James Marks didn’t hire New Canaan High School senior Izzy Kaufman at Greenology—she’d been working for a predecessor fresh foods provider in the shop, located at the corner of Main Street and East Avenue.
But he says now, “I wish I could have more of her.”
One of the most impressive things the teen has done at the organic, plant-based and natural foods provider is establish a successful food scraps program.
WIth support from Marks, Kaufman established a program where the local Oak Forest Farm picks up scraps every day from Greenology—and it’s already seen about 2,000 pounds collected.
“We have quite a bit of food scraps making juice, all the pulp and rind that’s left over,” Marks told NewCanaanite.com. “We easily fill a garbage can of that stuff.”
Asked what Kaufman is like as a worker (Marks launched Greenology is November 2020), he said “fantastic.”
“If she wasn’t in school she’d be a manager right now,” he said. “I’d have her managing a shift. I wish I could have more of her. She’s a great worker, she’s always asking me for more shifts. She’s very conscientious. She got all the employees to stop using smoothie cups for their drinks. We have these glass Ball [mason] jars. So they are not using plastic cups and throwing them out all day long.”
Marks said that Kaufman also brings value to Greenology as a practicing vegan.
“Not all employees are necessarily vegan- or plant-based, but I think Izzy follows the diet, as well, and is very good about talking to customers about the food and helping with their orders and helping them be healthy.”
She’s also helped Marks “add more sustainable packaging at the restaurant,” he said.
“We now use a lot of plant-based plastics—straws, salad containers, all plant-based compostable plastics. We don’t sell any water in plastic bottles—it’s in glass or cardboard and we’re doing cold-pressed juices in these glass bottles that customers bring back and get money back for their bottles. Izzy helps us with all that stuff.”
Asked for some background on her daughter, Izzy’s mom, Eva Kaufman, told NewCanaanite.com that starting way back in preschool Izzy joined her brother and neighbors in donating lemonade stand profits to local nonprofit organization Strays & Others.
“Pre-Covid she spent her summer vacations on community service in remote villages in Costa Rica and Tanzania,” Kaufman said of her daughter. “For the past six years she has been a very productive member of the National Charity League in New Canaan and also served on the National Advisory Board for a year. She has been part of the student government during all her high school years and she co chairs the Mentoring Club at the High School.”
Izzy is “passionate about the environment and loves to educate people about healthier and kinder habits,” Eva Kaufman said.
“She wants to pursue a master in environmental studies and policy to implement sustainable practices in business and community.”