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.
Green Drinks at Journeyman Distillery Green Drinks on April 17th 2013
Journeyman Distillery is a great sustainability story unfolding in the heart of Michigan’s Great Southwest. This entrepreneurial business is just 18 months old, but has focused on being a sustainable business since its start!
From its location in a 100+ year-old reclaimed factory to its products and its food service, this is a sustainable business in every sense! Located in a portion of the old Featherbone factory in the heart of Three Oaks, Journeyman carved out a beautiful spot using reclaimed lumber found on both a family farm and in the Featherbone building. The spirits (and they produce many!) are made using only organic ingredients sourced from the Midwest. The Tasting Room also offers a number of food items, all made with ingredients from local farms.
To learn more visit http://journeymandistillery.com/
Green Lunch on Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) on April 3rd 2013 !
Summer harvest is just around the corner. We got a chance to speak and meet with different farms located in Southwest Michigan at Cravings Bistro & Pub 1599 Mall Drive, Benton Harbor, MI 49022!
Big Head Farm, Molter Family Orchards, Oakhill Farms, and To Your Door Produce are the four the farmers that were there.
Just imagine how wonderful it would be to have fresh local produce weekly, for far less than you would pay at the supermarket.
At the Green Lunch we discussed how the CSA works and why there really isn't a better value out there then to buy your Fruits and Veggies straight from the farmer. All farmers shared pricing and were able to discuss the varieties of fruits and vegetable they are growing for this season's harvests as well as their predicted start dates for the distributions and the approximate length of the harvest they are planting.
Event at Green Spirit Farms March 27th 2013 about A New Direction for Agriculture!
Green Spirit Farms is located at 18300 U.S 12 New Buffalo, MI 49117. 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.
There was a great lunch including pasta with Green Spirit Farms tomatoes and a “Spirit Mix” salad! The meal was prepared by The Organic Gypsy who did a great job.
students, waste and recycling haulers, business leaders, and parents
interested in recycling at school were in attendance at the November 8th
“Recycling 101” workshop at Berrien RESA in Berrien Springs. Speakers
outlined a number of ways a school can start recycling or improve an
existing recycling program, including how to get students directly
involved and program funding options. John Fairchild from Mattawan
Schools and Mary Ann Milletics from St. Joseph High School, along with a
St. Joe High School student, shared first-hand knowledge of the
challenges of recycling at school and the great successes both schools
have seen resulting from their programs. Click below to view the
presentations from this workshop. Contact the event speakers with
questions about recycling in schools.The application for the Spring 2013 Berrien County School Recycling Grant is available at www.berriencounty.org/recycle/SchoolRecyclingGrant.
Thank you to Schupan Recycling for sponsoring the Recycling 101 workshop. Click here for a link to the Berrien County presentation; click here for a link to conducting a school waste audit, and click here for Schupan Recycling's presentation.
Green Lawn Care for Fall - A Green Lunch Presentation October 3, 2012 Presented by: Kathy Antaya, Certified Golf Course Superintendent
Sustainable Lawns and Turf: The Golf Example
Turf grass consists of lawns, sport fields, parks, roadsides, etc. Turf grass provides aesthetic value, security, cooling effects, dust control, and provides a multi-purpose surface. The turf industry has an annual value of $35 billion.
In 1998 the MI Turf Grass Environmental Stewardship Program was established. Kathy assists Michigan green industry businesses with environmental regulatory compliance and natural resource protection through this program. Kathy is a certified Golf Course Superintendent and works with many golf courses around the state. Out of the 800 golf courses in Michigan, about 300 are certified through the program. Kudos to Harbor Shores Golf Course for being the first golf course to be certified before opening day. The MTGESP provides resources to help golf courses incorporate best management practices that will benefit the core of sustainability: People, Plant, and Profit. Another program helping golf courses strive for best sustainable practices is called Golf's Drive toward Sustainability program, and can be searched on-line for more information.
Kathy provided a list of best/sustainable management practices for personal lawns as well, depending on what type of lawn is desired. Here are some general tips to follow at home: mow at 4-5"; return clippings to the lawn; fertilize in early Fall and late Fall; apply fertilizers based on soil test outcomes; spot treat for weeds in the Fall; monitor pests and treat only if
needed; and to keep a lawn green, apply 1" of water each week (other measures can be taken during severe drought). Learn about crabgrass control at http://turf.msu.edu/crabgrass-control-in-home-lawns. Contact Kathy at
616-450-1884 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Energy Efficient Lighting September 12, 2012
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 email@example.com.
Geordie Ralston of Coral Performance Lighting said most lighting upgrade projects they perform result in a 48% - 52% reduction in energy costs to a company. Lighting upgrade projects include a Computer Aided Design (CAD) layout of the facility, filling out rebate application and paperwork, testing and experiments in facilities to discover the best lighting option, installation of the new lighting, and follow up studies. Coral manufacturers their own lighting fixtures to best fit each customer’s facility with a 4-8 day turnaround time, and the fixtures are delivered to the customer fully assembled. Mr. Ralston presented 2 local case studies: Mach Mold lighting upgrade resulted in an $11,500/year savings in energy costs and 52% reduction in energy consumption; and Hanson Mold lighting upgrade resulted in a $21,500/year energy cost savings and 47% reduction in energy consumption. Geordie can give your business a quote - contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Locally Sourcing What You Eat - A Green Drinks Event August 15, 2012
Participants learned from area experts how to effectively source local foods for businesses and schools. Speaker Scott Wall of New Age/Landmark discussed farm-to-school and farm-to-hospital programs, while Jay Marcoux, owner of South Haven Catering and Cafe Julia, explained the process for and benefits of locally sourcing foods for area businesses, including processes needed for future growth.
Sustainability Talk and Tour at the Pokagon Community Center May 2, 2012
On a sunny May 2nd afternoon, 52 members, guests, and residents were in attendance at the MGSSBF presentation and tour of the Pokagon's 8,500 square foot, LEED Gold certified Community Center in Dowagiac. Mark Parrish, Director of the Pokagon Band Department of Natural Resources spoke about the cultural significance of the Community Center, the building materials used, and the importance of protecting the surrounding environment upon construction. Matt Davis and Chris Brayak of Wightman and Associates, Inc. outlined the process of obtaining the LEED Gold Certification through the U.S. Green Building Council and highlighted many of the attributes about the building that earned the Gold rating. Many of the sustainable attributes could be seen in the spectacular community room where the meeting took place such as energy efficient lighting, use of natural light, insulated glass, composite countertops, wood trim from on-site trees, and recycling collection systems. Through the large East and South facing windows, attendees saw the native landscaping, dedicated open space, porous pavers, carpool parking, and many other aspects on the exterior that helped earn LEED credits. A tour followed the presentation where attendees learned more about the HVAC system, passive solar energy design, and the surrounding neighborhood. More information about the Pokagon Community Center and its sustainable characteristics can be found at www.PokagonCommunityCenter.com
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Green Lunch March 7, 2012 The brand-new Buck - Burgers & Brew in St. Joseph was the scene of an extremely popular Green Lunch event. Nearly 70 people turned out to hear about local CSA options and how to take advantage of "eat local" opportunities. Many thanks to host Ken Kozminski (pictured below) and the following CSAs that participated: To Your Door Produce, Eaters Guild, Oak Hill Farms Walker's Fresh Veggies, Molter Family Orchards. To learn how you can participate, click here.
Annual Meeting with State Sen. John Proos January 27, 2012 During the MGSSBF annual meeting, the Forum welcomed 4 new Board Members: Ken Flowers, Lake Michigan College; Frank Kirschner, I.E. Hampton & Associates; Dave Montayne, CPA; and Quinn Tabbert, Lake Michigan College. Senator John Proos spoke with the membership about sustainability issues facing Michigan including the emerging green economy, short-term & long-term energy needs in Michigan, agriculture and local foods issues, and use and protection of Michigan’s natural resources.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - Whirlpool Campus Program & Tour Nov 2, 2011
A very successful MGSSBF event turned out up to 80 participants who toured Whirlpool Corporation's newest office campus in Benton Harbor. Having broke ground only 1 year ago, MGSSBF was excited to be the first group to take the tour of the new campus on November 2nd. Donald Vitek, Director of Global Real Estate for Whirlpool, spearheaded the panel of speakers that drilled down to discuss and explain the details that were involved for Whirlpool to be pursuing their LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold Certification. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system through the US Green Building Council that allows for practical and measurable green building design, construction, operation, and maintenance solutions. (For more information on LEED visit usgbc.org).
The new Whirlpool Corporation campus will have many green features such as: maximizing open space; stormwater quality control; heat island effect; energy efficiency & commissioning; green transportation (including installing electric car charging stations!); water use reductio; increased ventilation & CO2 sensors; recycling program & recycled content; in addition to other green features. Don and his team emphasized the importance of taking the ROI (return on investment) into consideration when making decisions. That looking at the long term paybacks with implementing some of the campus's "green" features is paramount. Click for Whirlpool Presentation. The Benton Harbor downtown campus will be the first LEED Gold Certified building in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph area. This sets a milestone for future buildings to take the leap to become LEED Certified. The 245,275 square foot facility will end final completion in 2013. Click for here Whirlpool Educational Tour Map.
Overcoming Recycling Roadblocks Oct 19, 2011
MGSSBF's October 19th Recycling Roadblocks event & business expo helped pave the way to removing the roadblocks for anyone trying to recycle in their business, and work towards a successful program. Bill Gurn, from Haworth, spoke on how Haworth took steps toward a obtaining a ZERO WASTE program!! All of their waste is diverted in some way to be reused or recycled. Bill explained the importance of support from upper management to require implementation of a recycle program or this would not have been possible. The entire organization's team needs to be on board and educated regarding the positive outcomes and benefits of a company wide recycle program. Bill also spoke on the Michigan Recycling Coalition and the benefits they provide to Michigan companies (http://www.michiganrecycles.org/) on reducing their waste. Contact Bill Gurn at email@example.com; phone 616-
393-1215. Click here for Bill's presentation.
Becky Kliss, from Green Connection, shared the results of two local Waste Stream Audits performed at Chemical Bank & Berrien County Courthouse with their Green Teams. The primary way a business needs to begin or advance with recycling is to find out and know "What is in your waste?" These two local companies actively participated with Green Connection in facilitating these audits. Each learned that a waste stream audit isn't as painful as they thought. The information obtained in such an audit, is a tool to use both with your waste hauler and internally with employee training needs. At the same time is a way to save money by identifying and implementing areas of change! Becky encourages all businesses to try this. For more information on how to get a Waste Stream Audit process set up for your company contact Becky Kliss at Green Connection: Email: becky@GreenConnectionInc.com or phone 269-849-6226. Click for Becky's Build a Green Team presentation.
Bob Havenga, of Reliable Disposal, & Henry Valkema, of Michiana Recycling & Disposal, teamed up to share their waste & recycling experience-even though they are competitors! Both companies are Founding Members of MGSSBF and believe in doing the right thing. They encourage businesses to partner with their waste hauler, get their support , and include them in helping find solutions for reducing waste. They too reinforced that a good program must start from the top down in a company and how important it is to know what is in your waste (through conducting a waste audit) so they can better guide you. In addition, for those remodeling or building a new facility, don't forget about dumpster space & how a big waste truck must be able to maneuver to pick up your waste!! Bob Havenga, Reliable Disposal: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 269-465-3773. Henry Valkema, Michiana Recycling & Disposal: Email: Trash025@aol.com or phone 269-684-0900. Click here for Bob and Henry's Presentation.
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 Kaminski 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
on site store. They also can supply special order requests for cuts. Visit or contact Kaminski Farms at 16682 Schwark Rd, Three Oaks, MI, 269-756-7457, kaminskifarmsmeats.com
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.
Look at LocalHarvest.org for sources to get involved in a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) program to purchase fresh produce
Find out what specific farmer practices are that you buy from-this will provide peace of mind that your food is coming from a healthy source that you can count on
Quinn recommends buying items when they are in season (in bulk) and freezing them to utilize year round (LMC offers food preservation classes as well)
Google on Utube "Food for all Seasons" and you can see the Mendel Center's local food process
The guests raved about the meal prepared by the Mendel center which was made fresh and local products. Quinn answered many questions from the group on how to purchase healthier local foods, and she spoke to the obstacles that are in front of us and our local restaurants to do so. Quinn also emphasized The Mendel Center's choice in Kaminski Farms for their beef. (Kaminski Farms is one of our stops on the September 21st Local Foods tour)
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