Organic

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I’ve recently submitted my second article to Earth911 (insert happy dance) which is so exciting for me. You can read the first article I wrote for them at http://earth911.com/living-well-being/recycling-tips-home/. I’m also still writing for Recycle Nation and feel extremely blessed that I’m able to do what I love while helping people and the environment.

The girls at the farm

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know this next article includes a pesto sauce recipe. I’ve had a number of requests for the recipe so here’s my recipe for a pesto sauce you can put on pasta, spread on a sandwich or toss into your salad.

Pesto Sauce Ingredients

 My Green Side’s Pesto for Pasta recipe:

(this recipe makes approximately 2 cups of pesto, enough for at least 1 pound of pasta)

  • 3 tablespoon pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 3 cups of fresh organic basil leaves
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Wash your basil leaves in cold water. Put nuts, salt and ½ cup of olive oil into your blender. Blend and then add your basil leaves, garlic and the rest of your olive oil. Blend. Add your cheese and blend until your mixture is at your desired consistency. Taste and add additional salt and cheese if necessary.

Mix into your favorite prepared pasta for a quick, healthy and yummy meal. Enjoy!

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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.

As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their monthly subscription boxes for review. Ecocentric Mom Box for October 2015

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 October Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. It’s a great service to learn about healthier products that can reduce the amount of toxins in your household.

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

EccoBella Cocoa Soft Eyeliner Pencil (full size $17.95) I love this company’s philosophy – as an “activist” company, they source ingredients from ethical suppliers of organic materials and stay away from ingredients that may cause harm to people or the environment. They speak out on behalf of animals and the environment at every opportunity. Just my kind of company AND they have a plethora of amazing products. Check them all out at http://www.eccobella.com/

Silk Therapeutics Silk Therapeutics Nourishing Moisturizer / Silk Therapeutics Intensive C Serum (moisturizer $45, serum $60) Silk Therapeutics is dedicated to providing skincare products that deliver immediate benefits and are free of harsh preservatives and harmful chemicals. The Silk products are ideal for all skin types, including those with the most sensitive skin. “Silk protein surrounds, protects and delivers the full benefits of our active ingredients.”

Go to http://silktherapeutics.com/ to take a look at the wonderful Silk products and use promo code “ECOMOM” to save 20% on your order.

Birtsy’s Brainfood Smart Cookies (5 oz. resealable bag $4.99) OH MY GOODNESS! These cookies Bitsy's Brainfood Smart Cookieswere delicious! At Bitsy’s, they’re on a mission to make great food that starts with a simple belief – healthy bodies and healthy minds are connected, and learning to eat smart should be fun. Every day, they work to make mega-delicious, ultra-nutritious foods for your kids and their own, to nurture their bodies, minds and imaginations and to inspire them to learn and grow. Check out their website at http://www.bitsysbrainfood.com/, it’s adorable.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts (8 oz. $8.99) Manitoba Harvest is the largest hemp food manufacturer to sell, make and grow their own line of hemp food (including Hemp Hearts, hemp protein powder and their brand new Hemp Heart Bites). As a B-Corp certified company, they are also passionate about promoting health and wellness and fostering positive change for the community and the environment. I have been using the Hemp Hearts in salads to give my family the healthy Omega 3s and 6s and a ton of protein.

Take a look at their products at http://manitobaharvest.com/ and get 20% off Hemp Hearts with promo code “ecochhh1115.”

Lasting Smiles Organic Lip Balm (.15 oz. $4.99) I am LOVING this product! It smells amazing, it really work and the company is incredible! Lasting Smiles lip balms are organic and Fair Trade Certified (yay!) with pure and moisturizing ingredients sourced from small scale global farming cooperatives. Not only will your Organic Lip Balm keep your lips feeling great but it will help to fund a cleft lip surgery – transforming a child’s life forever! Visit http://lastingsmilescare.com/ to find out more.

Ellovi ButterEllovi Mint Chocolate Butter Minis (3.5 oz. $26) Every Ellovi product is made with six wildly harvested ingredients so pure you can eat them which is good because my 8 year old is in love with this product. She slathers it all over and keeps telling me it smells good enough to eat. Ellovi promises that the butter will soak in deep and keep your skin intensely hydrated and nourished for days. 

Go to http://www.ellovi.com/ to get some of your own and use promo code “Ecocentricmom” for a 15% discount, maybe I’ll see you there.

People Towels Logo a Go Go Towel ($3.99) People Towels are an on-the-go, sustainable alternative to paper towels. It comes with a convenient hangtag so I can clip it to a backpack, picnic basket or purse. AND it’s made of 100% organic Fair Trade Cotton! I will be getting more of these, they are a perfect addition to my girls’ lunch boxes.

Go to http://peopletowels.com/ to see their adorable designs which are printed with earth friendly dyes. Use promo code “ecomom15″for a 10% discount.

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.

Ecocentric Mom Box

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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: 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: Growing crops in healthy organic soil results in food products that offer healthy nutrients. Organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains may offer more of some nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and less exposure to nitrates and pesticide residues than their counterparts grown using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
Source: Nutritional Considerations, Organic Trade Association

TEN GOOD REASONS TO BUY ORGANIC

1.  Organic products meet stringent standards

Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.

2.  Organic food tastes great!

It’s common sense – well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become nourishing food for people and animals.

3.  Organic production reduces health risks

Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.

4.  Organic farms respect our water resources

The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources.

5.  Organic farmers build healthy soil

Soil is the foundation of the food chain. The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils.

6.  Organic farmers work in harmony with nature

Organic agricultural respects the balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem: wildlife is encouraged by including forage crops in rotation and by retaining fence rows, wetlands, and other natural areas.

7.  Organic producers are leaders in innovative research

Organic farmers have led the way, largely at their own expense, with innovative on-farm research aimed at reducing pesticide use and minimizing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

8.  Organic producers strive to preserve diversity

The loss of a large variety of species (biodiversity) is one of the most pressing environmental concerns. The good news is that many organic farmers and gardeners have been collecting and preserving seeds, and growing unusual varieties for decades.

9.  Organic farming helps keep rural communities healthy

USDA reported that in 1997, half of U.S. farm production came from only 2% of farms. Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can command fair prices for crops.

10. Organic abundance – Foods and non-foods alike!

Now every food category has an organic alternative. And non-food agricultural products are being grown organically – even cotton, which most experts felt could not be grown this way.

Source: Organic Trade Association

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

StrongerTogether.coop

StrongerTogether.coop is a consumer website developed by the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) for their “virtual chain” of 136 retail food co-ops, operating over 170 storefronts, nationwide.

StrongerTogether.coop is a place for people to gather on their food journeys. It’s a place to find out more about what’s in your food, where it comes from, where to find great food, how to prepare it and a whole lot more. It’s also a place to talk with others about food topics you’re exploring, are passionate about, and even want to get involved in.

Locally, check out:

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

If you live in Fargo, Moorhead or any of the surrounding areas, and our concerned about healthy eating, join the Prairie Roots Food Co-op. We need members to get a physical building but members are already getting the benefits of healthy food via our online market.

The Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic, and locally produced food.

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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: 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.

Grow One Thing. Unless you have a lot of land, you’re probably not going to feed your family only from your home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can be incredibly inspiring. And it’s not as intimidating as it seems. So pick one thing to grow – you can do it.

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 a local farm by joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

In the Fargo/Moorhead and surrounding areas:

  • Red Goose Gardens is a CSA in Shelly, MN. They offer locally and sustainably grown produce to communities in the Red River Valley. By purchasing a share, you become a member and receive a weekly box of our fresh, hand harvested produce. Boxes are delivered to several drop sites in Fargo/ Moorhead, Grand Forks and surrounding communities. We encourage members to connect with farm and farmer. Members are welcome to visit and we host several farm events each season. Their goal is to nurture the soil, to grow flavorful and nutrient-rich vegetables, herbs and fruits that are healthy for our bodies and our environment. They believe that the best food is whole and fresh and they grow sustainably and organically – no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or GMOs .
  • Sydney’s Health Market boasts the areas only all organic farmer’s market. Available Fridays during the growing season. They have organic produce available in the store, delivered fresh every Tuesday and Friday for Fresh Market Friday. And, if you haven’t been there recently, they are expanding their store and their selections. Visit www.sydneyshealthmarket.com or call 218-233-3310 for more information.

Be Selective. Decide to only purchase organic milk and produce. See the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” for the most-contaminated produce and make your shopping list based on that information: EWG Shoppers Guide

Source: Organic.org and Healthy Child Healthy World

Upcoming event in the Fargo/Moorhead area:

Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society is having their 9th Annual Botanic Garden Spring Luncheon and Silent Auction.

When: May 5, 2012 (11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.)

Where: Holiday Inn, 3803 13th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103

Their guest speaker will be entomologist Maurice Degrugillier Ph.D who will be giving a presentation on Butterflies in the Garden. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser and will entice many into creating their own butterfly gardens for years of enjoyment. Along with this presentation, there will be numerous silent auction items that will include many container gardens and other botanic-themed items. Place a bid throughout the event while enjoying an amazing lunch of chicken salad, desserts, and champagne and listening to music from the Borderline Strings. If you place the winning bid on your auction item, you will also take home a wonderful gift for yourself or a special friend. This is an elegant event for all to enjoy, so plan ahead and contact us with any questions you may have.

For more information about the event and tickets, visit http://www.npbotanicgarden.com/events.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

eat the seasons
eat the seasons aims to promote an understanding of food seasons. Each week they list the seasonal foods that are at their peak, and share enlightening facts, useful tips and enticing recipe ideas picked from the web and their favorite books.

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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 1220pm (central) every Wednesday 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).  

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”.

Grow One Thing. Unless you have a lot of land, you’re probably not going to feed your family only from your home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can be incredibly inspiring. And it’s not as intimidating as it seems. So pick one thing to grow – you can do it.

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 much more.

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, most-delicious produce while supporting local farmers. Purchasing in season produce from your grocer may also keep costs down. And you can also save money by becoming a member of a local farm by joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

In the Fargo/Moorhead and surrounding areas:

  • Bluebird Gardens offers a couple of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) options with drop off locations in North Fargo, South Fargo, West Fargo, Moorhead, Underwood, Battle Lake, Otter Tail, Perham, Breckenridge, Wahpeton, Fergus Falls, Dilworth, Rothsay, Barnesville, Frazee, Vergas, Pelican Rapids and Detroit Lakes. Visit www.bluebirdgardens.net for more information.
  • Sydney’s Health Market boasts the areas only all organic farmer’s market. Available Fridays during the growing season. They also have organic produce available in the store, delivered fresh every Tuesday. Visit www.sydneyshealthmarket.com or call 218-233-3310 for more information.

Be Selective. Decide to only purchase organic milk and produce. See the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” for the most-contaminated produce and tailor your decisions based on these:

EWG Shoppers Guide

Bring Your Own Bag. Many stores offer a discount when you bring your own bag. It’s usually around 5 cents per bag,

Eat With Friends. Last but not least, make it fun! Choose some like-minded friends and get together to each prepare an organic dish—a great way to add variety to your organic diet while keeping your own purchases down. Get together for a weekend potluck—or, during the week, arrange a food swap to minimize cooking and maximize eating organically.

Source: Organic.org and Healthy Child Healthy World

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

eat the seasons
eat the seasons aims to promote an understanding of food seasons. Each week they list the seasonal foods that are at their peak, and share enlightening facts, useful tips and enticing recipe ideas picked from the web and their favorite books.

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GREEN TIP: Make informed choices to reduce the amount of pesticides you and your family are eating. Buy organic produce whenever possible, it’s healthier for you and the planet.

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. The Guide is developed based on data from nearly 96,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce. There are two lists. The “Dirty Dozen” lists produce varieties that have most pesticide contamination so you should always buy these organic or avoid them. The other list is the “Clean 15”, the produce the EWG has found to have the least pesticide contamination.

We talked about avoiding toxic chemicals while Green Your Lawn last week. We don’t want pesticides entering our bodies through our skin and we certainly don’t want to injest them. The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood.

The bottom line is that when it comes to pesticide use, there is more to consider than just the residues that you are ingesting. Although peeled foods such as mangoes, avocados and kiwis may spare the consumer from significant pesticide exposure, it is possible that large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are used on the farms from which these originate, contaminating groundwater, promoting erosion and otherwise damaging local ecosystems. To help promote the health of the planet as well as your own health, it’s best to buy organic whenever possible.

DIRTY DOZEN – Buy These Organic

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Bell Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes (imported)

CLEAN 15 – Lowest in Pesticides

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mangos
  • Sweet Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet Potato
  • Honeydew Melon

Source: DrWeil.com and EWG.org

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

EWG’s Food News
You can find a detailed description of the criteria the EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at their dedicated website, www.foodnews.org.

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 WDAY.com.

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by Wendy Gabriel

Katherine Center is an author, wife and mother. Her second novel, Katherine CenterEveryone Is Beautiful, was featured in Redbook and got glowing reviews from People magazine and USA Today. Kirkus Reviews likens it to the 1950s motherhood classic Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, and says, “Center ’s breezy style invites the reader to commiserate, laughing all the way.” Booklist calls it “a superbly written novel filled with unique and resonant characters.”

Katherine’s first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, was featured in People, USA Today, Vanity Fair, the Houston Chronicle, and the Dallas Morning News. BookPage named Katherine one of seven new writers to watch, and the paperback of Bright Side was a Breakout Title at Target. It was also optioned last fall by Varsity Pictures.

Katherine’s essays about motherhood have appeared in Real Simple Family and in the anthology Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers on the Mother-Daughter Bond. She has just turned in her third novel, Get Lucky, and is starting on a fourth. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two young children.

How do you make your day-to-day life a little greener?

We are big composters. We compost everything–bread, tea bags, coffee grounds. I even dump out my old coffee in the garden. We keep a mixing bowl on the counter and just fill it up as the day goes along, then dump it in the mulch pile before dinner and wash it with the dinner dishes. This summer, I went out of town and saved a bag of compost to drive back with me in the car because I just couldn’t throw those banana peels and egg shells away! I love knowing that I’m keeping our scraps out of the landfill, and I love the idea that it all just magically turns back into soil.

We also have a garden with lots of native Texas plants and herbs in it. It’s fun to think about plants not just as decorations but as functioning parts of our yard’s ecosystem that attract wildlife to the garden. We have hummingbirds, tons of bees, and many monarch butterflies. The kids love it! Though we’re very laissez-faire with the garden and never put chemicals on it or even water it much!

We also do lots of little things, like take re-usable bags to the grocery store and try to use re-usable stainless bottles for water instead of plastic. I have many things I’m not yet doing that I’d love to do, too. I’d love to paint our roof white–it’s so hot down here in Texas!–and I’d love to have a rainwater collection system to save rain runoff for later. I also love to fantasize about keeping chickens in the backyard.

You mentioned that you recently watched Food Inc. How, if at all, has this changed how you look at food?

A lot. It confirmed a lot of things that I suspected about what’s going on with the food system in our country, but it also shocked the heck out of me with very vivid things that I hadn’t even imagined. I was especially horrified by the industrial system’s treatment of animals. The idea that we are voting with our dollars for local food or not, organic or not, has really stayed with me. I’m very mindful at the grocery store about supporting organic and humanely-raised food.

We’re also not eating at restaurants as much anymore. Houston is a huge city with every type of cheap, delicious food you can imagine. But ever since seeing Food, Inc. (and also reading the companion book), we’ve really tried to eat at home as much as possible, cook from scratch, slow down, take our time with food and meals. My kids are very interested in gardening, and we’re looking into joining a Community Supported Agriculture group, too, at some point.

I have read all of your books and have loved every minute of them. As an author what is your view of devices like the Kindle?

Thank you! I’m undecided about all the changes going on now with books. I have an affection for tangible objects, like books and pages, but people sure do seem to love their Kindles! We’re definitely in the middle of a revolution that will determine how people find, read, and experience stories. In theory, anything that makes it easier for people to access books and stories is probably good, but I have no idea what things will look like–for authors, for the publishing industry, or for readers–on the other side…

What have you found is your biggest challenge to living a sustainable lifestyle?

Living in Texas! Three things in my home state put me at odds with mother earth on a regular basis. One, it’s hot as blazes here a good 6 months out of the year. Two, Houston is a sprawled-out, driving town. It’s almost impossible to get anywhere or do anything without a car. And three, the mosquitoes are so bad down here they make you want to slather yourself in poison. That said, we are trying! And the older the kids get, the easier it seems to get!

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by Wendy Gabriel

Earth laughs in flowers.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Hamatreya”

More flowers from the farm
Buttercup
Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Blog Harbor’s Eye on Monday
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Oakleigh Vermont’s Mother Nature Sunday
Photo Terri
True to Words’ Friday Photography
Twin Cities Photo Blog

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