By Sam Skopp
The West Los Angeles and Malibu chapter of The Surfrider Foundation has recently begun a program titled Ocean Friendly Restaurants, offering a certification for restaurants whose practices are determined to be environmentally sustainable. On Saturday, March 4, the Ocean Friendly Restaurants program gathered at Bareburger on Main Street, an Ocean Friendly Restaurant, to discuss the program amongst both program veterans and prospective volunteers, as well as offer hands-on experience within the restaurant itself.
The event was structured as an informal workshop, including an informational talk by three program heads, with time given for questions and feedback from participants on how the program worked, or how to improve its certification program.
Ben, one of the workshop leads, explained that the certification process includes three primary steps: a meeting, a walk -through of the restaurant, and a follow-up about best practices that can be undertaken by the restaurant moving forward.
“You guys are essentially citizen scientists,” Ben said, explaining that the program’s volunteers are required to use their own set of expertise when undergoing these three certification steps.
The program not only offers a certification that restaurants can then advertise in their window, noting their ocean friendly practices, but also grants them access into a network of restaurants, explained Emily, another one of the workshop leads.
Bareburger was chosen as the venue for the workshop due to an existing relationship with the Surfrider Foundation. A representative from the nonprofit happened to eat at the restaurant regularly before approaching them about receiving a certification.
“It was an easy fit,” said restaurant co-owner Christopher Crouch. “What they are doing is exactly what we are trying to do.”
After the group meeting portion of the workshop, participants were then split into groups of three, and given the criteria for determining a restaurant to be an Ocean Friendly Restaurant, walked through Bareburger and took note of the extent of their environmentally sustainable practices.
“We help anyone who wants to understand the operations of a restaurant,” said Crouch.
For more information about the Ocean Friendly Restaurant program, visit wlam.surfrider.org/programs/ocean-friendly-restaurants.