21 Sustainability Practices for Your Restaurant

Live, think, breathe, cook, play, and eat for a greener, healthier world.

47. Work with farms that have minimized food waste at the point of harvest, like incorporating stems into produce mixes, or have optimized the use of natural resources, like growing second-crop kale, which requires 50 percent less water.

48. Upcycle: Find ways to re-use products instead of creating more waste.

49. Life insurance, health insurance, and a paid vacation should be basic expectations, not perks.

50. Support farms and vineyards that protect and preserve a region’s terroir.

51. Look to small boutique farms where produce is typically fresher.

52. Practice canning, pickling, ferment­ing—heritage techniques that are back in vogue because they extend the life of seasonal, local goods. Plus they make menus more interesting.

53. Sourcing local applies to waterways, too: Support local and regional fishermen.

54. When remodeling or opening new concepts, “paint” the kitchen green with energy-efficient equipment and more sustainable refrigerants.

55. Sustainable starts with people practices: how you sustain the well-being of your team.

56. Find creative uses for leftovers to minimize food waste.

57. Everyone says “family first,” back it up with paid maternity and paternity leave.

58. Women-led teams excel: Embrace diversity and assign leadership roles to all who are qualified.

59. Learn how to safely donate excess foods.

60. Create opportunities for young cooks to learn and grow within your organization.

61. Send young and fledgling cooks to experience other cultures.

62. Plug into ethical eating. That means doing what’s right: In a macro sense, what’s right for the world; in a micro sense, what’s right for self health.

63. Create viable career paths that are tailored to retain valued employees.

64. Implement proactive, flexible schedules to improve your staff’s quality of work/life balance.

65. Encourage aspiring chefs to stagier and return with new ideas.

66. Establish healthy policies that encourage positive lifestyles—like no drinking or smoking at work.

67. Feed the hungry: Partner with local food banks, shelters, soup kitchens, and Title 1 schools.

Next: Technique and Trend-Setters

Maybe it's time to defy convention—play with fire, eat bugs, challenge the norms.