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

Village Bakery & Cafe
Athens, OH

Congratulations to Spring 2016
People & Planet Award winner Village Bakery & Cafe!

Village Bakery & Cafe opened in 2002 with a mission to support farms in the foothills of Appalachian Ohio, by nourishing our neighbors and inspiring a culture of interdependence.  Our progress is measured by how much we can “invest” our purchasing power in organic, fair trade, and renewable systems, and how little we can contribute to destructive systems.  We have a passion not just for ethical food, but for radical progress, and we are deeply involved in the growing movement to build a regenerative economy that works for all.

Organic producers who incorporate environmental, social and economic concerns into their work are our friends and partners.  We often collaborate to increase awareness of local and global issues such as food insecurity, climate change, and environmental injustice.  The bakery sits at the heart of much of the social activism in our region, and nothing pleases us more than to be able to feed farmers and activists with organic soups, salads, wood-fired breads, fair trade desserts and coffee.

Fourteen years ago we understood the need to get our food system off petroleum, beginning with organic ingredients grown without petrochemical biocides and fertilizers.  We buy from dozens of local producers, with minimal packaging, which lowers our dependence on oil, but we have further to go.

Five years ago we embarked on a path to switch our energy system to renewable sources, and we've made great strides with efficient appliances, eliminating gas, installing a shade porch and 20K of solar power, and switching to a ground-sourced (geothermal) heating and cooling system.  We're using 50% less fossil fuel than 5 years ago, while growing the business, and we’ll stay on track until we get to zero.

We have an organic fair trade espresso cafe across town called Catalyst Café, with soups, sandwiches, and treats delivered from the bakery.  Our original storefront is now our wood-fired bake house, called Della Zona (“from the region”), where we hold special events and pizza party fundraisers for progressive issues such as frack fighting and national health care.

People find us first for the food, but they come back for the community.  We’ve been fortunate to be able to bring organic and sustainable food to many more people, and proud that several of our workers have built their own thriving organic food businesses in Athens.  Green America helps us celebrate that this community is growing everywhere!