Our food systems are continuing to move in a direction where automation, convenience foods, and food waste are the norms. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to invest in producers, restaurants, and organizations whose passion it is to reintroduce slow food to our communities and to bring people together through meaningful shared experiences of food.
The significance of these kind of shared experiences of real food that are essential to our cultures and well-being are oftentimes overlooked in favor of convenience. And, while convenience certainly has its merits, supporting local producers, creating healthy food, and sharing knowledge about growing and making good food will help us build a healthy, sustainable community that has a strong local economy, a harmonious environment, and healthy people.
Below are 3 businesses and organizations that are bringing us back to our roots, connecting the community, protecting the environment, and sharing delicious food.
One Hospitality Group
Many York natives may have heard of the farm-to-table restaurant, Tutoni’s, that has been raising the bar with their fresh pasta, local ingredients, and unique ambiance. What may not be so well known, however, is the work Tutoni’s and One Hospitality Group are doing to revive the local food economy, create opportunities for food entrepreneurs, and unite the York community over quality food.
Tutoni’s serves dishes made from local ingredients, which requires a seasonal menu that keeps customers on their toes. Using ingredients from local farmers and producers not only allows the restaurant to offer fresh food to customers, but also keeps transportation emissions at a minimum and supports local business owners by creating a market for their products. Tutoni’s chef also strives to use 100% of the food that comes into his kitchen in order to decrease food waste.
Tutoni’s hosts cooking classes and “Chef’s Tables,” which introduce participants to scratch cooking and educate the community on “slow food.” Tutoni’s will soon begin their “Dinner Spotlights,” which will feature local producers and growers at a long table dinner that is open to the public.
Another venue that is tied into the One Hospitality Group franchise is Taste Test, a restaurant incubator that provides local “restaurateurs” with mentorship, a place to showcase their ideas, and opportunities to gain funding for their own brick and mortar restaurants.
As if One Hospitality Group wasn’t already doing an incredible amount to provide economic opportunities to entrepreneurs, producers, and farmers in York, they are also developing an innovative investment platform for entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry. Stay tuned for more details when they unveil their new website!
Horn Farm is a significant advocate for environmental sustainability in York County, while also creating economic value in the community and environment. Since its creation, Horn Farm has saved 186 acres from industrial development and set on a mission to preserve farmland in York County. Now, they share York’s rich agricultural history with the community through various classes, which fall into topics such as ecological design, foraging, wilderness skills, gardening and farming, and cooking.
In addition to preserving the land and engaging in restorative agriculture in order to leave the land better than it was found, Horn Farm strives to contribute to economic development in York by supporting independent farmers and creating economic value through their restoration projects. The Incubator Farm Project aids independent farmers in creating small, sustainable farms by providing resources and developing a local market for their products.
Horn Farm has created a local market through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, which provide weekly harvests for a subscription, and their Online Farmstand. In addition to their vegetable CSA, Horn Farm now also offers egg, pork, and mushrooms CSAs!
An exciting upcoming project that Horn Farm is working on is the development of a multifunctional riparian buffer along the Susquehanna River. This will not only prevent erosion and filter out pollutants in runoff water, but also provide plants with both economic and ecological value, such as various fruits, nuts, berries, and plants that can be used in floral arrangements.
While Horn Farm’s focus is on environmental sustainability, many of their projects and programs contribute to economic development in York County and support the development of a sense of community around the environment and food.
Sonnewald Natural Foods
Sonnewald, which is Pennsylvania Dutch for Sunny Forest, is a natural food store that is situated on 60-acres of chemical-free farmland and has been pioneering sustainable living since the mid 1940’s, which has included cultivating their farm organically and advocating for recycling and composting. The farm even has one of the oldest solar residences in Pennsylvania on its premises. In the store, Sonnewald offers fresh produce, a health and wellness section, and items from local producers.
In addition to offering real, healthy food, Sonnewald has a strong focus on providing educational opportunities, both within their store and on their farm. They offer Farm Tours during the Made in America week during the summer and will be offering their last Weed Walk of the year on Saturday, October 13. They are currently in the process of developing an outdoor classroom to accommodate larger groups of people and to allow for a true connection to the environment during classes and events.
Another exciting endeavor of theirs is the Sonnewald Life Institute that is being developed in Stoverstown, at the site of the old fire hall. Their aim is to renovate the building and create a net zero structure that will act as a community center with fitness classes, alternative health solutions, and meeting spaces, as well as house a cafe that will become a meeting place where meaningful connections can be made.
Sonnewald’s ultimate goal, however, is to encourage people to live in harmony with others and all aspects of the environment and expand their capacity to connect the community with each other and the environment. Find out how to get involved on their website or contact them to stay up to date on new happenings!