Buy Something that Makes a Difference Day!

November 28th, 2008

Last year at this time, I supported “Buy Nothing Day,” which encourages consumers to abstain from “Black Friday” shopping sales.

This year, it’s a different story. With “Going out of Business” signs all around the shopping centers, we see sad reminders of an economy in tatters.

I’m not suggesting you buy a bunch of useless “stuff” just to help the economy and save a few bucks for the holidays. But what I am suggesting is that whether you’re out and about today on “Black Friday” or cruising the Net on “Cyber Monday,” you can choose to make a difference with your purchases by patronizing those companies that help us to go green – either by saving energy, using organic farming methods, or insisting on recycled paper from well managed forests.

And yes, I have a few savings tips for you – all, I’m happy to say, from some great green companies I’m representing through my consulting business.

Savings Tip #1 – Free Organic Food for Kids (With Rebate)
Is there a SuperTarget near you? I visited for the first time last week and was impressed by their attractive display of organic produce, along with the increasing variety of eco-friendly products Target stocks – all at great prices, of course. The reason for my visit was to check out their new display of Mom Made organic foods. Now’s the best time to try Mom Made — for free. Mom Made will refund the purchase price of one Mom Made for Baby, Mom Made Munchie, or Mom Made Meal purchased at SuperTarget through December 10th. Just download this form for info on where to send your receipt and proof of purchase.

Savings Tip#2 – Free Shipping on Energy Efficient LED Lights
Think compact fluorescents are the latest and greatest in energy efficiency? Think again. LEDs are the wave of the future. Prices are coming down, and the energy savings are enormous. (Check out this comparison chart to get informed on the differences between incandescent, compact fluorescent, and
LED lighting for details). Now you can order that practical someone on your list the latest in LED lighting technology – with free shipping for the holidays. Check out Mr. Beams motion sensor activated SpotLight and StairLight, and read their great consumer reviews here.

Savings Tip #3 – 10% off Soft Organic Cotton Tees and Note Cards
Got a dog lover on your list? What about an environmentally conscious dog lover who wants to support dog charities? Check out these adorable, soft, whimsical organic cotton tees printed with water-based inks and the matching note cards, printed on FSC certified paper by an FSC certified printer in a carbon-neutral facility. Coordinating envelopes made from 100% recyclable paper, packed in biodegradable/compostable packaging with hemp string. Whether you choose to shake it off or live in the moment, there’s something for you at Fundamentally Dog! Use coupon code 1EM1108 to save 10% on your first purchase by 12/20/08. 

Happy Shopping…and remember, think carefully about how you spend…you can make a real difference by patronizing firms that are working hard to protect and preserve the environment. Want to take it a step further? Sign up for my friend Diane MacEachern’s “One in a Million Challenge,” and commit to shifting $1,000 of your spending to eco-friendly products. As Diane, author of The Big Green Purse, puts it “The more money you spend on green products, the more you encourage manufacturers to reduce pollution, save energy and water, use less packaging and protect natural areas.”

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

The 100 Mile Thanksgiving, Part II

November 25th, 2008

Following is the continuation of Jennifer Kaplan’s post about celebrating a “100 Mile” Thanksgiving. You can read the first part here.

First, we spent Sunday morning at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. We found all sorts of fabulous greens, yams, “Dr. Seuss” cauliflower, herbs and chicken for stock. Of course, once the kids warmed up with hot cocoa and croissants it was a terrific morning all around.

About the rest of the guests, at first I heard nothing back from my email describing the 100-mile Thanksgiving. Then a few requests to resend the email. Finally….

- My sister-in-law from Brooklyn is bringing an apple-pear chutney to replace cranberry sauce. She also asked if chocolate from Jacques Torres in Brooklyn qualified. We decided, since one cannot pass up Jacques Torres Chocolate and we’re making a similar exception for coffee, that products with raw materials that cannot be found within a 100 miles (cocoa nibs, coffee beans) can be brought if they are processed locally. So, Jacques Torres is in as is Gimme Coffee! roasted in Ithaca, NY.

- My mother-in-law from Tampa wants to bring key-limes for pie. But, she then emailed asking if I could buy Carnation condensed milk “locally”! I asked my husband to call her and explain that condensed milk was not in the spirit of the 100 mile meal, but he refused. Emails flew back and forth. Homemade condensed milk wouldn’t do the trick. Our friend Steve, who so embraced the 100 mile meal that he’s making his own potato starch, emailed an incredible Alice Waters recipe for a tangerine tart that he has made with key limes before and that does not call for condensed milk. Finally Steve wrote my husband an email to try and keep the peace:

But maybe Jennifer should consider a sort of cap and trade program. I make 1/4 cup of my own potato starch and sell your mom a credit with which your mom can buy an offset to cover 8 ounces of condensed milk. I find local flour — BINGO — and mom can buy enough offsets to fly a mail order key lime pie in from Kansas City.

Good idea…we should all be so diplomatic!

The Motrin Response

November 17th, 2008

Hell hath no fury like a Mommy blogger scorned. Motrin took down its ad last night – in fact, the mere act of taking down the ad took down the entire Motrin website! (Talk about a Motrin headache!)

Below is the text of an email Motrin sent to Crunchy Domestic Goddess, and many of the other bloggers who jumped on this issue.

I am the Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. I have responsibility for the Motrin Brand, and am responding to concerns about recent advertising on our website. I am, myself, a mom of 3 daughters.

We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website. It will take longer, unfortunately, for it to be removed from magazine print as it is currently on newstands and in distribution.

-Kathy

Kathy Widmer
VP of Marketing – Pain, Pediatrics, GI, Specialty
McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Motrin®: I’m Appalled

November 16th, 2008

Like most Moms, I don’t go organic and natural all the time. I do use conventional medicines, with Children’s Motrin® being a favorite for those times when our kids need it.

No longer. As a Mom, I am appalled at the new Motrin “MOM-ALOGUE” ad, which is offensive to Moms who choose to carry their babies in slings or carriers, close to their bodies. Are we really all crazy cry babies, Motrin? Because that’s what your ad implies.

As a marketing consultant, I’m shaking my head. Did you focus group test this ad with the right audiences, Motrin? What were your brand managers thinking? Did you have a truly representative group of Mothers involved in developing this campaign?

The irony is that many Moms (and Dads) will admit that they suffered from back pain due to baby wearing. The message of this ad is not off-base, it’s the execution that is so insulting. Motrin could have communicated its message in a way that would have been truly helpful to parents, but instead Motrin opted for mean-spirited “humor” that is full of bad stereotypes and misinformation.

Motrin is owned by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson. And guess what? This is the SECOND time in a year that J&J, marketer of many leading baby brands, has made a massive miscalculation when marketing to its core audience: new Moms. Last time around, J&J invited a bunch of blogging Moms to a retreat but forgot that Moms have – well, children! Not only did J&J make no provisions for childcare, but they barred nursing mothers from bringing their babies. Must have been because odds are, those nursing Moms were carrying their babies in slings! Or carriers! And now we know that J&J thinks those women are crazy!

But you be the judge. Here’s the text of the ad (thanks to NewsAnchorMom), and a link to the video.

Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion. I mean, in theory it’s a great idea. There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch. And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.
Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience. They say that babies carried close to the body tend to cry less than others. But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t. I sure do! These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?! I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid.
Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom. And so if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why.

Check out this YouTube video of the outrage on Twitter. Advertisers, be warned: Never, ever offend a blogging, tweeting Mom!

What do you think? Leave a comment and share! Or send a tweet and tag it #motrinmoms! You can read the live feed here.

A 100 Mile Thanksgiving

November 12th, 2008

The other night I attended the “Farmland Feast” benefit on behalf of Freshfarm Markets, a DC organization dedicated to strengthening the local food movement in the Chesapeake Bay Region. While that was a small, local celebration of the harvest behind us, soon all Americans will be celebrating the harvest at Thanksgiving time. What better way to take the concept of “local first” than to apply it to the planning of our Thanksgiving menus?

How about a 100 Mile Meal for Thanksgiving?  Today I’m pleased to share a guest post from Jennifer Kaplan, author of the forthcoming book “The Green Opportunity.” Jennifer is a partner in the Greenhance business consulting firm, blogs about green business at her blog, Green Your Business and at Ecopreneurist, and she recently launched the first EcoTuesday event on the East Coast. But hey, she’s got a personal life too! So when it was time to share her special 100 mile Menu for Thanksgiving, she turned to OrganicMania, thinking it a better fit for this post than her usual business blogs. Welcome Jennifer!

My family is coming for Thanksgiving this year and I’m going to try to make it a 100-mile meal. We have 22 family and friends coming from up and down the Easy coast from Brooklyn to Tampa, and while the family is generally sympathetic to green-living, its likely to require some friendly advice to pull this off. So, I’m starting with the following e-mail:

Hi everyone. We are all looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving this year! In the spirit of the season, we wanted to try and do something a little different, a 100-mile Thanksgiving. The 100-mile movement is a local eating experiment whereby you buy food that is locally raised and produced from within a 100-mile radius of where you live. To make this easy and fun for everyone, here is a link to our local farm, Southmountain Creamery, that will delivery to our house on Monday November, 24th. Please note that the order must be placed by Midnight, Thursday, November 20th in order to be delivered on the 24th, so please try and plan ahead. Please look through their offerings because they sell all sorts of local food including meat, artisan cheeses, bread, honey, etc. and let me know if you want me to order anything for you:

Here are some Q&A to help in the process:

1. Why the ‘100-Mile’ Diet? In the word’s on the movement website: It’s an easy way to start thinking local. A 100-mile radius is large enough to reach beyond a big city and small enough to feel truly local. And it rolls off the tongue more easily than the ‘160-Kilometre Diet.’

2. What about coffee, olive oil, ect…? We know that certain foods are impossible to source from within 100-miles of Washington, DC. We’d like everyone to do their best, but will happily make exceptions for coffee, tea, wheat, oils and other essential ingredients which are impossible to find from within the 100-mile radius from your house or ours. The 100-mile diet site has lots of tips for finding local food sources, including the website Local Harvest, where you can find markets, local-food-friendly restaurants, farms, and food delivery programs for every region and tips for finding your local farmer’s market at 13 Lucky Farmers’ Market Tips. If you want to see if milk delivery (which, like Soutmountain Creamery, often delivers other local goods) is available near you, Winder Frams has a national directory by state.

3. We’ll take care of the Turkey and stuffing. Just let us know what you want to bring or what you want ingredients you want us to get for you and we’ll take care of the rest.

4. As mentioned, I would like to offer to order any ingredients you might need for foods that will be assembled, prepared and or cooked here. If you are bringing food from home, it would be great if your food could be sourced from within 100 miles of your home. For example, I’m pretty sure Brooklyn Beer falls well within the 100-mile range for some of you (hint, hint).

Looking forward to a happy Thanksgiving! See you all soon!

What did you think about the tips in Jennifer’s post? It sure works for me! Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

In DC or San Francisco? Check out GreenFest, Fun for the Whole Family!

November 8th, 2008

Today was a day when being a Mom interfered with being a Green Mom, and unfortunately I missed the GreenFest remarks of fellow Green Mom Jenn Savedge, author of The Green Parent.

But when I finally arrived at GreenFest, DH and two munchkins in tow, I had so much fun that we shut the place down. Literally. We were the last attendees to leave the show floor- an hour after closing time!

The first thing you’ll notice about GreenFest is the food. There are so many free snack samples, your head will spin. It was fun to try the new products being launched. (Amy’s Organics new gummy bunnies were a big hit with the kids!)

And as far as kids go, this show has them covered. There is an amazing Kids Zone complete with a mobile rainforest, courtesy of Discovery Creek, DC’s outdoor kids museum. They’ve got games for the kids and free Organic Valley milk samples right there too! And yes, there are plenty of vendors with “green toys.” Big Boy found something he calls “Green Pokemon” and was over the moon. (More on that in a future post!)

I enjoyed learning about new eco-friendly businesses and charities, and bumping into many of my Twitter buddies, Green Mom Blogging friends, and business colleagues.

And after hanging out with the kids and the Green Moms proved too much for DH? Why, he simply sampled the beverages at the Organic Beer and Wine pavilion!

If you’re in DC, head on over to the Convention Center tomorrow. And if you’re in San Francisco, you’re in luck because the festival hits your city next week.

There’s so much more I could say – I’ve got a lot of fodder for future posts. Or check out my tweets from the show at http://twitter.com/organicmania.

Have fun!

Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

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Online Environmental Activism? We’re Just Getting Started!

November 5th, 2008

It’s the day after the election, and I figured by now I’d be exhausted from staying up so late watching the returns. Or perhaps I’d be practicing the remarks I’m making on Green PR at DC’s PRSA meeting tomorrow.

But no.

Barack Obama is not the only one who immediately turned his attention to setting the agenda for his administration. My group of green online activist friends is already planning how to best advance the green agenda in the next administration.

This morning I received an email from Big Green Purse author Diane MacEachern, who has become a good bloggy friend since her interview on OrganicMania. Diane was reaching out to all of the Green Moms Carnival participants to invite us to participate in a new online forum she created called “The Prevention Agenda.”

Diane is hoping to create an agenda (or series of agendas) focused on preventing environmental and human health threats, rather than just cleaning up after them. As she says, “My hope is that the forum will help create a groundswell of support for changing our approach to threats to human health and the environment. Hopefully, response to the forum will be strong enough to lead to a series of Prevention Agendas on specific topics that can be presented to the Obama administration before the inauguration.”

I immediately jumped online and registered (Member #1), posing a question about one of my main concerns: the chemical soup of ingredients that are allowed in our personal care products. You can read and respond to my question here.

The emails started flying. The Green Moms are charged up. You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Come check it out The Prevention Agenda. Because as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What do you think about this? Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Green Moms on Gratitude

November 3rd, 2008

Today is the first Monday in November. Yes, it’s the day before Election Day, but it’s also the launch of this month’s Green Mom’s Carnival. Check out all the great submissions on gratitude and green things today over at Best of Mother Earth.

Finding Time for Gratitude Amidst the Chaos of Everyday Life

November 1st, 2008

I normally approach the Green Moms carnival topics with gusto. Global warming? I’m all over it. Back to School? Sign me up. But when my bloggy friend Karen of Best of Mother Earth asked the Green Moms to blog about gratitude, I paused. I procrastinated. As the days ticked by and the deadline passed, I found myself making excuses. I’m sick. The boys are sick. DH has been away on travel quite a bit lately. I’m behind. I have major deliverables for three different clients due within a few days of each other. Oh, and we’re bidding farewell to our well loved nanny of six years and transitioning my youngest into a part time day care situation. I’m stressed.

Busy, behind, call it what you will, but I wasn’t feeling particularly gracious or full of gratitude. Sure, I went through the motions. In our family, we say grace before the evening meal. We go to church Wednesday evening and give thanks again. And sometimes, when we don’t oversleep, we all make it to church on Sunday.

But the fact is, when things aren’t going the way you expected, no matter how good things are – no matter how much better off you know you are than so many others – it can be hard to feel truly grateful. By truly grateful, I mean something deeper, simpler and more profound than that twisted form of  Schadenfreude that strikes Moms who  think “Well, the whole family has been sick for two weeks but at least it’s not cancer.”

At times like this I think of my friend and rector Margaret Guenther, who in her many books has written about the need to be still. You have to get away from all the everyday madness before you can look inside yourself and have the capacity to truly think, reflect, and yes, appreciate.

Perhaps that’s why one of my favorite green things (back to the Carnival theme!) is to steal away to my CSA. I love the simplicity of the place. The clean garage stocked with bins full to overflowing of fresh, mud splattered produce. Sweet beets, stocky carrots, fresh baked bread and more. A chalkboard with the day’s share carefully written for all to see. Old fashioned hanging scales ready to weigh our shares. I always feel refreshed by the time I leave there, canvas bag filled to overflowing with biodynamic produce. It’s like a trip back in time.

But that’s just one green thing for which I’m grateful. The other two?

That’s easy.

OrganicMania and the Community of Green Moms who participate in the Green Moms Carnival. Why? Because of the wonderful people I’ve come to know through both of these online communities.

And I know, I know…I have lots to be grateful for. It’s just that sometimes, it’s hard to stop and really, fully appreciate all that we have been given. But I did stop. Finally. And I do appreciate these three green wonders and so much more…

What about you?

Leave a comment and share!

And don’t forget to check out all the Green Moms carnival posts on Monday over at Best of Mother Earth.

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania