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Green San Francisco with Anne Cui

laurence foucher


Anne says that the environment is one of San Francisco’s top priority, and the city valorises 80% of its waste. Restaurants in particular are trying hard to reduce their impact. We’ve asked her to share her top green spots in the “City by the Bay”, but first let’s meet with Instagramer “Anne par avion”.

Anne, who are you?

A global traveler and citizen. I’m passionate about humanitarian issues and I’m a recruiter for an international NGO. I also have a background in art history and textiles, so visual and design inspiration play a big part in how I craft my travels. I would describe myself as having a nomadic spirit and am always drawn to places that are off the beaten path

How long have you lived in SF and in which area of the city do you live?

I grew up in SF, then migrated to the east coast for many years. I'm now back in the city and live in the Outer Richmond. 

San Francisco was named "Greenest city in North America" in 2011 – would you say that sustainability and ecology are part of the lifestyle here?

Sustainability and ecology are core values here. They are reflected in many of the city's elements and industries. Many restaurants are environmentally sustainable in the way they manage food sourcing and composting. SF's urban compost program is the largest of its kind in the U.S. More than 350 tons of food scraps are collected every day. Approximately 90% of the compost is sent to local vineyards. 

One local initiative or brand that in your opinion is really making a positive impact on the environment?

San Francisco has a zero waste initiative. In its commitment to this, all residents and businesses are provided with separate, color-coded bins for landfill waste, compost, and recycling. The city currently diverts 80% of its waste away from landfills. The goal is to conserve resources, reduce pollution, and create green jobs. 

When is the best time to visit the city?

September through November for warmer temperatures and autumnal cuisine. Mid-November is also the beginning of dungeness crab season, for which SF is famous. 

Anne Cui’s favorite spots

The Mill - My go-to for coffee and toast in the city and never a bad place to start the day. Their whole grain flour is stone ground and then baked in-house. They use all organic ingredients and serve Four Barrel coffee. Their cinnamon sugar toast is particularly addictive. 

DeYoung Museum - The DeYoung Museum is located inside of Golden Gate Park and is not only an art museum, but an architectural gem. There is no entrance fee to its sculpture garden and terrace, which is one of my favorite parts of the DeYoung. James Turrell's "Three Gems" is located here and is a meditative retreat from city life. 

General Store - General Store is perfectly curated in their selection of unique kitchen wares, clothing, magazines, books, jewelry, and gifts. Most of the available goods are created by local California artisans. Their store location in San Francisco also has a charming greenhouse in its backyard.

Land's End - Located at the northwestern corner of SF, Land's End is one of the most scenic spots of the city and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. There are miles of winding trails that provide access to coastal views and overlooks and there are multiple vantage points from which to see the Golden Gate Bridge along most paths. Don't miss the Sutro Baths ruins.

Ampersand - A must-see local flower shop and studio located on an unassuming street in the Mission District. The shop itself is housed in a barn and the space is used for floral design and private events. Most of the material used is California grown and custom designed. 

Leo's Oyster Bar - Leo's is a popular choice for seafood lovers in SF and for good reason. Not only is the restaurant decor absolutely beautiful, but the team makes a conscious effort to select fish from the Bay Area when possible. When ingredients are sourced from longer distances, they ensure that these vendors uphold sustainable practices. After a long day of exploring hilly SF, you can't go wrong with a cocktail and lobster roll here.