tag: sustainable

Posted by in simple living

support a local farm!

happy pigs are tastier

jen from starshaped press recently wrote to tell me about their favorite local farm and how badly they are struggling to keep their small family pig farm afloat amidst large corporate farms with healthy government subsidies. even though i don’t eat meat, i will always support the local, sustainable farm! they are our biggest hope for the future. in efforts to help, jen has created this cute pig poster as a way to raise money for the farm and to help them stay in business. all $10 from the sale of this print will go directly to the farm! (and i’m sure they will accept donations as well!)

a little more about c & d farm:

c & d family farms is a small animal welfare approved family farm dedicated to raising hogs in their natural environment. their happy hogs are raised on pasture and in wooded areas where they can root and play and be hogs. they graze on pasture designed for them or eat leaves, weeds, berries and acorns from their large wooded pens. hogs are very social animals and are kept in droves so they can socialize and prosper.

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be straw free

October 4, 2011

Posted by in simple living

glass straws

glass straws

STRAWS. when’s the last time you thought about a straw? for me, it’s been a while. i decided to give them up a long time ago in efforts to save plastic, but there are still times where i just want.a.straw. i mean, i have sensitive teeth!

CONCERN: did you know that over 500 million disposable plastic straws are used in the united states every day? that’s about 38,000 straws per person during their lifetime, and that’s a BIG issue. we’re filling our landfills and using plastic like it’s nobody’s business. (you can read more about these statistics here.)

SOLUTION: of course, we could all just be straw free. but like i said, sometimes you just want.a.straw. turns out, their are alternatives to straws popping up everywhere- from paper to bamboo!

i believe my favorites are these handmade glass straws. they have a lifetime guarentee and are made from the same glass that pyrex is made from! they come with a little brush cleaner and are also dishwasher safe. you can even order a hemp straw sleeve to keep one in, making it easy to use them on the go.

stainless steel straws

here are a few other resources for great straw alternatives. not only are they eco-friendly, but i think they also add a really nice eclectic touch to the table!

glass straws: straws by carli, dharma glass

stainless steel straws: brook farm general store

you can also read more over at bestrawfree.org.

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Posted by in simple living

LABELS. they are everywhere, yet there still needs to be more. they can be overwhelming, confusing and even misleading! today i’m going to introduce several labels that you should keep an eye out for and support. next week we’ll discuss some that can be a little misleading, or confusing. are you ready?


organic. certified by the us department of agriculture to meet standards that don’t allow the use of most conventional pesticides, genetic engineering, and routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones in livestock. visit the usda website to learn more.


labels. what do they all mean?

fair trade. fair trade partnerships seek to offer better trading conditions to, and secure the rights of, marginalized producers and workers, especially in developing counties. certification by the fair trade labeling organization international guarantees that a product’s fair trade claims have been independently audited and verified.



labels. what do they all mean?

local. there are no consistent standards for use of the term, which may refer to a region, a state or the immediate ridgeline or watershed. it may also be applied to product that are made locally but of imported ingredients.

labels. what do they all mean?


clean. foods certified by organizations like scientific certification systems to have met voluntary standards in one or more areas of potential concern, including pesticide residues, food pathogens, industrial contaminants and heavy metals, and food safety procedures and practices throughout the food supply chain.

labels. what do they all mean?


fair labor. currently two organizations certify safe and fair ag labor practices in the u.s.: scs certified and safe ag employer. criteria include equitable hiring, and employment practices, safe workplace conditions, workers right to organize, worker housing, child labor, and access to health, education and transportation services.




sustainable. sustainable food certification programs address an array of social and environmental issues that go beyond ‘organic’, including safe and fair working conditions, healthy and humane care for livestock, reduced pesticide use, reduced water and non-renewable energy use, and enhanced soil health. visit the food alliance to learn more.

simple living

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Posted by in giveaway

48 Things to Know About Sustainable Living
you may remember one of my favorite authors and blog friend, victoria klein from 27 things to know about yoga? well she’s back again! this time, talking about the importance of sustainable living in another book that’s part of the good things to know series. as i’ve read my fair share of ‘how to be green’ books, i can say first hand that 48 things to know about sustainable living is delightfully different than the norm.  she busts myths, sets ground rules and teaches you how sustainable living is easy, affordable and more fulfilling than living a life blind to the importance of sustainability. she then continues with 48 ways to integrate planet-friendly habits into your life that are easily understood and attainable. with resources galore, there’s no one from the advanced eco-conscious to the beginner that won’t come away with life changing information.

you can visit victoria’s website to learn more about her and her latest book plus how to purchase it, as it would make the perfect gift for someone this christmas… or for yourself!

i’m also so excited to say that victoria has also been kind enough to offer a book for a giveaway!

enter the giveaway!
share with us in the comment section the ways in which you live a more eco friendly life.  you may ‘enter’ as many times as you like by commenting once for every sustainable act you take.  you have until sunday december 12th at midnight to enter, and the winner will be drawn randomly on the following monday.  you’ll have 48 hours to claim your prize, good luck!
About Victoria Klein

Victoria Klein is a freelance writer, photographer + creative dabbler. Her 2nd book, 48 Things to Know About Sustainable Living, was released in October 2010. Her 1st book, 27 Things to Know About Yoga, was released in July 2010.

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green summertime quiche

August 13, 2010

Posted by in handmade

summertime green quichethis week’s seasonal recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs, the kitchenist! a gal after my own heart, ele is an ecotarian foodie who cooks with a conscious. sharing recipes that are vegetarian, local, seasonal, organic or otherwise sustainable- her blog is full of endless inspiration sure to bring you one yummy idea after the next to keep you eating responsibly (and deliciously!).

green summertime quiche

this quiche is full of summer goodness with beans and peas galore.  better hurry up and make this one, as beans will be out of season soon and you’ll have to wait a whole year before you can make it again!  grab the green summertime quiche recipe here as well as view all of ele’s recipes to get recipes for the every season.

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fresh – a must see!

August 12, 2010

Posted by in lifestyle

hello lovelies!  have you all seen this movie? i just shared it in the comment section of the next post, but i love it so much that i wanted to share it here!  it’s just a quick snippet of a new movie coming out called fresh and discusses our food system and the health of humans on the planet.  the beauty of it has made me tear up more than once (not kidding) and it’s a must see!

“I am a caretaker of creation, and what I’m supposed to do is leave it in better shape for the next generation than I found it. period.” -Joel Salatin

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Posted by in simple living

hello dearies!  it feels funny to not have written a shop help post yesterday, but just in case you missed the news- biz articles will only be posted occasionally, as this fall i’m offering a brand new e-course for online sellers called selling the handmade way- i hope to see you there!

shop ethicallyethiopian coffee travel bag

lately, i’ve been thinking a lot about shopping ethically.  every time i’m in the store and reach for an organic goody, the annoyingly cheaper alternative always seems to scream at me.  it’s for this reason why i constantly  have to remind myself why it’s important to shop with a conscience.

shop ethicallygo green grocery market bag

you may say, why is it important to shop ethically? with every purchase you make, you vote for what you believe in, what you support, and what you want to see more of.  if we increase the demand for more organic, local, fair trade, sustainable products, then companies will respond and the prices will come down.  with every purchase, we send a message directly to the manufacturers about what we want and what we like to buy.  the products we purchase have a direct effect on our economy, our personal health, and the health of our planet.

shop ethicallyergonomic coffee sleeve pattern

how to do you begin? i like to start off by asking myself a few questions:

  • - do i really need this?
  • - will i be able to use this for long time, then recycle it?
  • - how far did this have to travel to reach me?
  • - who made it and how were they treated?
  • - is it labeled honestly or with clever marketing?

shop ethicallyorganic lunch tote

so how do you shop ethically? there are a few guidelines that i try to adhere to anytime i can.  first, if there’s an organic option, i always try to support it!  if you can’t afford to buy everything organic, do some research on what is most important to buy organically.  for instance, (for health reasons) it’s more important to buy organic strawberries than it is to buy organic bananas, because the thicker skinned fruits aren’t as susceptible to absorbing pesticides.

next, always buy your fruits and veggies seasonally and try to buy them local if you can.  preserving seasonal foods while you can will save you from contributing to the thousands of miles these foods must travel out of season.  read more about our initiative to eat more seasonal and local foods here.

always read the labels. with statements like fresh, all natural, cage free, no added hormones and no added gmo- it’s hard to know what’s what!  often times there aren’t any regulations behind such statements, so it’s important to find out where it’s coming from- an agency, the government or the company itself?  be conscious of marketing efforts and don’t fall victim to thinking items are good for you just because they’re covered with green labels and leaves.  to find out more about what these statements mean and who’s behind them, read this article on making sense of food labels.

shop ethicallyfair trade coffee

choose fair trade. fairly traded goods mean that the people who grew the food or produced the item are getting paid and treated fairly, meaning they’ll be able to stay in business!

purchase with a conscious. go beyond personal health and look for the most recycled, low packaging options available.  support recycled paper goods for your kitchen, bathrooms and office and always look for the products that have the lease amount of packaging.  instead of buying single use items, invest in melamine plates for picnics, cloth towels for napkins/paper towels and reusable grocery bags to shop with.

buy  handmade! that’s an easy one, right?! if you think there might be a handmade alternative, skip the big box store and support small businesses.  visit places like etsy, artfire or your favorite handmade blog to find alternatives.

shop ethicallycheck ME grocery list

it’s not always easy (or most affordable) to shop with a conscious, but don’t think that your efforts are wasted or go unnoticed. whether it’s one ethical purchase or a hundred-  you really do make a difference and your health as well as the health of the planet will benefit from every sustainable decision you make!

do you have any tips, advice or suggestions?

simple living

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Posted by in simple living

most of you know that i keep a small flock of backyard chickens (you can meet them here and here) and today i want to discuss the basics of why chickens are great to have and how you go about doing it.  i know some of you are just dying to eat fresh eggs every morning, right?!

how to start a backyard flock

{photo: my pet chicken}

let’s talk about the not-so-fun part first (skip down if you’re not into gruesome details).  this is a hard subject to swallow, but one we all need to become much more educated on.  unfortunately, industry standards for producing (any kind of) meat aren’t sustainable, nice or fun to learn about. the farming industry is pushed to increase revenue and decrease time so hard that the result is unhealthy, unhappy animals.  chickens are generally kept in cages in a factory building with no windows.  kept in such close quarters and breathing nothing but fecal dust, the farmer’s are forced to feed them antibiotics to keep them from getting sick.  growth hormones are added to their food in order to increase egg production, or in the case of meat birds, increase their breast size.  sadly, many of these bird’s breasts get so large that they can’t remain standing, and topple over from the wait instead.  egg layers kept in cages stacked on one another get feces dropped on them from the birds above and often times they’re feet actually grown around the wire cage from inadequate room to move.  we end up eating the growth hormones and antibiotics that are present in the meat and it in turn effects our health.  due to added hormones, girls and boys are hitting puberty earlier than ever and we’re as a population becoming less immune to antibiotics as they are being found in any meat we eat that’s not organic.  these hormones and antibiotics have many more ramifications but one of the largest is that it ends up in our breast milk which we feed our newborns.  so without going into too much more detail: after learning about the incredibly unhappy animals and destruction to our environment caused from industry farming, the antibiotics and the hormones, i decided to raise my own chickens (and ultimately become a vegetarian).  i truly believe we are what we eat, and i don’t want to eat added nasties in my food or consume animals that were never happy or ever saw the light of day. if you’re interested in learning more, my favorite book about it all is called veggie revolution.

how to start a backyard flock

{farm fresh eggs}

now- onto more pleasant subjects!! there’s a lot to learn about keeping hens, but the good news is that after researching lots of hobby farm animals, chickens win for the easiest and most fun animal to keep. so let’s start off with the basics: why would you want chickens?  in addition to the above reasons: chickens don’t take up much land, are excellent for your garden and fertilizer, drastically reduce the number of ticks and other icky insects in your yard, are easy keepers, hilarious to watch and give you yummy eggs every day.  a recent article from mother earth news shows that eggs raised on the farm have:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

and, i feed mine organic feed which means i have organic eggs at my disposal all the time! we stick to using our hens for eggs, but raising chickens for meat is another fantastic way to eat sustainable, local meat and say no to harmful industry standards.

how to start a backyard flock

my chicks the day they arrived

now that you now the why, we can move onto the how!  more and more cities are now allowing you to keep chickens within city limits.  check with your city or see chicken laws to see if your’s applies.  getting and raising chickens are easy.  my hands-down favorite place to order chicks is from my pet chicken.  with a minimum order of 3 (count them, 3!) chicks, you can pick and choose which breeds you like.  they’re shipped out the day they hatch and arrive within a few days, all healthy and ready to meet ‘mommy’! all you need is a warm place to put them (i use a cardboard box), a waterer and a feeder.  they’ll be big enough within about 5 weeks to be moved to a coop and soon they’ll be running around your yard!  my pet chicken’s free e-care book has all the information you need about getting and rearing baby chicks, so i’m going to send you there for all the nitty gritties (but it’s easy, i promise!).

how to start a backyard flock

{chicken and the egg}

what kind of chickens are right for you? there are many different kinds and reasons people want chicks.  some are for show, some are just fun to look at.  some are colorful egg layers and some are only for meat.  i picked mine on temperament (i wanted them to be sweet and not too ‘flighty’) and egg production.  between my pet chicken’s breed list and henderson’s handy dandy chicken chart- i had a list of fav’s in no time.

how to start a backyard flock

{silkie chicken}

where will you put them? in the first few weeks they’ll need to be somewhere that you can check in on them numerous times a day.  i usually keep mine in the kitchen for a few weeks, then move them out into a heated barn, garage or extra room.  after they’ve gotten big enough (about 5 weeks), you can move them to a coop.  i’ve seen just about anything work, from a big walk-in coop to an old broken down car!  anything that protects them from the weather and other wildlife (think snakes, cats and wolves) will suffice.  you’ll need to be able to securely close them up at night and let them out in the morning.  the setup should be very easy- they’ll need a pole to roost on at night, one nesting box per 4 birds to lay their eggs in and a feeder and waterer.  if you live in the city or a close knit neighborhood, you’ll want to keep them in a fenced in area, yard or run, and if you live on acreage you can let them roam free!

how to start a backyard flock

{photo: my pet chicken}

some misconceptions:

- chickens smell. they don’t smell at all!  as long as you keep a clean, dry coop all you’ll get is a whiff of cedar shavings.

- chickens are loud. my girls hardly make a peep.  sometimes in the morning they’ll squawk as they lay an egg but generally my neighbors can’t hear anything.

- you need a rooster. chickens don’t need a rooster to lay eggs!  in fact, no industry egg from the grocery store has ever been fertilized.  the only reason you need a rooster is if you want your eggs to hatch. (and roosters are where the noise comes from)!

- different colored eggs taste differently. i have blue, green, white, beige and dark brown eggs and they all taste the same!  egg color is a result of the color of calcium build up they have in their bodies, that’s all!

- chickens are stupid. sorry, mine are smart. i promise.

- chicken’s and kids don’t mix. they do! hens are sweet, don’t peck and can be great teachers to young kids about where food comes from.  i’ve seen many kids gathering eggs and carrying their hens around the yard!

how to start a backyard flock

my day old chicks

my favorite resources:

- FRESH the movie – a feel good short trailer on farming practices – it’s so good!

- veggie revolution - about industry farming practices

the femivore movement – my fav article on chicks with chicks

my pet chicken’s free e-care book- a MUST read if you’re considering buying chicks!

living with chickens – a beautiful and very informative read on rearing chickens

this is a big subject with lots to discuss, i’ll meet you in the comment section to answer any questions or for further discussion! love, bonnie

simple living

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