From the bean of Green Bean.
Let's face it. The old economy sucks! It's dirty, full of subsidies for companies that don't need it, inefficient and just plain lopsided.
The new economy, though, is supposed to be all solar panels, wind turbines and people in green hardhats making buildings more energy efficient. The new economy sounds great but I often think of it as something other people do. Something run by corporations that are fairly benign but still big and hulking. Until recently.
I found myself homebound and unable to cook for several weeks. My family could only live on frozen organic pizzas for so many meals. And then I realized that there must be some other answer out there.
There was! A meal delivery service offering vegetarian, organic home cooked meals packed in reusable glass containers. Shut the front door . . . and bring that cooler inside, on the counter please.
Green entrepreneurship to the rescue!
The twenty-something chef who ran that business got me thinking. America is supposed to be the land of opportunity; the land of small business and big work ethic; the land of new ideas.
I realized that the new economy can be much more than recycling plants and solar panels. It can be single people or small partnerships who decide to earn their livings in accordance with their principles. In addition to the meal delivery service (which has since closed due to the owner's pregnancy), here are some other favorite small green business ideas:
- When the economy went south and a contractor's business went belly up, he followed his heart and opened Nature's Remedy, a small business that encourages responsible pest management by installing barn own boxes and more.
- A former landscaper thought outside of the box and began installing and managing edible gardens for busy professionals, leaving them a box of their homegrown produce weekly.
- A beekeeper began managing hives on the property of others, selling honey at the farmers' market along with his wife who makes soap and candles from the beeswax. He also offers beekeeping lessons at this home.
- A retired gentleman makes birdhouses out of reclaimed wood and sells them at the independent market down the street from my parents' house.
- My sister, a landscape architect, now specializes in green schoolyards. Go sis!
- A middle aged woman coped with being laid off by launching a business upcycling sweaters. She now sells on Etsy and at craft fairs.
- A small business specializes in architectural salvage to keep interesting items out of the landfill or the consignment stores, popping up in every town out in California it seems, offer a forum for buying and selling gently used clothing, furniture, toys and baby items.
With crowdfunding, Etsy, and new laws encouraging home businesses, following our green aspirations can literally pay off. Personally, I'd like to write a novel with climate change as the backdrop. I've got the outline written but the novel itself, well, I'm working on it. What are your green business dreams? Have you run across any cool green business?