We at the National aim to provide our customers with great food while, at the same time, supporting vibrant local economic, social and ecological communities. The vendors we have chosen to provide us with the ingredients for your meal are selected for their ability to help us provide you with delicious and sustainable food. Our efforts, as a restaurant, also aim for sustainability, and attempt to inspire similar efforts in our community.
At the National, we are committed to growing sustainable local economic, ecological and social communities. By eating or shopping with us you enter a community that reaches from your plate to the farms and communities your food comes from. Our relationships with our great vendors create sustainable agricultural and economic communities, as well as help us all eat well.
However, we also try to do our part at the National, to make a healthier planet for us all to live in. Nearly all of our compostable food waste finds its way into our compost piles, which provide our garden with nutrients to grow food for your plate, and provides our employees with a chance to learn about composting skills to apply to their own lives and communities. By employing a compost pile, an average of 20-30% of waste is saved from our already overfull landfills. It also provides a nearly cost free source of fertilizer for our organic gardens.
We have also reclaimed concrete to grow food for you on, by building raised beds of soil atop the one time concrete. The placement of soil on concrete also helps us limit the amount of water draining from our yard into the local, overstressed sewage system. Right now, we’re growing cucumbers, cilantro, chard and basil on what used to be unused and crumbling concrete. Other, once overgrown yard space, is also being put to work growing food for your meals, which means less food is being shipped for our restaurant and your plate. By gardening, we are using less energy, less fossil fuels, and no harmful chemicals.
These are just some of our efforts to support sustainability in our personal and business practices. If you’re interested in composting, gardening or more, just ask! We’d be more than happy to help you learn how to use these practices in your home or community.
The Braise restaurant supported agriculture program, commonly known as an R.S.A., works to provide restaurants in the Milwaukee area with produce and meat sourced to local farms. By working with local farms, and connecting them to customers at restaurants, Braise RSA allows local farms to remain competitive economically while retaining their unique identities and sustainable practices. The restaurant-members of the RSA, such as the National, cut their carbon footprint by reducing the “food miles” of their dishes, support local economies and provide customers with one-of-a-kind, delicious, sustainable and healthful meals. While our customers at the National eat produce, including asparagus, greens, lettuce, apples, and many other weekly surprises they can know their food came from farms in Milwaukee, East Troy or Markesan. Even our bacon and pork are sourced to Markesan, Wisconsin. To learn more about Braise RSA, including the RSA, their cooking classes, home delivery and events visit www.braiseculinaryschool.com
Simple Soyman has been providing Wisconsin with soy products of incredible quality and variety since 1983, under the Bountiful Bean label. All of the soy food products at the National, including tofu, vegetarian sloppy joes and our Vegan Hot Chocolate Cookies, are provided by Simple Soyman. This local company uses exclusively locally grown and organic soy beans, enriching local economies and encouraging sustainable farming while avoiding the social and environmental consequences of imported soy products. Next time you are enjoying your tofu scramble, give yourself a pat on the back for supporting sustainable agricultural and business practices. To learn more about the problems with non-local soy farming, and why to support local and organic soy production, visit http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/last-of-amazon.html
Growing Power supplies the National, and consequently your plate, with sprouts and watercress from their urban Milwaukee farm as well as honey, syrup and other products from various local farms. Since 1993, Growing Power, working out of the last surviving farm in the city of Milwaukee, has provided innovative answers to questions of urban agriculture, food security, equal access to food and the racism within food distribution and production. Growing Power continues to break ground in the field of permaculture. Founder, Will Allen, was a 2008 recipient of the prestigious Macarthur “Genius Grant”. We at the national are proud to support agricultural innovation while providing you with terrific food. For more information on Growing Power visit www.growingpower.org
, for a New York Times profile on Will Allen visit http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/dining/01genius.html
, or for a brief introduction to permaculture visit http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/perma.html
Sugar River Dairy
The yogurt served at the National comes from Sugar River Dairy, located in Green County, WI. Sugar River Dairy has been making small batch cow’s milk yogurt since 2002 from locally sourced milk, over half of which comes from a neighbor’s farm. All milk is rBGH-free and comes from pasture-grazed cows. Sugar River Dairy’s commitment to local economies and socially and environmentally responsible production techniques make them the ideal partner for the National, helping us provide you with delicious and sustainable meals and snacks. Their yogurt is available for purchase at the West Allis Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, located at 65th and National Ave, or in your granola parfait and fruit bowls at the National.