Eco-Stories: Puja Ganguli – Sustainability in our Food Systems

Eco-Stories: Puja Ganguli – Sustainability in our Food Systems

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. See the full interview below.

Leaving behind a career as a chef and food journalist, Puja pursued an education in sustainability to understand how to overcome the inherent problems of our food system. A lover of people and conversations, with Urth she is trying to create a conscious community that connects over a shared vision of a sustainable food future.

This interview was recorded on February 10, 2020.


The Third Plate:


Fiona Martin (FM): Welcome. We're welcoming Puja Ganguli with us today to The Eco-Interviews. How are you doing today, Puja?

Puja Ganguli (PG): I'm good. Good morning from Australia.

FM: Excellent. Puja is the owner of a consulting business called Consult Urth and she's been working in the food industry as a chef and a former food journalist. So I'm excited to speak to Puja about her evolution from chef and food journalist to this consultancy business with a sustainability twist on it. So, Puja tell us a bit about yourself and your background in the food industry.

PG: Oh, it's a bit of a long story. I'm a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to that. I started my journey about, well, more than 10 years ago now. Since I remember, I always wanted to be a chef growing up and as a '90s kids in India, especially as a girl that was not particularly the career that you would want to go for. So when I turned 16, my dad who realized that I was really serious about this put a challenge in front of me that I had to go work in a kitchen between my school holidays and work full-time and see if I really wanted to do that. So basically I started working in kitchens when I was about 16, 17 and then went on to go to culinary school. Spent three years training to be a chef, I worked as a chef for a bit. This was all back in India. So, this was in Mumbai.

I went IHM Mumbai, which is one of the best schools in the country there, and as luck would have it, I was in a competition in college and I used to always love writing about food. I always loved the research for the food. And I ended up meeting the then food journalists for BBC Good Food, the magazine, which was the Indian editorial at that time. And I had conversation and he asked me to write a feature for them. So, that was my introduction into the journalistic world. And following that I ended up working for them. So that was my in into journalism. I worked as a food editor for BBC Good Food. I spent a while there and learned a lot. In my early 20s, it was the best exposure that I could have to the food world because I was meeting chefs and food journalists from around the world.

I was collaborating with them on projects. I got to travel a lot and really understand the bigger picture of the food industry. I brought a very unique perspective to the team because I came from a chef background, so I understood the not so pretty bits of a kitchen and the industry, and yeah, it just went on to become something I really loved doing. After that, I spent five years working as a freelancer. I worked in television, in print. I used to do content and food styling. And about four years ago, I decided to change track and do a Masters in Sustainability. And that was my introduction to the world of sustainability really, and moved to Australia. So I moved to Melbourne, did my masters at Monash, and by the end of it is when Consult Urth came about.

FM: Fantastic. Was there a catalyst or anything that was the driver behind you deciding to make that turn and go back to university to study sustainability?

PG: Yes, it was actually a process, I would say. I come from a family of refugees. So my family moved from Bangladesh to India during partition. And growing up, food was a big part of our identity because we had lost our home and lost our land, and so my grandparents held very strongly to the culture and the food. And I came from a very big family, so I lived with my extended family in the same house. So we were, my dad, they are six brothers, two sisters, and everyone had about two kids. So it was a giant family and-

Yeah. And it was a unique experience growing up and sort of the way you really connected, or the sense of home was in our food. So, for me that was a huge part of my personal identity. I remember going to the market, buying directly from the producers. I was very young when my father would take me to the fish market or the meat market. And I knew where my food came from. I saw the fact that there was respect because you saw an animal give their life for you to consume it. And as a child that was a huge sense of connection that you form to where your food comes from. And I was very lucky to have that. But as I started growing up, and this is India in the early 2000s, it started to change. And the idea that things that were more sort of from a different culture, there was a huge American influence due to television and media and music.

And we were all watching the same shows, we were all watching the same movies and it sort of crept in that that was better than our traditional ways of living. And look, that's part of globalization. But what happened in India in the course of that was that we started to lose out on food heritage. So, the younger generation would know how to cook, maybe pasta, but they wouldn't know how to boil rice or make a dal. And it just struck me very intensely because for me it was just something I couldn't relate to because I had such a strong identity or connection to food that I just felt like everyone else did. And when I went to culinary school, it was a very interesting experience because I trained in classical French in a school in India, whereas Indian traditional cuisine, and then there are such a diversity of it. Every province and every little town has a different cuisine.

I got half a semester (of Indian cuisine) out of a three year degree, which is specializing in food. So it was just stark realization that we were devaluing what our food heritage was. And I started a personal project which was collecting recipes from grandmothers, so I was friends with all my friend's grandmothers. And their recipes were something that intrigued me and I was living in Mumbai, which has a very diverse community. So I was learning from people from different parts of the country. And the cuisine and the nuances that they brought to it was so interesting and so diverse that it just kept feeding my interest in it and eventually became a big part of who I was as a journalist.

I focused on traditional Indian cooking, and practices, and communities and what those things meant to those communities. And around the same time, I actually, I would say I call it my ... The trigger that changed the course of my path. He is this incredible chef in India. His name is Gresham Fernandis and he's a genius who had this food lab. And he would try out all these different things and techniques and recipes. And he was trying to have the same conversation and see how he could bring traditional ingredients and techniques back into mainstream hospitality and restaurants. And I would work with him on and off as a journalist.

And around that time he gave me a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. And that book changed my life because that was my introduction to sustainability and all these things that I was trying to do talk about or had in my head about the loss of traditional ingredients, the loss of traditional ways of cooking, the effects that had. Mass production, globalization, all of these things that I was trying to deal with and I thought it was just a personal loss of identity, suddenly escalated in scale. And I realized it was a global problem and it had a name and it validated that my concerns were real. And that started my journey towards sustainability where I ... Oh wait, I went back to my favorite thing, which is research and read up all I could and talked to people. I was very lucky.

Like I said, working as a journalist, I had access to food activists, I had access to chefs who were trying to have the same conversation. This is still five years ago, maybe longer, maybe six years ago. It was still a beginning of the conversation in industry, but it was there because all of us who come from that traditional, very strict French kitchen, we know that there's so much wrong with how our kitchen is run. And we have been through that. So we were talking about it, and we were talking about the wastefulness, we were talking about the mental health. We were talking about drug and alcohol abuse. We were talking about all of that. And we were the first generation of chefs and hospitality professionals who were bringing that up and saying, "This is not right."

So, it just created a big shift for me and it created a need to do more. And that's when I decided that if I want to do something to change the course of the industry I have to know what I'm talking about and really immerse myself in learning about what sustainability really is and I was very lucky to be accepted into this great Masters program at Monash which is a interdisciplinary program, so cohorts of people from different backgrounds. So, I had engineers, lawyers, fashion designers, you name it. Like, people from different professional as well as cultural backgrounds come together and spend two years to learn about what sustainability was and it changed my life, it changed how I look at the world, it changed my thought process and weirdly ... I won't say weirdly but most importantly made me a kinder, more considerate human being.

FM: Wow. What an amazing story and what an amazing journey, and I think I would love to hear more about this exploration of growing up with traditional foods, and then we have that sort of influence you mentioned, the American influence or the sort of Western influence where we have this disconnect between where our food comes from, because we buy it from the grocery store, right? And most of us don't grow up next to livestock. As a kid I did grow up next to livestock but I would say the majority of people I know did not. And how that plays into sustainability, how it is sustainable or wherever it is that takes you?

PG: I was actually watching an interview, or the acceptance speech that Joaquin Phoenix gave at the Oscars yesterday and something that really struck with me is him mentioning how disconnected we are as humans from our environment. And if I have to pick the root cause of where we are today, I would say that's it. Humans exist within nature, so if you look at what sustainability is, it is an amalgamation of people, purpose, and profit. Or society, environment, and economics.

And there are two ways of looking at it, one is where sustainability is when the three of them align together, but the way I like to look at it is that it's a concentric circle and economics lives within society, and society lives within the environment. And I think that is how I like to define sustainability, is that you can't ... As soon as you think that humans live or have control over the environment, or should control the environment, that's when we have problems. Something that really struck me was, I have a lot of nieces and nephews, and they're growing up in India but it's about, I would say a generation apart, and it took one generation for that disconnect to set in. Because their parents have access to supermarkets and have busy lives and they just prefer it as a convenience to go and shop there, and there's a much more disconnect there where my little niece thought chocolate milk came from brown cows.

And for me as an aunt who just couldn't fathom it that ... Like, how did that disconnect set in, in maybe 15 years? And that's when you realize how powerful media is, and I have huge guilt because I fed that when I was a journalist. I used to work for a British magazine, essentially, and we had guidelines and you know, you would Westernize Indian recipes to cater to a market. You would push olive oil because we got paid by an olive oil company to promote olive oil as the healthier option over other oils that were traditional and actually better. So, no one talks about that because it's against what you're trying to feed, but the longer impact of that is that you're changing, essentially changing what the rest of the world is trying to go towards.

Indian living was ... My grandmother is the epitome of sustainability, now that i look back, she would use every bit of the produce that came into the house. So, if you were having potatoes she would make something else with the potato peel. She would shop seasonally, so every season we ate different and it was not just the produce but also health benefits, because food is medicine. We didn't grow up on Western medicine, we grew up on natural healing and we ate seasonally because that helped our immunity, or if we got sick she had natural remedies. We didn't use single use plastic, everything came from the grocer in bulk, so you would take your stuff, your containers, you would fill it up or you would get paper bags that they would fill it up and send it home, wrapped with twine. And milk came from the depot, so you'd take little cans and go to the big milk bank, and then you'd push a button and it would release milk into your can and you'd come back home and you'd do it like every two days.

And I'm not even that old, I'm not even 30, that's how recent this is, this is my childhood and how did we go so wrong in such a little time? And that experience is where that all of this stems from, and when I talk about sustainability, I've always said this, it's not reinventing the wheel. It is tracing back where we went wrong and trying to go back to that time because we were doing it right for a really, really long time. The need for convenience and the lack of time is what pushed us to resorting to things that are not necessarily the only option. So yeah, I think speaking about the loss of identity it is stronger for me, because I feel like my country is a very good example of what has happened in the world.

But because it has happened over a very short period of time, it just gives you ... Acts as a very good case study at how important it is for people to feel connected to nature, land, what it takes to grow a vegetable. The pain that farmers go through to produce a season of vegetables, and if it doesn't happen then the affect that that has on a community, that is dependent on that produce. So, large scale agriculture for me is something that feeds that disconnect because you don't know where your food's coming from, you don't know the person who's producing your food. You're buying off a shelf and you relate to the brand rather than the person who is making that food.

So, yeah. Look, globally we are at a stage where it is very scary the more you read about it, and the more you understand it, where we are as a food system. There is a clear monopoly in the food industry in terms of where our food is coming from. If you're buying from a supermarket you might be buying different brands but the actual company that you can trace it back to is a handful and they keep merging to form these bigger conglomerations. So, the way we are going, it is something that we need to be conscious about and understand that food sovereignty is not just a big word that greenies use but it is something that will affect every single person who eats, really. You know?

FM: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Wow, big topics there. For people who aren't enmeshed in the food industry can you explain to us some of the biggest dangers in our current food system, from things like why is it so bad to eat out of season or the transportation emissions that come along with shipping our food everywhere or even like you said, the conglomeration of our food sources. In the United States I keep seeing more frequently listeria outbreaks and salmonella outbreaks that affect the entire food chain, and I think people don't realize that this is because there are only like three places in the US that this lettuce comes from. You're in the food industry - can you just enlighten us a little bit about some of those big dangers and why it is so harmful, not only to the planet but to us as people.

PG: Absolutely. So, if I have to, I feel like statistics always helps to understand the scale of a problem, so just to give you an idea, 26% of the global greenhouse emissions comes from food or food production. Half of the world's habitable land is used for agriculture and 70% of the global fresh water withdrawals are done to feed agricultural processes. So, we are talking a huge impact and what really, this entire narrative about, oh we are a huge population, we don't have enough food to produce in the next few years is wrong. We are producing enough food to feed the current population and the estimated population. The problem is not production, the problem is social and economic inequality in distribution as well as just wastage.

I have always been flabbergasted by American portions, it's just crazy, why would you have a portion that size? It's unhealthy because you have, as human beings the ratio of what we should eat has changed over the years. So, if you look back in time and that's what the Third Plate, the book, talks about, is our plates have changed. So, we went from meat being our thing that people ate as a special treat, to becoming a predominant part of our plate. That itself has huge impacts on the environment, there is a huge debate about vegetarianism, veganism, obviously eating less meat or no meat is really, really important for the environment because meat production is a huge impact on the environment, not only in terms of the methane that cattle actually produce, but also because most of this agricultural production that we were talking about goes to feeding animals, and not humans.

So, we are producing enough food but we are not producing enough food that is aimed towards human consumption. Looking at this shift, cultural shift of moving away from eating that much meat, and moving away from eating that much food which we're not really consuming, but wasting and it goes into a bin or doesn't get consumed is what's causing the problem that we have right now. Next is the conglomerations. One is in agriculture, so pre-agricultural, that is your seed. Right now there are companies around the world that control all the seeds. So a company like Monsanto basically has patents on all seeds, and some of them are indigenous varieties. So, it is extremely dangerous because that means that no farmer can actually save seeds for the next year and the seeds that they are designing, which are genetically modified, are annual seeds. Which means that you use it, and then the next year you don't have seeds to plant. This creates a huge economic barrier for smaller farms and smaller farmers to have a seasonal produce.

To have financial stability, have seed sovereignty where they are not allowed to hold onto seeds for the next year, which is what we have done for thousands of years before these companies came into existence and that is why around the world there are a lot of small farmers who are fighting this and they're trying to create indigenous seed banks because just pure GMO seeds have ... It's a contested argument where a lot of people think it's good because we are producing more but you have to also understand that when you try to control nature it invariably has ill effects.

So, understanding that is very important, and understanding the fact that humans cannot control nature stems back to that disconnect that we have with our environment. The other thing that I really feel is very important in this entire conversation is understanding that there is diversity around the world and there's a diversity of local practices that we are not looking at. What large-scale farming does is its broad brush strokes define how agriculture should be done throughout the world, but if you look at smaller communities and again I'll go back to the example of India, we have farming techniques that are specific to a land that a farmer is farming on. And in order to grow produce on that land based on even the lack of water, or soil quality, they know what it takes to grow food in that condition.

So when you take that knowledge, or you disregard that knowledge you're trying to implement a technique on land which will potentially fail, and that is why there is so much crop failures around the world because we're not taking into account that there is diversity in land and there's diversity in terrain and that has an impact on the food we're trying to grow. So, as someone who is trying to work towards a sustainable food industry I think how I see we can break through this is by supporting local farmers. Buying local and moving away from the mass produced agricultural system is our only way forward, that also has a huge impact in emissions because food gets transported across the world. So, if you are buying a packet of rice that is produced in Vietnam it's traveled around the world to reach you.

Now, if, and again depends on which part of the world you're in, it might actually be more sustainable to buy that rice if you're in Australia because Vietnam's not that far, as well as Australia is a dry continent so we can't produce rice because it's a water intensive crop. So, for us it might be a good decision but for a country that is producing their own rice and has enough water to do so, then it doesn't make sense. So, there is no one way to do it, but the one easy way to navigate this minefield of what I should eat and where I should buy from is to support local because you know where your money is going to. You know that you're supporting a local farmer who is trying to grow his own produce and it will eventually create a connection for you as a person, to your food and you will value it more, you'll waste it less, you'll try to pass that onto your kids.

FM: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, it's just fantastic information, I appreciate you going through some of those top line issues that we're experiencing in our food system and the affect it has on everyone. Your passion and your knowledge have come together for you to form your business Consult Urth, and Urth is spelled U-R-T-H. So, can you tell us about that and give us a bit of a story behind the name as well, I know there's an interesting story for that as well.

PG: So, Urth for me started as an amalgamation of my two passions, which is food and sustainability, and I had just graduated from university and I knew I wanted to work as a consultant and somehow I could not find an organization that was sort of working in the food space and really doing what I wanted to do, and I think that led to me realizing that if I want to do the work that I wanted to do in the food and hospitality industry, I need to do it myself. And I spent a lot of time figuring out what I wanted to Urth to be like, and what I wanted the company to embody and it led to the formation of the name which means "meaning" in Hindi, or is derived from the Hindi word for "meaning", which is Urth and it just made all the sense in the world because what we say is, "Consult with conscience." So, we want to do meaningful work, we want to create meaningful changes and thus we think Urth just fit us perfectly.

FM: Yeah. It sounds like it all came together like a eureka moment. It was meant to be, written in the stars.

PG: Ah, took me three months though, I'm not going to lie.

FM: Can you give us a generic example of what Urth does if a restaurateur or someone else in the food industry contacts you, what sort of services do you provide and help them along their journey?

PG: Absolutely. So, Urth is, how we like to see it is a knowledge hub that connects hospitality with sustainability. It's me and my business partner Suvam, who is also my brother, great idea to work with your sibling but I come from a food and sustainability background and Suvam comes from a finance background, so he's had over 15 of experience working as an investment banker and he specializes in business planning and financial development. We just worked out that we both sort of complemented each other's experience and our vision is to make sustainable hospitality businesses financially viable.

I think something that we sometimes miss out to acknowledge is that we still exist within a capitalistic world and if you really want to bring about big change and industry wide change, you still need to make it financially viable. And we want to bring that part in because economics is a big part of sustainability and you can't be environmentally and socially of impact if you're not financially viable. So, that is the main ... If I had to describe it in a broad way, that is what Urth is.

As far as our services go, we specialize in different things but the way Urth is ... It's very business specific, we eventually want to get to a point where we create frameworks that can be easily replicable by anyone, and we're working on that. But for now, it's based on the needs of a business, so we assess where they are on their sustainability journey and where they would want to be and then provide services that help them to reach there. So, it can be in terms of research, it can be in terms of business development, it can be in terms of financial. It can be in terms of actual operations like waste management and supply chain management, and training and workshop for your team and employees to really make them understand what sustainability means in their business because that's something, coming from a hospitality background that I really faced, was that there's no conversation in colleges or in training programs about sustainability or waste management in the current system.

So, training and workshops become a huge part of what your business needs to do right now if they want to become sustainable. We also look at the need for change of consumption patterns, so we do work with communities and we want to create a space where businesses can reach their clientele and actually tell their story because stories are very powerful. So we do also offer marketing and PR, and create that base for businesses to really promote what they're doing because that is really important for putting it out there and influencing other businesses to bring about change. So, our first project that we completed was this organic ethical café in Melbourne, it's called Pachamama's Wholefoods + Kitchen, so they were an organic grocery and we helped them open their first organic café. And it is a beautiful community space where we implemented systems. We implemented proper staffing, like ethical staffing systems.

So, ethical staffing, we considered what it means to have a healthy staff, and put into place systems that help and support people who work in your business. So, we also have the opportunity for people to upskill themselves within the business. So, there's no division between front of house and back of house, you sort of try to upskill your staff so that everyone can do everything, and we do that by really simplifying the entire process and having systems that are in place to help that happen. As well as one of my favorite things that we do is we work with a local community garden and all the waste from the café gets composted at the community garden and the owners, they're very proactive and they spend their Mondays doing it, going and working at the community garden and composting all of the waste from the restaurant.

And as well as there's a program that supports people with needs, or special needs, to come and work in the café. So, one of our favorites who comes in and waters all our plants every week and we support, so we work very closely with the wider community and support local businesses and the grocery store sells local products. And we're aiming towards sourcing more locally as well as organic. So, yeah, it's a beautiful space and the aim is to use that as an example of how an ethical, conscious business can be financially viable. That is sort of first project that we've completed.

Here on we also want to focus on hotels because I feel that is a war of its own where one hotel has so much waste that is created or impact that it creates, that a lot that we can do there and it's again not reinventing the wheel, it's about redirecting your investments towards more long-term goals and commitment to reducing your emissions and your impacts. And look, the two reasons I always give businesses is climate change is real, so it's going to affect your supply chain if you want it or not. So, you'd rather go into the next 10 years being prepared to really deal with that impact as well as the fact that the consumer base is changing. Today people care about how much emission they are causing when they're flying and they want to offset it and they want to care about where they are buying their food from, and who is it affecting? What clothes they are wearing and if it's coming from a place of abuse and the affect on vulnerable communities.

So, there is a constant change in consumer base and that's a huge economic factor to consider when you're planning your next 10 years as a business. So, it is the future of food and it is the future of hospitality but change is slow and we need it to be a lot faster, so that's why things like starting a conversation like you're trying to do is very important. And yeah, so the more we talk about it the more we know where we're headed.

FM: It sounds amazing. I want to go to Pachamama's café now. Unfortunately I'd have to get a flight over. But I love the full circle affect and I think you and I might vibe on something similar, you mentioned a few questions ago that you worked in media and you had to replace this oil with olive oil because of the payment and that sort of stuff. And I work in media, I'm a digital marketer and so I've certainly had those internal conflicts, for example, promoting a pest control company, that's something I wouldn't do now but it's certainly something I did years ago and I feel like we're riding a similar wave when it comes to consumer demand. I feel quite strongly that there is going to be more consumer demand as figures like Greta Thunberg and Joaquin Phoenix in the public eye are making these very strong and compelling cases for us to think, be more conscious with our consumption.

And similar to you I want to be able to promote those businesses that are doing it in the right way. What is it like in Australia? Is that wave quite strong right now? Is that really a driver of consumer behavior, is to go down the sustainability and conscious consumption side?

PG: So, it is and it is not. I live in inner city Melbourne and Melbourne itself is a very progressive city. So, I sometimes feel like I'm in a bubble where people around me are very, very proactive and genuinely care about the impact they're having. But if you look at the bigger community in Australia the two primary industries in Australia is mining and agriculture. So, it becomes a very difficult conversation because a lot of people's livelihoods depend on two very big industries that are the biggest emitters of the biggest sort of impact in terms of environmental impact. So, it is a very interesting space where there is a rise in demand for these services and products, but there's also that idea about, well I would do it but it's too expensive. And I feel like we're still at that point where financial incentive is the way.

The biggest example that actually Australia has done really well is solar, and a lot of conservative sort of demographic are moving towards solar because it's actually cheaper than being on the grid. So, that has changed the conversation and I think that is a great example about why it is important to make sustainable businesses financially viable because then you can give competitive prices. And economic stimulation in an industry that is trying to be sustainable is the most important thing you can do right now, so if you are a conscious person, check where your investments are going, check which bank are you with. Who is investing, or where are they investing their money? For me, as a young person, I feel like those are the little choices that I make every day to make sure I have an impact because changing the whole system will take a long time.

We live in a very complicated world and we can't expect everyone to have the same motivation as we do. So understanding other people's perspective become important as well. If you are trying to tell a community that is a community of cattle farmers that, "Don't eat meat." You're telling them that they can't send their kids to school or put food on their tables. So, that's again not the way to go, but it's about being conscious of the impacts and seeing how we can deal with a problem that's that big and intertwined.

FM: Great. Great answer. Are you optimistic about where the food industry is going? Are we going in the right direction or do we have some big players that are fighting back?

PG: That's a hard one. I'm an optimistic person, I don't think I could do my job if I was not, but it's also a scary space to be. So, it's that chicken and egg sort of conversation again, do you get consumers to change first? Or do you get producers or the industry to change first? Because one cannot exist without the other, but my view is that the change has to happen together and as a business you have to tackle both. As well as, as a consumer you have to also influence business, so I mean, I still remember reading this case study which said, right now the sales of free range eggs is higher than any other eggs, and it happened because consumers started paying that extra 50 cents to a dollar to buy free range eggs over cage eggs, because they thought it was better.

So, it can happen, change can happen, but it's process of putting all the right triggers together and that's why it is important for us, as consumers, to make conscious choices, because that is when industry is going to notice it and do something about it. If you look at most supermarkets now, they have an organic aisle. It's because they realized that there is financial viability in that business. So, if you make it a purchase decision to buy sustainable products then bigger businesses will always want to invest in it because they're always looking to tap into new markets.

So, it's that two sided sword because at the end of the day we do live in a capitalistic world where businesses that are that big that they can have big impact care about the bottom line. And there is a shift, so someone like Unilever has been investing in research and in looking at sustainable practices, but to me the motivation behind that seems not because they want to save the world but because they understand that climate change is real and that it's going to affect their supply chains. And that they need to face that with the resources in place, so change is happening but the way we can push it is by making as individuals, making choices that push businesses over that line. And make them do better.

FM Mm-hmm (affirmative). And I think you might've answered the last question that I have for you, which is, what can we do as individuals when it comes to our food and our environment?

PG: Look, first and foremost eat local. Get to know your local farmers and your local farmers market, go buy bread from the baker and have a chat. They're always up for a chat. I think create that community around your shopping, it also makes you feel so much better than pulling a trolley down a soulless supermarket because you appreciate the egg that you bought from your egg guy because he's told you about his chickens and they're very passionate about their chickens. And give that to your kids, that's the best thing that you can give them. Cook at home, preserve your family recipes.

If you have grandparents and parents and they were people who cooked you a hot meal when you were growing up, sit down with them, have a cup of tea and write down their recipes because that is going to create that tie that you and the future generations are going to have to food. We are losing heritage, we are losing culinary heritage and that is why we are so disconnected. There is nothing more important than nostalgia when it comes to the right thing, because it is such a big driver. So, don't underestimate how important it is to preserve nostalgia because that's put me where I am today. It's pure nostalgia. So, I'm a sappy optimist who thinks that we can save the world if we care about the past. So, yeah.

FM: Wonderful. That's great advice and I think I'm going to take ... I'm going to take this advice from you in regards to trying to shop more local because I absolutely hate grocery shopping and I think subconsciously, deep down it's because everyone in there is rushing and it's super impersonal and I don't know where that orange came from and so I think that might be what it is and I've just never realized it. So, I'm going to take that away for sure.

PG: Ah, that's amazing. Even if one person takes the change, it's what's it all about and I just love the idea of going to a market. It's just so much soul and so many people who care so deeply. So, let me know how you go, I'd love to hear your experience going back to a market.

FM: Yeah. Where I live, unfortunately, there's not a huge amount of markets but we do live in an agricultural state so they're trying to be better about it and we grow a lot of our own food as well. So we might be at the market if we end up with 100 cucumbers, again.

PG: Yeah. That's amazing.

FM: Well, Puja, it's been wonderful connecting with you across many timezones and a huge expanse between us but I feel we're vibing on some of the same stuff, and I really appreciate your take on the food industry and bringing your past into what's going to be our future and I'm certainly going to be sharing a link to your business,, we'll put that in the notes.

PG: Thank you.

FM: Is there any way that you'd like people to follow you on social media or online?

PG: Yes, please. So we are on Instagram as @consulturth and we're also on Facebook, give us a follow. We love to talk to the community so send us any questions you might have, we are more than happy to answer and no matter where you are in the world, if you're a sustainable business that needs a little help or are just a business who wants to become sustainable send us a word, send us a message and we'll get back to you. And we want to work across the world so no matter where you are, we're happy to work with you. So, looking forward to hearing back from some of the people in the community.

FM: All right. Well, thank you Puja, I hope you have a wonderful rest of the day and we'll be following you from afar.

PG: Oh, thank you Fiona, that was such a good chat, and thank you for thinking about us and welcome to the Urthling family.

FM: Yeah. That's awesome. #urthling. U-R-T-H-L-I-N-G. Done. All right.

PG: Thank you.