Monday, January 16, 2012

My organization is called The Sustainable Restaurant Corps and we are a start-up non-profit.  We'll be working with restaurants one-on-one to help them cut their energy and water waste, to reduce food waste, to divert more recyclables and compost from the landfill, and to use more sustainable, organic and local food.  Then we'll catalog what the restaurant has done and give them a rating.  Those ratings will then be available to the popular web sites people use to decide where to eat.

The program, as I have conceived it, is very comprehensive.  It addresses sustainability as a whole system that involves all aspects of the restaurant business-- including suppliers, contractors, and purveyors.   We want to provide a service any restaurant can use for no or low cost so they can put their money into making improvements.   We also take a long term approach by incorporating the aspirations of the restaurant into the plan.  Our coaches will work directly with the restaurant ownership, management and staff to help implement the program.  We will also have area specialists who will assist the coaches.  They will be available for consultations on reducing energy costs, saving water, reducing food waste, optimizing the restaurant for recycling and composting, and acquiring as much local, organic produce, meat and seafood as possible.  These area specialists will work directly with suppliers, contractors and farmers to ensure restaurants have what they need to be sustainable at a price they can afford.  

I also feel it's important that the public play a role by giving them a chance to support sustainable restaurants.  With transparent ratings on sites like Yelp, Zagat and Seamless, even those who don't follow sustainability will see it as part of the restaurant's identity.  

There is a great deal more to the program and a lot more to decide as we continue to ramp up.  Any opportunity to discuss the program and how it can best serve the restaurant community is very welcome.


Join The Sustainable Restaurant Corps and Women in the Making for a live all-day event. We are screening TEDxManhattan "Changing the Way We Eat” at WBAI Studios. 

Featuring an illustrious panel of farm developers, food justice advocates, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, sustainable agriculturists and more, “Changing the Way We Eat” will be moderated by environmental activist, producer and author Laurie David.
• Saturday, January 21, 2012
• 10:00am - 6pm at WBAI Studios.
• RSVP is REQUIRED to be on the guest list.
• PHOTO ID is REQUIRED to enter WBAI studios.
• Email: SustainableRC@gmail.com with your full name.
• The event is free.
• Light refreshments and fun for all!
• More details on panelist and topics at: http://tedxmanhattan.org/event/


Christine Black
Founder, The Sustainable Restaurant Corps
Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sustainable-Restaurant-Corps-SRC/146584738785678?sk=wall
linked In- http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top
Blog- http://christineblack.blogspot.com/

Desi K. Robinson
Creator, Producer, Host
Women in the Making: Tomorrow's History Today
About Me

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sustainable Restaurant Appeal #2 How $10 can turn into $90,000

Dear Friends,

If you haven't heard... I'm working on a project to help restaurants in NYC become more environmentally sustainable.  It will be a non-profit that will help restaurants save money on utility bills, throw less in the garbage, and use more healthy, local, organic food.  

The idea came to me because I work in a restaurant while I was pursuing my dream to become a journalist.  I realized my passion for environmental stewardship, my communication skills as a journalist and my experience as a bartender and server could be combined into one effort that could do a lot of good.  

So why do I need your help now?  Well I'm working on a grant that would provide $90,000 over two years to get my project, The Sustainable Restaurant Corps (SRC), off the ground.  But one of the criteria the funders are looking for is how well I can raise money and how much support I can gather for the cause.  So I started a Peerbacker campaign-- similar to Kickstarter but for causes-- and now I just need folks like you to contribute $10, $15.  It's your way of voting to support my effort to make restaurants more sustainable.  So here's where to go.

For those of you who I've met with about the project, thank you for your time.  And for those of you who have contributed already I am so grateful.  It really means a lot to me that you took that little bit of time to sign up and pledge some of your hard earned money.  

It was only a few months ago that I came up with this idea but it has really energized me.  I've gotten a lot of wonderful feedback and met with organizations like NRDC and The Environmental Defense Fund about possible collaborations.  

If you didn't know-- restaurants use five times more energy per square foot than other commercial real estate.  In New York City, approximately 120 tons of food from restaurants goes in the landfill each day.  By working with restaurants one on one, the SRC will help reduce carbon emissions, save water and divert more recycling and composting from the dump.  Then we'll give restaurants a rating based on the good work they do and make the rating available to all the web sites you go to when you can't decide where to eat.  That way even the people who don't care about the environment will see how sustainable our restaurants are.

Your $10 or $15 means a lot because it's not about how much you give.  It's that you give at all.  So please don't put it off.  My grant is due the 9th which means there's only a few days for you to vote in favor of sustainable restaurants.

Why are sustainable restaurants important to you?  For those of you who work in restaurants, you know how much garbage goes out the door each day... how many faucets run and run... how hot the kitchen gets and for that matter the dining room if the AC goes out.  That's all energy and using less of it will make the planet a little cooler.  

For those who visit restaurants and enjoy the experience... wouldn't it be nice to know that the food you are being served is as good as it can be for the farmers that grow it, for the fisheries where it's caught, and for atmosphere we all depend on.  Wouldn't it be nice to know highly toxic chemicals aren't being used around the food you are being served.  

Please donate now.  It is so heartwarming to see more names go up on the list of donors.  I truly don't care how  much you give and I won't even know until the end of the campaign.  But the fact you took the time will really mean a lot and help keep me going when times get tough.  And I'm sure they will.  So one final time.

Thanks so much and I look forward to seeing your name on my roster of good friends. 

Christine Black

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Funding Appeal #1 Sent December 21, 2011

Hi and thanks for all your support so far. I'm putting out my first call for donations to you because we have had a chance to talk about the program I'm trying to put together. I also feel you might be the most willing to be an early supporter of my first fund raising campaign. Your support at this time is really critical because it shows me and the rest of the world that you think making restaurants more environmentally sustainable is a worthwhile endeavor. In the days and weeks ahead I'll be calling on others to join in. When they see that you are on board it will make it easier for them to commit. At this point the amount is not what matters most. It's how many people think it's worth the time to sign up and make a donation. My goal is large but it's all the small contributors that will make the campaign a real success.
 So here's the link... http://peerbackers.com/projects/help-launch-the-sustainable-restaurant-corps

 And once you've donated please let your friends-- virtual and otherwise-- know that this is important to you. I've had so many productive and inspiring meetings these last two months and they've given me a lot of confidence this idea is worth pursuing. Your donation will help me continue to work on making this dream a reality. I need a logo and other branding materials as I move beyond the early and enthusiastic supporters like yourself. I need a web site and database capabilities to do the initial work in my three test restaurants. I also need some equipment and training to make this non-profit business a success. There are more details on what funding for the project will buy on the campaign funding site.


 The other thing I need is your feedback. What questions do you have based on our conversation-- what you read here and on the campaign site? Also, what questions do you have about the program. I'm in the process of putting together a business plan which I hope to have completed before the campaign ends, but I would like to address any looming, persistant questions on the campaign site and through campaign outreach. Also, if you or anyone you know has items to donate as gifts for contributions I would be most grateful. Any product or service would be welcome and I can discuss this further if you have an interest. This is just the beginning and the process is evolving so I am really grateful you have read this far and I hope I can count on your early support.


 All the Best,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Now is the time for Sustainable Restaurants

In a world... where almost half of the food produced goes in the garbage-- where people spend thirty percent more on energy than they need to-- where water is wasted with impunity-- a solution is emerging. That world is the restaurant business and the time has come to put it on track towards benefiting the environment-- not plundering it. The climate is turning against us because of what we have put into it. Work towards changing the course can not start fast enough. Now is the time to act.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Introducing Sustainable Restaurant Solutions

I'm pleased to introduce my new project-- Sustainable Restaurant Solutions. It will be a non-profit that helps food related businesses become more environmentally friendly and more financially sustainable in the process. When we are up and running, we will send Coaches out to visit restaurants and find out how sustainable they are. Then, with their permission, we will help them use less energy and water, send less garbage to the landfill, and use more local, organic and seasonal food. We will also work with the businesses that provide services to restaurants so that the restaurants will have the resources they need to be sustainable from suppliers that are themselves sustainable. As we work with restaurants, we will be keeping track of the progress they are making and rank them according to a system we will develop. Those ratings will be available to web sites and guides people already use to find out where to eat. This will help the consumer make more informed choices about where to eat. It will also help restaurants increase business and keep that business coming back.