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Uncommon Ground: Greenest Restaurant In America

In the midst of the environmental chaos that our world is in, it’s comforting to know that many of today’s businesses try to do their share in saving our ecosystem.

Take Chicago’s Uncommon Ground restaurant, for example, which was hailed as the Greenest Restaurant in America. It garnered the highest scores in all seven of the Green Restaurant Association’s grading categories: food, energy, waste, water, building, pollution production and disposables.

The Green Restaurant Association is a national non-profit group that gives restaurants and diners an avenue to become environmentally responsible in a cost-effective and convenient way. It helps restaurants go green, assists diners look for a green restaurant that they can support, help sustainable manufacturers get endorsed, and helps distributors green their product line. The association gives corresponding ratings and points to restaurants that seek their accreditation—providing environmental assessments, consulting, and a transparent certification program that helps them become more environmentally sustainable.

The Uncommon Ground restaurant on Devon Ave., Chicago obtained a top score of 365 points for employing groundbreaking sustainable measures in their business operations. This includes the use of old fryer oil as their fuel, solar panels, and a 640-square-foot rooftop farm that harvested over 700 pounds of organic produce this past year. The organic crops that they grow and which their chefs in outstanding chef uniform use in their menu items include varieties of hot and sweet peppers, eggplants, heirloom tomatoes, lettuces, beets, radishes, spinach, okra, mustard, fennel, shallots and bush beans. They also grow organic herbs like thyme, rosemary, garlic chives, chives, parsley, sage, dill, lavender, mint, basil, anise and hyssop.

The owners, Michael and Helen Cameron, have really intended from the start to build the organic production farm at the time that they constructed their Devon location in 2007.

The restaurant was also able to develop a highly efficient composting and recycling program, making the idea of wastage an uncommon thing in their business. As the sun’s natural energy grow the restaurant’s organic food on its rooftop, the remaining natural rays power the restaurant’s solar thermal range that heats their water, providing Uncommon Ground with free and renewal energy daily. Even its furniture is made of reused and reclaimed wooden materials. Customers are assured of safe food; too, as their chefs in superior chef uniform make sure that the locally produced ingredients that they use in their food are free of harmful herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones.

“We take great pride in raising our restaurant’s bar and now become the Greenest Restaurant in the U.S.,” said Helen Cameron. “We are sincere in running a business that is Certified Green, and we wish to challenge all other restaurants in the country to surpass what we have done to take better care and give more attention to our planet, as well as ourselves.”