This post comes courtesy of Wee friend Katie Cavuto — chef, registered dietitian, blogger, and one of those green moms who makes it all look easy. In honor of New Year’s Resolution Season, she’s offered up a list of her favorite ways to be a greener parent in Philly … without spending a ton of effort or time doing it. (Because who has those things to spare?) May 2014 be the year of small but meaningful change!
WAYS TO EAT GREENER
— A great way to eat green is to join a local CSA (community-supported agriculture). In a CSA, a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (a.k.a. a “membership” or a “subscription”), and in return, they receive a box (or bag, or basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. There are plenty of CSAs in the Philadelphia area — a few programs I really love: Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative; for a more hands-on experience, Red Hill Farm in Aston, with a big U-pick area.
— CSAs are great for fruits and veggies, but what if you want some meat? PhiladelphiaCowShare is a great resource for getting humanely and locally raised (hormone- and antibiotic-free) beef and pork products delivered right to your door.
— Trickling Springs Creamers, located in Chalmersburg, offers home delivery of milk from local family farms. Not only that, but it comes in returnable glass-bottles, just like the old days!
WAYS TO MAKE MERRY GREENER
— Go thrifting at a local thrift store for gently used holiday decorations — after holidays is a great time to start. Even if they’re not in the best shape, you can get creative and make them your own.
— An artificial tree is the most environmentally friendly, as it can be used year after year (and they’re often on sale about now — post-holiday). However, if you love having a real one, buy a potted or balled tree that can be replanted after the holidays. If you buy a cut tree, you can recycle or mulch the tree for use in gardens or playgrounds: Both local Whole Foods locations offer tree recycling.
WAYS TO PLAY GREENER
— Recycle your baby food jars; they are great to use for crafts with your older children! You can decorate them with paint and use as a holder for tea candles, or make a snow globe with them. (Less fun, but still useful — they can also be used for storing seeds, spices, nails, screws, or buttons.)
— Toys for babies can end up costing a lot, and they’re often abandoned fairly quickly. Young babies learn a lot from being creative with everyday objects, not just expensive toys: Give your 1-year-old some Tupperware and some pots and pans to play with. You can also check out local list serves — the pennsymom list serve is an excellent one — for used toys and clothes for sale. Local Craigslist works, too.
WAYS TO SHOP GREENER
— Puny Pixel is a Philadelphia-based business that makes adorable organic clothes for little ones. (Bonus: A portion of all proceeds go towards local organizations that are helping kids.)
— Sun and Earth is a local company that makes a ton of eco-friendly cleaning products.
WAYS TO DIAPER GREENER
— Consider using cloth diapers. Your baby will use approximately 6,000 diapers before toilet training, and disposable diapers take 200-500 years to decompose. This is certainly a key issue to ponder. Washing cloth diapers takes water, energy, and chemicals (not to mention time) … but you might want to consider the benefits of a laundering service. One study has found that home-washing cloth diapers has only 53 percent of the ecological footprint of disposables, and if you use a diaper-laundering service that impact is halved again. Philly Diaper Service offers consultations on natural parenting and a pick-up of dirty diapers, so you don’t even have to deal with the mess!
About our author:
Katie Cavuto runs her own business, Healthy Bites, which focuses on meal delivery and nutrition counseling … but she is also the official dietitian to the Phillies, a blogger for the Food Network and Philly.com, a TV personality, and the nutrition expert for local ABC and FOX affiliates. (You can also catch her in the January issue of Fitness magazine!) Her son, Hudson, is three years old.
Photo credit: Rachel Utain Evans Photography