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‘Green Drinks’ brings local eco-conscious individuals together

By Staff | Jan 28, 2011

“Green Drinks” is a global movement in social networking amongst the environmentally conscious.

According to Karen Valentine, who launched Green Drinks of the Eastern Panhandle with Chad Gauthier in July 2009, Green Drinks is an” informal gathering of business owners, professionals and everyday people interested in sustainability and green topics.”

Green topics include “anything that have do with eco-consciousness at work, home or in the community,” Valentine said.

On the evening of Jan. 20, the group met at Stone Soup Bistro in Shepherdstown, though the group rotates around the Eastern Panhandle from month to month in locations that support the group’s mission.

Valentine was contacted by Gauthier of Pinnacle Enterprises after he was given her name at a green building conference held at the National Conservation Training Center. Valentine had served on board of the United States Green Building Council and was already attending Green Drinks of the Shenandoah Valley each month.

A partner in the eco-business, gogreengals, Valentine has been involved in eco-education efforts across the east coast for the past five years. Recently she partnered with a local mother and friend, Laurel Parker, to open The Source in downtown Shepherdstown, where she spearheads its recycling center.

For Valentine Green Drinks is a networking venue and also an opportunity to support local and small businesses, like The Source.

As she explained, attendees can volunteer to present or promote what they do to the group each month and announce upcoming news or events.

Green Drinks events usually boast between 15 and 25 guests and Valentine describes it as “a real mix of people.”

The event at Stone Soup included local organic farmers, real estates developers, shopkeepers and local town folk.

According to Priscilla Newcomer, a local resident and longtime Green Drinks participant, she looks forward to the events.

“It’s nice to be with like-minded people,” she said.

Newcomer first attended a Green Drinks event in what she described as a “straw house” and explained that the events are always held in “interesting locations” that use renewable resources or champion sustainability.

John Gonano, a local grass farmer who provides grass-fed beef and pastured chicken, pork and eggs, said Green Drinks is a place where he and other business people can meet and share ideas. It’s a place where, “businesses do business,” he said

Valentine said anyone interested in the green movement and making new contacts is encouraged to check out a Green Drinks event.

“We welcome anybody,” she said.

The next Green Drinks meeting will be Feb. 17 at Good Natured in Martinsburg from 6 to 8 p.m.

Information about Green Drinks worldwide can be found at green drinks.org and Valentine can be contacted at info@gogreengals.com.