RESTAURANT “CERTIFIED LOCAL” PROGRAM*
Thank you for your interest in our Certified Local program. We believe that this initiative will benefit restaurants, farmers and food producers and, ultimately, consumers. Restaurants serving locally produced food meet an increased demand, farmers experience expansion of the market for their product and consumers are served fresh, healthier and better tasting food.
Our goal for this voluntary program is that it be a positive experience for all, while at the same time maintaining objective standards and criteria to ensure that certification is perceived as significant by the public and of value to the restaurants. After extensive evaluation, including consultation with chefs and restaurant owners, we have developed the point system contained in our application/evaluation. We have also realized that fairness requires that restaurants be compared to similar sized facilities, so we have established three tiers by capacity.
Upon receipt of the application and the application fee, we will schedule a visit to evaluate your restaurant. Although a point total will be calculated then, we anticipate final scoring will be by percentile so decisions regarding certification will occur at a later date. There will be four levels of excellence: Certified, Certified Silver Level, Certified Gold Level and Certified Platinum Level. Certified restaurants will receive distinctive window stickers with the logo of the NH Farm to Restaurant Connection, promotional and educational material and will be featured on our web site, in our social media and on web sites of partnering organizations. We also plan a “Food Trail”, similar to the New Hampshire Wine and Cheese Trail.
Many categories are incuded in the point system, and some may not pertain to your business. In scoring a facility, the percentage of possible points is calculated, excluding categories not relevant to the specific restaurant. For example, a vegetarian restaurant or a facility without a liquor license would have these categories removed from the calculation. At present, we believe it will be essentially impossible for any facility to achieve one-hundred percent, which is the reason final grading will be in percentiles. Initially, for example, a score of seventy percent could very well be in the ninety-fifth percentile. We believe the point system will be a map to improving scores, and because of this we anticipate an upward migration of scores over time. We put emphasis not only on restaurantsʼ serving local products, but also on their educating their staff and clients and promoting local farms and food providers.
The primary mission of the New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection is promoting and enhancing the viability of New Hampshireʼs farms, and we anticipate this program will help in accomplishing this. At the same time, we see our local restaurants as partners in this endeavor and foresee this program as benefitting both farmers and chefs. We look forward to working with you.
Rachelle Lyons, Vice President
*Program funded by grants from:
The New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food
The Northeast Farm Credit AgEnhancement Program