Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Interview by:Shane Clark
Chuck Annable is the President/Horticulturist at Green Side Up Garden Center. He is an avid traveler and has visited 49 of the 50 United States. He loves to snorkel, hike, canoe, and explore natural areas.
Q: How did you come to own Greenside Up?
A: I was born in Oberlin, so Im a long-time resident. I studied horticulture and environmental studies in college. I did that for about 10 years. Then ,we had kids and I started up a video store downtown- did that for about 30 years. Now, Im back in Horticulture; this business has been around since 1946, started by the Locke family, so thats why its still called Lockes Greenside Up.
Q: When you think about Oberlin, what words or images come to mind?
A: Its comfortable for me - its home. Its interesting to think about Oberlin when youre away and what you miss about it. For instance, this morning I had coffee in Slow Train and I saw maybe a dozen people that I could have had conversations with.
Ive come to a point in my life now where I need to make a living, and Ive found a way to do that through a green business.
Q: Whats your personal definition of sustainability?
A: Well, see I have issues with it. Because I was born into a family of outdoors people and that term did not exist when I was a kid- the term we used was conservation. That meant to love, appreciate, and use nature wisely, so thats basically what I think sustainability is. Im glad people are coming around to it, and Ive come to a point in my life now where I need to make a living, and Ive found a way to do that through a green business.Theres the extreme earth first point of view, but then you have to figure out how you are going to live in the world and make a living. People look at me and think, Oh, hes a businessman, but Ive always tried to be a businessman in a green way. I think what I do is really sustainable; Ive never been extravagant. On an individual basis, I think we help a lot of people in this town build and garden better.
Q: So youve been talking about what makes Green Side Up conservation-orientedIs there anything that you do in your personal life to support the Oberlin community?
A: Well, Ive been on a lot of boards of nonprofits here in Oberlin, just trying to help people do things that are good for the community. Ive been on the Oberlin History Center board, the Oberlin Community Improvement Corporation, for example. Were pretty involved in the school system with theater and band boosters.
Q: Why do you think its so important to be involved in those ways?
A: We live here, and were involved whether we want to be or not. I cant say I do it for any altruistic reason- its just because were here and thats what we do.
Q: Is there anything you would like to tell people in Oberlin about sustainability?
A: I just wish that everyone would take care of themselves first, if everyone could do the best they can for their situation. I think people need to look in the mirror and just do everything they personally can first. There needs to be an understanding of how to encourage nature, and allow nature, and do more personally to make this place look nice. Green Side Up is here as a resource, and I wish more people would take advantage of the resources available in Oberlin.Im just trying to enjoy our natural environments, kind of quietly. I dont really have an ax to grind, teaching people about nature. I just sort of want them to find their own reason to come to it, enjoy it, protect it, and conserve it.
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