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How sustainable can a restaurant be? We plan to find out at The Perennial, a new restaurant from a founder of Mission Chinese Food.
How sustainable can a restaurant be? We plan to find out at The Perennial, a new restaurant from a founder of Mission Chinese Food.
How sustainable can a restaurant be? We plan to find out at The Perennial, a new restaurant from a founder of Mission Chinese Food.
328 backers pledged $28,537 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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An Aquaponic Greenhouse for The Perennial

$28,537

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The Perennial will be a laboratory of environmentalism in the food world, and the San Francisco Chronicle predicts, "The Perennial could spark new environmental practices, similar to Bay Area restaurants of decades past that propped up organic farms and artisan producers."

Our first project is an aquaponic greenhouse, where plants and fish will be raised together in a symbiotic system, which will transform kitchen scraps into delicious ingredients, using one-tenth of the water and one-eighth of the land of traditional agriculture, and it's all 100% organic.

Help us build a 2,000-square-foot greenhouse that will be home to lettuces and vegetables, as well as carp and sturgeon, in a naturally sustainable ecosystem. In an aquaponic greenhouse, the water that fish swim in is filtered and becomes a natural source of nutrients for our plants. Our twist at The Perennial is using kitchen scraps from the restaurant to create a closed-loop permacultural system: unused food from our kitchen will be composted by worms and larvae, which we will dehydrate and feed to the fish, which in turn feed the plants, and finally, we will harvest the plants and fish to serve at the restaurant. Our greenhouse will hold open houses for the public to learn more about this innovative agricultural system, and it will work in conjunction with our climate-conscious restaurant, scheduled to open in early 2015 in downtown San Francisco. 

But we need your help. We have only 10 days left to kickstart our aquaponic greenhouse, and we need a boost in the homestretch (bit.ly/AquaFarmKS). Rewards include gift certificates to The Perennial for the full value of your pledge--so it's more of a presale than a donation--or rewards that can be enjoyed anywhere in the world, like our first book, about running a pop-up restaurant that gave thousands to the local food bank. We hope that projects like this greenhouse will allow us to have a meaningful connection with the food we're serving, even from the heart of San Francisco. 

So get involved! Kickstart a new movement in delicious sustainability!

More about The Perennial:

The Perennial will operate with a farm-to-table ethos, but will also explore the potential for a new “table-to-farm” philosophy that makes better use of resources, including food waste. 

Developed by husband-and-wife restaurateurs Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz (Mission Street Food, Mission Chinese Food, Commonwealth, Lt. Waffle, etc), The Perennial is meant to explore new ways for the food world to engage with the environment.

We have partnerships with The Land Institute, to serve bread made from perennial grains, and with The Carbon Cycle Institute to serve meat grown in a manner that encourages carbon sequestration. Our kitchen and restaurant design are maximally green, and we are collaborating closely with Zero Foodprint, a non-profit that helps restaurants lower and offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Everything we do is motivated by a desire to push the restaurant industry to lead the way on climate change.

Follow our progress on twitter @theperennialsf or on Facebook) or

Read the great press we've been getting:

The San Francisco Chronicle: front page article ("The Perennial has the potential to highlight and encourage a new generation pushing for sustainability and addressing climate change.")

SF Chronicle follow-up piece (4 excellent videos on aquaponics, carbon farming, perennial agriculture, and Zero Foodprint)

SF Chronicle/Mission Local follow-up piece from a food perspective

Huffington Post ("I've never encountered a restaurant that is so thorough in its commitment to sustainability.")

Civil Eats ("it’s clear the Perennial’s founders have done their homework.")

The MAD Feed ("Perhaps the biggest news from Zero Foodprint came this week, when Myint announced a Kickstarter for an aquaponic greenhouse at the Perennial, a new restaurant in San Francisco")

The Bold Italic ("Karen Leibowitz and Anthony Myint already have a substantial track record for community service.")

Tablehopper ("The restaurant will have a strong eco and environmental perspective, unlike anything in the city.")

Mise Magazine ("The pair has made an accidental habit of finding themselves at the heart of the zeitgeist, and have a knack for acting quickly and following through. It’s a trait that allows them to be among the first-movers of each industry movement, time and time again.")

Grist ("At this hyper-green eatery, climate change will be the main course.") 

SF Weekly: ("the guy knows his veggies, to say at the least")

Co-founders (left to right): Anthony Myint, Karen Leibowitz, Chris Kiyuna
Co-founders (left to right): Anthony Myint, Karen Leibowitz, Chris Kiyuna

Risks and challenges

Because we are new to aquaponics on this scale, we're partnering with Viridis Aquaponics (Watsonville, CA) for the design, construction and oversight of the greenhouse. Viridis operates an 8-acre facility that can produce about 5 times as much food as conventional agriculture (per square foot) while using only ~10% of the water (!!!). They are the experts. The land-owner we're working with is a longtime aquaponics enthusiast and so he has already acquired the necessary permits, etc. Our biggest challenge is trying to open a restaurant and fund this greenhouse (hence this kickstarter).

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Dedication on our website and in the aquaponic greenhouse itself.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A sampler of at least five kinds of microgreens and sprouts from among the following: sorrel, minutina, wheatgrass, celery leaf, mint, shiso pea shoots, sunflower. Available for pickup at The Perennial.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    A signed copy of Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant, by Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz. Available for pickup at The Perennial.

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    25 backers
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Limited Edition "The Perennial" t-shirt plus a 12oz. bag of Paramo coffee. Available for pickup at Paramo Coffee or shipped nationwide.

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    Ships to Only United States
    13 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    One CSA Box of produce from Viridis Aquaponic Growers, located in Watsonville, CA, available for pickup at The Perennial.

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    Limited 17 backers
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    A voucher towards lunch or dinner at The Perennial, good for $60.

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    Limited 114 backers
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Aquaponics in your home! Create your own personal ecosystem with an aquaponics kit. Includes everything you need, including a 3-gallon tank, 6 small planters, seeds, fish food and a voucher for a fish at your local pet store. Available for pickup or shipped within the US.

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    7 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    We'll donate $100 to Zero Foodprint, a non-profit that believes that restaurants and diners can help lead the fight against climate change. (zerofoodprint.org)

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    Reward no longer available 4 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    We'll purchase 10 tons worth of food related carbon offsets on your behalf.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Three vouchers towards lunch or dinner at The Perennial, good for $40 each plus 1 lb of Paramo coffee beans. Available for pickup at The Perennial.

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    Limited 6 backers
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  11. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    Blow-Out lunch for 2 at Mission Chinese Food SF w Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz (and/or Chris Kiyuna, Chef of The Perennial). We can talk about anything you want!

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    Reward no longer available 7 backers
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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    2 tickets to a sneak preview event with food and drinks at The Perennial.

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    Limited 27 backers
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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Private Party for up to 16 people including a 6 course dinner and beverage pairings.

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Funding period

- (36 days)