Green Ladies: Send this to your Valentine (Hint, Hint)

February 8th, 2008

If you’re lucky enough to have a Valentine who may be hunting for a special something for you, you just may want to send this post along as a hint.

Completely green, organic, and with proceeds benefiting the wonderful green charity The Nature Conservancy, these organic flowers, e-cards, and gift memberships are the perfect gift for a green woman.

Be sure to click on this link for details on how to order and to benefit the Nature Conservancy!

– Lynn

The Day After Super Tuesday: Need a Good Cuppa Joe?

February 6th, 2008

I was planning to post more today about green and organic alternatives for Valentine’s Day, but like many of you, I suspect, I can’t stop thinking about last night’s thrilling election returns. I don’t want to turn this into a political blog, so commenting seems off-topic. But what do we politically aware, green and organic Dems, Republicans and Independents all have in common? We’re probably all tired from staying up late last night waiting for the returns!

Now here’s where the dividing line may occur. Some of you may have sworn off coffee for health reasons. But I’ve seen just as much science showing that coffee in moderate amounts can be good for you. Since espresso has less caffeine than coffee (and I think it’s more delicious), I drink café lattes in the morning to get me going, especially on a day like today. After getting to bed at midnight, today was a three latte morning.

And if you’re looking for a good cuppa java to help you make it through the day, I’d like to introduce you to Café Altura. I love this stuff! It is biodynamic, organic, and fair trade. What’s more, as you can see from the photo, they deliver! So convenient and so delicious! And at under $11 per pound (including shipping), it’s a great buy, too! (Lest you wonder, I have no affiliation with Altura other than the fact that I drink their coffee, which my darling husband buys! In other words, this post is not a paid post or advertisement! In fact, to-date, OrganicMania has not accepted any advertising).

cafealtura2.jpg

By the way, MamaBird at Surely You Nest had a great post about Fair Trade recently…great explanations…check it out.

– Lynn

Simple “Green Valentines” for Your Little Kids

February 4th, 2008

It’s hard to believe Valentines Day is next week. Soon it will be time to run out and buy those cutesy Valentine cards so popular with the preschool set. Wait a minute – they’re packaged in boxes shrink wrapped in environmentally unfriendly plastic. Plus, who ever remembers to buy them until your little darling reminds you the day before Valentine’s Day? By then the odds are good that you’ll need to make an extra trip to the store just to pick up the cards – wasting gas.

This Valentine’s Day, get ahead of the curve with an approach that’s cute, eco-friendly, inexpensive, and fun. Go retro and make your own Valentine’s cards!

You can get fancy if you want, but I’ve gotten rave reviews from the preschool teachers with just the simplest of Valentines. Before my son could even cut out a heart shaped valentine, he cut circles, squares, oblong odd shapes – whatever he could muster – from red construction paper. Then I either wrote his name on each one or he stuck a sticker with his name on each Valentine.

The teachers and kids loved the home made Valentines. I loved doing a simple, easy craft with my child from materials that we already had at home. What’s more, I didn’t waste gas, consume unnecessary plastic, or have to spend bucks on silly Valentine’s cards.

C’mon…join me and make your own Valentines. It’s just one simple way to show love to Mother Earth this Valentine’s Day!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 Organicmania

DC Area Shoppers Alert! Organic Corn on the Cob!

February 2nd, 2008

Organic corn on the cob is hard to find, which is a shame given that such a large percentage of the corn crop in the US is now genetically modified (and not labeled as GMO). I searched in vain last season for organic corn on the cob, so I was shocked when I found some yesterday at MOM’s (My Organic Market). Check it out! The ears are relatively small, and they’re priced at $1.29 per ear. They were delicious!
Bon appetit!

– Lynn

Biodynamic: The New Organic

February 1st, 2008

There’s a secret I’ve been keeping. It’s my family’s recent devotion to biodynamic food. The reason I haven’t mentioned this before? I thought I didn’t understand biodynamics well enough to blog about it.

Yet after hearing someone ask if biodynamics were “bad for you,” I realized an introduction was needed to this amazing yet uncommon food. There is a sense of mystery about biodynamics because biodynamics is shrouded in spiritual mystique. In fact, the biodynamic food my family eats is called “Biodynamic: Spiritual Food for the New Millennium.”

So no, biodynamics is not bad for you. On the contrary. I wish everyone could benefit from biodynamic food, which raw and living food expert Sharon Greenspan of Wild Success™ has dubbed “The New Organic.” While biodynamics pre-dates the organic movement by two decades, to most people, the concept of biodynamics is new. Biodynamic food harkens back to an earlier era in the organic food industry, a time before it was an industry, before there was organic processed food and before organic was anything other than local food.

For six years, I sampled incredibly delicious biodynamic fruits when my yoga teacher would leave them out as snacks at her Shanti Yoga ashram. Biodynamic food is simply the freshest, best tasting food available. And its most ardent devotees claim it is also the most nutritious, “rich in vitamins, minerals and life-force or ‘prana,’ ” according to Victor Landa of the Spiritual Food for the New Millenium organic and biodynamic CSA.

I risk sounding strange by admitting this, but I swear that the first few times I ate biodynamic food, I felt a rush, like my blood vessels were opening up or something incredible was going on in my body as it received this incredibly pure, wholesome food. When I asked my yoga teacher about what made biodynamics so special and how it differed from the organic food I could pick up at the supermarket, she said, “This is better than organic. It has spiritual forces, the forces of life.”

The spiritual forces she mentioned are tied in with the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner, father of the Waldorf movement and developer of the biodynamic method of farming.

Tennessee’s “Barefoot Farmer” explains on his website that Steiner believed “that the use of artificial fertilizers [would] have a detrimental effect on our soils and eventually our human spiritual development.” The Spiritual Food CSA’s website notes “spiritual food is about more than avoiding chemicals. Growers seek to improve the health and vitality of soil, plants and animals through working with the health-bearing forces of nature on the principle that if the soil is healthy, chemicals are not needed and seeds will bring forth plants that are true to their own unique nature and have more life-giving vitality to offer.” But biodynamics is about more than avoiding the use of chemicals – it’s about tapping into the cycles of the sun and moon to foster nature’s bounty. As the Spiritual Food website explains, “Steiner farmers avoid chemicals, hormones, and non-therapeutic antibiotics. Instead, they seek to understand how living things behave, how they interact, and the spirits that underlie them. They use the cycles of the moon and planets to guide their planting schedules, and treat their soil and seeds with preparations made from organic plant and animal elements, developed by Steiner and his compatriots.”

Despite skepticism about what my husband calls “these fruity nutty granola elements,” we took the plunge and joined the ashram’s biodynamic CSA, which provides us with a potluck assortment of biodynamic and regular organic food every week. As we’ve marveled at the incredible flavors of the persimmons, eggs, bread, squash, citrus, apples, and other wonderful grains, vegetables, and fruits, my husband has tried to figure out what it is that makes biodynamic food so special. Finally, he surmised that maybe it’s because the spiritual farmers pay so much attention to the growing process, it is nearly perfect. When I told my yoga teacher about his conclusion, she laughed in her quiet way, and said, “That’s right!”

Although one of the goals of the biodynamic movement is to make the food “available to as many people as possible” because “biodynamic food nourishes the body and the spirit,” unfortunately it’s simply not possible to feed everyone this way because there are so few biodynamic farms. Even in our CSA, which is a leader in the biodynamic movement, we can’t expect all of our CSA shares to be biodynamic. Instead, we enjoy healthy, local organic food as well.

If your family is unable to participate in a biodynamic CSA, you can still eat healthier this year by buying local and organic food. I’ve blogged about the prices and availability of organic food at places like Giant, Safeway, Target, WalMart, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Balduccis, local organic markets and co-ops, and new regional organic chains like Roots. Now, thanks to the Parent Bloggers Network, I’ve learned that the Kroger chain offers organic foods as well. This means that no matter where you live in the US, you should have access to organic food. And that’s good news for Mother Earth and mothers everywhere.

Links to biodynamic farmers and resources:
San Diego County’s LaVigne Farms (wonderful persimmons and other fruit!)
Nebraska’s Massena Farm (amazing oats and flax seed and other grains!)
Pennsylvania’s Kimberton Hills (best bread and more!)
New York’s Threshold Farms (amazing apples and more!)
Indiana’s Fragrant Farms (fragrant flowers and more!)

Spiritual Food of the New Millenium CSA (Shares can be sent by US postal service nationwide!)

Local Harvest (List of CSAs, including biodynamic CSAs nationwide)

Bon appetit!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008, Organicmania