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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Green Living

Lisa and Swee Sim

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Lisa and Swee Sim have been involved in the green movement for the past 25 years. Lisa, a native of Milwaukee, is a culinary artist by trade, while Swee, originally from Singapore, is a former Wall Street financial consultant. The Sims’ passion for social issues, Earth-friendly products and healthy lifestyles led them to open the environmentally responsible store Future Green in 2003. Since then, Future Green has been making a positive impact in the Milwaukee area through its community classes, fair trade expos, bio-diesel production and beautiful art crawls.

Lisa, your experiences and support ofthe green movement have brought you to live what I call a “green life.” How does one begin practical, everyday, conscious living?

The green movement is a return to living as one with the Earth. It is our attempt to reach out to others and share our concern for healthy living and affordable organic products.

To live practically requires discipline. We try to show others that it is not difficult to be a conscious individual. We live by what we preach. We walk to work every day. Future Green is housed in a “green building” relying on solar power, radiant heating in the floors, a fireplace, recycled bricks, doors, countertops and operable windows. We also produce a monthly newsletter called Green Tips of the Month. So you see, it is not out of the question for one to make small changes that ultimately have a rippling global effect.

What sets Future Green apart from other stores?
Well, Future Green is dedicated to promoting fair trade and making sure that the workers from around the world are fairly compensated for their artistry and craftsmanship. Before we founded Future Green, we traveled around the world and attended various expos. We went to South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and Peru and spoke to weavers, marketers and tradesmen in order to get an idea of what the store would be like. It was a very busy time, but it has been worth it.

What can one expect to find at Future Green?
We offer an array of goods, from home decor to women and men’s clothing items, children’s toys, various cosmetics, gifts, eco-remodeling and gourmet food products.

Where does Future Green get its products from?
We get shipments from select Indian reservations, Women’s Bean Project, Germany and organic conventions in Europe and around the U.S.

What has been the community’s reaction to the store? Have you felt their support for what you are doing?
For the most part, the reactions have been positive. We have regular customers and the beautiful building adds value to the community.

Are there any community events that you are going to host this summer?
Yes. We are partnering with the [South Shore] Farmers’ Market, and we will be a part of the [Midwest] Renewable Energy Fair. Fliers for all these events can be found at the store.

Future Green is located at 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. For more information on the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair and the South Shore Farmers’ Market, visit www.the-mrea.org or the store’s Web site, www.futuregreen.net.

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