Goal: Commend Uncommon Ground restaurant for growing its own food
When Uncommon Ground decided to open up a second location, they figured it would be better to seek out an already existing location rather than go through the polluting process of construction. This is just a small example of how the restaurant owners incorporate sustainability into their business. They picked a location in the northern neighborhood of Edgewater, Chicago. While scoping out the new spot, the owners climbed onto the roof to check it out. Then, they had a thought that would make them one of the world’s greenest restaurants: Why not grow our food up here? This was the beginning of the world’s first certified organic rooftop farm.
First, there was the paperwork. To make an already time-consuming process more tedious, Uncommon Ground had to make special efforts to dub themselves a farm, as a rooftop garden had never applied to be certified as an organic farm before. Some farms actually practice organic growing but don’t have the label because of all of the red tape one has to go through to get certified. However, Uncommon Ground was committed.
After some planning, they were ready to get rolling. A wide variety of plants and herbs are grown in planter boxes comprised of steel and cedar, including heirloom tomatoes, spinach, fennel, lettuce and eggplant, to name a few. All of the boxes are connected to a drip line irrigation system to reduce water waste. Uncommon Ground has also partnered with a local beekeeper to build four beehives that provide community pollination and also honey for the restaurant.
However, with hundreds of customers every day, there isn’t enough space to grow the amount of food in demand. The rest of the food purchased is grown or raised locally, free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and genetically modified organisms. Uncommon Ground has established relationships with many local farmers. In addition to these efforts, all of the restaurant’s paper products come from recycled material, and their brown linen table napkins are reusable and unbleached. They even use cleaning products that are environmentally conscious.
Cutting gas emissions from transportation is huge, especially in the U.S. The average American meal has traveled about 100 miles or more to get from farm to plate. This has a big environmental impact. In the restaurant business, sustainability isn’t usually a top priority. The owners of Uncommon Ground implemented a whole lifestyle of environmental awareness into their restaurant, and they inform and inspire their patrons every day. Maybe one day a restaurant like Uncommon Ground can be the norm rather than the exception.
Sign this petition and let Uncommon Ground know you support their efforts.
Dear Uncommon Ground,
I am writing to you to thank you for your commitment to sustainability. Your rooftop garden not only provides customers with quality food free of herbicides and pesticides, but it also greatly reduces the greenhouse gases emitted from transporting food from far away farms to the customers plate. In a big city, it can be difficult to find farms in the area. Your idea to grow your own food is totally innovative.
You set the example to other businesses and show them that it pays off to make your business with Mother Earth in mind. You set the groundwork for other businesses to follow suit. Hopefully an establishment like yours will start to become the norm rather than the exception.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: OrganicNation via Flickr