The environment has always been important to Pam and David Glass, owners of Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center. These are the ways Black Bear Crossings’ is going green: Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee, local goods, biodegradable cups made from corn and staff participation in St. Paul’s Citywide Clean Up.
The Rainforest Alliance’s sustainable agricultural program oversees the certification of farms that produce tropical crops such as coffee. Farms must meet a set of environmental & social standards (agrochemical reduction, ecosystem conservation, worker health & safety) to become certified. In short, the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides is greatly reduced, and sustainable farming methods are practiced to help keep the earth beautiful and healthy for future generations. Rainforest Alliance coffee is healthier for you and many people believe it tastes better. Organic coffee is processed without the use of chemicals allowing the native nutrients in the coffee bean to remain untainted.
Many of the ingredients used to cook the food offered at the Black Bear Crossings Café, as well as the Native American jewelry & crafts being sold are bought locally when possible. Buying locally grown food helps conserve energy and protects the environment from harmful exhaust fumes (most food travels 1,500 miles).
Many of the disposable products used at Black Bear Crossings Café are biodegradable. Although they may appear to look the same as normal disposable cups they are quite unique. Biodegradable disposables are made out of natural elements such as corn, and other renewable vegetable matter. Because biodegradable disposables are made of natural elements, the disposables will naturally break down in landfills in a matter of months and leave no toxins in the earth. When the weather turns chilly, and fewer customers are drawn to eat outside, the disposables are put away and the dishes come out for the fall & winter months.
Each year around Earth Day St. Paul has their annual Citywide Clean Up. Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center plays an active role in this yearly clean up. The Café provides a meal for the volunteers. This is an event that staff looks forward to each year because they love to see the community come together to clean Como Park, home to Black Bear Crossings Café and Banquet Center. The hard work that the entire Como Park community does to keep the Park clean was acknowledged this past year. The Como Lake Neighbor Network won the 2013 sustainable St. Paul Award in the water quality category!
Going green in other ways includes: using energy efficient light bulbs, hand dryers in restrooms, water served upon request, re-usable trays, lighting sensors have been installed in some rooms, replacing old equipment with renewable energy efficient models, frequent donations of leftover food to charitable groups, minimizing the use of chemicals on site, etc.
Pam and David are always looking for things they can do to help improve the environment. They understand that if everyone does their part, the environment will flourish. Next time you are at Black Bear Crossings Café & Banquet Center, remember the food you are eating or the coffee you are sipping is environmentally green.