Two Peterborough eateries are being recognized for their efforts to go green.
The Peter Gzowski College dining hall and Tiny Greens Plant Cafe say they have been cracking down on food waste for a while and now have the credentials to prove it.
Tucked away in the bright yellow building on the north side of Trent University is the Gzowski dining hall. Last Wednesday, it announced a three-star certification awarded by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), an international organization that helps restaurants operate in a more sustainable, environmental way.
Mark Murdoch, director of food services at Trent, met GRA officials at a trade conference two years ago. A year later, the process of making the Gzowski dining hall sustainable began.
“It took us about 11 months all in,” said Murdoch. “It’s a fairly exhaustive process. They do several audits over that period of time.”
He said everything from flooring to food, waste and water use is assessed by the GRA. Tips are then provided to the eatery on how it can improve.
“We’ve replaced most of the appliances here with Energy Star-rated appliances so we’re reducing our utility consumption and reducing our water consumption,” said Murdoch.
Even the napkins and cutlery are sustainable, and in the kitchen, Murdoch said used gloves and cooking oils are all properly disposed of.
Meanwhile, Tiny Greens in the city’s downtown was also recognized for its green footprint.
The eatery/plant shop hybrid on George Street has adopted a similar approach to the Gzowski dining hall since it opened in 2017.
Even though the restaurant has not been certified by the GRA, it won the Agriculture and Local Food award by Sustainable Peterborough in 2018. It also received the Local Focus award from the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce that same year.
Owner and CEO Tina Bromley says everything is either composted or recycled — the store does not have garbage cans.
Located past the cash register at the very back of the store is what Bromley refers to as one of the key attractions: racks of tiny plants lit by grow lights on shelves.
“This is our urban farm component of Tiny Greens Plant Cafe, where we grow our micro-greens,” said Bromley.
The plants are harvested in the store to be used in smoothies, snacks and dishes. From the pot straight to your plate, Bromley feels her store-grown products are her key connection to customers.
“When they get here and see that we’re farming and they see food growing, it makes them feel good and healthy and joyful,” said Bromley. “I know it would definitely attract your tourist demographic.”
Bromley said her store’s recognition mainly comes from fascinated locals.
“I see people connecting to my business, and to myself, and cheering me on, and that keeps me going,” she said.
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