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Winners Announced in "People & Planet" Green Small Business Contest

$5,000 Prize Awarded to Three Companies in the District of Columbia, Indiana and Massachusetts for an Overall Green Way of Doing Business and a Commitment to a Sustainable Food System

Submitted by: Green America

Categories: Ratings & Awards, Sustainability

Posted: Jun 11, 2013 – 02:37 PM EST


WASHINGTON, Jun. 11 /CSRwire/ - Three winners were announced today for Green America’s quarterly “People & Planet Award,” which recognizes America’s best green, small businesses. Each of three winners will receive $5,000. The winners are: Love & Carrots, The Chile Woman, and Green City Growers. Winners were selected by the public, who had a month-long open voting period online at Green America’s website.

Green America’s “People & Planet Awards” recognize innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that deeply integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. This round of the Awards focused on green businesses that have an overall green way of doing business and a strong commitment to a sustainable food system.

Alisa Gravitz, president, Green America, said: “Sustainable food sourcing is key to a healthy and greener way of doing business. Green America is proud to recognize businesses that demonstrate green innovation in their business models and sustainability in their food systems with this People & Planet Award.”

The winning companies’ descriptions are below:

  • Love & Carrots, Washington, DC, www.loveandcarrots.com, is a home organic gardening service which designs, installs, and maintains vegetable gardens in DC and the surrounding suburbs. Organic, locally grown food and fruitful green spaces are beautiful, healthy, and better for the soul. Founded by ecologist Meredith Sheperd, the vision of Love & Carrots is to educate people about the importance of local food and environmental stewardship through gardens. Love & Carrots promotes the growth of urban agriculture through a home-based garden education service that teaches families, businesses, and organizations how to grow their own food.
  • The Chile Woman, Bloomington, IN, www.thechilewoman.com. The Chile Woman is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and growing chile pepper varieties from all over the world, as well as preserving chile pepper biodiversity. The Chile Woman now maintains a seed bank of over 1800 chile pepper varieties, and excludes all hybrid, GMO or bioengineered seeds. When Susan Wesland (AKA The Chile Woman) was hit with a tornado in 2011, she found the silver lining: Although her property had been too heavily wooded to support efficient solar power before, the trees felled by the storm opened up spaces that Wesland filled with solar photovoltaic panels to power her home and gardens. The company is celebrating the installation of a 5.2 K solar array that went online in January of this year.
  • Green City Growers, Somerville, MA, growmycitygreen.com. Green City Growers (GCG) transforms unused space into thriving urban farms, providing clients with immediate access to nutritious food, while revitalizing city landscapes and inspiring self-sufficiency. GCG produces and installs raised-beds, cold frames, and rooftop farms in addition to providing farm maintenance, educational programming, and consulting services for all interested in growing fruits and vegetables. GCG’s clients include urban and suburban homeowners, corporate wellness programs, schools, healthcare facilities, and restaurant/food service providers, etc. Quality organic produce is expensive and difficult for the average family to procure. By bringing the farm to the consumer, GCG increases access to produce, fostering a stronger connection between people and the food they eat. This summer, the company is launching the largest rooftop farm operating in New England, with up to 11,000 pounds of produce projected to be grown on the roof of a Whole Foods in Lynnfield, MA.

"The Love & Carrots team is honored to be selected for this award,” said Meredith Sheperd, founder of Love & Carrots. “Our team of experienced organic farmers designs, installs, and maintains vegetable gardens, edible landscapes, and urban farms for residents and businesses all over the greater DC area. We are excited to devote the prize money to creating a larger composting system for the organic waste from our gardens-- completing the sustainability loop."

I feel honored to be one of the People & Planet Award recipients,” said Susan Wesland, founder, The Chile Woman. “This is big news to a business as small as mine. When I started my business 21 years ago, I was dedicated to preserving chile biodiversity, reducing waste, and recycling and reusing whatever I could. What were once considered to be eccentric business practices are now hip! When we were hit with drought last summer, we sorely wished we had already installed a cistern. It will be a blessing to use part of the prize money to help harvest my rainwater instead of wasting any of that precious moisture. Finally, we also have a space in mind to convert into a small store we hope to stock with locally made spicy food products.”

"We're so excited to have been chosen by Green America for their People & Planet award!” said Jessie Benhazl, CEO of Green City Growers. “We plan on using our winnings to invest in a more environmentally friendly vehicle, and to research and develop additional techniques for sustainable urban farming at our home base in Somerville. We are dedicated to providing our customers with fresh, hyper-local produce."

Future rounds of Green America’s quarterly award for green businesses with 50 or fewer employees, will focus on workplace innovations, and other sustainability practices. The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Katie Galloway & Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar; Lisa Stokke, Food Democracy Now; Jenny Burns, Honest Tea; Kristin Bower, Neighborhood Farm Initiative; Jonathan Reinbold , Organic Valley; John Lively, Preserve (winter winner!); Eric Henry, TS Designs; and Reed Doyle, Seventh Generation; Fran Teplitz & Andrew Korfhage, Green America..

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems.
www.GreenAmerica.org | @GreenAmerica

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Phone: 703-276-3256


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