Good to the Last Crust

Celebrating Terra Madre Day at Charlotteville Brewing Co

Our Food, Our Future

Terra Madre is a branch of the Slow Food; a grassroots movement now recognized internationally, of which our Charlotteville fam is proud to be part of. Terra Madre Day is held each year on December 10; a celebration of local food around the world, marking the day the Slow Food Manifesto was signed. Slow Food states that this initiative “brings together those players in the food chain who together support sustainable agriculture, fishing and breeding with the goal of preserving taste and biodiversity.” Terra Madre presents the global network of us -from over 160 countries- who uphold the value of good, clean and fair food and traditions– the pillars of Slow Food- are presented with the opportunity to demonstrate our efforts to carry the movement forward.

Terra Madre Day - Slow Food Movement

Terra Madre Day is a call to action. Slow Food recognizes that “Local economy and small-scale are the most direct form of participatory democracy” and that “the livability and endurance of movements come from visions and ideas that generate good practices. The more ideas are diverse, shared and suited to local contexts, the broader future prospects will be.”

The day highlights our united vision, promoting sustainable production and consumption among our communities. The cultural biodiversity we are striving for is illustrated with our unique approaches from around the world. We can all share what we are doing to celebrate Terra Madre Day through live events as well as through the means of social media.

Food security is one of our values that aligns with Terra Madre and Slow Food- and is of utmost importance. More specifically, how unnecessary food waste is at the root of hunger around the world. We recognize that freedom from hunger is a basic human right. Yet the market-oriented system has commodified food to the point where this right is in jeopardy for too many people.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that “roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted.” That equals a staggering $680 billion in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries. This translates to a major squandering of resources. The CBC states that more than half of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted. They interviewed Second Harvest, a Toronto agency that collects food waste and redistributes it to those in need. CEO of Second Harvest, Lori Nikkel reports that this massive amount of food waste could feed every Canadian for five months.

Dealing with food waste through the “Good to the Last Crust” approach

Here we are, lucky enough to be living in a developed country like Canada, yet are part of a system “founded on a mechanism of waste and overproduction…”

So what can we do to change this?! Start by working within our means. Start local.

To honour this year’s Terra Madre Day at Charlotteville, we’ve developed a recipe for a new beer that brings food waste to the forefront in a creative way, in order to showcase how it can be combatted. It is named “Good to the Last Crust” and will be released the weekend before Terra Madre Day 2019. We adapted our recipe from an open source for a beer called Toast Ale in the UK-where 44% of bread is wasted. That recipe has started a movement called “Toasting Change” that has inspired many. Check out this link if you wish to learn more!

From Crust Into An Interesting Beer Ingredient

Leftover bread crust

We’ve saved all the crusts from the bread we use in our Tap House menu over the course of four weeks to create a 20L batch of beer. We normally compost the crusts along with the other biodegradable materials we use on our premises. The compost ends up being used as organic fertilizer in our garden. We took a step forward, when we realized the bread crusts could actually be redirected and transformed into an interesting ingredient in our beerBread crust composting

Slow Food upholds that “the exchange of [traditional] knowledge among the Terra Madre communities is our movement’s most important and most gratifying mission.” These are ideas and recipes for the common good and benefit of all.  The participatory democracy spoken of cannot exist, “without the recognition and circulation of the food knowledge among communities for the well-being of future generations and the natural world.” So as the basic human right to the freedom from hunger, we believe this is a great example.

Second Harvest points out that a big barrier to reducing food loss and waste is the stigma associated with feeding people with diverted food. Yet it is surplus, excess food, that is perfectly edible.

Bread crusts used as spent grainsThe bread we’ve used has reduced the amount of grains in the beer recipe by one third.  Bread is essentially made from the same raw ingredients used to make beer- grains like barley, wheat and rye. The grains are used at the start of the recipe during the mash, where the starches will turn into the sugars for the yeast to make the alcohol.

This idea is just one example of our approach to reducing waste. After the proteins, sugars and additional nutrients have been extracted from the grains -and in this case from the bread crusts- they are commonly just thrown out (or ideally composted). They are called spent grains at this point in the process. We recognize their value and choose to share them with some of our local Norfolk farmers – and friends of ours- who feed these grains to their cattle. This helps to reduce their own resources, all the way from growing, maintaining, harvesting, transporting, and storing. We hope these small steps will gain grains of change for us all.

This year the focus of Terra Madre day rests on “Thirty years of the Slow Food Manifesto” to celebrate everything the movement has achieved so far while focusing on goals for the future of food. We are excited to contribute to the next 30 years.

Terra Madre Day enables us to take hold of our lives and community, instead of letting others control our rights and the rights of the Earth. We take pride in our diversity and identity, resting on the tenet of good, clean and fair food- based in sustainability and pleasure. We can start small with “Good to the Last Crust” and inspire others to do the same. This is how we grow a movement.