Why you should care about Festival Atlantico, happening in Argentina on August 1st to 6th.
Tato Giovannoni is relentless in his efforts to make a positive impact on the F&B ecosystem. When it comes to walking the talk, the highly awarded global icon leaves no stone unturned.
One of the most inspiring efforts in this direction is Giovannoni’s brainchild, Festival Atlantico, happening 1st through 6th August, 2022. Focused on sustainability, the festival brings together global leaders in the cocktail, gastronomy and other related industries, to share knowledge and expertise, reporting cases of innovation in processes that dramatically reduce the carbon footprint generated by bars, restaurants, and ventures around the world.
In its third edition this year, Festival Atlantico – Pachamama Edition, aims to bring together the most sustainable minds of the global food and beverage community including Ashish Sharma (Four Seasons, Miami), Jean Trinh (Alquímico, Cartagena), Nikos Bakoulis (Clumsies, Athens), Naren Young (NYC) and more, while special guests include Johnny Drain, Timothée Prangé, and Walter Meyenberg.
The festival schedule goes well beyond the bar industry though, and begins with a presentation of small producers from all over Argentina at Florería Atlántico, followed by visits to markets in Buenos Aires, and then a seminar in the midst of the country’s stunning natural scenery in Jujuy. The time is well spent bringing focus to small producers of the region and the produce and recipes that speak of their land. One can’t help but wonder if “another sustainability conference/festival” is what the world needs to drive actual change and we at The Dram Attic ask that question every day. With greenwashing fast becoming a serious concern, and “sustainability” becoming an often misused term making for catchy headlines (no, using paper straws won’t cut it), we turned to Tato to answer some questions and help allay some of these concerns.
The festival only had one live edition in its first year (2020) before being rudely interrupted by Covid_19. 2021 saw Festival Atlantico take on a digital avatar with seminars and talks being shared online. Key speakers included Vijay Mudaliar, Johnny Drain, and Chris Stewart. Both editions revealed one reassuring thing – that people are willing to learn. Tato says “seeing how so many people attended from all walks of life, people we didn’t know and who weren’t from the F&B industry – that gave us hope…that people are willing to receive information, embrace it, and apply that where possible for the greater good.” The biggest learning – there are always people who are willing to try and do better.
What does 2022 have in store?
“For us, it’s about establishing a deep and meaningful connection with the land”, says Tato. While the agenda usually kicks off in the urban spaces of Buenos Aires, the aim is always to take the audience closer to nature and outside the urban landscape, allowing them to experience the land where the produce comes from, connect with the families who grow the product, and understand what is served on their plates and in their glasses, from its roots. Tato says “This helps develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the region and all it has to offer and hopefully, an eagerness to work closely with local farmers through seasons.”
The previous editions of Festival Atlantico have helped establish a robust and meaningful network between bars/restaurants and producers of the region. Since its last two editions, several F&B outlets have begun revisiting the way they approach the menus and work more closely with farmers and seasonal producers. Alquimico’s Jean Trinh thinks an event of this kind is important for several reasons, but mostly for how it encourages people to look for solutions closer to home. “It shows the rest of the world what it’s like to work and live in South America where we don’t necessarily have everything the occident is gifted with – but events like this help us all put our heads together and find ways to figure it out with what we have”.
South America’s economy is not thriving by any means, especially not since the pandemic; and resources are limited. But the community in these lands won’t let that stop them. With a land as fertile and a people gifted with the willingness and humility to find solutions, it is nice to see Tato and the team at Festival Atlantico lead the way towards a future where each person thinks sustainably. As with any movement hoping to affect positive change, it all needs to start with conversations – conversations that trigger ideas, connections, and help form a neural network of intent which eventually has the potential to create deep and long lasting effects. In 2022, several bars and restaurants around the world want to join the conversation around sustainability, and while that can only be a good thing, it is important for flag bearers and thought leaders of the movement to guide the community on how to push the needle – knowledge sharing and creating community resources go a long way. If we want to see the conversation around sustainability move beyond tokenism and PR worthy headlines, and make an actual difference, it’s important we get behind concerted efforts like Festival Atlantico that act as a petri dish for ideas that can affect actual change within the industry.
Have a look at the statistics below to understand how the F&B industry contributes to global emissions annually:
Read more about Festival Atlantico 2022 here.
Follow Tato here.