The relationship between the way we produce and consume food in a capitalist society and the toll it takes on the environment is becoming undeniable. However, there are those who are at a loss about how to make a difference.
What if going out to eat could minimize your environmental footprint?
Restaurateurs, Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz have made it easy for consumers to make the connection between what they eat and the environment.
Enter The Perennial, a San Francisco based restaurant, which seeks to incorporate every green feature currently on the market.
In addition to the high end fare, the menu is laced with foods designed to combat climate change just by existing. How can this be, you ask? The bread the Perennial offers is created using a grain called Kernza, which is designed to extract carbon monoxide from the air.
Composting is a mainstay in The Perennial kitchen. With the intent of minimizing the food waste generated in a upscale restaurant, food scraps are delivered to an aquaponic greenhouse. A composting facility would not be complete without worms. After the worms have done their job of turning over the compost and injecting it with wholesome minerals, they are turned into fish food.
Every aspect of the restaurant bears the mark of sustainability, from the flooring to the appliances. Even the straws are made of actual straw, just one less plastic tube for the landfill.
As food waste and environmentally destructive practices are common within the restaurant industry, the owners are seeking to act as a testing ground for some of these innovative approaches. They intend to develop knowledge around ways for restaurants to become more ecologically responsible and pass it on to community partners.
When they first opened, the owners were concerned about how the message of environmentalism would be perceived by their customer base. They are intentional in not being blatant about their messaging, allowing the food, service, and restaurant setting to speak for themselves. By creating delicious food and inventive strategies the owners have been successful in engaging the public in a dialogue about environmental sustainability and the role food has in creating a greener world.
Just 6 months after opening The Perennial, Myint and Leibowitz also established a non- profit sister organization called The Perennial Farming Initiative. The foundation seeks to partner with farmers to promote sustainable farming practices such as carbon farming, using regenerative grains and creating aquaponic systems for agricultural use. Not only is The Perennial creating amazing food while being naturally conscious, they are also contributing on the ground to the development of enlightened agriculture.
What do you think about using food to promote environmental sustainability? Do you see the connection between the two? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! For more on The Perennial and their initiatives please visit their website.
Peters, A. (2016, January 20). The “Most Environmental Restaurant in the World” Just Opened. Retrieved August 18, 2017, from https://www.fastcompany.com/3055626/the-most-environmental-restaurant-in-the-world-just-opened
The Perennial. (2017). Retrieved August 18, 2017, from http://www.theperennialsf.com/
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