Foodwaze app: helping consumers locate responsibly sourced, sustainable products

foodwazeThreepenny Cafe, a small independent restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia has received the highest possible rating from Foodwaze, a new app designed to help consumers locate restaurants and retailers serving responsibly sourced, sustainable products. Threepenny Cafe earned “Five Globes” from Foodwaze, making it the only restaurant in Charlottesville to receive this honor. According to Foodwaze co-founder Michael Reilly, businesses are rated based on how they source produce, meat, fish and eggs as well as how food is prepared, with an eye toward how suppliers are raising animals and growing crops.

“It is very difficult for a restaurant to earn Five Globes,” says Reilly. “We expect there just to be a handful in every state around the country . . . To achieve Five Globes a restaurant must be thoroughly committed to sourcing their produce, meat, and fish from sustainable sources.” Virginia currently boasts only two Five Globe restaurants: Threepenny Cafe and Shagbark in Richmond. Restaurant Nora in Washington, DC—the first Certified Organic restaurant in the nation—is the model Foodwaze used in developing its Five Globe standard.

“Five Globe restaurants usually have an intangible quality that is only apparent in talking to the management and kitchen staff,” Reilly notes. “This intangible is all about a passionate desire to support a system of real, sustainable food. . . .Threepenny Cafe is a business that clearly embodies the intangibles. There are quite a few restaurants in the area that source locally. . . .But we are not just about local food. We are about real food, and changing consumer behaviour. Very few restaurants are like Threepenny: sourcing their food in a way that’s mindful of their role in fostering change toward a healthier world.”

For Threepenny Cafe’s owner, Merope Pavlides, the intersection of good food and good health is extremely important. A former special educator, Pavlides has several family members experiencing chronic disease and immune system dysfunction. “Americans dine out a great deal,” said Pavlides. “We can’t pretend that how restaurants source product doesn’t affect our health or the health of the planet. When we eat highly processed and factory-farmed food we’re turning a blind eye to big picture cost.”

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Executive Chef, Jeff Deloff, is equally committed to responsible sourcing. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Deloff knows that in addition to being responsibly sourced, his food must be delicious. “I think every chef’s goal is to produce good food by finding the best ingredients possible,” states Deloff. “I think we have gotten away from that idea. The demand for for cheaper, faster food has had an impact on the production of food. The simpler the product is treated, the better the outcome. So taking care of where food comes from–how it’s raised and sourced–has more of an impact on the taste than what you do to it.”

Consumers can download the Foodwaze app through its website or GooglePlay and Apple stores. “We’re thrilled to have received such a high rating,” states Pavlides. “But we’re equally happy to be creating more and more connections with organizations committed to changing our food system. Accessing real, sustainable food must become a priority.”

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