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Paul and Carrie Bardinas: Gold Sponsors for Sundown on Easy Street

12/02/12 by Kathy Chaffin

The Center for the Environment’s friends gathered September 14 for our first annual Sundown on Easy Street. Freirich Foods CEO Paul Bardinas and his wife, Carrie, should be recognized for their generous donation as one of our Gold Sponsors along with F&M Bank. Paul and Carrie are a vibrant young couple with three small boys who lead their lives by example. We can make incremental changes to live a more self-sustaining and sustainable lifestyle.

Setting an Example

Paul and Carrie Bardinas act on their commitment to the environment every day.

He talks passionately about his concerns for the environment and the importance of sustainability in everyday conversations and writes about them on Facebook. And he sets an example by implementing “green” initiatives in his company and the home and farm he shares with Carrie and their three young sons.

As the fourth generation CEO and president of Freirich Foods Inc. in Salisbury, Bardinas has ordered energy audits of the building; started a companywide recycling program; implemented water conservation practices; and is seeking bids for a solar panel system.

When Bardinas returned to Salisbury to work in the family business, he began a two-year, post-baccalaureate program at Catawba College in 2002. That’s when he took a basic environmental science class under Dr. John Wear, executive director of the Center for the Environment. “It was very eye-opening,” he said.

Bardinas became fascinated with the Center for the Environment facility, one of the first green buildings in the state of North Carolina. “For me, the idea that you could build a facility using passive solar energy and capturing rainwater was pretty impressive,” he said. “I think that more than anything really shaped what I’m trying to do now. I know it can be done.”

Sustainable Environment a Priority

Carrie and Paul Bardinas live on a 10-acre farm in eastern Rowan County about a mile from the Faith town limits. When they started talking about having children, the Bardinases decided their No. 1 priority was to raise them in a sustainable environment.

“We wanted them to be in touch with nature, and we made a conscious decision to grow most of our own food,” he said. “We can 60 percent of the fruits and vegetables that we eat year-round.”

They also raise their own goats for milk and chickens for meat and eggs, selling what eggs they don’t use. The Bardinases do their own composting and use it to fertilize their garden.  “It’s basically all organic,” he said.

They’ve also done extensive work to the 1960s house on the farm to make it more energy-efficient, replacing old windows, upgrading the heating and air, adding insulation and are now in the process of installing solar panels to provide all the home’s energy needs. Both drive all-electric Nissan Leafs, which will also be charged through the solar panels.

Having children made the Bardinases realize they had to do everything they could to protect the environment and teach them to live self-sufficient, sustainable lives. “The greatest gift I can give my boys is to make sure they have those skills and knowledge for the future,” he said.

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