Business Briefs: Jan. 24, 2020

  • PV Squared, a worker-owned cooperative and Greenfield-based solar design and installation company, has welcomed four new worker-owners to the ownership team. Contributed photo

  • Real Pickles co-owners Annie Winkler and Greg Nichols accepted two Good Food Awards on behalf of their worker cooperative during a San Francisco gala on Jan. 17. Contributed photo

Published: 1/23/2020 4:58:16 PM
Solar company announces new worker-owners

GREENFIELD — PV Squared, a worker-owned cooperative and Greenfield-based solar design and installation company, has welcomed four new worker-owners to the ownership team.

There are now 30 worker-owners out of 40 employees at PV Squared, according to a press release from the company. Ownership spans every department: accounting, design and sales, operations, installation and service.

“Being an owner of PV Squared is a deliberate act of putting my time, talent and treasure to work for my values,” said Karen Ribeiro, one of the four new worker-owners. “I have deep respect for every one of my fellow cooperators and am proud to not only be helping our customers address climate instability through renewable energy, but to be doing so as a worker-owned cooperative that is also a B-corporation.”

“I am especially honored to be joining the membership of the cooperative with three other talented and hard-working women,” added Rachel Levy, another new worker-owner. “Striving for equality and more diversity will be essential for our long-term success and it is great to see that in action.”

To become a worker-owner, employees must work at PV Squared for at least one year before participating in an additional one-year worker-owner in training (WOIT) program, the release states. The WOIT program involves in-depth education about all aspects of the cooperative, the development of a personal leadership plan, and learning opportunities about socially responsible business practices.

Real Pickles garners two awards

GREENFIELD — The worker cooperative Real Pickles won two Good Food Awards on Jan. 17 for its Organic Beet Kvass and Organic Nettle Kraut.

Real Pickles co-owners Annie Winkler and Greg Nichols received the awards at a San Francisco gala hosted by renowned farm labor activist Dolores Huerta, food author Michael Pollan and chef Alice Waters, according to a Real Pickles press release. The Good Food Awards recognize American food and drink producers who demonstrate both a mastery of their craft and a commitment to maintaining high social and environmental standards in their work.

Now in their 10th year, the Good Food Awards announced 219 winners in 16 food categories. The winners rose to the top in a blind tasting of 1,835 entries, then passed vetting to confirm they meet Good Food Awards standards regarding ingredient sourcing and environmentally sound agricultural practices, the release states.

A timely example of Real Pickles’ commitment to responsible food is the recent installation of a 31-kilowatt solar array which, installed beside the existing 17-kilowatt array, makes Real Pickles’ facility 100 percent solar-powered.

“Environmental sustainability and strong regional food systems are at the core of our mission,” said Dan Rosenberg, Real Pickles’ founder and general manager. “We are always seeking ways to reduce our carbon emissions, increase our use of renewable energy and support policies that push for climate mitigation.”

In operation since 2001, Real Pickles makes fermented dill pickles, sauerkraut, beets, kimchi, hot sauce and other traditional pickled foods. According to the release, the cooperative buys more than 300,000 pounds of certified organic produce each year from Northeast family farms. The winning products feature: cabbage from Atlas Farm in South Deerfield; beets from Harlow Farm in Westminster, Vt.; and fresh nettles from Sawmill Farm in Florence, as well as from Zack Woods Herb Farm in Hyde Park, Vt.

“These awards highlight the reason we’re in business,” said Winkler, who is also Real Pickles’ production manager. “We are proud to contribute to a community that values a healthy and nourishing food system — for people, communities and our planet.”


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