Is that restaurant really ‘farm to table’? New Georgia program creates transparency

Root Baking Co. participates in Georgia Organics’ Farmer Champion program.

Root Baking Co. participates in Georgia Organics’ Farmer Champion program.

A newly-launched Georgia program strives to create transparency around what “farm to table” really means at local restaurants.

Georgia Organics' Farmer Champion program quantifies "farm to table" through food purchasing percentages. The goal is to "recognize Georgia restaurants that consistently invest in Georgia farmers as part of their purchasing culture," according to a press release.

Farmer Champion decals are awarded to participating restaurants that meet a minimum baseline of 5% of their total food budget on locally sourced foods—that is, foods that are sourced from within the state of Georgia. Tiered decals that will be distributed starting in 2020 showcase restaurants that dedicate a separate percentage to Georgia products that are Certified Organic under the USDA.

The decals are given out once a year, and restaurants can receive the partner decal immediately once they begin participating in the program and hit 5% in local sourcing.

A member of the Wrecking Bar team applies a Farmer Champion decal to the restaurant's door.

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The tiers are:

Gold Tier: 5% Certified Organic (purchased in-state) + 20% local

Silver Tier: 3% Certified Organic (purchased in-state) + 20% local

Bronze Tier: 1% Certified Organic (purchased in-state) + 10% local

Partner Tier: 5% Local

Georgia Organics recently added partner restaurants in Macon and Athens. To date, 14 restaurants in Georgia have joined the program as Farmer Champion partners.

“We all tend to follow trends in this industry like, ‘Oh man, I really want to do what they’re doing’ or ‘they do this great,’” said Bruce Logue, owner and chef of BoccaLupo in Inman Park in a prepared statement. “These decals let me see that maybe I need to do a little more or realize that I want to be higher up on that list. We’re all kind of competitive, and this is an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. If nothing else, this campaign makes you think and look at what you’re doing, and that’s a good thing.”

In addition to BoccaLupo, participating metro Atlanta restaurants include Farm Burger, Gunshow, JCT Kitchen & Bar, Kimball House, Miller Union, Murphy’s, No. 246, One Eared Stag, Root Baking Co. and Wrecking Bar Brewpub.


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