By Katherine Coleman
Food Systems Intern

Wise Acre Eatery was started 10 years ago in Minneapolis by two horticulturists passionate about food and farming. The modern eatery seeks to spread its love of sustainable, local food to all its patrons.

As a farm-to-fork eatery, Wise Acre has created a closed-loop waste system for the establishment: Their food waste is returned to the farm in the form of fertilizer, helping to keep the soil healthy enough to support their restaurant, market, deli, and CSA. This closed-loop system supports the practice of regenerative agriculture by keeping nutrients and organic materials within the same soil from where it came. All of the protein and a majority of the produce used by the eatery comes directly from its roughly 140-acre farm in Plato, MN. The farm exemplifies Wise Acre’s values, utilizing regenerative agricultural practices, a greenhouse, and an aquaponics system to keep fresh, organic, locally grown produce on their customers’ plates year-round. 

Wise Acre Eatery practices sustainability in other ways too. From bi-weekly food donations to a local food shelf and regular donations to the Ronald McDonald foundation in the summer, to the use of Forever Ware—a company providing reusable takeout containers to restaurants—Wise Acre serves as a model for how restaurants and eateries can succeed without compromising the sustainability of their practices. 

The work of Wise Acre to encourage sustainability in the food industry goes beyond just serving as an example. The business has partnered with other local restaurants working to divert and reduce food waste. Jimmy Red Layer, the director of Wise Acre, stresses the importance of communication and connection among restaurants, delis, and markets, saying that it’s necessary for there to be support within the industry to move toward sustainability. 

It’s for this reason Wise Acre has joined MN350’s Clean Plate Club, a campaign geared toward supporting and promoting restaurants and eateries in Minnesota that are working to reduce and divert their food waste. Wise Acre’s focus on local food production and dedication to sustainably dealing with food waste helps set an example for other Minnesota restaurants.

You too can get involved in leading Minnesota restaurants and our food systems toward a more sustainable future. Get out there and start your own compost collection at your residence or workplace or joining our Food Waste team to encourage your neighborhood restaurants to adopt more sustainable actions!

To learn more about Wise Acre, can check out their episode of MN350’s Nourish podcast, Conductors of the Symphony


Kate Coleman is a proud Minnesotan currently completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She is interested in sustainable urbanism and food systems and has been an intern for MN350’s Food Systems Team for 5 months.