Organic Manifesto: Why should you go organic? And – Book giveaway!

Congratulations to SimplySolar who said…
As a fitness buff, I can definitely attest to the fact that organic eating will definitely increase performance.

I`ve been sold for awhile!

You’re getting a copy of the Organic Manifesto from Rodale Publishing!

I’ve been thinking: Organic food’s been getting a bad rap lately.  Since a 2009 study pronounced that organic food was no more “healthy” than non-organic food, many people have wondered why they’d spend the extra money.  I had a big problem with that study, because it totally missed the point of why people buy organic in the first place. If you’re wondering why we do, then there’s a great new book for you to read:  Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe

Written by Maria Rodale, founder of Rodale Publishing, the book is described as eye-opening, spectacular, and passionate.  Organic Manifesto explains in detail exactly what organic food means for us and for the planet. From the website:

Rodale was founded on the belief that organic gardening is the key to better health both for us and for the planet, and never has this message been more urgent. Now Maria Rodale, CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., sheds new light on the state of 21st-century farming. She examines the unholy alliances that have formed between the chemical companies that produce fertilizer and genetically altered seeds, the agricultural educational system that is virtually subsidized by those same companies, and the government agencies in thrall to powerful lobbyists, all of which perpetuate dangerous farming practices and deliberate misconceptions about organic farming and foods. Interviews with government officials, doctors, scientists, and farmers from coast to coast bolster her position that chemical-free farming may be the single most effective tool we have to protect our environment and, even more important, our health.

If you’re considering going organic – or perhaps more importantly, if you’re not – this book is a must-read.  Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe is available at Amazon, Chapters and other retailers.

And – I have a copy to give away compliments of Rodale! Simply comment on this post detailing what your reasons are for learning more about going Organic by Friday, April 30th. Make sure you leave me a way to contact you. I’ll draw a name at random and contact you directly. Good luck!

The Green Blue Book: Book Giveaway!

Congratulations to Ash who said…” Pick just one scary fact eh?
1581 gallons for 1 pound of beef – sure helps reaffirm sticking with the vegetarian lifestyle!” You’re getting a copy of The Green Blue Book!

It’s kinda turning into water week here on ecochick, what with bottles and filters and all kinds of great tools to help you use water in your home more wisely. But there’s another way to think about water consumption, and that is how much water went in to the production of the things we eat and use before we actually have them in front of us – what’s called “imbedded water”. And it’s the majority of water use on the planet. Did you know, for example, that that cup of coffee you’re sipping while you’re reading ecochick actually consumed 37 gallons of water before it got to you? Or how much water that cow needed to get that steak on to your plate? Or even, how much water it takes to make the paper cup at your water cooler (answer: 6 gallons!) It’s time for us to realize exactly what the true water impact is in the things that we consume, and what the actual cradle-to-grave impact is of anything that we use. Enter The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life. From the website:

In The Green Blue Book, you’ll find hundreds of simple tips for water savings in the home, garden, office, and when on the go that will help you make a difference without making big changes in your life. 

Thomas Kostigen shows how to save water not just by turning off the tap, but through discovering “virtual water,” or the water embedded in the products we use every day. By making better decisions about which food, clothes, and household necessities to use, each of us can save thousands of gallons of water—and help avert the water crisis unfolding around the globe.

Water will be the next crisis if we don’t act now. So let’s start acting, and use the tips in this book as a great starting point.

You can buy The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life Amazon, Chapters or other book retailers – or – you can head over to http://www.thegreenbluebook.com/ and watch the very enlightening video, then come back and tell me which fact about water scares you the most. Ha. Leave me your comment and a way to contact you by Friday, April 30, and I’ll tell a random commenter that they’ll be receiving a copy of the book compliments of Rodale Publishing. Good luck!

VerveCards – Snazzy, easy and paper-free!

Congratulations to Kim who  said…
“I’m a little partial to the Halloween one “In Costume, Anything Goes”. Hee!” You’ve got the VerveCards membership!

We all know there’s a thousand and ten e-card sites out there. So what makes VerveCards noteworthy? Very simply, it’s the delivery. To send a VerveCard, you simply log on to your portal and select from the long, long list of card designs – birthday, anniversary, loads of holidays, even Earth Day! The cards are uniquely designed with bright colours, great sentiments and funky shapes. But the best part: VerveCards doesn’t just send you a link to someone’s website. The card gets delivered – paper-free – straight to your friend’s/mother’s/husband’s/whoever’s inbox, so they can see the card and message from you right then and there. Simple and brilliant.

You can send your cards immediately or schedule for later (get everyone’s birthday done at once!) and send cards to multiple recipients. And at $14.95 for a 1 year membership, it’s the cost of buying and mailing about two snail mail cards – how cost effective!

Think you could put VerveCards to good use? I have a one-year membership to give away to a lucky reader. Just head on over to the website and tell me what your favourite card is in the comments. Make sure you leave me a way to contact you, and comment by Thursday, April 29.  I’ll notify the randomly selected giveaway recipient directly. Good luck!

Abby Sprouts: eco-friendly family shopping – discount code and giveaway!

Congratulations to  Food According To Karen who said…
“There are so many things on the website it’s hard to pick. However, the Classic Dump Truck By Sprig is adorable. My grandson is at the ‘vrrmvrrm’ stage and would love the dump truck.”  You’re getting an organic onesie!

One of these days, I will write a long, boring-to-most post about cloth diapers, slings, sleep sacks and all the other stuff that you get in to when you’re trying to be an eco-friendly modern mama. Until then, my short summary on those items is:

1. Cloth diapering is awesome and better (functionally) than disposables. And trust me, I’m as squeamish as you are.
2. The sling saved my life for the first six months.
3. The sleep sack saved my life for the next three months (and counting).

And it’s always nice to find a one-stop shop where you can pick up all of these great baby needs and more all under one (virtual) roof. Abby Sprouts is based in Victoria, BC and is your one-stop shop for green, personally-tested baby and mama goods. From their website:

After being frustrated with searching for safe products throughout my pregnancy and for my baby I decided the green family needed a place where the leg work was done for them. I select every product Abby Sprouts sells based on earth friendliness, play factor, enjoyment, quality, and functionality. If it’s junk we don’t sell it. I’m a true believer in buying less but buying good quality.

From toys to clothes to an excellent selection of cloth diapers (including the favourite around here, Fuzzi Bunz), Abby Sprouts strives to provide a great and easy shopping experience, all while adhering to their own green policies. Check out their website or follow them on Twitter. And once you’re ready, use the code “EcoChick” for a 10% discount off everything on the site, including sale items. And shipping is free if you spend over $99. Nice!

And because Steph at Abby Sprouts is awesome, she gave us an adorable Love Peace Organic Cotton Onesie to give away (hooray!) So just scoot on over to Abby Sprouts and tell me what your favourite product is in the comments by Thursday, April 29. Don’t forget to leave me a way to contact you (email, blogger profile, whatever works). Giveaway recipient will be selected at random and notified. Good luck and happy green!

Origins Online: Free full-size cleanser with $30 order

There’s lots of specials and discounts going on today – Earth Day! One nice one in my inbox was from Origins – get a free full size cleanser with your $30 Online order – just use the appropriate offer code at checkout, shown in the image at left. And, if you purchase any A Perfect World moisturizer until April 30 and Origins will plant a tree on your behalf. Nice!

SIGG: Making your water look good. And a giveaway!

Congratulations to cyndi who  said…Love,love love the butterfly jewel design. 
You’re getting a SIGG bottle!

Did I mention that I think disposable plastic water bottles will be the downfall of our society? Have I mentioned that? Hmm. Well, if I didn’t before, I did now. And truly, why would anyone want to use horrible petroleum-based plastic water bottles when you could carry your own water – costing you pennies from your own tap – in such style as these gorgeous design bottles from SIGG?  This 102-year old Swiss company started manufacturing their single-colour coated drinking bottles in 1980, and get this – the trendy, multi-colour coated bottle was admitted to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1993. Now that’s style!

Seriously – just fill your bottle (from the tap or your brita filter) and go. So easy! SIGG bottles are lightweight, fully recyclable, and are dishwasher safe although SIGG does recommend hand washing. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, and dozens upon dozens of designs.

And, guess what? Yeah, you guessed. I have one to give away. Wheee! Just head on over to SIGG and figure out your favourite bottle design (it’ll take a while. there’s lots.) then come back over here and tell me which one it is in the comments by Friday, April 30. (Note: the design of the bottle given away may or may not have any relationship to the bottle you like best, heh.) Make sure you leave me a way to contact you! I’ll select a name at random and notify the recipient. Good luck!

Carry your own water: OtterBottle giveaway!

Congratulations to Alyjane who  said…”I love that some money goes to teh David Suzuki foundation and they that they look great, but I have to say, the fact that they are dishwasher safe is my favorite feature!!” You’re getting an OtterBottle!

And while we’re talking about water… remember OtterBottle?  Those awesome, uber-useful bottles from a Canadian company that come in most excellent, gorgeous designs? The ones with two lids – a screw cap and a sports top? The BPA-free ones, that are dishwasher safe?  The ones ranging in size from 500 ml to 1 l? The ones where a contribution will be made to the David Suzuki Foundation with every bottle sold? Yeah, I thought you remembered them. Well, I have a brand new OtterBottle right here to give away to a lucky reader.

Just head on over to the OtterBottle website and take a peek around. Then come back here and tell me your favourite thing about OtterBottles in the comments by Wednesday, April 28. The bottle will be given away by random draw and the recipient will be contacted via e-mail, so ensure you leave me a way to contact you. And, good luck!

Filter for Good: A Campaign To Reduce Water Bottle Waste. And a giveaway!

Congratulations to Anonymous who said

“We’re going to get stainless water bottles for each family member…no more plastic!

 And to Sarah who said

Sarah said…I have also been using a Brita forever, in fact, it might be time to replace it :-) I always drink tap water and I like how the Brita seems to minimize the chlorinated taste of Ottawa water.”

You’re each getting Brita pitchers!

It has been estimated that it takes three litres of water to produce one litre of bottled water.

Worldwide, it takes an estimated 2.4 million metric tonnes of plastic to bottle water each year.

The price we pay per litre of bottled water is comparable to the price of gasoline. 

All this, when if we merely turn on our taps, we have abundant, clean water available for pennies. 

It’s time to change our  habits. The popularity of bottled water is, to be blunt, the biggest crock in the world, the most amazing snake oil ever sold, the most enormous triumph of marketing over common sense. There are so many reasons not to use bottled water – the price, the environmental impact, the sheer lunacy.  But many people persist, because of the convenience or perhaps the belief that bottled water “tastes” better (despite the fact that some common bottled water brands are nothing more than municipal tap water).

Learn more about the issue at Filter For Good. Realize that our bottled water habit is killing us. And consider changing your ways – by, for example, bringing your own water.  Don’t like the taste straight from the tap? Easy. Just go pick up a Brita filter, which will filter over 900 litres of water a year – the equivalent of 1,800+ 500 ml plastic bottles. Learn about their filter recycling program.  And, if you’re in Toronto, you can go down to Yonge-Dundas Square on April 22nd from 11am – 7:30 pm to hang out, play games, hydrate, watch David Usher, and take home a free Brita pitcher from Filter For Good while supplies last. Nice!

Not in Toronto? Pity. Then you’ll just have to sign up for the giveaway here on ecochick. I have two of Brita’s Limited Edition Green Pitchers to give away to you, dear readers.   Just head on over to the Filter for Good website and tell me how you plan to change the way you drink water. Leave a comment by Wednesday, April 28 and don’t forget to leave me your email addy as the recipients will be notified by e-mail. Canadian addresses only please. Good luck!

Green Works cleaning products: Giveaway!

Congratulations Lara who said”

Lara said… the wipes sound great. I love cleaning wipes but feel guilty about using them too much! “

You’re getting the wipes!

So, I’ll be honest here. ecochick is very eco-friendly when it comes to cleaning. VERY eco-friendly. Because basically, I don’t do any. They are considering naming the underside of my sofa a preserved habitat for dust bunnies. Ha. So when I received some Clorox Green Works cleaners in the mail – specifically the Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes and the All Purpose Cleaner, I kind of went, great! I’ll try those out! Sometime. Sure. Then time passed. A lot of time, frankly. But the moment eventually came when I had to make the place look presentable. Something about “children” and “crawling” and “floors” and “gah”. So I broke these cleaners out to give them a spin.

I’ll be honest: I’m naturally skeptical about a lot of “natural” cleaning products. There’s so much greenwashing out there, and many product claims are vague. What does “natural” even mean?  So the first thing I did was check out the label. These products did have some questionable contents – they said they contained things like “preservative” (which preservative?) and “silicon antifoaming agent” (oh dear.)  But, a couple of significant things jumped out at me.

First, the Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes are just that: biodegradable. They are made from 100% wood based fibers, and can be chucked in the composter instead of the landfill. Right there, these wipes have a huge advantage over many others that are made from polyester or other petroleum based products and cannot be composted. So while a throwaway wipe is not the best choice, for those times when it’s necessary, a compostable one is the best option.

Another bonus is the container for the wipes is made from at least 25% post-consumer recycled plastic, which is a really excellent start.

Meanwhile, the All-Purpose Cleaner carries a really significant badge:  The United States Environmental Protection Agency Design For The Environment badge, recognized for Safer Chemistry.  From the website:

When you see the DfE logo on a product it means that the DfE scientific review team has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that—based on currently available information, EPA predictive models, and expert judgment—the product contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.

There’s another upside to these products: the smell. Many “regular” cleaning products basically leave me with a headache, with their hectically overscented smells. These don’t. They smell real, natural and light.

And in my experience, they work. They work well. Surprisingly well, especially around this place which generally needs a fair amount of effort to get it cleaned up.

Interested in trying them out?  Well, you’re in luck. First, if you go to the Green Works website, you can get a coupon for $1 off the compostable cleaning wipes by signing up for their newsletter (not sure how long that promotion’s going to be on). Or, if you care to try your luck, ecochick’s giving away a containter of natural biodegradable cleaning wipes and a bottle of all-purpose cleaner, whoop!  Just leave me a comment stating which of the cleaners you’d like to try out by Tuesday, April 27. Don’t forget to leave me a way to contact you! Giveaway will be done at random and recipients of the giveaway will be contacted by email. Canadian addresses only please. Good luck!

T Bag & Company – Gorgeous Bag Giveaway

And the recipient of the bags is stsammy who said..

Ooooo…. Shiraz. It would coordinate so nicely with my stroller as I’m out on my mat leave shopping excursions!

Thanks all!

Have you been to a grocery store lately?  Let’s assume “yes”. Did you notice how prevalent reusable bags have become? I would say that on average, less than half of the people in the checkout line are still using plastic (and for the dirt on plastic bags – and why we shouldn’t use them – check out my earlier post.) And every day, I notice the neat, practical, and innovative bags people are using.  Like these gorgeous bags.  They’re from T Bag and Company.  They’re handmade in Canada from 100% cotton, out of gorgeous fabrics.  They’re stylish. Chic. Uber-useful. They’re smart, with a flat bottom and an interior elastic band to hold bottles upright (brilliant!) Just imagine how delicious your food would taste after you take it home in these bags.  Well, maybe that’s a stretch – but you sure will feel good about using them, because they’re just so pretty. You can buy all sorts of products from T Bag and Company at Eco-Handbags.ca.

WANT IT? I have two bags from T Bag and Company to give away – a market tote and a lunch sized bag, both in gorgeous black and white patterns. Just leave a note in the comments telling me your favourite pattern from the T Bag & Company website – and make sure you leave me a way to contact you – by Tuesday, April 27. Giveaway recipients will be selected at random and notified by e-mail. Good luck!

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