A Comox Valley restaurant is being praised for taking big strides to become more sustainable.
Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF) has recently named Locals Restaurant one of Canada’s top six most sustainable restaurants.
According to co-owner Tricia St. Pierre, having a green business was part of her and her husband Ronald’s business plan when they opened the restaurant 12 years ago.
“It sort of came with the whole philosophy of our restaurant sourcing locally and that is part of trying to support local food production, which here in the Valley often is done with very much of an environmentally aware philosophy,” said St. Pierre.
Locals’s eco-friendly mission is obvious in everything from their table linens to their high-efficiency kitchen equipment.
Through the Power Smart program, the restaurant upgraded all of their cooking and refrigeration equipment which uses less energy and is less taxing on the environment.
The food prepared in this state of the art kitchen includes well-thought-out portion sizes and exclusively edible garnishes to cut down on waste. But anything left on the plates is often taken home by staff to feed to their pets.
Take out containers and straws (available only if requested) are biodegradable and St. Pierre prides herself on the lack of garbage that is produced. Cleaning supplies used are eco-friendly and biodegradable as well.
Even the furniture throughout the restaurant was bought second hand and St. Pierre sewed the linens herself.
But perhaps what makes the most impact is sourcing all of the restaurant’s food and drinks locally. Local products tend to be consistently higher quality resulting in less food waste, and often arrive with much less packaging.
“The closer you are to your food producers and the source and the better relationships you forge, the more it is in alignment with taking care of the environment,” said St. Pierre. “You look at people here in the Valley who are producing food, they are of a similar philosophy.”
St. Pierre adds that the restaurant has 240 suppliers on Vancouver Island.
LEAF is Canada’s only nationwide, non-profit foodservice certification program with three levels of certification.
Locals Restaurant achieved the third and highest level when they moved locations to the Old House Hotel grounds in 2012.
During the renovations, they added spray insulation, double glazed windows and an improved HVAC system to make the old building more efficient.
The five other most sustainable restaurants in Canada include Cafe Belong in Toronto, River Cafe in Calgary, The Coup in Calgary, Degrees in Winnipeg and Chic Alors! in Quebec.
For more information, visit https://www.leafme.org/greenrestaurants