At Le Banq, we believe food tastes better when it is rooted in sustainability.
As such, we create a food system that empowers farmers and consumers while respecting our planet. With every le banQ meal you enjoy, you are contributing to this vision. We have a three-prong approach to our commitment to high-quality, sustainable foods.
We Reduce the Ecological Footprint
We place a high priority on reducing our energy, water, and food waste. Our chefs use the most cutting-edge equipment and the most research-based practices to reduce our energy, water, and food waste. This includes the use of energy efficient stoves and juicers as well as waste-cutting practices such as composting.
But it doesn’t end there. In a country where thirty to forty percent of all food is wasted (an amount that could fill the Empire State Building 91 times!), we understand that if we are not a part of the food waste solution, we are a part of its problem. That’s why our juice line is doing what no other has: we buy ugly fruits and vegetables.
Ugly produce are a fact of life. Scars, blemishes, and bumps on produce are a natural occurrence. The fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious and delicious as their perfectly rounded, blemish-free counterparts. But, because of our consumer value on aesthetic beauty, these “ugly” produce are regularly discarded by farmers and food vendors.
In response, le banQ invests in misshapen produce that are discarded by farmers and vendors as too ugly for sale and use them in our juices. This practice cuts back on waste and provides farmers an opportunity to earn fair wages. So, when you drink our line of juices, you can savor the flavor of environmental consciousness and food justice.
We Use Organic Ingredients
Every year, the average consumer will eat about 16 pounds of more than 600 varieties of chemical pesticides that are approved by the FDA for use. It is common practice in conventional farming to spray all crops with these pesticides, heavily and frequently. Ninety percent of these chemicals have not been tested for their long-term effect on health, according to the National Academy of Sciences. They contaminate our water supplies and negatively impact the surrounding ecosystem.
Further, to increase revenue, conventional farming uses agricultural methods that involve intensive irrigation, heavy tillage, and concentrated single-product production. These techniques exploit the land on which the techniques are used, rapidly depleting its natural resources and leaving the land barren and unusable.
The chefs at le banQ are committed to both your and the environment’s health. As such, we carefully screen each of our partners to ensure that what they sell us meets the USDA organic standards whenever possible, and that their business practices exhibit intention towards being environment-friendly and sustainable. This translates to farming practices that avoid the use of chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and monoculture production whenever possible. Instead, they rely on natural methods for crop cultivation and preservation.
Once we obtain the produce from our farmers, we follow their example: our meals never use chemicals, toxins, preservatives, or refined sugars. Our communal attention to the way your food is created translates to higher quality and more nutritious foods for you. Your body will feel the difference.
We Source Locally and Fairly
In conventional farming, researchers estimate that, in Iowa, produce travels between 1,500 to 3,000 miles to get from the farmer to the consumer. If this is the case in rural Iowa, imagine the distances required to supply food to Boston!
This globalization of the produce market means farmers who grow for export often find themselves hungry as they use their land to grow produce for far away consumers. Additionally, American farmers must compete with the rock-bottom prices that farmers in unregulated, developing countries can afford to charge. What’s worse, the cost of the food for the consumer is not significantly cheaper when considering the financial and environmental impact this type of trade causes. Not only does the cost of the food rise after accounting for the cost of packaging and shipping, there is a larger carbon footprint incurred because of transporting foods across such large distances. Researchers estimate that locally sourced meals required four to seventeen times less fuel consumption and resulted in five to seventeen times less carbon dioxide emissions as compared to a meal created from a conventional food chain. In short, neither farmer nor consumer benefits, and most tend to suffer, from this global selling structure.
Our business practices are designed around the belief that there is a better way to do business than conventional farming. Instead of participating in the global produce market, our goal is to build strong communities through delicious food and a shared vision of business that is fair and mutually beneficial. As a result, we turn to local farmers and businesses wherever possible to provide the wholesome ingredients used to create our meals. We have cultivated partnerships with local farmers and neighborhood businesses that bring value to everyone involved: greater income for the farmers and businesses, high-quality foods for you, and a stronger community for all of us.
 Rich Pirog et al., Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa Perspective on How Far Food Trav- els, Fuel Usage, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Ames, Iowa: Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University, 2001), pp. 1, 2