Chamber of Commerce honors green businesses
DARIEN — Removing insect-repellant products, using reusable flour sacks and hosting one of the biggest tag sales in the town all help make Darien more eco-friendly. The effors helped the Gardener’s Center, SoNo Baking Co. and the Boy Scouts of Darien get nods from the Chamber of Commerce as being great green businesses in the community.
Community members fittingly gathered at the Darien Nature Center April 20 for the 10th annual “Going for Green” event to honor local businesses, as well as Darien High School students who won a graphic design contest where they made posters to advertise “going green” in the community.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Cator said she’s proud to see the efforts Darien has made in becoming more environmentally friendly over the years.
“I moved here 25 years ago, and the green effort changes every year,” Cator said. “When I moved here, you could only recycle one in three plastics. We’re now recycling more than we put in the garbage. We’ve reversed the patterns of the past.”
Each of the businesses and organizations honored is committed to this mission, Cator said.
The Gardener’s Center & Florist, which also won an award last year, took home the 2017 Green Business Award for selling organic products and removing products proven to be harmful to pollinating insects. Kris Barker, the owner of the center, said the business is looking forward to continuing to help the environment and recently started a service where the center will plant and maintain vegetable gardens for residents.
“We started designing, building, installing and sustaining vegetable gardens to make local food more local,” he said. “It’s exciting and, more importantly, it’s exciting to see Darien recognizing companies doing this.”
Principals of the other winning businesses felt similarly excited. Patti Jonker, a manager at SoNo Baking Co., which won the 2017 Repurposing Business Award for using recycled paper goods and bags, said she was happy to see the bakery acknowledged for their efforts.
“We’re surprised,” she said of the award for the business that has been in town for two years. “It’s what we do every day, which is to reuse and recycle items in our business.”
The 2017 Green Nonprofit Award went to an older town fixture, the Boy Scouts. Annually, the Boy Scouts collect and recycle over 48,000 pounds of community clutter through their giant tag sale. This year’s sale is set for May 7.
“We’re thrilled,” said Rebecca Martorella, communications chairwoman for the Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust, which operates the local Boy Scout cabin. “The tag sale is coming up, and every year, it’s huge.”
The chamber’s event got local teenagers involved. Students from Dorine Bosler’s graphic design class at the high school designed posters about going green. Jonathan Stimpson and Lauren Jennings won first and second place, respectively, and had their posters displayed at Darien businesses.
Jennings, a junior at Darien High, incorporated a wave in her design, a nod to the high school mascot.
“I wanted to include the wave, because we’re the Blue Wave,” she said. “(Bosler) helped me create what I wanted to do. I’m taking AP Environmental Science, so it’s cool how they relate.”