Thursday, July 19, 2007

I've Got an Honest Question for Anyone to Field

What do Nashvillians and Nashville's local businesses regularly buy that is or could be supplied locally by socially and environmentally responsible independent enterprises?

(It's not rhetorical and I don't already have the answers).

UPDATE: I actually gleaned this question from the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies website. It sounds like an exciting concept, but (outside of a mention of the Social Venture Network at the Village Real Estate website) there is no Nashville extension of BALLE. It seems to me that we would have various business groups (LEED builders, Bongo Java, Nashville Urban Harvest, etc.) who might be great candidates for a BALLE group here. Thoughts?


  1. Nearly everyone buys coffee, for the office or the home. And while we don't grow coffee beans here, we've got some local roasters that do a good job.

    Everyone needs clothing, and more and more folks are providing organic and sweatshop free clothes. I'd love to see a business spring up that provides uniforms (for bus drivers, janitors, etc.) made of organic cotton.

    And, there's a company I've heard of in Canada working on environmentally friendly-made office supplies: pens, pencils, staplers, etc.

    Certainly any of the above could fly here.

  2. Great question -- I will be watching to see what responses you get. I think this is a question you should pose in a letter to the editor to as many places as possible. Thanks for asking!

  3. FYI, this site is a great site that gives information on your cities Urban environment and how progressive it is:

    I can't think of any local business' that focus on sustainability off the top of my head, besides the interior design and architectural companies. Many people in Nashville that are in the design field are going completely "green" or at least partially. I let you know if I find anything outside of the design industry:)


    That didn't take long;),...citysearch had a little eco page.


  5. I commend you challenging us to respond to the question, “What do Nashvillians and local Nashville businesses regularly buy that could be supplied locally by socially and environmentally responsible independent enterprises?” Part of the green movement and sustainability is supporting local business, thus reducing transportation requirements, which in turn reduces carbon emissions to produce and burn fossil fuel. Furthermore, local transactions foster the local economy keeping revenue, spending, and taxes in the community.

    Last Saturday, I visited Lazzaroli Pasta on 5th Ave. N. to get some of their fresh pasta, which, by the way, is out of this world. This is local, responsible, independent enterprise personified. Two years ago, I met Tom Lazzaro and his wife selling fresh, homemade pasta out of a cooler in the back of their car at the Farmer’s Market. Today, Tom and his wife operate their business in a shop on 5th Ave that welcomes you with pungent aromas when you open the door.

    After leaving Lazzaroli’s I drove past Morgan Park Place West, a project by Werthan Zeitlin Ventures located between 4th and 5th Ave. N. on Van Buren in Germantown. This development encompasses the very issue you raise – local entrepreneurs developing local projects. Tony Werthan and Todd Zeitlin had a vision three years ago, when green was not as predominant as it is today, to capture the future in townhouses, one- and two-story single family homes, as well as mixed residential and commercial buildings next to Morgan Park and along the future site of a greenway leading to the Cumberland River. These residents are supporting local, socially and environmentally responsible business persons, and at the same time are becoming part of the transformation of North Nashville.

    As an environmental engineer assisting businesses and organizations with the implementation of sustainability, I recommend anyone to visit the Morgan Park Place West web site ( and visit the project to see what local business can do in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

    Paul Finger Lynes, PE, CHMM