This year, Sunday, April 22, marks the 48th annual Earth Day celebration here in the United States. The national event celebrates the bounty provided by Mother Earth and acts as a public reminder of the importance of environmental protection and conservations. If you’re feeling like ‘going green’ for the day, then look no further than right here in Athens where there are plenty of businesses that practice sustainability every day.
Athens Farmers Market
The Athens Farmers Market is a great place to find a variety of sustainable businesses. All of the vendors at the market, which is open on Saturdays and Wednesdays, sell food that is grown locally using sustainable farming methods or locally produced hand-crafted goods and prepared foods. Vendors at the market include 1000 Faces Coffee, Booger Hill Bee Company, Holy Crepe and many more. Items can be purchased that range from pastries and potatoes to chicken eggs and ceramics.
Opa Robby’s Market
Opa Robby’s Market is another local, fresh produce market located in Athens. The market offers Wonderful Wednesday deals with discounted produce and encourages customers to shop without using harmful plastic bags.
Gabi Rosenthal is a senior photography major from Atlanta and casual shopper at Opa Robby’s.
“I really like it because they get really high-quality produce that is seasonal and local,” Rosenthal said. “It’s extremely affordable, and I get to eat a lot of vegetables and cook for myself on a relatively tight budget and they always feel tastier and fresher than what I buy at Kroger.”
Community is an Athens studio known for their in-house line of redesigned vintage and handmade clothing called ‘Community Service.’ The line aims to offer “zero-waste” products by utilizing old zippers, buttons and fabrics that would otherwise be discarded. The store also carries jewelry, home decor, natural body products, paper goods, food and gift items from over 40 local designers and makers.
Heirloom is an Athens café and fresh market that sources as many local ingredients as possible and buys from producers, farmers, and artisans within the community. The area in which Heirloom resides is also a part of land protected by the Historic Preservation Committee and its residents, ensuring that their conservation extends past the Earth’s produce.
Journey Juice is a locally owned and operated store that provides premium, raw, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices as well as three varieties of almond milk. These juices are pressed in-house and use available or seasonal locally sourced ingredients that are organic or Certified Naturally Grown. Each bottle of juice contains two to three pounds of fresh, raw produce which are never combined with water, sugar or other preservatives.
Athens’ New Earth Music Hall first opened its doors in 2009. The grounds are home to a large capacity theatre and outdoor courtyard which are constructed out of reclaimed and recycled construction materials. The outdoor courtyard also features an edible garden and a bar with organic drinks and beers from sustainable or local companies.
willaby is an Athens based design studio that took off on Instagram and makes Western-style children’s bedding, blankets and accessories using cotton gauze fabrics that are 100 percent GOTS-certified organic, unbleached, naturally dyed in-house and woven in fair trade-certified mills. willaby supports fair trade-certified textile mills that pay workers a fair wage and provide safe working conditions while still treating the environment with care. willaby practices a no-waste policy, recycling all of the packagings that comes into the studio into gift wrap and turning fabric scraps from the manufacturing process into woven rugs.
Moranel Gober is a sophomore fabric design major from Rabun County who interns at willaby.
“It’s something that because it’s handmade and artist made, it’s something you can’t really find in the stores,” Gober said. “You can have these items that are one of a kind and are not mass produced.”