The hero we’re spotlighting is a notable celebrity in the world of culinary arts. A contestant on Netflix’s critically acclaimed cooking show The Final Table, Rodrigo Pacheco is arguably Ecuador’s most beloved chef. His restaurant Bocavaldivia is revolutionizing the culinary experience and creating a model for a more sustainable future.
What Is Bocavaldivia?
Bocavaldivia is Rodrigo’s passion project, combining the two things he is most enthusiastic about: cooking and conservation. Located in Puerto Cayo, just off the coast of Ecuador, it’s both a restaurant and “creative permaculture project.”
Spanning over 200 acres of land, Bocavaldivia serves as its own ecosystem, or an “edible forest,” as Rodrigo calls it. For over a decade, he has been planting the 20 types of crops that are globally native along with plants that are indigenous to Ecuador. Everything that is cooked in the restaurant is sourced from his man-made forest, which prior to his efforts, was once barren land.
In an interview, Rodrigo pointed out that his biodiverse agroforest is not an artificial ecosystem. “All the elements that work in a normal forest, we try to replicate into an edible forest,” he detailed. “They are native species… We’re just gathering all the edible species and putting them together in a place.”
How Industrialized Food Production Contributes to Climate Change
Bocavaldivia’s rejection of industrialized food production is creating a better environment his native Ecuador.
According to the New York Times “Food production results in emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other planet-warming gases in many ways, including land clearing and deforestation for agriculture and grazing, digestion by cattle and other livestock, production and use of fertilizers and the cultivation of rice in flooded paddies. Overall emissions are equivalent to about 16 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, or about 30 percent of total global emissions.”
By turning a once-barren plot of land into a thriving agricultural oasis that not only provides food for his restaurant, but also contributes to global biodiversity, Rodrigo Pacheco is taking heroic strides to make the world a better place.
How Reforestation Contributes to a Better Environment
These are some of positive effects that reforestation has on our environment.
- Trees and forests absorb carbon dioxide, holding carbon in their branches, trunks, and roots for extended periods of time. Reforestation means that more carbon dioxide will be absorbed by forestry, and less CO2 will enter the atmosphere, a major contributing factor to climate change.
- Trees also absorb air pollutants through their leaves, filtering out contaminants like carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, thus improving air quality.
- Tree roots hold soil in place, preventing soil erosion, which can contaminate water sources and fill reservoirs/rivers/streams with sediment.
- Planting trees can help restore the habitats of plant and animal species, many of which have lost their habitats as a result of industrialization.
Rodrigo’s commitment to sustainability and reforestation makes him an everyday hero. Rather than cashing in on his status as a celebrity chef, he uses his talent to make the world a better place for future generations.