Downtown Las Vegas is Betting on Green
Farmers Market at the "Build a Greener Block" event
By Kelly Bennett
Lately Downtown Las Vegas has been buzzing more than usual. The catalyst was Zappo’s making plans to move into the former City Hall. Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh wants to build the most community oriented city in the world for his company’s corporate campus. He is facilitating this vision through The Downtown Project’s $350 million dollar investment in real estate, startup businesses and education. Also he is developing co-working spaces through Shift Vegas. He is seeking for the local community to join together and voice how they would like to see Las Vegas transform. One of the most exciting elements of this transformation is the local community advocating for eco-conscious and sustainable businesses and projects.
The growing demand for eco-conscious and sustainable businesses and projects are reflected in various grass-root community groups. Leading the eco charge is the Green Jelly. This group is comprised of local green living enthusiast. The core Green Jelly Team includes Brandon Wiegand, Ciara Bryne, Hanan Sabri, Shavonnah Tiera, and Kat Welniak covering a wide range of talent from real estate, film making, organic foods, community activism to construction. The extended network of the Green Jelly includes community members from an eclectic background giving the group a large network. It’s not the stereotypical granola and Birkenstock group which makes this movement more interesting.
A great measurement of how Downtown Las Vegas is shifting into green living is by the turn out for Green Jelly’s first event entitled “Build a Greener Block.” Build a Greener Block was inspired by The Better Block which first took rundown neighborhoods and turned them into a vibrant block in Texas. The three main principles of Build a Greener Block are community, sustainability and support eco-friendly start-ups. Green Jelly put together this stellar event in less than 60 days and raised close to $10,000 in crowd sourcing to cover city permits for the event.
The event featured a community classroom, café, farmers market, free yoga, positive affirmation station, dog park, recycled boutique, bike valet and live music. New food startups including Raw Fusion and Going Organic gave guests previews of the type of businesses soon to come downtown. Over 1,000 attendees came out over the weekend of April 28th and 29th to show their support.
Also various startups are being mindful of environmental and socially consciousness. Business owners are realizing that it’s more than ‘just the right thing’ to act responsibly, it creates a stronger bottom line. Majority of consumers are now putting into consideration the impact their purchases have on the environment. Conscious consumers are highly educated, have brand loyalty and strong buying power even in economic downturns. Just take a look inside a local Whole Foods to get a sense of this type of growing consumerism. They pay more for fair trade, organic and local products.
Las Vegas has had a stigma for lacking community, culture and consciousness. Soon that stereotype will be a thing of the past. This community is evolving, uniting and making socially conscious decisions. It’s too soon to say exactly where this eco-movement will evolve to but from the looks of it, this will add a new dynamic market to diversify and strengthen our economic portfolio.
Bike Valet at the "Build a Greener Block" event
Kelly Bennett is a conscious living activist, conscious consumer marketer, speaker and founder of Vegan Consultant. She is involved in numerous community grass-root projects because of her passion for social change. She enjoys writing about the green and health revolution developing in Downtown Las Vegas. On her free time she loves exploring local vegan eats. To learn more about Kelly and her work, please visit www.veganconsultant.com.