Sustainability – No Excuses part 3 by Levi Richardson

Dean Brookes Marketing Professional

For my third blog on the sustainability series ‘Sustainability – No Excuses’ I spoke with Dean Brookes. Dean gained a degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Multimedia Journalism before going on to do a Publicity and Press internship at Manchester Metropolitan University. Subsequently, Dean landed a job at MetMUnch as the Marketing and Event Coordinator.

MetMUnch is a global award-winning, student-led social enterprise based within Man Met which promotes sustainable, healthy and nutritious food. You can find out more here.

So, I asked Dean if he has become more sustainably-focussed since joining MetMUnch and he responded “The difference now is quite stark. MetMUnch is embedded within the University’s Environment Team. My first day, one of the members of staff collared me for turning up with a disposable coffee cup. I hadn’t given it any thought, it wasn’t on my radar at all, and let’s just say after that day, I have very rarely got a disposable coffee cup in my life”.

I asked Dean whether he believes changing our diets is one of the most impactful decisions we can make for the planet. Dean believes individuals should try to make diet changes in their life, and that each person’s small steps can amount to big changes overall! I am certainly on board with this approach.

I then asked Dean whether he has noticed students becoming more concerned about their health or environmental impacts of their diets. “Well from when I first came to MMU certainly. I mean we are not going to do the maths there as it is a few years, but being vegetarian was something that was seen as being a bit different then. Now, you’ve got veganism in particular on the rise, and people are becoming much more aware of the impact of their diet.” This was an important point Dean raised – there has been at least a 400% increase in veganism over the last 4 years alone.

Dean alongside Haleh Moravej recently launched the very successful GROW café. “When I first started working with Haleh, she used to joke that the aim was to take over the world, whether that’s possible is another thing”. GROW café is a plant-based eatery offering nutritious and sustainable (often locally sourced) meals. Dean then says, “it fits very well with the mentality of the next generation as well. Young people are much more sustainability minded and health conscious now so it works very well at the University, but we would like to get it onto the high street if possible”.

Dean goes on to say, “We knew there was an appetite for something like GROW, we knew with people having an interest in it (healthy and sustainable diets) we knew we could feed that interest more. GROW wasn’t just set up to sell food though, we use food as a communicator, an educator and as an organisation we try to do it in a fun and engaging manner.”

Finally, I asked Dean if he thinks any projects he is involved with in the future will also have to be sustainability focussed. “Very much so, I mean once you start looking at how things are made or how things are processed or how far they travelled I think it can only have a lasting impact on you”.

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By Levi Richardson.