- Do you know how easy it is to buy organic and locally grown foods?
- Do you want to learn how you can dispose of your food waste in an environmentally friendly manner and save money?
- Do you want to protect the health of your community and the environment?
Serving locally grown and organic foods is easier than you think!
Organic and locally grown foods are a healthier, more environmentally friendly choice. Keeping food waste out of your trash benefits more than just the environment. With the right resources at your disposal, it's easier than you think to green up the meals you serve!
Local food is food that is grown and produced by local farmers and artisan food makers. Did you know that a typical dinner travels over 1,500 miles before it's served? Eating local food greatly reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and wasteful packing materials. And with a shorter journey, local farmers can offer you more choices based on flavor rather than long expiration dates.
When local food isn't an option, organic is the way to go. Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. To ensure your product is at least 95 percent organic, look for the USDA Organic certification label.
Events, both large and small, can generate a significant amount of waste in a short period of time. A 2006 study of 25 different venues and events in California indicated that on average 2.44 pounds of waste is generated per visitor, per day. In addition, nearly 11% of non-residential waste consists of food and food-soiled paper. Food waste recycling is a great solution, offering the opportunity to save the environment, save money and more!
GreenGatherings assists organizations and individuals in realizing how easy it is to make environmentally-conscious decisions regarding the purchase, preparation and disposal of local and organic food to benefit our community. Contact GreenGatherings at www.mngreengatherings.org
Resources for Food Establishments & Caterers
- The Heartland Food Network
The Heartland Food Network is a project of the Minnesota Project, a non-profit dedicated to renewable energy, agriculture, and local foods systems in Minnesota. The Network builds collaboration and ties among chefs, catering companies, food distributors, and local family farms through an online marketplace, events, and education activities.
- Renewing the Countryside
Hosts Farmer Buyer Networking Workshops several times each year to connect local chefs and farmers. Also produces the Local Food Hero Radio Show, which includes a featured chef using local foods each week.
- Minnesota Grown Directory
Directory of products for general consumers produced by Minnesota farmers.
- Minnesota Directory of Organic Farms
Find farmers in your area that are growing commodities you want to buy.
- United States Department of Agriculture
www.ams.usda.gov (click on "National Organic Program" in the left navigation bar)
Learn more about the National Organic Program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture. Includes information about standards, certifiers and labeling requirements.
- Ramsey County Food Safety Program
County resource site for food codes and licenses, food safety training, and information on reporting suspected food-borne illness.
- Hennepin County Organics
www.hennepin.us, search "organics, business"
Information on food recycling options, including food recovery, food-to-animal recycling and composting. Includes an introductory video to food recycling options in English and Spanish.
- National Restaurant Association Conserve initiative www.conserve.restaurant.org/issues/index.cfm Background on environmental initiatives such as energy efficiency, water conservation and building improvements.