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Vegan Food in the Heart of Amsterdam

Vegan - 5 letters that can change the world. What does it mean to be vegan? How does it impact the environment and how can you start following a plant-based diet? Where to buy vegan food in Amsterdam? And what would actually happen if everyone went vegan?

According to an Oxford study, "a global switch to diets that rely less on meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, and lead to healthcare-related savings and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion (US)."

At Little Plant Pantry, we try our best to make it easier for you to adapt to a vegan diet. We offer all kinds of delicious products, from flours, grains, herbs & spices, ferments, plant-based cheeses to handcrafted pasta and vegan desserts.

Visit our shop located in the heart of Amsterdam or shop your favourite vegan products online and get them delivered right to your doorstep:

What does vegan mean?

So what does vegan actually mean to us? It is quite simple: plant-based products. In other words, food not made from animals or animal by-products.

What can you eat or drink as a vegan ?

If you decide to follow a vegan or plant-based diet you may want to include the following products into your regular meals:

vegan food Amsterdam

Where to find this delicious vegan food in Amsterdam? You can find fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables at local markets. For the rest, we've got you covered! Combining various ingredients together will allow you to produce your own vegan food, such as spice mixes, granola, soups and stews or even vegan cheese.

What to avoid when you follow a vegan diet

A vegan diet does not include animal products or by-products. When it comes to food and drinks, avoid consuming

  • Meat (including pork, beef, goat, deer, etc.)
  • Poultry (including chicken, turkey, quail, etc.)
  • Fish (including freshwater and saltwater fish & seafood)
  • Diary products (including milk, yogurt, curd, cheese, etc.)
  • Honey
  • Eggs

What is the difference between being vegan and vegetarian ?

So how is vegan different from vegetarian? A vegetarian would eat everything a vegan diet has to offer plus dairy products, eggs and honey. In other words, a veggie-lover that sometimes enjoys yogurt, curd and omelette :). A person that eats products from animals that moo, bleat or hum, but not their meat.

There is no magic to being a vegan. In fact, you've been eating vegan products your whole life! Think bread and vegetable broth.

If you browse our product library, you will recognize most of the products as typical pantry staples. Becoming a vegan does not mean revolutionizing your diet. Quiet often, it is a return to the basics 🙂

Why is vegan food good for the environment?

When you go vegan it is not only beneficial for your body but also for our planet. So why is being vegan actually good for our natural surroundings? Being vegan reduces carbon emissions in big amounts. No forests need to be cut down for planting crops that feed animal stock, less water is used and farmland is more sufficiently used. Studies have shown that being vegan can cut an individual's carbon footprint by more than two thirds.

Curious to know more? Read on to learn how to transition to a vegan diet.

How to start a plant-based diet?

What is the easiest way to start following a vegan diet? We have a few tips here that will make it easier for you to transition to a plant-based diet:

  • Get yourself inspired and research vegan recipes online.
  • Explore local markets and include more fruit and vegetables to your diet.
  • Try to rethink your eating habits.
  • Explore alternatives like vegan camembert, yogurt or grated cheese.
  • Replace protein sources like chicken or meat with vegan proteins such as tempeh.
  • Ask friends who already are vegan how to start a plant-based diet. Sometimes it is easier to change your eating habits if you have supportive friends!

In conclusion, everyone has to find her or his own way of moving towards a vegan lifestyle. We at Little Plant Pantry can help making it a little easier.

How to live vegan in Amsterdam besides consuming plant-based food

Being vegan also means trying to reduce the consumption of other non-food products that are derived from animals. We found some shops in Amsterdam that offer vegan clothes and cosmetics to point you in the right direction when you're doing your research. For fruit and vegetables, we recommend visiting Noorder Market and Haarlemmerplein Market. If you're looking to buy new natural cosmetics, try visiting DIY Soap. As far as clothing goes, many brands now offer vegan clothes (try checking Geitenwollenwinkel and Noumenon). And don't forget to frequent second-hand shops!

Did you know? We also produce our own natural soap and shampoo bars and other natural cosmetics in our store. We are happy to explain more about our products when you visit our shop.

Our favourite vegan recipes

We love to inspire you with some delicious vegan recipes. These are some of our favourite ones:

Vegan cottage pie

Creamy vegan Korma

Vegan snicker bar

lisa_goes_vegan

Meet our vegan suppliers

We work with local suppliers that deliver vegan food to our shop in Amsterdam. To let you know more about where your food is coming from, we started a health food webinar series. Our aim is to ask our suppliers to share their knowledge and shed light on different areas within the field of sustainability.

If you want learn more, check out our recorded webinars below:

In conclusion, we can say that following a vegan diet is better for people and the planet. A win-win for everyone. Give it a try! We can't wait to meet you in our vegan food shop in Amsterdam 🙂

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What is Organic Hyper-Artisanal Pasta?

Everyone loves pasta! Especially organic Italian pasta that, above all, is made in a hyper-artisanal way. But what does that mean exactly?

For Federico & Christina, pasta is an agricultural product that reflects a way of living. According to them, the mode of its production tells a much bigger story. During our webinar they explained how they started UnEttaro and what they mean when they talk about food created in a hyper-artisanal way. Unettaro is their small family farm in Italy that produces a micro harvest of durum wheat, Saragolla Turchesco, and the highest quality of pasta every year. This ancient unhybridized wheat is grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides on their one hectare of land.

Craving pasta already? Check out their products here:

At Little Plant Pantry, we had the pleasure of interviewing Christina & Federico to learn more about the origins of their farm and products. Read the full Q & A to know more about how organic hyper-artisanal pasta is planted, grown, produced, and sold to stores like ours.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of producing pasta?

F & C: Four years ago, we decided to start cultivating one hectare of abandoned land next to our house in the hills of Offagna in Italy. We wanted to prove the value behind a small piece of land and produce our own food from it.

So we decided to grow wheat and transform it into pasta. We were not expert farmers or pasta makers. But we were, and still are, curious about the food that we eat. We thought that the best way to discover pasta was to make our own. This was the beginning of UnEttaro.

Q: Why is organic pasta important?

F & C: Pasta is a very simple product. It is only made with two ingredients: wheat and water. So if there are any chemicals used to grow wheat, they will automatically end up in the finished product, the pasta we eat. For us, it was crucial to make a pure product that will not be harmful to the body and to the soil. Not only do we refuse to use chemicals but we also allow our field to rest after each harvest. Thus, the soil has the time to regenerate.

Eating organic pasta is not only good for our body, but also for the environment. Organic agriculture starts from the idea that we are all part of the same ecosystem. Therefore, every action we take towards the environment will have a direct consequence for us and for all the other parts of the system. Polluting the soil is like polluting the mother that feeds you. It’s crazy, but that seems to be a widely adopted practice presently.

Our goal is to fight that, one hectare at a time.

Q: How does artisanal pasta make a difference to a healthy diet?

First of all, what does artisanal pasta mean?

We asked Federico and Christina to describe their production process and have summarized the artisanal pasta making practice in these three points:

  1. Slow drying process: 72-96 hours (depending on the type of pasta). What artisanal pasta makers dry in 3 days, the industrial process speeds up to 3 hours.
  2. Low drying temperature: under 50 degrees in rooms with natural air flow. The industrial production process implies drying pasta over 100 degrees under industrial fans. The high drying temperature leads to the destruction of nutrients in the final product.
  3. Extrusion of the dough through bronze dies.

And why is organic pasta good for a healthy diet?

  1. Better raw materials. Adopting the artisanal procedure means that you must use good quality, high-protein wheat, otherwise the pasta will not keep its shape and will fall apart. In other words, because this pasta isn’t highly processed, you can’t hide the defects of raw materials. The industrial process allows companies to use low quality wheat that can be made into any shape under high temperatures. But this comes at a cost.
  2. Pasta is easier to digest. Starch doesn’t crystallize during the drying process as it happens during the industrial production. Hence, artisanal pasta is much easier to digest.
  3. Richer in nutrients. The delicate transformation process preserves the nutrients contained in the wheat, such as Lysine, an amino acid that is good for our diet.
  4. Tasty and always “al dente”. The slow transformation process and low temperature preserve the natural taste and aroma of wheat. The pasta can be cooked  “al dente” and eaten with nothing more than good olive oil.

Q: What's the connection between delicious organic pasta and sustainable agriculture?

F & C: In its essence, pasta is an agricultural product. And it has memory. At each stage of its transformation from the seed to a cooked dish, every person in the chain gives a new interpretation to what has been done before.

Naturally, the quality creation starts in the field. Like good wine and cheese, pasta also carries the signature of its makers. As consumers, we should be aware of how, where and when it was made and by whom.

But good quality durum wheat isn’t enough alone to make a good pasta. It is the responsibility of all the transformers (the miller, the pasta maker, the chef) to protect the work done by the farmer and express its maximum potential in their respective craft.

Therefore, we believe that only by recognizing the crucial role of the farmer, we’ll be able to achieve a virtuous model. A model that is sustainable for the environment and for all those who play a part in the quality production chain.

In conclusion, only if consumers are truly aware of the whole production chain, they will be able to fully experience the joy of a delicious pasta dish.

We hope you got a glance into sustainable agriculture practices and will be able to appreciate the full value of Christina & Federico's amazing pasta. Now that you know more about how and why they produce their organic hyper-artisanal pasta on their micro farm in Italy, you can try their products and see if you can tell the difference for yourself!

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Crowdfunding a Compost Machine

This project has been in the works for a long time and today we have finally launched our crowdfunding campaign to buy a commercial compost machine that will allow us to deliver our products in compostable packaging and turn used containers and food waste into soil for local farms.

Since early 2019, we've sold a variety of plant-based organic products in our store but we now want to go further with our mission to develop a waste free delivery service. With your help, we will buy an industrial compost machine and implement a system for taking back and composting all food and packaging waste produced by our sales. We will compost this waste onsite and give nutritious compost to local farms we collaborate with. They can use it as fertiliser or simply to improve the quality of their soil, so they can continue producing healthy organic food.

We call this system the Circular Grocery Shopping Model and Little Plant Pantry will be the first store to implement and test it. But for this to be successful, the active participation of all actors in the supply chain is needed, including the community we serve.

Crowdfunding_Circular_Store
Graphics by Zuza Kurzawa

The compost machine will allow us to convert the waste of 100 households into 700 liters of stabilized, ready-to-use organic compost every week but it also provides us with the opportunity to make a serious contribution to the city by preventing not only our own food and packaging waste from ending up in landfill or incineration but also the waste of our customers and the community.

Having this machine closes the loop in our circular grocery shopping model and brings us closer to our ultimate goal of creating an urban zero-waste ecosystem.

We have some wonderful awards for those that contribute to our campaign. And being the time of year that it is, any of these awards can be given as a gift by inputting the person’s name you wish to give the gift to when making the donation or purchasing the award.

Thank you for all your support and feedback over the past two years. We’re excited to be entering this next phase with our waste free delivery service.

Having this machine closes the loop in our circular grocery shopping model and brings us closer to our ultimate goal of creating an urban zero-waste ecosystem.

Acknowledgements

This campaign has only been possible with the help of the following people who have all volunteered their time and energy to make this happen:

Zuza Kurzawa, Feef Anthony, Angela, Domonkos Molnar, Bernadett Suhaj, Valentina Manera, Justin Baker, Annekee Wagemaker, Jennifer Sun, Stefanie Behrendt, Danika Moore, Sylvia Huang and Honorine Schaeffer.

We sincerely thank everybody for their efforts. A special thank you to Feef and Zuza who have carried this campaign through from the beginning to the end and have devoted an immense amount of work to it. It could not and would not have happened without you all!

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Business as a Platform for Change

Business success should not be quantified in terms of profit alone but its ability to find innovative ways of tackling system-wide problems.

Photograph by Rebekka Mell @rebekka_mellphotography

Maria, co-founder of Little Plant Pantry, was invited to give a short pitch at TEDxAmsterdamWomen Talent Night 2020, which resulted in her writing a little "manifesto" outlining her outlook on business as a platform for change.

Some human needs have short-term projections, such as “I need a sugar rush!”. Others have long-term projections, like living in a world with clean air. The second group almost always requires us to work with other people, to reach out and connect.

Business offers us the convenience of satisfying our momentary needs, often ignoring the true hidden cost. But what if business addressed our long-term needs instead? What would be its message? What would be our role as customers?

Early in 2019, my partner and I opened the first minimal waste store in Amsterdam. This news provoked a much varied response from the general public. Why would a business such as this be seen as disruptive or idealistic?

We didn’t just offer produce, we took an environmental stance: that production and consumption as we know it is no longer sustainable. This is a systemic problem with far-reaching consequences. We’re trying to find a solution by developing the circular grocery shopping model in which a store takes responsibility not only for its products but also for the waste produced from its sales. Thus we’re creating an urban ecosystem that relies on customers’ active participation in completing the circle of production and consumption while minimizing waste.

My education is in literature and film. I’m not a business person. We opened the shop because we realized that we wanted to change our own consumer behaviour. That there is a relation between the current environmental crisis and our own actions. It was a citizen act, not a business act. Was it an irrational business decision?

There is a perception that business success means profit. Profit means power. If one refuses to pursue profit, one has to admit that they will have little say in the redistribution of resources. But I disagree. I see business as a tool for research that can be used to address structural problems in society. Business shouldn’t settle for convention. It shouldn’t just offer convenience. Business can serve as a platform for change. It can generate public awareness.

A business pursuing ethical and environmental practices makes a pact with its community. It has to be open to communication. The community in turn has to be open to participation in building better models together. We’re not just exchanging money for goods, we’re exchanging knowledge. Business in itself is a call to action and as such it has the power to involve communities as active contributors to the research, not just passive users of a service.

How can you create such a business? Discover a problem and formulate a research question. Have a thesis and put it to test. Don’t be afraid to fail. In the spirit of research and innovation, every failure should be seen as valuable as every success. What you're working towards is finding an operating solution. Finally, choose your call to action carefully so you can personally live with the consequences of your choice.

A truly rational decision should maximize options for everyone. Business that endangers the environment is not rational for it limits potentialities for all living creatures. Business that overlooks ethics is not rational for it lacks a faculty for self-reflection. Business that quantifies its success in terms of money alone is not rational for it roots itself in fiction.

Business is inevitable. And it can be a valuable tool. Instead of treating it as a means to an end, we can use it to build participatory models allowing people to collaborate for research and discussion. Not just to fulfill our momentary needs.