This piece is part of our 21 Local Innovators To Watch roundup in the August 2022 print issue of District Fray. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Owners of Mason & Greens, a retailer of sustainable dry goods in Old Town Alexandria and coming to D.C.
District Fray: Why you do what you do
Anna + Justin Marino: We help people help the planet. It is sometimes hard to find products that are good for you and the Earth, often you have to read labels, sift through misleading claims that may be rooted in greenwashing. We opened a store where people can find products that will not expose them to toxins, where every product we sell meets our ridiculously high bar, where people do not have to spend money on their trash and where you can buy as little or as much of what you need.
How you are helping
We don’t do plastic. We don’t do palm oil. We don’t do harmful chemicals. We don’t do animal products. There is a whole world of products for you to do better by the planet that you may not know they exist yet. Our job is to show them to you. No judgment on where you are on your sustainable journey. We’re just here to help.
Who else is helping
There are so many people hard at work fighting for a more sustainable future. Leah and Michael [Moon] of DC Vegan are doing some amazing things over on P Street. They focus on clean and absolutely amazing vegan food and cocktails. It’s a blueprint for the future of the food industry. We recently worked with the Smithsonian on their “Sustainable Living” exhibit at the Folklife Festival. There were so many amazing people who donated their time and efforts to make it a success. And then there are people who make so little trash it baffles those who pick up the trash, but also there is the person who chooses not to take a plastic bag or straw. Everyone can help.
Where you escape in D.C.
As vegans and zero wasters, a trip to Busboys & Poets followed by poking around Miss Pixies for fun things to give a second or third life is an excellent escape. We are also big DC United fans, so trips to Audi Field are also on the books. Finally, to be with nature, the U.S. National Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are always on our short list.
Where you go to escape D.C.
One of our favorite farmers, Eric at Root & Marrow, is a little ways out west, but he always welcomes us with some of the most unique and amazing produce. Last time we stopped by to visit, we were eating the most remarkable cucumbers right off the vine.
Any book/podcast/article/album recommendations? Anything you’ve recently enjoyed?
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