All politics is local—none more than climate policy in the US after January 20, 2017. In the absence of the prospect of wider national action, local businesses have a significant opportunity to enhance the local economy and combat climate change through their operations. Glen’s Garden Market, based in Washington, DC, has been doing just this. From sourcing products within the Chesapeake Bay watershed to powering its stores with clean energy to providing living wages, Glen’s has been quietly pushing the environmental and social sustainability envelope while also incubating other small businesses as suppliers.

Emily Robichaux, a student in the Bard College MBA in Sustainability program, sat down with Danielle Vogel, a former Capitol Hill staffer and creator of Glen’s Garden Market, a local grocery store sourcing “good food from close by,” to discuss the role of mission-oriented small business in sustainable food systems and local economies.

Vogel earned a law degree and worked for ten years in federal policy, serving as domestic policy adviser to Congressman Christopher Shays and a Department of Justice environmental litigator enforcing the Clean Air Act. From December 2008 to March 2011, she was environmental counsel in the office of Senator Joseph Lieberman, where she helped draft the American Power Act. When the bill died, Vogel made the shift from policy to practice, becoming the fourth generation of grocers in her family while bringing a sustainable and local twist to the business. Vogel has been profiled in the Washington Post and Bloomberg for her approach to “making progress one bite at a time.”

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