Food is a family affair for Bindi Chouhan, and it’s no different when it comes to sharing tips and ideas for Love Food Hate Waste.
Bindi, her mother Mina, and her father Kirit, all lead Love Food Hate Waste classes, passing on their knowledge and experience in making the most of the food we have. EcoMatters coordinates and promotes the classes, which are funded by Auckland Council.
“One of the most rewarding things about running Love Food Hate Waste classes is that the learning goes two ways. We’re not just teaching people, we find everyone who participates has something to offer and so we also come away from every class with more ideas and inspiration too,” says Bindi.
Sharing food and knowledge
Bindi’s roots go back to India, but she grew up in Zimbabwe, moving to New Zealand in 2003 with her family. In Zimbabwe, their extended family of around 20+ people shared all their meals.
“So moving to New Zealand was a really big transition for us in so many ways.”
However, the family tradition of preparing and eating food together continues even today at their West Auckland home, where they run a B&B, Tranquil Oasis at The Lodge.
Bindi says their family has always looked for ways to live more consciously, which is how they started working with Love Food Hate Waste.
A community connection
“We wanted to connect with our local community so we did some workshops with EcoMatters and that’s when we learnt about hosting Love Food Hate Waste workshops.
“I grew up watching my Mum cook food with such integrity, love and respect, which resulted in a waste-free kitchen, so that really inspired me.”
And coming from a family that worked so closely together in the kitchen, it was only natural that Mina and Kirit shared their knowledge and skills at Love Food Hate Waste workshops too.
“I’ve loved the chance to learn even more from my Mum. She teaches really simple recipes using spices and talks about their health benefits.”
Bindi says it’s also hugely inspiring to connect with others and help people to start making small changes, whatever their motivation to attend an event is.
“We see people who want to do things better, or make a difference for the planet, those who want to save money, and those who want to connect with other like-minded people, and everyone is perhaps just not quite sure where to start.”
Bindi has seen many success stories. One of her first events was a screening of Just Eat It, a documentary about food waste. A friend, Yolande Light, who came along was inspired to change her eating and shopping habits as a result.
“Even though I considered myself to be conscientious in regards to my waste volume, the Love Food Hate Waste documentary definitely made me think more, says Yolande.
“I now buy the damaged goods at the supermarket, I am no longer picky about fruit being perfect and I’m grateful when it’s obvious the supermarket is selling fruit seconds. It was definitely a good step in my sustainability education.”
Bindi says people who attend Love Food Hate Waste workshops love realising how creative they can be with leftovers and what a difference storage tips can make.
“They start with these small steps and they become inspired to do more without feeling pressured. It’s beautiful to see these changes unfold and develop so naturally for people.”