FIND YOUR SOAP!
The goal is to find pure, natural soap without added preservatives, coloring, or additives (fillers.) Do you know where to find soap in your town? Healthy, handmade, chemical-free soap? Do a local search to find your soap maker. You can use the Etsy search engine using "natural soap" (and your location) to see if there is an earth-friendly artisan near you. Photo above: AbbyBrownSoaps in Chicago
You can also check the SoapGuild.org directory and searchable resource for handcrafted soaps and their locations. Once you find your soap spread the word. Your new soap maker can contact the SoapGuild.org to be added to the directory!
FIND YOUR LOCAL HARVEST!
Local Harvest is set up to assist you with an amazing searchable website. Simply check your organic food needs (markets, seeds, CSAs) and add your location and your local world of small farming is presented.
Eat Well Guide has local listings to search by keyword and zipcode for the farmers and farmer's markets nearest you!
Pick Your Own features local farms where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables. In each farm's profile, it includes whether they are certified organic or following organic practices (not all small farms can afford the organic certification.)
USDA has a "Meet your Farmer" database to connect in your area. Here is a clip introducing the 2009 initiative.
FIND YOUR SOIL
Shared Earth connects land owners with gardeners and farmers. Land owners get to make more efficient use of their land. Gardeners and farmers get access to land.
Land Share connects growers with dirt! A site where you can find land, offer land, and help out!
FIND YOUR FARM TO FORK DINNER
Farm to Fork Events have sprouted up everywhere! Take a field trip and an experience of healthy food, good music, and natural setting is just magical. Everyone has a great time and it is always the place to meet really amazing people. Simply search your local area for Farm to Fork Events.
GET, RENT, OR SWAP STUFF
The Freecycle Network is a grassroots nonprofit movement of millions of worldwide members participating in the barter economy.
Rentalic is a peer to peer rental marketplace! Need a canoe? Need a tent? Instead of making a purchase for something you need once find out who has one for rent!
Craigslist.org the first site with the great idea of connecting "folks with stuff "with "folks in need of stuff".
MissMinimalist A full list of places to donate specific items
FIND YOUR BOOKS
Bookmooch.com is a fantastic way to recycle books by swapping with people across the US and the world
PaperBackSwap.com is a online club for readers that lists available books for swapping. There are over 4,000,000 available books! No late fees. No hidden charges.
Better World Books sells new & used books & promotes worldwide literacy programs. I buy used books to promote recycling but remember that the author does not make any money from the sale when you buy used.
FIND SOME FASHION
SwapStyle.com an "Online Fashion Swap Party" where people trade fashion online. Signup is $10 to become a verified user, and free after that. You can trade clothes, accessories, and shoes.
PeersSwap a series of member-driven clothing swaps around the world, where friends and neighbors share clothes they no longer wear, and get new ones they'll enjoy. Search by zipcode.
FIND YOUR CREDIT UNION
Credit Unions are not-for-profit, member owned "banks." On average, credit unions have better rates and lower fees and pass the savings along to the members/owners (you.) They give back to their communities with financial education and counseling services.
A Smarter Choice and National Credit Union Association, a .Gov site, are both online credit union locators.
FIND A FREE ATM
How many ATMs can you use without a fee? More than you can imagine! CO-CO ATM offers a locator and mobile app!
LEARN ABOUT THE GIFT ECONOMY
Read YES! Magazine's 37 ways to join the gift economy and participate in local value
HELPFUL TIPS FOR CONSUMER ACTIVISM
- Buy necessities. Only purchase what you truly need and will use.
- Consider the impact on humans and the environment from the production, use, and waste of products and materials.
- Support local and regional businesses.
- Look for honesty disclosure from companies to assure quality standards and fair practice.
- Participate in recycling, reuse, repurposing, mending, and DIY projects.
FIBER, TEXTILE, and CLOTHING
- Acknowledge the origin of organic cotton.
- Commit to natural fibers (organic cotton, linen/flax, hemp, wool, silk) made with natural ingredients (plants, flowers, seeds.)
- Look for natural, non-toxic dyes and paints as opposed to harsh chemical dyes & Plastisol.
- Support organic wool farms who raise sheep without the use of synthetic hormones and pesticides.
- Encourage exploration into newer green textile initiatives with renewable resources and gentle processing methods.
- Check for organic batting or stuffing instead of plastic fillers
- Avoid permanent fabric treatments such as stain guard, wrinkle relaxer, sun block, and waterproofing.
- Be sensitive to the use of feathers and fur .
- Mend worn clothes rather than disposing them.
PAPER GOODS and STATIONERY
- Try handmade paper from the renewable resources of hemp, banana, salago, rice, papyrus, & palm.
- Create stationery made from recycled materials such as paper, cotton fibers, and agricultural waste like husk and straw.
- Look for recycled paper with a high consumer waste.
- Paper doesn't need to be sized or coated.
- Double side printing is recommend.
- Support services that are sustainable in both approach and materials
- Research supply chains to learn details about their resources: how things are made, how they get to the supplier and to the customer.
- Advocate to shorten supply transport by buying national, regional, and local.
- Support ethical business practices, fair trade, just treatment of humans and animals, low impact methods, energy conservation, and closed loop systems.
- Provide honest disclosure to customers about quality standards.
- Consider the environmental impact of every aspect of running a business, including packaging, shipping, waste and unnecessary surplus inventory.
- Inspect bead materials.
- Wear natural stones, gems, seeds, shells, bone, and wood that are ethical in trade and harvest.
- Avoid plastics (resin, polymer, clay) and endangered items (vintage tortoise shell, ivory, coral).
- Seek high grade metals (copper, silver, gold) that are justly mined.
PERSONAL CARE AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
- Look for products that are labeled with ingredients not just adjectives.
- Assure that the company has health and environmental the policies.
- Refrain from using silicone, sulfates, parabens, paraffin, petroleum based ingredients, and synthetic perfumes and fragrance oils.
- Confine color and scents to natural ingredients.
- Use beeswax and soy wax candles.
- Replace chemical cleaning products with natural ingredients (baking soda, lemons, white vinegar).
SEEDS AND GARDENING
- Beware of commercial seeds & resellers of seeds and plants due to the fact that the origin of these item is easily lost.
- Small farms can’t always afford certification. Look for produce grown with “organic principles” and “sustainable practices.”
- Look for natural fertilizers and pest deterrents (ash, worm casings etc.) rather than chemical.
- Avoid consuming GMO engineered foods and chemically processed foods with additives.
- Consume natural, pure, and organic foods by checking for natural preservatives
- Avoid meats products produced with hormones or synthetics fatteners
- Reject factory farm and items where animals are cramped and don't get exercise
- Try to become a vegetarian
CERAMICS and GLASS
- Use earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, and glass.
- Check glazes for food safe and lead free certification.
- Note if ceramics are dishwasher safe and microwavable.
PACKAGING AND SHIPPING
- Support those with low inventory or create to order to ensure no over-production.
- Reconsider petroleum-based products and items over packaged & wrapped in plastics
- Use reused or biodegradable packing materials.
- Carry a tote!