Tracy Dempsey Originals makes green taste sweet and look easy
By Maria Lopez
Peeking behind all the chocolate and frosting at the local Tempe bakery Tracy Dempsey Originals is committed sustainable food advocate Tracy Dempsey, who works day-in and day-out to ensure her customers and staff know the importance of sustainability across industries.
Local farms and growers
In addition to the delicious creations Dempsey herself makes, local foods are top-of-mind at this bakery, thanks to her attention to sourcing from local farms and growers. She
also recently launched a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which offers the chance for community members to have access to seasonal Arizona-grown produce.
Dempsey’s retail shop also offers Arizona-grown wine, spices, and pasta to pair with a home-cooked meal.
The bakery was also part of the inaugural certified class of Local First Arizona’s Green Business Program, a free certification that assists local businesses in implementing
business practices that reduce and divert waste, conserve energy and water, reduce transportation emissions, and prevent pollution. The Green Business Program launched
successfully in Phoenix and Tempe, and is quickly growing across the state.
Positive environmental impact
“While we have always made an effort to recycle, reduce waste, monitor our water and power use, it has been so helpful having another set of educated eyes to take us through the steps of putting even better practices into place,” says Dempsey. “We believe businesses and business owners need to evaluate their environmental impact and become leaders in educating their employees, fellow business owners, and customers in ways to do so.”
Dempsey also advocates for sustainable food policy through local nonprofits including Blue Watermelon Project and Slow Food. Inside the shop, her team are pros at reusing materials such as cardboard inserts from wine boxes to create signage, and have eliminated plastic water bottles, plastic bags, and Styrofoam. They participate in the Tempe Grease Cooperative to ensure proper disposal of fats, oils, and grease. Other ways they practice sustainability:
• Pollution prevention methods: Opting for repurposed furniture and appliances, avoiding chemical weed killers, and eliminating chemical air fresheners.
• Solid waste management methods: Recycling all acceptable materials and collecting organic material to compost, donating items to second-hand stores and excess food to feed the hungry, recycling soft plastics, eliminating individually wrapped food service items, opting for reusable dishware and cups, and centralizing purchasing to avoid over-ordering.
• Reducing pollution methods associated with transportation by carefully planning deliveries.
• Water conservation methods: Monitoring the monthly bill to recognize spikes in usage opting for dry sweeping methods, and having a water audit performed.
Small businesses run on small budgets and long hours, so a giant green thumbs-up is deserved to those who go the extra mile to make a positive impact in their own place of work and community.
Learn more about the Arizona Green Business program at www.localfirstaz.com/greenbusiness. Find more green businesses to support at www.az.greenbiztracker.org.
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Maria Lopez is the communications manager for Local First Arizona, a coalition of more than 3,000 local, independent businesses, and nonprofit working promote, support, and celebrate a vibrant and sustainable Arizona economy by educating citizens about local
business ownership, social equity, cultural diversity, and environmental impact. She’s passionate about building a better state by engaging everyday people in local issues and by highlighting businesses and community leaders who love their home and want to take it to new heights. More at localfirstaz.com