Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hey, wipe your footprint

Some people wonder why I complain about oil prices since I drive a hybrid and get a solid 40 MPG in the summer; better when I don't need the air-conditioning. Yes, when you only fill up every two weeks it does insulate you from the near $5 a gallon but driving the Cushman (our little nickname for the Honda and you'd have to have driven one to understand why) doesn't help the delivery costs for everything we consume.

The Cafe of the Getty Center has started something quite interesting. It's called a Low Carbon Diet. This is a committed program by Bon Appétit, a nationwide food management group to lower their carbon footprint. Basically they are will be buying local and reducing the amount of waste. This Palo Alto, CA company has over 400 cafes in 28 states, usually large companies and Universities.

Here are their kitchen principles:
The following food standards have been created for the well being of our guests:
  • Menus are written based on seasonality and availability of regional fresh product. Whenever possible, these are produced locally using sustainable and organic practices
  • Turkey breast and chicken are produced without the routine use of antibiotics as a feed additive
  • Hamburgers are made with fresh ground chuck from beef raised on vegetarian feed without antibiotics or hormones
  • Other meats are raised without antibiotics as a first preference
  • Milk is free of antibiotics and artificial Bovine Growth Hormone as available
  • Shell eggs are produced cage-free and Certified Humane
  • Vegetarian options are plentiful at every meal
  • Healthy menu items are a mainstream offering throughout our cafés
  • Salsas, pizza, marinara and other sauces are made from scratch
  • Stocks are made from scratch, the day before use to ensure the removal of fats
  • Turkey and beef are roasted in-house daily for deli meat
  • Tuna is dolphin-safe, packed in water
  • Seafood should be purchased fresh when available locally. Salmon is wild caught. We support the Seafood Watch guidelines as recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Olive and canola oils are used for everyday salad dressings, specialty oils for other purposes (i.e. walnut oil or chili oil)
  • Trans fats are not used in our kitchens
  • All salad dressings are made from scratch. Nonfat and low-calorie dressings may be purchased as necessary
  • Vegetables are prepared in batches at the last possible minute and served in the smallest possible batches
  • MSG and peanut oil are never used in the preparation of our food
  • Mashed potatoes are made from fresh potatoes
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice is used for cooking and sauces
  • Cookies, muffins and breads (where possible) are baked fresh daily
Tired of feeling like you can't do anything? Here's a great way to get started in your own kitchen, What you can do. I also love their Top Five Low Carbon Diet Tips and a cool little search page for local, sustainable food in your area. Eat Well Guide. And finally, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a pocket seafood guide so you know what fish is ocean-friendly and safe to eat. Don't forget to ask restaurants where their seafood was caught or raised and don't buy seafood that has to be flown in buy frozen when caught. Shipping fish uses less energy than flying it into your market, fresh-caught. If you can't see the ocean don't buy fresh-caught.

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