1. What are some of your proudest moments as owner/employee of Hollygrove?
With a goal of becoming a one-stop local grocery, we are always excited to introduce new customer conveniences like extended hours of operation, broader variety of high quality products and novel ways to extend the season (like offering dried or frozen goods). Of course being publicly recognized by gambit polls, yelp, LifeCity and other agencies for our successes and accomplishments is always a plus.
2. How does your organization go about improving your social and environmental impacts?
This question is an easy one for us because the very basis of our business is inherently beneficial for society and the environment. By locally sourcing all of our produce and only supporting other local value added producers, not only do we keep the money in the very local economy (within 200 miles), but we’re limiting carbon footprints associated with food production which in this era of global sourcing, is a huge thing. As a demonstration site for sustainable practices, we garden and compost on site, keep chickens and collect rainwater, showing and teaching our customers and other visitors steps one can take to increase sustainability. Finally, we are bringing super fresh, seasonal food into the city which is hugely beneficial nutritionally speaking. We also offer an in store discount of 20% to Hollygrove neighborhood residents and to food stamp recipients as well as participate in other programs to increase fresh food access such as the Veggie Rx program to make sure that this abundant supply is available to the entire community.
3. What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as a company?
We have networked with restaurants to facilitate compost collection which we process on site, we partner with schools to extend our kids programming into the educational system, obviously, we work closely with LifeCity to set and achieve sustainability goals, and we partner with our customers and producers to provide products with reusable containers that we accept and return to producers for reuse.
4. If you had a magic wand to change one thing that would make it easier for your company or other New Orleans businesses to go green, what would that thing be?
Make plastic film, waxed cardboard and glass recyclable! While we do our best to reuse when possible, we first and foremost adhere to food safety standards which means a lot of these materials end up in the trash. If only these three items were recyclable, I would estimate we could double our recycling and halve our trash.
5. What advice would you give to other businesses who are trying to improve their internal practices to benefit their city and state?
Changing peoples minds and practices can be a very slow process. We make sure to have at least recycling at each of our trash stations, and compost when possible. This small kind of thing helps people think about their transactions with waste every time they throw something helps to normalize the idea of not just automatically throwing everything in the trash. Also, eco products are becoming very widely available and so sourcing the greener paper and cleaning products is much more cost effective than it used to be.
6. Anything else you would like to tell our community of Green Card members and Green Businesses such as upcoming events or promotions they should look out for?
Not only are we just beginning the Eat Local Challenge, but the June timing of ELC is no coincidence in terms of the local food supply. Now is a great time of year with the beets, carrots, potatoes, snap beans and onions of spring still around and the melons, eggplant, squash, shelled beans/peas, sweet corn, field tomatoes and blueberries of summer also coming in. We’re expecting peaches – everyone’s favorite! – within the next couple of weeks. So come to the store to check out the abundant variety, or shop online through our web store (at https://hollygrovemarket.com/shop-online/) for home delivery of the same great stuff!