It was the lyrics from a Grateful Dead song — “Got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide” — that inspired Jerry Farrell to name his organic market in Glen Cove, Rising Tide. Since its opening in 1976, Farrell has combined his respect for the environment and his interest in health food to create a well-loved, local market that has grown from its small location in Locust Valley to the larger, recently renovated store in Glen Cove.
To go along with his environmentally conscious efforts, Farrell and his staff are implementing a “Bring Your Own Bag” campaign starting on Earth Day, April 22. Like many stores, Rising Tide eliminated the use of plastic bags in 2012 by switching to strictly paper and began rewarding customers 10 cents for every reusable bag used at checkout. While many customers bring their own canvas bags, the store still used 101,000 paper grocery bags in 2016.
That got Farrell thinking. What could he do to decrease the paper bags in his store. Earth Day seemed like the perfect event to kick-start an idea to change his consumer’s habits. “It’s not any kind of drastic thing, but we realized if we can start with this one action of creating a different habit for people, that it will make a difference and then we can take on another initiative,” said Farrell.
The BYOB Campaign will charge 10 cents per paper bag. The money will then be donated to a local charity, which will change each month. Customers will continue to receive 10 cents for every reusable bag that they bring or they have the option of donating that money to the charity. The first local charity of the month will be the North Shore INN, a not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization established in 1989 to feed the hungry in the Glen Cove area. Rising Tide already donates food to the INN every Friday, but wanted to provide them with a financial resource as well.
“We accept the fact that this is a cost for us, and it’s not about us making more money,” Farrell said. “We didn’t want to send that message. We are a community store; we make decisions not only among our own staff but with the community input. We have to take a leadership role in this.”
He reached out to get his customer’s opinions on his idea and most of them are on board. “Your 10 cents are not going to us, we are still looking to reduce the overall use, and that’s our focus, more environmental than cost savings.”
Other charities the store has lined up for future months include the Boys and Girls Club, the Glen Cove Animal Shelter, St. John's of Lattingtown and the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor.