By Kim Stewart, member of the Longmont Y's Board of Directors
What you eat makes a difference in the lives of so many people whom you may never meet. Green America’s People and Planet award is recognizing small food production businesses that put people and sustainability first. You can have a say and vote until May 31, 2013.
The quarterly People & Planet Awards recognizes businesses that integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. This round includes businesses with a commitment to a sustainable food system. Votes will be tallied and three quarterly winners will be announced during the week of June 3rd.
Voting link is here and will continue until 5 p.m. on May 31, 2013. Each of three winners will receive $5,000. Even if you opt out of voting, these companies are worth knowing about.
1. Alter Eco, San Francisco, CA
Alter Eco works directly with small-scale farmers who grow quinoa, rice, sugar, and chocolate. Alter Eco supports Fair Trade and organic-growing practices, which has improved yields, created profit-sharing, improved capital, garnered living wages and medical insurance.
2. Archi's Acres, Escondido, CA
Archi’s Acres supports sustainable agriculture while serving our nation's veterans. Archi's Acres is beginning construction of a 30,000 square foot farm incubator to serve as the prototype for job-creating, water-saving, food-producing, veteran-led hydroponic organic greenhouses nationwide.
3. Blue Ridge Produce, Elkwood, VA http://blueridgeproduce.net/
Blue Ridge Produce aggregates produce from farms in Virginia for sale to wholesale customers in the Mid-Atlantic. Blue Ridge Produce lets farmers be farmers by giving them a consistent market for their produce and handling the marketing and distribution logistics.
4. The Chile Woman, Bloomington, IN
The Chile Woman is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and growing chile-pepper varieties from all over the world. The Chile Woman now maintains a seed bank of more than 1800 chile-pepper varieties, and excludes all hybrid, GMO or bioengineered seeds.
5. CleanFish, San Francisco, CA
CleanFish looks to the artisanal, or family farm, levels of seafood production. The company has cultivated regional networks of smaller, ethical fish producers They have created access to native fisheries, such as Nunavut tribe's Arctic Char that is uniquely available through CleanFish.
6. Flying J Farm, Johnstown, OH
Flying J Farm believes that sustainability begins with human health. Highlights of Flying J Farm's sustainability efforts include: 1) Outdoor wood furnace, 2) Solar thermal water heating, 3) An 11 KW solar electric system, 4) Biodiesel fuel produced from waste oil and used in most tractors.
7. Frankferd Farms Foods, Saxonburg, PA
Frankferd Farms Foods has been providing the region with organic, natural, and bulk foods for over 35 years. Frankferd is the only company of its kind in the region and serves over 3000 customers in 7 states. Since the business essentially grew out of an organic farm, its ethics are rooted in stewardship to the land.
8. Green City Growers, Somerville, MA
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's clients include urban and suburban homeowners, corporate wellness programs, schools, healthcare facilities, and restaurant/food service providers.
9 in.gredients, Austin, TX http://in.gredients.com/
In.gredients is a zero-waste micro-grocer in Austin, Texas providing the community with real, local food. By providing a majority of products in bulk and sourcing from local farmers, ranchers and producers, the store has become a green-food leader in the Austin community.
10 Love & Carrots, Washington, DC
This home organic gardening service designs, installs, and maintains vegetable gardens in DC and the surrounding suburbs. 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."