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Feb 16, 2024

Hungry for new dining thrills? Need a place to meet and eat in an area of STL you don't know well? Align your fork, dollars and values by heading to a restaurant certified by the Green Dining Alliance, a program of our town's EarthDay-365.


As program manager, Ben Daugherty whisks his love of restaurant energy and culture into GDA audits that have helped over 80 restaurants, catering enterprises and food trucks earn 2-5 Star ratings for Green practices in seven categories of food service operations. Recommendations included in GDA evaluation reports advise participants with detailed options to improve. Three pre-requisites for certification are practicing recycling, eliminating Styrofoam, and having or phasing in LED lighting. Restaurants give GDA access to utility bills, purchasing records and other relevant documentation. 

GDA's work with restaurants in Maplewood, MO, established the nation's first Green Dining District (led then by Jenn DeRose); today the Grove and University City Loop are Green Dining Districts, with work underway in Webster Groves and the Cortex Innovation District to form two more. As theater companies know, more theater offerings generate more theater audiences. GDA proves the Abundance Principle!

Next time you make plans to dine, check out - and tell your host, chef and server you chose their place because they are GDA Certified.

Ben Daugherty spoke with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi on 2-3-24, and announced a career move shortly after. Visit if you'd like to apply for the GDA position!

THANKS to Jon Valley, Production Pro for KDHX.

Related Earthworms Conversations: Fair Shares: Abundance, Innovation, Relationships, FOOD (July 2022)