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LEAF's Guide to Canada's Greenest Restaurants 2019

VICTORIA, BC, APRIL 16, 2019 - LEAF’s annual Guide to Canada’s Greenest Restaurants showcases the growing importance of environmentally sustainable foodservice. With nearly 100 LEAF Certified facilities across Canada, from independent restaurants, to small cafes, and large campuses, the green movement is making an impact.  

LEAF Certified restaurants are distinguished because of their dedication to sustainability, including water and energy conservation, waste reduction and composting, and local or sustainable food offerings.

“Choosing to dine with a restaurant that cares about their environmental impact is helping create change in the foodservice industry and moving Canada towards a greener future,” says Janine Windsor, LEAF President and Founder.  

The updated list of LEAF certified restaurants includes Craft Beer Market, who won the 2019 LEAF Award for Most Improved and are LEAF certified in all of their seven locations across Canada. The 2019 LEAF Award for Greenest Restaurant went to to River Café in Calgary, who continue to raise the bar in their commitment to sustainability.

LEAF’s top six most sustainable restaurants in Canada are:

As LEAF approaches ten years as a Canadian not-for-profit, green dining options are  steadily growing due to both consumer demand and increased industry awareness. This past year LEAF launched a successful plastic-free dining challenge, which encouraged all restaurants to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics.

“These are no small changes,” says Windsor. “It’s estimated that plastics take approximately 400 years to degrade, so eliminating common single-use items is an important step in reducing plastic waste.”

Consumers can support a more sustainable foodservice industry by visiting a LEAF Certified restaurant and encouraging local restaurants to become LEAF Certified.

Follow LEAF on Twitter @LEAF_Canada, on Instagram @LEAF_Canada, and on Facebook L.E.A.F

Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF) is Canada’s only nationwide, non-profit foodservice certification program. Established in 2009, LEAF helps restaurants reduce their environmental impact and makes it easy for patrons to identify green restaurants.  

Check out the guide below!

Diversity Foodservices: "Greenest Restaurant over 10K square feet" LEAF award winner for 2018

Chef Jessica at Elements

Chef Jessica at Elements

We recently handed out our 2nd Annual LEAF Awards at the RC Show in Toronto. We thought we’d take a look back at one of our first recipients of a LEAF award, and find out if and how it has impacted their business.

Diversity Foodservices in Winnipeg, Manitoba, operates a number of restaurants including University of Winnipeg’s elements, Pangea’s Kitchen and Malecon, and Buffalo Stone Cafe. We asked COO Ian Vickers about winning a LEAF award.

Why did you apply for the LEAF awards?

IV: Sustainability is at the heart of the Diversity Foods mission.  We like to work with LEAF because having a 3rd party check that we are truly on-track brings a new level to our verification process.  We applied for the LEAF award because we have always thought of ourselves as leaders in the Sustainable Large Scale Food Service sector, and we wanted to know the validity of that claim.

Executive Chef Kelly

Executive Chef Kelly

 
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What has the award changed in your business? 

IV: Winning the LEAF award for most sustainable large food service establishment has brought a lot of pride to our team members.  It reminds our line cooks that what they do every day has meaning and has a verifiable impact.  We keep the award in a location where our whole campus team can see it as they start and end their days, to remind them that we are doing something unique here; and that uniqueness has been recognized by a national agency.

What do you like about the LEAF award?

IV: It increases the awareness of the importance of sustainability, and serves as a reminder that businesses can be sustainable actors and while they succeed financially.

What is the importance of investing in sustainability?

IV: Climate change is real. Resources are finite. A changing market of consumers now understand these things, and are willing to make purchasing decisions based on the ethics that a company presents.  The old model of profit maximization by pillaging from those already socially, culturally, and economically disenfranchised or by raping our planets natural habitats is quickly becoming outdated.  If a company wants to be relevant to its customers it now has to invest in sustainable systems that ensure equity for individuals in procurement, manufacturing and distribution systems as well as a solid plan for creation and disposal of goods that is either neutral or a benefit to the environment. 

The corporate cheese has moved;  move with it or starve.

Thanks to Ian Vickers and the whole team at Diversity Foodservices for their on-going commitment to sustainability!

LEAF support UN's Clean Seas campaign

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LEAF is proud to announce that we have agreed to support the UN’s Clean Seas campaign by continuing our commitment to tackling the plastic pollution problem. In June, we launched our Plastic-Free Dining Challenge, asking restaurants to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics, and earlier this year we launched our criteria version 4.0, which places a heavier emphasis on eliminating single-use plastics and requires all LEAF certified facilities eliminate plastic straws, bags, stir sticks and sandwich pokes, with requirements getting more stringent at each level.

Do your part to reduce plastic pollution - sign up for the Plastic-Free Dining Challenge

And sign up for the Clean Seas campaign here: http://www.cleanseas.org/take-action

SAIT Celebrates Five Years of LEAF Certification

By Stephanie Ball

The School of Hospitality and Tourism at the Southern Albert Institute of Technology (SAIT) continues to push the sustainability envelope, more than five years after becoming LEAF certified.

Operations Manager Brad Rosenberger has been with the School of Hospitality and Tourism for 11 years and has witnessed and implemented many changes since joining SAIT.

Long before the City of Calgary rolled out its green bin program, SAIT was diverting organic waste in a big way. Large compost bins are provided all around the main campus, and they are getting a lot of use – especially in the culinary programs.

"We go through a lot when it comes to food,” says Rosenberger. “The green bins ensure we're doing our part for the environment and for SAIT itself.”

As an added bonus, both the culinary garden and campus landscaping areas benefit from the composted material and SAIT’s used cooking oil is reprocessed and used to produce biodiesel.

The school deals with many different suppliers and does their best to select sustainable food products.

“It’s about limiting our impact on the environment. It’s about being responsible,” says Rosenberger when asked what it means to be a sustainability leader.

SAIT has to set the standards and meet the needs of what the industry is demanding, he says. It's an important because students are going out into the world after they graduate to become executive chefs or hotel managers. They are the future of sustainability and so SAIT's environmental practices play a key role in teaching students to adapt and think ahead.

Rosenberger and SAIT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism are optimistic about the future and advancement of Alberta’s sustainability movement.

“Good things are happening.”

 

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LEAF Awards: LEAF recognizes four leaders in sustainability in the foodservice industry

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On Feb 27th, the first LEAF awards were handed out at the RC Show in Toronto. After a jam-packed three days of food, innovation and sustainability discussions, the show was capped off by recognizing leaders in the sustainable foodservice industry. 

We thank all of the applicants to the 2018 LEAF Awards, and are proud of all of our LEAF-certified members that operate with sustainability in mind everyday. We applaud your commitment to the environment and your customers!

 

Award: Most Improved
Recipient: Community Cafe, Calgary, AB

The LEAF program is not about perfection, but about continuous improvement in sustainability, and Community Cafe (run by Community Natural Foods) has demonstrated their commitment to striving for better. When Community Cafe first became certified in 2012, they were already operating in a sustainable manor - local and sustainable food, sustainable seafood, a high percentage of vegan and vegetarian dishes, wind powered by Bullfrog Power, water-conserving fixtures, composting, and more! Since that time, Community Cafe has aimed to become a zero-waste facility, purchased ENERGY STAR appliances, and become an official OceanWise partner, establishing themselves amongst the more sustainably run businesses in Calgary. 

We are proud to recognize Community Cafe for their commitment to always doing better!

 

Award: Greenest Restaurant over 10,000 square feet
Recipient: Diversity Foodservices, Winnipeg, MB

Ian Vickers, COO of Diversity Food Services and LEAF President, Janine Windsor  Photo courtesy of  Restaurants Canada

Ian Vickers, COO of Diversity Food Services and LEAF President, Janine Windsor

Photo courtesy of Restaurants Canada

Diversity Food Services operates a number of restaurants (Elements, Malecon, Pangeas Kitchen, Buffalo Stone Cafe) all of which are all LEAF certified. Operating a large-scale foodservice facility can present some unique challenges to certain sustainability goals (securing large, consistent quantities of local food, retrofitting components that are part of a larger institution, etc). Diversity Food Services has demonstrated innovation and commitment in overcoming these challenges and stands as a leader in sustainable facility operations.

Their achievements include sustainable (Ocean Wise) seafood, a high percentage of local food, wide variety of meat-free dishes, recycled and compostable supplies, LEED certified buildings composting, and more, making Diversity Food Services deserving of this award.

 

Award: Eco-Innovator
Recipient: Creelman Market

The Eco-Innovator award was open to any restaurant or foodservice facility in Canada that has demonstrated innovative solutions to sustainable challenges. For large scale facilities, procuring local and seasonal produce year round can be a challenge in Canada. Creelman Market overcame this by implementing a large scale food preservation operation, which allows use of local produce in their facilities year round. While the concept of food preservation and canning may not be new, the scale to which this facility has undertaken it to ensure they are using as much local food as possible every month of the year, has taken it to a new level and solved a local food challenge for Canadian food service facilities.

 

Award: Greenest Restaurant
Recipient: Chic Alors!, Quebec, QC

Hugues Philippin, Owner of Chic Alors! and Janine Windsor, President of LEAF  Photo courtesy of  Restaurants Canada

Hugues Philippin, Owner of Chic Alors! and Janine Windsor, President of LEAF

Photo courtesy of Restaurants Canada

In order to be eligible for the Greenest Restaurant award, restaurants had to be Level 3 (our highest) LEAF certified restaurant. While all Level 3 LEAF restaurants are high-performing and deserving of recognition, Chic Alors! stood out as a true leader for 2018, being engaged in all 10 of LEAF’s Areas of Sustainability. Chic Alors! has geothermal heating, electric vehicles for delivery, their own beehives, LED lighting and more. 

Hugues Philippin, owner of Chic Alors!, credits his decision to operate as a sustainable restaurant as a key factor in operational cost savings. 

Thank you to everyone who entered to win the award this year. Your commitment to improvement in the sustainable foodservice industry is inspirational.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

 

COOPSCO is largest group to attain LEAF Certification

Level 2 LEAF Certification COOPSCO recipients

Level 2 LEAF Certification COOPSCO recipients

Towards the end of 2016, 25 food service facilities operated by 17 cooperatives of the COOPSCO Network in Quebec were awarded LEAF Certification. The major-scale project was run by Bleu Innovation and took over a year to complete. It was supported financially by the MAPAQ (Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l' Alimentation du Québec) through the Québec Food Marketing Support Program, which aims to encourage increased purchases of Québec food in the institutional market.

The COOPSCO Network is owned by more than 400,000 members (mostly students) in 60 school-based cooperatives in high schools, colleges and universities. They are known for their social and environmental commitments in their communities, so aiming for LEAF certification was a perfect fit. However, achieving LEAF Certification for facilities of this size is no small feat. For facilities that need to produce hundreds or even thousands of meals each day, local food purchasing and major procedural changes can be difficult. Despite this, some of their locations (COOPSCO St-Hyacinthe) were able to achieve up to 50% local food purchasing! But LEAF Certification is about much more than just food. 

Le Cafélix at the Universitaire de l’Outaouais uses programmable thermostats to reduce energy use, and was able to decrease food waste by over 10% last year by conducting food waste audits. The cafeteria in Lapocatiere has a heat recovery system that captures heat from the swimming pool, and COOP HEC Montréal has a large garden for produce and uses all energy efficient LED lighting. The St-Hyacinthe locations also have menus with 30-60% vegetarian and vegan items, and geothermal energy. The Cafétéria Principale in l’Université de Sherbrooke uses mainly Energy Star appliances.

Congratulations to the students and staff of COOPSCO on an incredible achievement and continuing to show leadership in your industry!

LEAF Certified COOPSCO Food Service Facilities

Region of Outaouais
-Cafétéria of the Campus Gabrielle-Roy of the college and university cooperative of the Outaouais
-Cafélix Coopsco of the college and university cooperative of the Outaouais
-Café student of the Cité Collégiale of the collegial and university cooperative of the Outaouais
-Cafétéria of the Polyvalente Mont-Bleu of the collegiate and university cooperative of the Outaouais

Montreal Area
-Café l’Escale of the Co-operative Library of the Cégep de Maisonneuve
-Café Le Capharnaüm of the Student Co-operative Association of Édouard-Montpetit College
-Caféria of the Valleyfield College Student Association
-Caféria Decelles of the Coop HEC Montréal
– The main HEC Montréal Cooperative
-Restaurant the Cercle de la Coop HEC Montréal

Region of Montérégie
-Cafétéria of Coopsco St-Hyacinthe
-Café Bistro of Coopsco St-Hyacinthe

Region of Mauricie
-Cafétéria of the Shawinigan College of Coopsco Trois-Rivières
Central-Québec Region
-Cafétéria of the cooperative association F.-X. Garneau -Cafresia of Coopsco Ste-Foy
-Cafétéria du Cégep, Coopsco Victoriaville

Region of Saguenay Lac-St-Jean
-Cafétéria of the student association of Chicoutimi -Cafétéria of Coopsco college of Alma

Lower St. Lawrence Region
-Cut-the-Mouth of the Institut de Technologie Agroalimentaire, Coopsco La Pocatière
-Cafétéria of the Cégep De La Pocatière, Coopsco La Pocatière
-Cafétéria of the Coopérative du Cégep of Rivière-du-Loup
-Cafétéria of the student co-operative association of the Rimouski College

Eastern Townships Region
-Caféria of the Co-operative of the University of Sherbrooke -Cafétéria of the Solidarity Cooperative of the Cégep de Sherbrooke -Bistro of the Solidarity Cooperative of the Cégep de Sherbrooke

About Bleu Innovation

Bleu Innovation is mandated to implement the LEAF certification in Québec by accompanying and certifying food establishments (restaurants, cafés, cafeterias …) in an eco-responsible approach that targets all operations of establishments. www.bleuinnovation.com

Level 1 LEAF Certification COOPSCO recipients

Level 1 LEAF Certification COOPSCO recipients