Seed believes in providing diners with an incredible and affordable dining experience made from local, organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. We sat down with owner Edgar Cooper, to hear about how their organization plans to create a more sustainable New Orleans.
Tell us how Seed got started.
While volunteering in Borneo last fall, I could see the impacts of habitat loss on both the environment and natural wildlife. Inspired by the volunteers at Matang Wildlife Center, I returned to New Orleans wanted to make a different. Bringing a sustainable plant based restaurant to New Orleans has been a dream for some time but ultimately required the inspiration of the many volunteers at Matang Wildlife Center to prompt action. Sustainable and local farming is critical to the future of the environment and wildlife worldwide. Seed thrives on quality, finding only the best local, organic, or purely natural ingredients. Our mission is to grow a fresh and sustainable dining experience grounded in New Orleans taste.
What are some of your proudest moments as owner of Seed?
Seed has brought together a core family of entrepreneurs, chefs, artists and like-minded people who have worked incredibly hard to develop a great menu and culture focused on sustainable dining. We are hopeful to not only serve great food but educate and promote environmental causes both locally and worldwide.
How does your organization go about improving your social and environmental impacts?
Many people are skeptical that plant based cuisine can have such flavor and substance. We believe that educating people on how to use and mix organic and natural plant based ingredients will easily sway hearts and minds toward a more sustainable diet and lifestyle.
What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as a company?
Seed works both locally and globally to support charities. We will be donating a percentage of sales of specific menu items to the Humane Society of Louisiana and Project Orangutan. We believe that we truly are one planet and the world has become so connected that we must think and act both globally and locally. We hope that these charities can provide support for animals and wildlife world wide.
As a restaurant seeking to be organic AND local, Seed has invested countless hours trying to find local organic farms to source ingredients. In the end, most local farms are not organic because of the costs associated with that certification – resulting in tough choices between organic and local. Seed has chosen to visit farms and see how things are grown first hand – then make a decision on choosing a local and natural farm even if not certified.
In a perfect world, the money spent on farm subsidies would be redirected to certify and document farming practices including certifying organic farms. By increasing transparency and removing the certification costs from the individual farmers, we would see less genetically modified and more organic, natural foods creating a healthier and more sustainable planet.
What advice would you give to other businesses who are trying to improve their internal practices to benefit their city and state?
Finding local green businesses can be a challenge – and green means different things to different people. Unfortunately, in the consumer world we live in, things are often easier in a rush or emergency to make a non-green choice. Working with MyLifeCity to help find and quantify how green business is invaluable. The best advice that I have is to plan ahead and try to make long term decisions and not react to short term needs. Seed has worked hard to make good choices but we also have a long list of things that we can do better and will do better in the future.
Anything else you would like to tell our community of Green Card members and Green Businesses such as upcoming events or promotions they should look out for?
Seed is looking forward to supporting and participating in NOLA Veggie Fest (www.nolaveggiefest.com). The festival brings a number of people and groups together for environmental and animal related causes. It would be really helpful to grow the number of businesses and participants to help educate and promote NOLA as one of the greenest cities in the country.