Educating New England consumers about a place-based approach to sustainable seafood
It’s easy to feel lost when grappling with the complex issue of seafood sustainability. Sarah Schumann’s TogetherGreen project imparts local consumers with a new kind of compass for finding the way to compassionate seafood choices: one that is holistic and place-based. Her fellowship project, entitled "Eating with the Ecosystem,” is a marine conservation initiative with a habitat and species conservation goal. It builds on the sustainable seafood movement, but provides a way to educate consumers about the effects of their choices on specific, nearby ecosystems (as opposed to global).
Sarah Schumann has organized a six-part dinner series at Providence restaurants that brings the notion of sustainable seafood closer to home for her fellow New Englanders. Each dinner is presented as a “culinary tour” of a particular ecosystem (Southern New England, Georges Bank, and the Gulf of Maine, for example), and each will include narration by a marine scientist and a commercial fisherman who will describe the ecological context behind each item on the plate.
Sarah's career has been devoted to seeing marine commerce and environmental vitality exist synergistically. As a commercial fisherwoman and passionate grassroots environmentalist, she tirelessly seeks to build bridges among the commercial fishing industry, environmental advocates, and the public.
“TogetherGreen's emphasis on reaching out to audiences under-represented in the conservation movement jives perfectly with my life goal of bringing fishermen into the movement,” Sarah said. Her TogetherGreen project puts this philosophy into practice by engaging consumers, fishermen, chefs, and scientists in a dialogue about sustainability of cherished local marine ecosystems
TogetherGreen will help Sarah broaden the reach of the initiative by approaching a broader range of people through community meals and cooking classes and pairing those meals with environmental action projects, such as coastal clean-ups and marsh restoration efforts.
Sarah’s goal with the dinner series is to bring diverse groups of people together in a festive atmosphere to discuss serious threats to our oceans while celebrating one of the supreme marine ecosystem services: provision of fresh wild seafood.