May 2023

This month, we’ll tackle the environmental focus area of waste by learning about sustainable fashion from Melissa Feezor of Raw Materials by Melissa and Catherine Valdivieso of SwapCo. Then, we’ll learn from Orlando’s SunTek Lawn Care about their path to becoming closed-loop, sustainable company. Lastly, we’ll learn from Fleet Farming about American Beautyberry and its major ecological purposes.

The IDEAS Hive: Sustainable Fashion

Can the fashion industry become sustainable? What are the harmful effects that the traditional fashion industry contributes? Second to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world. The fashion industry contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy intensive production. What can everyday consumers do to improve this reality? Melissa Feezor from Raw materials by Melissa dives into the world of fashion, the future of sustainable fashion, options consumers have to divert waste, and how it all impacts the environment.

Solar-Powered Lawn Care with Christopher Regis of Suntek

Christopher Regis is the CEO of Suntek, a landscape and lawn maintenance company based in Orlando, FL that centers its business model on solar-powered equipment and organic pest-management products. We discuss how Suntek is working towards being a zero-emission business, how it can serve as a model and asset for other businesses, and more.

Waste Activism

Photo Credit: Catherine Valdivieso LinkedIn

Fast fashion has become a pervasive force in the fashion industry, with many consumers being drawn to its low prices and trendy designs. However, the environmental and social costs of this phenomenon cannot be ignored. In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards sustainable fashion, which aims to minimize the negative impact of fashion production and consumption on the environment and society.


One individual who has been at the forefront of this movement is Catherine Valdivieso, a fashion industry veteran who has worked with brands such as H&M and Zara. Valdivieso has been a vocal advocate for sustainable fashion and has worked to educate consumers about the importance of making conscious choices when it comes to fashion.


One solution that Valdivieso has helped to develop is the SwapCo app, which allows users to swap clothes with one another. This not only promotes sustainable fashion by reducing the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills, but it also provides an affordable way for people to refresh their wardrobes without contributing to the fast fashion cycle.


While the movement towards sustainable fashion is still in its early stages, it is clear that there is a growing awareness among consumers about the impact of fashion on the environment and society. By supporting initiatives such as the SwapCo app and making more conscious choices when it comes to fashion, we can all do our part to create a more sustainable future.

Our Plant of the Month: American Beautyberry!

If you live in Florida, chances are you’ve come across the American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) at some point. This plant is native to the southeastern United States and is easily recognizable thanks to its bright purple berries that grow in clusters along its branches. While the beautyberry is certainly a visually striking plant, it also serves an important ecological purpose as a food source for pollinators.


May Planting Guide

Our friends at University of Florida’s IFAS Extension program have a great guide for May planting throughout Florida including what to grow by transplant or by direct seed!