When you live in a very small county (just over 160,000 people) in a very rural area surrounded by mountains on one side and a desert on the other, you don’t expect much in terms of “going green.” However, I’m thrilled that every year, Deschutes County, Oregon gets greener and greener.
One of the businesses I’m most impressed by is Cascade Couriers. This business began in 2007 as a small bicycle messenger service, built by cyclist and outdoor enthusiast Daniel Brewster. Â “Sometimes I wonder if I have the best job in the world. It’s a lot of hard work but I feel so connected to what’s happening in our community. In our global economy, it’s refreshing to work with local farmers and producers,” said Brewster in a recent interview.
Five years later, this inspirational business is not only still alive and well, but experiencing wonderful success. Their compost services – picking up food scraps and delivering them to local farms – has increased from 120 gallons a week to 400-500 gallons! They also deliver and distribute newspapers, and wholesale goods from local bakeries, and best of all, have expanded their fleet to include a bio-diesel van.
Central Oregon is a very expansive county and in order to service all the surrounding towns, Cascade Courier’s van is a necessity. This green vehicle has allowed Cascade Couriers to expand their services to the entire county. Every other Thursday, the bio-diesel van travels from town to town, picking up items from local businesses and farmers that were bought through Central Oregon Locavore (another awesome local green business). Instead of having dozens of vendors drive 10 or more miles to Bend to drop off the products, Cascade Couriers does it all in one trip, using bio-diesel fuel.
When asked about the addition of the van to the CC fleet, Brewster said, “Bikes will always play a major role in how we distribute product but purchasing the Sprinter Van has given us the opportunity to expand our boundaries and has even helped us increase the amount of work we do by bike. When looking for a van, it was important for me that we get one that could run on a renewable resource. We’re currently running a 20% blend of biodiesel.”
This business is a spectacular model of sustainability. What kinds of sustainable business models do you have in your town? How can you take their ideas and create more sustainability in your own business and/or life?