Monthly Archives: November 2008

Tis’ the Season for Green Giving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  During these times of economic peril, it is important to remember to be thankful for what we do have.  While the economy may be suffering, including our own pocketbooks, we still have our friends and family to be thankful for.  For far too long the holiday season has become a time of ridiculous conspicuous consumption consisting of indulgences that will probably be forgotten by the next year if not the next month.  So perhaps this economic situation could be a positive situation in that the true values of the holidays may shine through: family, forgiveness, thankfulness, and living in the present…moment that is.

Some of the best gifts I have ever gotten have been gifts that have been handmade or handed down.  It feels great to know someone made something just for you, or they knew you would really enjoy a book from their collection that meant something to them.  The great things about these gifts is they are usually a lot more eco-friendly!  However, if you are not quite the artisan or wish to go the thrifty route, consider making a green gift purchase for your loved ones!

Urban Eco Nest’s Top 3 Green and Wallet Friendly Gifts!

1. Chico Bags! These great reusable shopping bags fold up small enough to fit in your purse or on your keychain!  That way you have a bag wherever you are.  Plus, they come in a variety of stylish colors and at $5 a bag who could say no? Stocking stuffer anyone?

2. Divine Chocolate!  Who doesn’t love a great piece of dark chocolate?!  This chocolate company makes some of the best chocolate I have ever had.  Plus, it is fair trade and affordable, so you won’t feel guilty indulging in one of these or giving one! Search on their website for a store near you.

3. One More Cup of Coffee for the RoadEqual Exchange Fair Trade Coffees and Teas.  Tea and Coffee are perfect gifts for the holiday season.  Introduce that Folgers loving friend or family member of yours to some real coffee that tastes fantastic and actually helps the coffee and tea growers!

Also, Co-op America has put together a great Green Gift Catalog filled with companies and organizations that sell great products while doing good for the planet!  Another holiday favorite of mine is Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade gift store with something unique for everyone!  Plus, they have some really beautiful and affordable gifts that also do something good for the artisans.

The holidays are a great time of giving and also waste.  Do your part to reduce the impact on the planet by giving a green gift this year, which is a gift all of us can share.

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It’s a Picnic with Natural Pest Control!

The infestation has begun! At least of ants in my kitchen anyways. While I am fairly clean and utilize my eco friendly cleaning products to clean on a regular basis, ants have found their way into my kitchen. I don’t mind bugs, but I just do not want them in my house! In pondering about how to deal with this situation I went through the possible standard options: expensive toxic chemical sprays or living with ants. Neither of these sounded good to me so I started researching ways to deal with these indoor pests naturally.

First, the best way to prevent pests is to keep your space clean. However, if you have pests just cleaning won’t necessarily make them go away. I found a great article from doityourself.com ( doityourself Natural Pest Control ) that describes natural ways of dealing with indoor pests. According to this article, the best ways to deal with ants naturally are…

1) Vinegar, the ultimate multi-tasker! You use it in salad dressings and to clean your house, now use it to get rid of ants! Clean all countertops, floors, and cabinets with equal parts of vinegar & water to deter ants.

2) Bone Meal or Charcoal Powder. According to the doityourself article ants will not cross a line of bone meal, coarsely ground bones used as an organic fertilizer, or lines of charcoal powder. Bone meal can be purchased at a variety of places from your local pharmacy or health store to a garden center. Charcoal powder can also be purchased from a pharmacy or health store.

3) The power of citrus! Lemon can help cure your ant woes. If you know where the ants are coming from and have found their entrance to your home squirt some lemon juice into the crack or hole and then slice pieces of the lemon peel and put in around the entrance.

The article also suggests using Borax which is not “acutely toxic”, but really doesn’t make me feel that great about it because it can still be toxic if ingested in large amounts. So if you choose to use borax make sure to keep it out of reach of children and pets.

This article also offers tips on how to get rid of roaches, moths, mosquitoes, flies and fleas. Check it out and preserve the indoor air quality of your home by trying a natural form of pest control!

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CSA: A Bountiful Return on Investment

In a world of uncertain economic times, why not invest in something that is guaranteed to have a positive and sustainable impact on your health, home, community, and your plate? If this sounds good to you, then you may be a perfect candidate for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

CSA’s are a fantastic way for the public to purchase fresh produce while creating a relationship with a local farm. The way a CSA works is the public can become members (aka Shareholders) of the CSA by paying up front for the week, month, or season of food depending on the CSA. In return the members receive a weekly box of seasonal produce! Some CSAs even offer meats, eggs, and flowers in their boxes. Like all investments CSAs come with risk, but a very minimal one since members share the risks of farming such as poor harvests or pests.

For urban dwellers who do not have the option or time to garden CSA’s offer a fantastic opportunity to support local farms and get fresh seasonal produce in return. CSA’s are becoming increasingly popular across the country and groups like MyFarm out of San Francisco are finding ways to make CSA’s even more sustainable and community oriented by creating a dispersed urban farm across the city in people’s backyards. Check out a video on them below.

To find local CSAs in your area visit Local Harvest a great site that promotes farming and community.


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