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New Cookbook Showcases Meals That Benefit Both Human and Planetary Health

"The Cookbook in Support of the United Nations: For People and Planet" features 75 recipes divided into sections on food systems, biodiversity, sustainable consumption, food and climate change, and food waste — and shares each dish’s carbon footprint.

Just in time for our holiday shopping and meal prep, the Kitchen Connection Alliance and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization have released a new cookbook that centers on meals that benefit both human and environmental health.

Launched last week at COP27, The Cookbook in Support of the United Nations: For People and Planet — dubbed a “global collection for global connection” — features recipes from a diverse roster of 75 lay and professional cooks, farmers, activists and more from 75 different regions. Chefs Massimo Bottura, Grace Ramirez, Virgilio Martinez, Kimbal Musk, Andrew Zimmern, Sean Sherman and José Andrés are among the book’s contributors.

“As a chef that feeds the few, for the last 30 years I’ve been very blessed also to be part of trying to feed the many,” Andrés said in a video message. “Through my work, I began learning how to help people get access to delicious and nutritious food during emergencies … The key is to try to stop these emergencies before they happen.

“It is an honor to work with Kitchen Connection and their work to educate and advocate for better food systems,” he continued. “By educating ourselves and each other on how to eat for better human and planetary health, we can limit the number of hungry people by preventing natural disasters before they happen. The Cookbook is a wonderful example of that — with 75 fellow activists, indigenous peoples, farmers and chefs from around the world who have signed on to improve our food system. I look forward to bringing this cookbook to life with an upcoming production with Jose Andrés Media that sheds light on some of the challenges and opportunities we have to support the planet through our food choices.”

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Image credit: Kitchen Connection Alliance

The nonprofit Kitchen Connection Alliance is on a mission to empower global citizens with the knowledge to contribute to a better food system. It focuses on engaging youth as protagonists rather than victims of the food system through online and in-person advocacy, events and educational material that is meant to be fun. The Kitchen Connection Alliance is a revolutionary education hub and global youth organization dedicated to empowering global citizens with knowledge to contribute to a better food environment by making advocacy accessible, actionable, and engaging for a new generation of food systems champions.

“It was a wonderful, at times challenging, and often enlightening experience to merge local and global perspectives to create this multifaceted project,” Kitchen Connection Alliance founder and Director Earlene Cruz told Food Tank. “Ultimately, to have advocates, farmers, indigenous peoples, chefs, UN and non UN-partners all coming together around this issue highlights the importance that it has for humanity at large.”

The cookbook invites anyone with basic kitchen tools or minimal cooking experience to make more sustainable food choices. The five recipe sections cover food systems, biodiversity, sustainable consumption, food and climate change, and food waste; the book also shares each dish’s carbon footprint, derived by calculating the sum of carbon emissions associated with each ingredient. Cruz told Food Tank she hopes that the book will help both aspiring and more experienced home cooks plan and prepare food with the health of the planet in mind — with a new lens on supporting biodiversity, reducing food waste and mitigating climate change.

Proceeds from sales of the book benefit the development of a children’s version of the book and support the UN Bookstore and projects with indigenous communities. Along with other cookbooks such as Decolonize Your Diet and The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook, The Cookbook in Support of the United Nations can help imbue home cooks with a more conscious, respectful, sustainable approach to our meals — during the holidays and year-round.