The environmental nonprofit group Green America presented Sweet Peas Café in Dunedin and two Illinois companies with the spring People & Planet Award, which grants the businesses $5,000 prizes.
"Green celebrations" were the focus of the honor. After being nominated by the public and a panel of judges that included representatives from brands like Seventh Generation and Honest Tea, the victors were determined through a monthlong online vote.
Alongside Sweet Peas, Chicago's Collective Resource composting company and the farm-to-table Big Grove Tavern out of Champaign, Illinois, integrate "social and environmental considerations into their catering and event services," according to a news release.
A 10,000-square-foot enclosed yard that features community events, a dining area, play space, North American Butterfly Association-certified butterfly habitat and an under-construction herb and veggie garden are among the café's planet-friendly highlights. Sweet Peas also composts diner leftovers, boxes, food scraps and coffee grounds.
In the release, owner Danielle Pastore said the award money will help Sweet Peas turn the west side of its property into a space where diners may "eat, party and play" next to growing food, which has been the café's plan for four years.
"Thank you for helping to make our dream into a reality," Pastore said, "to help us to give our customers a unique experience, and for enabling us to set an example not just on a business level but to inspire others to keep their ideas alive."