Chef at Planted Cuisine & Co-founder of A Meat Free Month
Name: Loghan Call
Title: Chef at Planted Cuisine & Co-founder of A Meat Free Month
How do you personally define the “Local Peace Economy?”
A local peace economy is a community that is fully sustainable and able to thrive without needing external sources such as products, good or services to maintain a healthy and fulfilling life.
What prompted you to make moves away from the war-based economy (an economy that currently allows most of our resources to fund wars abroad and doesn’t place enough value on human or community needs)?
I grew up in a very small town in upstate New York, our community was very close knit, so in many ways I believe I’ve always sought and appreciated a local economy above all else. However, after spending 10 years in Southern California I lost sight of my appreciation of having a local community and economy. A couple of years ago I started looking into the future of food and what needed to happen in order for us to have healthy sustainable food moving forward. Two things happened during my research, I switched to a plant-based diet and started connecting with local urban farms.
It was establishing connections with local urban farmers who have an incredible commitment to providing food for a healthy community that I realized how important it was to focus more of my energy on creating healthy and sustainable local economies and communities. I realized that one of the best and most effective ways in turning our local communities around, was to get people reconnected with the land and the food they eat. !
As a chef, one of my missions is to educate and inspire members of the community to understand how empowering and important it is for us to have food independence. The global economy is far from secure, and as countries around the world continue to engage in wars, one of the most effective ways to bring peace is to show our neighbors and the world that we can thrive on a local peace economy. During World War II, 50% of the population had their own gardens, it’s my hope that we can achieve those numbers again in the next decade.
What are some of the key first steps you took to create your vision?
Lot’s of research went into looking at our current food systems and where our food systems are headed for the future. We’ve all heard the statistics around how many planets we need to sustain our current lifestyles and that’s without other countries adopting our current western lifestyle (which is happening at an exceedingly rapid pace). As a country who has shown the world how not to live...and eat, we now have an opportunity to show the world how to move forward in a way that accounts for future generations.
During my research I connected with some incredible urban and backyard farms (shoutout to Alegria Farms in Irvine & Casamor Farms in Mar Vista!), who have shown me first hand that we can tackle the issues of food security and have enough food for increasing city populations.
After having found a reliable source for produce, I began working on creating the type of cuisine I wanted to serve. The requirements were: local, organic, sustainably grown, plant-based and perhaps most importantly...delicious. Many would argue that plant-based and tasty don’t go hand and hand, and this has really been my area of focus since launching Planted Cuisine.
My approach to any meal I serve, is to create dishes that nourish the mind, body and spirit...and satisfy the craving we all have for comforting and delicious food. About 90% of the produce I use in a given dinner has been picked the day of the meal from urban farms.
Most people aren’t aware of the nutritional content in the foods we eat, or what “true” produce actually tastes like. Because of the local transport times from the farm to the store in our current food system, we lose much of the nutritional benefits that existed originally, along with flavor. The difference between a perfectly ripe tomato picked the same day at Alegria Farm and one that was picked days earlier and has been sitting in a store is night and day. So I definitely love for fresh produce to take center stage and let nature speak for itself on the plate. !
I’ve branded my events as “dinner experiences” because I want guests to experience something beyond dinner. As each course is served, I explain where the ingredients were sourced, talk about the inspiration and the health benefits of each dish. Each dinner is unique, as I work with what is in season. So every time I sit down with a client or my team, we start with a blank slate and determine what story we want to tell for that particular evening.
What is your message to those endeavoring to become a part of a local peace economy?
I love the concept of seven generations; what type of impact will my actions today, have for the next seven generations?
I’ve taken that concept a bit further and incorporated the idea of what I call “the time travel theory” into my daily life; anytime you watch a movie where there;s time travel involved they always say, don’t touch anything because it could have huge consequences for the future! What if we took that approach in our daily lives? Even simple actions such as acknowledging someone as you pass them on the street. The bottom line is that all of our actions do have ripple effects and I think it’s incredibly powerful if we start treating them as such, whether it’s launching a new company in our community or saying thank you to the person serving your coffee.
So my message would be, taking what I just said into account, what would you like to do for your community? What’s lacking? Where can you help?
A thriving local peace economy means that your community is thriving within itself and right now we’re relying on many external sources, so there’s plenty of opportunity. As a consumer, simply buying locally is the first big step. If you’re looking to bring something to your local economy, the big hurdle is convincing your community members to buy from you as opposed to the external source.
The key to that success lies in your passion. People are attracted to others who are passionate and are willing to try something new if they can sense your enthusiasm, so make sure its something you truly love!
For example, before I decided to switch careers and focus more on food, I’d lie in bed at night not able to sleep because I was stressing about how I could help tackle all the issues we’re currently facing; now I lie in bed and can’t sleep because I have so many new ideas for dishes!
All that said, reach out to your community leaders and those making a difference. Regardless if they are in a field you care about, connect with like-minded people and those who will support and uplift your ideas. There are few things more inspiring in life than being surrounded by those who are working toward a common goal, which is why a local peace economy can be so valuable for the health and happiness of those who live there.
Favorite way to participate in the Local Peace Economy that easily can be implanted in the every-day routine?
Certainly it has to be supporting your local farmers. I’ve really come to appreciate just how much hard work goes into creating the food that we so easily take for granted on a daily basis. Going to your local farmers markets or connecting with urban farms and buying from the source is a fantastic was to honor the hands that grew it. Taking an extra couple of second to acknowledge them is also incredibly important. Currently the average age of a farmer is 65, so supporting your local farmers (particularly the young ones!) will go a long way is securing local, healthy food for everyone moving forward.
Any upcoming projects or ways for others to get involved?
Well I always want to connect with others and I’m happy to hear ideas, possible partnerships or even some new team members as Planted Cuisine continues to grow! We want to create community events that surround food and farming, so if you’re reading this and have an idea or want to connect, please do.
I’m currently working with Casamor Farms to create many different events from community cooking classes, art installations, garden installs to documentary screenings and much more. We’ll be announcing all new events via our Facebook pages and would love to see new faces! The interest in reconnecting communities around food is a concept that is really taking hold and I’m incredibly excited to see what arises from here on out!