"This is a thank you to our eater members and a chance to show off all these amazing restaurants in town that are sourcing organic, local and free-range foods," says Member Chair Brandi Schoen.
The K.C. Food Circle is a local grassroots organization working to create a sustainable food system in the city. The main thrust of the advocacy group's work is education and outreach meant to connect its 75 producer members with 200 eater members, looking at how crops and livestock move from farm to table.
"There's a huge list of chefs and restaurants doing the right thing, but nobody really knows about them. We created this card to close the loop between farmers, eaters and restaurateurs," Schoen says.
The initial list of nine restaurants includes the Blue Bird Bistro, Conveniently Natural, Eden Alley, the Farmhouse, Fud, the Good You, Room 39, Starker's Restaurant, and Unforked.
"We chose these restaurants because their commitment to our cause is so transparent. You can see who their producers are on their menus or website, and it's more than one item or a special occasion. It's a year-round commitment," Schoen says.
She notes that the card will be updated in January and June of each year with new member restaurants. Eater membership in the Kansas City Food Circle costs $30. It's $15 for students. But Schoen wants to make it clear that ability to pay is not the only criterion for membership.
"If somebody is struggling financially, we're not going to turn them down because they can't pay. This isn't exclusionary," Schoen says.
The KC Food Circle also holds two large events that are open to the public, its Eat Local and Organic Farmer Expos, where area farmers and producers gather at a convention hall to talk about their growing practices, bulk foods and community-supported agriculture programs. The first is on March 31 in the Shawnee Civic Center (13817 Johnson Drive) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The second is April 7 at Metropolitan Community College's Penn Valley Campus Center (3201 Southwest Trafficway) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"This is a chance to know where your food is coming from," Schoen says.