Whether Eating Out or Eating at Home
Restaurants, local organizations, and farmers in scattered parts of the U.S. realize the importance of organic and locally grown foods for the health and economic sustainability of their communities.
The Locavore Challenge
Especially noteworthy is the Locavore Challenge of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY). The goal of the association is to promote local, organic food and farming.
The Locavore Challenge, promoted in conjunction with National Organic Harvest Month, aims to raise awareness not only among consumers purchasing for their consumption at home, but also among retailers, schools, hospitals, retirement homes, and restaurants with large purchasing power, that local sources are available, and can be far healthier than foodstuffs transported from far off and that, moreover, these locally delivered foods add considerably less amounts of harmful carbon to the atmosphere.
A Restaurant Owner Describes His Goal
Lou Lego, of The Restaurant at Elderberry Pond, Auburn, New York, says
We have sort of a mission of the farm to get the country back to local agriculture, that we think the quality of the produce that's in grocery stores, and the quality of the meats, and the way meats are raised and everything has really deteriorated.
Each day, staff pick fresh produce for all the restaurant's dishes. The menu also changes with the seasons
Our planning starts in the spring, with when we're going to need potatoes, what kind of potatoes we're going to need, and herbs and spices we're going to need, . . . different meats and fruits, so the restaurant really kind of drives the farm.
The restaurant is just one of 14 in the state taking part in the Locavore Challenge. Each restaurant donates part of their proceeds to NOFA-NY to help fund year round efforts to promote agriculture in the state.
Restaurants Elsewhere in New York State
Among other restaurants in the state participating are;
- Fifty South, Ballston Spa
- One Caroline Street Bistro, Saratoga Spring
Kate Mendenhall, NOFA-NY Executive Director, says "The Locavore Challenge is an opportunity to celebrate the bounty of New York's organic and sustainable farmers as well as grow the movement of consumers seeking local organic food."
"Nature's Plate Award" by The Nature Conservancy
A national award is now presented by The Nature Conservancy (http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/natures-plate-rules.xml). In its Nature's Plate Award, diners nominate online their favorite "green" restaurants. Restaurants must be "full service" offering any or all of the following:
- Sustainable seafood
- Free-range and grass-fed meat
- Organic produce or other organic food
- Local and seasonal
- Water (tap water rather than bottled
Winners will be announced October 17, 2013.
The Value of Organic Food,
Its Place in Community Life
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