The books proliferate. The newspapers cover it, and the movies mainstream it: people want to know where their food comes from, and think more about creating a sustainable food environment. Meanwhile, commercial agricultural has demonstrated to have a profound, negative impact on the environment, some say worse than carbon emissions from cars, airplanes and factories.
The silver lining in our food system is just next door – with the local farmer, food producer and green restaurants.
Local farmers, whether organic or not, tend to use sustainable farming practices: composting, crop rotation and cover-cropping. Further, locally sourced food travels less than 100 miles to reach your table. It tastes better because the fruits and vegetables are left on the vine longer to ripen and spend less time in a truck.
As a business manager, it can be challenging to justify spending more on COGS and other resources, when profit margins are already razor thin. The numbers are just coming in, but several businesses (like Stonyfield Farm) have shown that marketing costs are lower due to a higher quality product and customer loyalty generated.
Here are 10 tips for Supporting the Local Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture and Local Economy, many of which you can start with today:
- Purchase produce, meat and fish from local farmers and sources. Commit to increasing locally sourced ingredients by 25%
- Employ a composting program to turn food waste into fertile soil.
- Switch from disposable products (like coffee cups and to-go containers) to recyclable or compostable products.
- For food products not produced in New England, consider using local businesses that import (such as MEM tea and Taza Chocolate).
- Eliminate convenience products from your menu that use high-fructose corn syrup.
- Offer filtered water instead of bottled water.
- Create incentive programs for employees to walk, bike or take public transportation to work.
- Use environmentally friendly linen services.
- Have an energy audit to find ways to improve energy efficiency with the equipment already installed in your business.
- Offer discounts to customers that bike. For more details, click here.
For further assistance in creating a sustainable business, send us an email. We can help you create a plan to support the local economy while growing your business.