My massive project is finally complete: a map showing the restaurants and grocers in Ann Arbor where you can buy humanely obtained meat, organic/local dairy and produce, and restaurants with at least a 50% vegetarian menu.
Each number on the map corresponds to a restaurant within an alphabetized list, along with its address and which foods are obtained in a humane manner (or whether the menu is at least 50% vegetarian.)
Categories include type of humane meat (poultry, beef, pork, fish), dairy, organic/local produce, and if the vendor provides predominantly vegetarian options. This could have been as complicated as breaking down which animals are hormone and antibiotic free, which animals are entirely vegetarian-fed, which animals are cage-free or free-range, whether produce is organic but not necessarily local, or vice-versa, which restaurants provide a number of vegan options as well as vegetarian, along with many other specifics that I opted not to delve into for the time being.
Research involved quite a bit of reading between the lines. No restaurant or grocer is going to say “we acquire our meat from inhumane sources”, so when a vendor says “our chicken is organic, and our beef products are acquired locally” then one has to look at what isn’t being said about the other food products, which is of course tricky. Also, if a restaurant is shown on the map to source humane beef and poultry but not pork, it does not necessarily indicate that they serve inhumane pork; they may not serve that type of meat at all.
There’s some further simplification involved by using these sweeping categories. Consider a restaurant such as Sava’s, which sources all local beef, locally obtains produce during peak crop season but not the remainder of the year, locally sources all baked goods and some fish, and locally sources most of their cheeses but not their milks or creams. There is no real succinct way to communicate this, so I generalized.
During the research process, I learned that many vendors arrive at the same end – humane/local/organic products – through very different means. A restaurant that prioritizes dealing business locally is likely to end up with humanely raised meat; a restaurant that prioritizes high quality ingredients and personally knowing each of their ingredient vendors is likely to end up dealing locally; while not equivalent, these issues are highly interrelated.
So, my fellow Ann Arbor-ites: help me continue to expand and improve this! Are there restaurants I’m missing? Have any of these locations expanded the humane foods they offer? Let me know!
It is no small feat for a business – especially a small one – to be so conscientious of its sourcing, especially in such a competitive market. Please support these restaurants and grocers that are making this valiant effort.
*map last updated 8.23.2011