Going the organic way

The Summit of Sustainability Awards

Winner Small Business Category
Ms. Julie’s Kitchen 

When it comes to the grassroots level for the wisest practices for not only being a steward of the environment but of the health of the community, Julie Costell is on the cutting edge.

The owner of Ms. Julie’s Kitchen, a vegetarian restaurant that grows its own food, Costell goes back to basics even to the degree of recently tilling her garden with two plow horses.

“We turned almost two acres of vacant city lands into organic tillable, arable land,” she says “We removed debris, amended the soil, built a fence and planted beautiful flowers along with our tons of vegetables.”

As a result of growing her own food for Ms. Julie’s Kitchen and to sell in the neighborhood, she saved more than $5,000 on groceries. Building a fence with materials considered “seconds” and employing neighborhood youth along with summer youth workers saved $3,000.

No chemicals are used at the gardens, and produce is grown organically. Ms. Julie’s Kitchen uses organic biodegradable cleaning products and compostable containers which are put into compost at the gardens. 

“Area residents have reported losing hundreds of pounds, decreasing diabetes medications and reducing heart medications after eating our foods on a regular basis and learning from us how to change their eating habits to benefit their health,” Costell says.

She also volunteers to teach cooking classes in the community.

Among the awards Ms. Julie’s Kitchen has earned include the Art of Living Foundation, International Association for Human Values & The Akron Peace Project Human Values Award 2011, Akron Life Magazine — Third Place Best of City for Healthy Lunch 2012 and 2013, and Fox 8 Hot List Third Place Best Vegetarian Menu 2012.