St. Louis, Mo. (KMOX) – You may have heard the recent KMOX series on the farm to table movement, where restaurants try serve the best local ingredients.
KMOX News discovered there’s an organization that rates those businesses on how responsibly they source.
The Green Dining Alliance — a program of St. Louis Earth Day — is working with restaurants to reduce their energy and water use, reduce waste, and also make responsible choices with ingredient sourcing.
“You get points for regional, which is within 250 miles, local which is 150 miles, and you get points for even closer things. A lot of GDA restaurants have their own urban farms. Those obviously get more points.” Program Manager Jenn DeRose says establishments.are also given points for having a menu that adapts to the local growing season. “If you’re sourcing more local food, you’re encouraging more local farmers to grow more real food, and if you’re doing that you’re strengthening our local food system.”
DeRose says that’s important, because many of the crops grown in this region are not for human consumption. DeRose says some restaurants are contracting with farmers in advance to grow certain quantities, while other chefs have created urban farms near their restaurants to grow herbs and other ingredients. And she points out, increased demand for the responsibly-grown local produce has led to more farmers installing hoop houses (a series of hoops with greenhouse plastic stretched over them) to expand the growing season into colder months.
Restaurants are also rewarded for selecting pasture raised meat, poultry and eggs.
Click here for more on the Green Dining Alliance and how they rate restaurants for sustainability.