The Eat Well Guide, a project of the Grace Communications Foundation, allows you to search over 25,000 handpicked restaurants, farms and local markets to find sustainable food wherever you are in the US.

Trust is an important issue when it comes to the food we eat, especially if you’re looking to support local farmers, restaurateurs and others who are trying to do their best for both people and the planet. The Eat Well Guide has made this easier than ever, by personally vetting each business that they include within their online directory. More importantly, they never charge or accept money for inclusion.

So how do they define sustainability? “Sustainable agriculture is the production of food using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities and animal welfare.” More specifically, the farms listed that produce meat, eggs or dairy raise their animals on pasture without nontherapeutic antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones or the confinement systems used on industrial operations. For fruits and vegetables, the farms protect biodiversity, soil, water and other natural resources, while also avoiding toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and genetically modified (GM) crop varieties. By creating their own set of criteria, Eat Well are able to list farms that are practicing sustainable methods, despite the fact that they might not necessarily be certified organic for instance.

This inclusivity is also made clear within the requirements for restaurants, markets, food co-ops and other businesses, who must demonstrate a sincere commitment to sourcing local, sustainably produced food. However, they recognise that due to the range of seasonal growing conditions and that access to sustainable farms varies in different parts of the country, businesses listed in the guide are not required to source exclusively from local, sustainable farms, but to source the best ingredients as often as they can, allowing for a spectrum of sustainability, encouraging businesses to adopt increasingly sustainable food sourcing practices as they are able.

You can search by location and/or category, or alternatively explore one of their curated city guides, which include some of the best restauarants and bars that the US has to offer, from Austin to San Francisco. Perfect for discovering the local cuisines and all the while being assured that the food has been responsibly sourced.

Unlike other restaurant or market guides, Eat Well has also included organisations that are working to improve our food system, whether through advocacy or educational means.

You can also suggest a listing to be added to the guide by providing some basic information such as the type of business, their location and opening hours along with a short description of their sustainable practices. If you would like to know more, email info@eatwellguide.org.

Photograph: Steph French

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