As Denver residents, we’re lucky. In our restaurant industry, farm-t0-table is more of a rule than the exception. Sustainable sourcing and recycling are celebrated, not seen as costly inconveniences. As a whole, the hospitality industry extends their kindness beyond their customers and to the environment, a rarity in most parts of the country. However, a few companies stand out from the pack for their above-and-beyond green initiatives. Today, just in time for Earth Day, we’re celebrating these businesses from each sector of the hospitality industry for taking extra care of our city and planet.
Brewery — Declaration Brewing
Declaration Brewing was the first sustainably-certified green brewery in Denver. Since opening, the Platt Park brewery has been setting the industry standard for “green breweries.” A few of its notable efforts include: donating spent green — the leftover malt and adjuncts — to farmers to be re-purposed into animal feed, instituting a heat-recovery process on boilers to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and packaging products only in kegs and cans instead of bottles.
Restaurant Group — Edible Beats
Edible Beats — the restaurant group behind Denver favorites like Root Down, Linger, Ophelia’s and Vital Root — is known for its sustainability practices. Vital Root alone boasts more than 15 separate green initiatives. It is 100 percent wind-powered, and essentially every item in the restaurant — from to-go containers to cleaning products — are 100 percent recyclable, biodegradable or reusable.
Coffee Company — Huckleberry Roasters
Not only does Huckleberry Roasters have an entire position dedicated to “green coffee buying,” it goes beyond sustainable sourcing and extends to its facility. Its facility is 100 percent wind-powered, its bags are compostable and they have a bicycle incentive for staff.
Cannabis Company — LivWell
LivWell Enlightened Health, one of the state’s leading cannabis companies, was just awarded the Xcel Energy 2016 Lighting Efficiency Achievement Award. The award was given to the organization for achieving the highest energy savings in a single lighting project in the state of Colorado in 2016. It achieved this milestone by reducing electricity consumption in its primary cultivation facility, using LED lighting in place or more traditional lighting systems.
Farm — Grower’s Organic Freight Farm
Grower’s Organic Freight Farm is a vertical hydroponic farm, built entirely inside a 40’ x 8’ x 9.5’ upcycled shipping container. The container creates an environment conducive for growing certain lettuces and vegetables all year. Not only does it maximize space for food production and decreases water usage, it also creates an efficient system for urban areas which lack access to fresh produce — an oasis within the food desert. It sells GOBOXes of produce to Denver residents, including a Pretty Ugly Box that includes fruits and vegetables that would usually be thrown away because they don’t look perfect enough for grocery store consumption.
Non-Profit — We Don’t Waste
Forty percent of all food that is produced is thrown away, and We Don’t Waste is a Denver non-profit dedicated to tackling that problem head-on. We Don’t Waste serves as the connector between food purveyors who want to avoid waste and community organizations that can benefit from the edible donations. Since its inception, its has diverted 8.6 million pounds of food from landfills and served 11.6 million meals to 75+ community organizations.