As some of you may know, Stonyfield Organics chairman/co-founder and Just Label It! chairman Gary Hirshberg appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher on October 19, 2012. He gives a very simple and straightforward explanation of why GMOs are bad and what the chemical companies are doing to infiltrate our food system. It’s a great overview, well worth the 8 minutes to watch!
A free couple of hours one afternoon last week led me down Division Street to Greenheart, the eco-friendly, fair trade artisan shop located in Wicker Park. I had browsed in the store before, but this day I was continuing my hunt for a specific, 100% organic eternity scarf. I figured there was a high likelihood that they would be carrying some since nearly all of the clothing they carry is organic and/or fair trade.
Now if you live in Chicago and have never been here, make a stop. For the rest of the world, Greenheart has a sleek online store full of all their goodies! They provide a guilt-free shopping experience; according to their site, “Greenheart believes consumers have the power to affect positive World change by supporting sustainable and fair business practices in their purchasing choices.”
I couldn’t agree more. Greenheart partners with artisans from all over the world, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Peru, and Senegal. The artisans use sustainable practices and eco-friendly materials, and the company pays each person a fair wage so that they are able to support themselves and their families. It’s really an incredible endeavor that Greenheart has pulled off. In addition to clothing, they carry jewelry, home & kitchen items, books, stationary, and kids toys. They are also full of fun little gifts and knick-knacks, my favorites being the Elephant Poo Paper and their Lavender & Lotus Flower Calming Lotion (totally clean–no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances; it’s certified organic AND it’s fair trade).
My experience in the store was nothing but positive, as it has been in the past. I was greeted by a very laid back, female associate. She let me know that I could grab her if I needed anything, and she left it at that. Dear Associate, THANK YOU. I can’t stand overbearing store associates that hover over your every step and eye you in every corner. I know how to shop. I’ve been doing it for 20 some years. If I have a question, I’ll grab you, ok? So I was entirely thrilled that I was left to browse in peace.
Eventually, I found what I had been looking for: their Organic Cotton Tube Scarf was hand knit with 100% organic cotton. It was big, fluffy, and perfect for protecting my neck from the harsh, Chicago cold. Unfortunately, my wallet didn’t fall in love like I had, so for now, I will have to admire it from afar.
BUT that does not mean I left empty handed! I picked up a bar of Theo Chai Tea Milk Chocolate after a friendly conversation with the male associate who rang me up (providing a fabulous lunch location recommendation as well!).
Greenheart, I will be back. You make sustainable living too easy.
Everyone else, check them out. You won’t regret it!
Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. And what a celebration it should be! Food is the nourishment that gives us life. It provides energy for our bodies to run and play, grow and heal.
In honor of Food Day, try all or some of these celebration ideas!
1. GO OUT FOR (or make!) A FRESH/LOCAL/ORGANIC MEAL
Being that I live in Chicago, I have a few go-to places that I like to stop in when I’m really craving something fresh. Native Foods Cafe, Hannah’s Bretzel, or the cafe in Whole Foods are my top choices.
If you don’t have access to an organic restaurant, create your own masterpiece. Find a favorite recipe or one that you’ve been wanting to try for a while and pick up ingredients from your local farmers market or organic grocer. Then, feel good. Feel good because you’re consuming a fresh and nourishing meal that is allowing your body to function at its maximum capacity, you’re purchasing produce that is pesticide-free and sustainably grown, and it just tastes good!
2. PLANT A SEED
This is a fun way to venture into home gardening. Grab a pot or a planter box, pick up some soil from the local hardware store, and a package of seeds of your plant of choice. Lettuce doesn’t require too much attention, and it’s versatility will complement a healthy diet. Spinach and chard can be grown easily, as well. Want to start smaller? Mint is perfect to grow if you drink tea often and want to add a refreshing touch.
3. SHARE YOUR ORGANIC CHOCOLATE
Have you had organic chocolate? The flavor is so much fuller and richer than that of Hershey’s or Nestle or Fannie Mae chocolate. It’s simply delicious. So pick up a bar at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or your local hippie health store and share it with someone you care for. They need to experience goodness in their day too, you know.
4. INVITE OTHERS TO CELEBRATE FOOD DAY, TOO!
This video shares briefly on what Food Day is all about. Show it to a friend, and invite them to join in on the celebration!
Happy Food Day!
That’s my lunch!
I recently read an article that said 70% (not 50%!) of your plate should be greens, then the other 30% can essentially be whatever you want (breads, grains, nuts, fruits, etc.). So, with that in mind, I am trying to up my intake of greens. The above was my result. Looks tasty, doesn’t it? I promise it is!
Make a bed of kale (or another leafy green you love). Put 1 cup of a gluten-free grain, such as quinoa, buckwheat, or millet. I used Trader Joe’s Quinoa Due with Vegetable Melange (completely delicious in and of itself. While it’s always best to cook grains fresh yourself, this is a nice break on those crazy, hectic days). Sprinkle some goat’s cheese (or feta) crumbles and you’ve got yourself a nourishing meal full of greens, protein, and energy!
With the coming of fall, it’s so easy to fall (hah) in love again with all of those earthy, natural scents. Of course, I enjoy them year round, but there’s something about the brisk air, the sun beaming through multicolored leaves, and the nightly bonfires that make me love an earthy scent so much more.
Enter In The Woods.
WHAT: In The Woods Artisan Soap and Body Oil
WHO: Abbey Brown
AVAILABLE IN: 4oz soap bars; 4oz body oils
COST: Soaps are $7 in a cute recycled bag or $6.50 naked; Body oils are $9
BONUS: The soaps have 0 chemicals or preservatives (can you say AWESOME?)
RECOMMENDED SCENTS: In The Woods, Lavender, All That Jazz
FUN FACT: The body oil containers can be reused and are great for traveling.
Abbey Brown Soap Artisan is a Chicago-based company dedicated to handcrafting natural olive oil soaps, soothing body oils, and relaxing bathing essentials. Their tagline, “Shop Local, Bathe Local” really emphasizes what they’re about: all of the herbs and botanicals in their products are grown locally.
My first exposure to Abbey Brown was while my mom and I were perusing Country Naturals, an infinitely charming little shop bursting of little knick-knacks, candles, lotions, decorations, and more in the lovely town of Geneva, IL. They had a small selection of Abbey Brown products in a corner of their store, and with the name “In The Woods,” I couldn’t help but pick it up. On the first inhale, the smell of cedar and pine simply enveloped me. But soap? I don’t use bars of soap. I’m all about the body washes and scrubs. So I put it down, and I walked away…
But it smelled so good. Maybe… I inhaled the bar once again.
No, no… I don’t use bar soaps! It’s just going to sit there…
And then I picked it up and brought it to the checkout counter. Low and behold, the decision was a great one. It’s since been the only bar of soap I’ve used up and needed to replace. The bits and pieces of dried mint and lemon verbena provide the perfect scrub in the shower, and the olive oil nourishes my thirsty skin. Let’s not forget the fact that I then smell absolutely amazing.
The olive oil soaps are comprised of 58% cold pressed olive oil, with the remainder of the bar made up of essential oils, plant oils, and fresh herbs. Paired with the fact that there are no chemicals, preservatives, petroleum, or paraffin, you have a bar of simple, natural goodness.
Being that I live in the city of Chicago, I was pleased to discover that Abbey Brown was local. Meaning, as I was driving down Grand Avenue one afternoon, I looked at the side of the road, saw the shop, and exclaimed to myself, “Oh my gosh! That’s who makes my soap!!!” Trust me, it was an exciting revelation.
Months later, when I finally made it into the shop, I had a blast sifting through their products and smelling all of their wonderful scents. I raved about my love for the In The Woods soap (and shea balm. So maybe I’m a little addicted.) as I was browsing the body oils. What? No In The Woods body oil? And what did the store associate do? Tailor-made me my own body oil of the intoxicating scent. Customer service and quality products — I’m all about that.
The oil is smooth and absorbs into skin quickly and easily. The scent lasts for a few hours, and even my boyfriend has commented on borrowing some (yeah. It’s that good.) The oils aren’t greasy and you can use them in the bath, as well. Pair a soap and its matching oil, and you’ll have one happy body.