Business Spotlight: A Treat for You and The Environment at Green Tree Bakery
Now you can enjoy guiltless desserts, and by guiltless we don’t mean calorie free. Green Tree Bakery is a small, locally run company, that supports environmental conservation by donating half its profits to the Nature Conservancy. In addition, its delicious baked goods (available by order only) are baked with local and organic ingredients whenever possible. I sat down with Stephanie Pipas, owner and founder of the bakery, to learn more about her mission and vision.
Victoria Pipas: So, why the environment over any other good cause?
Stephanie Pipas: Because we’re at a point in time where we have a choice to slow climate change or suffer its consequences. The accumulation of a lot of little actions to prevent climate change can conglomerate into a culture. I’m not a big corporation, so I don’t have the power to influence a lot of people. But this spring I did a bake sale with my friend, and we made about $400 for the Nature Conservancy. The success of the bake sale inspired me to continue the same type of promotion on a different scale. I have a passion for entrepreneurial enterprises, so I combined that with my passion for the environment. (Stephanie is the head of the Environmental Club at Kimball Union Academy.)
VP: Where did your passion for the environment originate?
SP: I’ve always loved nature, and I love being outside. I think that preservation of natural landscapes is a critical part of ensuring that humans live in harmony with our surrounding ecosystems. I feel very drawn to the importance of this cause right now, especially because preservation affects the quality of life for all living species.
VP: So does this reflect the mission of the Nature Conservancy? Where are our dollars going?
SP: Well, 50 percent of my profits go to the Nature Conservancy. I chose it because it’s an organization that really uses every dollar to its fullest potential, affecting concrete change by preserving and restoring landscapes.
VP: Your business card reads, “Green Tree Bakery: Sustainable Snacking.” Why is the way we snack important, and how are our snacking choices sustainable or not?
SP: The reason for the cheesy catch phrase is that your impact on the environment can be summarized by what you put in and what you take out. When you eat snacks that are imported from another coast or another country, you increase your carbon footprint by racking up shipping costs. Furthermore, when you buy organic, you prevent the run-off of pesticides and herbicides into surrounding ecosystems. Produce grown organically prevents toxic algae blooms that destroy food chains. It’s also better for your body; pesticides and herbicides have been proven in scientific studies to have long-term effects on general health.
VP: So are you telling us that eating your brownies keeps us and the environment healthy?
SP: Healthier than both would be if you were eating brownies packaged in and shipped from a commercial business somewhere far away. Everybody wants desserts, so why not indulge in a sustainable way?
VP: What do you personally love about baking?
SP: I love the creativity and science that go into it. I don’t follow written recipes for most of my products, and every batch is a little different.
VP: What kinds of things do you bake?
SP: Anything that my customers request. I can honestly bake almost anything. If you need a cake for an event or cookies for a meeting or brownies for a party, I bake to order. This allows for customization of individual orders.
VP: Ok, pick a baked item that you think best represents the culture of your business. If I were looking at a poster for, what’s your bakery-item poster child? What’s your signature item?
SP: Well, I’m good with chocolate. I like to add chocolate to everything.
VP: What does your baking environment look like?
SP: My family’s kitchen.
VP: So what sorts of challenges do you face in running this business?
SP: Sometimes I face challenges in publicity, since I don’t have a store location. It’s mostly by word of mouth. Also, the waxing and waning of business demands from summer to fall is a challenge since I am a full-time student during the school year.
VP: Any final thoughts?
SP: Like us on Facebook! And place your order at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can deliver to anywhere in the Upper Valley or surrounding areas.
Place your online order at Green Tree Bakery by contacting Stephanie at email@example.com.