brad and the team are on the cusp of a hemp-based revolution and it’s about to explode. “We’re building a sustainable hempire,” Eden says.

 


 

Coconut Bliss Balls Recipe


Coconut Bliss Balls are a seriously tasty way to pack some nutritional punch into your diet. Roll them in coconut, coat them in crumbled nuts, drizzle them with dark chocolate, or add some dried cranberries – this is the recipe to memorise, glamorise and keep in mind for whenever you need something tasty and healthy in your culinary arsenal.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup almonds
1 cup Medjool dates
2 tablespoon raw cacao powder
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Blend the almonds until they are fine and flour-like in texture. Add the dates and blend until the mixture is creamy or starts forming into a ball. Add in coconut oil gradually.
  2. Add the raw cacao powder, unsweetened shredded coconut and maple syrup, ground cinnamon and sea salt, then pulse until creamy. Roll the mixture into small little balls.
  3. Roll the balls in the extra unsweetened shredded coconut.
  4. Place the balls into a sealed tupperware in the freezer for 1 hour to set.
  5. Remove from freezer and set in fridge one hour before serving, or pack them straight from the freezer into your lunch box!
  6. Enjoy!