Sustainable Connections CREATING THRIVING COMMUNITIES THROUGH INNOVATIVE IDEAS, COLLABORATION, AND ACTION. Tue, 23 Oct 2018 07:21:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sustainable Connections 32 32 Bellingham Coffee Roasters Thu, 18 Oct 2018 17:04:49 +0000 Bellingham Coffee Roasters

(360) 339-8550

Hours of Operation: M-F 8:00am to 4:30PM

We are artisan coffee roasters, located in beautiful Bellingham, WA. 100% Arabica, Fair Trade Certified, and certified by the USDA.

Sustainable Practices: USDA Certified Organic

Sales Methods: Online Store;Wholesale;Vending

Neighborhood: Bellingham: Irongate

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Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce Fri, 12 Oct 2018 15:49:35 +0000 Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce119 N. Commercial Street, Suite 110 Bellingham WA, 98225

(360) 734-1330

Hours of Operation: M-F

The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry is involved in many issues that affect your business in Bellingham/Whatcom County. A strong Chamber means a stronger business community, planned economic growth, and a sustained quality of life. The Chamber’s Core Competencies align with its business activities. It works hard to create a strong economy, promote the community, represent the interests of business with government, provide networking opportunities, and to facilitate factually-grounded dialogue with businesses. Please consider being a part of the group that represents your business interests by joining today.

Sustainable Practices: Toward Zero Waste

Sales Methods:

Neighborhood: Downtown: Commercial/Magnolia

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Jello Mold Farm Thu, 11 Oct 2018 06:41:18 +0000 Jello Mold Farm

(206) 290-3154 Diane

Hours of Operation:

We are deeply passionate about the craft of flower farming and we have built a reputation for pristine quality and customer service. We grow over 80 different kinds of flowers and foliages – supplying many of the Puget Sound area’s top floral designers.

We are proud founding members of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative. We now sell most of what we grow through the co-op with some sales directly from the farm.

We’ve been certified Salmon-Safe since 2010. Our farm supports two human families and a broad range of birds and other wildlife.

Sustainable Practices:

Sales Methods:

Neighborhood: Sedro-Woolley

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Twin Sisters Brewing Company Sat, 06 Oct 2018 21:02:11 +0000 Twin Sisters Brewing Company

(360) 526-2599

Hours of Operation:

Twin Sisters Brewing Company is a story of enthusiasm, experience, and passion coming together to produce great beer, foster our community and enhance the beer culture in Bellingham. A couple years in the works, and thousands of hours of dedication, the brewery is finally projected to open in June 2018. When it comes to brewing, stringent execution is essential, from the purchase of the finest ingredients to the glass its served in, every step of the process matters. Twin Sisters Brewing Company promises to bring you the ales and lagers you want to drink — authentic, approachable and brewed with pure ardor.
Oh, and that’s not all! Bellingham Beer Garden at Twin Sisters Brewing Company present a traditional American Pub menu with worldly and vegan influences. A PNW inspired outdoor gathering place offers outdoor games, regular entertainment, and a place to simply relax and enjoy the beauty of our Pacific Northwest home.

Sustainable Practices:

Sales Methods:

Neighborhood: Bellingham: Roosevelt

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Studio 910 Salon Fri, 05 Oct 2018 12:54:09 +0000 Studio 910 SalonIn Historic Fairhaven 910 Harris Ave., Ste. 103 Bellingham WA, 98225

(360) 671-4100

Hours of Operation: Tues- Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-3pm

Studio 910 Salon specializes in custom cuts and color.We exclusively use Pureology haircare which is made with certified organic botanicals. Excellent air quality is maintained because we refrain from chemical services such as perms or nails. Visit our website for more information:

Sustainable Practices:

Sales Methods: In-Store;Services;Goods

Neighborhood: Bellingham: Fairhaven

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Spongebon Co LLC Mon, 01 Oct 2018 09:59:02 +0000 Spongebon Co LLC

(360) 734-6920

Hours of Operation: Email us anytime, 24/7

Professional janitorial and cleaning of commercial facilities, offices, business locations. We are licensed, insured and bonded. We have been in business since 2009, with more than 18 years combined previous janitorial experience. And are still servicing our very first customer!

Sustainable Practices:

Sales Methods: Services

Neighborhood: No Storefront

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Wild Acres Farm Sun, 30 Sep 2018 22:58:30 +0000 Wild Acres Farm Header

The Cost of a Local Chicken


By Diana Meeks

I held the largest pear I’ve ever seen in my life at Wild Acres Farm, just outside of Bellingham. It was, without exaggeration, half the size of my head. They really know how to grow them! But, Wild Acres doesn’t sell fruit; they raise chickens, ducks, turkeys, and pigs for meat and eggs.

Brian and Beth Rusk are from everywhere and nowhere. New to farming, though it runs back through Brian’s family for generations (like all the way back to his first ancestors that came in the 1700s). His family farmed in the Midwest, growing corn, soy, and alfalfa. And though farming is in Brian’s blood, and he can feel it in his bones, he’s reshaping conventional models, and hopefully, shortcomings in how we grow and raise our meat.


Wild acres Farms Pears   Wildacres Farm Duck Pond


“I’ve always been interested in the food system and wanted to fix the food system and help create a healthy food system. I’ve been disheartened by the way things are, the industrial model. Especially with meat. Believe it or not, I was actually a vegetarian for six years! If I’m going to eat meat I want to be sure it’s going to be clean, meat that was raised consciously, and slaughtered well. Once we moved out here we saw an opportunity. The life of the animal, the earth, and the health of people we can fix on a very small scale with ourselves here.”

While lighthearted and funny by nature, Brian takes the responsibility seriously. He says the slaughter is never easy and owns the contradictory nature that comes with being a meat eater. “If I’m going to do it, I want to be responsible about it. What I don’t want is to brush it aside or ignore it.” The words ring true, and I think, resonate with the many out there who strive to eat meat in a conscious way.


Wild Acres Farm Pigs


The farm is idyllic. Ducks roam free and swim happily through their pond, the alpacas (family pets) looking over them. Pigs root around their forest plot and wallow in mud pits they’ve made. Turkeys hunt, scratch, and peck for bugs in the pasture. All animals are raised on pasture. They eat organic grain, and garden scraps and (along with the turkeys) are moved around the fields to give nutrients back to the land and contribute to the health of the soil.

I think it’s safe to say that all omnivores like the idea of farms like these. They might even think this is what most meat farming looks like, and then pale at the price of meat marketed as local. But the truth is, your run of the mill meat, from the mega-grocer down the way is not the same.




Here is the cost breakdown: chicks cost $1, chickens cost $8 in feed, and (for a small producer) it costs $4/ea to butcher. That’s $13 in built-in costs for a 4 pound bird…if its growth rate is good and it lives to be 4 pounds (there are the birds that don’t make it due to predators, weather, and chickens being mean to each other, among other things. A normal attrition rate is about 10%).

This also does not take into account the cost of labor, land, and farm infrastructure like fencing for free range birds. You’d need to add at least another $5 for each 4lb. bird. We are now at $18 per bird, at 4lbs. Now think about other business costs like designing labels, and paying someone to create and host your website, and marketing. These costs can be soft, and the cost per pound is already much higher than conventional prices, so Brian doesn’t add them in.


Wild Acres Turkey


In the end, he charges $5.50 a pound, which is on the low end. His margins are tight, as are many local meat farmers, at around 10-20%. Really, this should be higher: $7 a pound would create a more sustainable model. But this price is already way above what restaurants and most people will pay.

Raising meat has high costs, and the way industrial farms beat those costs are to raise as many animals as possible on the land they have. The National Chicken Council (US) says that “Traditionally, a flock of broilers consist of about 20,000 birds in a growout house that measures 400 feet long and 40 feet wide, thus providing an area of about 16,000 square feet, or eight-tenths of a square foot per bird. As the birds age, they grow into this space. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) states that the minimum space is one-half square foot per bird, so industry practice is well in excess of this space requirement.”

Many of us want to be a part of creating a world, and food system, that is healthy, kind, and sustainable. For those of us who can afford it, we can prioritize it, we can budget for it. We can create a food system that is healthy and humane, we just need to buy from farmers like Brian.


  Wild Acres Alpacas


Brian has an egg delivery/subscription service and you can get chickens year-round from the farm. You can also order your Thanksgiving turkey from Wild Acres–the time is fast approaching so order now! His pork share is already sold out for the year but keep them in mind for next year, and remember that every meal we eat can be a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. One where farmers who work hard to make a difference can make a living wage, and while they are alive, animals have the freedom to live as an animal should.


Wild Acres Farm

Feller Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. Sat, 29 Sep 2018 03:21:50 +0000 Feller Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.501 Virginia St. Bellingham WA, 98225

(360) 733-4827

Hours of Operation: M-F 7:30am- 4:30pm

HVAC Residential and Commercial both new construction & retrofit. Service and Repair 24hrs 7 days a week

Sustainable Practices: Community Energy Challenge;Toward Zero Waste

Sales Methods: Services;Goods

Neighborhood: Bellingham: Alabama Hill

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The Leopold Retirement Residence LLC Fri, 28 Sep 2018 22:00:33 +0000 The Leopold Retirement Residence LLC1224 Cornwall Ave Bellingham WA, 98225

(360) 733-3500

Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

*This business is a Sustaining Member of Sustainable Connections! Sustaining Business Members go above-and-beyond to support the work of Sustainable Connections and to make our place an amazing one to live, work and play in. They are model businesses, inspiring change-makers invested in our local economy and we hope you will help us celebrate them by supporting and shopping with them.

The Leopold is Bellingham’s downtown retirement and assisted living community. We are focused on providing a healthy and rewarding environment for our residents and staff. We support local businesses and have created partnerships with the YMCA, Whatcom Film Association, American Museum of Radio and Electricity, Moka Joe Coffee, and Allied Arts. Also, our historic Crystal Ballroom is a great place to hold gatherings. Come dance to the music of the big band era on the first Wednesday of every month – admission is free.

Sustainable Practices: Community Energy Challenge;PSE Green Power Purchaser;Toward Zero Waste;Whatcom Smart Trips

Sales Methods:

Neighborhood: Bellingham: City Center

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Grinding Gears and Shuttling Rubber Thu, 27 Sep 2018 17:18:37 +0000

By Mark Peterson

Today was a good day. Writers block had been plaguing me, and the old noodle in my skull was having a hard time connecting synapses and forming thoughts for a quality blog entry. My newsletter due date was fast approaching and I still hadn’t settled on something to write about. Enter Staci May of Earl’s Bike Shop, who came to the rescue.

First and foremost, Staci is a good human (her husband Craig is pretty cool too), and I always enjoy catching up with her. We had a Toward Zero Waste tune-up on the calendar, and I was looking forward to seeing how I could help Earl’s Bike Shop with some of their recent concerns. Like many businesses, they are finding it more difficult to find ways to recycle all of their items. They have worked really hard at being a solid Toward Zero Waste business and don’t want to backslide.

Over the years I have given Earl’s pointers and answered questions for them for some of the basic stuff. I figured when I showed up they’d be doing what we’d suggested, and I’d help them figure out ‘what things don’t go there’ and ‘this goes here’ and so on. I should have known better than to sell Staci and Craig short! I was blown away when I learned the lengths they have gone to reduce waste since we’d last connected.

Earl’s has gone above and beyond, and they are well past the basics of recycling of paper and aluminum cans. I found it funny when I asked Staci about what they are doing, and when she finished listing off all the great thing they do, she paused for a second and remarked, “Oh, and we sell used bikes.” I guess when you start a business with one of the most basic tenants of Toward Zero Waste–REUSE–as a core element of your business, it is easy to forget that repairing and reselling what has already been manufactured is a huge way to reduce waste.

It doesn’t stop there though. Earl’s has endeavored to go paperless–they specifically

Craig Earl and Staci May

set up a point of sale system so they can email receipts and keep customer purchase histories on file. Each workstation has a laptop where their bike techs can view service orders so they don’t have to write on paper service tickets. They hand write their price tags on recycled paper so they don’t have to throw out label backings, and can use the price tags again and again. The tags are affixed to the products with bubble ties rather than single use zip ties. They recycle all metal, aluminum, and glass. And something that is super important: they dispose of all their hazardous waste (like brake fluid and cleaning solvents) at the local Whatcom County Toxics facility–a cost they bear, yet are remiss to pass on to customers.

But, what I found was the most impressive is they do with their old tires and tubes. Earl’s had been searching for an alternative to landfilling them since it just didn’t feel right. What they discovered is a company in Skagit County that will take old tires, grind them, put that chopped rubber in forms, and pour concrete around it to make ecology blocks. The blocks themselves are pretty cool, too, because they use less concrete, are lighter, and the rubber provides an insulation value so they can be used in the construction of buildings. You may be asking what’s so impressive about this; well here is the kicker. When the pile of tires gets too big, Staci & Craig load it up in their van and shuttle the rubber down to the Skagit facility and PAY so it can be repurposed rather than go to the landfill.

When I asked Staci why they do this rather than throw it away for what is essentially pennies (since their building owner pays for the garbage service), she was pretty matter of fact. “It is the right thing to do. Sure it cost us money and recycling might be a bit harder now, but we’re committed to do the best we can and taking the easy way out by throwing all this in the trash isn’t doing our best.”

I couldn’t agree more–and it is so heartening to see a small local business so committed to sustainability. Thank you to Staci and Craig for filling my bucket with positive Toward Zero Waste energy, and reminding me that it’s worth it to fight the good fight! Yes, today was a good day.