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