By Lauren Otto, Greenfield Natural Kitchen Social Media Intern
Greenfield Natural Kitchen recently had the honor of accepting the 2016 Minnesota Restaurant Association Sustainability Award because of its standard of excellence when it comes to environmentally friendly packaging and products. In its first three years of providing healthy and ethical food to the people of downtown Minneapolis, Greenfield has remained true to its three core values of meaningful employment, environmental stewardship and clean food. Greenfield is committed to not only talking the talk and starting the conversation about sustainability, but walking the walk of taking action to care for both customers and the environment.
According to Greenfield’s general manager Kate Ehlert, Greenfield is not focused on comparing its standards with the rest of the food market because of its commitment to the highest possible standards. If any product or packaging is not at as high of a clean or ethical standard as possible, Greenfield replaces it with a better product, no matter what.
“It may be better than what most restaurants are offering, but if it’s not the best, we’ll get rid of it,” Kate said. “We want to constantly be as clean and pure and transparent with our customers as possible.”
And Greenfield continues to strive to do just that. All of Greenfield’s packaging, along with all of its distributors’ packaging, is recyclable or compostable—from the to-go containers and cups to the straw wrappers and garbage bags, there are no exceptions. Greenfield’s food is completely GMO free, contains only ethically sourced proteins, and is as locally grown as possible. The menus are even oriented around crops that are in season so that more ingredients can be purchased locally.
Greenfield’s unwavering commitment to clean food and sustainability creates challenges, but ultimately its goal is to push other restaurants to prioritize these practices and make sustainability a norm in the restaurant industry. Kate said that it’s been exciting to see several environmentally conscious restaurants matching some of Greenfield’s standards.
“I really love that there’s a higher demand for healthier food and that there are clearly more people seeking it out,” Kate said. “Overall we’re just here to make everyone’s lives easier and make it possible to eat a little healthier.”
In the long run, Kate thinks that Greenfield has a lot more to explore in the world of sustainability, eco-friendly practices and clean food. And the most important priority is to make as much of an effort for positive change as possible.
“People often think they can’t make a difference, but we make thousands of tiny differences,” Kate said. “I’m not saying we can solve environmental problems by ourselves, but we can definitely make an impact.”
Greenfield has always been and will always be fundamentally rooted in values that stretch far beyond products. And with every one of the thousands of tiny differences that commitment has made, there are real impacts that contribute to healthier people and a healthier planet.