Sustainability Spotlight: Andrea Parros
About This Series
Sustainability Spotlight is a blog series sponsored by Impact Earth that allows readers to discover the best zero waste practices in Rochester. We totally support our nominees that are living their best #zerowaste lives and hope that you do too! If you would like to nominate yourself or another local for our Sustainability Spotlight series, just let us know!
Who Is Ando?
I'm Andrea, but people know me as Ando! I own and operate The Red Fern, a 100% vegan restaurant with gluten-free and allergy friendly options in Rochester, NY. When I'm not nose-deep in paperwork, emails, cooking, and planning for the restaurant, I love to dance, ride my bike, kayak, play with my dogs, tend to my plant babies, and practice yoga!
What is your background with sustainable/zero waste living?
I was taught by my parents to take only what you need and share the rest. Sustainability is a focus at the restaurant because to me, it's just the right thing to do. Global warming is a thing, despite denial by our current administration. We all share the planet, so we as individuals have to do our part to take care of it. Every person impacts the whole.
What motivates you to live sustainably/zero waste?
I'm motivated first by principle - it's the morally right thing to do! If we want to have a planet to share with future generations, we have to take care of it. Secondly....it's easy! Instead of throwing food in the trash, you put it in the compost; instead of purchasing regular lightbulbs, you buy LED. Instead of using a plastic straw, you go without, or switch to paper/metal. At the restaurant, we recycle cardboard, plastics and glass, buy bulk & local whenever possible, compost all food scraps, and use green cleaning products. 95% of our takeout containers are compostable, 85% of our lightbulbs are LED. We refuse to sell bottled water - instead we offer water that comes in recycled cardboard drink boxes. We hope to use the business' voice to bring attention to eco-friendly practices and sustainability, and to demonstrate how easy it is for everyone to be more "green" in their own lives.
What are your favorite zero waste products for your business/lifestyle?
My favorite green practice in my personal life is my mode of transportation; I ride my bike everywhere in Rochester, 10-11 months of the year. Also, I leave a reusable container in my bag for leftovers. I have a new rule for myself - if a restaurant uses styrofoam or excessive plastic packaging, I will not purchase takeout from them.
With the business, I'm most happy about our composting practices (we compost over 7,000 gallons of food scraps A YEAR!) and our use of green takeout containers, namely paper straws & compostable takeout containers. There's no reason that every foodservice business can't switch over to compostables or paper takeout boxes. Charge the extra $0.02-0.20 per container to the customer if you're worried about the pricier product; you can offset it by either employing a slight increase to menu prices, or charging a small percent on takeout orders for a "green container fee." People will pay it to support this important cause!
What do you like about living sustainably/zero waste?
I'm proud that our 100% vegan menu is the most sustainable menu a restaurant can serve. It takes significantly less resources to grow plants than it does to raise livestock. You can easily Google stats, or get more information from movies like Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, Vegucated, Food, Inc., etc. - it's mind-blowing how much natural resources it takes to produce a meat-based diet.
What is your favorite green space in Rochester?
Irondequoit Creek & Bay for kayaking and bird watching, and Chimney Bluffs for hiking, kayaking and exploring!
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