Public Green Category: Consumer Choices

Fill Your Pantry Event

KYFChicago (Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer) is organizing their Second Annual Fill Your Pantry event at the Paper Crown Gallery, 1518 E. Algonquin Rd, Arlington Heights on Saturday, October 25, 1-4 pm. Support your area farmers who will be selling food items that can be stored and consumed over the winter. Items available to purchase will include dry beans, whole grains, flours, nuts, honey, roots, garlic, onions and winter squash. There will also be activities for the kids, so bring the family. Attendance is limited, so please register: Fill Your Pantry or call Mary Green at 847-230-0544 for more information.

What’s In Your Personal Care Products?

Personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and cosmetics can contain almost any ingredient the company wishes to use, including some that may be considered hazardous. Launched in 2004, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep database rates personal care products for safety (based on toxicity of ingredients), allowing consumers to make informed decisions about the personal care products they purchase. The database allows you to search for specific products or browse by a variety of different categories. For more information about the rating system or to find out where EWG gets their information, check out their About Skin Deep/Methodology page.

Best Sunscreens

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes an annual Guide to Sunscreens. Besides listing the best and safest sunscreens (based on toxicity), they provide tips for protecting adults and children when exposed to the sun. Also provided are ratings for most all sunscreens on the market today (over 700 are included) so you can search for your current brand to see how it compares to the 149 they deem the best.

Organic vs Conventionally Grown Produce

Do you often find yourself standing in the produce section of the market, wondering which fruits and vegetables are most contaminated with pesticides? Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases information on which fruits and vegetables are most likely to be contaminated with pesticides, broken down in two helpful lists, thus making it easier for consumers to decide between purchasing organic or conventionally grown produce. This shopper’s guide was recently updated for 2014 and is available on the EWG website. After you take a look at the shopper’s guide, take some time to read through the report for more information.

Community Sponsored Agriculture

If you have ever considered joining a CSA, now is a great time to sign up and ensure your spot for the 2014 season.  CSAs are generally run by local independent farms.  Your investment in the farm is paid back in the form of weekly or bi-weekly baskets of locally grown fruits and vegetables.  You can expect to prepay a set amount for the season and you will receive a share of the farm’s produce on a set schedule throughout the late Spring, Summer and early Fall.  This is a great way to receive an assortment of fruits and vegetables (and some CSAs also offer eggs, dairy products and meat for an additional fee.)  There are many websites such as whole livingthe Kitchn and Pinterest that are chock full of ideas on how to use your bounty.  If you want to ease into joining a CSA, buy a half share, which costs less and will consist of a smaller box once a week or a full size box every two weeks.  Local Harvest is a good site to use to find the perfect CSA for you.  Simply enter your zip code to find a list of CSA farms, as well as pickup dates and locations.  Stop in the library to check out some books on the subject, including The Locavore Way by Amy Colter, The Sustainable Kitchen by Stu Stein, and Gaining Ground : a Story of Farmer’s Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm by Forrest Pritchard.

Eco-friendly Kitchen Tips from the Food Network

The Food Network has 10 Eco Friendly Kitchen Tips on their website.  Here are just a few ideas that offer some very simple ideas to help make a difference.  
Keep an eye on the “9.”
If the numbered stickers on fruits and veggies start with the #9, that means your produce is organic and free of pesticides.
B.Y.O.B. – “bring your own bag.”
More and more supermarkets are selling reuseable shopping bags.  Take advantage of this option and stop using plastic bags whenever possible. 
Grill it!
You can reduce the cost of Air Conditioning bills by grilling outdoors.  An outdoor grill not only takes less energy than your stove but also helps keep heat out of the house.
Chill out.
Another way to save cooling and electicity costs is to fill empty space in your refrigerator or freezer with crumpled newspapers or full water bottles.

 To see the entire list  go to the Food Network: 10 Eco Friendly Kitchen Tips