2nd Street Market takes DRG3 challenge
By Amy Forsthoefel
Photo: Hungry Toad Farm, one of the produce vendors at the 2nd Street Market, is certified organic now and is seeking DRG3 Green Business certification yet this year
In 2012, Dayton Regional Green 3 (DRG3) created a voluntary Green Business Certification Program designed to help businesses take basic green measures to reduce their ecological footprint, reduce their energy and resource use and save money in the process. Their plan is to have 500 DRG3 Certified Green Businesses by the end of 2013.
When leaders at Five Rivers MetroParks heard about these plans, they immediately stepped forward to partner with them. They had the perfect place to get the initiative off and running: the 2nd Street Market. With more than 50 vendors and a mission to support the conservation goals of the agency, the market seemed like an ideal candidate to participate in this opportunity to have their operations run more efficiently and use greener practices. So ideal, in fact, that DRG3 launched the Green500 Challenge at the market with a press conference on January 17 this year.
“This is a chance to really promote sustainability across our region,” said Bethany Ramsey of the 2nd Street Market. “The mission of MetroParks is not only to provide outdoor experiences for the residents of the Miami Valley, but also to protect our natural resources for future generations. What better way to do that than to ensure our vendors are DRG3 Certified?”
It’s easy being green
In order to be DRG3 Certified, the 2nd Street Market vendors have to work to reduce their ecological footprint and reduce their energy and resource use by completing actions in six categories:
General standards for all businesses
Solid waste reduction and recycling
Environmentally preferable purchasing
The vendors undergo an on-site audit prior to being awarded green certification. If a business has exemplary water stewardship – complied with additional requirements from water conservation – then they could also be eligible for Water Stewardship Blue Certification.
Since the Green500 Challenge kickoff in January, the market had four vendors successfully attain their Green Businesses certification. They include: New World Alpaca Textiles, Dayton Urban Green, Missy’s Wooden Roses and Fabric Art Creations. Through some simple changes like switching from Styrofoam to compostable containers, these already eco-conscious vendors were able to achieve certification. Many other vendors are in the process of certification. The plan is to have as many of the vendors as possible green-certified by the end of the year.
”We are excited to continue our work with 2nd Street Market and its vendors,” said AJ Ferguson of DRG 3, “The market is already a hub of green-minded consumers and business owners, and we want to build onto that foundation. As sustainable practices and places grow in our region, we think the market can be a befitting showcase of our progress.”
Reducing carbon footprints is a major goal of the green movement. Applying this philosophy to the green food movement can add the additional complexities, such as organic production and local distribution.
Several of the grower/producers at the 2nd Street Market are either already certified organic or use organic growing methods, including Eat Food for Life Farm, Mile Creek Farm (certified by Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association), Hungry Toad Farm and Tea Hills Farms.
Certified organic vendors have gone through a process that ensures that their production of local, fresh food uses ecological agricultural practices. These practices include chemical-free farming methods and land management, and detailed record keeping and reporting about all farm activities from seed use, production and harvesting to handling and distribution.
The Green500 Challenge is going well for DRG3. In late May, 143 facilities operated by 69 businesses and other groups were awarded the DRG3 Green Business Certification. So far, about 200 businesses have already been certified.
Greening through reuse
Another facet of the greening of the Market is the “Pledge to Reuse” program launching in August. Funded by a grant through the Montgomery County Solid Waste District, the goal of the program is to get Market customers using reusable bags when shopping – thus reducing the number of plastic bags going into the waste stream.
The program will work like this:
Throughout August, reusable tote bags will be given to every customer who takes the pledge to use reusable bags when shopping at the market (while supplies last).
Through the end of September, market customers who show they are using a reusable bag when making a purchase will be entered to win Market Bucks, good for shopping at the market. There will be no limit to the number of entries a customer can make. In fact, the more times they use a reusable bag, the greater chance they have to win. In addition, customers do not have to use the program’s free bag to enter to win – a customer can enter as long as they use any reusable tote bag when shopping.
Every Saturday in September, market staff will draw from the collected tickets and give away prizes.
Through these combined green initiatives, Five Rivers MetroParks hopes to support connecting 2nd Street Market shoppers to their conservation ethic and strengthen the commitment to conservation in the community as a whole.
The Five Rivers MetroParks 2nd Street Market is open Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. To learn more about DRG3, visit DRG3.org. Follow the progress of the market vendors in their pursuit if DRG3 Green Business Certification at facebook.com/2ndStreetMarket.
Reach DCP freelance writer Amy Forsthoefel at AmyForsthoefel@DaytonCityPaper.com.