Green City Guide: Austin

Shopping Guide

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Austin is one of those cities where independent business thrives and farmers markets are always full of beautiful produce. This "city within a park" exists inside of a Texas greenbelt — a network of streams, vegetation, and drop-dead gorgeous scenery all made possible by the Colorado River. It seems only natural that in such a beautiful setting, earth-friendly businesses should crop up. Here are just a few of our recommendations for local places to shop sustainably.

Building Supply Stores

506a34f774c5b64b05000e83. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop House + Earth
A recent addition to the Austin eco-friendly home and building supply store population is the new House+Earth. They have a zero-VOC paint bar, Marmoleum flooring, and countertop options ranging from concrete to recycled glass to reclaimed wood.

50940b0cdbd0cb0349000612. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Elegantly Green Home
All of this remodeling showroom's products are green in some way, like FSC-certified woods, LEED certified cabinetry, low or no-VOC finishes, recycled materials, and products made with formaldehyde-free glues.

5094081fdbd0cb03540005c5. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Eco-Wise
Eco-Wise, Austin Chronicle's winner of "Best Green Business" two years running, runs the green gamut. They've got you covered when it comes to green building, natural pet care, and even office supplies.

Vintage Furniture Stores

509405c7dbd0cb032f000617. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Room Service You Can Afford
This store, located in the North Loop area of Austin (near Hog Wild Vintage), supplies Austinites with funky, cool and reasonably priced furnishings. Along with the usual assortment of vintage sofas, chairs, tables and desks, Room Service also has a great selection of lamps, chandeliers, pillows, and fabrics.

509406a0dbd0cb03540005b8. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Hog Wild Texas Vintage Austin
Full of low prices and kitschy finds, Hog Wild has furniture like couches, coffee tables and dining sets. They have a great variety of vintage lamps to choose from and good-looking retro accessories.

509407cddbd0cb032f00062e. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Uncommon Objects
They have nook after nook of antiques, oddities and furniture, and it can be downright overwhelming, especially for the first time visitor. But it's also exactly the kind of place where you'll come across some unique object that you'd never find anywhere else.

Home Decor and Accessories

50940694dbd0cb034f0005d5. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Wildflower Organics Austin
Their colorful showroom is the definition of eco-luxury. Their inventory is impressive, especially in the bedding and mattress department, and they also have continual sales areas where organic bedding deals can be found.

50940639dbd0cb0358000620. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Sanctuary Austin
While it doesn't market itself as an eco-store, Sanctuary carries many of the things we associate with green style in Austin: low-maintenance native succulents, driftwood candelabras, handmade jewelry and prints — all with a stylish, modern aesthetic.

Markets and Farms

5093ef1bd9127e2f1c000458. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Austin Farmers Market
It takes place in 3 main locations: Downtown on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm (at 4th and Guadalupe), in Sunset Valley on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm (3200 Jones Road) and at the Triangle (46th and Lamar) on Wednesdays from 4 pm to 8 pm.

5093ef1cdbd0cb03580004f4. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Boggy Creek Farm
Since 1992, Boggy Creek has been a certified organic farm. It consists of five acres and a historic house in East Austin, where they grow warm and cool weather crops. They sell produce at a stand on the farm and supply the local Whole Foods.

5094007edbd0cb0354000552. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Farm to Market Grocery
This tiny store stocks an astounding 4,000 items, over 30 percent of which are sourced locally. Flowers from Boggy Creek Farm, Alexander Farm pastured eggs, Brazos Supreme Goat Milk Ice Cream and Pure Luck Cheese share space with necessities like toilet paper and household gadgets like whisks and spatulas.

Garden Stores

5093ef1dd9127e2f16000432. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop The Great Outdoors
Open since 1985, this nursery offers landscape design, expert installation, and a whole host of other services. Artfully decorated and thoughtfully laid out, visitors to the garden center can walk on paths that will take you by regional plants, plants for butterflies, water fountains, and giant wind chimes.

50940863dbd0cb03490005f1. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop The Natural Gardener
John Dromgoole's nursery is chock-full of gorgeous plants, but it's also a place to learn every caveat of organic gardening in Texas. With the Texas heat, of course, drought-resistant plants and xeriscaping are at the forefront of sustainable landscaping, and there's a xeriscape garden for inspiration and tips.

This is just a small selection of green businesses in Austin. For more complete listings, click through the following links.

Austin Stores on Marketplace
A Green City Guide to Austin on Re-Nest

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Photo: Wildflower Organics