28 Sep Irregardless Cafe’s Journey with Sustainability
Irregardless has been leading the pack in sustainability since we opened in 1975. Chef Arthur and his wife Anya, our founders, have been adamant about running a sustainable business the whole time. It all began with a recycling program. In the 1980s, recycling pickups were not common like they are today; they were actually scarce or unheard of, especially in residential areas. Jon Bograd, now the restaurant’s General Manager, was the founder of our recycling program. He began simple – picking up the cardboard and glass bottles and taking them to a drop center.
This was not exactly a profitable or enjoyable activity, but he says, “we cared about the way things were disposed of and how we use things”. He also recalled that, “Arthur was all for recycling, even back then, and recycling was an idea that no one caught onto yet. The process of recycling didn’t involve much, but it required the people participating here to think twice about throwing something away. He asked the employees to do it and they did”. It’s hard to imagine the sheer volume of glass and cardboard we have prevented from being dumped into nearby rivers or landfills in the past 43 years. It just goes to show that a little bit of effort can make a lot of difference when it comes to taking care of the world around us. Other measures have also been taken within our restaurant to limit waste, including switching to biodegradable straws.
The environmental efforts did not stop there. In 2012, Arthur and Anya partnered with other families in purchasing 1321 Athens Dr, a plot of land originally distributed by the government to freed slaves – the Jones family. After purchasing this land from their descendants, a well was discovered on the garden – remnants of the farm that had once been there, hence its present name, The Well Fed Community Garden. Today, the residents of the property are employees of Irregardless and participate in organic farming practices. Eighty percent of the crop goes into dishes at the restaurant or in our catering division, and the rest is donated to volunteers and neighbors. By creating our own, local source of responsibly-farmed produce, our carbon footprint is drastically reduced due to short transportation routes and the absence of harsh chemicals. The farm also composts their waste to use as fertilizer and takes care of chickens and honeybees, further contributing to environmental health and supporting local ecosystems.
Whether you consume animal products or not, committing to a diet of natural, minimally processed, responsibly sourced foods is beneficial to both you and the planet. We have made it our mission to provide that for our customers.
If you’d like to become a part of our mission by volunteering or taking part in one of our events, visit www.irregardless.com/events
Written by Evan Embree
Irregardless Cafe Social Media Specialist & Blogger