What a privilege to live in Southwest Michigan, with its vast variety of fresh produce made available by dedicated local, Farmers. These dedicated Farmers were on-hand at the March 5th Green Lunch to showcase the various routes of access to all this wonderful, locally grown food, flowers, etc. Get all the information you would ever want to know about access to locally grown food at www.eatlocalberrien.org.
A big “Thanks!” goes out to the representatives from 7 local farms & markets who shared their wealth of knowledge and obvious passion for growing and providing food for people at Green Lunch:
▪ Andrews Student Gardens, Berrien Springs
▪ Big Head Farm, Benton Harbor
▪ Green Spirit Farms, New Buffalo
▪ Molter Family Farms
▪ Nye’s Apple Barn, St. Joseph
▪ Piggott's Farm Market, Benton Harbor & St. Joseph
▪ St. Joseph Farm Market, St. Joseph
Green Lunch November 2013 with two great speakers on ways to green up the Holidays!
Marilyn Mussman from Chartreuse Art Coop (www.chartreuseartgallery.com) showcased her creative up-cycled clothing made from materials and clothes that were destined for the landfill. She also highlighted other local artist’s mixed media and recycled-content creations. Shopping locally and supporting local artists can make your home/office decorating more “green” as well as inspire some creative gift giving during the holiday season.
Rich Daniels also joined the group to talk about his local business, FunPak Premium Packaging (www.thefunpak.com). Rich passed around samples of this non-toxic, dog-bone-shaped packing material that is made from corn and is 100% biodegradable. The FunPak website lists ways to get this eco-friendly packing materials for your gift giving and mailing needs. Fuzzy Butz Pet Bakery in downtown St. Joe also carries some for sale. The diverse Green Lunch crowd of 27 people enjoyed a delicious lunch at Papa Vinos in St. Joe and plenty of interesting conversation.
Green Lunch Event: the Hickory Creek Watershed Partnership
Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a green lunch on Hickory Creek Watershed Partnership. This event took place on June 5th, 2013 at Cravings Bistro & Pub 1599 Mall Drive, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.
Marcy Colclough with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission talked about how communities have come together to improve Hickory Creek. This creek is a cold water stream that supports trout, but recent monitoring of Hickory Creek has indicated that the health of the stream is trending towards poor. It will take actions from landowners, business owners and government officials to improve the creek. Learn about efforts to date and what is on tap for this summer.
To learn more visit: http://www.swmpc.org/hickory.asp
We had a great sustainability event on May 22nd Featuring American Electric Power and Whirlpool!
AEP is working to partner with you to lower your utility bill! We had a tour of the New Whirlpool Riverview Campus a LEED Certified Building!
This event took place Whirlpool's New Riverview Campus! 600 West Main Street. Benton Harbor, MI 49022.
We had speakers from American Electric Power (AEP) and Whirlpool.
Sandy Nessing Managing Director, Sustainability & ESH Strategy & Design with AEP will spoke about AEP's sustainable journey, alternate energy sources and incentives. Sustainability has many definitions, but at its core is a vision we all share: broad prosperity, a clean and healthy environment, and vibrant communities in which our families, neighbors and children can thrive. She spoke on AEP's experience with energy efficiency, environmental performance, innovation and community engagement demonstrate that sustainability is a core business value that brings with it new opportunities for growth.
Jeff Gibson a Senior Category Manager at Whirlpool with responsibility for connected solutions including Smart Grid functionality. Jeff will spoke about Whirlpool's first Smart appliance suite that launched in March 2013. Also he will provide a demonstration of the Smart application that gives consumers control of their appliances as well as energy information. He will also talked about the future potential for how connected appliances can impact energy behaviors and usage.
We thank whirlpool and our speakers for making this event great!
Green Lunch Event: On Conserving Water on May 1st 2013
Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a Green Lunch on conserving water.
The speaker was Al Weber from ETNA Supply he talked about water metering devices and conserving water for business and individuals.
If you would like to know more feel free to email email@example.com or visit www.ustsupply.com
Green Spirit Farms is located at Milan Kluko, President and founder of Green Spirit spoke and gave a tour of the facility along with the Jeff Foote the Director of Customer Sustainability for the Coca-Cola Company.
Green Spirit Farms grows organic pesticide free vegetables and herbs 24/7 using innovative Vertical Farming technology provided by Omega Garden. The indoor vertical farm can produce harvests all year long, using less water and energy than traditional farming. They use recyclable and compostable containers for their packaging. This farm is located in a former industrial brownfield site where it provides local produce to Southwest Michigan.
For more information visit:
Thank you to Whirlpool for sponsoring the program. Ron Voglewede from Whirlpool Corporation opened the program with a snapshot of the countless ways Whirlpool is reducing their carbon footprint, leveraging alternative power sources, and approaching many other sustainability efforts Corporation-wide. Between 1980 and 2010, energy consumption in a typical home from appliances went from about 60% of a home’s overall energy use down to less than 16%. New technologies, philosophies and approach to designing appliances by Whirlpool has played a huge part in this phenomenal change.
Ron Greulich, Operations Manager at Shepherd Caster Corporation, shared how his facility’s $50,000 project to switch to more energy efficient lighting, resulted in a safer working environment, boost in employee morale, enhancement of customer perception of the facility, and 5 month return on investment. Shepherd Caster Corp. in St. Joseph employees 75 people, runs 2 shifts, and has an 110,000 square foot facility. Unique factors that Shepherd’s facility had to contend with are varying ceiling heights throughout the facility; potential fire issues in storage area from hot, broken bulbs; need for proper light for color matching; and varying occupancy numbers between shifts. Working with a lighting vendor, Shepherd Casters mapped out a lighting plan, ran calculations using a variety of lighting options, and experimented with the specific lighting that would work best in their unique facility. Through AEP/Efficiency United, they were able to take advantage of rebates for energy efficiency upgrades, as well as receive tax credits to achieve the 5 month return on investment. Mr. Greulich said he and the staff at the facility couldn’t be happier about the upgrades made to the lighting. For more information, Ron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overcoming Recycling Roadblocks Oct 19, 2011
MGSSBF would like to recognize and give special thanks to Michiana Recycling & Disposal for sponsoring this event.
Located at 33541 Reum Street, Nile, MI--Michiana Recycling & Disposal is a recycling and garbage collection organization. The Green services they offer include FREE recycling pickup for ALL Residential and Commercial customers, as well as, yardwaste pickup for ALL Residential and Commercial customers.
Local Foods and Bus Tour Sept 21, 2011
A very successful and enjoyable Know Your Growers Local Foods Educational Bus tour on Sept 21, featured speaker and tour guide Ron Goldy, Extension Educator, SW District Agriculture (Vegetables) of MSUE. Ron spoke to a bus load of approximately 25 attendees, sharing his vast knowledge of agricultural facts and fiction. Such as, organic foods do not necessarily taste better or more nutritious. Ron explained that"organic" though thought to be products that have never been sprayed/fertilized is a myth. In fact, he explained that organic practices can't ensure that products are completely free of residues; however, methods are used to minimize pollution from air, soil and water, with the goal to optimize the health & productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people. (National Organic Standards Board, April 1995). Ron stated that local is more important than organic today as many consumers do not like the sterile environment in grocery stores, relationships/trust are not developed, local hasn't traveled as far, and the desire for a closer connection to our foods. He spoke to the idea to develop a "Buy Smart" philosophy and a relationship with your local farmer. Building trust and sharing knowledge with your local farmer is the way to go. Make it your responsibility to know what is in season, did the farmer grow what they are selling, if not-who did; when was it harvested, as taste and nutrients go down after harvest; how was it stored/handled, as this too can influence nutritional value and taste. Ron's contact information is 944-1477 x207 email@example.com. Click here for Ron's Q & A Handout.
Eric & Dana Lee's Edge of the Woods Farms was the first tour stop. The Lee's graciously shared their process in making maple syrup, including the trek to the trees to retrieve the 50-60 gallons of sap, that are brought back to the sugarshack, where multiple cords of wood are used over 12+ hours in order to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. The Lee's allowed the group to tour the sugar shack and Dana's kitchen, as well as step into the barn for enlightening details of their chickens and eggs. The
Lee's have been involved for a number of years with CSA -Community Supported Agriculture. This is a great program in which the consumer pays up front to the local farmer for the products they will receive through the season. Typically these can be sold as full or half shares, with full shares from $300-$600. By providing up front funds allows the farmer to have available capital when they need it. Most CSAs are seasonal, but some are year round. Visit Edge of the Woods Farm at 15684 Three Oaks Rd, Three Oaks, MI or edgeofthewoodsfarm.net
The second stop was at Kaminski Farms Meats (Dave and Linda owners.) Linda Kami
nski spoke to the group sharing that she was not raised a farmer's daughter, rather fell victim to a handsome farmer's face. She then grew her love and passion for farm life. Over the last 8 years Kaminski farms has been working with other farmers to provide the purest and highest quality of locally grown beef and pork. Linda explained that each farm has a particular responsibility to the evolution of these animals. Being that each farm is set up to care for these animals at a particular cycle in their lives. Linda explained that their stock is corn fed, as this allows for a faster developing produce that can be processed in one year. She explained that grass fed stock develop slower (two years) and meats do not have the same marbelization as produced with corn fed stock in one year. Kaminski farms sell farm fresh beef and pork at their
Kaminski Beef & Pork Meat Store
The tour began and ended at Round Barn Winery in which attendees of the bus tour and new comers for Green Drinks were able to enjoy the cozy environment of the sustainable round barn itself which was saved and relocated from it's original site, as well as samples of the many luscious wine samples Round Barn produces. Visit Round Barn Winery at 10683 Hills Rd, Baroda, MI.
The Mendel Center Masters Green Lunch Sept 7 2011
Quinn Tabbert, Mendel Center Food & Beverage Manager, spoke to approximately 20 Green Lunch guests of MGSSBF to share Mendel Center's practice of healthy habits with local foods.
Quinn shared helpful tips such as:
Green Your Supplier June 15, 2011
The June 15th event on Sustainable Purchasing provided great ideas for everyone. Abby Corso from the Delta Institute in Chicago spoke on generalized purchasing guidelines that anyone can start with:
1) Know where your item is coming from geographically (buy local whenever possible)
2) Request less packaging when applicable
3) Know what you are going to do with the item when your done with it--are you paying to get rid of it, even if through your waste hauler fees?.
Abby highly recommended visiting the website: Buyingbetter.org and reviewing her presentation, that includes the seven sins of GreenWashing.
Mary Ellen Mika spoke on the West Michigan Sustainable Purchasing Consortium, and that any business can join for free & take advantage of the benefits; website is wmspc.org.
Steve Beurkens from H & L Advantage, cut right to the chase with when you think your trash is "going away", that there is no "away", it has to go somewhere. He highly encouraged a dumpster dive audit to know where your at now with your trash, as that tells you what your buying/using, as well as 5S'ing your facility even if you are not going for certification. He also stressed the importance of finding out where you;re at now with your purchases so that you can benchmark your progress against others....a good resource they found : US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)
Click here to see event flyer.
Click here to see Mary Ellen Mika & Steve Beurkens Powerpoint presentations.
Click here for Mary Ellen Mika's green purchasing decision matrix Excel worksheet that you can use to tailor to your business.
Click here to see Abigail Corso from Delta Institute's Powerpoint presentation on green purchasing guidelines.
John Patten Plug-In Car May 2011
MGSSBF was proud to have John Patten, of Western Michigan University, speak on his nearly 20 years of experience with Hybrid/Electric cars. Patten has even done vehicle testing using a wind turbine to recharge his plug-in car and has tracked much data to analyze the performance and potential savings.
On moderate temperature days (60-70F), his plug-in car has averaged over 100 mpg in electric mode and has gotten as much as 240 mpg for a single trip; on colder temperature days (0-10F), it gets a minimum of ~50 mpg on fuel; on battery power it costs him between $0.50-$1.00 per gallon of gas equivalent (considering paying for the electricity used to charge the battery pack) to drive it. The 25 guests in attendance had many questions for Patten, including inquiries related to the Hybrid vehicles out now, of which Patten said to hold tight. He personally is waiting a year until other vehicles are available for comparison. i.e. the new Toyota Prius will be out in a year, which has advanced technology to offer.
One caveat Patten offered, based upon over two years real world driving experience with his current plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, is to consider that most of the miles driven would actually be in gas mode (e.g. most longer trips); his data indicates that about 2/3 of his personal driving (commuting and other trips) is in gas mode and 1/3 in electric mode.
The highlight of the end of Green Lunch was the tour of Patten's plug-in car. In addition, Patten, along with Nathan Christensen of WMU, and other faculty and students, have started the Green Manufacturing Initiative for Michigan companies. For more information on this to go to: http://www.wmich.edu/mfe/mrc/greenmanufacturing. If you would like more information about the plug-in hybrid vehicle program and the associated wind charging system, visit WMU energy web site at: http://www.wmich.edu/mfe/energy/phev/index.php.
Energy Efficiency $avings April 27, 2011
When we completed our last survey, Energy Savings was the most requested topic. With energy costs rising and Indiana Michigan Power being one of MGSSBF's Founding Members, our response was to put together a program that answered many energy saving questions. Efficiency United, who represents various utility companies, including Michigan Gas Utilities, Midwest Energy, Semco, & I & M, spoke on ways to receive rebates and incentives from upgrading (almost) anything electrical in your facility, especially lighting & large equipment. Wightman & Associates, shared the various technologies to do an Energy Audit of your facility, as well as many rebates that you can earn through various sources to upgrade your lighting & electrical equipment. Demonstrations of the energy audit equipment were held on site at Wightman & Associates, so hands-on experience was a bonus!
Click Here for Event Flyer
Click Here for Efficiency United's Presentation Alan McLeod 877-367-3191 firstname.lastname@example.org
Click Here for Wightman Presentation Andy Mollison 269-927-0100 email@example.com
Making a Case for Sustainability--Case Studies March 2011
Eighty people attended the kick-off meeting for our official change to be known as 'Michigan's Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum'. It was held at LMC's M-Tec facility in their technology room where they work on such items as wind turbines & solar projects. Sam Volkner, instructor of this department, was able to hook up the Powerpoint projector to run off solar panels for the presentations--impressive! David Rinard of Steelcase, Founding Member & Board Member of the Grand Rapids Sustainable Business Forum (WMSBF) spoke on the benefits WMSBF has brought to their business members. David added the importance of being involved for local companies, as the SBF's goal is to stay "grass roots", and be about the local businesses. Renae Hesselink of Nichols spoke on their LEED-EB Gold certification project and Darcy Nelles-Serba of Stryker Medical spoke on their LEED-EB Silver project, which is in the top five Manufacturing firms in the United States to earn a LEED certification. Both Renae & Darcy gave numerous examples on ways to save costs, reduce waste, & minimize health & environmental impacts to the building occupants, from simple to complex items to implement, with the bottom line that you don't have to be pursuing LEED to make changes for the better. Bob Harrison, of Lake Michigan College, closed with why LMC made the committment to become a Founding Member of Michigan's Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum and then offered a tour of M-Tec and their 'Tiny House' to see all the innovative projects that M-Tec does with their students.
Click Here for Event Flyer
Click Here for Nichols Presentation
Click Here for Stryker Medical Presentation
Click Here for M-Tec Information
Green Roof's & Michigan Tax Incentives for Environmental Projects Nov 2010
It is an amazing asset to have in our community a Green Roof that is not only beautiful & educational, but most importantly, saving the Curious Kids' Discovery Zone energy costs! Clifford's Perennial & Vine is to be credited for the amazing outcome, and their story was told at the gathering at the Silver Beach Center in the Discovery Zone. Clifford's has significant experience & knowledge in the 'green' landscaping/plants department and shared the many benefits to having a green roof. Robert Jackson from the State of Michigan spoke on many benefits of monies the State has to offer businesses for taking the initiative to implement projects such as LED lighting in parking lots or facilities, appliance rebates, weatherization assistance programs & so forth. Jill Adams of Berrien County also updated the group regarding monies the County has to offer schools toward implementing a recycling program.
Click Here for Event Flyer
Click Here for State of Michigan Presentation
Click Here for Clifford's Perennials, Green Roof design installer