Groups Verify Restaurants' Local Food Claims

Three organizations verify restaurants' claims that they buy food from local farms. The programs are voluntary and at least two restaurants in the Valley have signed up. None of these organizations tell the public what percentage of a restaurants' food budget is spent on food from local farms.

Restaurants can list items on their menu as organic, and that claim is verified by federal government inspectors. Several restaurants around the nation – but none in the Valley – have hired Oregon Tilth to help them comply with organic regulations. At least one restaurant, Nora in Washington, DC, says that more than 95 percent of the food it sells is organic.

Meghan Sheradin works for the Vermont Fresh Network. “Each farm a chef says they partner with gets an e-mail from us letting them know that the chef has acknowledged them,” she told the Valley Post. “The farmer can let us know if they have any issues with that declaration.”

Sheradin's group certifies the Chelsea Royal Diner in Brattleboro and the Williamsville Eatery, near Brattleboro.

A web site funded by the New Hampshire agriculture department lists “certified local” restaurants that buy from local farms: www.nhFarmToRestaurant.com. None of the restaurants listed on the site are in or near Keene.

Lawrence Williams of the United States Healthful Food Council in Washington, DC told the Valley Post his group verifies restaurants' claims that they buy from local farms. It's a voluntary program for restaurants. Dozens around the nation have signed up, but none so far in the Valley. “Americans spend more money on food prepared away from home than they do on food they prepare themselves,” he said. Nopa restaurant in San Francisco, California may have the highest percentage of local ingredients of any restaurant in the nation, Williams said. “We estimate 65 percent of the food they sell, by weight, is locally grown,” he said.

Comments

Meghan Sheradin

She has done more for the Local food movement in the northeast US than anyone else I know. Tireless advocate for the farmers and the restaurant entrepreneurs. Well done Meghan!

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