Monday, March 17, 2008


Our project is focused on a specific part of Beloit Wisconsin’s ecosystem. Where we live, work and shop is integral to being outward viewing citizens of our country and beings of our planet. In the last 200 years since the Industrial Revolution of western culture humans have been dumping, discharging, discarding and disregarding the planet. In what is comparatively a very short amount of time, we have both realized what past generations have done and seen what we can do. What we must do now is just do it.

And that is what Beloit is doing. By chance, three major sustainable and green initiatives are being established between 2007 and 2008. Kettle Foods chose Beloit for their eco-friendly plant. Beloit College is striding toward making their campus sustainable and closer to its original, natural environment. Grass Is Green Gardens is expanding the local farmer’s market to a year round grocery.

All of this happening in this age of technology. News sources were found in their online format for easy follow-through and two of the interviews were conducted through email. We have also chosen to write in blog format because of the ease of embedded video, pictures and direct links to sources. To easily sort entries by topic simply click the tag under “labels” at the bottom of the entry. This will bring you to any entry tagged with the label, in order of how they were posted.

Also, the posts are dated early and in order for easy reading; the actual dates and times of posting are incorrect and can be disregarded.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Green and Sustainable

Words come in and out of our lexicon and most recently we've been fixated on a few. Products are lining Target and Wal*Mart shelves boasting they are "green", "eco-friendly", "all-natural" and "sustainable". But what does this actually mean?

Some retailers are "green-washing" their products; research into these products is finds them to be without certification and promoting single issues, such as a recycling, without regard to other environmental issues [Eco-Friendly Products].

In our research of local sustainable efforts, we have been using the Environmental Protection Agency's [EPA] definitions for key words such as "green" and "sustainable".

The EPA’s definition of sustainability is based on the Brundtland Report from the World Commission on Environment and Development from 1987. The report “defined sustainable development as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’” [Sustainability]. While this definition is very loose, allowing for discrepancies within certification, the EPA's definition for "green" is even wider.

On the EPA's website, 12 principles of green chemistry are listed; they are as follows:

  1. Prevent waste: Design chemical syntheses to prevent waste, leaving no waste to treat or clean up.
  2. Design safer chemicals and products: Design chemical products to be fully effective, yet have little or no toxicity.
  3. Design less hazardous chemical syntheses: Design syntheses to use and generate substances with little or no toxicity to humans and the environment.
  4. Use renewable feedstocks: Use raw materials and feedstocks that are renewable rather than depleting. Renewable feedstocks are often made from agricultural products or are the wastes of other processes; depleting feedstocks are made from fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, or coal) or are mined.
  5. Use catalysts, not stoichiometric reagents: Minimize waste by using catalytic reactions. Catalysts are used in small amounts and can carry out a single reaction many times. They are preferable to stoichiometric reagents, which are used in excess and work only once.
  6. Avoid chemical derivatives: Avoid using blocking or protecting groups or any temporary modifications if possible. Derivatives use additional reagents and generate waste.
  7. Maximize atom economy: Design syntheses so that the final product contains the maximum proportion of the starting materials. There should be few, if any, wasted atoms.
  8. Use safer solvents and reaction conditions: Avoid using solvents, separation agents, or other auxiliary chemicals. If these chemicals are necessary, use innocuous chemicals.
  9. Increase energy efficiency: Run chemical reactions at ambient temperature and pressure whenever possible.
  10. Design chemicals and products to degrade after use: Design chemical products to break down to innocuous substances after use so that they do not accumulate in the environment.
  11. Analyze in real time to prevent pollution: Include in-process real-time monitoring and control during syntheses to minimize or eliminate the formation of byproducts.
  12. Minimize the potential for accidents: Design chemicals and their forms (solid, liquid, or gas) to minimize the potential for chemical accidents including explosions, fires, and releases to the environment. [Green Chemistry]

Originally published by Paul Anastas and John Warner in their 1998 book Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, the 12 principles read more like law passed by Congress rather than regulation used to implement and carry out laws [Understanding the Difference]. The EPA continues to use vague words such as “less”, “safer”, “increase” and “minimize” to structure United States national green issues.

We must remember that these definitions are still fluid in our lexicon and there is no set definition agreed upon by all since the words are relatively new. We must remember, also, that the EPA is part of the Executive Branch of the United States Government and therefore has the bias of the current administration. Their actions may not reflect what some agree with as sustainable or green.


Works Cited

"Eco-Friendly Product Claims Often Misleading." NPR. 30 Nov. 2007. National Public Radio. 15 Mar. 2008 . <**>.

"Green Chemistry." US EPA. 27 Nov. 2007. US RPA. 15 Mar. 2008 . <**>.

"Green Power Defined." US EPA. 28 Dec. 2007. US EPA. 15 Mar. 2008 . <**>.

"Sustainability." US EPA. 20 Aug. 2007. US EPA. 15 Mar. 2008 . <**>.

"Understanding the Difference Between U.S. Laws and Regulations." Penn State Libraries. 12 Feb. 2008. Penn State. 15 Mar. 2008 . <**>.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The City of Beloit

One hour south of Madison, WI, an hour and a half southwest of Milwaukee, WI and less than two hours northwest of Chicago lies Beloit, Wisconsin [“Beloit, Wisconsin”]. Located along the Illinois-Wisconsin border, Beloit is the “gateway to Wisconsin’ [“City of Beloit”]. The first white trapper settled in Beloit in the 1820s and over the next 20 years, it was established as a town centered around Beloit College [“City of Beloit”]. One hundred and sixty-two years after being incorporated as a city by the State of Wisconsin, Beloit is home to just over 37,000 residents, “67% Caucasian, 15% African-American, 9% Hispanic/Latino, and 1% Asian-American, with another 8% from other ethnic or racial backgrounds” [“City of Beloit”].The economic high that Beloit reached during World War II as a steel and engine manufacturing center took a down turn in the 1970s [“City of Beloit”].

Community members came together as Beloit2000, and later Beloit 2020, to revitalize the City [Adams]. Over the past 20 years, the focus has been the City Center, Downtown and Riverside areas along the Rock River, but the focus is shifting for many in the community.

*from the Beloit City Center

Large cities across the country, like Dallas are coming to the call of their citizens [City of Dallas]. Global climate change factors are becoming apparent through our weather, natural disasters, and social issues. Citizens want cleaner, greener and more sustainable communities to live in. Farmers’ markets featuring local produce are the fastest growing aspect of the American food economy [McKibben, “Downtown Grocery”]. But even though eating local is the best way to foster community growth much of our food comes prepackaged from across the country and world. National companies are striving to make their processing plants sustainable and green to fill this request [“Chew on This”]. The U.S. Green Building Council established a certification process for sustainable and environmentally friendly designed buildings in the year 2000. LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification for current and existing buildings works on a points system in six groups covering:

Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation in Design [“Frequently Asked Questions”].

Beloit has heard its citizens. Over the past year, three different sustainable projects have been started by individual initiative, Kettle Foods, the Center for the Sciences and a local grocery. On 17 December 2007, the Beloit City Council approved a resolution for the Eco-Municipality Sustainable Guidelines for the City of Beloit [“Eco-Municipality”]. These guidelines go hand in hand with the beautification and restoration of the city that has been headed by Beloit 2020 since the late 1980s [Adams]. The guidelines, though vague, are a start to changing the city. They are as follows:

  • Reduce dependence upon fossil fuels
  • Reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances that can accumulate in nature
  • Reduce dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining ecosystems
  • Meet the hierarchy of present and future human needs fairly and efficiently [“Eco-Municipality”]

These goals, along with the individual initiative of community members, have begun to change the face of Beloit. Three new sustainable buildings are revolutionizing the city in one short year.


Works Cited

Adams, Jeff. "A Vision for the City Center." Beloit 2020. Beloit 2020, Beloit, WI. 5 Feb. 2008.

"Beloit, Wisconsin." Map. Google Maps. 21 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"Chew on This: "Green" Junk Food." NBC Nightly News. MSNBC. 2 Jan. 2008. 11 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"City of Beloit." City of Beloit. 2008. Beloit City Council. 19 Mar. 2008 <**>.

City Of Dallas. "Green Dallas: Building a Greener City." Green Dallas. 2008. City of Dallas. 19 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"Downtown Grocery." 2008. 19 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"Eco-Municipality Sustainable Guidelines for the City of Beloit." City of Beloit. 29 Feb. 2008. City of Beloit. 18 Mar. 2008 <**>.

McKibben, Bill. "First, Step Up." Editorial. Yes! Spring 2008. <**>.

Friday, March 14, 2008

ABC Supply Company Brings Green Technology to the World

ABC Supply Co. Inc is the largest wholesale distributor of roofing, siding and window supplies in the United States and it is headquartered in a central area of Beloit, Wisconsin. ABC Supply opened its first three stores in 1982 and within twenty years it had reached billions of dollars in revenue and hundreds of operating stores. Today, ABC Supply is still thriving with almost 350 stores and a place on the Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies [“History”]. Prior to his death in late 2007, Ken Hendricks, former ABC Supply Co. CEO made it an initiative of the company to invest in green technology. It was once said about Ken Hendricks that, “[Ken] didn't build new buildings, he took old buildings and made them into something beautiful."[Terrien]. According to the State Line News, ABC has become a leader in “green roofing technology, solar roofing material and the wind-turbine industry.” [Weiss].

*from Green Grid Roofs

One of the most successful products that ABC Supply has developed is their GreenGrid roof system, which is displayed on the roof of the ABC Supply headquarters. The technology will also be used at Beloit College for the Center for the Sciences. Green roofs can help lower water run-off, work very efficiently and are easy to replace. The green roof retains a high amount of rainwater, which reduces the amount of water that goes through public or private storm sewers and can decrease erosion [“GreenGrid”]. A GreenGrid system can absorb 90% of each inch of rainfall [Luckey]. Green roofs are more complex and more expensive than a traditional roof, but the money is made up in energy savings and other environmental impacts.

*from Green Grid Roofs

In a March 2007 article, the State Line News wrote that, “According to the U.S. Green Building Council, it is estimated that if all the roofs in [Chicago] were green roods, the urban temperatures would be reduced be 12 degrees.” [Weiss]. The GreenGrid system on ABC’s headquarters is 80,000 square-feet and reduces temperatures in the building by 20 degrees [Scott]. In the last ten years, ABC’s GreenGrid roofing technology has been used all around the United States and in 2008 will be installed on the roof of one of the buildings built for the Beijing Olympics. Green roofs have also become a huge urban trend in Europe, where they have thrived since the 1970’s [Scott]. Hendricks also planned to invest in wind-turbine manufacturing stating, “We hope to be the largest tower manufacturer in the world. Right now we are totally sold out for five years.” [Weiss].


Works Cited

GreenGrid. Beloit, Wisconsin: Weston Solutions, 2006.

"History and Corporate Milestones." ABC Supply. 2008. ABC Supply. 16 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Luckey, Shannon. "The Rise of Green." Beloit College Magazine Summer 2007. 15 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Scott, Cheryl. "Environmental Efforts a Part of Business." Beloit Daily News. 9 Oct. 2007 <**>.

Terrien, Rick. "SustainableWork." 4 Jan. 2008. 21 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Weiss, Lori. "Going Green is as Easy as ABC." State Line News 21 Mar. 2007. 19 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kettle Foods Proves Large Companies Can Go “Green”

On September 19, 2007, Oregon based Kettle Foods was awarded the Gold level of certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an award granted from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the goal of building a “community of leaders working to make green buildings accessible to everyone within a generation.” [“USGBC,” Ulloa]. The factory is the first and only food of its kind in the United States to receive the Gold level award [“Food Processing”]. Kettle was developed in 1978 and has since produced a successful line of more than 20 flavors of chips, as well as nut butters and trail mixes [Ulloa]. The award was given for Kettle Food’s new factory in Beloit, Wisconsin. Out of the more than 2,000 applications for LEED certification, there have only been about 300 buildings that have received the award [“How Green Are We”].

The company has chosen to make sustainability one of its core values and applies the concept to almost everything it does. “Investing in green building was a conscious decision on our part to demonstrate our values in a very tangible way,” stated Kettle Foods president Tim Fallon [Ulloa]. The Beloit plant is their second major production facility.

*from Kettle Foods Beloit Plant Grand Opening -Media Handout

The plant incorporates environmentally friendly production methods in almost every area of the plant. Some of the environmentally friendly features of the plant are: 18 wind turbines that produce enough energy to make 56,000 bags of chips per year, offsetting 100% of electricity use with wind power, converting cooking oil to biodiesel, which is then used by company vehicles and using natural light and outdoor views in all work areas [Ulloa]. Kettle foods is attempting to set new standards for sustainable methods of production and their placement in Beloit, Wisconsin is fitting with city’s goals of being an environmentally friendly community [City Council].

Regarding the Kettle plant opening and the initiatives of the City of Beloit, City Manager Larry Arft stated, "An important part of what we're doing here with economic development is job creation, and creating a good, solid, diversified economic base for this city that will have sustainable jobs and produce sustainable economic growth for this community." [Channel 3000].

*local coverage of the factory

At Kettle’s home plant in Salem, Oregon they have also shown a long time dedication to sustainability. Kettle produces on average 130,000 kilowatt-hours worth of solar energy, each year, in addition to showing strong ties to local community efforts and restoring wildlife land on its property. Their solar array is one of the largest in Oregon and recently nesting Blue Herons have been seen on their wildlife property [Leute]. Although it costs more to have environmentally friendly initiatives, companies like Kettle and others who build this way hope that there will be savings in the long run. According to Jim Green the Community Ambassador for Kettle Foods, it is well worth taking the time to invest in environmentally friendly technologies. “We’re estimating saving $200,000 a year from the efficiency of the building,” said Green [Vollbrecht].

Similar companies in the industry are beginning to build green in realization of the benefits. Whole Foods, the national organic grocer has dedicated itself to use “green building innovations” whenever it can incorporate the technology in its stores. Currently Whole Food’s has two stores, which meet LEED standards, the first environmentally friendly supermarkets in the country [“How Green Are We”]. Similarly, Whole Foods is beginning to use biodiesel in their fleet vehicles, much like Kettle [“How Green Are We”]. In Beloit, companies like Kerry and Frito-Lay are beginning to investigate green technology, although a Frito-Lay representative stated in a 2007 Beloit Daily News article that the company sometimes will lose money on green projects. Representatives from Kettle responded stating that their primary concern was helping the environment and they expected monetary savings to follow [Scott]. Since 1999, Frito-Lay has been able to reduce their fuel and electricity uses by 24% and 21% respectively and plans to work with the EPA to continue to reduce these levels [Scott].

*NBC Nightly News coverage of factory


Works Cited

City Of Beloit. City of Beloit, Wisconsin. City Council. Resolution Adopting Eco-Municipalities Sustainability Guidelines. 17 Dec. 2007. 21 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"How Green are We?" Whole Foods. 2007. Whole Foods Market LP. 14 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"Kettle Foods Opens First LEED Gold Food Plant." Food Processing. 2007. **. 15 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"Kettle Foods Opens Green Plant in Beloit." Channel 3000 WISCTV. WISC, Madison. 20 Dec. 2007. 14 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"Kettle Foods Grand Opening Media Handout." Kettle Foods. 17 Sept. 2007.

Leute, Jim. "Beloit Company Turns to Wind Power." Janesville Gazette 5 Nov. 2007. 10 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"Our Planet." Nightly News. MSNBC. 7 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Scott, Cheryl. "Environmental Efforts a Part of Business." Beloit Daily News 9 Oct. 2007. 7 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Ulloa, Katy. KETTLE CHIPS TAKES HOME THE GOLD WITH NEW GREEN POTATO CHIP FACTORY. Maxwell PR. Salem, Oregon: Maxwell PR, 2007. 20 Mar. 2008 <**>.

"U.S. Green Building Council." Welcome to USGBC. 2008. 20 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Vollbrecht, Lynn. "Area Businesses are Doing the Green Thing." Community Shoppers. 2007. CSI Publications. 7 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Beloit College Brings Sustainable Methods to Campus

In the spring of 2007, Beloit College broke ground for its new Center for the Sciences after more than a decade of planning. With a planned opening at the start of the Fall 2008 semester, students will soon begin to have classes in the new building, which will be an LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building. Planning for the Center for the Sciences has been underway since 1994, before the LEED system even was developed. The science center will stand between the current science building (Chamberlin) and the college’s Sports Center. The building will be 116,000 sq. feet when completed and ground was broken with 492 days to complete the largest project in the college’s history [Rhodebeck, “Groundbreaking Ceremony”]. The building was designed by architects Holabird & Root and the campus-planning group Civitas, while construction firm J.H. Findorff & Sons, Inc. and Klobucar Construction are building the facility [Rhodebeck].
*from the Center for the Sciences site

The Beloit College Center for the Sciences is one of several independent initiatives in the City of Beloit that have been environmentally friendly. In the last decade, Beloit College has begun to step-up the amount of “green” programs. Not only are these initiatives good for the environment, but they also save the college money. In 2004, the college brought in the company Johnson Controls to evaluate the campus’ energy uses. They were able the save the college $234,600 annually, because of less energy consumption [“Sustainable Buildings”]. The building of an environmentally friendly science center is consistent with the goals of the college and the City of Beloit to support sustainability.

“To some extent almost any of these things will pay for themselves, at some point in their lifetime,” stated Kohnstamm Professor of Chemistry and faculty leader for the construction project, Brock Spencer, speaking about green technology [Spencer]. “It’s something that students graduating from places like Beloit need to be attuned to, because it will be part of your everyday lives,” he concluded.

The Center for the Sciences will hold the departments of biology, chemistry, geology, math and computer science, psychology and physics departments, as well as the Center for Language Studies over the summer months. “We have come a long way,” stated Spencer, speaking on the years of planning needed to complete the project. Spencer stated that the Center for the Sciences has been announced as a Silver level LEED building, although he now believes they will have enough “points” to gain the Gold level. “We have always talked about being at the Silver level and we will be submitting enough points to actually get Gold and we think there is a fairly good chance of that,” he said.

*from Professor Robin Greenler

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) uses a point system to determine the levels of LEED certification. Points are given for achieving different environmentally friendly goals in the construction of a building. With more points, buildings receive a higher level of certification. A Gold certified building has between 39-51 points [USGBC]. The college submits what Spencer described as “vast amounts of documentation,” to the USGBC in order to gain the certification, which have amounted to hundreds of pages. The deconstruction of Chamberlin Hall is also included in the LEED evaluation along with extra points for recycling the materials in Chamberlin

It has only been within the last 6-8 years that there have been a significant amount of green buildings that have been built (Spencer). “We knew what we wanted to do, but we didn’t know how to go about documenting it,” said Spencer about planning before an LEED system was developed. Beloit College has long been committed to sustainability and in recently years has made changing in lighting systems, in addition to reconstructing the central boiler plant with a more efficient system.

The project will be completed after winter of 2008/2009, but departments will move into the new science center on July 14th, 2008 and the process will last several weeks. Most of the moving will be done on carts and the college will hire a special company to help with the move. This method is considered environmentally friendly because it does not require the use of boxes to be thrown away after the move is completed. Spencer stated that they found it to be faster than traditional methods of moving.

A “green roof” will be built on the top of the science center, which is designed by ABC Supply Company and will feature their GreenGrid Green Roof System. The space will hopefully act as a place of a relaxation, but will most likely include a research area for studying the roof and its effectiveness. Alliant Energy has paid for tools that will monitor the temperature and energy uses of the roof space.

In every aspect of the project, the environment and sustainability was taken into consideration. For example, a majority of the building supplies come from within 500 miles. Since the deconstruction of Chamberlin is also taken into LEED consideration, the policy of “reuse, resale, recycling” will be used for all parts of the building. “Once we get out of [Chamberlin]…we will start going through all of the stuff in the building. All the classroom furniture will be taken out and then be sold or donated to charitable organizations…were working with a Madison, [Wisconsin] environmental group. Our first objective is to keep it out of the landfill,” Spencer stated regarding the move. Each type of item from will be stacked up and then either donated or resold. Items such as chalkboard or Chamberlin desks will be used by the college or put towards local community needs. Spencer gave the bricks of Chamberlin as an example of a material that can be recycled to build roads.

It is estimated that over 95% of chamberlin will be recycled. This will be a key element in gaining LEED certification points. The attached greenhouse may even by used by a local organization. Once elements of the building that can be recycled or resold are removed, Chamberlin will be taken apart slowly. “You literally have to go in and deconstruct it bit by bit,” Spencer concluded.

*Time lapse video of the construction


Works Cited

Groundbreaking Ceremony. 2007. Beloit, WI. Beloit College. 21 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Rhodebeck, Ashley. "College to Builds $36.5 Million Center." Stateline Business. June 2007. Western Container. 7 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Spencer, Brock. Personal interview. 17 Mar. 2008.

"Sustainable Buildings." Beloit College Center for the Sciences. 2007. Beloit College. 16 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Usgbc. "FAQ." U.S. Green Building Council. USGBC. 19 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shopping Just Got Greener

Articles began to appear in the Beloit Daily News in early 2007 about a new grocery store. Usually, this would not come as big news to a city but this grocery is different. With the growing trend of summer farmer’s markets, local growers have found a new niche to sell to, but only for part of the year. Rich Horbaczewski and Jackie Gennett of Grass Is Greener Gardens saw the need for this to be remedied. In mid-May 2008, in the old Woolworth’s store in Downtown Beloit, Horbaczewski and Gennett are opening a locally supported grocery expecting to carry a range of meats, produce and other products [Gennett].

In 2007 they partnered with local farmers to sell more products at Chicago farmer’s markets. After finding themselves sold out of various products when visiting these farmer’s markets, they created a new, local Community Supported Agriculture, a CSA, which offers consumers a share in local, periodic deliveries of produce [Gennett, “Our”]. For the last two years Horbaczewski and Gennett have been working to find a place for a long-term grocery. In our email correspondence with Grass Is Greener Gardens, they wrote: “One of our greatest challenges as farmers has been the logistics of not just growing food, but selling it to consumers. Hard to do everything, so we decided to focus our farm production very specifically and expand into the sales of other producer product” [Gennett]. When Beloit issued a Request for Proposal in late 2007, they “finally connected with Beloit”, a city that has “supported the project with overwhelming enthusiasm!”[Gennett].

The planned grocery, which is still unnamed, will be filling the vacant space of the old Woolworth’s on Beloit’s State Street in the Downtown. Kathleen Braatz, executive director of the Downtown Beloit Association was a key player in starting this project. In an article from the Beloit Daily News dated 4 March 2008, Braatz said, “Our whole point in this is that we really wanted to seek out the highest use for this building because it's so uniquely located in the heart of downtown. We want to have this building and its use be a catalyst for retail in downtown, a viable business for itself and also for other businesses to benefit from whatever is situated there. It meets all of those objectives” [Brown, “City”]. With support of the city behind them, Horbaczewski and Gennett began work on the site.

*from the Beloit Daily News

The empty store has been owned by the City of Beloit since 2003 and nearly $675,000 has gone into upkeep of the building [Brown, “City”]. Grass Is Greener Gardens signed a 6-year lease on building and hopes to purchase the building within 30 months of opening. [Brown, “City”]. Unlike a cooperative store, Horbaczewski and Gennett will privately own and operate the grocery along with a team of employees rather than the suppliers because “producers/farmers would prefer to be doing what they're doing” [Gennett]. They are also striving to renovate the site in an eco-friendly way. “Our approach in the construction of the project is to add as little as possible and reuse the existing features of the interior. For example, brick and mason walls will be cleaned and exposed, rather than constructing drywall walls. Old plaster walls are being cleaned and finished in a rustic, industrial manner. Floors will be the existing cement. All though there are certain areas where we have to build structure to meet building requirements, we are keeping the interior as simple as we possibly can” [Gennett]. Equipment previously owned will be mixed with fixtures bought from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, a discount warehouse using local surplus materials [Habitat ReStores].

In the same sustainable vein they will be encouraging the re-use of bags, using washable dishes for prepared foods [Gennett]. Most importantly, though, is the focus on local and regional sources of products with few exceptions, such as fair trade coffee [Gennett]. The final suppliers list is still in the making but the general product list is as follows: Meat/Deli, Dairy/Cheese, Beer/Wine, Beverages, Bulk Foods, Bakery, Snacks, Health Products, Cooking Products, Packaged Foods, Candy, Gifts, Pet Products, Plant/Cut Flowers and Prepared Foods for lunch and dinner [Gennett].

There was some early speculation about the site being too large for a local grocery and taking away from the summer farmer’s market [Adams]. Horbaczewski and Gennett hope that they utilize the space by having “some cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and events that connect consumers to their food”. And because many of the suppliers for the grocery are regulars at the Beloit Farmers’ Market, “we’ll have things that market vendors don’t offer… We also think it will give market vendors an additional outlet for their products. Not everyone can make it to the Saturday market, so we hope to draw on consumers that want the flexibility of shopping on more than one day a week” [Gennett, Brown, “City”]. The City of Beloit is focusing its energy on revitalizing the City Center, Downtown and Riverside areas and with the addition of this new grocery “Downtown can really become a one-stop-shop for the conscious consumer!” [Adams, Gennett, Beloit Report]

Grass Is Greener Gardens is now working on getting the word out. “We need a clear message that states our mission, and that mission needs to tie to what the consumer wants and needs out of a store like this… What we know that what we need to be successful in ongoing, regular, consumer involvement and support. We don't want the store to become a novelty or once a year destination, we need it to be a way of life, so we're working on that message and building the store in a way that will support the message” [Gennett]. Until the grocery opens in mid-May, they are working on spreading the word. “The most important principle to which we will adhere is to know the source of the product. No mystery food. No high fructose corn syrup. No factory farmed meats. Food decisions are much more easily made when you know where it comes from! This is not a health food store. It’s a store filled with products you can trust” [Gennet “This”].


Works Cited

Adams, Jeff. "A Vision for the City Center." Beloit 2020. Beloit 2020, Beloit, WI. 5 Feb. 2008.

Beloit Report 29 February 2008. City of Beloit. Beloit, WI: City of Beloit, 2008. 19 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Brown, Krista. "City OKs Grocery Deal." Beloit Daily News 4 Mar. 2008. 11 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Brown, Krista. "Grocery Would Feature Local Produce." Beloit Daily News 10 Jan. 2008. 11 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Gennett, Jackie, and Rich Horbaczewski. "This is Our Farm Blog." Grass is Greener Gardens. 14 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Gennett, Jackie, and Rich Horbaczewski. "Our CSA." Grass is Greener Gardens. Grass is Greener Gardens. 14 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Gennett, Jackie, and Rich Horbaczewski. Interview with Alex Catalan and Emily Quinn. 15 Mar. 2008. 14 Mar. 2008 <**>.

Monday, March 10, 2008


The City of Beloit, Wisconsin is a blooming community that has dedicated itself to protecting the environment. We feel (and our sources like Dr. Spencer agree), that to find city of its size in the United States with so much dedication to sustainability and green initiatives, across all sorts of industry, is very rare. When ABC Supply developed its GreenGrid roofing system, it took the lead in what is now a world-wide trend: green roofs. These environmentally friendly marvels can save companies thousands of dollars per year in utility bills. In addition, they also help the environment by absorbing water and being built from natural and recycled materials. When Beloit College decided to install the GreenGrid system on their new Center for the Sciences, an LEED certified building, they showed a clear dedication to sustainable initiatives. Kettle Foods, one of the newest companies to move to Beloit, has been dedicated to sustainability and protecting the environment at their home plant in Salem, Oregon. Now they bring the first green food factory in the United States to Beloit, adding to the other projects in the city. Beloit is also making great strides in supporting its local farmers and producers through its summer Farmers' Market and new grocery. It will foster awareness of the Earth as a habit and lifestyle.

The City of Beloit has shown in its practice and it its law that it is dedicated to sustainability and now industries and community members are following their lead. Beloit is prospering and proof that small communities can collaborate with with individual initiatives to better the environment and the lives of its citizens. Beloit has learned that by going green, the future is endlessly brighter.