Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fairfield Green Drinks celebrates two years Vinti Singh, Staff Writer Published: 11:08 p.m., Sunday, January 9, 2011

-- Like any entrepreneur, Amy Barnouw had an idea. She wanted to make a healthy juice for children that came in packaging that was good for the environment. But an organic drink inside an aluminum bottle equated to premium prices. And was there a market for a premium drink for children?
The Barnouws had been working on their idea for three years, during which time they transplanted from Seattle to Fairfield.
"Seattle already has a strong liberal, socially aware community that is already committed to organics," Barnouw said.
Wondering if she would find a similar community in Connecticut, she attended a Fairfield Green Drinks meet-up. Members of the environmentally minded group gather at The Shack on the Post Road once a month to discuss their varying passions over drinks.
"When I walked into Green Drinks, I realized there was a strong and growing community concerned about the environment here, too," Barnouw said.
The realization was inspirational in launching the Planet Fuel Beverage Co. in April. It sells the juice to almost 40 regional schools and stores in Fairfield County and Washington, and is looking to expand.
"We feel incredible support when we come to Green Drinks because the people here are passionate about what they do, whether it's electric cars, solar panels or juice," Barnouw said.
Barnouw had buckets of juice on hand Tuesday during Fairfield Green Drinks' two-year anniversary celebration at The Shack on the Post Road.
In those two years, Fairfield Green Drinks has fostered entrepreneurs like Barnouw. The group has stayed true to its grassroots mission, which is simply to spark discussions, Fairfield Green Drinks organizer Daphne Dixon said.
"There's a lot of heart in it," Dixon said. "It's more than a chamber mixer."
"It's more casual than name tags," Remy Chevalier, who runs an environmental library in Norwalk, said.
Those who drop by include businessmen, housewives, retired folks and young people just starting their careers.
But not everyone comes to Fairfield Green Drinks just to chat. Bridgeport resident Raymond Caddy founded Brighten Your Home, a sustainable lighting company, and he comes to Fairfield Green Drinks meetings to find potential employees for his growing business.
Although she brushes off any credit, Dixon works silently behind the scenes at Green Drinks, introducing people to the ones they need to talk to.
"She has a quiet way," Barnouw said. "She is a pebble doing an amazing ripple effect."
Barnouw, Caddy and Chevalier credited Dixon with personally fostering their businesses.
Green Drinks was founded in the late 1980s in London and since then has expanded all over the world. Townwide Green Drinks have sprouted throughout Fairfield County, including in Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk.
The Shack lends space to Fairfield Green Drinks once a month for its meet-up, and the owner keeps organic wine in stock for the environmentally minded group. Dixon boasted that Green Drinks has influenced Shack owner Walter Miller to switch to all organic cleaning products.
Chevalier, who was sitting at one of the dining booths, grabbed the hanging lamp above him and examined the bulb.
"They haven't switched to LED bulbs, yet, though," he said. "It's OK. We'll find Walter later tonight and have a little talk."
Contact Vinti Singh at or 203-330-6285. Follow Vinti at

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lead an initiative in Your Town

Lead a green initiative. Start now by joining us at Fairfield Green Drinks on February 1st at The Shack.
 Click here to sign up and share your initiative with others. Click HERE to RSVP to Green Drinks.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Green Initiatives at Green Drinks

On February 1st, Fairfield Green Drinks, at The Shack in Fairfield, CT, will feature local green initiatives.

Join us to learn about these initiatives and to share your sustainability story at this friendly and casual gathering. RSVP HERE.

At the Fairfield County Green Faire, local initiatives were celebrated.
View the video below to learn about the school garden program in Stamford, developed by Pam Sloane.