The GRACE Communications Foundation today launched its new Eat Well Guide, the largest online directory of sustainable food vendors in the country with 25,000 listings of restaurants, farms, farmers’ markets, food co-ops, and more across the U.S.
“People want locally grown, sustainably produced food, so we’re making it easier for them to find it,” says Dawn Brighid, project director of the Eat Well Guide. “Most American shoppers take into account where their food came from when they’re grocery shopping. They want to support food producers who are doing their best by their customers, their workers, and the planet.”
A 2014 poll by Cone Communications revealed that 83 percent of Americans consider sustainability when buying food and 81 percent would like to see more options that protect the environment. This demand is evident in the enormous increase in farmers’ markets over the last 20 years, which are up 370 percent from 1994 and 123 percent from 2004.
In addition to fulfilling a vital need for consumers through its easy online database, the Eat Well Guide helps sustainable food producers and retailers reach individuals beyond their usual customer-base, providing a much-needed marketing boost to small farms, farmers’ markets, restaurants, and food co-ops that are often outmuscled by large food corporations’ huge advertising budgets.
“We know that sustainable food vendors offer products that consumers want, but it’s difficult to compete with the enormous advertising budgets of industrial food producers,” says Chris Hunt, food program director at GRACE. “The Eat Well Guide helps to level the playing field by making it easy for consumers all around the country to find these sustainable food vendors for free.”
To be included in the Eat Well Guide, vendors must demonstrate a commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture, which is vital to protecting the environment, public health, animal welfare, and local economies. For consumers, the Eat Well Guide eliminates the guessing game and helps them find sustainable food options no matter where they are.
“We were one of the first places in New York to commit to serving local, sustainable food, and it’s great to see our efforts recognized in the Eat Well Guide,” says Jimmy Carbone, owner of the legendary New York City restaurant Jimmy’s No. 43. “Sourcing sustainable food always takes a little bit more time and effort, and the Eat Well Guide helps us get our name out there to new customers.”
Beyond its simple search function, which incorporates Google maps so that users can see which vendors are nearest them, the Eat Well Guide also offers curated guides for major U.S. cities, including: Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Boulder, Colorado; Chicago, Ilinois; Detroit, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York City, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; and Washington D.C.
The Eat Well Guide can help even seasoned sustainable food enthusiasts find new options close to home, or lead the way to new local food scenes while traveling. Users might even stumble upon one of the largest rooftop farms, a late night farmers’ market, or a sustainable food truck.