Of course, large green companies are still the exception; the rule remains smaller grass-roots organizations—in the case of Straw Sticks & Bricks
in Kansas City, Missouri, and Lincoln, Nebraska, literally grassroots. Owner Jen Carlson formed the company in 2001, soon after she and partner Josh Shear completed construction of their straw-bale home. "We realized that there were no local or regional sources for sustainable materials in the Midwest," she recalls, "so we set out to bring these options to our community. Green building materials won't be used if they are hard to find."
Among the products pictured here in their Kansas City store are bamboo tambour wall paneling, Kirei Board made of sorghum-stalk agricultural waste, reclaimed barn wood used for trim, natural linoleum Marmoleum Click flooring, and particle-board stand-in Dakota Burl, which is made from sunflower seed hulls.