During a recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the city’s commitment to proactively addressing topics including climate change and sustainability on display. Asheville is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy environment for its community.  In 2008, the city created its Office of Sustainability to integrate sustainable design, technology, and practice into municipal operations, infrastructure, and services.

Goals of the Asheville Office of Sustainability include:

  • 4% annual carbon reduction goal for municipal operations
  • A food policy action plan
  • 50% municipal solid waste reduction goal by 2035
  • 100% renewable energy goal for municipal operations by 2030

Visit www.ashevillenc.gov to learn more.

Our girls’ week-long stay in Asheville was filled with delicious BBQ, beautiful mountain scenery, and an abundance of good fun.

Girls Trip to Asheville
Here are a few of the wonderful places we visited in Asheville, each making joyful changes for themselves and the planet.

Kress Emporium

Exploring the Kress Emporium would be a great cold/rainy day activity. It is in a large space on one of the main blocks just off downtown.  Kress Emporium showcases the work of over 80 regional artists and crafts. Its booths have a huge variety of things for sale, and it was easy to find something that generated a smile or a laugh.

At the Kress Emporium, it was also easy to find products that are kind to the planet, such as:

  • earrings and pouches made from recycled bicycle inner tubes
  • soap, candles, and cologne made with local organic ingredients
  • biodegradable, eco-friendly leather handbags
Up-cycled Inner Tubes

Not far from Kress is the Spiritex clothing store selling 100-percent organic cotton apparel, sustainably manufactured using eco-friendly dyes. They even have a women’s butterfly dress and skirt collection, all designed with the imagery of local butterflies. 

LEAF Global Arts 

“The closest distance between two people is a story, a song, or a dance.”

Our last stop on the tour was a wonderfully welcoming community center. LEAF Global is a creative immersive experience that weaves together elements of an interactive museum with an arts center.  The organization believes that by honoring cultural differences and embracing meaningful connections, they can create more equity in their communities. For more information on the good work going on here check out www.leaf.org

LEAF Global Arts
We commend the city of Asheville’s commitment to sustainability. 

Take a look around the next city you visit.  Are they making conscious decisions about how to be more sustainable?  How about your own city?

Mary Shane

This OPL in the Field experience was shared by Mary Shane, OPL’s Quaintrelle.  Learn more about Mary.