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5 Green Products: Rock & Roll Playground, Organic Bamboo Baby Towel, Organic Tie Dye Chicken, Heart of Haiti, School Garden

Posted Dec 12 2010 12:00am
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Bamboo is well-known for its hypo-allergenic and anti-bacterial properties, so it only makes sense that baby’s first towel should be made from organic bamboo. Not only is bamboo good for baby’s skin, it is good for the planet:

A grove of bamboo release 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees. When you cut a tree down you will need to reseed/replant. It will take decades for a tree to reach its full maturity.

In contrast, when bamboo is cut down it is not destroyed and does not need to be replanted. Bamboo’s root system remains intact and entirely renewable and sustainable. The bamboo simply re-grows and can reach maturity in four years.

This bath towel is super soft and luxurious, and the limited packing is printed on FSC paper.   The unique design keeps mom/dad dry while snuggling baby close.

Would I buy this product? No. At over $50, it is well beyond my budget, even though the towel is super nice.  Also, I do have concerns with bamboo is the  chemicals used to remove the fiber from the stalk .  Even though bamboo grows quickly and does not require pesticides, the chemicals are toxic used in processing.  It can be processed naturally, and I do not have any information as to if this is the case for Bathing in Grace products. If so, that would explain the price!

Putumayo is well known for their compilations. This summer, the label released a children’s CD in tribute to the early days of rock and roll.

Kids of all ages can shake, rattle and roll to music by a stellar group of established and up-and-coming artists. A charmingly illustrated read-aloud booklet also accompanies the CD, with notes about the history of rock & roll and the story of each song. The songs on Rock & Roll Playground were recorded in recent years but were inspired by the evolution of the genre…

Says Dan Storper, founder and C.E.O. of Putumayo World Music, “Putumayo Kids has become known for introducing children to the music of other cultures. Rock music exploded onto the scene during my childhood. It’s fitting that as we raise our five-year-old son William in New Orleans, the home of many rock & roll legends, that Putumayo is presenting a collection of rock songs that children in America and around the world are sure to enjoy.”

I am not a big fan of early rock and roll, but I do like Uncle Rock’s version of  ”Magic Carpet Ride”.

Would I buy this CD? No.  I think I would be annoyed by this CD if listened to repeatedly, as I am annoyed by some of these songs when done by the original artists.  I am a big fan of Dan Zanes and Taj Mahal, so that is a bonus of this compilation.

Maggie’s Organics is one of the early pioneers of organic cotton apparel.  Famous for their affordable socks often found in grocery stores and co-ops, in 2008 the company partnered with a 100% worker-owned sewing cooperative in the US called Opportunity Threads.

Opportunity Threads uses scrap socks and fabric with “Certified Organic Fibers & filled with Reclaimed Polyester Fiber” to create Maggie’s Menagerie Animals.

Each animal is created using leftover materials from organic cotton sock production, and is stuffed with polyester mill scrap to make them incredibly soft. This ingenuity ensures that the Barnyard Animals play their part in preventing apparel products from ending up in landfills. Considering the EPA states that clothing makes up 5% of all the waste in the US, the creativity in recycling shown by this production process shows an exceptional commitment to the environment…

Maggie’s Organics President Bena Burda explains that, “[the stuffed animals] are fulfilling our dream of providing US workers a chance to build and run their own businesses. They are cuddly, fun, and an inspired creation that we all can share. Supporting worker-owned businesses that understand the importance of organic practices aligns with our mission to produce environmentally sustainable products and promote worker independence.”

These animals are affordable at $15, but as my daughter described our tie dye chicken, “It is ugly.”

Would I buy this product? No. As much as I want to support Maggie’s Organics and Opportunity Threads, as well as support their mission to change the apparel industry, I can’t get over the aesthetics.

I’ve worked in public education for 15 years.  In all of those years, our school has never had what I consider a successful school garden despite having parents and staff members that  are avid gardeners.  Why is it so hard to have a school garden?  This book aims to help!

Bucklin-Sporer and Pringle, gardeners and educators, bring extensive personal experience and skill sets to this excellent manual for teachers and parents interested in creating school gardens. With step-by-step tasks, advice on everything from raising funds to garden designs, materials lists, and lesson plans that connect garden activities to curriculums and meeting school standards, this unique guide paves the way for getting a garden off the ground, so to speak, in a yearlong overview that covers ideas for building planting beds, delicious recipes, and composting. The bounty of information is presented in ways that will generate excitement and provide inspiration for teachers and their volunteer partners. Bucklin-Sporer and Pringle are also comprehensive in their approach to providing much needed guidance for communities and schools that have already embarked on creating school gardens, yet require assistance in moving forward. And for those new to the concept, the authors will awaken readers to the critical aspects of teaching children organic-gardening principles, the delights and solace of the gardening experience, and how to nurture a child’s understanding of ecology. –Alice Joyce

Given the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) , we should see more schools needing resources such as this book.

Given the challenges the school year not coinciding with the typical gardening season of summer, I think one of the most useful aspects of this book is the chart on “Easy School Garden Crops”.  I also appreciate the recipes, ties to state standards, and sample garden budget, which would be very useful when applying for grants.

Would I buy this book? Yes!  I am anxious to share this book with my school, as it will inspire us to get our garden in better shape as an integral part of our children’s education.

Fair Winds Trading has partnered with Macy’s and  BRANDAID HAITI to feature handmade crafts from Haiti this holiday season.

Partnering is a strategy that demands trust and loyalty, and we build both. By aligning with leaders who share our passion, and with organizations that have a stake in a shared mission, we form tight, enduring partnerships to broaden our reach, deepen our investments and strengthen sustainability for all of those in our business model.

Fairwinds is a for-profit business but profits are not our goal: They are a consequence of doing our work well, and a strategy by which to continue working. Many of our partners are valued, profit-making ventures: Gahaya Links and Utexrwa in Rwanda, for example, or Macy’s and Starbucks in the headquartered in the United States. We share with these partners the conviction that economic empowerment built on entrepreneurship and sustainable business is the long-term route to a culture’s wealth.

Hearts of Haiti is helping artisans in the earthquake devastated country that is now being plagued by a cholera epidemic.

Working extraordinarily quickly, Fairwinds Trading, with their partners BrandAid, and the amazing artisans of Haiti were able to design, develop, produce and bring to market approximately 20,000 hand-crafted Haitian items within 100 days. This project provided immediate employment for 235 artisans and has generated income for packers, suppliers, and shippers, and significantly improving the lives of 2,100 individuals.

Would I buy this product? Yes.  It is aesthetically pleasing, and it is a gift you and the recipient can feel good about.  Plus, it is made from recycled steel, so it is eco-friendly as well.

Disclosure:  The products described above were sent to us as free samples, unless noted differently in the review.  Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given.  No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews.  The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

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