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Santa Monica Businesses Compete to be Green  

By Lookout Staff

March 23, 2011 -- Being green is cool in Santa Monica. Across the city, residents and businesses are taking steps to reduce waste and consumption, ease congestion and eliminate pollution. And a few are even getting public recognition for it.

Tuesday, local officials announced the city’s 2011 Sustainable Quality Awards nominees – nine businesses that have made efforts to go the extra green mile. And they include everything from a law office to a church to a gastropub.

Sponsored by the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and the city-funded non-profit Sustainable Works, the award ceremony will be held April 27 at the Sheraton Delfina Hotel.

Think of it as Santa Monica’s sustainable Oscars.

This year’s nominees for awards are:

  • Gorman and Miller – a real estate and franchise law firm,
  • LAcarGUY – which says it’s the number one hybrid dealer in the world,
  • Library Alehouse – a craftsman brewery,
  • Lotus East – West Medical Center -- a holistic approach to healing,
  • Minarc – an award-winning sustainable design studio,
  • Mt. Olive Lutheran Church – no Garrison Keeler jokes please,
  • PS #1 Elementary School – a private school,
  • Schaffer's Genuine Foods—a catering service, and
  • The Yard-Neighborhood "gastropub" – which shops at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market for its ingredients.

About half of these businesses will come away winners

Judges from the local chamber and the City’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment will decide which businesses should receive awards by looking at achievement in three areas: sustainable economic development, social responsibility and stewardship of the natural environment.

Winners will be announced in each of the categories, and at least one business will win the grand prize for significant achievement in all three categories.

As would seem appropriate during any awards ceremony where people are eating, this year's speakers will talk a lot about food.

Evan Kleiman, renowned chef and host of KCRW's Good Food radio show, will give this year’s keynote address, and he’ll probably touch on topics aligned with the city’s Cool Food Pledge.

To help ease global warming, the Cool Food Pledge urges people to reduce their carbon footprint by eating less meat and dairy, staying away from packaged and processed food, and buying more locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Kleiman is a member of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, the Stewardship Council of Roots of Change and the founder of LA's Slow Food Chapter.

Also on hand will be Mary Sue Milliken, co-chef and owner of the Border Grill restaurant and Border Grill Truck, who will speak about how businesses can reap economic and environmental benefits by embracing sustainable practices.

Pre-paid tickets for the April 27 awards luncheon are $55 for chamber members and $60 for non-members until April 19th. Tickets can be purchased on-line or by calling 310 393-9825.

For more information on the Sustainable Quality Awards visit

Sustainable Works offers free greening programs to Santa Monica businesses and residents who want to make their home or workplace more sustainable. Visit


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