July Shop with a Cause Recap + Coconut Oil Giveaway!

* This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who left comments and participated. You are amazing and I appreciate each one of you. I’ll announce the winner Tuesday!*

I’ve talked about how I love shopping with a cause because it is a win-win situation. I get to support local, eco-friendly stores, find useful products to help my sustainable lifestyle, buy reused goods to avoid contributing to land fill and mindless consumerism, and since I am shopping I still get something in return!

Just Act Natural at the hub of the Appleton Saturday Farmer’s Market

When I shop for food, I always go local first. I buy meat & eggs from local farms or farmer’s markets – places where I can see how animals are raised and interact and talk with the people who raise them. I love chatting with vendors at the farmer’s market! You get to meet great people and talk about food, one of my favorite past times. When you buy local produce, you can confirm that the producer doesn’t use pesticides or harmful chemicals. Sometimes organic certification is too expensive for small farmers, and I’m suspicious of the big brands and companies taking the organic label and using it as a selling point rather than a real commitment to sustainable agriculture. Plus when you buy local, you support good people like your vendors and you reduce the environmental impact of shipping costs. Organic apples are great, but when they come all the way from Chile? Buying local means you’ll also get to discover seasonal produce and eat the freshest, most delicious produce for that time of year. Usually those Chilean apples don’t taste as good as an orchard-fresh one in the fall. Continue reading

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Shop With a Cause: 5 Favorite Eco Things

Added bonus – my five favorite things are available at a local business too!

Just Act Natural at the hub of the Appleton Saturday Farmer’s Market

This is my favorite store, period. It’s called Just Act Natural and it is located in lovely downtown Appleton, WI. The owners, J.C. and Dianne, are my inspiration for easy, green living. I love going in and checking out the fun new products, chatting with the staff, and spending money! But I can shop guilt-free, because I know I’ll get a great product, help out an eco-friendly company, and support a local business that truly cares about it’s community.

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Green Tips: Buy Local & Shop for a Cause

Over the next few weeks I’ll be covering a theme I like to call “Shop with a Cause”. It’s about supporting local businesses, companies, and products that work for you, your health, and are sustainable or provide opportunities for others to lift themselves up. I’m all for donating to a good cause (here are many of my favorites), but in the words of the much more eloquent Nick Kristof: Because trade often benefits a country more than aid. I’m a strong supporter of foreign aid, but economic growth and jobs are ultimately the most sustainable way to raise living standards.
Today I want to focus on supporting your local community. Why buy local? Think about what you want to put your money towards – the CEO of a giant big box chain or the local family-owned store that has been a landmark in your town for generations? The prices may be a little different, but think of it as making a donation to improve your community, and you still get your goods or services on top of it! I always choose to buy local, and you can get more information from the 3/50 project here. When you buy local, everybody wins.One striking fact from the 3/50 project stays with me: For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through payroll, taxes, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 dollars stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.

So there you go. You can help out your local community, support sustainable products and solutions, and contribute to businesses and companies that work to improve the situation of everyone on the planet. All by shopping! Keep an eye out over the next month as I cover shoes, chocolate, clothing articles, and, as always, whole foods!!!

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More reading: Africa on the Rise, by Nicholas Kristof
The 3/50 Project: Saving the Brick and Mortars Our Nation is Built On