“Born, raised and grilled in Southern Colorado”
Pulp, August 18, 2016, Alexis Kristan
“Larkburger, which has 12 Colorado locations and a Kansas opening in the works, has perfected the farm-to-table experience for “locavores” on a lunch-hour time crunch across the state.
Tony Friel, the Director of Culinary Operations and Development at Larkburger, puts the business model in perspective.
“We decrease the processing of our foods and the impact on the environment, while positively supporting our local economies. It’s a win-win-win for our customers, the environment and our communities,” he said.
Friel also agreed that the demand for locally and sustainably raised meat is greater now than it has ever been.
“The quality of ingredients is of higher importance to more people than ever, and the demand is definitely increasing not only here in Southern Colorado but in all of Colorado, and beyond,” he said.
“This increase in demand has also created changes in the supply chain, with more fresh and local ingredients available for purchase than 10 years ago.”
Larkburger has caught the attention of the communities it does business. In 2011, the Fort Collins location was awarded an environmental business award. The downtown Denver location was named best burger in the area by Thrillist in 2014 and the Boulder location has earned several recognitions by local publications.
But the burger joint also caters to its communities, too. In Centennial, Larkburger is directly across from Arapahoe High School and features a community table with free wi-fi and a charging station, making it a prime spot for students. In Colorado Springs, military members get free fountain drinks.
On the national stage, it’s hard to tell how much good the overall movement is doing. A January 2015 report done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that determining the economic impact of direct-to-consumer products is actually very difficult because “existing literature has narrow geographic and market scope.”
“Data necessary to conduct economic impact analyses are costly to obtain, and researchers have yet to agree on a standard way of accounting for the opportunity costs involved when local foods are produced and purchased or on a standard set of economic modeling assumptions,” the report said.
The USDA added that many questions surrounding the economic impact of local foods remain unanswered — such as are local food systems good for the rural economy? And Might the economic benefits of expanding local food systems be unevenly distributed? But those could be addressed by future research.
But it doesn’t take that much evidence to convince the three burger joints that using local, fresh and humanely raised meat is good for everybody involved.”
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