San Diego Business Journal

Environment: Being

Kind to Mother Nature

Can Reap Its Rewards

For Bill and Patty Tall, owner of City Farmers Nursery and the adjacent Nate's Deli in City Heights, going green is not just a way of being friendly to the earth. It's also good business sense.

The Talls' businesses were recognized as the CalMAX Business of the Year in a ceremony last month by the California Integrated Waste Management Board. The award recognizes California businesses making an effort to reduce waste and promote recycling.

Frank Simpson, spokesman for the California Integrated Waste Management Board, said the award reflects the Talls' longstanding commitment to environmental awareness in the 28 years they've run City Farmers Nursery.

Some of their activities at the nursery include using recycled gravel, recycling their debris, setting up composting bins, accepting Christmas trees for compost, and setting up worm bins to assist in the composting process, Simpson said.

When they opened their restaurant in December, their environmental activities carried over to their new enterprise , including waste reduction, reusing containers and using recycled napkins, he said.

Table scraps, meanwhile, get fed to the farm animals that live on his property. The manure the farm animals produce is used as fertilizer at the nursery.

"It's just really unique in that they attempt in every possible way to come full circle and to use and reuse everything that's affiliated with the nursery and now Nate's Deli," Simpson said.

For Bill Tall, opening his deli as a green restaurant was an easy thing to do. He was already environmentally conscious at the nursery, and when he heard about a San Diego-based organization called the Green Restaurant Association, he signed on.

With the association's assistance, Tall is now looking for additional ways he can benefit the environment. Possible steps include buying electricity from green sources, and using plastic forks and knives made from compostable corn husks instead of petroleum, he said.

With these and other steps, Tall comes out ahead. Tall estimates he saves thousands of dollars a year in reduced purchasing costs and reduced waste disposal costs.