Sourcing and Sustainability at NGI | Natural Gourmet Institute

Sourcing and Sustainability at NGI

Posted August 12, 2017

At Natural Gourmet Institute (NGI), we’re committed to educating students on preparing food that is seasonal, local, whole, traditional, balanced, fresh, and delicious. In doing so, NGI focuses on the creation and maintenance of a sustainable food system by continually building connections with suppliers and taking on broader advocacy initiatives. Read on to learn how NGI puts sourcing and sustainability at the forefront while supporting a food system that respects the earth’s natural resources and the people who make each meal possible.

Sourcing

We take pride in our constant emphasis on premium ingredients. When shopping for our classes, dinners, and events we do our best to make sure that our ingredients are seasonal, local, and fresh. Many of our ingredients come from local suppliers found at the Union Square Greenmarket, where we shop four days a week, year-round. From spring through fall, 60-80% of our produce comes from local suppliers in the tristate area, and for the winter months, about 25% of our produce is local.

Our eggs and poultry come from a family-owned business called Cascun Farm in Greene, New York. The poultry is custom fed, non-GMO, non-medicated, contains no animal by product or growth hormones, and is all pastured.

When using flours in our recipes, we work with four different types: unbleached, whole wheat, spelt, and whole wheat pastry. We buy these flours from a family owned business in Champlain Valley Milling Corporation in Westport, NY, which is one of largest certified mills in the Northeast.

Sustainability

NGI is continuously working towards a better sustainable food system by repurposing or donating unused foods, choosing foods from quality sources, reducing the use of paper goods, and composting produce on a regular basis.

When items are not used in a class, they are returned to our stewarding department and repurposed for future classes. Any food that is left unused for longer than 3-5 days is either donated to chef instructors, staff, or students, or thrown into the composting bin if it is no longer edible.

All of the oils used for cooking at NGI are used one time only, and are therefore always clean. NGI donates about 360 gallons a year of its used oil to Tristate Biodiesel, which is used for the implementation of urban-based oil projects, using non-food crop biodiesel feedstocks such as used cooking oil, jatropha oil, and algae oil.

NGI saves all leftover vegetables from its Knife Skills and Knife Drills classes, as well as bones from poultry, for making stocks that are used in other classes. About 10 gallons of stock is made each week. Other produce is composted, adding up to about 450 pounds of compost a week and 23,400 pounds a year.

At the end of each year, NGI makes a large donation of unused food to City Harvest, a non-profit in New York City focused on food rescue and distribution, and education. At the end of 2016, NGI donated close to 500 pounds of food to City Harvest.