Your Economic Power

Purchasing Power in the Swannanoa Valley

Believe it or not, supporting your local economy is a sustainable practice. Our globalized market creates a huge amount of externalities which jeopardize the well-being of both humans and the environment. Spending your money in a place-based economy helps to perpetuate the ability of those businesses to serve ethical consumers.

Consume Less and More Wisely

Product Lifetime:

Consider how long a product will last before you buy it. The longer it lasts, the more durable it is. The more durable it is the better it usually is for the environment. Disposable and short-lifetime products waste energy because the energy that went into producing them (embedded energy) winds up buried in the landfill quickly. Durable products make longer use of there embedded energy and are thus more energy efficient and often less costly in the long run.


Local food is better for the community and the planet, so choose to eat the local food served in the cafeteria. Eating local supports local farmers, bolsters farm land conservation, and reduces the fossil fuel intensity of the agriculture system. So here is the deal on campus: when you eat local food, dining staff make more, when you eat exotic energy-intensive food, dining staff make more. You have the power! Choose local.

Mugs and Water Bottles:

Bring your mug and water bottle everywhere you go! At Sage Café on campus you save 50% by bringing your own mug. Many other local coffee shops also give discounts for bringing your own mug. Disposable water bottles are energy-intensive to make and it is estimate that 99% wind up in landfills! This simple act significantly reduces the paper, plastic, and Styrofoam sent to landfills.

Grocery Bags:

Paper or Plastic? Neither! Bring your own bags when you go shopping. According to an article in NY Times Magazine, in the US alone we consume 88 million plastic bags and 14 million trees-worth of paper bags annually! This wastes billions of barrels of oil, impacts water and forest health, and causes a mountain of unneeded waste.

Buy in Bulk:

The local grocery stores listed in this guide and the Campus Store have bulk sections where you can buy what you need without all the packaging. Packaging is a huge percentage of our waste stream!


On Campus Resources

freestore sign


The Free Store:

The Recycling Crew manages waste from the college, saving material in good condition that can be reused. Also, anyone in the community can bring their unwanted clothes, books, appliances, furniture, and other odds and ends to the recycling shed (by the garden). They get put in the Free Store for anyone to take; all you have to do is write down what you take and it’s yours. This is a great place to go for new clothes, dishes, room decorations, school supplies, and much more.

Campus Store:

You can find notebooks made out of old book covers and recycled paper, shopping bags made from discarded clothes, natural body care and feminine hygiene products, salves, tea, and balms made by the WWC Garden Crew, fair-trade clothing items, biodegradable plastics, and much more.

Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms:

The Forestry Crew also sells shiitake and oyster mushrooms cultivated in the College forest. Mushrooms are sold door to door or at the garden market.

Farm Products:

The farm sells sustainably raised grass-fed beef and College-grown grain fed pork in quarters and halves, butchered and wrapped according to cuts. Sales take place twice a year. Eggs are also available daily. Visit the Farm website for more information.

community bike shop

Community Bike Shop:

The bike shop helps provide alternative transportation to students, staff, and faculty. The shop can replace broken parts, tune up your bike, fix handlebars, forks, brakes, wheels, and more. The shop will also build you a bike out of donated and salvaged parts! Those who will use the bikes for commuting to work and/or school get top priority. The shop also sells parts at cost—such as tires, cables, brake pads, chains, and tubes.

garden market

Garden Market:

There are two weekly on-campus markets where you can buy delicious produce from the garden: Fridays from 11-1 outside Gladfelter and Tuesdays from 11-4 at the Garden. Markets typically take place May through November. Visit the Garden website for more information.

EcoDorm Permaculture:

There are lots of edible vegetables, fruits and herbs in front of the EcoDorm. The Landscaping Crew and residents of the dorm maintain the permaculture landscape. Anyone is welcome to enjoy the bounty, but please pick respectfully!

The Print Shop:

The Warren Wilson print shop can provide most of your printing and paper needs, including color copying, paper purchasing, and publication. They always use soy-based inks, and source paper with the highest recycled content they can find that is also chlorine-free. That dramatically reduces the environmental impact by saving trees, water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.



The crew sells tinctures from Red Moon Herbs, offers numerous classes in yoga, Pilates, belly dancing, reiki, massage, tai chi, smoking cessation programs, nutrition information, and more. Many of these offerings are free to the Warren Wilson community. Visit the Wellness Office website for more information.


The Forestry Crew provides firewood for staff or faculty members. You can pick up a 12’x4’x18’ load for free. If you need more wood than this, the crew also sells firewood. Wood is harvested sustainably from the College forest. Call x2068 for more details.

Off-Campus Resources


There are several local stores and markets where you can buy local produce and meats, as well as bulk foods. Here are a few:

  • French Broad Food Coop (90 Biltmore Ave)
  • Green Life Grocery (Whole Foods) (70 Merrimon Ave)
  • Earth Fare (66 Westgate Parkway)
  • French Broad Farmer’s Market (Wednesday next to the Co-op downtown)
  • Amazing Savings (on Rt 70 towards Black Mountain) A discount grocery store that often carries organic foods and local produce. There is a 10% student discount with your Wilson ID card.
  • Haywood Road Market (771 Haywood Rd)
  • Ingles Supermarket (The Oteen store on Rt 70 is on the bus route)

Look here for a full list of local businesses selling local food.

Cafes and Restaurants:

The Asheville area is full of cafes and restaurants who take pride in serving fresh local produce and meats. Dining at establishments that feature local food helps local farmers because your food dollars are supporting economic viability of local farms.

Look here for a full list of local businesses serving local food.

Books, Music, Art Supplies, Clothes, etc. :

There are a lot of local and reused options. Here are a few popular with WWC students:

  • Malaprops Bookstore (55 Haywood St): Locally owned and operated independent bookstore and coffee shop. Nice music selection too.
  • Downtown Books and News (67 N Lexington Ave): A used bookstore downtown with great books and a nice atmosphere.
  • Spiritex (61 N Lexington Ave): Sustainably produced and fair traded clothing.
  • True Blue Art (30 Haywood St): Quality art supplies at discount prices
  • Goodwill (1011 Patton Ave; 86 S Tunnel Rd; 1616 Patton Ave)
  • Holy Organic ( An Asheville-based online store featuring organic cotton apparel, hemp, natural body products and more.