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Sweetgrass First to Be REAL-Certified in Washington State

October 26, 2015

Original article posted in QSR 

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The United States Healthful Food Council announced the first dining establishment in Seattle to become REAL Certified. Sweetgrass Food Co., which opens its first location this week, has been recognized for its commitment to Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL). Sweetgrass is the collaboration between a Seattle couple with a passion for wholesome food. Its menu emphasizes whole foods from local, sustainable, and organic suppliers.

“Sweetgrass was born out of our equal love of Seattle and good, wholesome food,” says cofounder Colleen Kerr. “We’ve been fortunate enough to encounter many likeminded people along the way, and it’s an honor to become Seattle’s first REAL Certified restaurant.”

REAL Certified is a growing national program that helps combat diet-related disease by recognizing foodservice operators committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship. Modeled after the LEED green building program, REAL Certified is the trusted, nationally recognized mark of excellence for food and foodservice operators that follow nutrition and sustainability best practices.

“The Pacific Northwest lifestyle is one of fresh, local, and minimal influences, making it the perfect food culture to embrace sustainability and spearhead a transformation in the foodservice industry,” says Melissa Rouse, the USHFC’s representative for the Pacific Northwest.

USHFC’s third-party registered dietitians (RDs) utilize the points-based REAL Index to audit and certify restaurants, cafeterias, and corporate cafés across a range of criteria such as the utilization of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthful preparation methods, moderate portion sizes, behavioral components that encourage “better for you” choices, and sustainable sourcing practices. Only those that satisfy the necessary requirements are awarded the certification.