Food

Despite foodservice being centered on food, the topic of sustainable food it just too vast for a single web page or even an entire site. Therefore, this site, aside from a little information - mostly on alcohol, will provide links and introductory information on the many groups working towards a healthier, more sustainable food network. There are literally thousands of organizations throughout the world working on the issues of sustainable food, food systems, sustainable purchasing policies, slow food movements, organic, homegrown, local and biodynamic farming, permaculture, non-GMO, fair trade, worker's rights, farm to plate and the various other aspects of food. As a foodservice operator, get involved and support these organizations. They are putting out a wealth of useful information and taking the lead in the movement towards a more sustainable, healthy food system.


Top Food Links

Monterey Bay Aquarium
www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx
A first step in serving sustainable seafood options is MBA's Seafood Watch program, which lists regional seafood choices into three categories of Best, Good Alternative and Avoid. They have a link with information geared specifically for sustainable seafood in restaurants.

Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce
www.ewg.org/sites/foodnews/walletguide.php
A scientific guide developed by the Environmental Working Group that lists pesticide residue levels on conventional fruits and vegetables. Great resource to use in making organic produce purchasing decisions.

National Tap Water Quality Database
www.ewg.org/sites/tapwater
A scientific listing of containments in found in local tap water across the country. Search by zip code to see if you should be filtering your drinking water.


Alcohol: Beer, Wine and Liquor

We have all heard of the 100-mile diet, but what about 100-mile drink? When it comes to the entire sustainable food movement, many chefs and restaurateurs tend to overlook our cherished intoxicant delicacies. Sustainable spirits are a wonderful and wise way to share unique, delicious, organic and local drinks with customers. They may not be considered "food" according to the USDA, but they are all made from some sort of grain, fruit or vegetable and there is nothing quite as filling as an organic stout.

In the US, there is a large and growing selection of locally produced and organic beers, wine and distilled spirits. It has been twenty years since the microbrewery market grew out of garages and cellars around the country. Today, organic beers are popping up in breweries as they expand to change with the organic food movement. Many wineries have been growing their grapes organically for years and are just now finding a market open to labeling their wines "organic."

In contrast, the distilled spirits industry is still in its infancy. Like its microbrewery predecessor, craft distilleries are quickly stepping up to fill a niche market for high-end and organic spirits. Many of these distilleries offer only a couple premium or super premium vodkas or gins, but others like the Clear Creek Distillery in Oregon offer a huge variety of unique spirits that pair with the local cuisine. Clear Creek takes the 100-mile drink a step further by growing a large majority of their ingredients on their own farm. These local spirits compliment the standard selection of a full service bar and on occasion can replace a standard pour. M'jai Restaurants, a fine-dining restaurant company from Eugene Oregon, replaced Stoli vodka in its specialty drinks with Bend Distillery's Crater Lake vodka. "It just made sense," said GM Mary Lavin. "It's a better vodka, it's from Oregon and we save a couple dollars on every bottle."

While most distilleries are marketing their products to the high-end consumer, others are distilling lower-grade well liquors. These producers may not be necessarily considered micro distilleries, but they do offer a necessity in most bars. Even some of the major labels may be located in your backyard, which is a much better option than a bottle of vodka coming half way across the world to be poured into a $2 happy hour special.

For those that tend to go for the standard domestic beer, there are also options available that support local farmers and economies. Several microbreweries are producing affordable, domestic style lagers to appeal to the beer bellied Bud drinkers of the country. A few are even canning microbrews so you can enjoy a good beer while rafting the river.

Local beer and wine should be easy to find by talking with your distributor. Distilled spirits may be a little harder to find, but again talk with your distributor about distilleries in your area that can help reduce your upstream environmental impact.

Bill Owens of the American Distilling Institute compiles an annual Directory of Craft Distillers listing small distilleries from around the country.

Brewpubzone.com maintains a database of breweries around the country.


Certification

Demeter Biodynamic Certification
www.demeter-usa.org

Food Alliance
www.foodalliance.org
Third-party certification program for farmers, ranchers and food processors

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
www.msc.org
Worldwide certifier of fisheries and suppliers. Site lists certified suppliers (MSC Site) and retailers (Consumer Site) of sustainably harvested seafood.

Rainforest Alliance
www.rainforest-alliance.org/certification.cfm?id=about
Third-party organization that certifies farm and forestry operations based on a detailed ecological, economic and social criteria

Rodale Institute Certifier Directory
www.rodaleinstitute.org/certifier_directory
Searchable, detailed database of organic certifiers accredited by the USDA National Organic Program.

Salmon Safe
www.salmonsafe.org
Salmon-Safe is an independent nonprofit devoted to restoring agricultural and urban watersheds so that salmon can spawn and thrive.


Farm to "____________"

There are a number of groups helping bring local farmers together with chefs, schools, hospitals and individual consumers. They have been particularly helpful for school cafeterias wanting to provide a more nutritious menu to their students.

Earth Pledge Farm to Table Program
www.farmtotable.org
Provides information on farmers, producers, farmers markets, CSAs and restaurants serving local produce in the New York City area. They are expanding to most major metropolitan areas in the country.

Farm to College
www.farmtocollege.org
Provides information on farm to college programs in the U.S. and Canada

National Farm to School Program
www.farmtoschool.org
A program that assists in the development of farm to school programs


Food Donation

See the Food Donation link


Local Food

Local Harvest
www.localharvest.org
Provides a search engine using zip code or a map to find farmers' markets, family farms and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.


Other Food Resources

Community Food Security Coalition
www.foodsecurity.org
Coalition of 325 organizations from the United States and Canada dedicated to building sustainable, local and regional food systems to ensure access to affordable, nutritious food to all people.

Center for Food Safety's Pocket Shopper's Guide to Avoiding GE Foods
www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/guide%208_11%20layout.pdf
This pocket guide is geared more towards residential shopppers, but still gives a quick, thorough overview of common genetically enigeered foods on the grocery shelves and product lists of foodservice distributors with alternatives to those GE products.

National Tap Water Quality Database
www.ewg.org/sites/tapwater
A scientific listing of containments in found in local tap water across the country. Search by zip code to see if you should be filtering your drinking water.

Physicians for Social Responsibility - Oregon Chapter
www.psr.org/documents/dairyguide.htm
Lists rBGH free dairy products sold in the Pacific Northwest. PSR also work on a number of other health related issues.

rBGH-free Dairy Map
www.sustainabletable.org/shop/dairymap
A detailed record of rBGH-free dairy products listed by the state, compiled by Sustainable Table

Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce
www.ewg.org/sites/foodnews/walletguide.php
A scientific guide developed by the Environmental Working Group that lists pesticide residue levels on conventional fruits and vegetables.

Alternative Produce
eartheasy.com/eat_pesticides_produce.htm
A compliment to the Pesticides in Produce guide that lists alternatives to produce that is high in pesticide residue.


School Food Resources

See Farm to "____________" above

Healthy School Lunches
www.healthyschoollunches.org
Program sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine dedicated to improving the food served to children in schools by educating government and school officials, foodservice workers, parents, and others about the food choices best able to promote children's current and long-term health.


Seafood

The world at large is treating our oceans like a free toxic waste dump, not to mention the over-fishing of a large majority of edible fish, which is having a terrible effect on the life of the ocean. These groups are helping to educate consumers and protect the oceans. Several provide sustainable seafood cheat sheets and list of sustainable seafood distributors.

Blue Ocean Institute
www.blueocean.org
Conservation group with a goal to inspire people to conserve and protect the ocean though education, art and literature. They produce a Sustainable Seafood guide to making wise choices when choosing to eat seafood.

Environmental Defense Fund's Oceans Alive
www.oceansalive.org
The EDF's site also lists sustainable seafood choices along with seafood that contains high amounts of environmental contaminants and their consumption recommendations.

FishChoice
www.fishchoice.com
Portal to connect commercial seafood buyers with sustainable seafood suppliers.

Marine Conservation Society
www.fishonline.org
Great Britain's sustainable seafood guide

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
www.msc.org
Worldwide certifier of fisheries and suppliers. Site lists certified suppliers (MSC Site) and retailers (Consumer Site) of sustainably harvested seafood.

Monterey Bay Aquarium
www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx
A first step in serving sustainable seafood options is MBA's Seafood Watch program, which lists regional seafood choices into three categories of Best, Good Alternative and Avoid. They have a link with information geared specifically for sustainable seafood in restaurants.

Monterey Bay's Seafood Resources
www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_resources.aspx
Link from Monterey Bay listing a variety of sustainable seafood resources. Check the Sustainable Seafood Sources for distributors, labeling guidelines and more. Also, check out the Restaurants and Retailers Resources link for a list of organizations.

Seafood Choices Alliance
www.seafoodchoices.org
Works with fishermen, distributors and restaurants to create a sustainable seafood market chain. Their web site provides a Smart Choices link that provides information on sustainable seafood, seafood suppliers and restaurants.

Sea Choice
www.seachoice.org
Canada's version of the sustainable seafood guide

Seafood Solutions
http://chefscollaborative.org/2009/03/11/chefs-guide-to-sourcing-sustainable-seafood/
A guide created by the Chefs Collaborative to help chef purchase sustainable seafood options for their menus.

World Wide Fund's SASSI
www.panda.org.za/sassi/index.html
South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative


Sustainable Chefs

Chefs Collaborative
https://chefscollaborative.org
Network of foodservice professionals dedicated to promoting sustainable food.

Seasonal Cornucopia
www.seasonalcornucopia.com
A very cool web site that lists seasonal and local produce available in the Puget Sound area of Washington. I hope that someone can expand this concept nationally.

Slow Food USA
www.slowfoodusa.org
Non-profit educational organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating the food traditions of North America through programs, events and activities.


Sustainable Food Purchasing Policies

Sustainable Food Policy Project
www.sustainablefoodpolicy.org
A partnership between several food organizations to create a guide to sustainable food purchasing for non-commercial institutions. While the guide is written for colleges, healthcare and other large institutional foodservices, it is very informative and adaptable to any sized organization.

Portland State University Sustainable Food Service
www.pdx.edu/sustainability/food-service
The good people at PSU share their sustainable purchasing guides and annual reports for those wishing to start their own program. They provide a lot of useful real world info on challenges, successes and lessons learned while implementing a sustainable food procurement policy.


Watchdog and Lobbying Food Groups

The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods
www.thecampaign.org
"The Campaign" is a grassroots, non-profit lobbying organization dedicated to passing legislation requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food

Center for Food Safety (CFS)
www.centerforfoodsafety.org
Non-profit organization that advocates for sustainable food production

Center for Science in the Public Interest
www.cspinet.org
Organization that educates the public and advocates for government policies that are consistent with sound scientific evidence on environmental issues, nutrition and health and food safety.

The Cornucopia Institute
www.cornucopia.org
Nonprofit organization that advocates for family farms and organic farming credibility.

Food and Water Watch
www.foodandwaterwatch.org
A nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food.

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