As part of our ‘Green Restaurant’ feature, this spring we want to acknowledge and give recognition to a deserving restaurant located on Route 100 N, in Waterbury, VT. Michael’s on the Hill has received the first Green Restaurant Designation and award in Vermont!
The award is given by the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership, a state program that recognizes businesses for their environmental stewardship — going above and beyond existing environmental regulations, striving to conserve resources, and pursuing the best environmental practices. Owners Laura and Michael Kloeti, who have won numerous awards for their locally driven, innovative European cuisine, truly do all three!.
Influenced by their location within a circa-1820 farmhouse, the restaurant is surrounded by acres of rolling lawns, forest and perennial gardens, as well as spectacular views of the Green Mountains and sunset vistas.
Beyond this enticement is Michael and Laura Kloeti’s commitment to protect the environment, as well as always striving to lessen their impact. They not only set the example, but also encourage others to join them in conserving our natural resources, reducing waste generation and use of toxic materials, recycling, purchasing recycled products, and preventing pollution.
Through a variety of venues, the Kloeti’s educate the public on the importance of eating locally produced products and treating the environment with care, and are particularly interested in teaching children and their parents about the personal and global benefits. Their goal is to connect people more to the environment and to the community of dedicated people who nurture and produce our food , and to introduce others to the concept of eating “local,” and eating responsibly.
Understanding the value and benefits of buying local, they support many regional sources to ensure that they are serving the freshest, most healthful , “earth-focused” fare to guests. Michael’s patronizes many local suppliers who support and respect the need to protect our Earth, and give preference to environmentally friendly products that advance this mission.
But what makes Michael’s on the Hill different from other restaurants? What did they do to receive the honor of Vermont’s first Green Restaurant Designation?
Dining establishments are first given the designation of an Environmental Partner when they achieve a set of eight environmental standards. Once Environmental Partner status is attained, Partners can satisfy additional environmental commitments to achieve status as a Green Restaurant in the Green Mountain State. Following is the VT Green Restaurant Program and what Laura Kloeti revealed to us about their own participation in ‘Vermont’s Green Restaurant Program,’
Adopt, post and circulate an “Environmental Partner” policy statement, to all employees. Place it on your website, if applicable.
A: Our mission is stated on our website, at the entry of the restaurant and on our menu. Our hope is that we can lead by example and that guests will consider taking some small steps to reduce their carbon footprint..
Conduct an environmental opportunity assessment using the technical assistance services of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Environmental Assistance Office at 1-800-974-9559 or the Small Business Development Center at 1-800-464-7232.
A: This was a really important part when we started. We were already doing whatever we could think of on our own, but having a professional assessment done on site is amazing because that is what they do. They helped us to consider other things that we could do that we hadn’t thought about.
Employ a reuse or recycling option for three (3) solid or hazardous wastes generated AND purchase, or offer for sale, at least three (3) products which contain recycled resins or fibers (preferably post-consumer) or which substantially reduce packaging waste, or that are non-toxic or less toxic alternatives to supplies previously purchased. Develop Environmentally Preferable Purchasing policy language.
A: Our used fryer oil is taken by Pete’s Greens to be reused.
Adopt and practice groundskeeping/landscaping methods that achieve resource conservation.
A: Organic gardening always.
Conduct regular employee training or create employee incentives to promote waste/pollution prevention, reuse, recycling and resource conservation.
A: Educating staff on environmental awareness is huge. Recycling, composting, conserving energy and following our environmental guidelines and mission are part of the job description. This is a team effort and our staff is 100% behind it. We discuss why we do what we do with them and have an open door policy so if our staff sees something we can do better, we can try to implement these things.
Implement other environmental best management practices.
A: Using everything from PLA cornstarch renewable containers, environmentally friendly cleaners, recycled paper, efficient lighting, heating, cooling, and water usage.
Asked if the restaurant has any plans for implementing renewable energy, Laura replied: “As a small business, each year, we try to do a few more things that will make a positive impact. Our goal down the road is to have solar panels installed when we are able, and with rebates and tax credits that make the financial burden easier to swallow.
“This year we are putting in some new doors which will insulate the restaurant better. The main point is to preserve and save energy, and these things can be done without a huge financial burden. That is where I’d recommend anyone to start.
“The real goal here is to reduce the amount of energy needed. I think at the end of the day, the most important thing is for all of us to do the best we can and make those small changes because while they may seem like small changes, they actually make a huge impact. That is what this is all about.
“For example, we collect over 50 gallons of compost per week! Just by putting a bucket in the kitchen! It may seem like a small thing but it isn’t! The same thing is true by just having a low-flow pre-rinse sprayer in the dishwashing sink or using ‘eco-friendly’ cleaners. Take note of the picture of Michael foraging for ramps. There is nothing more eco-friendly and healthful than foraging responsibly, growing your own food or getting it from a local farmer. It not only reduces the carbon footprint but it helps keep our local economy going, which is essential. Everything you do is a big deal.”
Green Energy Times applauds the Kloeti’s for what we think is an outstanding example for businesses to follow. Indeed a showcase for Vermont, Michaels on the Hill IS a big deal!
Michael’s is located at 4182 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Route 100N., Waterbury Center, VT. The restaurant has been awarded many worthwhile awards: Vermont’s First Chef of the Year, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Santé Magazine Sustainable Restaurant Award Winner, Certified Vermont Green Restaurant, Green Restaurant in the Green Mountain State, Vermont Fresh Network, and Slow Food.