Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

People & Planet Green Business Award
Awarding $60K annually to 12 socially & environmentally responsible businesses 

The People & Planet Award recognizes businesses for their dedication to a green economy: a bottom line that includes protecting workers, communities, and the environment. Seasonally, we award three $5,000 cash prizes in a range of green-business categories, such as zero-waste, worker empowerment, and sustainable food.

Following nominations by the public, our top ten business nominees for the Award each quarter are determined by our volunteer panel of judges: Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Tess O’Brien, Clean Power Perks, Jennifer Snyder, Clif Bar; Erlene Howard, Collective Resource, Inc.; Dale Luckwitz, Naturepedic; Jonathan Reinbold, Organic Valley; Martin Wolf, Seventh Generation; and Andrew Korfhage and Fran Teplitz, both of Green America.

Nominations are closed for the Fall 2017 People & Planet Award (category: clean energy).
Finalists will be announced on November 1, 2017.

People & Planet Winners' Gallery:

Theme: Green Gardens

CERO GrowAsis RainThanks

CERO Cooperative turns trash into treasure, collecting tons of food scraps from local grocery stores and restaurants every week and, instead of letting that stuff turn to toxic methane gas in landfills, they make sure it’s turned into rich compost. Lor Holmes, CERO general manager says, "This award is especially meaningful for our upstart worker cooperative and will support CERO diverting more than 100 tons per month of food waste from landfill to food-growing compost, while providing good green jobs in our community.”

GrowAsis Urban Garden Consulting, Inc.  encourages earth stewardship and individual empowerment by helping urban gardeners in Chicago grow and secure their own food. GrowAsis serves Chicago’s south side communities through urban garden education workshops for youth and adults and on-site specialized consultations. Jacqueline Smith, owner of GrowAsis says, “With this prize, GrowAsis looks forward to supporting other social entrepreneurs and green businesses we work with in our community."

RainThanks & Greywater’s mission is to create a regenerative water culture by reusing, capturing, and conserving water. They pursue a vision for a world where every building owner is able to divert grey-water and rainwater to the landscape to grow food. Candace Vanderhoff, founder of RainThanks says, “Utilizing our systems gardeners have been able to save thousands of gallons of water, while reducing water cost. We will use the funds to bring our DIY greywater system to market.”

Congratulations to our additional Spring 2017 Finalists:

Edible Eden Baltimore Foodscapes, Baltimore, MD Haines Brewing Company, Haines, AK
Grow Eat Repeat, Savannah, GA  


FALL 2016
Theme: Green Pets/Animals

Front Yard Coop »
Asheville, NC
Full Circle Feed »
Syracuse, NY
The Honest Kitchen »
San Diego, CA
Front Yard Full Circle Honest

The Front Yard Coop is the world’s first solar-powered, self-propelled chicken coop.  While chicken coops are a booming business as well as a growing segment of the do-it-yourself (DIY) community, the Front Yard Coop is unique. They offer technological innovations, solar power, and contemporary design in a comprehensive solution to all the problems Front Yard Coops founders encountered over the years raising chickens. "You think about where your food comes from a little bit more" when you are raising chickens in a solar-powered coop, says founder Peter Zander.

The Full Circle Feed mission is to make the world a better place for pets, plants, and people, with their treats made with vegetables, meats, fruits, and breads from restaurant buffets that were prepared but not served. "Full Circle Feed will use the funds to set up a more environmentally friendly production process and drying method" says founder Michael Amadori. "In particular, instead of electricity or natural gas we plan to use waste heat or biogas generated from anaerobic digestion to bake our dog biscuits. This will greatly reduce our ecological footprint and give us the most sustainable dog treats on the market!"

"“We’re absolutely thrilled to be a winner in Green America’s People and Planet Awards," says Lucy Postins, founder of The Honest Kitchen. "It’s a huge honor to have our commitments to sustainable and humane ingredient sourcing and other environmental efforts recognized in this way. Looking ahead, we’re working towards furthering our goals in these areas, including the integration of free-range eggs into our supply chain and increasing our usage of grass-fed beef, as well as other initiatives for packaging reduction and recycling.”

Congratulations to our additional Fall 2016 Finalists:

The Big Bad Woof, Washington, DC Greenfeather Bird Supply, West Hartford, CT
BioUrn4Pets, Yorba Linda, CA Purrfect Play, Chesterton, IN
Eco Dog Care, Los Angeles, CA  


Theme: Ethical Apparel

Fair Indigo »
Madison, WI
Fair Indigo Fed By Threads Jesse

Fair Indigo produces garments and toys from organic Peruvian pima cotton and dyed with Oeko-tex certified dyes. But as Fair Indigo puts it, "Taking care of the earth is only half the equation to a cleaner closet. We also must take care of its inhabitants. Our cooperative members and small business employees in Peru are paid fairly, treated with dignity and respect. We visit them every year. Have lunch with them. Listen to their ideas. Laugh with them. Dream with them. When we ask what’s the one thing we could do to make their lives better, with rare exception, their answer is always the same: 'send more work.'”

Fed By Threads is an American-made organic sweatshop-free boutique clothing store and custom print apparel business that also provides emergency meals through the purchase of their garments. They only carry designers who produce inside the United States, paying living wages, and using only sustainable cruelty-free fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, recycled plastic bottles that reduce our collective carbon footprint. Fed By Threads plans to use the prize money to launch a project providing organic cotton hoodies to child cancer patients.

"After three years of hardcore bootstrapping from my home based studio, we will use the prize money to purchase vintage and American-made sewing equipment to complement the current machine, a 1940's Singer Featherweight 221," says Jesse Beardslee, founder of Themis & Thread. "Other plans include deepening our commitments to alternative energy, carbon neutrality and American- produced, organic and recycled fiber innovations.  We will expand our current projects with recycled paper hang tags, posters and packaging, and our natural non-toxic dye method.”

Congratulations to our additional Summer 2016 Finalists:

Colored Organics, St. Paul, MN Liz Alig, Indianapolis, IN
Decent Exposures, Seattle, WA Orgotton, Philadelphia, PA
Dhana, Inc., Sausalito, CA Raven + Lily, Austin, TX
Herman's Eco, Riverside, CA  


Theme: Organics

Fruition Seeds »
Canandaigua, NY
Neptune's Harvest »
Gloucester, MA
Fruition Neptune Village

Fruition Seeds grows more than 300 varieties of certified organic, non-GMO seeds regionally adapted to thrive in short Northeast US seasons.  They offer garden vegetables, flowers, and herbs as well as organic seeds of native plants, each selected for flavor, productivity and disease resistance to make organic gardening easier and more abundant. Fruition has also been invited to adapt their model of collaboration for a seed saving project in the Dominican Republic. They will be using part of the People & Planet prize money to expand their library of how-to videos for seed savers in the US and DR.

Neptune’s Harvest produces 100-percent organic fertilizer from the “waste” of its parent company, Ocean Crest Seafood, using 100-percent of the fish, and producing an organic fertilizer that nourishes the soil. With part of the People & Planet winnings, Neptune's Harvest will be enhancing their raised beds project at their home office, where they test their organic products, and share the resulting produce with the community. "Fish fertilizer not only helps create healthy plants and soil, but eliminates the need to use pesticides or any other chemicals, which reduces the negative impact on the environment," says Ann Molloy, of Neptune's Harvest.

"We are so thrilled to accept this award, as it will shine a light on the organic producers we depend on, in Athens and beyond, who are the foundation of our green economy." says Christine Hughes of the Village Bakery & Cafe. "This windfall will put us in a good financial position to take the next step in our long-term renewable energy plans.  We are in communication with local solar installers to either add a solar vehicle charging station to our parking area, or to take our Della Zona wood-fired bake house off the grid!"  

Congratulations to our additional Spring 2016 Finalists:

Bead & Reel, Los Angeles, CA Montalbano Farms, Sandwich, IL
Delaware Local Food Exchange, Wilmington, DE Sprout Kitchen Gardens, Arlington, VA
Green Street Market, Rio Grande, NJ Zosimos Botanicals, Gaithersburg, MD
Groundworks Farm, Pittsville, MD  


Theme: Green DIY

Yurt Garden Tower Milk Paint

The Colorado Yurt Company crafts yurts, tipis, and tents by hand, and ships them out in kit form for customers to assemble on-site themselves. Using far fewer natural resources than a traditional stick built structure, the yurts are produced in an environmentally friendly shop that features a grid-tie photovoltaic system, skylights, and an aggressive recycling and reuse program. In-shop electricity not provided by the photovoltaic system comes from wind-energy generated by the local electric power co-op.

In an era of industrial farming that strips food of nutrients essential for health, Garden Tower Project is a company with a mission of transforming urban agriculture and home gardening to empower people to take control of their own food security. With the winnings from the People & Planet Award, the Garden Tower Project will further its research into making making its product from a bio-resin plastic made from 93-percent sugar cane. The bio-resin is carbon negative -- pulling more more carbon out of the atmosphere (in its creation) than is released by all processes involved in its production. 

The Real Milk Paint Co. is committed to making the safest paints and finishes in the industry -- so safe that disposing of unused Real Milk Paint in your garden or yard will actually fertilize and nourish the soil. The company has also sponsored a mural movement for school children in Haiti to paint the walls of their schools, and has sponsored college students exploring sustainable paints at artists’ retreats. They will use the People & Planet award would to make more DIY videos to further education the public.

Congratulations to our additional Winter 2016 Finalists:

Fiberactive Organics, Apex, NC Mary's Wholesome Living, Chicago, IL
The Hub Bike Co-op, Minneapolis, MN The ReWall Company, Des Moines, IA
Landscape Integrity Film & Education, Sierra Madre, CA Utah Biodiesel Supply, Clinton, UT
Lotech Products, Tucson, AZ  


FALL 2015
Theme: Vegan Products

Vegan Street »
Chicago, IL
Coconut Bliss Neuaura Vegan Street

Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss is a non-dairy frozen dessert company committed to using vegan, organic, Fair Trade and GMO-free ingredients. Company founders Luna Marcus and Larry Kaplowitz also established philanthropy as a cornerstone of the business, as demonstrated through their annual community benefit, 'A Night of Bliss.' Elizabeth Reilly of Coconut Bliss says: "Winning the People & Planet Award reinforces our mission to make the best non-dairy ice cream on the planet, and to do so without compromising our core values of transparency, integrity and respect for our customers, employees, and the Earth."

Neuaura Footwear aims to provide its customers with cruely-free options for a wide range of shoes. In addition, the company works to protect workers in the environment, manufacturing in factories like the Brazilian facility pictured above, a unionized plant that runs on hydro-electricity and is committed to responsible resource management, re-use, and recycling. intended destination, recycling companies. Owner Arti Upadhyay says Neuaura will use the money for developing a line of weather-proof vegan winter boots made of sustainable materials.

John Beske, owner of Vegan Street says: “The People & Planet Award comes to us just as we have been actively exploring ways to expand our mission, and is giving us the opportunity to begin programs now that we thought might take months to roll out. This grant will allow us to expand into the production of entertaining and inspirational videos, and also to develop a program where we can teach our communications skills to individuals and groups who want to amplify their own voices and share their unique wisdom and ideas for creating a more compassionate, just and sustainable world." 

Congratulations to our additional Fall 2015 Finalists:

Alter Eco, San Francisco, CA Vegan Distribution, Hayward, CA
Bhakti Chai, Boulder, CO Veganized Restaurant, New Brunswick, NJ
Chickpea & Olive, New York, NY Wildflower Earthly Vegan Fare, Millville, NJ
ION Restaurant, Middletown, CT  


Theme: Recycled Products

Mr. Ellie Pooh »
Millersburg, PA
RocknSocks »
San Rafael, CA
TerraCycle »
Trenton, NJ
Ellie Pooh RockNSocks TerraCycle

Mr. Ellie Pooh is an Earth-friendly innovative company that sells and produces 100-percent recycled paper products made of 50-percent fiber from elephant dung and 50-percent post-consumer paper.  In Sri Lanka, elephants are being killed because farmers and elephants are competing for land.  Mr. Ellie Pooh believes that putting sustainable Fair Trade jobs in areas of human/elephant conflict can create an environment where elephants are thought of as assets and not a threat. "Every penny of this award will go back to supporting our Fair Trade initiatives and promoting education about human/elephant conflict in Sri Lanka," says Karl Wald, owner of Mr. Ellie Pooh.

RocknSocks is the first and only US-made sock company to use pre-consumer regenerated cotton blend yarns exclusively in the manufacture of our dynamic eco-friendly sock line. Cotton scraps are taken from other textile manufacturing waste, sorted by color, ground up and spun into yarns allowing us to avoid using dyes in our cotton blend yarns. Misty Reilly, founder of RocknSocks, says the company will use the winnings to help recycle damaged, returned and sample socks into a line of sock “creatures” (toys) for children. The sock creature line will be a non-profit venture, both giving away creatures and/or profits to children and families in need.

Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle, says "We are proud to accept such a respected third-party validation of our work. The prize money will be utilized to help expand our free recycling fundraisers for schools and communities around the country." From drink pouches, toothbrushes and makeup containers to coffee capsules and even cigarette butts, TerraCycle's recycling programs create products from waste that would otherwise be destined for the landfill. To date, this successful model has helped divert more than four billion waste items from landfills around the world.

Congratulations to our additional Summer 2015 Finalists:

Bag the Habit, Jersey City, NJ Recycled Paper Printing, Boston, MA, Washington, DC Temperpack, Washington, DC
lur apparel, Cincinnati, OH Weisenbach Recycled Products, Columbus, OH
Recyclebank, New York, NY  


Theme: Green Celebrations

Big Grove Tavern »
Champaign, IL
Sweet Peas Cafe »
Dunedin, FL
Big Grove Compost RainCatchers

Big Grove Tavern serves fresh farm-to-table New American Cuisine, with almost 80 percent of their proteins come from farms within 60 miles, and 80 percent of their produce sourced locally during the summer. The tavern also sources from local dairies and distilleries, uses no Styrofoam, and recycles and composts to minimize waste. With its Give Back Campaign, the tavern has been donating a portion of lunch sales to a different local charity every month.


Collective Resource is an innovative composting business that delivers collection containers and returns to pick them up filled with food scraps and other compostable materials. If customers choose to have the company staff their event, Collective Resource ensures the sustainable disposal of organic food waste, as well as all other waste, including recyclables. Erlene Howard, founder of Collective Resource says, "With the award money, we'll be able to invest in automated container washing, which will not only increase our service capacity, but use less water while doing so."

Danielle Pastore, owner of Sweet Peas Café told Green America, “We are very honored to accept this award. In a world of conventional restaurant models and business models, it is very challenging for small busineses to find extra resources that will fund ideas that are outside of the box. This award money is really going to be put good use. For four years, we have had a plan to use the west side of the property as an organic garden space where customers are able to eat, party, and play where food is grown. Thank you for helping to make our dream into a reality, to help us to give our customers a unique experience.”

Congratulations to our additional Spring 2015 Finalists:

The Cleaver Co., New York, NY MiaDonna, Portland, OR
EcoLogic Solutions, Brooklyn, NY A Spice of Life Catering, Bourlder, CO
Good Old Days Eco-Florist, New Windsor, NY Susty Party, Brooklyn, NY
Maple Hill Farm Inn & Conference Center, Hallowell, ME  


Theme: Clean Energy

Rain Catchers »
Kernersville, NC
CleanPower ELF RainCatchers

Women-owned Clean Power Perks guides customers toward clean energy options and rewards them with perks from businesses that also use clean energy. Clean Power Perks' embers receive exclusive deals and discounts from brands that support clean energy like prAna, previous People & Planet winner Preserve, Emmy’s Organics, and Timberland. The company introduces new perks every month and sends members green news and tips to help inspire and power their green lifestyle. 

Organic Transit designs, builds, and distributes the ELF, a zero-emission, solar-pedal vehicle. Its three-wheeled construction brings added stability, a liberating feature for older, less agile individuals, or people with disabilities that put owning a driver’s license out of reach. And while in developing nations, it can be an all-day affair to fetch a few gallons of drinkable water, with an ELF, villagers can retrieve 55 gallons in a short time. Once back in the village, the ELF’s solar and pedal power can double as a micro-utility station powering radios, lights, water purifiers, and more.

Rain Catchers is a business devoted to directly addressing climate change, clean water issues, and food insecurity all at the same time -- both in the developing world, and in the US. Their systems include rain water harvesting, solar water pumping, storm water management, UV filtration, and solar energy and wind power installation. Rain Catchers will use a tithing of the People & Planet Award money to support the Future of Haiti Organization and Main St. Methodist community garden in Kernersville, North Carolina.

Congratulations to our additional Winter 2015 Finalists:

Envision Solar, San Diego, CA Sky Bar, Tucson, AZ
CleanChoice Energy, Washington, DC Sunlight Solar Systems, Salt Lake City, UT
Maple Hill Farm Inn & Conference Center, Hallowell, ME Technicians for Sustainability, Tucson, AZ
Native Energy, Burlington, VT  


FALL 2014
Theme: Worker Empowerment

Mata Traders »
Chicago, IL
Ojoba Collective »
Portland, OR
Chicle Mata Ojoba

When Canaan Fair Trade began, Palestinian farmers faced plummeting olive oil prices locally and no access to outside markets. Canaan linked struggling farmers with world markets in long-term relationships based on social responsibility and environmental sustainability, helping them support their families and stay on their land. Canaan also secured markets for the products of artisan women producers, enabling women's cooperatives to earn income off products they traditionally produced for their families. Recently, the ILO named the Canaan project and its farmers as a world model for rural transformation.

By bringing traditionally made fabrics to a global audience, Mata Traders supports the family businesses of weavers and block printers throughout India whose livelihoods have been threatened by the shift of textile production to the factory.  "We're so happy to receive this worker empowerment award because it recognizes the incredible work our partner organizations are doing," says Mata Traders' Jonit Bookheim. "They havehelped us build a successful fashion brand and bring socially conscious options to the American marketplace. We'll use the award to improve our collaboration with these groups." 

"We are honored to win this award, not just because the prize money will help us purchase more solar cookers to green our production facility, but because it signals a changing tide in consumer attitudes," says Tracy Wulfers, co-founder of the Ojoba Collective. "Americans are tired of reading about sweatshops, child labor, and the exploitation of workers, just like they are tired of reading about the exploitation of the earth." Ojoba works directly with women's cooperatives in rural Ghana to produce bodycare products.

Congratulations to our additional Fall 2014 Finalists:

Bright Agrotech, Laramie, WI Re-Play, Winter Park, FL
Great Basin Food Co-op, Reno, NV Tango Zulu, Port Gamble, WA
Real Pickles, Greenfield, MA  


Theme: Green Kids

Glee Gum »
Providence, RI
Peapods »
St. Paul, MN
Chicle Kids! Peapods

When educator Deborah Schimberg traveled to Guatemala in 1992, she learned about chicle, a tree sap had once been the basis of the entire chewing gum industry. Upon her return, she experimented, adding confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, and flavoring, to the chicle, and her company, Glee Gum was born. "The prize winnings will enable us to offer our educational, natural candy-making kits for free to 250 public school classrooms in the US this year," says Deborah. "We look forward to launching this fun program, and hope that it encourages more students to think about where goods come from and how natural resources can be used responsibly."

 “The entire staff and families at Green Beginning Community Preschool (GBCP) would like to thank Green America for giving us a platform to foster green practices and sustainability," says Veronica Cabello, executive director and founder of GBCP. "It is our hope that GBCP will become a model program in the field of early childhood education and that other schools will follow and join our efforts to pursue zero waste and adopt other green initiatives. Most importantly we would like to inspire others to advocate and educate children and families in developing awareness of the impact we have on our world."

"Our goal at Peapods has always been two-fold: to offer the safest and greenest goods and to build community in our city," says Millie Adelsheim, co-owner of Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care. "We believe that a locally owned store benefits a neighborhood in dozens of ways that chain stores or ecommerce sites do not. We will be using this award to invest in more energy-efficient light fixtures and to improve our selection of sustainably made toys for the coming holiday season.” Peapods strives to source locally made and made in the USA products, to help small, green manufacturers and toymakers to grow their businesses.

Congratulations to our additional Summer 2014 Finalists:

Baby Eco-Trends, Athens, GA Maple Landmark Woodcraft, Middlebury, VT
Bamboosa, Andrews, SC Naturally Playful, Aloha, OR
Dhana EcoKids, Mill Valley, CA Organic Keiki, Kahilua, HI
Ja*Lu, Rosalia, WA  


Theme: Nominees Chosen by Community Development Lenders

Feed Earth Now »
Chicago, IL
Nominated by GreenChoice Bank
FLS Energy »
Asheville, NC
Nominated by Self-Help Credit Union
Feed Earth Now Going solar! Mauthe

Cathy Scratch of Feed Earth Now, points out that she's really two businesses in one. Her business tackles waste management issues by rapidly recycling large volumes of food scraps into fertilizer, while at the same time supporting the scalability of organic agriculture. "Our business helps society live in balance with nature by providing products and services that capture the energy and nutrients of organic materials, creating a path that transforms discarded materials into valuable resources that enable communities to thrive," she says. "We plan on using this gift to further develop our web platform and any money left over will go towards a trade show exhibit."

 Dale Freudenberger, CEO of the solar-installation company FLS Energy points out that it's community-focused lenders like Self-Help Credit Union that have allowed his business to survive and thrive. "By finding financial groups with shared goals of creating sustainable communities and a cleaner world, FLS Energy was able to develop an ownership model and scale of renewable energy project development thought impossible just a few short years ago," he says. "We have decided to use the money awarded to help support organizations that are doing great work in our local community; Asheville Go, Riverlink, and Asheville Greenworks."

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused Mauthe's Progress Milk Barn, an all-organic dairy, to close its doors. With the help of Hope Credit Union, Mauthe's Progress was able to relaunch in 2010, and has been growing ever since. "We’ve been wanting to improve the efficiency of our rotational grazing by making and supplying our own organic fertilizer, and this award will help us secure the tools we need to do that – pipes, fittings, tanks, and an irrigation pump," says owner Jaime Mauthe.  "We look forward to even greater returns from our pasture-grazing, all-organic-fed cows."

Congratulations to our additional Spring 2014 Finalists:

Between the Sheets, New York, NY
Nominated by Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union
Johns Family Enterprises, Okeechobee, FL
Nominated by Native American Bank
Community Printers, Santa Cruz, CA
Nominated by Santa Cruz Community Credit Union
Metrus Energy, San Francisco, CA
Nominated by New Resource Bank
Izzy's Ice Cream, Minneapolis, MN
Nominated by Sunrise Banks

To find a community development bank or credit union near you, visit our


Theme: Green Homes

Community Forklift »
Edmonston, MD
Ecohouse »
Galloway, OH
Happy customer at the 'lift. Going solar! Esther and Diana

Ruthie Mundell, outreach manager at Community Forklift, says winning the People & Planet award will help tidy things up around their overflowing home-improvement center.  "We've recently been offered unfinished space in a nearby warehouse," she says. “The prize money will help us clean and fix it up.  We can finally explore some exciting possibilities – like paint recycling, an upcycling workshop, or job training in deconstruction!" Community Forklift specializes in salvage, recycling, and reuse.  Each day, their truck team heads out to pick up so-called "trash" to return to the store for re-sale.

 “We are happy to be recognized for helping central Ohio go solar and reduce the impact of climate change," says Kevin Eigel, president of Ecohouse in Galloway, OH. "We will use the prize money to help put up a solar electric system for the Third Hand Bike Co-op, a local nonprofit organization that makes cycling accessible for everyone in our region." Ecohouse is helping to reduce fossil-fuel dependence, one house and business at a time, by installing solar PV systems, making buildings more airtight and better insulated, and encouraging the use of energy efficient furnaces, appliances, and lighting.

Nancy Vasquez Louth, manager of the Green Broom Brigade cleaning cooperative in Lompoc, CA, says the cooperative will use its People & Planet prize money to expand its services beyond the residential market.  "Winning this award will give us the opportunity to purchase needed equipment so that we can expand into commercial cleaning using our same green-friendly products,” she says. Diana Samaguey (above, right), a member of the Brigade, says, “To work green is not a passing fad; it’s a way of life that we practice for our own health and so future generations have a better quality of life.”

Congratulations to our additional Winter 2014 Finalists:

Amicus Green Building Center, Kensington, MD Honest Pet Products, Manitowoc, WI
Earthcraft Construction, Boise, ID Seabold Architectural Studio, Jackson, MS
Green Home, San Francisco, CA Superior Bed Bug Solutions, Alexandria, VA
The Green Mama, Chicago, IL  


FALL 2013
Theme: Green Travel & Transportation

Beetle Greenway Mercantile, straw bale
Pamela Miedtke-Wolf and Shaun Stenshol, co-founders of Bio-Beetle ECO Rental Carsin Kahului, HI say the People & Planet Award will go toward investing in a new car for their biodiesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and 100-percent electric rental fleet. Besides renting cars, they also own and operate a recycling company, they live off-grid, with solar energy, and a rainwater catchment. They're vegan, and grow a lot of their own food. Plus, they have recently created a cat sanctuary for around 100 homeless cats that had nowhere else to go. “We owe a big thanks to our partner restaurants who provide us with waste veggie oil, our environmentally conscious investors, our community supporters, and our drivers and staff," says Marc Dreyfors, founding manager of Greenway Transit.  Based in Durham, NC, Greenway is the first and only transport company in the Southeast to provide services in vehicles run exclusively on human energy (pedi-cabs) or biofuels (buses, shuttles, vans).  Greenway will use the People & Planet funds to do community outreach on the benefits of biodiesel and on environmental justice issues.
Alline Anderson, founder of the Milkweed Mercantile,a straw bale eco-inn in Rutledge, MO, says the award will help Milkweed pay for work in the inn's demonstration garden, which will in turn provide local and organic food for guests at the inn.  "The funds will go a long way in our efforts to demonstrate that a sustainable life is about joy, community, a real sense of connection, hope, and of course, great food!" says Alline. "Additionally, we will be able to take our line of jam and pickles to the next level by supporting more local farmers and gardeners."

Congratulations to our additional Fall 2013 Finalists:

Better World Club, Portland, OR Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI
Dogpatch Biofuels, San Francisco, CA Xtracycle, Emoryville, CA
Evergreen Escapes, Seattle, WA Zigo, South Orange, NJ
Gondwana Ecotours, New Orleans, LA  


Theme: Ethical Apparel

Earth Creations »
Bessemer, AL
Nancy's Gone Green »
Framingham, MA
ChileWoman GreenCityGrowers Love and Carrots
One day after a stormy bike ride, the founder of Earth Creations found her clothing coated in rich Alabama clay that was impossible to wash off -- and so her unique clay-dyed, made-in-the-USA clothing line was born. Winning the award will help Earth Creations educate others about the benefits of eco-friendly fabrics and dyes. "The Slow Fashion movement unifies the 'sustainable' and 'ethical' fashion movements. We demonstrate our clay-dyeing in local schools to educate about all the aspects of Slow Fashion," says Earth Creations' Marie Caine. Maggie's Organics has been a leader in the Fair Trade fashion movement since 1992. The company plans to use its winnings to strengthen the connections between overseas workers, like cotton farmer Carlos, above, and those who wear their products here in the US. "We will dedicate the prize money to bringing more of our cooperative producers to meet and interact with our customers, through seminars and educational events," says Maggie's owner Bena Burda. "It is our belief that this connection can truly change the world."
Founded by mother-daughter team Nancy Atkins and Mary Savoca, Nancy's Gone Green is an eco-friendly online boutique. “The $5,000 will have an immediate impact this fall and winter, helping us expand our brand-new collaboration with an artisan group in Nepal,” says Mary.  "We'll be introducing the first pieces this October, starting with organic cotton and bamboo dresses and tops. We are expanding our Re:awakened label, locally made from upcycled cashmere and vintage fabrics, and previously sewn 100% by Nancy herself. "

Congratulations to our additional Summer 2013 Finalists:

Atayne, Brunswick, ME PACT, San Francisco, CA
Blue Fish Clothing, Fairfield, IA Recover, Hickory, NC
Mata Traders, Chicago, IL Vintage Creations, Seattle, WA
Mehera Shaw, Chapel Hill, NC  


Theme: Sustainable Food

The Chile Woman »
Bloomington, IN
Green City Growers »
Somerville, MA
Love & Carrots »
Washington, DC
ChileWoman GreenCityGrowers Love and Carrots
When a tornado struck the Chile Woman in 2011, she found the silver lining: "I was too heavily wooded for solar before the tornado but I lost so much of my old growth tree cover that solar became a possibility," she says. As an organic, non-GMO chile grower for more than 20 years, Susan Wesland maintains an heirloom seed bank of more than 1800 chile pepper varieties. She plans to use her winnings to install a cistern, and to launch a small store for locally made spicy food products. Since 2008, Green City Growers has installed more than 400 raised-bed rooftop gardens on homes, businesses, schools, and restaurants in Massachusetts. The company will begin maintaining the largest rooftop farm in New England for a Whole Foods store in the summer of 2013, which is expected to yield up 11,000 pounds of produce a year. "We plan on using our winnings to invest in a more environmentally friendly vehicle," says CEO and founder Jessie Benhazl.
Love & Carrots is an organic gardening service which teaches families, businesses, and organizations how to grow their own food (including honey!). All Love & Carrots gardens incorporate conservation principles like companion planting, nutrient cycling, and water-saving drip line irrigation that benefit the surrounding ecosystem. "We are excited to devote the prize money to creating a larger composting system for the organic waste from our gardens," says founder Meredith Sheperd.

Congratulations to our additional Spring 2013 Finalists:

Alter Eco, San Francisco, CA Flying J Farm, Johnstown, OH
Archi's Acres, Escondido, CA Frankferd Farms Foods, Norwell, MA
Blue Ridge Produce, Elkwood, VA in.gredients, Austin, TX
Clean Fish, San Francisco, CA  


Theme: Zero Waste

CompostNow »
Raleigh, NC
Preserve »
Waltham, MA
CompostNow Hummingbird Wholesale Preserve
CompostNow is a weekly doorstep pick-up service allowing households to divert their food scraps and compostable waste, creating nutrient-rich soil for home and community gardens. As of February 2013, CompostNow and its community had intercepted 50,000 lbs. of compostable waste, producing 25,000 lbs. of compost. CompostNow intends to use the award money to branch out into other North Carolina cities. In addition to their robust container return-and-reuse program, Hummingbird Wholesale pursues zero-waste with their clean and green bike delivery sy stem. "Our prize money will buy us a second electric bike cart, doubling our bike delivery capacity," says Kristie Steele of Hummingbird Wholesale. "Making local deliveries via bike pays off in cleaner air, fun and healthy work, and ongoing inspiration for our co-owners and community."
Preserve manufactures plastic personal care products out of 100-percent recycled #5 plastic, rescuing thousands of yogurt containers, lip-balm tubes, Brita filters, and other toss-away items from the landfill. Preserve will be using the prize money to help find and reward upcoming winners of the company's own  Local Heroes of Recycling contest.  “We are thrilled to be able to pay it forward,” says Preserve CEO Eric Hudson.

Congratulations to our additional Winter 2013 Finalists:

American Textile & Supply, Contra Costa, CA Repurposed Materials, Denver, CO
First World Trash, Queens, NY Stay Vocal, Norwell, MA
Green Citizen, San Francisco, CA Urban Ore, Berkeley, CA
Grounds for Change, Poulsbo, WA  


FALL 2012
Theme: Clean Energy

City Roots »
Columbia, SC
Clean Currents »
Silver Spring, MD
City Roots Clean Currents Third Sun
City Roots grows 75 varieties of fruits and vegetables, keeps bees for both honey and pollination, and raises chickens for both eggs and include the platinum-LEED-certified, un-air-conditioned, naturally lit main building and a hybrid delivery car. The People & Planet Award will help finance a solar hydroponic growing system, as well as a new strategy for reducing tractor fuel. Clean Currents is a green electricity provider that sells wind and solar energy to residents and businesses in Washington, DC; Maryland; and central Pennsylvania. Through renewable energy purchases by both business and residential customers, Clean Currents offset 288,430,778 lbs. of CO2 emissions in 2011. They're investing their award in advancing their Green Neighborhood Challenge.
“We will use our award to establish our new office composting system and teach the other businesses in our building how to compost with us," says Third Sun's Michelle Greenfield. "We'll reduce our company’s carbon footprint with an energy-efficiency lighting retrofit, and we will install some solar power with our local Habitat for Humanity chapter. Thank you for making these opportunities possible!”

Congratulations to our additional Fall 2012 Finalists:

Angel Wind Energy, Onarga, IL Green Canopy Homes, Seattle, WA
Brighton Car Wash, Naperville, IL Mosaic, Oakland, CA
Cooperative Energy Futures, Minneapolis, MN Pacific Biodiesel, Kahului, HI
Cozy Pure, Norfolk, VA  


Local Community Action

Green Kid Crafts »
Anchorage, AK
Sonoma Compost »
Sonoma County, CA
Green Kid Crafts Raleigh City Farm Sonoma Compost
Green Kid Crafts provides convenient, sustainable, and engaging activities that help families enjoy their quality time together while cultivating a child’s love and respect for the environment. They offset 100% of their carbon emissions, and partner with their local community nonprofit  Hope Community Resources to employ a team of disabled people to pack and ship their Discovery Boxes. Raleigh City Farm is a commercial urban farm growing food made from local rain, local compost, and local sunshine. They supply many local restaurants with organic produce, and partner local businesses to re-use their waste (wood, coffee bags, cardboard, and newspapers) as growing-beds. Their People & Planet Award will help them build a rain-water collection and irrigation system. Sonoma Compost Company (SCC), the regional compost facility for Sonoma County since 1993, has diverted nearly 1.5 million tons of organic matter (yard trimmings and vegetative food scraps) from landfills. SCC is both a sponsor and educator in the "350 Home and Garden Challenge" led by the local nonprofit Daily Acts. SCC donated the cash prize from its People & Planet Award to Daily Acts.

Congratulations to our additional Summer 2012 Finalists:

Coffee By Design, Portland, ME MiaDonna, Portland, OR
Fiberactive Organics, Raleigh, NC Old City Green, Washington, DC
Glad Rags, Portland, OR Root-n-Roost Farm, White Sulphur Springs, NY
Liveability Project, Bethesda, MD  



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