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Our Environmental Commitment

More about this coming soon...


the food forest cafe peterborough 2015 business excellence awards environmental

2015 Business Excellence Award Winner for Environmental Practices

In recognition of a business that displays environmental responsibility and who has adopted new practices that encourage the sustainable use of renewable resources, and/or protection of environmentally sensitive areas and has community involvement.

Shifting Gears 2014 Workplace Trasnsportation Challenge Award Winner - Micro Business

During the month of May, hundreds of workplaces, schools, and community members participated in the Peterborough transportation challenge, Shifting Gears. In the challenge, you can track your transportation trips – to work, school, the store, an appointment, or elsewhere – to win stellar and delicious prizes! By walking, cycling, riding transit, carpooling, and telecommuting a bit more frequently, we can improve our health and the health of our environment. 2014 Winners List

Sustainable Peterborough Partnership Recognition Awards Winner - Waste

"The Food Forest Café’s produces less than 1 bag of garbage per week! Since the restaurant is plant-based, they are able to compost 100% of leftover food and scraps. In 2015 they expanded their composting program by donating nearly 90 gallons of kitchen scraps per week to local farmers and gardeners, including St. Peter’s Secondary School for their garden.Furthermore, the Food Forest is able to compost all paper products, since they exclusively use unbleached biodegradable paper products and napkins. In renovating their new downtown location in 2015, they re-used and re-purposed pre-existing materials. They continue to encourage customers to bring their own takeout containers or charge a small fee for biodegradable containers."

“If people’s needs are met in compassionate and simple ways, the environment surrounding them will prosper.”

Policies and Practices

Takeout Containers

Write about the special containers that you use.


Bring in your own food and drink take-out containers and save the $0.25 charge!
The Food Forest charges a $0.25 fee for all take out containers. We have had amazing feed back and participation with guests bringing their own smoothie/juice containers, salad/sandwich containers, as well as soup bowls. This is drastically cutting down on our take-out containers and demotes waste that would be going to the landfill or recycling plants.

Note: we do not have any take-out cutlery at our cafe, thanks for understanding!

Here is one of the reasons we have opted out of disposable plastics.

Composting at 100 per cent at The Food Forest

It’s the end of the lunch rush and Food Forest Cafe is buzzing with conversation, so Adam Deck and Katie Tuma suggest we do our interview out back.

Turns out they were speaking literally. We head outside to an open area behind the Water St. restaurant. Three mismatched chairs, which I later learn likely came from a thrift store, are waiting for us.

Next to the chairs are a few orange, five-gallon pails. Katie says there would usually be a lot more. The pails hold food scraps that farmers and gardeners pick up and use for compost, returning the pails later. During an average week Food Forest gives away 18 pails of the stuff, or 90 gallons.

Deck waves toward a brick wall that separates the courtyard area behind this section of Hunter St. buildings from those along Water St.

On the other side of the wall is a large dumpster bin that other restaurants in the block share and pay to have hauled away.

“Because we’re a plant-based restaurant 100 per cent of our food waste can be composted,” Deck says. “So, at the end of the week we have less than one garbage bag.”

That’s less garbage than most households produce. It goes to the curb for pickup by the city, a big cost saving for them and a load off the landfill site.

Food Forest is vegan and gluten free. It’s no coincidence that the plant-based nature of their menu produce minimal garbage. Deck and Tuma are health and ecology advocates first and restaurateurs second.

They met while studying ecological restoration at Fleming College in Lindsay.

Inspired by what they were learning. they looked for a way to make a difference on their own. A vegan restaurant run on strict environmental principles was a natural outlet.

Tuma describes their relationship as “partners in life and in the restaurant.”

Food Forest opened three years ago in a smaller George St. location just north of downtown. A year ago they expanded to the 32-seat Hunter St. site, where they have 10 employees.

The restaurant’s fun, quirky feel fits its clientele and its owners’ personalities, but it was put together with intent.

Pine boards used during the interior renovation are all recovered scrap, most of it sourced from Deck’s father, who owns Deck Transport, a third-generation local trucking firm.

“We also do a lot of thrifting,” Tuma says. “Most of our small pots and cups and teapots are from the thrift store. . . . We aren’t really fans of buying all new.”

When possible they go beyond re-use to “don’t use.”

They don’t give out cutlery as part of their busy take-out business. Take-out containers are made from cane juice pulp, not paper, but they would rather you not use them at all. They charge 25 cents per container and encourage customers to bring their own instead.

“After doing a couple hundred of those orders that saves a lot of waste,” Deck says.

“And gets the conversation going,” Tuma adds. “We have really strict policies – our non-straw in house policy; we don’t give out take-out cutlery – things like that those create conversations, which makes some people uncomfortable but it allows us to explain why we’re doing it and that causes them to think about things in a different way.” They buy their organic vegetables locally whenever possible – Jenny Ross of Earth Nook Farm is their main local provider – and manage the entire business with a mindset of being sustainable, waste free and low carbon.

But the key element, they say, is serving only plant-based food.

“In regards to climate change, wth animal agriculture, especially the intense factory farming that goes on, the greenhouse gas emissions are more than all transportation combined,” Tuma says.

They see no endpoint to their sustainable journey.

“It shouldn’t just stop at a green promise or something like that,” Tuma says. “We kind of assess what we can improve on and how we can get the community involved. It’s fun … fun having that role.”

This is one of a series of articles commissioned and paid for by Sustainable Peterborough and published in partnership with The Peterborough Examiner. By Jim Hendry, Peterborough Examiner, original article published Saturday, June 18, 2016.
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