It might sound cliché, but it’s true: in Argentina, sustainability is a way of life. From the roots of culture to the upper reaches of economic output, many Argentines operate from the premise that avoiding excessiveness in the beginning is the way to avoid a whole lot of excessive waste at the end.
In everything, the understanding is, things must be self-sustaining. Production practices should lead to ongoing life and health from within. For Argentines, living sustainably starts with a perception of value and connectedness—to the people, places and things they produce. It’s a mentality that leads to taking care of the things they care about.
Socializing the Argentine Way
It’s common for extended families in Argentina to spend their weekends together. Sunday dinner, considered the most significant meal of the week, is meant to be shared among family and friends. Tradition calls for preparation of recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation (an opportunity to remember our past). The menu typically includes pasta (belying many Argentines’ predominantly Italian roots) or asado, the Argentine version of grilled meat. Empanadas are also a popular and traditional dish.
The sharing of a meal symbolizes friendship and integration around the table. At Piattelli Vineyards, workers from the vineyards and wineries gather regularly for meals, supplied with food grown in the community gardens planted and tended by staff families for just such purposes.
From the growing methods, to a focus on seasonal ingredients to preparation practices that minimize energy use, Argentines are leaders in sustainable practices when it comes to living off the sustenance of the earth. It’s evident in the emphasis placed on raising or buying food locally and drinking sustainably produced wine.
Argentines, notably, are enthusiastic domestic tourists. Their interest in the home country speaks to their local/national pride, and it is a good foundation for growing interest in and care for the health of local communities.
Getting Sustainably Inspired
Living sustainably isn’t rocket science. It starts with looking for small ways you can alter your choices to emphasize support of sustainable practices. Here are some ways you could show your sustainability commitment as you host a party…what are others?
- Send e-vites instead of paper cards.
- Opt for sustainably-raised/harvested and prepared foods for you menu. Grass-fed, organic and Fair Trade are all good indicators. Shop at your local farmer’s market.
- Be conscious of the amount of waste you’re producing before, during and after your gathering.
- Source sustainable, domestic and ethical products for party favors.
- Forego bottles and instead serve wine on tap from a system such as the Vinocopia Barrel.
- Clean your space, linens and dishes with biodegradable soaps rather than those made with harsh chemicals.
- If you’re decorating with floral arrangement, try to source flowers or plants that are in season and grown locally.
- Utilize décor that can serve another purpose for future events.
- Maximize your use of natural light. Start your party during the day, and then transition to solar-powered lamps to minimize use of electricity.
- Make your own music. Rather than recorded music, take the opportunity to feature your musical side and sing or jam together on your own instruments, or bring in a local acoustic musician or band.