We started Mindful Chef on a fishing boat off the Devon coast. So, naturally, we’ve been passionate about sustainably sourced fish from day one.
Every September we run our annual Coast Clean, where our brilliant community comes together to help clean up beaches, rivers, woodlands and parks. Cleaning up plastic protects our oceans now – so we can continue to put fish on the table for generations to come.
We’re delighted that Ben Fogle, our adventurous Mindful Chef Ambassador and The UN’s Patron of the Wilderness, is joining the MC team for our group clean-up this year.
Ben is a passionate planet advocate – read on for his thoughts on the 2021 MC Coast Clean and how we can all do our bit to turn the tide on plastic
Why should we pick sustainably sourced fish?
Over 90% of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited. And when there’s an amazing variety of seasonal, sustainable seafood out there, it’s a no-brainer.
What inspires you to join our annual Coast Clean?
A seemingly clean beach can actually have a huge volume of litter and rubbish just beneath the surface. The Mindful Chef Coast Clean is a wonderful way to raise awareness of the threats to our oceans, while taking meaningful action.
What if I don’t live near a beach?
What’s great about the MC Coast Clean is that it’s open to rivers, parks and woodlands – meaning everyone can get involved and prevent litter from making its way to the sea.
Will ‘doing my bit’ have an impact?
I can completely understand why people might feel powerless, but in fact the opposite is true. The power is in our hands to take action no matter how big or small – collectively we can make a difference.
What would you say to this generation about why our oceans matter?
Our oceans span over 70% of the Earth’s surface and play a vital role in life on this planet. Yet our marine ecosystems face many threats, such as overfishing and plastic waste. Given we’re all connected to the oceans in one way or another, we all need to play a part in looking after them.
Why should we protect them?
Our oceans feed billions, support livelihoods and provide 80% of our biodiversity. Being by the sea is the perfect tonic to the relentless stresses and strains of modern life; our oceans are our soul-soothing escape. They’re under threat, so we need to start thinking about the long-term, rather than seeking instant gratification.
Last year, even in the middle of a pandemic, we cleaned up enough plastic to scale Mount Everest and back, 2 x over. Why do you think it’s so important to stop plastic getting into our oceans?
Wow – that’s a scary stat. We need to turn off the plastic tap and make do with what we’ve got. At this rate our children’s children won’t be able to enjoy the oceans due to mankind. Since throwaway packaging became a mainstay of the UK food and drink industry in the 1950s, we’ve been hooked and continue to devour plastic without a care in the world. This has to change.
Last year, over 30% of that litter was PPE – what do you think the lasting effects of the pandemic will have on our beaches and marine life?
While PPE has played an important role in keeping us safe and healthy during the pandemic, it’s bound to have a knock-on effect on the volume and type of plastic pollution entering our waterways. It’s not all doom and gloom – there are small changes people can make such as choosing reusable material masks. Through slowing down, it’s also opened up our eyes to the need to preserve our precious ecosystems.
Will you be joining a beach clean or heading to a favourite river or local park?
I’ll be joining the Mindful Chef team in Battersea to clean up the Thames on September 15th, as well as cleaning up my local beach with the family during the official MC Coast Clean weekend.
What are you most looking forward to about the Mindful Chef Coast Clean?
I’m excited to take part in their largest community event and hopefully drive more awareness to a cause that’s close to my heart. And of course, I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and doing my bit, you’d be surprised at some of the obscure wonders you come across.
What are your 5 top tips to help the oceans?
- Carry a reusable water bottle
- Use a canvas shopping bag
- Try to limit fast fashion
- Pick up 5 pieces of litter every time you visit a beach or park
- Join our Coast Clean (it’s not too late!)
Tell us about your role as UN Patron of the Wilderness
In 2017 I was appointed the UN’s Patron of the Wilderness and through my expeditions I aim to celebrate the wilderness, give it a voice and draw attention to the effect of humanity on the earth’s wildest corners. I want to revitalise messaging around environmentalism and help to enthuse, educate and empower people to look after our planet.
How does that align with our shared values of caring for the planet?
It aligns very closely – I love everything Mindful Chef stands for, from supporting local suppliers and championing seasonal produce, through to helping customers reduce their food waste with pre-portioned ingredients and the 100% recyclable packaging mission.
How can consumers easily make the right choice when it comes to eating sustainable, seasonal fish?
There’s a few hacks to help with this – first off, if you choose a recipe box like Mindful Chef, you know all their ingredients are sustainably sourced, which takes away the pressure. When you’re in the supermarket, look for the MSC-certified ‘blue fish’ on packaging. Or head to the Ocean Conservation Trusts guide, which showcases tasty, sustainable alternatives to the ‘Big Five’, helping to give popular fish stocks time to recover.
Sign up to the MC Coast Clean, 17th-19th September, at mindfulchef.com/coast-clean