By, Chef Kendall Huff
Native Foods Cafe
Even though the EPA hasn’t officially made a list of criteria for ranking US cities , there are a several things that they do look at to determine a city's "greenness". These include air and water quality, efficient recycling, waste management, amount of LEED certified buildings, acres of land devoted to green space and access to services like buying organic, local and clean. So who is looking the greenest thus far??
#10- Austin , Texas
Austin contains 206 parks, 12 preserves, 26 greenbelts and more than 50 miles of trails. Austin Energy hopes to be carbon neutral by 2020.
#9- Chicago, Il
Chicago’s Green Roof Program has more than 2.5 million square feet of city roofs that support plant life. With that, 500,000 new trees have been planted.
#8- Seattle, Washington
More than 20 public buildings are LEED-certified or under construction to be so very soon. Sustainable Ballard, a green neighborhood group, offers ongoing programs about how to live with nature.
#7- Berkeley, CA
Not only is this a great city to find great local, fresh food, but is also known as the leader in clean technology for wind, power, solar power, biofuels and hydropower.
#6- Cambridge, Massachusetts
In 2002, the city implemented a major climate protection plan and today most vehicles are fueled by B20 biodiesel or electricity. All construction and renovations must meet LEED standards. AND... ”Compost that Stuff” collects organic waste from homes, restaurants, bars and hotels.
#5- Eugene, Oregon
Aka the Emerald City has been working on being green since 1960. In 2008, the Emerald Express ( a hybrid public transportation system) won a Sustainable Transport award.
#4- Oakland, CA
This port is full of organic local grub, has the cleanest tap water, the country’s oldest wildlife refuge and hydrogen powered public transportation. And it gets 17 % of its energy from renewable sources.
#3- Boston, Mass
The goal here is “Green by 2015” by replacing taxi cabs with hybrid cars, recycle trash to powder homes, use more solar panels and electric motorcycles. They also have a Down2Earth program that educates residents about how to live more sustainably.
Native Foods uses this image courtesy of bclc.uschamber.com.
#2- San Francisco, CA
San Fran has an innovative recycling program with an artist-in-residence at the recycling facility. The artist uses his work to inspire residents to recycle and conserve. It is also the city to ban plastic grocery bags.
#1- Portland, Oregon
The most bike-able city in the US having over 200 miles dedicated to bike lanes. They also pride themselves in DIY sources like gardening, making beers, clothes and vegan treats!!