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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bluegrass PRIDE: Finding businesses that share your green values a mouse click away


By Sandy Bottoms
KyForward columnist

I’ve lived in Lexington for a total of six years now. I came here for the first time in 2004 as a UK freshman. After graduation, I was off to Virginia for grad school and then to Tennessee for a brief stint in Nashville. I moved back to Lexington in early 2011 as a working professional, or as I like to call it, a “real adult.”

One of the things I find myself thinking about pretty frequently is how little I really knew about the area as an undergraduate. When your life revolves around a university campus, it’s easy to forget there are other options out there. Places to shop besides the UK bookstore and Fayette Mall. Places to eat besides the Commons, Pazzo’s and Tolly Ho. Places to live beyond the immediate campus area and Tates Creek Road corridor.

In recent years I’ve learned to branch out. While I definitely enjoy trying out new restaurants and shops based on word of mouth, I’ve found that some of my favorite establishments are the places I know take steps to lessen their impact on the environment. Fortunately some of my friends have similar preferences and are able to point me in the right direction.

Another great resource for finding greener Lexington businesses is the LiveGreenLexington Business Partner list found here. This list breaks down all of the current business partners into categories based on the type of service they provide, such as restaurants and bars, retail outlets, grocery stores, and recreation. These categories make it easy for me to find and support businesses that share my green values.

I’ve also found that I have more need for services beyond the standard food, retail and housing categories. The LiveGreenLexington Business Partner list has helped me out here as well. Partner categories such as health and wellness providers, veterinarians, automotive services and landscapers all promise to make my “real adult” problems and responsibilities a little easier to deal with.

The list also lets me know how a certain business is addressing its environmental impact – through waste reduction and recycling, through water quality improvement and conservation, and/or through energy conservation.

My favorite recent local business discovery, which I can credit to both a friend’s recommendation and the LiveGreenLexington Business Partner list (so you know it’s good), is North Lime Coffee and Donuts. I first visited North Lime a few months ago and hardly a week has passed since that I’ve been able to resist stopping in for my new favorite latte or a delicious chocolate iced donut. As an added bonus, North Lime is registered as a recycling, water and energy partner so I can feel confident that my purchase is supporting a business that is sincerely trying to minimize its environmental impact.

Next time you’re looking for a new service in Lexington, whether it’s a restaurant for a dinner date or a marketing firm to help you launch your small business, consult the LiveGreenLexington Business Partner list for some greener options. For those in the counties surrounding Lexington, check out the Bluegrass Conservation Partners list here.

Sandy Bottoms is grants administrator at Bluegrass PRIDE, where she oversees a series of small grants for environmental improvement and education projects in several Central Kentucky counties. She has a bachelor’s in geography from the University of Kentucky, as well as a master’s in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia. Before joining Bluegrass PRIDE, she worked with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Contact Sandy at sandy@bgpride.org.



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