green restaurant

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: A look back at where we started, and where we are now.

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The Dishwasher was rhythmically humming while the sink behind it filled up two industrial basins of water to thaw some chicken. Hood fans worked constantly over pre-heated fryers and flat tops that were cranked and working at full capacity. House lights were all on.

No one was in the restaurant though.

In the evenings, I’d melt ice in the bar sink by running hot water, and then scoop handful after handful of plastic straws and throw them in the garbage. It was a moment of awakening that I realized that the foodservice industry is incredibly wasteful. Foodservice has one of the largest carbon footprints of commercial operations, yet it is a driver of our economy and a past time for many. There had to be a way to improve the way we do things. I looked into what sustainability resources were available for foodservice establishments and found very little. The seed was planted, and after two years of research and development, a nationwide non-for-profit was launched that focused on reducing the environmental impact of the industry and certified restaurants that are operating more sustainably.

It was the community of like minded people around me who made the first steps possible. The emerging green movement in Calgary welcomed and supported my idea. Our pilot restaurant was River Cafe, a high-profile restaurant in Calgary whose owner shared our philosophy and passion for sustainability, while keeping us mindful of important considerations in a successful business. This like-mindedness was then discovered across Canada.

LEAF started with one restaurant in Calgary and has grown to what it is today, nearly 100 LEAF certified facilities across Canada, from independent restaurants to small cafes and campuses. We want to make a big impact on the world around us in terms of environmental efficiency and waste reduction, and help reverse the current environmental direction we’re headed. This is the passion that drives us daily. Wo do this in two ways: we educate restaurants about the benefits of sustainability, both environmental and financial, and provide guidance to improve their operations. And it goes far beyond local food. We look at everything from the menu, to the chemicals they use to clean, energy practices, water use, social policies and more. But we also engage in the consumer world where we help consumers find our LEAF certified restaurants so they can show their support and feel good about where they choose to eat.

We now have third-party auditors and LEAF certified restaurants in most major cities in Canada. The auditor’s role is to work within their communities to reduce the environmental impact of local restaurants, and improve their environmental and economic sustainability, which ultimately benefits the local community. A lot goes into a restaurant getting a LEAF sticker on their door. The places that have it are passionate about sustainability, their communities and people.

As a non-profit, we work hard at creating more awareness for LEAF and what it means, why it exists. We know people tend to feel better by eating somewhere they know is more sustainable. These people who feel that it is important tend to spread the word and it’s this organic growth that propels us forward. We use social networks to increase awareness of the restaurants that are doing good things, and then that relationship is continued face to face and off the network, when our audience visits a LEAF restaurant for a truly great experience.

How can you help? Reduce your own impact by refusing disposable plastics when you go out to eat, look for LEAF certified restaurants and encourage your local restaurants to get LEAF certified. If you work in the foodservice industry and want to improve the sustainability of your restaurant, get in touch!

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

LEAF Announces first annual LEAF Awards!

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Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF) is pleased to announce the first annual LEAF Awards, to be presented at the 2018 Restaurants Canada Show February 25-27th in Toronto. Winners will receive a beautiful, hand-crafted award to display and be promoted through social media. 

This is an exciting opportunity for Canadian restaurateurs to be recognized for their commitment to the environment, the progress they've made, and the hard work they put into making their businesses as sustainable as possible. 


There are 4 categories to enter:

Greenest Restaurant
Greenest Facility over 10,000 square feet
Most Improved
Eco-Innovator of the Year

While the first three categories are only open to LEAF certified restaurants, the Eco-Innovator award is open to any restaurant. In partnership with Restaurants Canada, the Eco-Innovator award will recognize one restaurateur's achievement in implementing a new technology or innovative solution to a problem, which results in a significant reduction in the environmental impact of the establishment or facility. 

How to enter:

Deadline for submission for all awards is 11:59pm EST on Thursday, November 30th, 2017. 

Good luck to all applicants!

LEAF Releases Annual Guide to Canada's Greenest Restaurants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CERTIFIED GREEN RESTAURANTS ON THE RISE ACROSS CANADA

Annual LEAF Guide to Canada’s Greenest Restaurants Released In Time for Earth Day

Victoria, BC, April 17, 2017 -- Food trends come and go but eating green and being sustainable continues to be a growing movement for Canadian restaurants. Support for environmentally responsible restaurant practices means a steady increase in green dining options, as shown by Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice (LEAF), who released their Guide to Canada’s Greenest Restaurants this week in honour of Earth Day.

“Canadians are increasingly aware of their environmental footprint,” said LEAF President, Janine Windsor. “Choosing LEAF certified restaurants, cafes, or food trucks means they are making a difference and supporting the highest standards of sustainability.”  

LEAF’s top five most sustainable restaurants in Canada are: Locals Restaurant - Food from the Heart of the Island, Comox, BC; River Cafe, Calgary, AB; The Coup, Calgary, AB; Degrees, Winnipeg, MB; and Chic Alors!, Quebec, QC.

There are now 85 LEAF certified restaurants across Canada and all of them have been reviewed in ten areas of sustainability. Once certified in one of three levels they are able to display the LEAF decal, which shows diners they are choosing a restaurant commitmented to green foodservice practices. Many use renewable energy, compost their waste, and use eco-friendly cleaners. Others no longer offer bottled water and all LEAF certified restaurants have eliminated styrofoam packaging. Most have made significant changes to energy consumption and waste management, which has resulted in significant financial savings.

“LEAF certified restaurants are foodservice leaders not only in their communities but across Canada,” Windsor adds. “They’ve committed to on-site audits, continual improvement, and are showing the industry that going green can be great for business.”

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

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