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GREEN TIPIf you want to do one simple thing on Earth Day that will have a positive long-term impact on the planet, become a member of a food co-op.  

Treehuggers... in every sense of the word

Food co-op members live lightly on the planet every day.  Most food co-ops offer many items in bulk bins, so you can buy exactly as much as you need, reducing food waste.  Bulk buying also allows you to reuse your own storage containers.  This reduces the packaging cost to producers, creating a cost savings that can be passed on to members, and minimizes the amount of packing materials entering the waste stream.

Food co-ops feature food grown locally, which means less energy is spent getting the food from the field to your plate and means you are getting fresh food picked at the peak of ripeness.  They feature seasonal and local food from farmers using sustainable agriculture methods, which means the air, water and land surrounding our community is clean and healthy.  Though “local” has popped up in conventional grocery stores in recent years, retail food co-ops are leaps and bounds ahead of the pack. Where conventional grocers work with an average of 65 local farmers and food producers, food co-ops work with an average of 157. Likewise, locally sourced products make up an average of 20 percent of co-op sales compared to 6 percent at conventional stores.

Years after creating the market for organic foods, co-ops are still the place to find them. Of produce sales at food co-ops, 82 percent are organic, compared to 12 percent for conventional grocers. And, organics make up 48 percent of grocery sales in food co-ops, compared to just 2 percent in conventional stores.

If you only have time to do one thing to celebrate Earth Day, take two minutes and become a member of the Prairie Roots Food Co-opnew Prairie Roots Food Co-op.

  • In honor of the 44th anniversary of Earth Day, the first 44 new members on April 22, 2014 will get a free burlap co-op tote bag
  • All new members in April will be entered in a drawing to win one of two $50 Visa gift cards
  • You can sign up online at or visit with Prairie Roots volunteers on Earth Day at MSUM’s Sustainable Lunch from 11 AM – 1 PM outside Hagen Hall
  • Or at the Fargo Theater before and after Adam Rome’s lecture about the history of Earth Day at 7:30 PM
  • Prairie Roots will also be hosting a reception at Ecce Art Gallery from 3 – 7:30 PM where you can take a whirl at grinding your own breakfast with our people-powered grain grinder, register to win a free gift bag full of products from Prairie Roots Online Market, and learn more about the new food co-op coming to our community.

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic, and locally produced food.  The future food co-op will be a member-owned natural foods, full-service, retail grocery store in the Fargo-Moorhead area that will be open to both members and the public.  Their weekly online market provides over 250 local products from 15 area farmers.  Prairie Roots needs 200 more members to reach their initial membership target in July and stay on schedule to open a retail food co-op in 2015.  More information at

Source: Kaye Kirsch from Prairie Root Food Cooperative

For information about what is happening for Earth Day and Earth Week all around the Fargo Moorhead area, visit Valley Earth Resource at

Instead of a web pick of the week, this week My Green Side is having a GIVEAWAY.My Green Side Giveaway

One listener during the Simple Tips for Green Living radio segment (today only, April 22nd, 2014) on The Christopher Gabriel Program will be chosen at random to win a gift package with includes two Early Bird tickets to the upcoming Eco Chic’s Junk Market, a burlap Prairie Roots Food Co-op reusable bag and a sample pack of The Honey Bee Soap Company’s amazing soap.

The Christopher Gabriel Program is a live radio show that airs from 11am to 2pm (central) every Monday through Friday.

  • Listen online at Click on “Click Here to Listen Live.”
  • Listen on your radio in Fargo Moorhead and the surrounding areas at AM 970 WDAY.
  • Listen via your WDAY radio app. Free for iPhone and Droid platforms at your App Store.


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Eco Chic Boutique opened in June of 2010 as a home for eco-friendly products for baby, mom and home. It has Eco Chicbecome the go-to place for repurposed furniture, Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, locally made gifts, home decor, vintage decor and a place to go for DIY inspiration. Just walking in the door makes you want to redecorate, repurpose and paint things.

They also brought the Junk Market, the first ever “junkers” event of it’s kind, to Fargo.

The Junk Market is an event hosted by Eco Chic Boutique and it has grown so much that this May’s event will be located at the River River Valley Fairgrounds. It has multiple vendors all under one roof from around the area and its filled with reclaimed vintage furniture, home décor and JUNK!

Here are the details:Eco Chic Junk Market

Event Date:

Saturday, May 10th, 2014
8am to 10am  Early Bird Admission
10am to 5pm  General Admission
(Rain or Shine, it’ll be awesome!)


Eco Chic Junk Market early bird sold outEARLY BIRD ADMISSION: $20 SOLD OUT
Get the first shot at all the cool stuff!  You’ll get two hours of shopping (8am – 10am) before the doors open for regular admission. There will also be coffee and donuts.
Regular admission is $5.  Cash or check only please.
(Children 12 and under are free).
Sorry, no pets inside the event area. (Service animals only)


Red River Valley Fairgrounds
Hartl Ag Building
1805 West Main Avenue
West Fargo, ND 58078

The Early Bird Admission tickets are SOLD OUT but Eco Chic has generously given My Green Side a pair of tickets to give away! The tickets will be given away during the Simple Tips for Green Living radio segment on The Christopher Gabriel Program during the Earth Day (April 22nd, 2014) broadcast! THANK YOU!

You can stream the Simple Tips for Green Living segment at approximately 1220pm (CT) every Tuesday at, get the WDAY app on your iPhone or Droid or, if you’re in North Dakota or Western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

You can also try to win a pair of ticket over at The White House Boutique. Visit the lovely to find out more!

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GREEN TIP: Avoid toxic flame retardants whenever possible. Choose products made from less flammable natural materials or made by manufacturers who use safer alternatives.

Chemical flame retardants have become very common in consumer products. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), some of the most toxic are brominated fire retardants (BFRs), which include chemicals known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

Our nation’s chemical laws don’t adequately protect us from the harmful effects of flame retardants and these chemicals are commonly found in our homes and offices.

Scientists have found that exposure to even small amounts of toxic fire retardants such as PBDEs at critical points in development can damage reproductive systems and cause deficits in motor skills, learning, memory and hearing, as well as changes in behavior. And, according to Rodale News, research on PBDEs suggest the chemicals interfere with thyroid hormones and they can affect neurological development.

Read EWG’s report on PBDEs in mothers and their toddlers to learn more about children’s exposures.

Until all PBDEs are banned from consumer products (including imports) and fire safety regulations are revised to promote safer solutions, American families – especially our children – will continue to be needlessly exposed to harmful chemicals.

PBDEs are most commonly found in polyurethane foam products (like couches and upholstered chairs, mattresses and pads, futons, pillows, children’s car seats and carpet padding, among many others), but are also in hundreds of other everyday products, including electronics equipment (like TVs, remotes, and cell phones), lighting, wiring, building materials, textiles, furniture and industrial paints.

One way you can reduce you family’s exposure  is to avoid toxic flame retardants whenever possible. Choose products made from materials that are naturally fire resistant or made by manufacturers who use safer alternatives. Click here to download the EWG’s PDF guide to PBDEs.

Some parents are concerned that their children will be exposed to chemicals while wearing fire-retardant pajamas. Pajamas are not treated with PBDEs, though synthetic fabrics are often made with a chemical additive to make them fire resistant. Chemicals used in sleepwear labeled “fire resistant” will remain in the fabric for at least 50 washes. To avoid any chemicals in sleepwear and reduce the risk of igniting sleepwear, EWG suggests you choose natural fibers that are inherently fire resistant and snug-fitting. And, of course, keep kids away from matches, candles and cigarettes. Source: Environmental Working Group

 Benefits of Wool:

  • Wool is a breathable natural material.
  • Wool can be produced sustainably.
  • Wool is hypoallergenic.
  • Wool will not harbor dust mites. Dust mites don’t like wool!
  • Wool resists bacteria.
  • Wool is fire resistant.
  • Wool is cool in the summer yet warm in the winter.
  • Unlike down bedding which uses plucked down feathers, a sheep grows a coat of wool annually and is not harmed during the shearing process. More information about down bedding production.
  • Wool surpasses synthetic fill in terms of quality, durability, breathability, sustainability, and the embodied energy and chemicals needed to produce synthetic fill.
  • Unlike down bedding which shifts over time (ie. bare spots in a comforter), wool stays in place.
  • With proper care your woolen bedding can last for decades.
  • Wool can be composted and recycled at the end of it’s lifecycle.


This week instead of giving you a web pick of the week, My Green Side will be giving one lucky listener an awesome wool pillow from Holy Lamb Organics. See the details at Holy Lamb Organics Giveaway.

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I have fallen in love with a company. This goes beyond a fleeting crush. I’m impressed with everything they do, everything they sell and the thoughtful way they approach reducing their waste… which, by the way, they’ve reduced their waste to nothing. Zero Waste. I even love their name, Holy Lamb Organics. It’s congers up the image of springtime and baby lambs.

I wrote about them at and the owner of the company, Willow Whitton, took the time to write a comment which, of course, made my day.

Let me count the ways:

  • Holy Lamb Organics only uses only organic cotton fabrics and Premium Eco-Wool from local sources. Conventionally grown cotton is dosed with pesticides and probably started as a genetically modified seed.
  • As I mentioned, they are a zero waste company and either reuse or recycle all of their production by-products. Check out their ReKindle Program,

Holy Lamb Organics has donated a wool pillow to a one lucky listener to my segment on The Christopher Gabriel Program.

They hand make these wool pillows using their Premium Eco-Wool batting and cover it with organic cotton Sateen fabric. Pillows made with wool batting are smooth, soft and are available in 3 different thicknesses to suite your comfort: Light Fill, Regular Fill & Extra Thick. These varying thicknesses come in standard size only. They also make a queen or king size pillow in Regular Fill. Please know that your wool pillow will be very fluffy upon arrival, but will settle over time with the weight and heat of your head. This will not change the support and comfort this pillow provides. Expect about 30% compression. For children, they recommend the Light Fill. The regular fill is their most popular thickness.

  • Premium Eco-Wool batting
  • Organic cotton fabric cover
  • Machine washable gentle with special instructions
  • Hand made in Oakville, WA by Holy Lamb Organics

Here’s how one lucky listener will become the owner of an incredible Holy Lamb Organics wool pillow:

  • Listen to Simple Tips for Green Living on The Christopher Gabriel ProgramTuesday, May 15th 2012 at around 1220pm (central). Listen live in North Dakota and western Minnesota on AM 970 WDAY. OR stream the program on your computer anywhere in the world at
  • Call the studio line at 701-293-9000 or 1-888-970-WDAY (9329) when a caller number is announced.

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by Wendy Gabriel

The Christopher Gabriel Program is giving away a fabulous gift every week day from December 1st toCGProgram tote December 24th. THE GREEN SNACK GIVEAWAY IS TODAY (12/09/2009)! Donated by My Green Side, the prize is a fabulous The Christopher Gabriel Program canvas tote filled with some of my favorite organic snacks (when I’m not making my own or munching on fresh fruits or vegtables). LISTEN TO WIN FROM 9AM TO NOON CT!

GREEN TIP: When you reach for your next snack, avoid anything made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Yes, It IS That Bad!

We have a national problem with obesity and sugar (HFCS being the worst) and processed foods are some major factors in that problem. 

In his book, ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine, John La Puma, MD explains that HFCS are “the Jeffrey Dahmer of sugars.”  He goes on to say ”some scientists think that the body processes HFCS differently than it does regular corn syrup and that it decreases our metabolism by tampering with our metabolic hormones.  It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream, raising your triglyceride level.”  

As Sally Fallon explains in her book Nourishing Traditions, fructose is the primary sugar in HFCS and that “research indicates that it is the fructose, not the glucose, moiety of sugar that is the most harmful, especially for growing children.  Yet the greatest increase in sugar consumption during the last two decades is from HFCS used in soft drinks, ketchup and many other fabricated foods aimed at children.” 

Ms. Fallon’s well researched findings show that “studies have positively correlated sugar consumption with heart disease.”  It is implicated as a “causative factor in kidney disease, liver disease, shortened life span, increased desire for coffee and tobacco, atherosclerosis… it is associated with hyperactivity, behavior problems, lack of concentration and violent tendencies.”  And the bad play list goes on.  “Last but not least, sugar consumption is the cause of bone loss and dental decay.”

From  Sugar can make your skin dull and wrinkled.

From the Washington Post: Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury.

Ready to read your labels now?

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Natural Papa
Natural Papa focuses on natural parenting and fatherhood, home remedies for common children’s ailments, homeschooling, green and simple living for families, and natural foods. They are a valuable reference for parents and parents to be.

One of my favorite pieces from Derek Markham, founder of Natural Papa: Providing for Your Family isn’t about Presents, it’s about Presence

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at



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