Mikel began his career in 1991, where he worked on historic renovation projects in Portland, Oregon, learning to bring old flooring, windows, doors, and light fixtures back to life. The experience compelled him to consider the social and environmental benefits of working with affordable, environmentally low impact building materials. In no time, he found himself volunteering for the non-profit ReBuilding Center, the largest retail salvage shop in the nation.
A half dozen years later, Mikel wanted to learn how people in other parts of the world lived sustainably on the earth. In 1997, he traveled to Nueva Esparanza, El Salvador where he helped build houses made from local materials. The driving force of the community was women, many with husbands and sons who were killed during the country’s brutal civil war.
Mikel’s experience in El Salvador only intensified his desire to travel and learn about sustainable living. He worked in other intentional communities in southern Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala then made his way to Wales, where he studied grey water pond systems and other bio remediation strategies at the Center for Appropriate Technology. Moving on to France, Mikel put some of his new found skills to work at a large vineyard that practiced sustainable agriculture. For another year and a half, Mikel continued to travel across the Western Sahara, through Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso, then on to Nigeria where he learned how communities lived sustainably in African bioregions. These travels only confirmed his believe that the world is truly a global village, where the actions of one community have ripple affects across the planet our challenge is to try to try to make sure our impact is positive.
Back home in California’s Central Coast, Mikel and three university friends established Four Elements Farm, an intentional community where members and interns can work on an organic farm, practice permaculture technologies and learn natural building techniques.
In 2003 Mikel read an article that Cal Poly was planning to build new student housing, and was dismayed to learn the it would incorporate few green techniques. The environmental activist saw an opportunity and seized it. He organized a forum to show developers how to design campus buildings with an eye to conserving natural resources, cutting energy costs and ensuring healthy indoor air. The developers took Mikel’s words to heart; upon completion the university’s housing project was awarded a LEED certificate. In the process, Mikel discovered that his efforts had a ripple effect; people in the Central Coast began asking him where them could obtain green building materials. The questions sparked another idea from which Green Goods was born in 2005.
Mikel Robertson is the licensed general contractor for Green Goods and the manager of the Green Good’s retail showroom in San Luis Obispo. As a member of the Sustainable Builders Council, he has made numerous presentations regarding environmentally preferable materials, greywater and waste diversion techniques. He is also founder and executive committee member of SLO Green Build, a local non-profit whose mission is to provide architects, engineers, contractors, developers, and other building professionals with the proper tools to build sustainable projects.