The Milkweed Mercantile – Principled and Profitable

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There’s an eco-artisan company in Northeastern Missouri that isn’t just satisfied with promoting ecological sustainability – it’s running its whole business on it.

The Milkweed Mercantile (part of the Dancing Rabbit eco-village, recently featuring on Morgan Spurlock’s "30 Days") are a cooperative with a fascinating business model. The business is owned equally by all employees, who all receive the same hourly wage and equal share of the end-of-year profits.

But it’s not just about blowing a raspberry in the face of traditional American business practices. Like Dancing Rabbit, The Milkweek Mercantile is energy-independent: power is locally-generated and renewable, building materials are sustainable, gardens are organic, and the fuel for the company’s share-owned vehicles (no single owners) is bio-diesel. The message? You can live entirely by your eco-principles and turn a profit. Our applause is deafening.

Onsite there’s a Bed & Breakfast, an Organic Café and a venue for seminars and special events – and online, the Store, selling artisan products such as this luxurious-looking hemp & cotton grocery tote and this intriguing item, a heat-retaining lunch "box" made from wetsuit material. 

Have a browse…and marvel at what they’ve done with the place.

Image: Per Ola Wiberg

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.