It’s no secret Fort Collins cares about the environment. We’ve been named one of the greenest cities in the nation by Expedia, an Energy Star top city, and one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the United States by ValuePenguin. Plus, our very own Colorado State University is ranked as one of the most sustainable institutions in the country.
Our city government is even committed to sustainability, offering several energy efficiency and climate planning programs which you can preview here. And in addition to all of this, there are plenty of local businesses using eco-friendly practices!
To celebrate the green initiatives these local businesses are acting on, we rounded up some of our favorites in Fort Collins that reduce, reuse and recycle every day. Read on to learn more about where you can support local and support the planet at the same time.
Photo courtesy of Café Vino
This European-style eatery makes locally sourcing their food a high priority. Enjoy carefully crafted, seasonal dishes in their classy dining room along with made-in-house desserts, Silver Canyon coffee, a vast wine menu and several local craft beers on draft. Café Vino strives to bring you an upscale, organic meal all while supporting local farmers and businesses—so you can dig into your delicious meal, completely guilt free!
Owners Danny Shea and Justin Serr love Colorado so much that they created a place that features all of their favorite parts of the state. The Colorado Room sources almost everything locally including the ingredients for their tasty dishes, their alcohol offerings and even the wood their tables are made out of! Plus, a portion of all of their sales goes to a local charity of your choice, allowing you to have a direct impact on our amazing community.
This community-based thrift store is putting the “reuse” in the old eco-friendly saying into action. They take gently used items and return them to service, partnering with several local Fort Collins organizations to help reduce the carbon footprint and keep items out of the landfill. At their store, you can find everything from furniture to electronics—all in fantastic condition. And, if you find yourself in the middle of a DIY project that requires the one-time use of a unique tool, you don’t have to go out and buy it! Rent tools, garden supplies, kitchen gadgets, sports equipment and more from Eco-Thrift’s “Eco Tool Library”.
Photo courtesy of The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm
The ideals of recycling and reusing don’t just apply to glass jars and water bottles; they also apply to buildings. When a business chooses to renovate rather than demolish and start over, there are countless environmental advantages, and that’s exactly what The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm did when they opened their restaurant inside a 19th-Century farmhouse. When you stop in for a meal, ask to hear the story and you can learn even more about the family and the original land. As an added bonus, The Farmhouse team also cultivates their own on-site garden and chicken coop!
FoCo Café is one of the most popular spots in town—and for a good reason! Not only do they use as many locally and sustainably grown ingredients, but they’re also the first non-profit restaurant in Fort Collins. Instead of a cash register on the counter, you’ll find a donation box where you’re encouraged to pay what you can. So, when you dine at FoCo Café, not only will you be getting a delicious meal, you’re also supporting the community and the land we call home.
What originally started as a tiny, vegan and extremely popular food truck, turned into Fort Collins’ first 100 percent plant-based restaurant. The Gold Leaf Collective only sources food within 400 miles of their restaurant and uses zero animal by-products to create their unique, mouthwatering dishes. It’s all in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and support local producers. Haven’t had a chance to visit this innovative restaurant yet? Check out An Inside Look at The Gold Leaf Collective, Fort Collins’ New Hyper-Local Eatery.
Not only does Jax Fish House craft delicious and inventive dishes using the freshest ingredients possible, but they are also committed to serving sustainable seafood. That’s why they have partnered with The Blue Ocean Institute and Fish Choice among other sustainable seafood certification organizations—including becoming the first restaurant in Colorado to be certified by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch—so that they can offer seafood that has been fished or farmed in ways that aren’t harmful to the environment.
Originally opened in Boulder, The Kitchen is a garden-to-table eatery with several locations throughout Colorado and Chicago. In addition to their sustainable, local food practices, The Kitchen Restaurant Group operates a sister non-profit called Big Green. Through this program, they connect and teach kids about real food through Learning Gardens and food literacy programs throughout the country, and all of their restaurants—including The Kitchen in Fort Collins—provide funding for Big Green.
If you’re looking for an environmentally conscious place to grab breakfast—you’ve found it! Lucile’s offers Creole-style cuisine created using the freshest local ingredients possible grown themselves on their farm in Niwot. They have several locations all over Colorado, ensuring you can find a great meal, and a handmade beignet, wherever on your journey! Click here for a full list of their locations and menus.
This restaurant and theater combo was made for “dinner and a movie” evenings. While they offer both movies and events at their unique theater, it’s their food offerings that have people coming back again and again. Their menu features locally sourced and organic ingredients (even the popcorn!) so you can feel good about grabbing some snacks before your film.
Photo courtesy of New Belgium Brewing Company
Not only is New Belgium Brewing Company one of the most sustainable businesses in Fort Collins, they also happen to be one of the most eco-friendly breweries in the world. While they do still create some pollution (just like most businesses) they are very open about it, providing their customers with yearly sustainability reports and continually trying to reduce their carbon footprint. They also try to recycle and/or reuse everything they possibly can from pallet straps to bottles and cans. We could go on about all of their sustainable practices (like their greenhouse gas emissions tracking, environmentally friendly product sourcing, and their natural resource management team), but we don’t want to take up your whole week.
Located in what used to be a laundromat for students at CSU, Restaurant 415 is an incredible spot serving a wide range of modern American cuisine. The 415 understands FoCo residents, their diets, their tastes and their values. That’s why they offer menus for a variety of different lifestyles that feature dishes made using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients.
Tasty Harmony owners Sacha and Jill Steinhauser are dedicated to offering the finest vegetarian and raw foods in the Fort Collins area. That’s why they tend their own quarter-acre garden that supplements their restaurant during the growing season. Stop in for a salad or a mouthwatering tempeh Reuben; we promise no matter what you order it will be fresh and delicious.
One of the co-founders of The Welsh Rabbit, Dean Hines, earned an MBA from Colorado State University in a program called Global, Social and Sustainable Enterprise. Today, he teaches a foundational course in the CSU College of Business called Foundations in Sustainability, and he uses his own beliefs and sustainable way of life to operate The Welsh Rabbit as much as he can. The part cheese shop, part cheese bistro is located in Old Town and offers a wide variety of carefully crafted dishes all dedicated to our amazing community.
To read more about The Welsh Rabbit, check out Meet the Team Behind The Welsh Rabbit in Fort Collins.
Did we miss your favorite environmentally conscious business in Fort Collins? Tell us about it in the comments below!