On the last rainy day of November tucked in a millennials heaven, (the neighborhood of Shaw) Glen’s Garden Market opened its doors at 10:55 am. The trendy exterior had large picnic tables with lights strung above them, the promise of local, fresh produce drew me inside.
Reclaimed wood, large family style tables and shelves packed with the most obscure flavors of mustard, like sweet maple, helped add to the uniqueness of Glen’s Garden Market. It is the sustainable grocery store we have all been waiting for.
The founder and owner of Glen’s Garden Market, Danielle Vogel, knew exactly what she was doing when she created this market. However, what makes this store unlike any other is it's message and the issue it combats- climate change.
Who is Danielle Vogel?
A Cum Laude graduate of Tufts University and a graduate of American University Washington College of Law, Lawyer, and former environmental counsel for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Danielle is the founder/owner of Glen’s Garden Market
The real will to start this sustainable grocery store came from Congress’s refusal to pass a climate change bill. Danielle saw it as an opportunity to open up a business that would enact real change. With a history of grocers stretching back one hundred years on both sides of her family, there was also a little bit of genetics at play.
“Yes groceries are in my genetic coding, it’s true, but I knew that if we created a space that looked and felt great, then people would engage in the process of making a change with us,” says Vogel.
How is the store sustainable?
Every detail of Glen’s Garden Market caters to the goal of being the most sustainable grocery store possible. Everything from the sustainable appliances, to a zero plastic bag rule furthers Danielle’s vision and gets customers to help make a difference.
The most energy-efficient refrigeration equipment commercially available was purchased and then retrofitted to make it even more efficient. Specifically, they added glass doors to display cases that were designed to be open to prevent the unnecessary leaking of hydrofluorocarbons into the atmosphere.
Aside from promoting Glen’s entrepreneurial success Danielle and her staff helped grow over sixty-five small businesses last year. In doing so when products they shelve meet “real grocery stores”, which is how Danielle eluded to Whole Foods, they are helping to kick the “crap off the shelves” and instead showcase a sustainable high quality product.
Selling meat is tricky
Understanding that meat is a negative environmental impact, along with an understanding that a grocery store needed a clientele whom wanted fresh meat, Danielle, and her team went out to find the most sustainable, pasture-raised meat they could find.
“We cannot make a difference if no one shops here. So we are flexible and innovative,” recalls Danielle. Vendors need to treat their land animals and ingredients with respect. Even if the meat is more expensive, which it should be admitted Vogel, the vendors must practice sustainable and respectful farming, and that has value.
Glen’s Garden Market is not just a sustainable grocery store; it is a family of vendors.