It’s important to take care of our planet, and luckily, many West Michigan businesses are helping one step at a time. These are organizations that are making sure that they’re taking care of the environment, while still providing the best experience for travelers. Keep an eye out for some of the green practices that West Michigan businesses are doing next time you stop by.
Going Green in Southern West Michigan
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings is hosting their Preserving the Harvest event on Saturday, August 26th from 9am to noon. In temperate areas like the Midwest, food preservation is an important way of enjoying the products of a permaculture landscape throughout the year. Chef Josh Musinski will demonstrate a number of methods of preserving food including freezing, canning, and pickling. Cost is $20 for members and $27 for non-members.
Being green and environmentally-friendly doesn’t tell the whole story at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo. They view sustainability as the capacity for their business to thrive in future generations, all while using practices that focus on good environmental stewardship. They want to act in ways that provide benefits now and for generations to come. Reducing impact, increasing energy efficiency, and recycling only scratch the surface. Bell’s invites you to join them for a free brewery tour in Comstock and Kalamazoo to learn more about how they approach sustainability. Reserve your tour on their website.
Be green the next time you decide to go out with your friends for a cold one! Arcadia Brewing Company in Kalamazoo has a pet-friendly beer garden with direct access to the Kalamazoo River and Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. This means that you can get to Arcadia by kayaking, canoeing, biking, and walking. Instead of driving, hop on one of these trails next time your make your way to Arcadia.
Virtue Cider in Fennville minimizes environmental impact in many aspects of their business. They purchase fruit direct from local farms in southwest Michigan, which keeps the supply chain short and the carbon footprint small. Their cider houses use extremely minimal climate control, just as traditional European cider makers did and still do today. In fact, their fermentation cider house is underground, which maintains a more consistent temperature year-round without climate control. You can view these facilities during one of their regularly offered tours. Additionally, the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program named Virtue Cider an Environmentally Verified Farm in December 2016, a distinction that they are very proud to have earned.
Michigan’s beautiful landscapes are filled with native and non-native plants, so how many of them do you know? Take a six-week course in Field Botany through the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station’s W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary in Augusta. Through expert-led field trips and lectures, participants can learn about Michigan’s diverse natural vegetation. In the course, students will learn basic botanical taxonomy and ecology, and how to identify 40-50 plants. The course will meet weekly from 6pm to 8pm from August 9th to September 13th. The cost of registration is $160 for members and $180 for non-members, due August 4th. The W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary is also Spartan Green Certified for sustainability.
Saugatuck Antique Pavilion is not only reducing, reusing, and recycling, but they are also updating their lighting system throughout with LED lighting in an effort to cut down on energy use. Stop by the Saugatuck Antique Pavilion and save both money and the planet!
The business of vacationing itself in South Haven makes it easy to go green! Downtown, the river, beaches, and attractions are all within walking distance. You can easily park your car for a week and never have the need to drive, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Enjoy the refreshingly clean breezes of South Haven!
Going Green in Central West Michigan
CityFlatsHotel in Holland is one of three new construction hotels in the world to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification in the Hotel/Resort Category. CityFlats is also the first hotel in the Midwest to be awarded this certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Another area where CityFlats exemplifies green construction is with local manufacturing. More than 30 percent of the materials used to construct CityFlatsHotel’s structure, seating, and décor came from local sources and a majority of all finished products were manufactured in Holland. By eliminating reliance on imported products and materials, CityFlats has decreased the amount of fuel and energy used to transport products, enhanced the local economy, and minimize their carbon footprint.
The Mitten Brewing Company in Grand Rapids has successfully launched its new Sustainability Program. With the craft beer industry a driving force in the Michigan economy, it is important that they implement a program for environmental responsibility. In the first few months, they have replaced much of their disposable materials, such as napkins, straws, and trash bags, with eco-friendly industrial compostable alternatives. They have begun to track data and progress toward a more water efficient establishment, a task not easily undertaken in the brewing industry. Upcoming projects include partnerships with BarFly Ventures Sustainability Program as well as evaluating the energy efficiency of their buildings.
Barfly Ventures is working hard to be sustainable across all 14 of their locations. These include HopCat in Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, and Stella’s Lounge in Grand Rapids, all of which participate in this program. Through their various sustainability efforts, Barfly Ventures has been able to divert waste, recycle, protect clean water, and be more energy efficient.
For Brewery Vivant, being a sustainable company means considering the impact of their decisions on the natural environment, the people that may be affected, and the financial health of their business. They received the first ever LEED certification (LEED Silver) for a production brewery in the United States back in 2012, and continue their dedication to sustainability by keeping expenses nearby, lowering their carbon footprint, and using renewable energy.
In Muskegon County, the Wastewater Management System is so massive it has been viewed by orbiting NASA astronauts. The plant uses a land treatment process encompassing 11,000 acres of aeration and settling basins, storage lagoons, and irrigated cropland. It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind, environmentally friendly system! While a wastewater system might not sound like a destination, the Muskegon Wastewater Management plant has a nature trail, observatory, snowmobile trails, pheasant habitat, and more on site, making it a place worth checking out!
There is a top-of-the-line recycling center servicing Mecosta County. They collect newspapers, magazines, cardboard, plastic bottles, aluminum, used batteries, and much more. They even have specials containers available, so that they can collect bottles and cans during community events. Keep an eye out for their recycling containers next time you’re having fun in Mecosta County!
Going Green in Northern West Michigan
Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville is dedicated to sustainability throughout all of the resort’s offerings. For their Farm-to-Table series, the Crystal Mountain culinary team works with local farms, making personal visits to many of them, to build a custom three-course menu. Their spa has also been named Sustainable Resort Spa Of The Year by Green Spa Network. Relax knowing that your stay at Crystal Mountain comes with an eye for sustainability.
Brewery Terra Firma is a production brewery, tap room, and MAEAP certified farm located on 10 acres in Traverse City. They produce delicious, culinary-inspired beers using sustainable methods, including an innovative water capture system in their brewhouse, which has allowed them to reclaim over 185,000 gallons of water from the manufacturing process for reuse as irrigation and fertilization on their farm crops.
The purpose of Oryana Community Co-op in Traverse City is to provide high quality food produced in ecologically sound ways at fair value to owners and the community. Oryana owners and staff are committed to enhancing their community through the practice of cooperative economics and education about the relationship of food to health.
Back in 2015, Chateau Chantal in Traverse City offset approximately 40% of their energy needs with a new 148.5 kW solar array by Harvest Energy Solutions. This is the largest solar install at a Michigan winery. All aspects of the project are based in Michigan, with the winery in Traverse City, and design, install, and racking manufactured by Harvest Energy Solutions out of Jackson.
Waterfire Vineyards in Kewadin is committed to growing green, and the proof is in the frogs. Amphibians are very sensitive to chemical pollutants. The presence of frogs throughout their vineyards is one of the best indicators of their commitment to organic farming without toxins.