"If we really believe in food, we must do something about it, for our voices should be raised above the rest," James Beard said. Today, the word "sustainable" is being linked to almost every facet of our lives. Everything from restaurants to cars to school supplies are marketed as green or sustainable. Businesses have a lot to gain if they are environmentally conscious (Friedman, 2017). Companies that genuinely care about the planet cultivate positive reputations. Needless to say a company's brand and reputation are arguably the most important differentials amongst its competition. Additionally, a company's social responsibility goes hand in hand with talent retention. Companies that care about their staff and the community are more likely to recruit employees that will be advocates of the product and business (Friedman, 2017). A healthy work culture encourages productivity, recruitment and retention. Unfortunately some businesses stretch the truth and make bold sustainability claims in order to reap the above benefits. When it comes to the food service industry, which restaurants are actually living up to the claim of being sustainable? I embarked upon a journey to find the restaurants and chefs that are creating exquisite dishes while protecting the environment and preserving the food chain system. Initially I developed a list of 30 prospective restaurants based upon published material bringing awareness to their environmentally conscious initiatives. Ultimately I selected three diverse restaurants from the list that successfully met the sustainability requirements. I utilized criteria established by The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) as my guideline to evaluate the establishments (Our Sustainability Framework). I immersed myself in the restaurants, camera in hand, to discover more about the ecofriendly food movement in Arizona. I created a YouTube channel where I posted all of my edited film in order to heighten awareness of these socially and environmentally responsible establishments. The vlog series features a different restaurant in each episode highlighting the sustainable culinary and business concepts as well as the savory items on the menu. During this quest I discovered how these restaurants have remained successful while minimizing their ecological footprint. These establishments can serve as a guide to other chefs and business owners who are looking to accomplish the same feats.
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