3 U.S. Small Businesses Recognized For Green “Do-It-Yourself” Products and Services

man standing inside yurt construction.
man standing inside yurt construction.
Spotlight on Biodegradable Paint, Handmade Yurts and Vertical Gardens; $5,000 Prizes Awarded to CO, IN and TN Companies Focusing on DIY

WASHINGTON, D.C.— March 10, 2016 —Small businesses in Colorado, Indiana and Tennessee that promote green do-it-yourself (DIY) products and services were announced today as the winners of Green America’s quarterly “People & Planet Award.” The three winners of $5,000 prizes are: Colorado Yurt Company of Montrose, CO; Garden Tower Project of Bloomington, IN; and The Real Milk Paint Company of Hohenwald, TN. The three winners were selected by the public during a month-long online voting period.

The Award recognizes innovative U.S. small businesses that integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations.

Fran Teplitz, Green America’s executive co-director, said: “The ‘do-it-yourself’ concept is already important to consumers who wish to live “greener,” and these businesses take the concept to a new level. When we choose DIY products, particularly ones that promote sustainability and minimize environmental impact, we benefit both people and the planet.”

The winning companies are:

  • Colorado Yurt Company, Montrose, CO. Colorado Yurt Company’s dwellings are crafted by hand and customized for each use. The dwellings come in kits and use far fewer natural resources than a traditional stick-built structure, and leave a very light footprint on the earth.
  • Garden Tower Project, Bloomington, IN. Garden Tower Project’s mission is to transform gardening, urban agriculture and food sustainability around the globe. The Garden Tower 2™ is a self-contained vertical garden/eco-system which grows food, easily and naturally. 
  • The Real Milk Paint Company, Hohenwald, TN. The Real Milk Paint Co. is committed to making the safest paints and finishes in the industry. Disposing of unused Real Milk Paint in the garden or yard is recommended. It will actually fertilize and nourish the soil.

Dan Kiger, president of the Colorado Yurt Company said, "Our company will use the People & Planet Award to bring affordable, energy code-compliant yurts to our customers and encourage sustainability throughout our supply chain – such as through our partnership with the manufacturer of recycled denim insulation we provide with our yurts. The People and Planet Award generously supports Colorado Yurt’s mission to bring low-impact, leave-no-trace, do-it-yourself structures to our customers."

Kristi Armes, Business Manager at the Garden Tower Project said, "We are currently experimenting with sugar cane based bio-plastics for the future production of the GT2 (Garden Tower 2). If we are successful, we will be able to take the already revolutionary GT2 and reinvent the way gardening products are manufactured. Growing 50 plants in just four square feet in a truly sustainably manufactured system would be incredible. We will be using part of the award to help further our R&D efforts towards making fresh food available to anyone, anywhere utilizing a system which is actually net positive to the environment. The remainder of the award will be used to fund local food initiatives in our community.”

Dwayne Siever, owner of The Real Milk Paint Company said, "We will use the award to make more how-to videos and expand Real Milk Paint into the general marketplace. Milk paint is one of the most versatile paints out there, and because it is water-based, you can freeze it for future use. Also you can dispose of it on your garden or grass when you are finished, because it is non-toxic and its lime content will actually benefit your plants.”

The next round of Green America’s quarterly award will be given to three green small businesses that focus on organic products and services.

The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Tess O’Brien, Clean Power Perks, Jennifer Snyder, Clif Bar; Erlene Howard, Collective Resource, Inc., Jenny Burns, Honest Tea; Jonathan Reinbold, Organic Valley; Martin Wolf, Seventh Generation; and Andrew Korfhage and Fran Teplitz, both of Green America.


Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org.


Please contact Todd Larsen by email 
or by phone at 202-872-5307.