Sushi Bento Express was full of PodMob customers looking for sustainable sushi choices on the menu.
As we reported in November, a grassroots campaign to get Vancouver sushi chefs to incorporate sustainable best practices into their menus partnered with Sushi Bento Express on Robson Street to make it the most environmentally sound sushi spot in Vancouver’s West End for one night. The PodMob, as it was called by event organizer and second greenest person on the planet Emily Jubenvill, brought Vancouverites out in force to support the restaurant’s efforts, eat some delicious seafood and try their luck at winning the night’s prize.
Here, we talk with Emily after the event to find out how it went and who won the iPhone.
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Granville Online: What inspired you to create the PodMob?
Emily Jubenvill: The Carrotmob out of San Fran! A friend told me about them about a month ago, and I was immediately intrigued and inspired. Just a few days later, the Monterey Bay Aquarium released the Sustainable Sushi Guide, and I had another “what a great idea!” moment... Eventually the two came together and the PodMob was born.
What makes PodMob unique?
Carrotmob is the only one to have done this, but I’m pretty sure that we’re the first to take on a restaurant. Usually they work with general store-type establishments.
How did you select Sushi Bento Express as the most environmentally sound sushi spot in the West End?
We didn’t select them at the “most environmentally sound sushi spot,” but we did select them as the sushi spot willing to make the biggest commitment to the environment. Each of the restaurants was asked what percentage of one day’s revenue they were willing to use to make their restaurant more energy- and water-efficient. The highest bid equalled the most money toward changing their business, which equalled the biggest environmental impact.
What was the sustainable menu item that they offered? Will they continue to offer it after the PodMob event?
The Flores brothers [the owners Johnny, Jonathan and Allen] put together a whole sustainable sushi combo menu with items from the Sustainable Sushi Guide’s best choices list. My favourite was the sashimi combo, which included two pieces each of salmon, hamachi, red tuna and toro (I think some may be on the “good alternatives” list).
Since the event, Sushi Bento Express has decided to keep the combo full-time and mark its menus with green, yellow and red dots to indicate how items rank.
What will Sushi Bento Express do to “green” its operation?
Currently, it is working with the Green Table network but will be focusing on energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management and supply chain/purchasing. I’ll be checking in regularly to check their progress and report it on my blog.
What is the Seafood Watch Sustainable Sushi Guide?
A consumer guide developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium that ranks popular sushi choices into “best choices,” “good alternatives” and “avoid” categories. The rankings are based on the fish’s wild populations, method of harvesting and human health concerns (i.e., mercury, etc.).
What is sustainable seafood and why is it important?
Sustainable seafood is simply taking into consideration the state of the species and the impact of supporting that fishery—some are good choices and others are not. This is important because we’ve lost 90 percent of big fish in the ocean, and every marine ecosystem is facing a tipping point. By making “better” choices, we can all make an impact and use our consumer power to create change upstream.
How many people came to the event? Who won a prize?
Over 100 people showed up specifically for the PodMob. Katy Latham won the iPhone!
When is the next PodMob? Where can we learn more about these events?
The next PodMob is yet to be decided. We have a Facebook group that you can check out if you want to be involved in starting a PodMob in your neighbourhood or just want to know more. Inevitably, I’ll be talking about anything that comes up on my blog as well.
That’s up to the people! Where do you want to see change?
Emily Jubenvill will soon be a regular on Granville Online: she and Davin Luke will go head-to-head on their new blog about a die-hard environmentalist (Emily) versus an average Vancouverite still struggling to adopt sustainable practices into his lifestyle (Davin). Premieres December 15, 2008.