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Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 22: Sustainability at a Small Business: Emory Knoll Farms

on May 9, 2012 at 10:27 am under

Today we have the pleasure to air John Shepley’s video presentation “Sustainability at a Small Business: Emory Knoll Farms” from our inaugural  2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit on and our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

John has been a colleague for several years now and last year he became an  editorial contributor to as the  Green Business Editor where he writes his column “Sustainable Business Insights.”  As co-owner of Emory Knoll Farms, we had known him for a long time but finally got to meet him and his lovely wife, Trish, in Baltimore for the 6th annual Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference (now called CitiesAlive).  We found out first hand what a wonderful human being he is and what a great outlook on life he and his family have.

John Shepley has worked as an engineer, technical manager, business manager, and management consultant.  He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from West Virginia University, 1984.  Since then he has lived and worked in Baltimore and surrounding areas, with a couple of years in Copenhagen Denmark building a new metro system there.

In 2004, John co-founded Emory Knoll Farms, Inc. in Harford County.  Emory Knoll Farms grows plants exclusively for green roofs, and in addition to serving the green building industry, they operate a socially just and sustainable business.  John is a founding board member of the Baltimore Biodiesel Cooperative (2004-2009), and has served on the board of the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Alliance since 2006, where he has been chairman since 2009.  John is passionate about renewable energy, sustainable living and business, and promoting a living local economy.  He drives a vegetable-powered truck, and has an electric Mazda RX-7.  John is also a contributing editor on (2011): the Green Business Editor (2011) and contributes Sustainable Business Insights.  Currently, John is living and working near Milan, Italy with his wife Trish.

In  “Sustainability at a Small Business: Emory Knoll Farms” John  says that even when a business owner has a clear intention of operating sustainably, when faced with limited resources there are many choices and compromises to be made.

John Shepley walks with you down the path towards sustainability that he and Ed Snodgrass have taken at Emory Knoll Farms; from the initial concept of operating a sustainable business to the realities of social and environmental responsibility, and making a living at the same time.  This case study includes opportunities that were realized and a discussion of why some are yet to be.

Since Emory Knoll Farms/Green Roof Plants had an exhibitor booth in the North American Expo Pavilion, participants of the Virtual Summit were able to visit with John during the two live days to further discuss some of the challenges faced by us all in our quest to operate a sustainable business.

By the way, last year John and Ed were included in’s yearly profile of 25 ventures  of America’s most promising social entrepreneurs  selected from reader suggestions.  Read my blog post,  Ed Snodgrass & John Shepley Voted Two of America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs 2011, to learn more.

Enjoy!  Visit to see “Sustainability at a Small Business: Emory Knoll Farms” or click below:

Watch earlier videos on our exclusive Virtual Summit play list, or see the following Virtual Summit videos now available on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

If you’re looking for an overview, make sure to see our 2011 Virtual Summit Highlights video (6:18) and our 2011 Virtual Summit Trailer (2:59).

Check back next week on GreenroofsTV for our 23rd installment from the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!

~ Linda V.