ENCINITAS — A venerable organization known for its environmental stewardship and a restaurant known for its sustainable practices were the winners of Encinitas’ inaugural environmental awards.
The Solana Center for Environmental Innovation received the award for the individual and nonprofit category, and GoodOnYa Deli received the award for the for-profit business category.
Solana Center, which has provided environmental education in San Diego County for three decades — including 25 years based in Encinitas — won the award for its long history of promoting sustainable practices, from reducing and recycling waste, to composting, environmental education, pollution prevention and watershed protection.
The Solana Center has championed a number of the city’s most recent environmental actions, such as the ban on plastic single-use bags and a proposed ban of Styrofoam food service products.
“We are clearly very proud of the recognition,” said Jessica Toth, the Solana Center’s executive director. “It is especially meaningful in such an environmentally aware and progressive community as Encinitas is. We have work to do, but I think there is good momentum and backing for doing the right thing.”
The Solana Center, which is located on county property off of El Camino Real and Via Molena, has been actively looking for a new location since the county announced in 2013 that it was looking to sell or lease the plot.
Toth said the group hopes to continue operating in Encinitas, perhaps as one of the uses on the Pacific View Elementary School site. Toth is a member of the coalition that the city selected as the operating partner for the school site.
“We have been wooed by other communities, particularly along the coast that want us to come in and have an impact on their communities similar to how we have in Encinitas,” Toth said. “But Encinitas is home, and I personally live here, so I would love for us to be able to make it work so that we can stay in Encinitas.”
GoodOnYa Deli, per the city’s news release, stresses environmental and organic awareness throughout their operations, not just in their food, but also in their foodware, to-go ware, their hand soap and how they clean their restaurant.
Toth and Kristen Buchanan of GoodOnYa won environmentally-themed artwork by Encinitas artists Tom Scott and Arte Mattson.
City Councilmember Lisa Shaffer presented their awards at the Surfing Madonna Run at Moonlight Beach on Oct. 24.
The Encinitas Environmental Award Program recognizes organizations and individuals in Encinitas who have achieved outstanding environmental goals. It is co-sponsored by the city of Encinitas and the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project.