Donna is spearheading the Homer Sustainability Forum, September 12-16, 2007. The purpose of the event is to gather the community and experts in a proactive event mobilizing Alaskans and Alaskan businesses in and around Homer to increase their adoption of green policies. Topics include renewable energy, self-sufficient communities, the importance of sustainability (economic and environmental) and more. The event will take place at the Alaska Islands and Oceans Visitor Center and is intended to be an on-going forum series that continues to support the tools necessary for residents and businesses to achieve successful green policies.
Donna came to Alaska in 1982 at the age of 25 with a degree in Social Ecology from Evergreen State College. She had been an organic farmer and environmental educator for several years before she ventured up the Alaska Highway. In 1984, Kevin at the age of 25, wandered into the young Sourdough Express and found himself in alignment with the core values and atmosphere of the place. He ended up applying for the job as the head baker which was posted on the side of the cash register. He not only got the job, but married the owner, and all that goes with joint ownership of a business
For a quarter of a century the Fresh Sourdough Express has been serving the Homer community and travelers from around the globe. The bakery and café has a warm, homey feeling that also has become a gathering place for those with a common interest in playing a role in green practices.
Donna is proud of her healthy hearty food with a socially responsible mission. Although it is becoming more mainstream, Donna remembers the days where 20 people a day questioned her about what is “organic” and why? Since 1982, the bakery and café has been preparing many organic foods to the point of grinding their own organic grains to make the famous Sourdough Breads. The owners have always made the choice not to use Styrofoam and other environmental harmful products given the choice. They made a commitment to support locally organic foods, recycling, composting, and honoring their employees for embracing their mission. “Taking the business of being a socially responsible business seriously has not always been profitable and has had its challenges over the years but the commitment has paid off in many ways”, says Maltz“ Those days are behind me now and all the time I spent education and answering those questions have paid off.
Now we can focus on the sequential steps necessary to aid in the challenging goals ahead to becoming a role model restaurant in Alaska working towards sustainability.” The dining industry accounts for 10% of the U.S. economy, and is the number-one consumer of electricity in the retail sector. Through responsible business practices the Maltz have seen the results that small changes in everyday operations can make a big difference. Purchasing from local purveyors is one way to keep energy consumption down and with an added benefit of stimulating the state economy. Maltz says ‘The main benefit is a superior fresh product for your customer. Alaska is abundant with food and we are most proud of creating a solid viable market for Alaskan products. “The more we can support and encourage the growth of local growers and producers of sustainable products the closer we get to out goals.”
In addition, the Maltz are always striving to implement business practices that are not harmful to the environment. They emphasized the responsibility of the foodservice industry to reduce the amount of waste produced. They pointed out that the recycling system in the state needs encouragement to be more sophisticated and responsive to this issue. The Fresh Sourdough Express is well on its way to being the first Certified Green Restaurant in the state of Alaska. This means they will be recognized for all the responsible green achievements they have made and demonstrate their commitment to being a responsible restaurant owner.
Donna, Kevin, and the staff will continue to use the Fresh Sourdough Express as a vehicle to share with the public the benefits of organic, natural and regional foods with an emphasize on sustainability and clean business practices. They see great opportunity to promote economic development for the State of Alaska by encouraging other business to step forward with their socially responsible business achievements. Through this they can support each other in there efforts to keep Alaska a beautiful place to live and have sustainable employment. The Malt’s also see the opportunity for many farmers and manufacturers to work together to produce value added products for this premium restaurant industry.
In 1992 The Maltz’s took their commitment to a broader market and went national with a line of Organic Chocolate products called AH!LASKA. The mission was to expand their committed values of supporting organic, fair trade and ecological sound business practices. The company hit the national market with great reception. A percentage of its profit where donated to various wildlife organizations in Alaska.
Donna reminds us of their commitments to the following:
1. Support grown in Alaska sustainable products
2. Use organic when feasible
3. Recycle, reduce and reuse
4. Recycle waste for farmers-composting all food waste
5. Use recyclable earth friendly disposable products
6. Use non-toxic cleaning products
7. Environmentally friendly building material
8. Energy efficient appliances and equipment
9. Support efforts for wind, solar, geothermal
10. Implement and Practice Pollution prevention
11. Education on sustainable business practices
Fresh Sourdough Express
1316 Ocean Drive
HAPPY 25th Anniversary to Donna, Kevin And The Community They Are Helping To Build Together