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Boxx Berry Farm: A family farm for the community
Boxx Berry Farm: A family farm for the community

    The Boxx family has been rooted in Whatcom County for a long time – quite literally! In 1960, on twenty acres, Bill and Charlene Boxx put down some of their first berry plants. Bill’s dad had been a berry farmer before him and it seemed natural to continue in him family’s footsteps. Over […]

Q & A with Whatcom Community Foundation CEO Mauri Ingram
Q & A with Whatcom Community Foundation CEO Mauri Ingram

  Recently, we were lucky enough to chat with President and CEO of the Whatcom Community Foundation, Mauri Ingram (pictured in the middle above). The Whatcom Community Foundation is one of three community philanthropy organizations in our county and has made an immense impact since opening its doors, over twenty years ago. To date, they […]

The 2017 Chef’s Farm Tour!
The 2017 Chef’s Farm Tour!

By Alex Smith Take a moment to picture this: a chef strolling through a row of tomatoes while a farmer describes to him what makes that variety unique. A couple of hours later, a pizza maker pets baby cows while an artisan cheesemaker explains how the cow’s mother magically turns grass and alfalfa into rich […]

Leading the way in sustainability reporting
Leading the way in sustainability reporting

  We are excited to announce that Samson Rope, Kombucha Town, and Mallard Ice Cream submitted the winning proposals to receive free in-depth sustainability reporting services from the Sustainable Business Development Program!  Integrative reporting had been a developing trend which incorporates appropriate sustainability information alongside financial information and provides organizations with a broad perspective of […]

What Goes Up Goes Somewhere
What Goes Up Goes Somewhere

Raising awareness of the issue is an important step in having a better outcome so fireworks debris won’t pose a threat to the public, wildlife, and our waterways.

Riverhaven Farm: Nature oriented, permaculture driven, grass-based agriculture
Riverhaven Farm: Nature oriented, permaculture driven, grass-based agriculture

by Alex Smith In today’s world, healthy and ethical choices can be challenging. Highly processed food and large carbon footprints often seem like the easy choice. It’s rare to find people who are producing healthy food in a way that’s also healthy for the planet. Richard Kauffman of Riverhaven Farm wants to change that by […]

Heliotrope Hotel: PNW Modern Lodging
Heliotrope Hotel: PNW Modern Lodging

Located in the Columbia neighborhood, just a short walk from the heart of downtown Bellingham, The Heliotrope Hotel celebrated its grand opening last weekend! Once a 1950s motel, the Heliotrope is exemplary of a beautiful transformation of a weathered historic property in need of some love, providing a much needed addition to the Bellingham community. […]

Blanchard Mountain Farm: Good food, great community, healthy ecosystems
Blanchard Mountain Farm: Good food, great community, healthy ecosystems

  There are many lives each of us could live, many different paths one could explore during the course of his or her life, and each comes with its own blessings and challenges. If we are lucky, or so predisposed, we get to experience many ways of being during this one lifetime. This is true […]

Hundred North: Modern Food and Drink
Hundred North: Modern Food and Drink

by Alex Smith Bellingham is leading the charge in a local food revolution. The city has the unique combination of community-based values and healthy lifestyles, as well as an abundance of great local food. The fertile valleys to the North and East are bursting with vegetables, berries, dairy cows, livestock, honey, and more. Look to […]

Don’t forget the People!
Don’t forget the People!

He said, “My most valuable asset walks out the door every evening–that asset being my employees.” The implication being that on the most basic level they were free to come back each day–or not, and if they indeed came back, what attitude would they have when they walked in the door?

Lovitt Restaurant: Relaxed Farm to Table Eating
Lovitt Restaurant: Relaxed Farm to Table Eating

by Alex Smith Think back to a time when you really, truly enjoyed a meal. What were some things that stood out? Maybe a standard ingredient was made from scratch rather than store-bought. Maybe there was a personal connection – ingredients grown by friends or from farms you’ve visited. More likely than not, it was […]

Foothills Flowers: Environmentally Conscious Flowers With Lots of Heart
Foothills Flowers: Environmentally Conscious Flowers With Lots of Heart

What’s your favorite season and why? Do you like the cool breezes of spring or the smell of dried leaves in the fall? Or maybe you excitedly await the return of peonies in the summer and pine wreaths in the winter?   Just like local food, locally grown flowers are a perfect reflection of the […]

Greenwashing – Stretching the Definition
Greenwashing – Stretching the Definition

Imagine my surprise when yours truly, the supposed Toward Zero Waste expert, fell victim to my own personal definition of “sustainable” leading to my purchase of the wrong product. As we work to reduce food waste and increasingly divert organic material from landfill, contamination is the bane of a commercial composter’s existence.

Goat Mountain Pizza: Committed to Community & Great Pizza!
Goat Mountain Pizza: Committed to Community & Great Pizza!

  Goat Mountain Pizza almost ended up in Brussels and not Bellingham. One of our favorite local pizzerias – famous for their pies fluffy crust, creative toppings, and farm to table ingredients – could have very well been a European hot spot, and not the downtown gem many of us enjoy. Owners Charlie and Chas […]

Osprey Hill Farm: A small farm taking big steps toward sustainability
Osprey Hill Farm: A small farm taking big steps toward sustainability

by Alex Smith A paradigm shift occurs when a person or a group of people have a fundamental change in their underlying assumptions about the world. The story of Osprey Hill Farm is one of two paradigm shifts – first, a stunning realization, and later a journey to create a new way of making food. […]

What is Your Good Deed?
What is Your Good Deed?

Among the many wonderful aspects of my position here at Sustainable Connections, one of the best is the opportunity to work with and learn from such bright business people. I am truly amazed at the wealth of knowledge we have in our community and the overall ethos of many businesses among us that are working hard […]

Andy Leebron-Clay Wins Lifetime Achievement 2017 Sustainability Champion Award
Andy Leebron-Clay Wins Lifetime Achievement 2017 Sustainability Champion Award

Every year Sustainable Connections honors five local businesses that are taking steps towards achieving a healthy triple bottom line–taking care of employees, our environment, and the local economy–with a Sustainability Champion Award. Drawn from the four tenets of our mission, the awards celebrate local businesses who are leaders in Strong Community, Healthy Environment, Meaningful Employment, […]

A-1 Builders Wins Meaningful Employment 2017 Sustainability Champion Award
A-1 Builders Wins Meaningful Employment 2017 Sustainability Champion Award

Every year Sustainable Connections honors five local businesses that are taking steps towards achieving a healthy triple bottom line–taking care of employees, our environment, and the local economy–with a Sustainability Champion Award. Drawn from the four tenets of our mission, the awards celebrate local businesses who are leaders in Strong Community, Healthy Environment, Meaningful Employment, […]

The Leopold Retirement Residence Wins Healthy Environment Sustainability Champion Award
The Leopold Retirement Residence Wins Healthy Environment Sustainability Champion Award

Every year Sustainable Connections honors five local businesses that are taking steps towards achieving a healthy triple bottom line–taking care of employees, our environment, and the local economy–with a Sustainability Champion Award. Drawn from the four tenets of our mission, the awards celebrate local businesses who are leaders in Strong Community, Healthy Environment, Meaningful Employment, […]

Aslan Brewing Co. Wins Strong Community Sustainability Champion Award
Aslan Brewing Co. Wins Strong Community Sustainability Champion Award

Every year Sustainable Connections honors five local businesses that are taking steps towards achieving a healthy triple bottom line–taking care of employees, our environment, and the local economy–with a Sustainability Champion Award. Drawn from the four tenets of our mission, the awards celebrate local businesses who are leaders in Strong Community, Healthy Environment, Meaningful Employment, […]

Drizzle Lynden Wins 2017 Thinking Local First Sustainability Champion Award
Drizzle Lynden Wins 2017 Thinking Local First Sustainability Champion Award

Every year Sustainable Connections honors five local businesses that are taking steps towards achieving a healthy triple bottom line–taking care of employees, our environment, and the local economy–with a Sustainability Champion Award. Drawn from the four tenets of our mission, the awards celebrate local businesses who are leaders in Strong Community, Healthy Environment, Meaningful Employment, […]

Summer Energy Internship Opportunity
Summer Energy Internship Opportunity

Our Energy Efficiency & Renewables program is looking for an intern for this summer. Full posting link below–Application deadline is April 27th. 2017 Energy Program Intern

Q & A with WECU CEO Jennifer Kutcher
Q & A with WECU CEO Jennifer Kutcher

Recently, we were lucky enough to chat with President & CEO of Whatcom Educational Credit Union, Jennifer Kutcher, about her work at WECU and their role in our community. WECU is Whatcom County’s largest not-for-profit cooperative credit union, has a huge commitment to our community and is devoted to social responsibility. Whether through financially supporting […]

8 Questions with A Local Business Owner: Valerie Wade of the Wild Bird Chalet
8 Questions with A Local Business Owner: Valerie Wade of the Wild Bird Chalet

Open to wildlife lovers of all levels! The Wild Bird Chalet has all you need to entice the local wildlife into your backyard, from a variety of bird houses, bird and squirrel feeders (as well as squirrel proof feeders) books, art, puzzles, gifts, bulk seed, feed, and yard decorations. You name it, there are lots […]

The 90 Minute Shower
The 90 Minute Shower

Incredulousness abounds and you say to yourself, “What does hamburger have to do with a 90-minutes shower?” The cold hard truth is we consume the same amount of resources whether you take a 90-minute show or throw away one hamburger patty.

Culture Cafe at Kombucha Town: Live Healthy, Live Happy
Culture Cafe at Kombucha Town: Live Healthy, Live Happy

  The Culture Café at Kombucha Town is a place unlike any other in Bellingham, dreamt up by Chris McCoy, the Café has something for everyone. A brewpub with craft beer or kombucha, healthy bites or rich desserts, it’s the perfect place to meet friends for a board game or a date under dimmed Edison […]

Samish Bay Cheese: (crazy good) Organic Farmstead Cheese
Samish Bay Cheese: (crazy good) Organic Farmstead Cheese

  Driving down into the flats off of Chuckanut on a sunny day, skirting around Samish Bay, and landing in Edison is one of my favorite local day trips. Even better is when I get to stop in at Samish Bay Cheese, one of our most well-loved local creameries. Suzanne and Roger Wechsler have been […]

Sustainable Business Development Sponsor: Healthy Pet
Sustainable Business Development Sponsor: Healthy Pet

Healthy Pet® has engaged deeply with Sustainable Connections and takes part in the Toward Zero Waste, Community Energy Challenge, Eat Local First, and Sustainable Business Development Campaigns. Their Toward Zero Waste efforts have diverted over 80% of their waste from landfill, and their participation in the Community Energy Challenge was a partnership that led to the program’s largest LED lighting retrofit to date.

Sustainable Business Development: Raven Breads
Sustainable Business Development: Raven Breads

Raven Breads is a small, artisan bakery in Bellingham, WA, making whole grain, sourdough bread & pastries with organic ingredients grown and gathered (with a few tropical exceptions) in the Pacific Northwest. The selection changes from week to week, depending on the season and the baker’s whims. To keep tabs on Raven Breads, visit Sophie at the Bellingham Farmers Market or sign up for the newsletter.

Towards Zero Waste: Characterizing Your Waste & Grooving
Towards Zero Waste: Characterizing Your Waste & Grooving

Characterize Your Waste seems like an interesting phrase and is certainly open to interpretation. I imagine many of you thought this would be a great opportunity to pull out the crayons, create characters and illustrations, and jam with Macklemore and Oscar the Grouch. Grooving with Macklemore and Oscar is one way to get down with your waste and I encourage it, but keep reading to learn more about what the term means to those of us working in the Toward Zero Waste World.

Samson Estates Winery: Think and Drink Outside the Box
Samson Estates Winery: Think and Drink Outside the Box

This time of year, walking through the bare vines as Baker peaks over the foothills topped with heavy snow, the farm and vineyard are peaceful and quiet. It’s a beautiful place and is easy to imagine spending a summer afternoon picnicking next to the lavender that grows in the flower beds nearby. Samson Estates Winery […]

Evolve Chocolate: All you need is love and truffles!
Evolve Chocolate: All you need is love and truffles!

Carefully melted, simmered, stirred and rolled with love…Evolve is the perfect story for the month of amor. Co-owners Christy & Shannon Fox were married six years ago but have always been passionate about good food, the power of local, and yes….chocolate. They started Evolve wanting to share the bounty and flavors of our region, and […]

Dynamic Duo: Ed and Janet of Boundary Bay Brewery
Dynamic Duo: Ed and Janet of Boundary Bay Brewery

Janet and Ed of Boundary Bay Brewery are definitely a dynamic duo. They are tireless promoters of what it takes to have a true community, believing – and proving – that mentoring and collaborating creates a culture that’s good for business. They match affable natures with incredibly generous donations of time, product, and space – […]

Four Friends Create A Worker’s Coop:  Bellingham Bay Builders
Four Friends Create A Worker’s Coop: Bellingham Bay Builders

Back in 2003, four friends, Dave Brogan, Ross Grier, Tim Smith, and Brian Forth, with years of experience in building, woodworking and timber framing became interested in the idea of starting a worker’s cooperative. In 2004, that idea became Bellingham Bay Builders. As a values-based company and a workers’ cooperative, Bellingham Bay Builders was founded […]


Leading by Example: Diana Ambauen-Mead with Scratch and Peck Feeds

In 2012, Scratch and Peck Feeds became the first Non-GMO Project Verified animal feed manufacturer in North America and in 2013, they stepped it up to become Certified Organic, the first feed manufacturer in the nation to hold both badges. They produce organic and non-GMO feeds because they want to help lead this sustainable food […]

Commitment to Community: Whatcom Educational Credit Union (WECU)
Commitment to Community: Whatcom Educational Credit Union (WECU)

WECU is not only a leader in banking services, they also strive to support education, health and community concerns through nonprofit donations and volunteerism. They offer many financial education opportunities, free of charge, to promote the financial literacy of residents. In 2013 alone, WECU’s Social Responsibility Committee oversaw the donation of 112 thousand dollars directly […]

Innovative Business Model: Terra Organic and Natural Foods
Innovative Business Model: Terra Organic and Natural Foods

Terra Organic and Natural Foods meticulous sourcing of products for their store is undeniable. Their enthusiastic support of local food and farming businesses includes taking staff out to visit farms. They boast Whatcom County’s only all-organic produce department. And we have all been made more aware of Genetically Modified foods through the nationally-recognized labeling campaign […]

Committed Collaborator:  Caprice Teske of the Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Committed Collaborator: Caprice Teske of the Bellingham Farmer’s Market

The Bellingham Farmers Market is an amazing gathering place for our community and it is led by a committed collaborator, Caprice. The Market’s dedication to serving its customers and meeting the needs of its vendors is unparalleled. Chef in the Market, the Bellingham Chef’s Collaborative and the Farm to School program build vital bridges between […]

Taking Care of Each Other: Colleen Unema and her staff at Brio Laundry
Taking Care of Each Other: Colleen Unema and her staff at Brio Laundry

Brio Laundry is widely known for their use of high-efficiency machines and sustainable practices, believing that the old approach of wasting water, electricity and gas is neither sustainable nor justifiable when better options exist. Owner Colleen Unema also has an amazing commitment to her staff. Bri Laundry employs 9 attendants, working what’s typically a minimum-wage […]

Committed to the community’s health: Faber Construction
Committed to the community’s health: Faber Construction

Faber Construction was founded by Rick and Debbie Faber in 1987. While originally specializing in agricultural buildings, they have since expanded both in project volume and scope of work. They are now a full service construction company working in both the public and private sectors. Faber is committed to the health of the communities they […]

Saturna Capital
Saturna Capital

Saturna Capital has been an innovator and collaborator in our community since 1989. They’re constantly working on triple bottom line practices, have recently introduced sustainable funds, are a financial sponsor of Western Washington University’s Sustainable Business Lab, and donate at least 5% of their profits to local organizations each year. Their employees engage with the […]

A Seriously Sustainable Team: Chrysalis Inn and Spa
A Seriously Sustainable Team: Chrysalis Inn and Spa

The Chrysalis was one of the original participants in the Community Energy Challenge back in 2011. Since then they have done a series of measures to save energy in their building. Including installing; high efficiency boilers, water heaters, lighting sensors, and replacing existing lighting with LED bulbs. More recently they have done analysis on saving […]


Staying Connected From Farm to Fork

Staying Connected from Farm to Fork highlights the relationship between consumers and locally grown food in Whatcom County. Many thanks to Hand Crank Films for producing this beautiful film and to the WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Sustainable Whatcom Fund of the Whatcom Community Foundation for making it possible.


Green Communities Film Short – Saving Energy in Affordable Housing

The Bellingham Housing Authority was one of 35 communities in the country to receive $10 million to retrofit affordable housing with state of the art energy efficiency upgrades. See the businesses that made this project happen and the amazing outcomes of this 2 year project in our community. This project is setting trends to change affordable housing nationally.