Vegan seasonal restaurant
Our approach to reducing our environmental impact
ALL our products come from the following choices: from organic farming (or equivalent label), from producers in transition to organic farming or equivalent, or from wild harvests, or from solidarity pickers (they collect products that would not have not otherwise collected).
The scientific reports are clear*, eating locally will not be enough to significantly reduce our impact. (we also beleive that local synthetic pesticides are not better for your health when we give priority to organic Rhône Alpine rather than conventional Isère...). Transport accounts for 13% of the emissions of a plant product, its method of agriculture for 67%, this is why we choose products that are cultivated in a respectful manner ( at minimum organic, then equivalent labels) rather than the closest product. We also consider the lives of the millions of insects, bacteria and fungi that inhabit the earth essential for a healthy Earth. The end of synthetic products is therefore essential in our eyes, and this is only the minimum! (Do you know any agroforestry farmers in Isère who are willing to work with restaurants? (large volumes) Let us know!
No bottled water. We give out filtered still or sparkling water for free. We avoid ridiculous transports of bottled water, and we also say no to the sale of a vital ressource for profit.
We use all the water from washing, cleaning and cooking our veggies to feed our plants. We don't salt any water to be able to recover it (but also because salted water is not without repercussions downstream.
We also recover all leftovers from the bottles our guests leave to the same purpose. Our plants drink only recycled water, which seems essential to us, especially after the water scarcity alerts of the 2022 summer (which is bound to repeat itself more often in the coming years). This allows us to keep a nice amount of plants without taking a toll on the city's water supply. If you have a jungle in your house, there are plenty of water saving techniques you can do to do the same. There are plenty of ideas on the internet..
Our water reserves concern us all!
Fruits and veggies
ALL of our veggies comme from a span of 40km around the restaurant. Concerning fruits, they are for the big majority from Isère, but global warming episodes being more and more frequent, and organic fruits supply lacking farmers in Isère, we sometimes use Drome (neighbour region) or very rarely French organic fruits (very rarely). There is an exception concerning all citrus, we use Corsican or Italian organic citrus (very rarely spanish) because they don't grow very well in our region.
We strive to work as much as possible with local producers and actors. As organic farming in Isère has deficiencies (especially in legumes, cereals and seeds) we fall back on French production, the vast majority of which are those of Alliance bio, in the Lot et Garonne region, which has a wide variety of these products. For example, if we only consumed organic legumes from Isère, we would only have green lentils and chickpeas and only part of the year since production is far from meeting demand.. (and as a reminder, Isère is in the top 5 French legume producers, but all these endless fields of soya and pesticides are only used to feed livestock...)
Our purchasing priority always follows the following logic: Grenoble and surrounding areas, Isère, then Rhône Alpes, then France, and as a last resort and rarely, the countries surrounding France (Germany, Italy and Spain).
Total transparency: European laws on origin labeling being what they are, it happened to us, at the beginning (2019-2020), to buy products supposed to be French, Spanish or Italian, but which are in reality just packaged or processed in these countries, and the real origin is outside Europe (for example, around ten olive oils that we thought were European when ordering, actually turn out to be Tunisian.. .). However, we are very attentive to the labels and do not repurchase these products.
If the laws require the origin of raw materials to be displayed on labels, it does not under any circumstances require them to be displayed on price lists, catalogs, sales sites, etc. dedicated to professionals... We learned from our mistakes and this hasn't happened to us for several years, we spend more time placing an order which could only take us a few minutes if the origins were correctly displayed, but it takes us now a few days and several email exchanges, the time to discuss the different origins of the raw materials of the products by email...
(the main products on which we encountered this problems: Many different oils, most coming from a French supplier supposed to be a major player in organic French oils, (look closely at the AB labels on the labels , you will see most of the time EU/Non-EU because most of their raw materials come from far away). Olives and capers supposed to be Italian or Spanish, are in reality only processed in these countries and generally come from Tunisia, or from Turkey.
The five exceptions (soon to be 2)
We made five exceptions concerning the sourcing of far away produce. They all came from organic and fair trade exchanges.
Chocolate comes from Kaoka, which is exemplary on their way of preserving the forest through agroforestry, and also preserving old chocolate strains. They are labelled biopartenaire which guarantees fair pay to their suppliers.
Coffee is a very important staple of our identity. Michel comes from Colombia, and knows the circumstances coffee farmers live in. It was impossible for us to consider working anything else than the best coffee in a social and environmental setting. Our coffees pay a fair wage and have labels to prove it. They are all organic because coffee is one of the main consumers of synthethic pesticides in the world.
Montagnes café has an organic and fair trade label in all their coffees. They also think about the emissions they cause themselves, they are the first roaster we have worked with that has installed a filter on their roaster to reduce the pollution of air.
Sugar used to come from small organic latino coops. since 2023 we have found a serious organic beetroot sugar supplier, and so our sugar is no longer part of this list. it comes from France or Germany.
Spices used to come from two suppliers, Place des epices and Epices de Shira. We have made the decision to resort to using local spices and herbs and will so be abandoning far away spices as soon as our stocks are out. When the stocks are out, we will only work french and neighbour countries spices and herbs.
Tea used to come from Jardins de Gaia, a very serious supplier in the world of tea. We have made the decision to stop using tea as soon as our stocks run out since we have a big variety of local infusions.
All of our furniture comes from upcycling, or is made by ourselves with FSC wood from Chartreuse or France.
From leaves to roots
Since we opened, we try to use as much of our produce as we can. We use all edible parts of our produce. There is no part that goes to compost before having served a purpose before doing so. (total transparency, we are not perfect, we have a small team and it can happen that we have to throw away some edible parts because we lacked the time(this happens rarely))
This seems like such an obvious one in Grenoble, but when you leave the region you quickly come to face the reality of recycling in other parts of France or Europe... We divide all of our waste for efficient recycling. Organic waste is the majority of our waste and ends in the cities compost center. We try to give whatever we can a second, or third life. We gather all of the bubble wrap or paper to give to our ceramists so they can protect their creations.
We try to avoid plastic packaging as we can, we are conscious that most of our waste in the recycling bin will never be recycled, so we give a priority to paper, that can be composted. We believe a composted waste is better than a burnt waste or one that ends in a landfill..
We inherited the AC from the previous owner. We found out the moment it pollutes the most is at the end of it's life because it's life, so we decided to keep it and only use it when temperatures go beyond 30°. (even though 30° is bearable to eat, when the room is filled with 28 people emitting heat, it can easily reach 33-36° which is unbearable to eat.. (and the temperature in the kitchen is usually at least 5° hotter than the guest room)
Using it this way we also get to protect most of our cooling equipment (fridges etc.) that is not meant to work in an environment as the last 3 heatwaves.
We also use or heating with care.We heat up to 18° which is the perfect amount to be confortable in a light sweater during our "coffee" hours( we were never meant to hang around in our tshirts during winter!)
With body heat, during dinner hours, with 28 people in the restaurant, the temperature will go up to 21-22° naturally.
It only took us two months to realise we were throwing perfectly clean napkins into the washing machine. This was not ok to use, so we decided to stop putting them at the tables, and instead put them in close proximity to the tables, so guests can use them only when they need them (or really want to have them).. Our old napkins were made by Claire in organic fabric. Our new napkins were made by prints of Grenoble using upcycled fabrics.
The results for this method? we reduced the usage of napkins by 60%, which means 60% less washing machine cycles, reduced water and energy consumption and preserving the fabrics by washing them less often.. (If you are not very environmentally minded, it also means 60% less time spent on washing..)
All of our cleaning products have different labels for their environmental safety tests. Being in a professional setting we have certain obligations concerning cleaning products, so we can't just use baking soda and vinegar.
We try as best as we can to set a reasonable amount of food in our dishes to limit food waste. We weighed all the the waste coming from your dishes for a month every day. On average there was 27 grams of waste for every 32 customers, or 0.84g for every person (in reality most of the waste usually comes from one or two plates). We are conscious that one month is not a very large sample, but we still use the some bin to recover waste and even though we don't weight it anymore, the volume has remained constant for 3 years..
Napkins were made by Claire using organic and fair trade fabrics. They are now made by Prints of Grenoble with upcycled fabrics.
The napkins in the WC are made of organic linen or hemp mixed with organic cotton.
Our aprons are made by prints of Grenoble using upcycled fabrics. Les serviettes de table sont en coton bio et équitable, brodées par Claire, ou en tissu recyclé par Prints of Grenoble.
The clothes bought by the restaurant are made in hemp, or organic cotton, or come from upcycling centers. (the safety shoes are made in recycled plastic)
Label Fig for good
We are part of the Fig for good label since 2020. This company accompanies and lists (for free!) restaurants that are serious about their impact and hav active efforts to reduce it. They have a platform available for exchanges between restaurants, they give advice and track what can be made better. They will also help you find better suppliers that are more sustainable if you need them. They verify our bills to verify that what we say is what we do.
We chose this label because we consider it essential that this type of label remains free, so that the ressources and advices for a more sustainable industry are not only kept to those that can afford it but to all. There is no reason for an ecofriendly label to be a paid label. As the IPCC reminds it (and we believe personally too), there will be no ecological transition without a social transition to accompany it, and keeping helpful resources behind a paywall is not part of the solution..
The restaurant opened as vegetarian because we did not claim to have the knowledge to make quality vegan cuisine. Throughout our journey, animal proteins were dominant, even in restaurants which advocated “plant-based cuisine” animal proteins were omnipresent on almost all dishes. The worst part, at cooking school, although renowned, the place of vegetables only counted for two weeks in a two and a half year course, and all of the dishes cooked during these weeks included one or more animal proteins... (Each animal protein had 2 weeks dedicated individually). Even today, most cooking schools refuse to allow apprentices to come to us because they cannot work with animal proteins here. At a time when almost all scientists are calling for a reduction of between 20 and 70% in the consumption of animal proteins, most schools are therefore sadly stuck in another time... (It is not completelyy their fault, in the official apprenticeship course to be followed in the company, all of the dishes to be made include one or more animal proteins.). The restaurant became vegan after 6 months, the time it took us to find our ways in vegan cuisine.
Sources on the difference between a meat based diet and veggie or vegan diet concerning it's environmental impacts:
Sources for the neccesity to buy organic at the very least (the ideal being agroforestry)
Jamais seul, - Marc André Selosse
Environnement & agriculture, Les chiffres clés. Édition 2018 - COMMISARIAT GENERAL AU DEVELOPPEMENT DURABLE