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Three small business winners were announced today for Green America’s quarterly “People & Planet Award,” which recognizes innovative small US businesses that deeply

integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. This round of the awards focused on small green businesses that specialize in products or services for raising “green kids.”

The winners are: Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care, St. Paul, MN; Glee Gum, Providence, RI; and Green Beginning Community Preschool, Los Angeles, CA.

Each of three winners will receive $5,000. The three small businesses were selected by the public during a month-long online voting period at Green America’s website.

Alisa Gravitz, president of Green America said, “The 'People & Planet' award winners this quarter are doing outstanding work helping families raise the next generation of green leaders. By focusing on green products and services for kids, these great businesses are allowing parents to incorporate the core values of sustainability and social responsibility into their greatest investments of all: their kids.”

The winning companies are:

>>Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care, St. Paul, MN. Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care provides safe and sustainable baby and child product alternatives to parents–including toys made from recycled and natural materials, cloth baby slings and cloth diapers as alternatives to plastic strollers and chemically rich synthetic diapers, and other made-in-the-USA products that avoid harsh and dangerous chemicals and contents. // peapods.com

>>Green Beginning Community Preschool, Los Angeles. Green Beginning Community Preschool is the first truly environmentally friendly preschool in Los Angeles. It operates an eco-friendly facility and incorporates an engaging environmental curriculum for toddlers–including planting gardens, composting, and recycling. The school environment and its programs are designed to foster environmental consciousness in the critical preschool years. // greenbeginningpreschool.com.

>>Glee Gum, Providence, RI. Glee Gum is a natural, Non-GMO Project verified chewing gum made from sustainably harvested rainforest chicle, rather than synthetic alternatives. The sustainable harvest of chicle benefits the rainforest and empowers local economies, and Glee Gum devotes considerable energy and resources to improving children’s understanding of this process, including Make Your Own Candy kits. Glee Gum also participates in several major environmental programs, including the Trees for the Future campaign, which supports sustainable land management programs throughout the world. // gleegum.com.

Millie Adelsheim, co-owner of Peapods Natural Toys & Baby Care, said, "We're incredibly honored to receive Green America's People & Planet Award. Our goal at Peapods has always been two-fold: to offer the safest and greenest goods and to build community in our city. We believe that a locally owned store benefits a neighborhood in dozens of ways that chain stores or ecommerce sites do not. We will be using this award to invest in more energy-efficient light fixtures and to improve our selection of sustainably made toys for the coming holiday season.”

Veronica Cabello, executive director and founder of Green Beginning Community Preschool, said, “The entire staff and families at Green Beginning Community Preschool would like to thank Green America for giving us a platform to foster green practices and sustainability, not only in the United States, but also around the world. It is our hope that GBCP will become a model program in the field of early childhood education and that other schools will follow and join our efforts to pursue zero waste and adopt other green initiatives. Most importantly, we would like to inspire others to advocate and educate children and families in developing awareness of the impact we have on our world."

Deborah Schimberg, president of Glee Gum said, “We are honored and delighted to receive this recognition from the Green America community! And, we are so impressed and inspired by all the great work of our fellow finalists. The prize will enable us to offer our educational, natural candy-making kits for free to 250 public school classrooms in the US this year. We look forward to launching this fun program, and hope that it encourages more students to think about where goods come from and how natural resources can be used responsibly. Thanks, Green America! And, thanks to all who voted!”

The next round of Green America’s quarterly award will be given to three green businesses with 50 or fewer employees that focus on worker empowerment.

The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Katie Galloway and Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Deven Clemens, Clif Bar; Mary Kearns, Herban Lifestyle; Jenny Burns, Honest Tea; Jonathan Reinbold, Organic Valley; Martin Wolf, Seventh Generation; and Andrew Korfhage and Fran Teplitz, Green America.

Source: Green America, GreenAmerica.org.

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