Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

I have heard from more than a few of you, dear readers, that I might have gone a little over-the-edge in blogging about my wonderfully green dry cleaner. I get it. My rhapsodizing wasn’t even remotely related to food and I may have gone a bit overboard. Mea culpa; I hear you.

Perhaps it is because I am a novice small business owner…or the fact that I am, by training, a clinical social worker, as well as an unapologetic former hippie, and only marginally rehabilitated “bleeding heart liberal”, to which my much loved brother—the big mucky muck on Wall Street--- will attest. But I really am interested in doing anything I can to promote the healing and future wellness of our planet. I recycle and re-use religiously, donate to environmentally friendly causes and vote accordingly; I’ve watched “An Inconvenient Truth” more than once, and I just bought a second hybrid vehicle to get around our labyrinth of freeways in Los Angeles for cryin’ out loud. I make no claims to be Laurie David, but I think I’ve earned some credibility on the eco-friendly score.

My food business, No Reservations, is a modest one. I am happy to say it is successful in the sense that it is a fulfilling endeavor for me and, I believe a convenient (and hopefully tasty) resource for my clients. Since its inception, I’ve wanted to be as “green” a business as possible. At great length, I’ve researched resources for affordable recycled and recyclable packaging, use organic and local produce whenever available, and advertise strictly by word of mouth or internet.

It is with this in mind, I want to tell you about Nicolas Jammet, Co-founder of Sweetgreen, an eco-friendly salad and frozen yogurt chain in the D.C. area. (sweetgreen.com) Nicolas is the son of the owners of the famed La Caravelle restaurant in New York City, which closed in 2004. I was impressed with his and his partners’ concept in running such an establishment, but even more so by their business practice he calls “random acts of sweetness”. (Okay, it’s a tad precious, but it speaks to me and I want to “play it forward”.)

Here is one example Nicolas gave of the ways in which Sweetgreen helps promote kindness and healing in the communities which they serve: “On rainy days we cover someone’s bike seat with a plastic cover that says ‘You biked to work today, thanks, we have you covered.” I mean, COME ON, we can all get on board with this way of thinking and operating, can’t we? Have you heard or read about similar efforts by business owners? I’d love to hear about it and perhaps utilize them myself.