Frederique Philip with her husband Sinclair live a life of sustainability and promote the Slow Food movement by buying local whenever they can.

Sooke’s doyenne of sustainable living

Leadership and Sustainability Award goes to Sooke Harbour House

Sustainability to Frederique Philip is something she doesn’t even have to think about.

“It’s an ability, it’s doing something and giving back more, that’s what sustainability is,” said Philip.

It’s also something that has been bred into her from an early age. Most people who have ever met Frederique knows she is a fashion doyenne with a penchant for up-cycling interesting clothing and furniture. She reinvents items in her own unique style.

“I’ve always been that way,” she said in an interview after winning  the Leadership & Sustainability Award at the Sooke and Region Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards on April 11.

“My father was a business man and my mother was artistic, they were frugal. You do better by being creative.”

Sustainability for the Sooke Harbour House is also about using what you have in the season you have it. It’s about growing your own food and buying from local farmers. It’s also about re-using, re-purposing, recycling and up-cycling – all words that basically mean using something until it can’t possibly be used anymore.

The Leadership part of the award most likely comes most from Sinclair. He has been a forerunner in the Slow Food Movement and has helped bring Sooke onto the world stage. The movement opposes fast food and promotes heritage, tradition and the culture of food. It’s about fresh, local, tasty, sustainable and fair food.

They both believe in helping the local community prosper. So they use the skills and talents of the people in the area, everyone from the fishers to the foragers, local woodworkers to artists. They buy local whenever and wherever they can.

“I don’t want my food to be transported. Why do we even have to think about it?”

Using the food that is in season, pooling resources, helping each other and leaving no waste are mantras Frederique sings.

“We need to learn what the past had to learn what the future will be,” she said. “We can do things our parents and grandparents did.”

Sharing is a big part of her beliefs. She is as willing to share her closet as she is to sharing her food.

“I really want people to understand that if we share we get more. We have to start doing this.”

Sharing our knowledge and experiences is also something Frederique strives to do. She is campaigning for more exposure for Sooke and she is doing it by posting whatever positive she can about Sooke and the businesses in it. She uses Travel Advisor, Google+, Yelp and other sites to help spread the word.

“We need to write about businesses in Sooke, business are struggling, we all need to promote ourselves – we have so many great things.”