Beyond Organic Gardening: Eco Business Uses Wind Power to Sell Sustainability

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Sustainability is the key for the Milkweed Mercantile, a new business running solely on sun and wind power. Sharing everything from artisan bread recipes to the secrets of organic gardening, the Milkweed Mercantile, an Eco General Store, B&B and Organic Café, is housed in an elegant two-story strawbale building. Setting new criteria for businesses calling themselves "green," the Mercantile sells eco-friendly goods, hosts guests in a totally green B&B and presents seminars and retreats for those seeking a more sustainable way of life. http://milkweedmercantile.com/

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We are not going to join the ranks of 'green' businesses going to the highest bidder.

Sustainability is the key for the Milkweed Mercantile, a new business running solely on sun and wind power. Sharing everything from artisan bread recipes to the secrets of organic gardening, the Milkweed Mercantile, an Eco General Store, B&B and Organic Café, is housed in an elegant two-story strawbale building. Setting new criteria for businesses calling themselves "green," the Mercantile sells eco-friendly goods, hosts guests in a totally green B&B and presents seminars and retreats for those seeking a more sustainable way of life. (http://milkweedmercantile.com/)

Brimming with handcrafted artisan goods and carefully considered eco wares, the Eco General Store fills a need not met by other "green" emporia. With strict criteria for what can (and cannot) be sold, and the absence of paid advertising, the Mercantile truly subscribes to the business ideal of Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet and Profit. Visitors to the Mercantile, whether in person or online, will be treated to a decidedly unstuffy version of green, where learning and enjoying life are given a high priority.

The Mercantile is located in Northeastern Missouri on the rolling tallgrass prairie at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, a community whose members are committed to living ecologically sustainable, socially rewarding lives, and to sharing the skills and ideas behind that lifestyle. In keeping with ecovillage goals, the Mercantile offers onsite seminars, retreats and public events designed to encourage guests to participate in all aspects of a more sustainable life. Included are seminars on solar and wind power, organic gardening, whole foods cooking, artisan bread baking, composting, energy efficiency, yoga, bike maintenance, effective communication, alternative construction, writing, knitting, quilting, and beer brewing.

Visitors have the opportunity to sample all aspects of green living as well as the beauty and serenity of the prairie landscape. Star-filled skies, fireflies and a seasonal array of wildflowers and songbirds all conspire to make the experience one in a lifetime.

The Milkweed Mercantile online store opened August 2008; the B&B is taking reservations for a December opening.

Six things that make the Milkweed Mercantile different from other "Green" Businesses:
1. An almost zero Carbon Footprint. Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, now in its 11th year, is totally off the grid (solar and wind power abound); homes and businesses are built of strawbales and reclaimed lumber (and are beautiful!). Rainwater, the gold standard for water quality, is used for cooking and bathing. Forty villagers share three vehicles in a co-op that runs on biodiesel. Food is local and organic, and just about everything is composted and recycled. Trendy? Nope. Just the way things are done.

2. The Milkweed Mercantile website carries no advertising - "Credibility is our most important asset, and so we do our best to stay honest and authentic," says proprietor Alline Anderson. "We are not going to join the ranks of 'green' businesses going to the highest bidder."

3. The Milkweed Mercantile is crafting a new business paradigm. The business is being built as an extension of ecologically-based lives, not for an IPO. Employee-owned with no other shareholders, all staff (including the founders) are paid the same hourly wage. Profits are split at the end of the year based on hours worked. All areas of the Mercantile, including the kitchen, feature a refreshing lack of hierarchy - everyone takes turns washing pots, scraping carrots and taking out the compost.

4. All products carried in the store, B&B and café must run the staff gauntlet and meet one or more of the following criteria to be considered truly eco-friendly: Organic, Fair Trade, made of recycled or re-purposed materials, produced by environmentally and socially responsible companies or non-profits, and durability are all considered. Disposable bamboo plates or disposable cleaning wipes? You won't find them at the Mercantile. Let's hear it for common sense!

5. The Milkweed Mercantile is run the same way the staff live their lives - sustainably, passionately and with lots of laughter. All staffers are members of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage where living lightly upon the earth is their number one priority.

6. No one ever has to sing Kumbya.

For additional information on the Milkweed Mercantile, including photos or to arrange an interview, contact proprietor Alline Anderson.

About The Milkweed Mercantile:
Sustainability is the key for the Milkweed Mercantile, a new business running solely on sun and wind power. Sharing everything from artisan bread recipes to the secrets of organic gardening, the Milkweed Mercantile, an Eco General Store, B&B and Organic Café, is housed in an elegant two-story strawbale building. Setting new criteria for businesses calling themselves "green," the Mercantile sells eco-friendly goods, hosts guests in a totally green B&B and presents seminars and retreats for those seeking a more sustainable way of life.

Contact:
Alline Anderson, Proprietor
The Milkweed Mercantile
660-883-5522
alline at milkweedmercantile dot com

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