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02/23/2000 12:00 AM     print story email story      

Advancing Sustainable Food Choices

At a recent retreat, members of the Chefs Collaborative discussed how to measure their progress toward running a sustainable restaurant (partner with farmers, choose food based on the seasons, compost, recycle) and how to purchase fish from well-managed sources. This group of 1500 chefs promotes sustainable cuisine by teaching children to connect what they eat and where it comes from, supporting local farmers, educating each other, and inspiring the public to choose good, clean food.

Among their many activities, they publish Chef guides that cover issues such as Buying Clean Food, Running a Green Restaurant, Purchasing Sustainable Fish, and Working With Farmers.

One source for a reliable fish vendor (Chefs Collaborative Meet EcoFish!) is a new company called EcoFish.

Some of the featured fish for sale on the EcoFish website are: Dungeness Crab from the sustainably managed low by-catch trap fishery in Oregon; Pacific Halibut from the well-managed quota-based Alaskan long-line fishery; and environmentally friendly farmed Blue Mussels from Prince Edward Island Canada. That's a mouthful, but it reflects the complicated issues involved in sourcing seafood obtained responsibly.

By providing people with "environmental quality control," EcoFish's goal is to reduce pressure on depleted and threatened species and guide individuals toward purchases that support ecologically sound fisheries. The EcoFish Seafood Advisory Board researches and selects species and fisheries which meet strict ecological criteria. Carl Safina, director of National Audubon's Living Oceans Program, Michael Sutton, director of the Packard Foundation's Sustainable Fisheries Program and Greg Stone, director of the New England Aquarium's Conservation Department make up the Board.

A budding California group, the Green Restaurant Association, promotes restaurants that make positive environmental changes and provides 'Green Restaurants' certification. The Association conducts an environmental audit examining a restaurant's level of recycling and waste reduction, use of non-bleached and recycled-content products, energy and water efficiency, and use of chemicals and safe cleaning products. It promotes the purchase of renewable energy in an alliance with one of the lead California suppliers, Commonwealth Energy Corp.

Contact:  Green Restaurant Association

Chefs Collaborative:

EcoFish: Henry Lovejoy:

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