Sunday, June 7, 2009

Garden Gate Delivery Wins Social Responsibility Award

Last week, Alternatives Federal Credit Union honored Garden Gate Delivery with the Jeff Furman Social Responsibility Award.

"With local delivery of local food, Garden Gate Delivery supports our local farms, brings fresh, nutritious food to people in our community, and in doing so helps the environment by keeping b
ig trucks off the road. Alternatives Federal Credit Union applauds this socially responsible business," reads a statement from the credit union.

Marlo Capoccia, owner of Garden Gate Delivery, says that the basis of her business is to mak
e the amazing bounty of our area more readily available to consumers.

In addition to the environmental and public health aspects of the business, Marlo says she's trying to address an important social responsibility component.  

Marlo asks, "How do you get fresh, local food from farms to people who might not otherwise eat this food or who can't afford to buy it -- much less pay for a business to bring it to their homes?"  She strives to find a satisfying answer to this question.  The USDA says Garden Gate cannot accept food stamps.  Plus, discounting products or services too much would jeopardize the new business, which is still establishing itself.  

Nonetheless, Marlo's ultimate goal is to bring food to anyone in Tompkins County who would like the service, regardless of income or location.  

To that end, she has:
-offered free delivery to pregnant and new families 
-attempted to work with a church to provide discounted food and delivery to rural members
-delivered low income CSA shares with the Full Plate Collective and Tompkins County Cooperative Extension
-donated free home deliveries to a customer who needed them

Garden Gate also uses 100% recycled paper and reuses paper, limits print marketing, works with farms to ensure they are paid a fair price for their produce, keeps cars of the road by delivering food, delivers groceries in sturdy, reusable bags and encourages walking or biking to pick-ups to get products for delivery.  "Once we even delivered a CSA share by bringing it by sled to its recipient," Marlo says.

Marlo believes that having a family business is also a step toward social responsibility.  "It allows us more time with our three young boys, teaches them family values of honesty, service and hard work, and keeps money in our community.  We believe that a family business is an attempt to reclaim what is ours: community, family and time for what we believe matters."

She adds, "We call it our fourth child.  luckily, we don't need to wake up in the middle of the night to change diapers for this one."

Alternatives Federal Credit Union says that The Jeff Furman Award for Social Responsibility in Business is given every year to honor a member business that has distinguished itself through business practices that demonstrate the owner's commitment to social responsibility. Past award winners and nominees have included member businesses dedicated to paying their employees a living wage, trading in responsibly produced goods, being good stewards of the environment, fighting for social justice, or otherwise using their enterprises as both an example of and a platform for promoting social responsibility in business. 

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