Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Middletown, CT

ION is a vegan restaurant in Connecticut, known for their innovative and delicious take on plant-based foods. They support local farms, buy tofu that’s made down the street from them, and decorate the restaurant with the work of community artisans. Even the tables are made from fallen, repurposed trees.

ION works hard to create a welcoming environment for vegans and non-vegans alike, hoping to expose people of all diets to plant-based options. They have an interest in helping people eat more plant-based food - whether it comes from them or not, which is why they share their recipes in a weekly newspaper column and regularly offer cooking classes.

They regularly host charity events for local animal welfare organizations, support AIDS and homelessness initiatives, and proudly hire and work alongside disabled citizens. The head chef is a female, as is the owner and head baker - and they’re all great examples and role models for women in the business and culinary fields.

ION is also a shining star of resilience. When their brand new location suffered a fire just months after the grand opening, destroying much of their kitchen, all of their food, and forcing the restaurant to shut its doors for over a month - they didn’t give up hope. Volunteers from the local community showed up to compost all of the spoiled food and donate what could be saved. Months later, they managed to rebuild and recover.

ION Restaurant is a small, mission-driven business. They don’t force their values on others, but they also don’t compromise their values for others. They’re changing minds through positivity. With $5,000 this small business could start to expand their reach by offering catering services for events and weddings - touching the minds and hearts of even more people.

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