Green Buying

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GREEN TIP: Get involved in your local food co-op. Food co-ops are people working together for better food, Local, organic saladstronger communities and a healthier world.

A new study, Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops (commissioned by the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) and the ICA Group), quantifies the impact food co-ops have as compared to conventional grocery stores. The study’s compelling results demonstrate the many ways that food co-ops do well while doing good.

Some ways food co-ops make a stronger community and a healthier world:

  • They strengthen the local economy
    • The economic impact that a grocery store has on its local economy is greater than just the sum of its local spending, because a portion of money spent locally recirculates. For example, food co-ops purchase from local farmers who, in turn, buy supplies from local sources, hire local technicians to repair equipment, and purchase goods and services from local retailers. According to the study, for every $1,000 a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1,604 in economic activity is generated in their local economy—$239 more than if they had spent that same $1,000 at a conventional grocer.
  • They create community
  • They provide a reliable marketplace for local farmers, artists, and other entrepreneurs
  • They are an educational center
    • Locally as we work together to build Prairie Roots Food Co-op there are already educational opportunities like the upcoming class: Food Preservation Skills: Make Your Own Pectin. If you’re interested, visit for more information.
  • They promote healthy eating
  • They engage in environmental stewardship
    • Grocery stores—co-ops and conventional alike—generate a significant amount of waste. What sets retail food co-ops apart is what they do with that waste. According to the study results, co-ops recycle 96 percent of cardboard, 74 percent of food waste and 81 percent of plastics compared to 91 percent, 36 percent and 29 percent, respectively, recycled by conventional grocers.

How Does Your Grocery Store Checkout

Infographic Source: Stronger

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:Prairie Roots Co-op

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative

In the Fargo Moorhead area, Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic, and locally produced food. A lifetime membership is $300 per household with a variety of payment plans to suit every budget. More information, including an online membership application, is available at their website:

On July 7th, the Prairie Roots Online Market opened for business. Each week local producers list items for sale on Prairie Roots Food Cooperative’s website. Members can log on and shop at their convenience from Sunday through Wednesday and then pick up their natural, organic and local food, produce and other items on Thursday evening.

The future food co-op grocery store 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. Prairie Roots seeks to provide educational opportunities to members of our community and support producers who utilize sustainable and socially responsible production methods.


Food Preservation Skills: Make Your Own Pectin with Kaye Kirsch

Pectin is what makes jams and jellies thick. It is naturally occurring in some fruits and is required in many jam recipes. Pectin can be purchased in many forms, but why buy it when you can make your own? In this class you’ll see a demonstration of making pectin (aka: green apple jelly) from start to finish. I’ll touch on the basics of water bath canning using the standard metal lids, Tattler reusable lids and Weck jars. All three methods will also be demonstrated. Attendees will receive recipes for green apple jelly and other jams made using this form of pectin. We’ll also sample some jams made with green apple jelly and you’ll get some pectin to take home with you. LOCATION: Dakota Medical Foundation, 4334 18th Ave S, Fargo DATE: Monday, August 12 from 7 – 9 PM.

For more information, visit and check out Prairie Roots other upcoming events.

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This is such awesome news, I had to share it right away!Prairie Roots Co-op

Press Release

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative Receives $30,000 Grant


Prairie Roots Food Cooperative was awarded a $30,000 Marketing and Utilization grant from the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) at its quarterly meeting held July 18th in Medora. The grant will support the ongoing membership drive and capital campaign of the start-up food co-op with marketing and consulting funds. Grants were given to organizations that showed a high probability of jobs and wealth creation, substantial market potential, and rapid commercialization.

A typical food co-op has 157 local suppliers and each million dollars in sales produces $1.6 million in local economic impact. Prairie Roots has already started connecting consumers and local producers through their recently launched virtual market, Prairie Roots Online.  Each week local producers list items for sale on their website, Members can log on and shop at their convenience from Sunday through Wednesday and then pick up their natural, organic and local food, produce and other items on Thursday evening.

Prairie Roots Food Co-op is member owned and is now recruiting new members in order to build a broad base of community support prior to store opening.  A lifetime membership is $300 per household with a variety of payment plans to suit every budget.  More information, including an online membership application, is available at their website:

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic, Picking up our food co-op orderand 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.  Prairie Roots seeks to provide educational opportunities to members of our community and support producers who utilize sustainable and socially responsible production methods.

APUC is a program of the North Dakota Department of Commerce which administers grant programs for researching and developing new and expanded uses for North Dakota agricultural products. The grants can be used for basic and applied research, marketing and utilization, farm diversification, nature based agri-tourism, prototype and technology, and technical assistance.

For more information, visit

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I received my Mom Discovery Box from Ecocentric Mom. Ecocentric Mom is a unique monthly product delivery service that focuses on healthy, natural, organic products exclusively for moms, moms-to-be, and babies. I was so excited to see the contents of my box and I wasn’t disappointed. I was impressed with the packaging, the products and the enclosed promotional materials.












Here’s a list of the fabulous items:

  • Greenbody Greenplanet Organic Hair Care shampoo and conditioner
  • Lauren Brook Cosmetiques Lip Glaze
  • Vaska Laundry Detergent samples
  • Naturally It’s Clean “Floors” samples
  • Natural Vitality Cherry Calm magnesium supplement
  • Orgain Organic Nutritional Shake
  • Tree Hugger All Natural Bubble Gum
  • Eat Cleaner Fruit & Vegetable Wipes
  • Coupons for the products enclosed
  • A pamphlet which contained a message from the founder and CEO of Ecocentric Mom as well as descriptions and coupon codes for each product. The back of the booklet featured tips from the Ecocentric Mom experts.

I received the box a week ago and have tried almost all the products. My favorite so far is the Greenbody Greenplanet Organic Hair Care shampoo and conditioner but everything stands up to the Ecocentric Mom promise:

We only work with thoroughly evaluated, mission-based brands that are committed to using the best ingredients to create products that respect people, animals, and the planet.

For only $17 and free shipping you too could have a different box of cool new green products delivered to your door each month.

For more information about Ecocentric Mom, visit


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I’ve found another one of those companies that I can’t stop talking about. I love when that happens because it gives me hope that there are so many people out there that truly care about keeping our children healthy, respecting the environment and looking forward to our future generations. 

A little about this fantastic business, Ecocentric Mom:

This company was founded by a women who is not only amazing herself but wants you to be amazing for the sake of your children and their children. After the untimely death of both her parents, Ecocentric Mom founder, Rebecca Attanasio began researching everyday products and their health impacts. When she began finding dangerous chemicals in trusted products that people use every day, the idea of Ecocentric Mom was born.

Rebecca saw a need to share what she’s learned about toxic products and food and spread the word that safe alternatives are out there.

From Rebecca Attanasio:

What we put on our skin and our children’s skin is just as important as what we eat: endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, and carcinogens can be absorbed and enter our bloodstream. These chemicals can build up in our bodies over the years, wreak havoc on our immune systems, and cause life-threatening diseases.

The idea of Ecocentric Mom is simple: Members sign up to receive a monthly package filled with a sampling of hand-selected safe, ethical, and eco-friendly products at a fraction of the cost. You can choose one of three different membership box choices:

  • Mom Discovery Box: geared toward those in any stage of motherhood, this subscription will introduce women to non-toxic skin care, makeup, organic food brands, and more
  • Mom-to-Be Discovery Box: focused on products safe for mommy and baby, this box might include skin care, make-up, organic whole food prenatal vitamins, organic non-GMO foods and treats, spa products and so much more. Once your baby arrives, you can move to the Mom Discovery Box.
  • Baby Discovery Box: for newborns to 18-month-olds, this box could present members with products such as non-toxic, BPA-free toys, safe skin care and organic clothes.

If you are interested in becoming an Ecocentric Mom member (or giving a membership as a gift), visit

I can’t wait to receive my first Mom Discovery Box!

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I talk a lot about how unhealthy candy is for our children. I tell anyone who will listen about the ills of GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors and the list goes on. That’s why I was so intrigued by UNREAL Candy. They completely get it.

Their goal is to “unjunk” candy. In fact, that’s their mantra: “Unjunk!”

UNREAL candies contain no artificial flavors, preservatives or hormones; no GMO’s (genetically modified organisms); no hydrogenated oils; and no corn syrup. Instead, they use real sugar, natural oils, and real milk.

They also reduced sugar by over 40% per serving on average. They decided key ingredients needed to be responsibly sourced, supporting farming communities and preventing destruction of the rain forests. Dairy needed to come from grass fed (versus grain fed) cows with no antibiotics or added hormones (LOVE this!).

They had to figure out how to keep the candy fresh on shelves without artificial preservatives. And, to get the taste just right, they tested hundreds of recipes. They also made it a priority to figure out how to make the candy at a cost that was competitive with the regular junk food because their plan is to give you an option at your local convenience store, not to make you hunt for their products at, as they put it, a “fancy health food store.” 

I was lucky enough to have some samples sent to me so I could see and taste for myself. It was love at first bite. And, not only was I swept off my feet, my two biggest food critics were sold as well. Not only did we completely enjoy the samples, we headed off to our local CVS to make sure we could satisfy our UNREAL cravings and get some to share with our friends and family. While at the store we convinced at least three other people to try the product… the girls enthusiasm was infectious!

Obviously, I don’t think any candy is “healthy” for you but if you’re going to indulge in a delicious treat, UNREAL Candy is a better choice. They’re an awesome company with a great story and they’re providing a better option then the candy normally found in the candy aisle.

For more information, visit

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GREEN TIP: Before you slather on your sunscreen, check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2012 Sunscreen Guide and find out what their researchers are saying about sunscreens, SPF lip balms, SPF moisturizers and SPF makeups. 

EWG’s 6th annual Sunscreen Guide rates 257 brands and more than 1,800 products for sun protection.*

Top Sunscreens

The top-rated sunscreens in EWG’s 2012 Sunscreen Guide contain the minerals zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are the right choice for children, people with sensitive skin and others who want the best UVA protection without potentially hormone-disrupting chemicals like oxybenzone or vitamin A, which may be carcinogenic on sun-exposed skin. None are sprayed or powdered, so they don’t pose inhalation dangers.

EWG recommends that sunscreen users stay away from products that can be inhaled – sprays and powders – and use creams and lotions instead.

Here are some of the best from EWG’s list:

  • Badger Lightly Scented Lavender Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Badger Baby Sunscreen, Chamomile & Calendula, SPF 30+
  • California Baby Everyday/Year-round Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
  • California Baby No Fragrance Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
  • Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50
  • Jason Natural Cosmetics Pure Natural Sun: Mineral Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Kiss My Face Kids 100% Natural Mineral Sunblock SunStick, Blue, SPF 30
  • Kiss My Face Kids 100% Natural Mineral Sunblock SunStick, Pink, SPF 30
  • Seventh Generation Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30

Many brands formulate children’s sunscreens with safer, more effective ingredients than those in other products. About 63 percent of kids’ sunscreens contain effective mineral ingredients that provide good UVA protection, compared to 40 percent of other sunscreens.

Though you still need to read labels and use EWG’s Sunscreen Guide, chances are you’ll get a better sunscreen if you buy one marketed for kids. Still — buyer beware! There are still many children’s products that don’t meet the mark.

Compared to other sunscreens, those with the words “baby,” “children” or “kids” in the product name are less likely to contain:

Fragrances, which are mixtures of chemicals some of which may cause allergies and other serious health problems. Some 72 percent of kids’ sunscreens are fragrance-free, versus 54 percent of other sunscreens.

Oxybenzone, a hormone-disrupting chemical, is in 37 percent of kids’ sunscreens versus 56 percent of other sunscreens.

Here are some of the worst from EWG’s list:

  • Banana Boat Kids Quik Blok Sunblock Spray Lotion, SPF 35 – 4% oxybenzone
  • Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+ – 6% oxybenzone
  • Banana Boat Baby Tear Free Sunblock Lotion, SPF 50+ – contains vitamin A (shown as “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol palmitate” on labels) which, when applied to sun-exposed skin, this common sunscreen additive may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies.
  • Arbonne Baby Care Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 – contains retinyl palmitate
  • Australian Gold Baby Formula Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 50+ – contains retinyl palmitate
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Beach & Pool Sunblock Stick, SPF 70 – sky-high SPF products may protect from sunburn, caused primarily by UVB rays, but they leave children vulnerable to skin-damaging UVA rays.
  • CVS Kids Fast Cover Continuous Clear Spray, SPF 50 – aerosol spray sunscreen packages will soon be required to display FDA-mandated warnings such as “use in a well ventilated area” and “intentional misuse… can be harmful or fatal.” These cautions highlight growing concerns that sprays pose serious inhalation risks. Spray sunscreens also make it too easy to miss a spot, leaving bare skin exposed to harmful rays.
  • Rite Aid Baby Continuous Spray Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50 – aerosol spray
  • GO!screen Natural Mineral PowderBlock Brush-On Sunscreen, SPF 30 is advertised as “great for kids” on the front of the bottle. It contains zinc oxide particles. Some brands of loose powder sunscreens contain particles of titanium dioxide, which the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” when inhaled. Powdered sunscreens may also contain nanoscale and micronized zinc oxide, which can cause lung inflammation and worse.

* Statistics throughout this report are based on products in the EWG database as of May 2012.

Source: EWG’s Sunscreen Guide

EWG’s Top Sun Safety Tips

  • Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!
  • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.
  • Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.
  • Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.
  • Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

Read more at EWG’s 2012 Sunscreen Guide and check out Sunscreens Exposed: Nine Surprising Truths.

Above all, do not be afraid to get out in the sun. Being outdoors is healthy for you and your family, just use some common sense and smart sun protection.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The Environmental Working Group’s team of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers goes over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and their own laboratory tests to expose threats to our health and the environment and to find solutions. Their research “brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know”. The mission of the EWG is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.

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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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I’m so excited about an upcoming event in the Fargo Moorhead area on Saturday, May 12th 2012. Eco Chic, one of my favorite places in Fargo, is hosting a Junk Market. Here’s all the relevant information:


Creating a Fairy Garden

Time: 11:00 am to 11:45

Baker Garden and Gift will teach you how to create a miniature fairy garden complete with structures and actual living plants. It is designed to lure fairies and with them, good luck, to your home.

Recovering Cushions

Time: 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm

Recovering cushions is an easy way to bring new life to vintage chairs! Christy from C.Lee Designs will demonstrate how to easily reupholster a seat cushion.

Plant Your Funky Junk

Time: 2:00 am to 2:45

Baker Garden and Gift will show you how to recycle your junk into fun and funky garden planters!

All Workshops are Free and will be held inside Eco Chic Boutique.


Parking: Don’t worry about finding a spot to park. They are only using part of the lot. You can also park on the side streets south of the event and also to the west. The weather promisies to be beautiful.

Strong Men: They will have plenty of help for you to load those fabulous re-purposed furniture pieces into your car (or trailer).

Food & Drink: Cracked Pepper and Love in the Oven Bakery will have plenty of food items for you to purchase should you get hungry while shopping. Cracked Pepper will open before 9am so you can grab something to eat before you begin shopping.

Come Inside: Eco Chic will have furniture inside and outside so don’t forget to stop inside the store and check out even more furniture and eco-friendly goods.

Doors Open at 9am: Yes the event will be outside but shopping won’t commence until 9am. The entrance for the event will be located on the west side of the lot. Come get a place in line and their little (and big) helpers will be feeding you donuts and coffee while you wait.

For more information, visit

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Did you know that October was Fair Trade Month? Don’t worry if you didn’t, we can celebrate the benefits of Fair Trade every month.

Fair Trade Certified (TM) enforces internationally-monitored environmental standards, helping farmers gain the resources and knowledge they need for sustainable growing, organic conversion, reforestation, and water conservation.

It all starts with making a Fair Trade purchase.

Fair Trade USA is a non-profit organization which strives to cultivate a global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, consumers, industry and the earth. By certifying products and suppliers who protect local ecosystems and guaranteeing that farmers are paid a fair, honest price, Fair Trade USA works to help people make conscientious purchases.

To help consumers find Fair Trade Certified products more easily, Fair Trade USA marked Fair Trade Month 2011 with the launch of a new social media initiative. The new “Fair Trade Finder” Facebook and mobile (iPhone and Android) application allows consumers to enter their location to find out where they can buy Fair Trade Certified products nearby as well as be among the first to populate the map with other Fair Trade product locations.

You can be a part of the next step in going green by checking out the Facebook application here: You can also download the mobile app from the Android and iTunes app stores.

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This is the season for giving and it’s easy to get caught up in buying gifts just to get them. Take a deep breath and make your Gift Giving List based on sustainability and thoughtfulness. The planet will thank you and so will the people on your list.

Here are some of the eco-fabulous gifts I’ve found:


  • Consider giving an the gift of an experience. Would she love a facial, a massage, a trip to the theatre? Be creative.
  • Vintage Dictionary Rings
    These adorable rings are handmade of oxidized, recycled sterling silver and feature paper from vintage dictionaries from all over the world. Pile them on one finger to create a wide band or wear them as singles for a more delicate look. Set includes five rings: two dictionary bands and three plain bands. Handmade in North Carolina by Betsy Carr.


  • GreenSmart Messenger Bags
    This company is awesome and I love their products, incidentally, I’ll be reviewing the Narwhal Messenger Bag later this week. Their bags are made from recycled plastic bottles and they’re so cool looking. They come in fabulous colors and all their products are named after endangered animals. And just when you think it can’t get any better, they donate 10% of their profits to the World Wildlife Fund and other organizations helping to create a greener planet.


  • Eco-Dough Tube from Creative Kidstuff
    This is an all natural modeling compound handmade with flour, salt, cream of tartar, organic rosemary oil, vitamin E oil and extracts from beets, oranges, turmeric, paprika, blueberries, red cabbage, carrots, spinach and limes. The compostable, 100% post-consumer waste Eco-Dough Tube contains five 4-oz containers of Eco-Dough – one each pink, orange, yellow, green and blue. Eco-Dough doesn’t dry out and become crumbly like other play modeling dough, and a few drops of olive oil will return it to its original consistency if it is left out over night. Ages 2 & up.
  • My First Organics Seed Starting Kits
    I purchased the My First Organic Classroom Bundle for my daughter’s kindergarten class last year and a Homeschool Bundle for us to use at home. They are fabulous tools to teach kids early about the origins of healthy food and why it’s so good for them and the Earth. Everything in My First Organics seed starting kits is Earth-safe. Each kit is made up of a reusable or recyclable mini-greenhouse complete with organic seeds, soil and biodegradable pots that can be placed directly into the soil. Step-by-step, kid-friendly guidance and illustrations are also included, making each step simple.


  • Recycled Windshield Wine Goblet
    What a beautiful way to recycle car windows and windshields. Made by artisans in Colombia. Ideal for indoor, outdoor, and casual entertaining. Residual tint from its sun-shielding days adds character with a cool, green hue. Sold as a set of two. Due to the reclaimed nature of this item, each will vary.


The Soft Landing has great gifts for babies, children and adults. It’s the first store of its kind to offer only products made confirmed to be free of BPA, PVC and phthalates.

Check out Retro Housewife Goes Green’s Green Holiday Guide for more Green Gift Guides, Recipes and more.

Visit our 2009 Green Shopping Guide from My Green Side.

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.~Kahlil Gibran

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