Local vs Locale

Bon Appetit CEO Fedele Bauccio serves on the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. The group met in San Francisco last week and Director of Culinary Support & Development Marc Zammit and I had the opportunity to present. The subject of our talk was the barriers to "sustainability" for large food service companies.

Marc explained the cultural commitment Bon Appetit has made to sustainability as well as how having a skilled culinary team in every cafe is crucial to our success. We then discussed sourcing, seasonality, complexity and financial adjustments as challenges other companies may face when trying to go "green." Here is a pdf of our PowerPoint…  Download pew_commission_challenges.pdf

After the meeting, the group dined at Acme Chophouse, our restaurant at AT&T Park that we run in partnership with Traci Des Jardins. Bill Niman of Niman Ranch, also on the Commission, had some interesting food for thought for me. Bon Appetit espouses buying locally as being the most important step we can take towards sustainability. Bill pointed out that we may want to consider "locale" rather than just "local." He asserts that for produce, local makes sense, however, when it comes to meat production, some areas are simply better suited than others. For example, he says hogs should be raised in the midwest close to where corn and soybean for their diet grow. He stated hogs have no business being raised in California. This was the first time I had heard the idea of "locale" presented in this way.

I don’t know enough about hog production to know all the reasons why it isn’t feasible in California but I certainly trust that Bill does. I appreciated his challenging questioning of our policies and Marc and I have committed to looking into a new policy in relation to purchasing animal products.

– Maisie Ganzler, Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives