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Support Women-Owned, Sustainable Businesses

Intro

I intended to get this post published for Earth Day. The goal was to promote woman-owned, sustainable businesses for Earth Day; however, spring is an extremely busy time on a small farm, and I didn't get the post done in time. But really any day is a great day to shop at businesses that help our planet. If you're here, you probably know that Sterling Flower Farm is a woman-owned, sustainable flower farm and floristry studio, and therefore; you will probably also enjoy reading about the two businesses I have profiled below. I know the owners of both two businesses personally and can speak to both their sustainability processes and philosophies.


Business: Bantu Essentials, Owner: Mazvi Ndondo

I had the good fortune to meet Mazvi back in 2008 when we were going to college together.  Mazvi is a black Zimbabwean woman who decided to grow out her natural hair, and started crafting her own hair care products when she couldn’t find good quality hair products for her 4c hair.  Back when we were students, we would go to the local natural foods co-op together, and I would be shopping for locally grown produce, while Mazvi browsed for oils, aloe vera, and other ingredients to craft hair and skin care products.  After over a decade of experimentation, she has finally launched her product line, and I couldn’t be more proud of her!  Mazvi has a day job, works on her business after hours, and has four kids with her husband Kudzai.  She really is a super woman.  

Business owner Mazvi Ndondo

Bantu Essentials’ hair and skin oils are made from natural ingredients and come in recyclable packaging.  Glass contains the precious oils, protecting their potency in a material that is easy to recycle.  All of the oils in the products come from plants.  Did you know that many hair and skin products contain petroleum derived compounds?  Mining for petroleum causes a of unnecessary environmental destruction.  Bantu Essentials is producing hair and skin care products in a better way.  


Bantu essential Flourish: Hair growth and scalp stimulator

But do the products work?  I have Greek ancestry and my body hair is extremely coarse and abundant.  I often struggle with razor bumps and ingrown hairs from shaving.  Mazvi gave me a bottle of her Smooth Body Oil to try back in 2021 and it really helped my skin after shaving.  I have to confess that I haven’t had a lot of time to shave since becoming a mom, so it has taken me a few years to use up the bottle.  With summer coming, I just ordered a new bottle of the Smooth Body Oil so I can look good on the beach this summer.  

I also ordered a bottle of the Flourish: Hair growth and scalp stimulator oil for my son Luke’s hair.  Luke has tight curls that he inherited from his dad who has Nigerian ancestry.  His hair and scalp can sometimes get dry and itchy in the summer, and I’m expecting that the oils will give him some relief.  I will come back and give everyone an update on this blog with results after Luke and I have been using the Bantu Essentials products this summer.  


Business: Gab’s NYC

Owner: Gabby Madden

Gab’s restaurant in the West Village in New York City is a woman owned, sustainable restaurant.  Owner Gabby Madden has brought a touch of something special, personal and creative to every aspect of the dining experience at Gab’s.  The oysters come out on frozen pebbles collected from the beach that Gabby frequented as a child.  One time they were served with a pink lemon, which I had never seen before.  Another time, the oysters were served with a mignonette sauce featuring thin slices of forced rhubarb.  The rhubarb were dug up and forced into sprouting early in a dark basement to produce tender, pale pink, slightly sour stalks. Besides the delicious food, another great part of the dining experience is the charming atmosphere.  The walls of the restaurant are personalized with Gabby’s beautiful paintings, and the colors of the banquettes and decor in the restaurant complement them perfectly.  However; the most special part of dining at Gab’s is the amazing people that Gabby has brought together.  Everyone is always welcomed and made to feel at home when they come to dine at Gab’s.  The staff don’t just take care of you while you’re there, they really care.  

Delicious salad and oysters at Gab's

As Gabby’s older sister, I would like to take just a tiny sliver of credit for perhaps giving her some inspiration for having a restaurant that serves local, seasonal cuisine.  The first summer that I had my farm, Gabby came to visit me, and I proudly made her a salad entirely out of freshly picked vegetables I had grown.  Months later, Gabby would still mention that salad to me, saying it was the best salad of her life.  She has now started a business that buys from local farms, composts all its food waste, and takes every opportunity to promote seasonal ingredients.  I think we all need to be a little more like Gabby and bring an extra bit of care, consciousness, and creativity into everything we do.  If you’d like to dine at Gab’s, you can make a reservation using Resy.  Reservations help her know how much ingredients to purchase to minimize food waste.  You can also stop in.  Gab’s is located at 76 Carmine Street, New York, New York 10014.  

Gabby and I are currently trying to get vegetables from my farm in eastern Connecticut down to her restaurant in NYC in the most sustainable way possible.  We’re looking for someone who already drives from eastern Connecticut or Rhode Island into the city to transport small loads of vegetables into their car.  If you think you may be able to help, please email Zoe at Zoe@sterlingflowerfarm.com

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