Kermit the Frog may have had it all wrong. It actually IS easy being green. Especially at American Licorice Company in La Porte. The company recently launched their new Green Monday initiative to inspire associates to make small changes to improve their overall health, and the environment.
The common misconception is that it is difficult, expensive, and unappetizing to explore a plant-based diet, and that companies and factories can’t do much to promote sustainable practices and impact the environment in a healthy way. Green Monday - a global social startup group - seeks to dispel those myths by inspiring individuals and companies to make low-carbon, sustainable living simple, viral, and actionable.
It all starts with one small change, by a single person. Then two. Then three...
“We are passionate about investing in the happiness of our people, our communities, and the environment,” said Della Lyle, who leads community outreach and sustainability at American Licorice Company. “We are starting small - hoping to inspire a few dedicated associates with our Green Monday challenge launch. We hope it will evolve into a mainstay at the company, where all associates understand the impact we have on the planet, and where we all do our best to be the change we hope to see for the future.”
The Green Monday challenge started with an upbeat gathering last week. A representative provided education, inspiration, and practical tips for associates to explore a plant-based diet, and reduce their carbon footprint at work and home. The goal to start: make every Monday a Green Monday with plant-based foods.
“It just takes one small change in everyone’s life to make a difference,” said Stephanie Domingo, Chicago director of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition and facilitator of the launch.
It doesn’t mean staff should feel pressured to give up meat or animal products for life. Or shout from the rooftops that they’re now an unwavering vegan. Instead, it’s about helping people recognize that small small changes make a difference.
“If you normally bring a turkey sandwich to work, maybe you bring a jelly sandwich instead on Mondays. Maybe you get adventurous and taste tofu for the first time,” said Hanna Kinder, director of institutional campaigns and US program coordinator for Green Mondays.
At the launch, American Licorice associates also tasted new foods, or familiar ones prepared in new ways. Lyle said one associate was pleasantly surprised that the vegan nuggets tasted so good. The event inspired the group to plan lunch for this Monday, so they ordered from ever-popular Mucho Mas in La Porte, which offers tofu and other plant-based options.
“They had fun sampling the tofu and soy-based options, and the rice and beans, and chips and dip - which were all made with plant-based ingredients - were a big hit,” Lyle said. “Many associates said they were up for the challenge of trying to eat plant-based meals each Monday in February, both at work and with their families.
“Giving our associates the opportunity to participate in challenges like this provides us with increased knowledge on how to lead healthy and sustainable lives, while also supporting a healthy and more sustainable planet,” she said.
“So many people think that sustainability or beling plant-based is only for certain people, Kinder said. “No matter what you’re doing at an organization - on the administrative side, on the factory floor, in an office - everyone can get involved.”
Green Monday empowers organizations to adopt a program they know will work in their communities, and within their organizational culture. In La Porte, a farming community, produce abounds and restaurants are increasingly offering plant-based options. The local farmers market in spring through fall offers affordable produce from local growers, and organizations such as The Pax Center - together with dedicated community partners - maintain a huge community garden every summer offering free produce to anyone.
Sometimes, Lyle said, it’s just a matter of creating awareness and exposing staff to the resources available to them, and inspiring them to be adventurous with their taste buds.
While Green Monday is relatively new to the US (the program began in Hong Kong), Kinder said success stories have blossomed in places like the city of Berkeley, California, which passed a Green Monday resolution, and Columbia University, which has been advancing green initiatives for the last two to three years. Based on data that show how human reliance on meat and animal products can negatively affect human health and the environment, the organization has developed a host of tools and resources to reduce individual and corporate impact on the environment. Besides dietary education, the organization offers tools such as carbon and water consumption tracking through their website, and programs tailored to restaurants, schools, corporations, and families.
For other great news about how American Licorice Company is making a positive impact on the community, check out their partner profile here: https://www.laportecountylife.com/partner-profiles/327-american-licorice-company.