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RFP Spotlight December 2012
And so, in 2009, Blue Star Equiculture was born. The Palmer, Massachusetts, working horse rescue and sanctuary is committed to helping horses while promoting sustainable practices. The nonprofit organization not only provides a safe haven for up to 32 horses at a time, but it also lives and breathes sustainable practices: The 100% organic farm grows up to 35 different types of vegetables, produces eggs and milk and hosts forums on sustainability education.

In 2011, Blue Star Equiculture had the opportunity to take its passion for sustainability a step further. Viridian Associate Donna French, a vendor of one of Blue Star Equiculture’s events, approached the nonprofit organization with the chance to join Viridian’s Residual Fundraising Program (RFP). As French explained, Blue Star Equiculture would have the chance to continue to spread the word about its commitment to sustainability while helping to raise funds to support the organization.

“It sounded like a good opportunity for us and fit very well with our mission of helping humans, horses and Mother Earth,” said David Milos, Business Director of Blue Star Equiculture. “It was a perfect match.”

Since joining Viridian in 2011, Blue Star Equiculture has quickly climbed the ranks to reach the critical Director rank and, perhaps more importantly, has raised to raise the funds needed to help maintain the farm each year and has spread the word about sustainability.

Blue Star Equiculture hosted two sustainability events this year, a farm cleanup in March and another in July. After the second event, the more than 20 volunteers were invited to attend a workshop to learn how to approach Viridian customers and talk about sustainability.

This spring, Blue Star Equiculture will team with its sponsored RFP Associate The Yellow House, a community center for learning, to spearhead a monthly community conversation about sustainability and ways of being more sustainable and going green. The series will feature several Viridian Associates as speakers.

“By participating in these events, you get other perspectives, which broaden your knowledge base,” Milos said. “You are making a contribution. In fact, many of the high school kids around the area have taken it upon themselves to bring sustainability and green initiatives to the community after participating in our events. They are going out there and talking about the Viridian opportunity to parents and community, and it has nothing to do with making money for them. It’s about spreading
the word about sustainability.”

According to Blue Star Equiculture, it is not just a good idea to lead with green when it comes to business building—it is the best tool you have at your disposal.

“It’s key to the success of the program,” Rickenbach said. “This is very much a community­oriented business. You need to get out in the community and talk with others. We all have different thoughts on sustainability, and you can help grow this business into the fabric of our community.”