the green dining alliance helps restaurants increase their sustainability photo courtesy green dining alliance

Celebrating the Local Food Movement virtual event slated for June 15

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In an effort to promote sustainable food-related practices, St. Louis-based Green Dining Alliance is hosting the #EatGreenSTL Virtual Symposium from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, June 15. The event from St. Louis Earth Day is one in a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in place of a large, in-person celebration during the pandemic. 

The theme for this particular program is “Celebrating the Local Food Movement.” Highlights of the event include programming with Green Dining Alliance program manager Victoria Donaldson and Known & Grown STL program manager Jenn DeRose. There will also be an interview and cooking demonstration by Green Dining Alliance-certified Michele Coen-Racanelli, a chef who currently runs Michele C. Catering and The Dam.  

“A huge chunk of the Green Dining Alliance is informing and educating,” Donaldson said. “While a lot of people may feel like they know a lot about sustainable practices – especially when it comes to food – there are other nuances that go into that that they may not consider. So I would hope that this would be an extra push for them to do more work or to consider other ways that they can reduce their impact on the environment as well.”  

Launched in 2012, the Green Dining Alliance is an offshoot of Recycling On the Go, a program that works to reduce waste at St. Louis-area events. Like Recycling On the Go, the Green Dining Alliance works with St. Louis restaurants and food vendors to make the city’s dining industry more sustainable.

“It’s not just about the food part … it’s also about the back end,” Donaldson said. “Like what cleaning materials are you using? What are you doing to conserve energy? What are you doing to conserve water? Do you also get involved in community efforts to be more sustainable?” 

There are currently about 120 Green Dining Alliance-certified restaurants in the area. Restaurants can become certified by committing to a list of core concepts and engaging in an on-site audit that essentially functions as a sustainability consultation. By encouraging restaurants to be more sustainable, the Green Dining Alliance aims to create a more environmentally friendly food scene in St. Louis. 

“We’re constantly growing in our sustainable practices as a city, and I think this is a great way to support that effort to support businesses, farmers and restaurants that are clearly trying to make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint [in] their work, their practice and their operations,” she said.