Green Buying

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I’m always looking for practical ways for my family to reduce waste – especially plastic waste. Looking at the big picture and stepping outside what’s convenient is important when trying to reduce our family’s impact on the environment.

The Girls

From Earth911.com:

“Traveling from land to sea in the wind or through waterways, plastic pollution is causing extensive damage to our marine life and giving life to one of the greatest ecological disasters of our times.”

I send my girls to school each day with a homemade lunch. They have reusable lunch bags and reusable containers in multiple sizes. Now, thanks to the amazing folks at StrawSleeves, we have some new additions to the lunchbox.

 StrawSleeves Multi-utensil Pack

This multi-utensil pack is not just handy for tucking in a lunchbox, it can be popped into your purse or tucked in the car for road trips. Bottom line, it’s a convenient way to carry reusable utensils so you don’t have to accept disposable plastic ones.

Lunchbox essentials

StrawSleeves Straw Sleeve

This handy reusable straw holder is made from reclaimed denim. Pictured below with a bamboo and a reed straw from StrawSleeves.

StrawSleeves with lunchbox

From StrawSleeves:

“Bring your own reusable straw in this Cloth Sleeve made to hold and carry almost any design of reusable straws in 8 to 9 inch length. This light denim straw sleeve is made of reclaimed denim in a cotton blend. The design is self lined and triple stitched to ensure durability and stand up to frequent washings. It is machine washable and can also be hand washed. The invisible ‘inner cuff’ holds the straw securely and requires no fasteners. You can easily access and replace your straw in the pocket with each use allowing you to refuse disposable options when offered a single use plastic straw.”

The StrawSleeves site also carries reusable straws, straw cleaning brushes and stainless steel spoon straws. To find out more and purchase your own StrawSleeves products, visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/StrawSleeves/.

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Ecocentric Mom is a proud member of 1% For the Planet (1% FTP) which means they have pledged to give 1% of their sales to environmental related charities. This month’s boxes were full of wonderful products from other 1% FTP partners. As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their amazing monthly subscription boxes for review. Ecocentric Mom Box

This is how it works: 

Ecocentric Mom is a natural/green health/home/beauty product discovery subscription service that gives you three different box options: Mom-to-be, Baby Box, or Mom Box. Boxes ship monthly. Ecocentric Mom works hard to pack the very best of the best in each and every box… and they deliver (pun intended)!

The March Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. The items this month were selected, like I mentioned, to promote some amazing companies that are 1% FTP members. Getting an Ecocentric Mom box each month has been great way for me to learn about healthier products that reduce the amount of toxins in our home.

Here’s a look at the great products I received this month and I’ve also included some discount codes that you can use:

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GoodLight Natural Birthday Candles ($2.99 for a 12-count box) I was so excited to see this product! I am a huge fan of paraffin-free candles but have never found birthday candles. GoodLight Natural Candles has two stated missions: to provide the most affordable paraffin-free candles in the country, and to create a healthier planet by contributing to the sustainable production of palm oil as well as 1% For the Planet organizations that protect rainforests and endangered wildlife. The adorable colored birthday candle assortment is made with 100% palm wax and pure cotton wicks. These would make a cute addition to any birthday gift… maybe tuck a box of these adorable candles with a gift card or check out their website for a number of other products.

Visit https://www.naturalcandles.com/ to find out more about GoodLight Natural Candles and use promo code “EAKDLD” for 25% off all scented candles.

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U Konserve Food Kozy Snack Wrap ($6.49 for 2-pack) U Konserve offers a full line of quality, safe and reusable food-storage solutions designed to reduce the enormous amounts of food packaging garbage that end up in our landfills and our oceans. It’s easy to clean, dries quickly and the smooth surface is ideal for messy foods. This product is a great addition to any family that is packing lunches, going on road trips or having picnics at the park.

For more information about their complete line of reusable food-storage products, visit http://www.kidskonserve.com/ and use promo code “ECOMOM20” for 20% off your order.

Mattole Valley Naturals Vanilla Plant Protein ($3.50 for 30g, $39.95 for 454g) Mattole Valley Naturals is a family conceived, owned and operated business. Their nutritional products are made without unnatural additives, fillers or binders. The Vanilla Plant Protein is an easy and delicious way to add a boost of protein without any bad stuff.

Visit http://mattolevalleynaturals.com/ to find out more about Mattole Valley Naturals and their amazing products use promo code “ecocentricmom25” to get 25% off your order.

Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze ($2.49 per pack) This is a perfect on-the-go gluten-free breakfast or snack. It’s kid approved “yummy” and is a great blend of whole grain rolled oats, flax and fruits. It’s also Non-GMO Project Verified which is something I’m always looking for when I buy food for my family.

To find out more about Munk Pack, visit http://store.munkpack.com/ and use “ECOCENTRIC10” to get 10% off your order.

SIGIL SCENT ‘Balance’ Scent ($4.00 for 1 ml, $90.00 for 50 ml) SIGIL SCENT loads every bottle of their unisex fragrance formulas with pure flower and plant essences and are made without phthalates, parabens, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance or propylene glycol.

Visit SIGIL SCENT at http://www.sigilscent.com/ to find out more about these products and use promo code “ECOMOM30” to get 30% off. 

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All Good Lemongrass Coconut Oil Skinfood ($14.99 for 7.5 oz glass jar) Born from Elemental Herbs, All Good offers a diverse line of organically grown, plant-based formulas that smell good, feel good, and are practical and useful for everyday needs. From skin repair and lip care to sun protection and fast pain relief, the products’ ingredients stay true to the company’s roots by always putting the planet first. I have extremely dry skin so when I received this I put it all over and saw an immediate difference in my skin. It smells amazing too! I will be purchasing more of this product.

To find out how you can get your own All Good products, visit http://www.elementalherbs.com/ and use promo code “ECOMOM25” for 25% off.

LEAP Organics Orange Blossom Lip Balm ($3.49 for 1 lip balm) LEAP Organics is a sustainable, certified organic soap and skincare company based in Boston. All of the company’s products are cruelty-free and the lip balm smells unbelievably good! Their lip balms are made with organic coconut oil and shea butter. In fact, 100% of their products are certified to USDA organic standards.

To find out more about LEAP Organics, visit http://www.leaporganics.com/ and use promo code “LOVE20” to receive 20% off your order.

1% For the Planet is a global movement of companies donating at least 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. To find out more, visit http://onepercentfortheplanet.org/.

1 FTP

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

 

As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their amazing monthly subscription boxes for review.Ecocentric Mom Box

This is how it works: 

Ecocentric Mom is a natural/green health/home/beauty product discovery subscription service that gives you three different box options: Mom-to-be, Baby Box, or Mom Box. Boxes ship monthly. Ecocentric Mom works hard to pack the very best of the best in each and every box… and they deliver (pun intended)!

The January Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. The items this month were selected with the theme of getting a fresh start for the New Year. Getting an Ecocentric Mom box each month has been great way for me to learn about healthier products that reduce the amount of toxins in our home.

Here’s a look at the great products I received this month and I’ve also included some discount codes that you can use:

ACURE Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes ($6.99 for 50 ct.) ACURE was founded on sustainable principles and reasonable pricing to steer people away from toxic chemicals, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice health for beautiful skin and hair. These cleansing towelettes gently remove makeup, dirt, sweat and environmental toxins. They are easy to throw in a bag when you’re on the go and they really work.

IMG_0191Visit http://www.acureorganics.com/ to find out more about ACURE products and use the promo code “ECOMOM20” for 20% off your order and get free shipping on any order of $25 or more.

Rustic MAKA’s Calming Fields Pachy Deodorant (travel size $7.95) This deodorant smells like heaven and really works! I am seriously in love. My plan was to let my tween daughter test this product but I couldn’t stop myself from trying it first because it smelled so amazing. Don’t worry, I will be buying one for her because… it really works! I am even going to pick up one for my husband to try, he is very stubborn about his deodorants so I am continuously trying to find something healthier for him that he’ll actually use.  Each Rustic MAKA’s deodorant is carefully formulated with rich, organic plant-based oils and butters, along with pure powders and plant extracts. They DO NOT contain aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrances or propylene-glycol.

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Go find out where you can get your hands on this product, visit http://www.rusticmaka.com/ and use promo code “EcoMom15” for a 15% discount. I’ll see you there!

Simply Earth Natural Air and Fabric Freshener ($6 for 2.5 oz.) This product is literally a life saver. Simply Earth gives 13% of the profits to human trafficking victims. The air and fabric freshener uses a natural odor eliminator that actually traps the odors and essential oils to make your home and clothes smell amazing. I put it to the ultimate test. My oldest daughter’s cheer team put on a cheer fun night for the younger kids. The fun included learning a few cheers, a pizza party and so on. My husband and I volunteered to pick up the 32 pizzas needed for the evening. We got the pizzas, dropped them off and quickly discovered that, although the pizzas had left the car, the strong pizza smell was remaining. Thankfully, I had Simply Earth’s Natural Air and Fabric Freshener and I used it to deodorize the car… and it really worked!

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Check out http://simplyearth.com/ to find out more about this amazing company. When you’re there use promo code “EcoMom” for 10% off your purchase.IMG_0194

 

Tangie Stain Remover Bar ($5.00 for 3 oz.) This natural stain remover is made with coconut oil, grapeseed oil, soap nuts liquid, oxalic acid, sea salt, citric acid, lemon essential oil and love. This product is tough on stains but gentle on the environment. My youngest daughter loves to wear ballet pink but loves to play tag, football, basketball, soccer, etc. at recess. This results in stains every day so this product has been vigorously tested and has passed with flying colors.

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Visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/ilovetangie to find out more and check out their other great products. Use “Ecomomships” for free shipping and free Laundry Past (up to 12 loads) with purchase.

Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Tablets ($6.99 for 25 ct.) I already use this product and love it so I gave this sample to a friend for her to try. The whole Ecover product line is amazing and they have fragrance-free products as well. Ecover has been a pioneer in plant-based cleaning products for more than 30 years. 

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To find out more about Ecover and find a store in your area that carries these products, visit http://us.ecover.com/.

ENLIGHTENED Crisps – Roasted Broad Beans ($1.50 for 1 oz.) OH. MY. GOODNESS. These crisps are delicious!! ENLIGHTENED Crisps are lightly roasted in sunflower oil, sprinkled with sea salt and seasoned to perfection. They only have 100 calories per serving, are certified vegan, gluten free, non-GMO Project verified, OU kosher and wheat free. And have I mentioned they are SO yummy?! My eight year old talked me into letting her try some and she loved them too. This would be a perfect snack to have in my bag for all those times when people get a little cranky because they need some protein (7 grams per serving).

IMG_0196If you live in the San Francisco area, you can run out to the store right now and pick up this delicious snack, if not, visit http://www.eatenlightened.com/to purchase the crisps online.

Sweater Stone ($8.99 one stone) I love this product not only because it really does remove the pills from my favorite sweaters but because this product is made utilizing the Seattle areas sheltered workshops. In case you don’t know, sheltered workshops are places that provide opportunities for increased independence and self sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.

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Visit http://www.sweaterstone.com/ to find out where you can purchase your own Sweater Stone and make a difference in the life of someone else (along with extending the life of your favorite sweaters). 

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Eating organic produce, meat and dairy is healthier for your family and the environment (and it tastes better). Products with a USDA Organic label were grown and processed without toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.  

Here are some money saving tips to help you eat healthier and stay within your budget:

  • Comparison Shop. You may be able to find less-expensive alternatives at different stores. Many major chains are coming out with their own organic brands but make sure it’s certified organic. According to Mark Kastel, the senior farm policy analyst at The Cornucopia Institute, ”Major food processors have recognized the meteoric rise of the organic industry, and profit potential, and want to create what is in essence ‘organic light,’ taking advantage of the market cachet but not being willing to do the heavy lifting required to earn the valuable USDA organic seal”. Products with a USDA Organic label were grown and processed without toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Certified organic production also prohibits sewage sludge, antibiotics, ionizing radiation, synthetic growth hormones and genetically modified organisms.
  • Check out the 2014 Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce and find out what produce is highest in pesticide residue.
  • Grow One Thing. Unless you have a lot of land, you’re probably not going to feed your family only from yourPeppers home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can produce a lot of tomatoes. Pick one (or three) things to grow in your yarn, on a balcony or in a sunny window.
  • Cook More. The more convenient the food is, the more expensive it is. For example, buying an organic frozen dinner may save you time in the same way a conventional frozen dinner would, but it costs quite a bit more than its non-organic counterpart and much more than a homemade meal. Buy organic items that are lower in price (such as produce), and make your own dishes from scratch.
  • Stock Up. Stock up on your favorite items when they go on sale. Or try something new that is on sale or is priced well, and you may find a new favorite.
  • Buy in Bulk. Buying in bulk will keep costs down. Look for many pantry staples often available in bulk, such as beans, legumes, rice, flour, nuts, chocolate chips and so on.
  • Organic Coupons. Keep an eye out in the Sunday paper and grocery circulars for coupons and, again, stock up to take best advantage of the savings. Organic bargains are everywhere so click on About.com’s Frugal Living page where you will find All Organic Links.
  • Shop in Season and Buy Local. Shop farm stands and farmers’ markets for the freshest produce and support local farmers at the same time. Purchasing in season produce from your grocer may also keep costs down. And you can also save money by becoming a member of your local food co-op.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative at http://prairie-roots.coop/

Prairie Roots Food Co-Op is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic and local food. A food co-op is a member-owned, member-controlled grocery store that operates for the mutual benefit of all members and according to common principles established for cooperatives. A food co-op provides community members with access to local, all natural, organic, and specialty foods. In turn, local producers gain broader access to the local market. Food cooperatives play an important role in helping to foster the relationship between local producers and community members.

THIS WEEKEND: Find Prairie Roots at Eco Chic’s Junk Market and Alley Fair

Find out more information about Eco Chic’s Junk Market at http://beingecochic.com/junk-market/.

Eco Chic Junk Market 2014 Find out more information about Alley Fair at http://www.alleyfair.com/. The Alley Fair is Saturday, September 20th, 2014 (Daytime Events) from 11am to 7pm and include an Artist and Makers’ Market, Harvest Market, food, games, live art demonstrations, music and performers.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Green this year’s back-to-school shopping by reusing last year’s supplies, buying items that contain recycled materials and packing a waste-free lunch.

According to National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2014 Back-to-School Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669.28 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, up 5 percent from $634.78 last year. Total spending on back to school will drop slightly to $26.5 billion as the survey found there are slightly fewer students in households this summer.

Combined spending for back to school and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion. To find out more information, check out their infographic on this year’s back to school numbers, https://nrf.com/news/infographic-top-2014-back-school-and-college-trends.

Here are some ways to make your back-to-school shopping a little greener while helping you to be below average when it comes to your spending this year:

Back to school

  • Reuse last year’s supplies. Go through the school supplies you already have at home before you hit the stores. Chances are, there are items that you can reuse. Backpacks, lunch boxes, magnets, locks and so on.
  • And while you’re going through your home stash of supplies, don’t throw away unwanted items, gather up extra pens, pencils, rubber bands, paper clips and the like for donation to a local elementary school or to nonprofit organizations that accept school supplies.
  • If there are supplies you have to buy new, make sure the items is made with recycled materials, including paper, backpacks and pencils, etc. Look for pens and pencils made with sustainably harvested wood or recycled content.
  • Avoid polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) plastic school supplies. PVC is unique among plastics because it contains dangerous chemical additives. These harmful chemicals include phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child’s health. Look for PVC-free lunch boxes, binders, backpacks and other school supplies. Download the Center for Health, Environment & Justice’s (CHEJ) Back-to-School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies.
  • Pack a waste-free lunch. Here are some tips from our friends at Litter Free Lunch:
    • Replace brown paper bags with a reusable lunch box or bag (remember to avoid PVC lunch boxes).
    • Swear off plastic bags and use stainless steel food containers.
    • Switch from disposable paper napkins to reusable cloth napkins.
    • Give up the habit of disposable water bottles and replace it with a reusable stainless steel water bottle. If you buy a plastic reusable bottle, make sure it’s BPA-free. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a hormone-disrupting chemical that can impact health at even very low exposures.
    • Skip disposable plastic cutlery and pack a reusable spoons or forks.
    • Save money by avoiding individually wrapped or packaged items like yogurt, cheese, cookies or crackers. Buy larger sizes and pack portions in reusable containers.
  • Organic apples, oranges, bananas and other fruits are healthy additions to any lunch and they come in their own compostable wrapping.
  • Create a weekly meal plan in advance so you can get everything you need in one trip, this will save time, gas money and reduce your carbon footprint. Also, keep a running list of needed items on the fridge, which will help you stay organized to avoid multiple, last-minute car trips.
  • Explore options to safely bike and walk to school or find a classmate willing to carpool.
  • Check thrift stores for reusable school supplies like binders and backpack and back-to-school clothes, giving good-quality, one-of-a-kind fashions a second life.
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
The Center for Health, Environment & Justice is an organization that provides assistance to grassroots community groups in the environmental health and justice movement. The Center was founded in 1981 by Lois Gibbs, who helped win the relocation of over 900 families from their neighborhood which was contaminated by chemicals leaking from the Love Canal landfill in Niagara Falls, NY. Through this effort, people began to recognize the link between people’s exposures to dangerous chemicals in their community and serious public health impacts.

 

Visit their blog for insightful conversations about environmental health and justice at http://chej.org/backyard-talk/ and make sure to download the Center’s Back-to-School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies. They also have a convenient pocket-sized guide you can take with you while you’re shopping.

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Looking good doesn’t have to mean exposing your growing baby to toxic chemicals!
Check out these known dangers found in common personal care products as well as the safer alternatives to try while pregnant. Brought to you by the non-profit organization Healthy Child Healthy World, this infographic is a part of their Safer Pregnancy Resources campaign.

To learn more, read their Easy Steps to Safer Pregnancy e-book here and use this interactive resource to learn how reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.

Healthy Child infographic

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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!)
  

Admission:

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)
 

Location:

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 http://www.wday.com/pages/AM970Radio, 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 http://thewhitehouseboutique.com/ to find out more!

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Surprise your Valentine with an experience, handmade gift or card, fair trade chocolate, PVC-Crayon Heartsfree gift certificate or organic flowers this Valentine’s Day. Show your love (or like) this year with a gift that says you care about the long-term impact of your actions.

Too often we buy things just to buy things on “holidays” like Valentine’s Day. If you feel like giving your sweetie something meaningful this year, I have some suggestions:

EXPERIENCES

  • Any busy person would appreciate a handmade certificate for a homemade dinner, doing laundry for a week (hint, hint) or any other task you know would be a delight to have done by someone else.
  • Dinner and a movie. Either take your sweetie out or have a theme dinner and a movie at home. Dinner at Mezzaluna in Fargo would be an excellent local selection. For more information and menu offerings, visit http://dinemezzaluna.com/.
  • Plan a trip to an art gallery or museum. Some local options: Plains Art Museum in Fargo, for more information visit http://plainsart.org/ and the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead, for more information visit http://www.therourke.org/.
  • Get creative. You know your loved one better than anyone so really make the day special.

Some local experiences to consider:

The Fourth Annual Unglued Craft Fest is coming up on February 21st and 22nd, 2014. Getting tickets for Friday’s Unglued Craft FestGala event would be a wonderful gift for your crafty, artistic Valentine (hint, hint). For more information, visit http://www.ungluedmarket.com/.

A membership to the Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is a gift that lasts a lifetime. With very affordable membership options, this would be a perfect gift for your sustainable Valentine. For more information, visit http://prairie-roots.coop/.

The Fargo Film Festival is coming up on March 4th through 8th, 2014. Great gift idea for your Valentine. For more information, visit http://www.fargofilmfestival.org/.

GIFT CERTIFICATES

  • A gift certificate for an experience like a trip to a local spa or restaurant. Most local (non-chain) stores and restaurant still use paper gift certificates instead of plastic cards made from PVC.

The folks at GiftZip.com have a wonderful tip. The next time you’re purchasing a gift card go for the electronic (and paperless) option, an eGift card. Each year, 75 million pounds of PVC is dumped into landfills from plastic gift card waste (Plenty Magazine). That’s an astronomical amount of waste for something that can easily and conveniently be sent virtually. We’ve talked about PVC before. PVC is notoriously difficult to recycle and cannot be tossed into the recycling bin along side your other household items. You must send those pesky plastic cards to a PVC recycling plant, the only one I know of is EarthWorks. For a directory of retailers that offer an eGift card, go to GiftZip.com.

CHOCOLATE

If you’re buying your Valentine some chocolates, make sure they are fairly traded and organic. This way you can be certain you are supporting sustainable agriculture and worker health and rights and, at the same time, giving your Valentine a eco-sweet treat.

ORGANIC FLOWERS

Organic flowers, organic chocolate and even organic baked goods. Thanks to my friend Melissa Hincha-Ownby, I discovered OrganicBouquet.com.

Organic Bouquet offers sustainably grown flowers fresh from their partner farms. They promote and live up to the highest social and environmental standards—developing the most eco-friendly floral packaging, initiating the industry’s first carbon offset program, and growing their flowers in a way that is gentle on the earth and that safeguards the ecology and the well-being of wildlife and farm workers.

Do you have any other ideas for greening someone’s Valentine’s Day?

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

The Daily Green

TheDailyGreen.com is a consumer’s guide to green living. The site is packed with daily news, tips, recipes, features and more. In 2011, TheDailyGreen.com joined forces with Good Housekeeping.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP:  Make your purchasing decisions based on informed choices.  Purchase products, whenever possible,Food For Change at the Fargo Theatre that are local and in-season, organic, made from sustainable materials, are fairly traded and have minimal packaging.

I once read a fabulous article by Laura Weldon entitled Your Beliefs Create the Marketplace. In the article she describes a growing trend of ethical consumers who make well-informed choices when “putting their money where their values are.”

If you answer yes to any of the following, the “chances are good that you are one of those consumers.  Do you prefer to dine on organic foods?  Do you choose sweatshop-free clothing?  Do you search out sustainable building supplies?  Those choices are probably based on your awareness of today’s health, environmental and justice issues.  You care enough to make purchases consistent with your values.

“This growing awareness has sparked a powerful consumer market.  Approximately 25 percent of adult Americans are considered to be part of this group.  Their purchasing decisions are orienting businesses toward more positive social, environmental and humane practices.”

Ms. Weldon goes on to list the verifiable impact consumer choices are having:

  • According to the EPA, if every home in America replaced just one standard light bulb with an Energy Star compact florescent light bulb, this alone would save enough energy to light three million homes for a year ($600 million annual energy costs) and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 800,000 cars from the road.
  • International products certified as Fair Trade (guaranteeing a non-exploitative relationship between buyer and seller) support the rights of workers in small-scale enterprises.  Transfair USA reports that villages benefiting from such income are opening craft cooperatives and health centers.  In one area alone, 1,600 acres where poppies and coca once grew for illicit drug trade are now devoted to growing organic coffee.
  • Research published by the National Resources Defense Council indicates that 423,900 trees could be saved if every household in the U.S. replaced just one 500-sheet roll of toilet paper with one made of all recycled fibers.
  • Purchasing local, in-season produce conserves petroleum.  The Organic Consumers Association reports that processed foods travel an average of 3,600 miles in the journey from farm to table.  A meal made of locally produced ingredients uses four to 17 times less petroleum than one from typical supermarket products due to transportation requirements.
  • Check the Eat Well Guide to find organic and sustainable food in your area.

In an economy where we are trying to have our dollars stretch as far as possible, let’s make sure our purchases reflect our values.  Let’s send a message to big business.  Just because we don’t have a lot of disposable income we still demand high quality, healthy, sustainable products.

As Ms. Weldon aptly writes, “Each conscious choice, each locally grown meal put on the table and every handcrafted chair purchased, makes a world of difference.”

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the Fair Trade USAUnited States. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods are paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment and receive community development funds to empower and uplift their communities. Fair Trade USA educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into the Fair Trade system, and provides farmers with tools, training and resources to thrive as international business people.

Fair Trade Certified means:

  • Fair Prices
  • No GMOs
  • No Hazardous Chemicals
  • Environmental standards are built in to the certification
  • No Child Labor

 

 

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Food For Change is a feature-length documentary film focusing on food co-ops as a force for dynamic social and economic change in American culture. The movie tells the story of the cooperative movement in the U.S. through interviews, rare archival footage, and commentary by the filmmaker and social historians. This is the first film to examine the important historical role played by food co-ops, their pioneering quest for organic foods, and their current efforts to create regional food systems. Additionally, the film shows how the co-op movement strengthens communities where they are located, enhancing local economies and food security. The goal is to educate a wide national audience about the principles of cooperation with a focus on food. Source: Food For Change

I was fortunate to get a sneak peak of this film and it’s fantastic! I hope to see the Fargo Theatre full on November 3rd. As we try to get the Prairie Roots Food Co-op up and running, this is an important film for our community to view.

Food for Change

Book your tickets now for Food for Change, the new co-op movie premiering in Fargo on November 3rd, 2 pm at the Fargo Theater. www.food4change.eventbrite.com. After the film, there will be a panel discussion moderated by the awesome Christopher Gabriel.

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