GreenFare Organic Cafe of Herndon, VA has achieved Platinum REAL Certification Status. GreenFare is a unique and powerful restaurant concept is driven by the mission to promote health and change the way their community eats. To be awarded Platinum status, Gwyn and her team prepare a 100% organic plant-based menu without the use of sugar, oil or salt, made completely from scratch. GreenFare also sources locally and implements numerous practices to make the restaurant as environmentally sustainable as possible
To learn more about the journey and mission behind this pioneering restaurant concept, we spoke with Owner and chef Gwyn Whittaker after completing the REAL Certification process.
Could you tell us a little bit about the process of bringing your vision of GreenFare to life?
Gwyn: I got started on this path after watching Forks Over Knives and doing a project in Reston, VA with T Colin Campbell of the film where 45 people changed their diet for only 10 days. The results were life changing: weight loss, reduction or elimination of medication, and pain. I met Pericles Silva, who had spent 5 years at Whole Foods Reston developing the Health Starts Here products and he agreed to help me open a restaurant with the purpose of delivering a 21 Day Kickstart program with classes, meals, and community.
We opened in Nov 2015 and have had over 550 people Kickstart, including 3 dozen medical professionals, who had patients come to them with improved health. Many are now keeping our flyers in their offices. I’m planning to work with an insurance company and health provider to offer this program to businesses to drop costs and improve employee well being.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge for your restaurant model? How have you worked to overcome it?
Gwyn: We have many self-imposed constraints with our brand of health. Most restaurants make their profit from alcohol, and having a health focus, I decided not to sell alcohol. We have an ABC license, so it can be brought in for special celebrations and we charge a corkage fee.
We are one of six USDA Organic Certified restaurants in the US. [The process] was a huge time and money investment; as people learn more about the benefits of organic they seek it out.
We pay a living wage to all our employees; this results in higher costs, but I believe that people will want to support businesses who are doing the right thing. It has dramatically reduced our turnover, which is a benefit for customers through higher food quality and service.
We don’t use the tools of the food industry of salt, sugar, and fat to attract people, which can be problematic for those seeking vegan doughnuts. We focus on the freshest produce and healthiest preparation techniques to enable people to ‘eat their way to good health’. We see congestive heart failure reverse, type 2 diabetes go away, significant weight loss and many autoimmune diseases reverse.
“We see congestive heart failure reverse, type 2 diabetes go away, significant weight loss and many autoimmune diseases reverse.”
In addition, we offer local produce and a seasonal menu, we are 100% renewable energy powered, and we use compostable products.
What do you wish all of your guests know about your establishment that they probably don’t?
Gwyn: By far, the biggest health benefits come from taking animal products and oil out of your diet. Doing just these two things, enable weight loss and the prevention and reversal of most chronic illnesses in the U.S.
From your perspective, of all the certifications that you’ve looked out for, what attracted you to REAL certified?
Gwyn: The REAL certification quantifies all of the goals that we set to be a restaurant of the future, with a focus on healthy food, the environment, our staff, and the community.
Thank you, Gwyn and everyone at GreenFare Organic Cafe for all the incredible things you do!
Learn more about the restaurant and 21 day meal plan here.
Read the official Press Release