Green is Part of this Coffee Shop’s Culture

How Home Ground Coffee & Roasting House is going green


Fresh coffee, roasted onsite, home baked goods and friendly faces are what greet you at Home Ground Coffee and Roasting House.

Home Ground, has been owned by Heather Van Aalst since 2013. She said that purchasing the coffee house wasn’t always a sure thing because she was negotiating the sale during the 2013 Southern Alberta flood. When the coffee house didn’t flood, she sighed with relief and signed the papers.

When asked what motivates Home Ground to be an eco-friendly business, Heather said she inherited a green business model from the previous owner and was more than happy to maintain the green philosophy.

She said the challenges to keeping Home Ground operating as a green business are people and the bottom line. “Customers don’t always realize that take out containers and cups are compostable or recyclable so there are many times when the waste ends up in the garbage.”

She also has to ensure her staff are knowledgeable about compostables and recyclables so they know what items go where. As for the bottom line and being green, she said that while the cost of compostable and recyclable ‘to-go’ cups and dinnerware has decreased over the years, it remains slightly higher than standard ‘to-go’ options.

She doesn’t mind the cost though; as she said “everything you can keep out of a landfill helps!”

Wondering what sort of sustainable practices Home Ground engages in?

For starters they believe in composting! The dinnerware and cups are compostable and the lids can be recycled. All the shop’s food waste also goes into the compost.

Customers are always given the in-house dinnerware and cups when visiting the coffee house, which are then washed in an eco-efficient dishwasher. Then there’s the coffee and food; all the food at Home Ground is homemade and the coffee is roasted in house.

Being a sustainable business also means contributing to the community. Home Ground tries to donate to local fundraisers throughout the year and sponsors a food hamper at Christmas.

What has been a fun and rewarding experience in being a green business? Heather said she enjoys the minimal amount of coffee by-product waste in the summer months as local gardeners will come and take left-over coffee grounds or coffee bean hulls for their gardens. Home Ground is able to give back to the earth by serving coffee!

When asked what three things a local business like Home Ground can do to operate with the earth in mind, Heather suggested:

  1. Eliminate ‘to-go’ cups entirely and make bringing your own travel mug part of the coffee consuming culture in Okotoks
  2. Make sure anything that needs to be discarded is either compostable or recyclable.
  3. Grow your own cost-efficient produce like root veggies, herbs, and greens. “Pick it as opposed to shop for it!”

Home Ground is a great local example of how following a ‘green’ business model can reap rewards and satisfaction.