Gourmet Food Truck Movement
In the Bay Area, food trucks are joining the ranks of community gardens and rooftop farms in changing and greening the urban food scene. Nowadays food trucks are taking a turn for the gourmet; many mobile “carts” are now offering fresh, local and healthy foods.
There are many environmental, economic, social and nutritional benefits to restaurants on wheels. While it’s true that many food trucks travel to different locations, emitting greenhouse gas emissions along the way, compared to actual restaurants, their carbon footprints are actually pretty small. Conventional restaurants still use a ton of electricity, water and cleaning services, and in many cases import their ingredients from all over the world. Due to their nature, food trucks conserve resources like water, and while they may move around town, most tend to park in locations with good foot traffic and move only once or twice a day.
Every food truck generates tax revenue for the city, employs local residents and doesn’t need much infrastructure or formal support. The positive impact on the city transcends mere economics. Mobile eateries can also increase access to healthy, culturally-appropriate foods within low-income, underserved neighborhoods. Additionally, they foster lively street scenes and social awareness of food production and consumption.
Off the Grid
The "Off the Grid" Bay Area Food Truck Coalition includes many sustainable vendors. Off the Grid markets began with the simple idea that grouping street food vendors together would create an experience that would allow neighbors to connect with friends, and families to reconnect with each other. Since then, Off the Grid has worked hard to develop markets that are located in urban cores of cities, and markets that utilize spaces that are not activated effectively throughout the day. Currently, Off the Grid operates 15 weekly markets in the greater Bay Area, and works with 100+ vendors weekly. In San Francisco, Off the Grid holds a weekly Friday night Market at Fort Mason including 30 trucks, a full bar, and live music. (Off the Grid website)
"Roaming Hunger" San Francisco Food Truck Information Hub is the focal point for all things street food in San Francisco. Visit the hub and follow all SF food trucks and food carts live!
Here is a list of a few of the eco-friendly food trucks in San Francisco, offering healthier options for you and the environment.
- Let’s Be Frank's hot dogs are made from 100 percent local and 100 percent grass-fed beef or pork made from animals humanely raised on family farms. All of the meat is free of nitrites, artificial flavors, colors, fillers and preservatives and animals are raised without antibiotics or hormones. Buns are locally-made using organic flour and even the condiments are organic! (EcoCentric Blog)
- Liba offers traditional Middle Eastern falafels and salads with unique add-ons like rosemary peanuts and olive-orange relish with thyme. Everything is made daily from scratch and ingredients are mostly organic, including California produce. Packaging is compostable and used oil gets turned into biofuel. (EcoCentric Blog)
- Little Green Cyclo has been bringing fresh, delicious, Vietnamese street food to the greater Bay Area for the past year. They believe in supporting local businesses, reducing our carbon footprints and in using as much all natural or organic ingredients as possible. They use only reusable, recyclable or compostable products. They also believe in giving back to the community. A percentage of their proceeds are donated to a different charity each month and they make drop-offs at the local food banks. To date, they have donated close to $5,000 in cash to multiple charities.
Ferry Plaza Farmer's MarketThe Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is a California Certified Farmers Market operated by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) . They run three markets per week, all of which take place at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Since 1993, the market has been a crucial link between local residents and the farmers who practice sustainable agriculture in the region. Markets occur:
Tuesday: 10am - 2pm
Thursday: 10am - 2pm
Saturday: 8am - 2pm
The Farmers Market is a shining example of a sustainable food system and educational source for visitors.
CUESA is dedicated to promoting a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. They envision a healthy world nourished by sustainable food systems, and shall contribute to this vision by actively connecting, engaging and supporting all participants within our regional food system; presenting substantive education programs and serving as a resource for information on sustainable food systems; operating world-class farmers markets that develop and support regional sustainable farm operations.
A food system is the inter-relationship of agricultural systems, their economic, social, cultural, and technological support systems, and systems of food distribution and consumption. A sustainable food system uses practices that are environmentally sound, humane, economically viable and socially just.
Sustainable agriculture uses these same practices and is reflected in CUESA’s four guiding principles of sustainable market vendor production:
Environmentally Sound – Market vendors use environmentally sound and safe food production, packaging and distribution practices and actively source ingredients from local sustainable producers.
Humane Animal Management – Market vendors actively source animal products from producers that use humane animal management practices.
Economically Viable – Market vendors operate within a framework of sound business planning and pursue integrated and proactive approaches to marketing and sales.
Socially Just – Market vendors and their employees receive fair and reasonable compensation and work in a safe and respectful environment.
Ecovian is a hub for San Francisco’s green restaurants. Restaurant greenness is based on the amount of organic food, local food, and sustainable seafood on their menu, their use of recycled and recyclable/biodegradable disposables where relevant, and certifications encompassing a wide range of environmental practices where applicable.