We could not be more honored and pleased. On Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at Piedmont Environmental Alliance’s (PEA) Annual Party, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC took home the 2023 Green Business of the Year Award, a distinction that sets Second Harvest apart for our sustainability leadership here in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. A leading member of PEA’s Green Business Network–a rapidly growing movement of area businesses and nonprofits committed to creating a more just, resilient, and sustainable local economy–Second Harvest has been a case study in action that includes: -Collaborations with local farmers to expand food waste diversion efforts; in-office composting with the use of compostable service ware, in partnership with Gallins Family Farm; and working closely with PEA to pursue projects like rooftop solar energy production, rainwater collection barrels, and electric vehicle charging stations at their new Whitaker Park headquarters in Winston-Salem. "We are pleased to have our efforts applying sustainability practices across the organization recognized by Piedmont Environmental Alliance through its 2023 Green Business of the Year Award," said Second Harvest CEO Eric Aft. "Second Harvest has been an integral component of a sustainable regional food system for more than 40 years, diverting tons of food and household goods have been diverted from the landfill every day.. Expanding initiatives reflect our deepening commitment to sustainability."
Second Harvest’s Sustainability Committee launched in the spring of 2021, as plans for construction of Second Harvest’s new headquarters facility, teaching garden, and food forest in Whitaker Park were taking shape. This cross-departmental “Green Team” seeks to extend Second Harvest’s sustainability efforts further, with a focus on environmental and economic stewardship.
Since Second Harvest's move to its new headquarters, the Sustainability Committee has led and supported a variety of activities and initiatives toward “greening” the Food Bank, including:
Expanded diversion of food waste to livestock feed and compost via partnerships with local farmers, along with the planned use of de-packaging equipment and Organix Recycling.
In-office composting with the use of compostable service ware, in partnership with the local Gallins Family Farm.
In-office recycling of paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal, and printer cartridges.
Recycling of used cooking oil from our commercial kitchens into biofuel, via Green Energy Biofuel.
Second Harvest is currently pursuing the installation of rooftop solar panels, rainwater collection barrels, and electric vehicle charging stations and exploring ways to educate the community about the use of alternative farming techniques, including hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics.
In the realm of environmental advocacy, Second Harvest partners with the Piedmont Environmental Alliance as a member of their Green Business Network, Environmental Action Coalition, and annual Earth Day Fair sponsor/exhibitor.
"Second Harvest and the 16 other Green Business network members are making it clear that sustainability is the present and future of Winston-Salem and beyond – a true leadership-by-example moment,” said Will Eley, Green Jobs Program Manager at PEA. “We look forward to growing this partnership to the benefit of our wider community over the coming years.”