3 US Green Gardening Businesses Receive National Award

Planting Sustainability in Your Backyard: Small Businesses in San Diego, Boston and Chicago Receive Green America’s “People & Planet” Award.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— June 15, 2017 —Three small businesses offering green gardening products and services in San Diego, Boston and Chicago today were announced as the winners of Green America’s “People & Planet Award.” The winners of the $5,000 prizes were RainThanks & Greywater in San Diego, CA, CERO Cooperative of Boston, MA, and GrowAsis Urban Garden Consulting, in Chicago, IL. 


The People & Planet Award recognizes innovative U.S. small businesses that integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. The winners were selected by the public during a month-long online voting period. 


“It’s crucial to consider the planet in all aspects of our lives, but one of the ways our behavior has the most immediate impact is right in our own backyards,” said Fran Teplitz, Green America’s executive co-director. “This round of awards honors businesses who are helping American consumers green up their outdoor spaces. By supporting companies that promote environmentally responsible gardening practices, we can do better for people and the planet. ” 


The winning companies are:


  • RainThanks & Greywater, San Diego, CA. http://www.greenamerica.org/green-business-people-and-planet-award/spring2017/RainThanks.cfm. RainThanks & Greywater is a woman-owned, socially responsible enterprise specializing in systems that divert greywater and rainwater back to the landscape for growing food. Reusing greywater (relatively clean waste water) is a simple solution with a big payback. Unfortunately, greywater reuse is still in its infancy and there are few resources to help property owners implement a system.  


  • CERO Cooperative, Boston, MA. http://www.greenamerica.org/green-business-people-and-planet-award/Spring2017/CERO.cfm. CERO Cooperative turns trash into treasure. Every week they collect tons of food scraps from local grocery stores and restaurants to be turned into rich compost. Then they deliver the compost back to the community where it is re-earthed to grow more food in gardens and farms. In this way, last season’s food “waste” returns to our tables as this year’s local crops.



Candace Vanderhoff, founder of RainThanks & Greywater said, “We are thrilled to accept the People & Planet Award from Green America for our work helping gardeners save water while growing food. Utilizing our systems, gardeners have been able to save thousands of gallons of water, while reducing water cost by simply capturing greywater or rainwater to irrigate crops. RainThanks & Greywater will use the funds to bring our DIY greywater system to market.”


Lor Holmes, general manager of CERO Cooperative said, "We are thrilled to receive the Green America, People & Planet Award. The cash prize will support CERO diverting more than 100 tons per month of food waste from landfill to food-growing compost, while providing good green jobs in our community. It will also advance our environmental justice mission and promote collaboration among business, residents and local governments to institute Zero Waste plans and community composting.”


Jacqueline Smith, owner of GrowAsis, said, “With this prize, GrowAsis looks forward to supporting other social entrepreneurs and green businesses we work with and marketing our urban education workshops to help even more of our community-members on the South Side of Chicago be empowered to grow and secure their own food. It is with love and appreciation that I give thanks to all those who voted for GrowAsis.”


The theme for the next round of Green America’s award winners will be announced in the Fall. 


The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Tess O’Brien, Clean Power Perks, Jennifer Snyder, Clif Bar; Erlene Howard, Collective Resource, Inc., Dale Luckwitz, Naturepedic;  Jonathan Reinbold, Organic Valley; Martin Wolf, Seventh Generation; and Andrew Korfhage and Fran Teplitz, both of Green America.




Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org.


MEDIA CONTACT: Natalie Watson, (703) 276-3256 or nwatson@hastingsgroup.com.