Brooklyn Restaurant Turns Diners to Gardeners with Kale and Basil Seeds

By Nikhita Venugopal on May 1, 2014 6:11pm 

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 Colonie, a restaurant on Atlantic Avenue, has launched a new partnership with SeedTabs, an Oakland-based company. 
Colonie and SeedTabs
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Every meal at this Brooklyn Heights restaurant could end with homegrown kale.

Colonie, a farm-to-table restaurant at Atlantic Avenue and Henry Street, is giving away packets of seeds so diners can create their own urban gardens.

The restaurant began the initiative about a month after partnering with SeedTabs, an Oakland-based startup company with a goal of promoting sustainability by giving people easy access to seeds to grow their own produce.

“We love the idea and the concept of it,” said Emelie Kihlstrom, owner of the 3-year-old eatery.

Colonie is the first restaurant in New York to try the collaboration, which Kihlstrom hopes to bring to her DUMBO eatery Gran Electrica as well.

Packets of kale and basil seeds are left with each diner’s check along with instructions on how to grow the plants in the city.

“They’re both hearty plants that are designed to be in an urban environment,” said Kihlstrom, adding that there are plans to add wildflower seeds as well.

SeedTabs was founded about nine months ago and is currently selling seeds in almost 100 locations in California, Texas and New York, said Wyatt Roscoe, who started the company with his brother, Will.

“We want to give people in urban areas success stories,” said Roscoe. “It doesn’t take a large backyard to grow things.”

More than a dozen businesses, including Colonie, are handing out the seeds as promotional items, he added.

Colonie focuses on working with local farms and even has its own butchering program to make sure there is minimal waste in the kitchen — a vision for sustainability that overlaps with SeedTabs’ goal, Kihlstrom and Roscoe agreed.

“The goal is simply to get more people growing,” he said.

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