SENFC Newsletter

November 2021


There are opportunities to participate and become engaged with our Membership, Communications, and Education Enthusiasts (Committees). Active volunteers are encouraged to reach out to SENFC at if you can commit to any of these endeavors. This can be a learning exercise or an opportunity to share your expertise!

Welcoming New Members of SENFC:

Julia Poliadis - Fertile Earth Foundation

Xavier DeRoos - Renüable

Heather Armstrong - Recycle Florida Today, Inc.

Krystina Orwig - Vista South Convention Services

Welcoming our New Corporate Member:


SENFC President Joanna Berens on the Trade Show University Podcast!

Recently our President, Joanna Berens, joined Trade Show U podcast host Jim Cermak on a discussion on “Achieving Sustainability in Event Planning”.  
Trade Show University is the number 1 podcast with thousands of unique listeners dedicated to helping show organizers, sponsors and exhibitors get better results from their events.  Ranked Top 5% of all podcasts globally by Listen Notes, Trade Show U has over 120 episodes - each one a learning experience and now including sustainability and SENFC as a resource.

Miss Out on SENFC's November Sips & Tips? No Worries! Here are Some of Our Favorite Sustainable Food & Beverage Practices:

1) In lieu of bottled water offered to guests at hotels, guest is given one sturdy re-usable plastic cup at check-in and the hotel/resort has bubblers or water stations featured throughout the resort, especially near the ice machines.  This has been seen at resorts in both Jamaica and the Turks & Caicos!

2) Regenerative Farming - purchase personal products OR use venues that source products that were grown at farms that use this practice.

3) When planning an event food rescue, make sure it is planned in advance of the event (instead of on the fly).  Keep history of food that was wasted in the past, as well as actual numbers of attendees that participated in F&B events and refer to the history when making final guarantees.  When possible, include comfort food items in the menu planning, which can be easily donated, if leftover OR include a budget for these items to be prepared with the plan to donate them as part of the organization's CSR plan.

4) When water stations will not work at an event and single use water containers must be served, switch from plastic bottled water to aluminum canned water.  It tastes the same!  Aluminum cans are preferable over cardboard cartons because many municipalities' recycling plans do not cover cartons.

5) Serve wine and beer from a keg, instead of from glass bottles.  In most instances, the kegs are only seen by the servers and like water, the beverage tastes the same!  For large seated events, centralized beverage carts allow servers to provide individual service from one centralized beverage container.  Brilliant!

6) When procuring all food products, buy as local or as regional as possible and expect the venues you contract with to do the same!

7) In menu planning, start with the vegan, gluten free and special needs items first and build the rest of the menu from there.  You will find that many of these "special" items have wide appeal to all attendees and make for a great menu.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of the Month:

November - #1 No Poverty

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

This month we are looking specifically at Goal 1 - No Poverty. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.

The Truth Behind Recycling - November Educational Program Recap

Did you know that 58% of all the world’s plastic is not recycled?

Did you know that Americans throw away 25 million plastic beverage bottles every hour?

Did you know that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it?

It makes us feel good when we put something into the cart to be recycled and so we hold recycling on a high pedestal above all else. But there is a misconception out there. Recycling is only a Band-Aid on the bigger issues of sustainable consumption and product production. We have to look beyond recycling as first and foremost and make the paradigm shift to solve for our broader waste issues. This needs to include new business models that allow us to reduce consumption in the first place and better re-use materials where we can. 

Many best practices to include increased legislation and extended producer responsibility were presented at our educational program on Tuesday, Nov 16th. A full recording of this educational program will be available soon at

Composting - Not as Scary as it May Seem!

SENFC President Joanna Berens took four months of personal compost to the Greenhaven Project Community Garden in Miami's Historic Overtown at the end of October. There, she met up with SENFC Zero Food Waste Committee mentor and member Dr. John Buschman of FIU, and Ellen Bowen of Food Rescue US (So FL), who facilitated the opening of a food pantry in an old rail car at the same garden. 

North Florida Food Rescue!

"Sustainable Events Network, Florida & Caribbean ( recently connected the Center for Nutrition and Food Security at University of North Florida Brooks College of Health with Mr. Greens Produce for a very successful partnership for food rescue ...the result is an ongoing pick-up of over 240 pounds of produce rescued weekly!"

Meghan Niemczyk (pictured), Director, Hunger Network, Center for Nutrition and Food Security at Brooks College of Health, University of North Florida and Advisor for UNF student-led Meals on Wings program working in partnership with Nancy Slatsky, Culinary Sales for Mr. Greens Produce, and member

Meghan Niemczyk with Dr.  Lauri  Wright,   Founder  and  Director of  the  Center  for  Nutrition  and  Food  Security, UNF and home to many programs including  Meals on  Wings,  the  Jacksonville  Community Hunger  Network  and  more. 



"The Florida Festivals and Events Association's mission is to promote and strengthen the festival, event and fair industry in Florida."

"Our vision is to be the leading resource for festival, event and fair professionals and organizations in Florida."

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Greenwashing - an Editorial

Sue Flak

Recycling Education and Marketing Coordinator with Indian River County

SENFC Director - Chief Recycling Enthusiast 

Doesn’t it make us all feel good when we buy a product that says “eco-friendly”, “recycled”, “compostable”, or “sustainable”? Nobody wants to be fooled into believing something that is far from the truth. The term "greenwashing" applies when companies mislead consumers by making them believe that a product or service they provide is environmentally friendly when it’s not. It can also refer to an organization that refers to themselves as sustainable when they are not. Greenwashing is a marketing strategy aimed to mislead the consumer by tugging at their heart strings and claiming that they care for the environment when they really don’t. After all, we are more likely to spend more money on a product or for a service that we believe is helping the environment. The food industry is a large culprit carrying out claims that their veganism contributes to carbon footprint reduction even though they don’t provide how. Labeling of plastic products can be misleading as a real assessment of recyclable qualities.  As a consumer, be aware of what you are purchasing and what the product and company is claiming. Do some research, become knowledgeable and always look for a third party endorsement from a reputable environmental auditing organization. 

Check it Out!

"'Don't Choose Extinction' Dinosaur Urges World Leaders"

"In a UN first, a ferocious and talkative dinosaur bursts into the iconic General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York, with a special warning for any diplomats who still think climate action is for the birds."

Watch the video and read the full article HERE.


By Kiki Aranita

"As consumers, we purchase so many food products without thinking about their byproducts, which are often good, nutritious, and when unconsumed, add to a mountain of wasted food.

Here are seven food brands committed to reducing food waste and creating a more sustainable food system by upcycling food waste into tasty snacks, beverages and more."

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"In Turks and Caicos, Resorts Put Their Energy into Ecofriendly Solutions"

Chef Edwin Gallardo works in the rooftop garden at Seven Stars Resort & Spa in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Edwin Gallardo

"Atop a restaurant near Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, Edwin Gallardo points out the parsley and basil growing. It's all organic, and no pesticides are used.  Gallardo, the chef at Seven Stars Resort & Spa, is showing off the hotel's newest attraction: the small organic garden where herbs and microgreens are grown for meals at the hotel's on-site restaurants. More resorts have taken sustainability seriously with benefits for guests and the planet."

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Jobs in Sustainability!

Click on these current job opportunities in the sustainability field to learn more:

Follow SENFC!

The Sustainable Events Network, Florida & Caribbean (SENFC) is the sustainability resource for individuals, associations, corporations, event planners and event venues in Florida and the Caribbean. Founded in 2017, SENFC strives to lead the meetings and events industry in the advancement of sustainable practices in Florida and the Caribbean.