What a great aspiration! Offering sustainably farmed and healthy food options to your community is a great business goal in itself, and illustrates social awareness and care for the well-being of your neighbors. Socially conscientious business models are becoming more of trend and go long way with savvy consumers in all markets.

As far as intermediate goals are concerned, I’d say, first and foremost, you need to gain as much experience as you can in both the front of house (server, bartender, host) and back of house (cook, prep, dishwasher). While there are restaurateurs with little or no experience in the business, they are usually brought on as investors and many choose to hire more experienced personnel to handle the day-to-day operations of their restaurant. Experience is key.

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Also, the connections you make with suppliers, distributors, sales reps, and others in the industry are invaluable. These are the people that will play an indispensable role in success of your restaurant and many want to see up-and-coming restaurateurs thrive. Talk to as many as of these people you can and ask questions.

Once you’re comfortable in multiple aspects of the restaurant industry begin your market research and business plan, start looking into locations, and try not to get too set on a concept until you find a location that fits your market research and budget. You may envision a 100-seat Mexican restaurant with a full bar while your community may offer a niche for a small vegetarian take-out spot. Stay open-minded in this regard.

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