Ubud Food Festival: Our Future is at Sea

31 May 2017
Indah Rufiati

What is MDPI? What is Fair Trade? What is Traceability? What is Sustainable Seafood? – Those questions arose from the visitors of Ubud Food Festival, a festival held in Ubud, Bali from 12 – 15 May. This event is one of the biggest culinary events in Indonesia and very popular to both national and international audiences. There are many chefs, culinary icons, restaurant owners, and even environmental advocates who attend this annual event.

In this event, MDPI had a booth to raise awareness about MDPI’s work amongst Indonesian-based consumers, to talk about sustainable seafood, Fair Trade certified seafood and seafood traceability with the visitors. This year’s theme was “Every Flavor is a Story”, to celebrate the richness of Indonesian food, including the history as well as Indonesian culture, heritage, community and geography. To align with the theme, MDPI booth also had theme “The Story of Your Fish” to raise awareness about the story of fish from fishermen (our main stakeholder) to consumers’ plates. Most people might not be aware that the fish they eat went through a long journey to finally be ready to be consumed by them. On this occasion, MDPI gave a whole story about it by explaining Fair Trade certified seafood and the various technologies and interventions that are implemented in various stages of the supply chain to show fishermen are not involved in Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing activities.

Pak Aditya and Indah explained about MDPI program to Pak Bondan, a famous journalist, writer and culinary expert in Indonesia. Photo credit: MDPI

Another exciting event for MDPI was our Fair Trade Manager, Jaz, participating as a panelist in a discussion: Think, Talk, Taste: Our Future is at Sea, with other panelists from permaculture, chef, aquaculture and environmental protection. In this discussion, the panelists shared their experiences from the seafood and marine world and what challenges the seafood world is facing at the moment. All of the panelists agreed that consumers should be more aware about the seafood they consume, by starting to find out “Where Your Fish Comes From”: Is it from sustainable source? Is it caught by responsible fisherman? Is it processed by a responsible company? What if it was caught by fishers in forced or bonded labour situations? And more questions that we should keep in mind to be a better consumer. They also gave tips about what fish to buy, here are the tips:

  1. Buy fish in season – fish that are in season are cheaper, more accessible and have likely not been in long term storage or transport to get to you. Its typically fresher and better for the climate to buy fish in season.
  2. Spend less – Less well-known fish are just as good and cost less because they less in demand. Learn to ask your fishmonger for them and learn new recipes to match them.
  3. Respect tradition – traditional recipes for fish soup use different fish according to what is available on the day.
  4. Discover new flavors – There are 25,000 edible species of fish in the sea but we only eat about 15 of them. Enjoy discovering new flavors!
  5. Many portions from just one fish – Medium-sized to large fish (2 – 5 kg) are soft and tasty when cooked in the oven. They are ideal choice if you have guests.
  6. And most important… buy local if you can. This supports local fishing communities, has least impact on climate through travelling only short distances and has the strongest likelihood of being fresh

MDPI was delighted to be part of this year’s Ubud Food Festival and met many amazing people to talk and to share ideas with. MDPI also would like to thank Ubud Food Festival for giving us a space to discuss and share our story and approach. Not to mention, big thanks to all the MDPI team who joined and supported MDPI at this event! And one last special shout out to Jaz… well done on the panel, you done us proud! ?

Writer: Indah Rufiati



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