Author’s Note: This is the fourth article in a series that will feature James Street North in Hamilton, Ontario. I will be interviewing businesses/organizations on James St. N. about their perspective on the area. In addition, I will highlight how community members are contributing to a more sustainable Hamilton. If you want some background information on James St. N. you can read the introduction article here.
The Green Smoothie Bar (GSB) has come to represent a new wave of business that contributes to sustainable communities. GSB has taken a leap as a sustainable leader in Hamilton by becoming B Corp Certified. A business with this certification must create a positive impact on society and acknowledge how their decisions affect their employees, community, and the environment. GSB has rooted itself in Hamilton by upholding three important values: healthy living, community involvement, and environmental sustainability. I recently spoke to Suzanne Zandbergen from GSB who explained the importance of each value and the reasons GSB has embraced them.
In hopes of encouraging a healthy lifestyle, GSB provides the tools and information to becoming healthier. Suzanne suggests that GSB’s vegan menu allows for all segments of society to enjoy their food. In response to individuals having gluten or dairy sensitivities GSB uses ingredients that are safe for everyone. The menu items at GSB are also extremely healthy and often utilize super-foods, such as kale, to give you an energy boost. By providing a healthy alternative to fast food, GSB proves that healthy living can be convenient and delicious. GSB hopes that as a result of choosing healthy options, Hamiltonians may be more inclined to adopt a healthier lifestyle overall.
A large part of being socially responsible is re-investing into the community. GSB works closely with Food4Kids, which helps to provide local kids with nutritious food. As part of GSB’s commitment, 100% of their tips go directly to fund the Food4Kids charity. Suzanne suggests that contributing to Food4Kids makes a tangible impact on the community. Seeing the children that you are helping and witnessing the difference you are making is rewarding. This inclination to help local children seems to ground GSB in Hamilton and establishes them as a leader in the community.
In comparison to other fast-food shops, GSB is committed to creating as little waste as possible. All of GSB’s cups, utensils, packaging, bags, etc. are made from renewable sources and are compostable. Especially in a society where convenient, on-the-go packaging is the norm, GSB provides a way to have take-out and still be sustainable. In addition, having products that are not destined for landfill, but rather promote green living is an incredible achievement. Developing a sustainable community relies on businesses to become environmentally friendly. GSB is making a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greening city.
Being a sustainable business is about being committed to bettering the community. As a space for community gathering, learning, and healthy change GSB is a valuable addition to James St. N. To move forward as a truly sustainable city we require the support and motivation of community leaders such as GSB. With their professional guidance and green alternatives Hamilton can embrace a greener lifestyle.
You can check out the Green Smoothie Bar at 236 James Street North and grab a nutritious snack. Keep an eye out for local events held at the GSB as well! You can take a look at everything GSB has to offer here.
Personal interview with Suzanne Zandbergen by Steve Watts