SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Every week you can find Chef Mary Sue Milliken perusing the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market to see what she will take back to her restaurant.
"It's my favorite, because I just get to be at the source of the best flavors on the planet," said Milliken.
Saving the planet from climate change is her mission and she is doing her part through her restaurant one meal at a time.
"It's our responsibility to help the public understand their role in the food system,” said Milliken.
Restore California is a new program in collaboration with California’s Healthy Soils program. It is aimed at reversing climate change by funding farms to switch from a conventional agriculture system to renewable farming. Scientific findings show that the switch could lower global temperatures.
"What we're trying to do is encourage farmers, especially the big-ag farmers to transition to regenerative farming that actually pulls carbon into the soil," said Milliken.
Every diner has the option to pay a one-percent charge on their check. The money goes towards grants for farmers and ranchers to make the switch to renewable farming.
"Having chefs be really able to really vocalize what needs to happen and get their customers to understand because chefs are sort of the link between the guests- the general consumer and the farmer," said Milliken.
Milliken took her educating prowess a step further by hosting the Restore California launch party at Socalo, where more than 100 people in the food industry showed up to learn about the importance of regenerative farming.
"It not only draws down carbon but also makes us more resilient to climate change, especially drought and fire which have been affecting us here in California," said Karen Leibowitz.
With this turnout Milliken is excited about what is to come with more restaurants joining Zero Foodprint and being a part of Restore California.
"Climate change and taking action and having a hopeful idea of how to do it, something that's really actionable is really taking hold," said Milliken.
Not only being the link between diners and farmers, but linking her peers to use their restaurants to help save the planet one meal at a time.