Lavender and Bee

Farm Crawl Hamilton 2014

Have you ever wondered how organic farms work, or the pace of life outside the hustle and bustle of the city? On May 24, you’ll be able to find out if you take a little road trip through the greater GTA countryside and participate in the Farm Crawl Hamilton. (Aside: In my young and single days, pub crawls were one of my favourite ways to lose a weekend. But now, old and happily encumbered with family, this Farm Crawl sounds like a way better time – and no hangover to boot.) (more…)

Toronto Green Living Show – April 25 – 27

GLS14-lockup-400x115Spring means it’s time for the Green Living Show in Toronto! This is the premier eco-show in Canada, with over 400 exhibitors, 5 main stages and loads of fun. Hosted at the cavernous Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, this show will not only feature tons of new products and innovations in the eco-space, you will also find something for absolutely everyone in your family from the youngest to the youngest at heart. (more…)

Green Books Campaign: The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel

A month or so ago, I was contacted by Raz from Eco-Libris about a campaign.  200 bloggers were going to simultaneously publish reviews on sustainably published books (meaning, books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper).  The concept was simple: We select from a list of books, the publisher provides us with a copy, and on November 10 at 1 pm, we publish our review. (more…)

Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment

We all know about childproofing our home when the little ones start to toddle – such as my 9 month old, who currently finds herself unsteadily pulling herself up on every table with a sharp edge, it seems. We close off our electrical outlets and tie our cupboards shut and put bumper pads on every corner. But when it comes to kids’ health, there’s more to think about than just falling down – there’s also the environment of your home to consider. With toxins, cleaning products, air pollutants and so much more surrounding us, it’s hard to know how best to give our children the healthiest start.

This is where the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment – also known as CPCHE – comes in. The aim of the CPCHE is to encourage everyone, from parents to service provider organizations to the public in general to take in to account the way children interact with their environment and what we can do to make those environments as healthy as possible. To that end, they’ve put together a series of informational brochures detailing how kids interact with their environment, what their risk factors are and what you can do to help their surroundings be as healthy as possible.  One of these excellent publications is the Playing it Safe:  Childproofing for Environmental Health. This brochure outlines the many simple ways in which we can protect our children from environmental pollutants, from conception to birth and afterwards. 

For a more in-depth look at the CPCHE, take a look at the brochure The First Steps in Lifelong Health: A Vision and Strategy for Children’s health and environment in Canada which details their entire vision for children’s health, the current state of children’s health today in Canada, their strategy and priorities and their way forward.

Retire Your Ride

Remember 1995? Ah, those were the days. Kiss from a Rose by Seal topped the charts. Ross and Rachel kissed for the first time.  Yahoo! was founded in California. O.J.Simpson was acquitted in the murders of his ex-wife and her friend. But if 1995 is monumental for you as the date you bought the car you’re still driving, then know this:  That car produces 19 times more air pollution than a car bought in 2004 or later. It’s time to Retire Your Ride.

An initiative of the Government of Canada, Retire your Ride is designed to enable people to get their high-polluting cars off the road and reward them for doing so. The program is committed to improving air quality by responsibly recycling vehicles and aims to retire at least 50,000 vehicles per year until March 31, 2011.

Eligible participants must be owners of 1995 or older model year vehicles that are in running condition and have been registered and insured in their names in Canada for the previous consecutive 6 months.

When you Retire Your Ride, the program will ensure that it is recycled responsibly. You’ll also receive rewards that encourage you to use environmentally-friendly transportation, including a public transit pass or a membership to a car-sharing program, $300 cash or a rebate on the purchase of a 2004 and newer vehicle. Nice!

For more information visit Retire your Ride.

ECO Canada: Give them your best shot!

Are you a photographer? Do you take wonderful photos (or at least you think so?) And do you take them of the gorgeous beauty of Canada? Then submit them to the ECO Canada photo contest, and you might win a $400 Best Buy gift card (whooo hoo!) From their website:

ECO Canada invites you to participate in its inaugural photo contest to celebrate the natural beauty of Canada’s environmental landscape and the dynamic people in the environmental workforce.

All contest entries must be submitted by February 12th, 2010. It doesn’t need to be a new photo – dig through your piles of digital images and pull up that gorgeous shot you took last winter, or during that perfect summer on the lake. But if you want to go shoot Canada in Winter – that’s awesome too. Prizes will be awarded in four categories – Working in the Environment, Environmental Industry/Sites, Abstract Nature and Landscapes.

So get shooting – and good luck!

Green Toronto Nominations are open

Hey gang! The lovely folks at Green Living are looking for the greenest people you know – read on!

Who’s the greenest of them all in Toronto? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2010 Green Toronto Awards, the City of Toronto’s environmental awards of excellence. The City of Toronto, in partnership with Green Living, invites residents to nominate local individuals, companies and organizations leading the way to a greener Toronto.

A winner in each of nine categories will receive an award and $5,000 to donate to a registered charity of their choice:
• NEW! Local Food — leadership in creating, managing and promoting local food.
• Community Projects — volunteers in action to green our neighbourhoods.
• Energy Conservation — systems and technologies which reduce and conserve energy.
• Environmental Awareness — leadership in raising eco-awareness.
• Green Design — leadership in innovative and sustainable green design and architecture.
• Green Roof — leadership in green roof and living wall projects.
• Leadership — individual leadership which transforms our environment.
• Water Efficiency — leadership in managing and reducing water use.
• Youth — Toronto youth (18 and under) leading by example.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, February 12, 2010. Nominations may be submitted online at

“Torontonians are environmentalists by nature and we celebrate those who are making a real difference in our city,” said Mayor David Miller. “I encourage residents to make a nomination and help us recognize the individuals, organizations and companies that are leading the way to a greener, more liveable Toronto.”

The Green Toronto Awards ceremony will be hosted by Mayor David Miller and Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone on Friday, April 23 on the Main Stage at the Green Living Show, Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

WWF Canada Adoption Kits – Do some good and warm a heart.

ecochick almost dropped the ball on this one. Blame the non-sleeping ecobaby. She’s lucky she’s so cute.
You know the World Wildlife Fund. They are the dedicated conservation organization whose noble goals are To stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by:

* conserving the world’s biological diversity,
* ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable,
* promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

During these days of Copenhagen and climate change discussion, the role of the WWF in raising awareness and promoting great ecological programs are more important than ever. One of the many ways in which the WWF promotes their programs is to sell items in their store that bring their customers closer to nature themselves – such as their awesome (and adorable) Adoption Kits. I just love these. From their press release:

The WWF-Canada Adoption Program offers the chance to symbolically adopt a threatened species and support critical work to protect nature at the same time. More Canadian animals are available for adoption than ever before, including the caribou, polar bear, grizzly bear, Arctic fox, monarch butterfly, Atlantic cod (I had to laugh at this – adopt a cuddly Cod for Christmas!), northern leopard frog, common loon, meerkat, blue shark and the black-footed ferret. Alternatively, you can select from popular international species such as the emperor penguin, Asian elephant, giant panda, orangutan, tiger and snow leopard.

Each adoption package costs $40 and contains a 12.5 cm stuffed animal of your choice, a personalized adoption certificate, a letter identifying you as the gift giver, a brochure about the species you are protecting and the work you will be supporting, as well as a $30 tax receipt – all wrapped up in a great reusable WWFCanada tote bag. Gift givers looking to make a greater contribution to wildlife can also adopt a family of polar bears, orangutans, Arctic fox or pandas.

What an awesome initiative, and what a great gift idea for the animal- or planet-lover in your life. But here is the caveat. If you want to give a kit for Christmas you need to order it by midnight December 17. Missed the holiday delivery deadlines? NEW this year: Email an adoption certificate right away to tell your loved ones their adoption kit is on its way. The link is here, and orders from the WWF store that include adoptions qualify for free shipping – just enter Special Offer Code: shopwwf during checkout. (This offer ended December 17th, 2009 at 11:59pm EST). So if you think there’s someone in your life who’ll love one of these under the tree – go check it out right now. They also have plenty of other great gifts for the ecologically-minded giver, so make sure you browse around.

And. AND. The lovely Sara at WWF Canada has given me three WWF Adoption Kits to give away to you, my amazing, wonderful readers. We have a Polar Bear, Penguin and a Caribou kit ready to go. Here’s all you need to do to enter the giveaway: Go to the WWF Store and tell me which animal you’re ready to adopt. It doesn’t have to be one of the ones we’re giving away, pick your favourite (I’m partial to the Leopard Frog myself!) Put your animal in the comments by 5 pm Monday, December 21 (This means the animals will not reach you by Christmas, but will be a great way to start the New Year!) Please ensure you leave a way for me to contact you in your comment.

Until then, happy ecoshopping!

The Stop Community Food Centre: Growing Together

Once upon a time, The Stop opened in Toronto as one of Canada’s first food banks, providing food to those who couldn’t otherwise get it. Over the years, The Stop has expanded both its real estate and its mandate, because they believe that simply providing handouts doesn’t solve the underlying problems causing people to go hungry. To that end, they have created an entire list of services, all with the aim of allowing the community to work together to provide the necessities of life – including food – for all. The Stop now provides community services including a drop-in, food bank, perinatal program, civic engagement, bake ovens & markets, community cooking, community advocacy, sustainable food systems education and urban agriculture.

The latest addition to The Stop’s formidable army of services includes their absolutely wonderful Green Barn – a sustainable food production and education centre housing a greenhouse, food systems education programs, a sheltered garden, community bake oven, compost demonstration centre and market. This amazing initiative has become a community focal point to allow people to develop relationships as well as healthy food attitudes and eating habits, and is worthy of heaps of praise – in fact, I would be surprised if this initiative doesn’t get copied in cities from coast to coast. If you’re interested in touring the Green Barn at The Stop, they have public drop-in hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

And, if you’re looking for something to do tonight (November 4th) – The Stop’s Annual Fundraiser, What’s On The Table, is taking place at the Green Barn itself. Enjoy the works of loads of fantastic local chefs and bid on wonderful auction items, all to raise money for The Stop. Get more information or buy tickets here.

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