“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life.” – Wendell Berry
To me and to many others, conscious choices often start in the kitchen. Growing up, my mother would bake homemade bread pretty regularly, (full disclosure: we had a bread making machine) which I now realize was quite the luxury. Living in a culture of convenience, where food is regarded as something you can easily obtain or throwaway rather than the precious resource it truly is, I constantly feel as though I’m toeing the line between making right and wrong choices. Even with the memory of homemade bread and garden-grown veggies in my mind, it’s truly difficult not to succumb to the lure of cheap, plastic-wrapped, forever-fresh foods from the local grocery store.
Cue Ilona Oppenheim’s earth-shattering cookbook Savor: Rustic Recipes Inspired by Forest, Field, And Farm. In the midst of my wavering, I came across this gorgeous book when it caught my eye in an interior design shop. I remember impulsively grabbing it off the shelf, flipping through a handful of pages and deciding that that was enough to make a purchase. My lack of self-control (let’s call it instinct) proved to be right because I could hardly dream up a more beautiful, informative and helpful book to guide me through the complicated world of modern eats.
From the sun-soaked coast of Biarritz, Swedish-native and avid surfer, Filippa Edghill, paints delicate and compelling watercolors that speak to our connection to self, others and the natural world. She has long been my favorite artist not just because of the beautiful simplicity of her technique but also the ways in which she so effortlessly communicates that tangible feeling and emotion of being in your body—most especially in the water. That Filippa has a heart for the environment and uses the message of conservation to underscore her work makes me love her art all that much more. Read More
I grew up hiking, camping and exploring places off the beaten path but for some reason I had never been to (or heard of) a glen. So, when Brian and I proposed a camping trip to our friends, we jumped in the car and drove north to Ithaca and—wait for it—Watkins Glen.
We loaded up our cars and armed with good music, plenty of snacks made the 3 1/2 hour drive to Ithaca, NY. After a quick stop for firewood, we arrived just in time to shake out our stiff legs and take a much needed, *ahem*, potty break. Ithaca was hosting a fun street fair that day (no pics, but I swear it happened) and we traipsed around town for a little bit before heading out. Read More
Depending on the day, brewing your morning coffee can be a relaxing and enjoyable process or a rushed and mindless one as you dash out the door, mug in hand. Whether your morning is slow and steady or just one big blur, there are a few simple ways you can cut back on waste, energy consumption and savor your morning cup all at once. As someone who loves to drink her java regularly, slowing down even for a minute and making sustainable choices first thing helps me build better habits. Plus, the end result is really, reaaally worth it… Read More
In a talk on why he decided to start a Fair Trade coffee company, Jonathon Golden eloquently made a complex idea incredibly simple, “I just don’t see why someone needs to suffer for my morning cup”.
It’s true. In our world of creature comforts, we can spend a lot of time fretting over how “inconvenient” all our many conveniences have become: the price of our coffee, the long lines, the Amazon order that’s taking foooreeeverrr. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say we aren’t allowed to enjoy what we’ve been given, I only argue that we can — and should — always aim to be more thoughtful and responsible citizens of the world. Read More
What I love to do most on The Basic Goods is share with you all the talents, missions and big hearts of people I am lucky to call my friends. This one especially strikes a chord with me because Nia Salas, founder of the Costa Rican-based social enterprise Jabonarte, was my fearless leader on a volunteer trip to Costa Rica years back. The kindness, warmth and pride of the Costa Rican people who welcomed me and my father into their community made such an impression and today I’m deeply honored to have an opportunity to give back again.
Jabonarte is a social enterprise in San José, Costa Rica that designs, creates and sells artisanal soaps. By employing women who have survived domestic violence every purchase helps to ensure permanent jobs and safe futures for the makers and their families. Read More
Happy Autumn, everybody! Autumn is a time of year that both thrills and terrifies me. On the one hand, it’s a breathtakingly beautiful season (my favorite of them all), is the perfect weather for camping, hiking and being out of doors — and of course, is just the beginning of a very long and very wonderful string of holidays.
Oh, right, the terrifying part. The chillier weather also signals the start of sinus, cold and flu season! If you’re anything like me you fall prey to these things all. the. time. For this reason, I am willing to try most remedies that promise healing and a hope for a less congested future.
I recently got knocked off my feet by a virus-turned-sinus infection and ran to the store to pick up some essentials when I decided to grab myself some eucalyptus leaves to brighten things up — you know, as one does. As I got a whiff of this potent flora I wondered how they would fare as a tea? Luckily, intuition served me right. Not only was my homemade eucalyptus tea delicious and easy to make it was also totally WORKING!!! To my delight, I also discovered it works great as an inhalant if you are suffering from those nasty dry and itchy symptoms. Read More
Let’s face it, sometimes (not pointing fingers) things around the house can get a little smelly. Places like the kitchen, bathroom and even our closets may develop a malodour that is none too pleasing. In this case, our first impulse is to reach for store bought air-fresheners and spray the place down until it smells like a veritable Peach Paradise or Green Apple Orchard.
Although this may be an easy solution, many fresheners (this includes scented candles) found on the shelf are laden with harsh chemicals. The EPA lists formaldehyde, petrochemicals and other airborne toxins as some of the most harmful and common ingredients found in many air fresheners and household cleaners. Read More
Way back when, I used to think everything I didn’t want, need or knew what to do with, went straight into the garbage. That was then — this is now: I have a love for composting like no other. It is fun (uh, yah, FUN!), super impactful (mmmhm) and surprisingly simple (you heard me).
*Humblebrag: I am even excited to say that after having gone on an obnoxious eco war path, my family and boyfriend all composts and loves it too! I might even use the word “addicted”. I just might.
So, why all the shout outs and love for composting? To put it simply, it’s a fantastic way to help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. When garbage gets taken to landfills, the contents often sit there unable to properly break down due to lack of oxygen. When this happens it goes through a detrimental process called anaerobic decomposition that produces methane (the greenhouse gas we were talking about) and prevents nature from doing the work it needs to do!
Today, I would love to introduce you guys to the seriously innovative trailblazers of Nomadix and their latest campaign for change, Clean Apparel: The Most Sustainable T-Shirt on the Planet.
You may remember co-founder, Chace from a previous post in which I interviewed him for Pure Green Magazine and I’m really thrilled to share his next venture with you here on the blog. The Clean Apparel campaign is striving to break ground in the apparel industry by producing “the most sustainable t-shirt on the planet”. Through a powerful closed-loop manufacturing system, Nomadix recycles textile scraps to create new material that uses way less water and energy, plus, is free from the harmful pesticides or dyes that are found in so many articles of clothing. The end result is a siiiiiickkk tee (my words and maybe their’s too) that has you thinking, well, why doesn’t everybody do this? And that, friends is the key point. With apparel being the second most polluting industry (oil is first) and something that we consume almost mindlessly it’s important to realize that industry standards are low and damaging to the health of people and planet, to say the very least. Read More