The two restaurants announced this week that they have been looking at all elements of the operations, including where ingredients are sourced from, equipment used in the restaurants, and numerous other factors, in order to be carbon neutral. Both were well-placed to make the change — the restaurants’ menus focus strongly on local and seasonal produce, which avoids racking up carbon miles by trucking in non-seasonal products from far away.
While the restaurants’ respective owners, Kevin Fink (Emmer & Rye), and Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine), acknowledge that getting their establishments to zero emissions was not possible on their own, they have purchased carbon offsets to iron out any emissions that remain after auditing and changing up their operations.
Those offsets were purchased via an organization called Zero Foodprint, which works on a range of environmental initiatives. One notable program that Emmer & Rye and Barley Swine are supporting through the group involves investments in climate-friendly farming. The goal there is to increase the levels of carbon in soil, which can be depleted to unhealthy levels by unsustainable farming. (Increasing carbon in the soil can also make crops more resilient against rough weather, and make them more nutrient-rich.)