It’s almost impossible to remember Life Before Yelp–that far away time when finding a nearby restaurant or shop required a travel guide, phone book, or recommendation from a friend. Now it’s easy to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for online, whether it’s a budget-friendly pizza place that takes credit cards or a wine bar with small plates and a back patio.
But it’s still not easy to find out whether or not the sausage on that pizza comes from humanely raised pigs, or the wine bar sources local produce for its tapas. It’s that sustainable foodie niche that Eat Well Guide hopes to fill with its latest iteration. The site now has more than 25,000 free listings of farms, farmers’ markets, restaurants, co-ops, and other places that sell or promote locally grown, sustainably produced food.
Eat Well Guide began as a directory of sustainably raised animal products for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), and joined with Sustainable Table in 2003 to become a more comprehensive resource. Both are created by GRACE Communication Foundation, which also produced The Water Footprint Calculator and The Meatrix, a short animated film about the realities of industrial farming.
The latest version of the Guide, released this week, is significantly more mobile-friendly and uses GPS to give you recommendations near you. And they’re not just tips for farmers’ markets and vegan restaurants, either. You can search the site for pizza, burgers, Mexican food, and pretty much any other cuisine or attribute, and find places that share the values of sustainability and environmental stewardship.
The site is able to do this because an in-house team actually goes in and curates the listings in 18 cities around the country. (Yelp’s crowd-sourced information, on the other hand, doesn’t have much editorial oversight.) Dawn Brighid, project director for the Guide, and four other full-time staff members have been working feverishly over the last six months to update the listings, with a special focus on adding new restaurants, grocery stores, and bed and breakfasts.