Chowgirls Groundwork Series Promotes Sustainability



EDITOR’S NOTE: The Groundwork Series has been cancelled.

This post is sponsored by Chowgirls Killer Catering.

While embracing a deep commitment to environmental and social sustainability, Chowgirls Killer Catering creates delicious, approachable menus for events of all kinds. Chowgirls’ commitment to sustainable operations is put into practice with careful ingredient sourcing, thoughtful purchasing strategies, and waste reduction at every step.

Chowgirls’ approach to sustainability, in addition to supporting the local economy and benefiting the environment, pays off financially. The award-winning caterers have seen robust business growth in their 10 years, and they are preparing to move into a larger, more energy efficient facility in 2015. “Operating sustainably is part of who we are and it makes sound business sense for us. We think it does for our peers too,” notes Chowgirls Boss Lady Heidi Andermack.

As of March 2014, Chowgirls staff had recycled and composted their way to a 97% waste diversion rate / Chowgirls / Source: Eureka Recycling
As of March 2014, Chowgirls staff had recycled and composted their way to a 97% waste diversion rate / Source: Eureka Recycling

To share this knowledge and guide others through the maze of options, Chowgirls has partnered with Dylan Skybrook of Skybrook Group (pictured below) to host Groundwork, a workshop series that covers the basics of using sustainability strategies to run a food business. Groundwork is specifically geared toward owners, managers, and workers in the food service industry who want to learn more about how to make their operations more sustainable.

“We’re lucky in Minneapolis to have leaders like Alex Roberts (Brasa, Alma), Kim Bartmann (Barbette, Red Stag, Tiny Diner), and Tracy Singleton (Birchwood) who have shown that it is possible to thrive in the food business while supporting local farmers and being low waste,” says Andermack (pictured below). “With Groundwork, Chowgirls wants to help others learn about the basics in a comfortable setting so they can join us in our sustainability efforts.”

Groundwork starts on Monday, August 11 from 1 to 4pm, with Intro to Sustainability: The Natural Step Framework, an overview and introduction to sustainability and the Natural Step Framework, which shifts the idea of sustainability from “doing good” to a method of competent decision-making. The workshop is designed to broaden perspectives and empower participants so they may support efforts toward sustainability in the workplace.


The next workshop, Intro to Climate Change: Effects on Food, on Monday, August 18, from 1 to 4pm, tackles the big issue of climate change and provides an introduction to the science in easy-to-understand language.  A special focus will be given to the likely effects to our food system and what might be done to mitigate those effects in the future.

Groundwork concludes on Monday, August 25, from 1 to 4pm, with Ten Easy Ways to be Green: For Restaurants & Caterers. This workshop for owners and managers will simplify and demystify sustainability. Attendees will learn about sourcing food locally, decreasing kitchen waste, instituting best practices for recycling, avoiding “green-washing,” and more. No prior sustainability experience is required.

The highly practical series is designed for those who work in food service; however, anyone can gain useful knowledge from the first two general workshops.

The cost is $150 per workshop or $400 to attend all three. Chowgirls sustainability consultant Dylan Skybrook will lead the first two workshops. For the final session, he will be joined by Heidi Andermack, CFO and co-owner of Chowgirls Killer Catering.

More information and tickets are available via the Groundwork Eventbrite page