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Annie's Root 4 Kids Contest

Root 4 Kids, a project encouraging families and schools to eat well, is running a new contest.   All you have to do is sign up for Root 4 Kids.  The school with the most sign-ups between April 5 and May 31 will win either a new Farm to School program or a school garden.

Root 4 Kids is brought to you by Annie's, makers of some of my favorite mac and cheese and other yummy snacks.  For the contest, Root 4 Kids partnered with National Farm to School Network, an organization that connects schools to local farms. The winning school will be connected with a local farm, and the farm will provide healthy food in the school cafeteria and nutrition education in classrooms or through a school garden.   Parents, family members, teachers, and administrators can sign up at www.root4kids.com/join!  ... read more

A Waste-Free Lunch

thermosSay good-bye to single-use sandwich baggies, brown paper lunch bags, and Ziplocs. Let's look at some safe and eco-friendly alternatives to the traditional ways to pack a lunch.

Pyrex Containers:
While not great for little kids, these are perfect for a work lunch because if you need to heat something up in the microwave, you can heat it up and eat from it as well.

Stainless Steel:
Life Without Plastic has many wonderful options. They're air tight, and you can use them for your lunch or storing food at home as well.

Reusable Baggies:
Forget about Ziplocs and buy reusable snack and sandwich bags.  I love The Lucky Butterfly because they're cute, reusable, and easy to clean. They're great for your own lunch, kids lunches, or packing a picnic lunch.... read more

Make Your Own Organic Ice Cream

In a desperate attempt to bring on summer, I've been making a slew of fresh organic ice cream. My kids think I'm a super-hero and I think the kids could be eating worse things than ice cream made from real ingredients.   The perfect bowl of icy refreshment is just 20 minutes away...

Deer Hollow Farm, Los Altos - Keen AND Green

In the state of California, it is hard to turn on the news without hearing about more K-12 budget cuts. It is increasingly important that we find ways to continue to place environmental sciences at the forefront of classroom curriculum – after all, today's kindergarteners are tomorrow’s activists, business people, construction workers... you get my point. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica Morgan, director of Deer Hollow Farm, in Los Altos, California.

deer farm

About Deer Hollow Farm: Deer Hollow Farm is nestled in the beautiful foothills of the Los Altos Hills in the California Bay Area. The farm is dedicated to educating school groups, community groups, and the general public in the area of life sciences.... read more

Reusable Snack and Sandwich Bags

Green your lunch!  Last summer, our blogger Liz wrote about how to make your school/work lunch produce less waste.  One excellent way?  Ditch the Ziplocs!  They're plastic, difficult to recycle because of the "zipper" component, and kinda expensive, too.  

Lucky for us, The Lucky Butterfly, maker of reusable snack and sandwich bags,  is offering FREE SHIPPING to Keen for Green readers!  Just use the coupon code "Keenforgreen" when checking out.  They even make custom ones in case you don't find a size/fabric that you like.... read more

5 Items the Eco-Conscious New Parent Doesn't Need

When expecting a new child, you might find yourself bombarded with the ideas of "stuff."  You need this, you need that, don't get this, buy that, etc.   Here are five baby items that I feel a green parent really doesn't need...save money and reduce waste!  

- A baby wipe warmer.  If the wipes are that cold, just warm them up in your hands for few minutes.  The wipe warmer is a waste of energy and usually by the time your baby gets a little older they won't mind a cold wipe on their skin.  You can even make your own baby wipes with old t-shirts and receiving blankets...so you really don't even need baby wipes!

- A bottle warmer.   If you plan to breast feed, definitely skip this purchase.  Even if you end up bottle-feeding, this isn't really a necessary item either.  If you're home, you can warm a bottle up in some hot water.  If you're out to eat, restaurants will often give you a cup of hot water to warm up a bottle.  My son was not usually particular about his milk or formula being warm, and room temperature sufficed.   Breast milk can actually sit at room temperature for 6 hours before it spoils.  Formula shouldn't sit at room temperature for more than an hour, but you can always mix it on the go with room temperature water.... read more

Meet Tristin and Tyler!

tristin & tylerTristin and Tyler are twin brothers who star in a web series called "Tristin and Tyler's Tales from the City!" The boys go on adventures throughout New York City and teach the viewers about something interesting, and often green.   The series is fun, adorable, and educational.   ... read more

The Battle of the "Green" Disposable Diapers

Over the last year or so, I've spent some time reviewing "greener" disposable diapers.   We primarily cloth diaper, but sometimes we use disposables for overnight, daycare, or travel.

Until totally biodegradable diapers become widely available at a good price, I can't imagine disposable diapers being a truly green and economical diapering option.  The chlorine-free diapers, such as the popular Seventh Generation, still contain plastic so they won't break down in a landfill.    

Some of these diapers are greener than others, and some more reliable than others.  Here's the breakdown:... read more

Thanks Mama Cloth Diapers - Green Company Profile

Thanks Mama began in 2002, but when the original owner moved out of the country, current owners Helena and Kosta Shumakin bought the company and turned it into one of my favorite cloth diapering and green baby gear stores on the net.    

Everything came together for Helena and Kosta when Helena was pregnant with their daughter.  Helena had been reading about cloth diapering, and Kosta, who was working for an alternative energy company, was looking to make a career change.  When they learned that Thanks Mama was for sale, they decided to buy it.  ... read more

BPA Laws in the United States

We all know that BPA is bad.  Yesterday, Massachusetts was the latest state to jump on the BPA-banning bandwagon.  The ban, unfortunately, is still limited and it only bans BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.   Let's take a look at what other U.S. cities and states say about BPA:

  • Suffolk County, New York banned baby bottles and sippy cups made with BPA in 2009.  Schenectady County and Albany County have similar bans.

  • Minnesota enacted a BPA ban for children's products that took effect this year.

  • Chicago also banned BPA in children's products this year.

  • Connecticut has a much stricter ban.  They not only banned bisphenol A from all reusable food and beverage containers, but also in infant formula and baby food containers.  This happened in 2009.

  • Washington state passed bans on BPA use in baby bottles and sippy cups for babies and toddlers, as well sports bottles.

  • Wisconsin's Senate approved banning BPA use in baby bottles and cups for children 3 and younger.

  • Maryland banned BPA in children's products, including baby bottles and sippy cups earlier this year.

One of the most environmentally progressive states has done nothing to help get BPA products off the shelves.  California's Environmental Protection Agency's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee unanimously voted against putting BPA on the state's list of chemicals that are believed to cause reproductive problems.  However, this is the same panel who didn't add second-hand smoke to this list until 2006!   ... read more

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