Nestled atop an office’s rooftop, The Gathering | Le Rassemblement Conscient is celebrating conscious living this holiday season. Inspired by the concept of #littlegreensteps by Green Is The New Black, they proved that a beautiful dining experience does not come with a heavy price tag, by practicing mindful buying, repurposing what they already owned and being resourceful.
They love scouting for rugged, obscure locations and pushing the boundaries of its primary purpose. Once they found this rooftop and developed a fall season solid palette to reflect our concrete jungle, everyone brought this vision to life by playing their respective roles to develop unity and visual harmony: From the choice of tableware, plant-based food spread, party favours, floral arrangements, to even the mood of the photography.
They hope to encourage individuals to break the over consumption cycle, and plan a festive gathering to wow their guests in every aspect, with an intention to minimize waste and reduce their carbon footprint.
What makes them sustainable?
1. Food portion: Once all the guests have RSVP’ed to the gathering date, they purchase a wide variety of vegetables from an online grocer (Avoandco) that offers a box of top quality ingredients, perfectly tailored to the size of the party. This saves your guests from the risk of over consuming and from food waste.
2. Plant-based spread: They aim to nourish to flourish! By trying out a plant-based spread, consisting of pumpkin, dark leafy greens, lion’s mane mushrooms and more, they are fueling wellbeing from the inside out. As more individuals demand plant-based or vegan options in the market, it will eventually reduce our carbon footprint and the resources used to produce for a smaller percentage of meat for meat lovers. Meat-free dishes can be easy, delicious, satisfying and nourishing. Most festive recipes involve a roasting technique that takes hours, and not every household owns an oven that’s able to execute these dishes. Thus, these plant-based recipes allow individuals to host their guests with oven-free dishes within an hour or less.
3. Table styling: Handmade beewax candles were used instead of the regular paraffin ones. They are environmentally safe, and have no chemical processing during production. Beewax is a natural byproduct of honey production and once they are burnt, they do not produce any toxic byproducts or heavy soot. Instead, negative ions are released to help neutralise pollutants in the air. They help to purify the air by eliminating dust, odors and mold in outdoor environments.
4. Party favours: The leftover spices used for brewing mulled-wine were packed them into practical party favours: A mulled wine starter pack with a recipe card for guests to brew their own at home.
5. Stationery: Menu cards and recipe cards are printed using recycled paper.
6. Floral arrangements: No floral foam was used for any floral installations. Instead, handmade silk ribbons from natural plant dyes made by Eirene Artisan were used to wrap the hand bouquets and repurposed Luzerne tableware vases were used as the key center pieces for the tables. Floral foam is a green hard sponge, commonly used as a staple in the floral industry. Despite its functionality, ability to hold water and secure flowers during delivery and create gravity defying floral creations, the cheap foam contains a plethora of nasty substances such as formaldehyde. Once they are burnt in the incinerator, the fumes and dust produced are fatal and deadly to many factory workers.
7. After party: To cut down on flower wastage, tote bags made from recycled materials are given to the guests for them to bring home the flowers to decorate their homes, such as through Japanese Ikebana-like floral arrangements.
8. Tableware: They use refined quality tableware produced by ethical and experienced artisans, that do not contain animal bone ash. They are made by Kaolin clay, native to Dehua, and every in-glaze and on glazes meet the strictest compliance standards- the US Food & Drug Administration and California Proposition 65 health standards.
What can we take away from this?
There’s nothing sweeter than a thoughtful, festive gathering with intricate details that guests will be delighted about. These tiny elements can be well-executed when we are resourceful, and we do not need to burn a huge hole in our pocket for just one festive season. It’s not worth it. They hope that people will be mindful of their Christmas purchases by asking themselves these of questions before committing to a purchase:
1. Do I really need this?
2. Is there anything else at home that I can upcycle or repurpose to serve the same function?
3. How often am I going to use this?
4. What am I going to do with this afterwards?
When your guests notice how this gathering stands out from the others they have attended, they’ll also be inspired to take their own #littlegreensteps.
How can you plan your own ethical green gathering?
1. Plan your grocery list ahead. Buy seasonal fresh produce for the portions needed according to your number of guests to reduce food waste.
2. Avoid disposable products such as plastic table ware. Wow your guests with good quality, durable ceramic tableware that does not contain animal bone ash.
3. Recycle and repurpose with what you have for decorations.
4. Follow all the steps above! Think through every purchasing decision and take #LittleGreenSteps at every stage of planning a party- from your food portions to your tableware, every choice you make adds up.
5. Kickstart your planning with time conscious recipes: Not everyone is an experienced host and it can be very stressful, especially when the only plant-based dish a meat-eater may know is salad. Prepare soups, flavoured cranberry-pistachio butter the night before and store it all in the freezer. Once your stunning steamed greens are plated, chop a few blocks of the butter, let them melt and steal the spotlight. No one will even notice the greens anymore. For easy plant-based recipes, check out “The First Mess” recipe book or Poutandchow (where she focuses on wellness recipes for pescestarian and vegetarian diets).
Have you checked out all the little ways to have a greener Christmas this year yet? You’ve definitely gotta check out our selection of Conscious Gifts under $50, or how you can have a Zero Waste Christmas, a Vegan Christmas, Zero waste swaps for eco-friendlier presents, the Best conscious presents to get your family, How to dress both fashionably AND sustainably this holiday season or even a how you can have a Conversation about Climate Change and give Sustainable Corporate Gifts. We even have tips on Conscious Crafting! Also, do you know which GREEN SPICE you are yet? Or where you’ll be having a plant-based Christmas dinner this year?
Food Styling: @poutandchow
Fresh produce: @avoandcosg
Space Styling & Florals: @hellofromflour
Silk ribbon: @eireneartisan