Producing an indie film is a very social experience. And a very challenging one. Budget is always tight so you might have to ask your crew to make sacrifices due to your budgets’ restrictions. You might have to ask your actors to work for deference. You might have to ask your runner to work for ‘credit’ only. But whatever you do, never make your people work hungry! If you can’t afford anything else you must, at the very least, feed your talent and crew.
Same goes for sustainable and carbon neutral film sets, low carbon videos and events. Chances are that you already have some plan in place to lower the carbon footprint and you implement it by asking your crew and talent to make some sacrifices; like using public transport and keeping their own, reusable food containers on set. The least you can do in return is to provide them with the best, healthiest food you can.
Here are some rules for sustainable catering and great ideas for vegan meals and snacks your crew will love:
1. Home made is always the best.
If you can’t cook to save your life you can always ask your mum for help. Trust me, it’s not that uncommon. And I bet your crew will appreciate a healthy, hot meal instead of chilled sandwiches out of the convenience store across the road. You can find brilliant and nutritious recipes online, my favourite is this Vegan Catering Guide for individuals and restaurants. Jamie Oliver has some great recipes too. So try it out or ask someone you know to help you cook. I’m sure they won’t charge as much as professional catering service would.
2. Order local, vegan food
Local produce has lower footprint, obviously. Vegan food is much ‘greener’ then meat rich diet (see the table above) so it makes sense to choose vegetables grown locally, organic and seasonal. At a professional video shoot you might be more comfortable with professional service but if you choose to order your food from a caterer or restaurant you can still shop smart. Do your research and choose the greenest, healthiest option. Don’t settle for the first offer you find.
3. Take food allergies into account.
Many people have allergies or sensitivity towards certain foods, mainly milk, soy, gluten and nuts. Allergy to nuts is very serious and it is also very difficult to guarantee that any pre-made food is 100% nut free. Take special care if anyone on your set has this allergy. Milk can be easily eliminated from the diet. Soy is a great source of protein but so are beans and legumes. There are many options available that don’t include soy. Same with gluten. Gluten free versions of many meals are now readily available. So give your crew those options once you know they need them.
4. Always buy organic
If everything else fails and you are left with the choice of cold sandwich vs fast food you should still try to at least choose organic. Many supermarkets and even some fast food restaurants use organic ingredients, so read the labels. There should be no excuse for buying bad food or food produced in a way that is harming to the environment.
5. Wrap it up
The easiest way to eat without the need for cutlery is to have your food wrapped into a tortilla, naan bread or pitta type flat bread. You can stuff it with all types of goodies, like a burrito style bean sauce, mango and chilli salad, vegan cheese and literally anything else you can think of. Because it’s so easy to grab a wrap you can forget all the plates and cutlery.
6. Use reusable
Never allow plastic on your set. There are many ways to eliminate plastic, the easiest is to simply ask your crew to bring their own containers to the set. Or, if that is not an option, there are many local companies that will rent cutlery and plates, pick them up after and even do the washing up.
As for drinks there are great alternatives to plastic cups, like the Vegware– a fully compostable cups made of vegetable matter.
There are green cups from BioCup or reusable cups from KeepCup, but the best, it seems, is to simply have your own travel mug with you on set. Cosy.