Duo Sadhbh and Abi founded The Sustainable Food Story in 2017 after a whirlwind three day conversation (interspersed with a lot of dancing) about food, environmental ethics and being young women in the male dominated worlds of commercial kitchens, science and farming.
Abi Aspen trained as a chemical engineer, and started her career as a lab-meat scientist growing ‘steak’ from stem cells. She travelled round the world working and giving talks about sustainable animal agriculture, however intrinsically a nerd and a ‘functional hippie’ she delved so deeply into the food system she realised her path lay elsewhere. She vowed to ‘make farming as sexy as biotech’, swapped lab grown meat for fields of wheat and is now a heritage grain farmer with Duchess Farms.
Sadhbh grew up in a cabin in the woods in Ireland, raised ‘free-range’, as her ecogastronomy focused (hippie foodie) parents would say. Following an MA in Sustainable Development and a role at Greenpeace HQ, she worked in sustainability consultancy, followed by a stint in India on an international development programme. This helped to confirm that her heart yearned for the kitchen, and working at the grassroots community level. A self-trained cook and forager, she has worked as a chef and in sustainable food education for over 7 years at youth charities, primarily at The Skip Garden, where she and Abi met. Inspired by Abi’s science background, and her desire to greater understand the complexities of food insecurity, Sadhbh embarked on an MSc in Nutrition for Global Health, qualifying as a registered (eco) Nutritionist in 2020.
Together Abi and Sadhbh set out to discover the food system’s stories of sustainability, interweaving understandings from their own career journeys, determined to share them with others through food and fun. The Sustainable Food Story started in 2017 as a supperclub in Global Generations ‘The Skip Garden’ – an urban growing and cooking environmental youth charity. Their first pop-up, Running through a Field of Wheat was a sell-out, focused around their shared obsession with heritage grains and the often vilified glorious gluten. It was the first in a supperclub saga that went on to cover topics from locavorism, seasonality and foraging (The Zombie Apocalypse, with only London grown food for Urban Food Fortnight) to offal and waste (What a Bloody Offal Waste).
Since then, the pair has been invited to talk, cook and present at Latitude, Green Man, Shambala, The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, The Wellcome Trust, Somerset House, The British Library and more. They took part in BBC’s ‘My Million Pound Menu’ (now on Netflix), have been written about in The Observer Food Monthly, The Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Guardian, Sky News, Vice news’s The Munchies, Farmdrop, Borough Market’s Market Life, Food Tribe, and have written for and edited the Jellied Eel. In 2019 they won a Women in Food award at Sustain’s Urban Food Awards, and were nominated for a YBF (Young British Foodie) award.