Green Living

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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. After the film, there will be a panel discussion moderated by the awesome Christopher Gabriel.

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GREEN TIP: Sustainable laundry practices will keep your family healthy and looking great while saving money and the environment. Look for eco-friendly laundry products, conserve energy and be good to your clothes.    

Our Six-Year OldThe main problem with laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and stain removers is that they contain petroleum, phosphates and synthetic chemicals that leave residue on the clothes. These ingredients cause allergies, irritate the skin and eyes and carry other severe health risks.

Then they get washed down our drains and into our waterways polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas and are toxic to fish and wildlife.

Look for Eco-Friendly Laundry Products

Consider using eco-friendly laundry products. Always read labels and pay attention to what you’re buying, just because a product claims to be “natural” doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic.

Look for labels that indicate that the product is readily biodegradable, made with plant- and vegetable-based ingredients (instead of petroleum-based), contain no phosphates, and no allergy-inducing scents.

Ingredients you should avoid are butyl cellosolve (dangerous toxic chemical), petroleum, triclosan and phosphates. Also try to avoid chemicals known as phthalates that are used in detergents with fragrances, they have been linked to cancer.

If you must use bleach, try a non-chlorine product, use an oxygen-based cleaner instead, it is better for the environment and for your health. Or, I found a recipe for a safer bleach alternative at

Here’s the recipe:

12 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup hydrogen peroxide

Mix. Add 2 cups per wash load or put in spray bottle and use as a household cleaner. For all the details, visit

Conserve Energy

About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer is for heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes—use less water and use cooler water.

Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.

o  Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.
o  Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
o  Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
o  Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
o  Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
o  Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
o  Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
o  Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Be Good to Your Clothes

The folks at Green Living Ideas have some great tips for extending the life of your clothes:

o  Limit dryer use to save energy, money, and threads. Your dryer can wreak havoc on clothes by fading the colors and affecting the quality of the fabric.
o  Add a couple of teaspoons of table salt in with your detergent to make your clothes brighter and prevent colors from running.

For more tips about using salt in the wash, check out HowStuffWorks: Uses for Salt: Doing the Laundry.

Also visit 5 Tips for Fresher Laundry.

o  Add baking soda or distilled white vinegar to detergent to clean, deodorize, and brighten clothes.
o  Turn your clothing inside out in the washer and dryer. This prevents the outside from getting worn out.
o  Switch to cold water wash—doing so not only saves energy but also prevents colors from bleeding or fading, which tends to happen with hot or warm water.
o  Make sure to button and zipper up your clothes. This prevents snags that could ruin your clothes after several washes.
o  Keep lights, darks, and delicate clothing separate to keep colors bright and clothing in good shape.

Source: Green Living Ideas

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GREEN TIP: There are things you can do RIGHT NOW to begin living more sustainably. Today we’ll take a look in the kitchen.

As we go through our daily routines there are simple things we can do to reduce our impact on the planet. Here’s a look at some of the things you can do today in your kitchen to start living more sustainably:

  • Clean off the top of your refrigerator. Storing things on top of your refrigerator actually makes it work harder – interfering with its operation and using more energy.
  • Keep local and organic foods in your fridge. Plan to grow your own food this year, support local farmers and shop at natural food stores (like Sydney’s Health Market in our area).
  • If you’re using is correctly, a dishwasher actually uses less energy than washing by hand with hot water.
  • Don’t rinse your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. This save the planet 6,500 gallons of water per year and you at least $30 per year. Scrape your food scraps into a compost bin.
  • Speaking of compost bins… if you haven’t already, start composting. Instead of throwing your compostable waste into a landfill, throw them in your compost bin
  • Run your dishwasher on the economy cycle or prop the dishwasher door open to air-dry, rather than using the heater dry function.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it’s completely full.
  • Save energy and time when boiling water by placing a lid on the pot.
  • A few minutes before you’re finished cooking, turn the burners off completely. The residual heat will finish the job.
  • A heated oven loses 20% of its heat every time it’s opened. Use the light to check on your food.
  • Avoid excessively packaged foods. Buy bulk foods or products packaged in recyclable materials or reusable containers.

Source: Do It Green! Magazine, published by The Twin Cities Green Guide and

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Center for Ecoliteracy

The Center for Ecoliteracy supports and advances education for sustainable living. They are best known for their work in school food reform and integrating sustainability into K–12 curricula, they have engaged with educators from across the United States and six continents.

They offer books, educational materials, film guides, and studies. They conduct seminars, offer presentations at conferences and other events, and provide strategic consulting services to schools and districts.

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Yep, it’s finally happened… My Green Side has crawled slowly into the 21st Century. Translation: My Green Side is now on Facebook. I’m hoping it’s a way to continue the dialog about all things sustainable and make the discussion more interactive. Also, an additional way to discover things that people would like to learn more about during the Simple Tips for Green Living segment on The Christopher Gabriel Program.

So please stop over to and give a hello!


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