Whether it be through our fresh-pressed juices, iconic acai bowls or delicious deli items, Chelsea’s Gourmet has made serving health and happiness its mission. We also embrace that our presence in the community gives us the opportunity and responsibility to effect positive change. That’s why from the coffee we brew to the pictures adorning our walls, our business runs on the belief that it’s always better to give than to receive. Our effort to be leaders in this way has brought us to our latest partnership: Chelsea’s Gourmet and Coastal Connections.
Coastal Connections is a local organization dedicated to environmental protection education. Among their programs in sea turtle conservation, plastic reduction, lagoon restoration and invasive species removal is the ‘Vero Goes Zero’ initiative. To minimize single-use plastics and increase recycling, VGZ aims to get local restaurants to make a long-term commitment to offering sustainable products. Chelsea’s is proud to have been the first business to kick off the program in August. In conjunction with the Coastal Connections team, we hosted a successful and socially-distant beach cleanup to bring awareness to our new commitment.
This partnership symbolizes that we’re not just simply on-board with protecting the environment, but want to lead the charge in a bigger picture wake-up call. The plasticware we use for just a few minutes can end up in the ocean indefinitely—it does not decompose, but breaks into smaller microplastics. This is what injures marine mammals, about 100,000 of which are killed by plastics each year. On a local scale, Coastal Connection finds plastic waste in the stomachs of nearly every turtle they investigate here in Vero Beach. We hope to shed light on the huge role that restaurants—particularly those near natural habitats—can have in the condition of coastal ecosystems. That’s why the next time you stop in for a smoothie or sandwich, you’ll notice that Chelsea’s has made ‘The Switch.’
“Chelsea’s is a staple in Vero Beach and also willing to make a change. It took a bold restaurant to really make the difference, and we’re really excited to work with them and see where they lead the rest of the community. They’re willing to be a leader for others and showcase that it can be done and done well. We don’t have to have second-rate products just because they’re not plastic.” —Kendra Cope, Founder and President of Coastal Connections
Photography by Kyle Melanson