This blog about health and art and business was inspired by a trip to Ecuador and a lasting memory. One afternoon before heading out to start a month-long trek, we visited a high mountain village on market day. I came upon a small plaza near the center of town. This plaza was filled with a small mountain of wool socks and old wool clothing. Aside from thinking, “ Oh, so this is where lost socks go” it appeared that these socks and old clothes were awaiting being cleaned and processed and reborn into being recycled into all sorts of new other things. Baskets, blankets, other clothing, new yarn, for example. Upcycling =healthy business practice. It is an offshoot of the baby boomer trend toward simplifying our lifes. Simplifying our lives leads to Sustainability. Rural communities re-use and barter and distribute locally, and have always done so. But we are adept at reaching out and being creative with resources. I think about a family in the Platte Valley near Saratoga, Wyoming, who lease a portion of their property for grazing and who built a windbreak out of old tires, for their small herd of cattle. They collect old cars and sell the parts via the web. They are weavers and gardeners, use at least two alternative fuels and solar power, and are extremely successful, vibrant, small businesspeople. Their business is truly a very diverse and creative enterprise. It is also sustainable for their grandchildren, who are slowly taking the reins to keep the enterprises fresh and lively.
To stay current on how to support those Wyomingites wanting to start or sustain small businesses, representatives from the Wyoming Womens Business Center and Small Business Innovation Research program went to the Gro-Biz conference this past week of February 21st. Our representatives heard L. Hunter Lovins, President and founder of Natural Capital Solutions, speak about sustainability as an intergral component of profitability and her work consulting with all sizes of businesses. They came back excited about sustainability concepts and the emphasis on that concept as an avenue for small business profitability. I get excited about sustainability concepts and practices as avenues toward healthy business practice that extends to healthy practices for owners, owners' families, and owners' customers. In short, all of us who grew up with Earth Day, and with a renewal of conversation about whole food and conservation of resources, which includes adaptive re-use. Economic development for rural communities, like those all over Wyoming, can implement sustainable practices to help your business evolve and stay competitive and stay healthy for your families, your customers, and your community. Healthy=profitable.