Three Green Small Businesses Win National “People & Planet” Award After Being Nominated By Community Development Lenders

Source: Photographer

$5,000 Prize Awarded to Three Companies in Illinois, North Carolina and Mississippi After an Open Public Voting Period and Nominations By Community Development Lenders, Credit Unions

June 16, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 16, 2014 - Three green small business winners were announced today for Green America’s quarterly “People & Planet Award,” which recognizes innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that deeply integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. Each of three winners will receive $5,000. The winners are: Feed Earth Now, Chicago, IL; FLS Energy, Asheville, NC; and Mauthe’s Progress Milk Barn, McComb, MS. Winners were selected by the public during a month-long open voting period online at Green America’s website.

This round of the Awards focused on green businesses that had inspired the community development lenders and credit unions that made their financing possible.

Alisa Gravitz, president of Green America said: “The “People & Planet” award winners this quarter were all nominated by local community credit unions and lenders. This is important because local community development lenders are often the lifelines and lifeblood of great small businesses with big ideas, big enthusiasm, but fledgling funding. Without community development lenders and credit unions, many great and green small businesses could not get off the ground, so it’s especially exciting when the community lenders themselves highlight their best green business success stories, including all of the winners today.

The winning companies are:

  • Feed Earth Now, Chicago, IL, Feed Earth Now has pioneered an innovative technique to rapidly convert large volumes of food scraps into a nutrient rich, all natural, pathogen free microbial fertilizer. Feed Earth Now’s product is a proven and effective alternate to petro-driven fertilizers that reduces food waste in the process. The company was a Cleantech Open Semi-Finalist in both 2011 and 2012.
  • FLS Energy, Asheville, NC, FLS Energy opened its doors in 2006 with financing from local community banks. Its mission was to bring solar energy into the mainstream North Carolina, and since its inception, FLS Energy has done so. FLS Energy now owns and operates a portfolio of 50 megawatts of solar power, and has an exciting planned expansion of 70 megawatts (350 acres) of solar power by the end of 2014.
  • Mauthe’s Progress Milk Barn, McComb, MS, Mauthe’s Progress Milk Barn is an organic, 100 percent grass-fed dairy farm in McComb, MS that was the first dairy farm in Louisiana or Mississippi to reduce its carbon footprint. Mauthe’s Progress Milk Barn is on the front lines of employing sustainable practices. It sells its product exclusively within a one hundred mile radius of the farm, and bottles a majority of its milk in reusable glass bottles, which saves an estimated 500 plastic jugs from landfills per week.

Cathy Scratch, owner of Feed Earth Now said: “On behalf of Feed Earth Now I want to thank you with all the gratitude there is for choosing us as this year’s recipient for the People and Planet 2014 award. This award supports us both at a pressing time for the planet and crucial time in our business development. We envision a world where valuable resources are cycled back to the planet in a nurturing way. Our business transforms discarded materials into valuable resources that enable communities to thrive.”

Dale Freudenberger, CEO of FLS Energy said: “Thank you for this honor and thank you to all the great companies that were nominated. It’s so reassuring to see such creative and thoughtful companies all over the country working to make the world a better place.”

“We are over the top about winning the People & Planet Award!” said Jaime Mauthe, owner of Mauthe’s Progress Milk Barn. “We’ve been wanting to improve the efficiency of our rotational grazing by making and supplying our own organic fertilizer, and this award will help us secure the tools we need to do that – pipes, fittings, tanks, and an irrigation pump. We look forward to even greater returns from our pasture-grazing, all-organic-fed cows.”

The next round of Green America’s quarterly award will be given to three green businesses with 50 or fewer employees that focus on “green” products for kids.

The businesses that the public voted on this round were nominated by the following community lenders and credit unions: GreenChoice Bank, Hope Credit Union, Lower East Side People’s Credit Union, Native American Bank, New Resource Bank, Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, Self-Help Credit Union, and Sunrise Banks.


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.

MEDIA CONTACT: Will Harwood, (703) 276-3255 or