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Column: Foodies showcase sustainable practices

Calling all local chefs, restaurant owners/managers and foodies! The second annual Dine Sustainably Twin Ports event is right around the corner. This is an opportunity to showcase your sustainable practices and encourage others to get on board, too.

Dine Sustainably is a weeklong celebration of leading local restaurants and breweries. The event highlights our local food ecosystem and the benefits that sustainable business practices bring to our community and economy. The event aims to promote greater adoption of sustainable practices by educating participating restaurants and their customers on how sustainable principles can inform and improve their choices as business owners and consumers. Also, this is an opportunity to eat really good food.

Now in its second year, Dine Sustainably is conceived and managed by Sustainable Twin Ports, a local nonprofit organization focused on accelerating the adoption of sustainable practices throughout our community through training, education and public outreach. This year’s event will take place from April 27 to May 4.

So, what is sustainable progress? Sourcing food locally, growing your own food, recycling and composting, using compostable to-go containers and paying employees a fair wage would be a few examples of how a restaurant can create a sustainable business model.

STP recognizes that restaurants and breweries in the Twin Ports have made varied levels of sustainable progress. At the same time, many share the same vision of creating a healthy community environmentally, economically and socially, but may need a little help getting there. That’s why Dine Sustainably was designed to celebrate all sustainable progress, no matter where each restaurant is in their journey. STP is offering each participant personal consultation and ongoing assessment to assist in future goals.

Dine Sustainably 2014 comprises of four phases for participants:

1) Recruitment/Orientation: 90-minute recruitment/orientation that outlines the Dine Sustainably process and goals. This will give potential participants enough information to decide whether or not to participate, as well as provide input to the process.

2) Initiative development: In consultation with STP, participating restaurants choose a sustainability principle to pursue, identify an internal process or system to apply it to and develop an action plan for improving the performance of that system in a measurable way.

3) Celebration Week: a weeklong celebration and media event in which participating restaurants launch their sustainability initiatives and share them with customers.

4) Assessment/reporting: for those restaurants that continue their initiatives for three months, STP will provide a free consult in order to assess their program results, promote successes and discuss opportunities for adjustments and improvements going forward.

If you are a local chef, restaurant/brewery owner or manager or simply want to learn more about the event, you are invited to the Dine Sustainably 2014

Orientation:

Who: Restaurant owners/managers, chefs and foodies

When: 3:30 - 5 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Zeitgeist Atrium, 222 E. Superior St., Duluth

What: Dine Sustainably Twin Ports

Why: To give informational presentations and an opportunity to ask questions and sign on as a participant.

An RSVP is encouraged. RSVP to info@sustainabletwinport.org or call (218) 382-8787. There will be a cash bar and complimentary appetizers. See you there!

Cara Lindberg is the board president of Sustainable Twin Ports. She lives with her husband in the Duluth area. Cara can be reached at lindberg.cara@ gmail.com.

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