Baguette & Butter: A Resource That Helping Communities Take Control Of Their Own Food Systems
Amanda McLemore, the founder of Baguette and Butter, is working with city dwellers to become more sustainable in their food journey. From food sourcing and growing, to preparation and disposability, McLemore is meeting people where they are to help those in urban environments live and eat more consciously.
Check out this interview:
When and why did you start Baguette and Butter? Where did the name come from?
Baguette & Butter began as a way for me to document my journey through culinary school. As I learned more about how disjointed the food industry is and how much food and food packaging waste is accumulated I began to use Baguette & Butter more and more as a food education platform and now, as a business we design our courses and products to help city dwellers learn to cook and eat sustainably in the city without losing their lifestyle. Baguette & Butter was only supposed to be a name filler nine years ago but it stuck.
What exactly were you learning in school that didn't align with the reality of the food space?
In culinary school we learned to make so many things from scratch; mayo, salad dressing, etc. Cooking and eating at school gave me the experience of being present with every part of the cooking process. Where outside of the kitchen, at home. Our food was coated with plastic packaging and color filled boxes that shouted logos and claims to distract you from the ingredients list. Our food system lacked the transparency that cooking professionally gave me.
How can individuals with a small disposable incomes and/or large families to feed and/or live in a metropolitan city with not much time- take the first step in growing their own produce and/or transitioning to farmers markets? Do you have any resources you can share!
The more you learn the easier it will become. The first half of this journey I was paying back student loan debt and really attempting to “adult” with life. I Googled everything. My advice, make sure you create a budget, this will help with more than just food, but I cannot stress how necessary this is. Two, find your local farmers markets and grocery stores that sell locally made and grown produce (you can always ask as well). Take baby steps with cooking and get the family involved. Not only will this give young ones a course in food education, but will take a load off of one family member cooking for the whole family. Lastly, eat less meat. You will become healthier and save a ton of money. As for gardening, Seeds and soil can be pretty inexpensive to purchase. I know some communities will share free seeds like the Harold Washington Library has a free seed library program.
Share some specific cooking skills that you feel have been lost? And how does it relate to indigenous culture (if you feel it does)?
My top three are knife skills, preservation, and produce identification. I as well believe that eliminating the idea of food being thrown away is important. Our ancestors knew the respect and value of food and this is a luxury that we abuse. If food cannot be eaten it should be composted back into soil. I do believe that the indigenous culture can break the cycle through eduction. There is a power that comes with knowledge and a freedom as well. If we as a community are more responsible of our food culture it can really change the game with equally of the community health and sustainable food production.
As a WOC, does the work you're doing influence your mission/purpose?
Baguette & Butter’s mission is truly who I am to the core. I love people, food, gardens, and education. I believe that taking self action can support major change. Like the quote states “ Be the change you wish to see in the world” I know that everyone does not have the same access and I believe that with what we do at Baguette & Butter we can change lives in a major way.
What does food sovereignty mean to you?
Every community should house the power to control their own food system. Education should be provided to the community to support the foundation to small local farms, backyard gardens and community canneries. The local community needs to be invested in education on creating and running local business’ that can support a sustainable food model. It truly takes a village.
What can we look forward to in the near future?
Oh so much! We are selling volume II of our Seasonal Field Guide. Which contains our first Seasonal Capsule Menu, which teaches city dwellers to begin to cook with seasonal ingredients and overlap produce or batch out recipes for the season. We are working on our first podcast called Clarified Radio Live and automating our online Clarified Masterclass course that will teach city dwellers how to connect to local package free food and learn cooking skills. As always our Patreon’s will gain access to free beta-testing and extra workshops online.