In Fairfield everything is coming up green
Green is the “in” color today—in fashion, in spring, but especially in life. Going green has never been more apparent or more relevant, with eco-friendly practices coloring our everyday lives and creating a new culture of sustainability. In fact, it is surprising to see what sustainable practices have become mainstream.
In Fairfield, a variety of movers and shakers support this new “green” culture by offering ways for all of us to live better. Take Lee Ganim, for instance, president of Ganim’s Garden Center & Florist. In the gardening business for over 40 years, Ganim has noticed a shift in customer awareness and concern for the environment. “We are proud to be on the cutting edge of organic alternatives,” he says. “We insist that the plants we grow and pest management that may be needed be organic in origin. After all, we are what we eat, and that matters more than people realize.”
The owners of Centro Restaurant agree, buying up local produce for their patrons. And let’s not forget the Shack Hometown Grille, whose monthly gathering—Fairfield Green Drinks—gives locals a chance to share information about sustainability.
Green choices are also available in businesses not typically thought of as eco-friendly. At Salon V, owner Michelle Varrone uses strips of paper instead of aluminum foil when highlighting hair. The salon also sells a vegan shampoo that is gluten/paraben/sulfate/and sodium chloride–free, with no artificial preservatives. Clients love the “Go Green and Save Green” refilling station, where empty bottles of qualifying shampoos can be refilled at a fraction of the cost of a new bottle—cutting down on waste, too.
Even pets are getting in on the action. Choice Pet Supply’s district manager Lawrence Bocchiere says that customers prefer natural products. “Choice Pet Supply has been specializing in all-natural, eco-friendly products since before it was a mainstream idea.” Natural Pet Outlet in Bridgeport also carries everything from human-grade pet foods to biodegradable waste bags to sewer-safe cat litters.
Greenskeeper Lawn Care president Joseph Konkol says the demand for organic lawn care and the company’s natural garlic application to control ticks has increased. Natural sulfurs in garlic repel and kill ticks, says Konkol, and the application is much healthier than traditional applications. “The all-natural liquid garlic also controls mosquitoes, fleas, and gnats. Unlike other chemicals, it doesn’t affect bees or butterflies and is completely safe for children, fish, birds, dogs, cats, and other pets,” he adds.
And it’s not just businesses that are a part of this trend. Edward Boman, assistant director of public works, has been involved in the building blocks of Fairfield’s sustainable infrastructure. Town government led the way 15 years ago with its first Energy Management Plan that reduced Fairfield’s electric usage by over 20 percent and provided for the conversion to clean, natural gas from diesel fuel for heat. Bowman adds, “Fairfield has spent 15 years making its water-pollution control facility a sustainable showcase. Benefits include dramatically reducing nitrogen and other chemicals prior to discharge into Long Island Sound. Clean air is ensured by passing every gas produced through a bio-filter of recycled woodchips so that all sulfur and nitrogen is captured.”
Boman underscored that businesses such as Fairfield-based Bigelow Tea Company, Stop & Shop, and Fairfield University support sustainability and that 1,500 homeowners have opted for a “green” electricity option. “I believe the green message is becoming such a part of Fairfield life, that it is almost chosen automatically by our citizens,” he says.