Rosalind Rathouse founded Cookery School in 2003. Here, she shares her journey to sustainability, a key part of the Cookery School ethos.
The Cookery School sustainability journey really started before the school began sixteen years ago. My daughter, Kathryn, had encouraged me from early days to buy as much organic food as I was able to afford as organic produce was considered an expensive luxury. She maintained that if everyone bought only a small amount, demand would be established and then developed. Of course, that is just what happened and we are all now aware of the benefits to our planet of using as much organic, sustainable food as possible. So, when I founded Cookery School and established the ethos, using organic produce was very much at the heart of what we did. There were times when we could not find organic root veg so we simply omitted using them. All that has changed and it is easy to find good organic, local and seasonal produce these days.
Our sustainability journey has taken place over several years and, having experienced it, we know that overnight change is impossible to accomplish. Changes need to be planned and by working through an easy list, the goal of sustainable eating is within everyone’s grasp. In the past the very word ‘sustainable’ seemed to suggest something that was hard to achieve. This really is not the case now because everyone is speaking about sustainable practices and there is expert help to hand in so many areas. With the emphasis on local and seasonal eating, even supermarkets are now providing a good range of organic ingredients and products that do not harm the environment.
Whilst the actions of one cookery school cannot dent the huge problem that our planet faces, we all have to start somewhere. If we teach people about eating sustainably and reducing their carbon footprint and then they tell their friends, with all of us working together, we will start to make a small difference. This is rather how the organic movement started! We teach thousands of people each year so are optimistic that with explaining how easy it is to run a sustainable kitchen, word will spread.
The benefits of being sustainable are increasingly obvious but the messaging has shifted slightly. When we first started, everyone thought that being sustainable would maintain resources on our planet for longer, but now it has become clear that has to be made urgently!