Our Big Grass World

Big Grass Building Rehab Article on Incident Light

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Big Grass Bamboo Cinderella Story

What about all those, um, legacy prefabs scattered about the landscape? When they’ve outlived their original industrial uses, is the scrapyard the only option? The metamorphosis of a former auto body shop into a retail oasis shows the potential of recycling in place.

“I passed by all the time and edited it out of my view because it was such a dog,” John Hanesworth said of the abandoned ensemble of metal sheds that he and his wife, Duang, eventually converted to their Big Grass Bamboo retail store, selling indoor and outdoor furniture and patio accessories. The site is at the corner of Hildebrand and Beacon on the near North Side.

It looked ugly, but the garage doors suited the indoor-outdoor character of the product line, and there was ample outdoor space for patio display on a highly visible corner.

They hosed the buildings down to get rid of 30 years of grime, painted the metal an earthy light green, powerwashed and stained the concrete interior floors, removed a sheet-metal shade structure and replaced the asphalt paving with crushed granite. (They piled up the asphalt pieces to create a little hill landscaped with giant limestone blocks, plant materials and a pond.)

Working without an architect, Hanesworth made modest alterations to the metal buildings. He lined the garage door openings with pine and affixed awnings above them. He covered the concrete ramps with a boardwalk to create usable space. He enlarged a second-floor opening and dressed it with a window frame from Thailand. He added wood-plank treads to a metal interior stairway leading to a loft, now used to display bedroom furniture. Swags of fabric and suspended bamboo screens partially obscure the exposed roof trusses. Downspouts were cut short to empty into bamboo troughs and then into giant clay rainwater-collection cisterns from Thailand — Big Grass sells them as fast as they come in. A new metal mesh fence protects the outdoor merchandise from theft and vandalism but keeps it visible to passing motorists. A lot of them stop and buy.

Article courtesy of Mike Greenberg and www.incidentlight.com.
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Green Spaces Alliance in voting contest for $25,000 to fund 3 community gardens in low income neighborhoods

Reposted from San Antonio Sustainable Living

Green Spaces Alliance in voting contest for $25,000 to fund 3 community gardens in low income neighborhoods.

Green Spaces Alliance needs your help to obtain a $25,000 grant which will fund the establishment of 3 community gardens in low income parts of San Antonio. The alliance is a one of 10 finalists in a contest sponsored by Markham Vineyards of Napa Valley.

From now until August 24, 2009 you can vote once every day for one of the finalists. The top two vote-getters will receive $25,000.

Right now, Green Spaces is in fifth place and in need of a push. Green Spaces has a track record of achievement, this grant would do San Antonio a world of good.

Vote for Green Spaces Alliance at http://www.markhammarkofdistinction.com/

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Brown is Beautiful!

The Edwards Aquifer Ecosystem of Central Texas is one of our most valuable, irreplaceable and endangered public treasures. The EPA recognizes it as a “Sole Source” water supply. It is the only source of drinking water for millions of Texans.

Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance has started a campaign to give bragging rights to all of us who are pitching in to conserve water this summer. There are three versions of yard signs available for display in your front yard that announce, “I’m not watering – I’m sharing my water with local farmers, our Hill Country springs, or Whooping Cranes.” GEAA members are aware of the need to maintain flows from the Comal and San Marcos springs to provide freshwater that Whooping Cranes (and river outfitters) rely upon for their livelihood. And, doesn’t it just make sense that scarce water resources are better used on food crops than on carpet grass? We want to get these signs out in our neighborhoods as soon as possible – all over the Hill Country! Will you help us spread the message that we all need to share our water resources during the hot summer months?

Yard signs sell for $15 each from GEAA’s office at 1809 Blanco Road in San Antonio. Big Grass Bamboo is also selling these signs on GEAA’s behalf at 637 W. Hildebrand in San Antonio. Please stop in! You can also order signs for $20 (post paid) via GEAA’s website. www.aquiferalliance.org

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Bamboo in the Kitchen

Bamboo is highly sustainable, naturally free of chemicals, and of course, it’s beautiful. These things make it a great alternative to wood for use in the kitchen. Check out a few bamboo options Big Grass Bamboo provides for your kitchen:

Bamboo Flooring /Cabinetry / Countertops
Bamboo is a terrific and safe alternative to wood or other materials for counter tops and cabinetry. Big Grass Bamboo stocks Plyboo brand flooring and Plyboo, a bamboo ply product which uses urea formaldehyde-free adhesives. It can be used for countertops, cabinetry, tables, and anything else you can make from plywood. It is regarded as the best bamboo flooring and bamboo plywood on the market due to its superior hardness rating. All Plyboo products are made from the Moso species of bamboo, which grows to maturity in five to six years. A lot of inexpensive bamboo materials found in today’s marketplace have been harvested too early, resulting in a soft end product. The bamboo used in Plyboo products is harvested from a forest that requires no irrigation, fertilizers or pesticides making it one of the greenest options around.

Bamboo Cutting Boards / Plates / Bowls
Chop food not trees!
Big Grass Bamboo carries Bambu products made from Certified Organic bamboo and bonded with water-based formaldehyde-free adhesives. Each cutting board is hand shaped and finished. Their contemporary designs are indispensible and made to last. Bambu employs a collective that creates all their goods, which means workers have a voice in setting price and compensation. Bambu also joined with 1% For The Planet in 2005 and contributes over 1% of net sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment!

Bamboo Furniture and Accessories
Now that your flooring and cabinets have been installed and filled with Bambu dinnerware, you can focus on accessories. We have a variety of styles of dining tables made from Iron Bamboo which is solid and stronger than steel, yet lightweight and elegant. We even have bamboo booster chairs for the little ones. For the wine enthusiast, we have a sturdy and beautiful wine rack that makes an excellent gift. And don’t forget the bamboo toothpicks!

Stop by our store to see all the naturally gorgeous odds-and-ends to outfit your kitchen with sustainable bamboo!

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Textiles of Thailand

About half of all Thai handicrafts are made up of some form of textile. Textiles are not only important to the Thai economy, but they are also a huge part of the Thai culture. Long ago, the weave, colors, and patterns represented an individual’s tribe and their status within the tribe. Today, nearly 200,000 Northern Thai natives earn their living farming and processing cotton or producing silk and other fabrics for export. Silk produced in Chiang Mai is an especially sought after material as it is regarded as being the best quality in the world. Historically, several regional wars have been spawned in attempts to control production and exporting of silk to other countries.

In more recent years, eco-friendly clothing and other textiles are in the forefront of the fashion industry. This has created a demand for natural and beautiful materials for use in international fashion. Younger Thai men and women are even studying fashion at universities and are creating more cutting edge designs to produce from these fabrics. Many co-ops are forming, creating fair paying jobs for the Thai people. Even the Institute for Science and Technology, Research and Development has become involved in the textile industry. Their projects include researching production methods that save energy, creating earth-friendly dyes, pesticide-free cotton farms and improving quality standards. They have also created resources for best practices and business management methods for Thai entrepreneurs to access freely in an attempt to build their small businesses into successful enterprises.

Big Grass offers many styles of these Thai and Laotian, eco-friendly, handmade clothing and textile items for the home. Designs range from traditional to contemporary fashions. We proudly work with these local co-ops in Thailand and Laos, practicing fair trade purchasing and exporting.

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Recycling is in Bloom

Established in 2006, Bloom set out to provide decent work for disadvantaged Cambodians. Its small studio space is a far cry from the dreadful factories that are so common in Cambodia. Bloom is also on a mission to chip away at the unspeakable human trafficking and sexual slavery issues of Cambodia today. The women that are employed by Bloom create hip, colorful bags made from recycled rice and fish feed bags. Bloom’s Website tells the stories of the women’s awful living conditions prior to their involvement with the studio.

If helping Cambodian women find fulfilling jobs with fair pay AND recycling plastic doesn’t sell you, the bags themselves will. Not only are they beautiful and artful, but they are also strong, well-made bags and are great for lugging around books or groceries. They would make a fantastic gift, too! Big Grass now carries many styles of Bloom’s bags, from messengers and grocery totes to toiletry bags and wallets. Your purchase help Bloom help the environment and women around the globe.

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New Zhi Tea Flavors!

We just received a shipment of Zhi Tea, a gourmet tea company based in Austin. They make the most delicious tea i’ve ever had. No joke. And they have been flying off the shelves here. We are also introducing two new flavors, Moroccan Mint and White Blueberry. We are fully stocked on our best selling blend, Sweet Desert Delight and an array of other exotic flavors. Get them before they are gone!

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Noche Verde - update

Just in – Alamo Beer and Tequilame are participating in Noche Verde. Make sure you tell them thanks for supporting these important organizations that are helping make San Antonio a more sustainable city. Get your tickets online at http://nocheverde.eventbrite.com! and spread the word!

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Noche Verde - a great green party!

To view this invitation online, click here: HERE!

Noche Verde
Thursday, May 14

6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
637 W. Hildebrand (between Blanco & San Pedro)

Big Grass Bamboo invites you for an evening of festivities for a great cause benefiting
BuildSAGreen, Green Spaces Alliance, Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, USGBC - Central Texas Balcones Chapter

Entertainment by Michael Martin & The Infidels (hot off their European tour)
Complimentary Appetizers & Drinks

You’re an important part of growing San Antonio’s consciousness on environmental and social issues. So come on out and meet other folks who are interested in learning more and taking action in your own lives. Have fun, dance, meet new folks, socialize and hear what these four great organizations are doing to help make San Antonio a more livable, sustainable, responsible city.

$10 donation for admittance (did we mention the complimentary eats & drink?)

Reserve your tickets online today: CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS!
Questions? Call 210.313.2445

100% of event proceeds and 10% of all store sales between May 14-17 will be donated to Build SA Green, Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, Green Spaces Alliance and US Green Building Council-Central Texas Balcones Chapter. Help support the good work these organizations are doing to improve quality of life and San Antonio’s future.

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Big Grass is Hiring - Design Industry Sales Team Leader

Since 2006, Big Grass Bamboo in San Antonio has grown to become Texas’ largest retailer of sustainable home and garden decor. The Big Grass lifestyle is one of elegant simplicity and adventure, appreciation of natural beauty and creativity, and respect for the world around us. At Big Grass, we have a vision – and a plan – for becoming a premier sustainable lifestyle brand in the U.S. To achieve this vision, we seek to grow our business by building a team of talented, inspired people who are passionate about sustainability, cultural diversity and fabulous design.

Full position description online

Big Grass Bamboo is building a new wholesale/trade division to work directly with the design trade across the United States. To ensure success, Big Grass is recruiting for a key role as Design Industry Sales Team Leader. This is an unparalleled career opportunity to shape the structure and lead the growth of an entire side of the business. The Design Design Industry Sales Team Leader will work directly with Big Grass Bamboo ownership and external counsel to develop a comprehensive design industry sales program, including identification of markets, creation of product/material documentation, and development/management of industry relationships.

In addition to having a passion for Big Grass Bamboo’s core values of sustainability and cultural diversity, the ideal background for this catalytic role will include: formal training (at the undergraduate or graduate level) in design; ASID or IIDA certification or allied membership; a minimum of two years work experience in the design/architecture fields, preferably with exposure to sales activities including trade shows and design markets; strong communication skills and ability to effectively deliver persuasive information to close sales in person or by phone;
strong sales administration skills, including familiarity with sales CRM/contact management software, and ability to follow through on tasks/commitments.

Salary and commission structure commensurate with experience. For a more detailed position description, please click

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New Stuff...

A few new items we have in stock now! More to come!

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Container has arrived!

Our latest container has arrived! We will be unpacking all the new stuff from Thailand this weekend. I’ll post some pictures of some of the new furniture and décor items as soon as I can take them. Check back in a couple of days!

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