Last Minute Quick Christmas Gifts to Make

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I don’t know how you are doing with getting your Christmas shopping done, but I still have a fair amount to get done. I would love to make some more gifts but time is running out. Below is a list of great do-it-yourself, quick, Green Christmas gifts.

  1. Bath and Body Treatments from Planet Green and Martha Stewart. Click here for the recipe.
  2. Make some Caramel-Corn Clusters for Christmas gifts from Planet Green. Click here for the recipe.
  3. Make a pine cone bird feeder. Click here for instructions.
  4. DIY Natural Christmas Candles. Click here for the instructions.
  5. Do-it-yourself Organic Chocolate. Click here for the recipe.

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Her

Looking for some green, earth friendly gifts for the women in your life, check out these great ideas.

Sterling Silver Stackable Rings: The artisans who hand make these sterling silver rings are paid fairly in the local context and are pre-paid 50% up front so they don’t need to use their own resources to purchase raw materials.

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Organica’s Weekend Scarf: Hand-woven and made by women artisans using 100% non-violent, natural silk. The purchase of beautiful Tasar silk (indigenous to India) has far reaching impact on the environment and on livelihoods of the rural poor.

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Bamboo 5 Piece Brush Set: This earth-friendly brush set is packed with the 4 high-quality brushes and, it shows respect for the planet. Bamboo handles, Synthetic taklon bristles that are 100% cruelty free, Sleek ferrule made from recycled aluminum and the cosmetic case is made from natural cotton and hemp.

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Buying Organic on a Budget

162212_5903Most people if asked would eat organic, knowing that its better for them, the environment and the local farmers. But most people can’t afford it. More and more organic produce and items are showing up in grocery stores but its still on the expensive side.

Here are a few ways you can eat organic and save money:

1. Go straight to the source – Buy directly from the farmers/farmers markets for any fresh produce, this will save you from the mark up prices at the grocery store.

2. Try the organic store brand – Many stores sell organic food with their own private labels. Whole Foods and Trader Joes are among the many now.

3. Stay away from packaged food when you can – Foods in their natural form are cheaper to buy and better for you.

4. Grow your own organic fruits and veggies at home – Its not as tough as it may sound, and growing your own is a great learning experience for the whole family.

5. Join a co-op – A cooperative is a member-owned business that provides groceries and other products at a discount. Many of the items from the co-ops are organic and much of the produce comes from local family farms.

6. Clip coupons – Look for any organic food coupons you can find. Most of these will be in the stores themselves or online. Go straight to the manufacturers site online to find what they offer.

Mix My Granola

mixmygranola_containerThe brain child of Andreas, Matt and Raoul, Mix My Granola was founded in 2008. They came up with the idea at breakfast one morning when they were talking about what they thought the perfect granola combination would be. After they realized each of them had a different idea of what that would look like and not being able to find those combo’s at the store they started making their own mixes.And from that came MixMyGranola.com: The website where YOU can custom-make your own granola. The way YOU like it!

The Container:

They treat the environment with respect and all of our packaging is 100% recyclable. A soy-based ink is used to print our labels, which means less chemicals are leaking into the environment.

Organic Ingredients:

They take great pride in our ingredients and have hand-picked all of our ingredients from the best producers in the U.S. Most of their ingredients are organic, and all their granolas, nuts and seeds are preservative-free and all-natural products. All fruits are dried fruits and have been carefully processed to preserve their natural flavors and nutritional value. All of their fruits, nuts and seeds are cholesterol-free.

How it works:

  1. You get to pick your granola base: Organic Granola, Low-fat Granola or French Vanilla Granola.
  2. You add your ingredients: Ranging from dried berries/fruits, nuts/seeds, extras such as M&Ms, animal cookies, jelly beans, chocolate raisins, etc.., and you can add enhancer powder.
  3. Then you get to give your granola mix a name.
  4. Finally you order.

Prices range from $4.49 – 4.99 for 16 oz. of granola and depending on the ingredients you add it costs anywhere between .49 – 1.99 for 1 oz. Shipping is free with a $40 purchase.

This is an interesting concept and one that I look forward to trying. Check it out for yourself and start enjoying your own personal granola.

4th Annual Green Sprouts Organic Baby & Family Fest

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Coming up on September 26th is the 4th Annual Green Sprouts Organic Baby & Family Fest.

Green Sprouts Festival is a fun, festive and educational one-day event for the whole family that celebrates and promotes the nurturing of life through nature. From pregnancy to childhood, parents can learn about and explore eco-friendly, community-involved, natural, and healthy options to raising their families.

Place: Peninsula Park, Portland Oregon

Admission: $3.00 suggested donation that will benefit Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative.

Getting There:

  • Train – The TriMet Light Rail system has a stop just a few blocks from Peninsula Park.
  • Bus – TriMet bus lines #4 and #44 will take you within a short walk to Peninsula Park.
  • Bicycle – There are many designated bike routes that will take you right to Peninsula Park. Consult the City of Portland bike map (PDF) to find the best route.
  • Car – Peninsula Park is easily accessable from I-5. Just take exit 304 at N. Rosa Parks Way (formerly N. Portland Blvd) and head east 3 blocks.

Whats great about this event is that they are striving to make it a zero waste event.

Receptacles will be available for recycling common objects such as aluminum, plastic bottles, glass, and paper. Composting receptacles will also be available for food items. A diaper changing area will be available on-site for your convenience.

6 Reasons You Should Buy Organic Meat

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Marlon Pather is the proprietor of The Butchers, Toronto's first organic butcher shop.

I have to say grocery shopping is probably my most favorite thing to do aside from eating the food that I purchase. So in my grocery shopping experiences I don’t come across organic meat very often, unless I am at a store that specializes in organic, natural foods. But the average grocery store doesn’t carry much organic meat. And meat is probably the most important item to buy organic, aside from dairy products.

Here are 6 reasons why you should buy organic meat:

1. Organic meat is free of antibiotics, added hormones, GMO feed and other drugs. Animals raised organically are not allowed to be fed antibiotics, the bovine human growth hormone or other artificial drugs. Animals are also not allowed to eat genetically modified foods. Further, animal products certified as organic can not have their genes modified.

2. Animals aren’t forced to be cannibals. Animals are fed 100% organic feed without ground up animal parts.

3. Animals are treated more humane and more likely raised without cruelty. Factory farms treat animals like commodities, and they are kept in tightly confined pens and often never move more than a few feet their whole lives. Words like free-range and ranch raised are clues that the animals were raised in a more human way.

4. Organic farms use manure as organic fertilizer. On small, diverse farms, manure is used to naturally fertilize soil. Industrial farms produce so much manure, on the other hand, that it is a human health risk.

5. Fewer chemicals are used on organic farms. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are not used on the food or land. Residues of persistent chemicals such as DDT, PCBs, dioxin, and many pesticides concentrate in animal fat. Eating organic animal fat reduces your exposure to these chemicals.

6. The money you spend on the organic meat supports the farm they come from. You can contribute to the well-being of your community by supporting small, local, diverse organic farms.

Eco-Friendly Table Linens

jr-organic-kitchen-dish-potholder1Are you looking for ways to update your kitchen table but want to be green and use organic or eco-friendly linens. There are a lot of options out there, check out these great designs and earth friendly linens:

Touch of Europe – Bamboo Eco-Friendly Fun Colorful Placemats. These placemats come in yummy fresh colors and are made of bamboo. Great for casual indoor or outdoor entertaining and the colors work with so many other colors, to mix, match, combine and have fun.

Viva Terra – Multi-Colored River Stone Placemats. These smooth river stone placemats in variegated colors add a functional and organic design dimension to traditional dining table decor. Hand-gathered and securely attached to netted backing.

3R Living – Paper Table Placemats. The placemats are waterproof, tear proof, and made from tree-free paper. We love the smooth matte finish of the mats, but we especially appreciate that they are 100% recyclable.

Eco Choices EcoKitchen – Organic Cotton Kitchen Towels, Dish Towels and Pot Holders. 100% organic cotton kitchen towels, dish cloths and pot holders. Grown without the use of harsh chemicals, pesticides & fertilizers. The methods, materials, and dyes used on these have a low impact on the environment and are certified by Skal International.

Green Feet – Litter Free Lunch Cloth Napkins. Replace disposable paper napkins and paper towels with these civilized serviettes. Each soft cotton cloth napkin is generously proportioned and ready to reuse.

Green Go’s Natural & Organic Food to Go!

On a recent trip to California, I passed by what looked like a small store while making our way to In N Out. I wanted to stop to see what they had and after the second drive by we still hadn’t stopped, so I decided I would look it up on the internet.

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Green Go’s located in Redding, California is a Dine in or Take it to go little restaurant. Its locally owned and operated and they serve only the freshest products, using locally grown, certified organic whenever possible.

They offer Vegan, Wheat Free and Gluten Free options. Everything on the menu sounds amazing….from Salads to Wraps to Pizza…everything made fresh and good for you. They also use Ezekial and Wheat Free Millet and Rye Breads to make their sandwiches with. And don’t forget they have a selection of Organic Beers and Wines.

If you are ever in Redding, Ca. and your looking for great healthy food, stop by Green Go’s and see what they have.

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9 Reasons to Buy Organics

organic-foodWhenever I am up in Portland I try to stop at Whole Foods to pick up some organic goodies. Here in Salem we have one store, Lifesource, although a great store, its pretty tiny, hence the need to stop at a bigger, cheaper store when possible.

WholeFoods offers a ton of informational and educational brochures at their door to help you understand different things like the Vegetarian Diet, Handling Seafood Properly and this one about Organics and you.

Here are 9 great reasons why you should buy organic when possible:

  1. Organic farming meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.
  2. Growing organically supports a biologically diverse, healthy environment.
  3. Organic farming practices help protect our water resources.
  4. Organic agriculture increases the land’s productivity.
  5. Many organic farms are small, independent and family-run..
  6. Organic farmers are less reliant on non-renewable fossil fuels.
  7. Organic products meet stringent USDA standards.
  8. Buying organic is a direct investment in the long-term future of our planet.
  9. Organic farmers preserve diversity of plant species.

For more information on How the National Organic Standards Evolved, Reading Organic Labels and more click here.

North American Organic Brewers Festival

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Jared over at The Weekly Brew was kind enough to send me a link to the The North American Organic Brewers Festival (NAOBF), which will be held in my area next week.

The North American Organic Brewers Festival features beers from as far away as England and Germany. Oregon’s brewers dominate the event with locally crafted organic beers. Some of the festival’s breweries brew exclusively organic beers, though others will be specially crafting organic beers just for the event.

Whats great about the NAOBF is that they strive to make the event the most earth friendly beer festival in North America and Europe.

Festival attendees sample beer from compostable corn-starch tasting glasses instead of the heavy plastic mugs used at other beer festivals. Composting and recycling stations are provided for festival waste and food vendors are required to use compostable cutlery and plates. Electricity needs are met with a combination of biodiesel and solar generators, volunteers wear organic cotton and hemp t-shirts, and signage is reusable.

They are also encouraging people to take Tri-Mets MAX line to the event by giving a $1 discount off of tasting glass.

The event is free and open to the public. Participation in beer tasting is $6 for a reusable tasting glass and samples are $1 a token. A full glass is 4 tokens. Strong beers (over 8% alcohol by volume) and certain imported beers will cost more. Children are welcome with guardians. Sorry no pets allowed. Beer sales are restricted to people 21 years and older with valid ID.

So if your wanting to try some excellent Organic Beers check out the NAOBF at Overlook Park in Portland, Oregon next weekend.