Common Roots Cafe

our values


When we started Common Roots Cafe in 2007, there wasn’t much of a road map for running a restaurant that makes every decision based on a commitment to supporting local farmers, operating in an environmentally sustainable way, and providing a living wage and benefits for employees. So, we made up our own rules.

No buying from big national distributors. Develop relationships to buy direct from local producers. Track every purchase and categorize it according to where it came from, so we can be transparent about where our dollars go. Limit our waste through composting (one of the very first in Minneapolis!). Pay all staff a living wage, offer paid time off and health care, and, starting in 2017, operate as a tip-free business with higher wages guaranteed to all staff.

We feel it’s important to know where our food comes from, and that doesn’t just mean one star ingredient, but everything on the plate. All of our meat purchases are local and grass-fed, free range, and/or organic.  All our milk is local and organic, and the cheeses we use are almost all local and most are organic. That means that even in the depths of Minnesota winter, we typically purchase around 50% of our ingredients (by dollars spent) locally.

And when issues come up locally and nationally that we feel we need to raise our voice on, we do, whether that is paid family leave in Minnesota or family separation at the US border.

Ultimately, the most important value to Common Roots is community, and we want to thank you for being part of ours.


Danny and Elana Schwartzman


 Our producers

Featherstone Farm - Rushford, MN

Featherstone Farm - Rushford, MN

We are proud to support local and sustainable farmers and producers. Check out our interactive map to learn more about our awesome growers and producers! Be sure to visit their websites to learn more about their farming or production practices.


Ames Farm, Co-op Partners, Donnay Dairy, Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Faribault Dairy Company, Featherstone Farm, Ferndale Market, Fischer Family Farms, Frontier Natural Products Co-op, Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), Hoch Orchard and Gardens, Hope Creamery, Kalona Creamery, Larry Schultz Organic Farm, Native Harvest, Organic Valley Family of Farmers, Red Head Creamery, Red Lake Nation Fishery, Red Table Meat Company, Riverbend Farm, Shared Ground Farmers Co-op, Thousand Hills Cattle Co, Twin Organics, Whole Grain Milling Company, Wood's Maple Syrup, and more!


Able Seedhouse + Brewery, Bauhaus Brew Labs, Bent Paddle Brewing Company, Blacklist Artisan Ales, Boom Island Brewing Company, Castle Danger Brewery, Castle Rock Organic Dairy, Du Nord Craft Spirits, Fair State Brewing Company, Feral Beverage Co., Fulton Brewery, Indeed Brewing Company, Lift Bridge Brewing Company, Modist Brewing Company, Norseman Distillery, Peace Coffee, Prairie Organic Spirits, Rishi Tea, Skaalvenn Distillery, Sociable Cider Werks, Surly Brewing Company, and more!


We keep track of our local, organic, and fair-trade purchases by dollars spent — check out our sourcing numbers


The Numbers

We track all of our purchases to show our customers and community where our food comes from.  Here is our most recent by-the-numbers look.


Local = Food grown/raised within 250 miles of our cafe.
Much of the local produce we buy is also organic. Almost all of the dairy products and flour we use is local, and we never serve meat that isn’t local and either grass-fed or free-range. Find out more about the farms we source from.

Organic = Certified Organic, not local.
We include wines that are not certified organic, but are made with organically grown grapes.

Fair-Trade = Certified Fair Trade.
Almost all of the fair-trade products we buy are also certified organic.

Sustainable Seafood = Ranked "good" or "best" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program or certified organic. 

September 2019

Percentage of dollars spent by category