Photo Credit: TN
Central Florida Eco-Wonderland: Where Sustainable Tourism Meets Fun
Central Florida is known for its theme parks, diverse cities and popular foodie spots that bring people to visit worldwide. The sunny state’s popular region offers much more than meets the eye regarding eco-friendly initiatives that fuel its sustainable tourism. From small businesses and accommodations to foodie hot spots, Central Florida is transforming into an eco-wonderland where sustainability and fun go hand in hand. Here are a few examples of places that are making a difference in their communities.
Sustainable Small Businesses
Florida is witnessing a surge in small businesses that prioritize eco-friendly and sustainable practices to help their communities thrive amid uncertain times. Between eco-conscious shops, zero-waste stores and local organic farmers’ markets, visitors can support these businesses and know every purchase will align with their environmental values.
Focused on sustainable and eco-friendly practices, Aeffect Salon significantly impacts their community by prioritizing education, improving skills, and hosting classes with renowned educators. Their green-centered space houses their sustainable beauty products, upcycled furniture, LED lighting, low VOC paint, and air-purifying greenery along with partnering with Green Circle Salons to recycle materials used in the salon. They are also KWPB certified and partnered with 1 percent for the Planet in 2022. Their commitment to the local community extends to partnering with small businesses, hosting local events and raising donations for causes they believe in and affect their community.
Winter Park Farmers’ Market
Winter Park Farmers’ Market is Central Florida’s number one produce and plant market with a wide range of fine produce, plants and baked goods. They have limited vendor space for their all-consumable products. The State of Florida Agriculture or Business Regulations approve and license vendor permissions to ensure quality and adherence to sustainable regulations. The market provides a vibrant community gathering place and prioritizes sustainable environmentally-positive business practices.
Oh-Eco is a zero-waste local small business dedicated to promoting sustainable living throughout Orlando, Florida. With a range of environmentally friendly products, they empower visitors to lead purposeful lives while minimizing their ecological footprint. By advocating for greener living, Oh-Eco makes sustainable initiatives more accessible to their community. They believe sustainable and environmentally-friendly living should be the norm, not just an option.
Central Florida has a range of eco-friendly accommodations catering to environmentally conscious travelers. From solar-powered hotels to eco-lodges nestled in lush nature reserves, these establishments prioritize energy conservation, waste reduction and sustainable practices. Imagine waking up to the sound of birdsong, surrounded by pristine natural landscapes, all while knowing your stay has minimal environmental impact. Here are a few examples of local stays that make sustainability a priority:
Green Key Villages
Green Key Village is a sustainable and eco-friendly living community in Lady Lake, Florida. Solar-powered homes produce as much energy as they consume for minimal monthly energy bills. The houses are charming with a tropical-inspired design that prioritizes efficiency without compromising modern features. They offer a variety of Builder’s Warranty for better quality and longevity of their homes.
Treehouse In The Woods – Kissimmee, FL
Treehouse In The Woods is an enchanting and sustainable escape among the treetops. This unique bungalow is a high-class camping experience with the comforts of a first-class hotel surrounded by serene nature. This private and tranquil haven in the woods is a peaceful getaway from the bustling Central Florida cities.
Eco-Friendly Modern Rainbow River Spring House – Dunnellon, FL
This Eco-Friendly Modern Rainbow River Spring House was a meticulously updated mid-century modern home that offers a relaxing vacation and even rental kayaks to float along the local springs. The Rainbow River is a vital ecosystem that these homeowners aim to help preserve. They also provide 5-stage reverse osmosis drinking water and ice to eliminate the need for bottled water.
Central Florida’s commitment to sustainability extends to its culinary scene with farm-to-table restaurants that emphasize locally sourced and organic ingredients. Visitors also can support local farmers as they savor the regional and cultural flavors. Foodies can explore restaurants and food festivals showcasing fresh, sustainable fare.
KOS Coffee & Bodega – Winter Park, FL
Between Winter Park and Maitland, the KOS Coffee & Bodega is a local beacon of sustainability and social impact in a warm, welcoming cafe design. As a Social Enterprise Coffee Shop and Micro Roastery, they prioritize people over profits, while making sourced specialty coffee. By paying higher than fair wages to their partnering farmers and practicing sourcing transparency, KOS fosters positive change within the coffee industry. Additionally, they contribute 10 percent of all profits to educational charities and non-profits in underserved communities as a commitment to creating a better world locally and globally.
Purple Ocean Superfood Bar – Orlando, FL
This Orlando-based vegan restaurant offers a taste of Puerto Rico while promoting well-being through healthy eating. Founder and owner Josiah Candelaria’s vision bring Brazilian Açaí and Central American Pitaya with a touch of Puerto Rican flavor. They proudly serve the organic, raw, and vegan community looking for fast, organic, and sustainable treats throughout Orlando. Purple Ocean Superfood Bar also has a food truck that is great for health-conscious individuals who live in different local areas.
Fat Beach Farm, Kitchen, and Bakery – Tampa, FL
Fat Beet Farm, Kitchen, and Bakery have a closed-loop system where food is grown, cooked, and composted to create organic fertilizers for future crops. As pioneers of the Farm-to-Table movement, they’ve curated local and seasonal dishes by embracing regenerative agriculture and rain collection. Their coastal farming efforts create a thriving environment for plants and animals for sustainable farming. Fat Beet Farm is a Central Florida beacon of environmental responsibility and a true farm-to-fork mainstay.
Indigenous Restaurant – Sarasota, FL
Indigenous Restaurant only uses seasonal American cuisine for a thoughtfully crafted menu based on peak ingredient availability, including sustainable seafood sourced from local fishers, artisans, and farmers. It’s a renowned top Native American cuisine restaurant passionate about promoting better food systems in its local area. The historic building in Sarasota’s Towles Court district gives the year-round indoor and outdoor dining areas a comfortable and sophisticated atmosphere.
Despite the current socioeconomic and political climate, people in Central Florida are trying to build sustainable communities and eco-focused local businesses. Visit the region and witness the growing eco-wonderland that will inspire you to make environmentally and health-conscious choices as you explore the sunshine state’s most popular region.