“Celebrating Green:” Three Small Catering and Event Business Win People & Planet Award

Source: Photographer
Green America Awards $5,000 Prizes to Three Catering and Event Companies in Florida and Illinois That Make “Green Celebrations” Possible.

WASHINGTON—June 15, 2015—Green America announced today that two small businesses in Illinois and a third in Florida have won the Spring 2015 People & Planet Award (PPA). The focus of the Spring 2015 PPA Awards was “green celebrations,” specifically small businesses that built social and environmental considerations into their catering and event services.

The three winners, which were selected by the public during a month-long online voting period, are: Big Grove Tavern, Champaign, IL; Collective Resource, Chicago, IL; and Sweet Peas Café, Dunedin, FL.

Alisa Gravitz, president of Green America, said: “We all live lives of tremendous interdependence.  As we celebrate our key achievements and life events, we ought to remain mindful of the environment and the working people all around that have supported us and made our achievements possible. The three small businesses we are recognizing today innovatively help Americans invite those considerations into their celebrations.”

The winning companies are:

  • Collective Resource, Chicago, IL, http://www.collectiveresource.us/home.html. Collective Resource is an innovative composting business that delivers collection containers and returns to pick them up filled with food scraps and other compostable materials. If customers choose to have the company staff their event, Collective Resource ensures the sustainable disposal of all organic food waste, as well as all other waste, including recyclables. 
  • Big Grove Tavern, Champaign, IL,  http://www.biggrovetavern.com/. Big Grove Tavern serves fresh farm-to-table New American Cuisine. Almost 80 percent of their proteins come from farms within 60 miles, and 80 percent of their produce is sourced locally during the summer. The tavern also sources from local dairies and distilleries, uses no Styrofoam, and recycles and composts to minimize waste. With its Give Back Campaign, the tavern has been donating a portion of lunch sales to a different local charity every month.
  • Sweet Peas Café, Dunedin, FL.. http://www.thesweetpeascafe.com/.  Sweet Peas Café is a community-centered, organic, parent-friendly café located in historic downtown Dunedin, FL. The café has 10,000 square feet of enclosed yard, which has been transformed into a combined play space, eating area, and garden. The yard is surrounded by a NABA-certified Butterfly Habitat and 20 percent of the yard is currently transitioning into a garden where the café will grow its own herbs and vegetables. Sweet Peas Café composts the food its customers do not eat, as well as food scraps, boxes, and coffee grounds from our daily prep work. The café also hosts environmentally responsible parties and community events for all ages almost daily.

Erlene Howard, founder of Collective Resource, said: “All of us at Collective Resource are very grateful to be a People & Planet Award winner. With the assistance of this award, we'll be able to invest in automated container washing, which will not only increase our service capacity, but use less water while doing so. We'll be in a terrific place to keep our green work going well into the future. Thank you to everyone.”

Beckie Kane, event coordinator for Big Grove Tavern. said: "We are excited to purchase new equipment that allows us to expand our menu and utilize even more products from local, sustainable farms."

Danielle Pastore, owner of Sweet Peas Café, said: “We are very honored to accept this award. In a world of conventional restaurant models and business models, it is very challenging for small businesses to find extra resources that will fund ideas that are outside of the box. This award money is really going to be put good use. For four years, we have had a plan to use the west side of the property as an organic garden space where customers are able to eat, party, and play where food is grown. Thank you for helping to make our dream into a reality, to help us to give our customers a unique experience, and for enabling us to set an example not just on a business level but to inspire other to keep their ideas alive.”

The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Katie Galloway and Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Deven Clemens, Clif Bar; Jenny Burns, Honest Tea;  Jonathan Reinbold, Organic Valley; Martin Wolf, Seventh Generation; and Andrew Korfhage and Fran Teplitz, 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: Will Harwood, (703) 276-3255 or wharwood@hastingsgroup.com