Category Archives: groceries

Grocery Delivery

I’ve been working on a Trashless Kingston page and wondering whether or not to include organic grocery delivery services. There are many.  Some try to be mostly local and all claim to be making a smaller impact on the earth.  Even David Suzuki talks  about the benefit.  I agree to some extent. If everyone usually drives to the grocery store alone, a delivery truck doing a whole route would be better. Plus the food is better for you and for the environment. But if you are someone who already walks or rides a bike to the farmers market to get your groceries-it may not be the best solution except in the winter.

My main beef (uhh carrot?) with these services  is they are not conducive to being Trash Free (neither is David Suzuki though- his daughter is constantly pestering him about using Styrofoam coffee cups” bring a reusable mug Dad, come on!”) For the winter in Toronto, we had Front Door Organics. We liked them a lot at first and then it just ended up being too much surprise packaging (onion bags, carrot bags, sprouts in plastic clam shells )and they changed from being a friendly little company to a big mean company who left threatening emails if you forgot to put your box out, so we stopped. Then we went to Mama Earth organics who we loved even more. They were all the sweetest people on earth and the food was good. They tried really hard to be garbage free, and they gave me free chocolate and goodies because I left baking and notes in the box. I was sad to move away from them…. but there was still garbage created now and then.

Now we are in Kingston and we have started getting Desert Lake Gardens delivery. We got Styrofoam in the first batch, and this time the crackers I ordered come in a plastic wrap over cardboard and then inside that each 6 crackers is in plastic. I wish they had to say on the website exactly what the packaging was. On that note I wish packages is the store had to say on the package what the packing is (how much you can’t see, what the materials are etc. And again on that note (laaaaaa) why can manufacturers get away with labels like <natural butter flavour, and spices” What is that exactly? And why is there no label on grocery store bakery bread? I am very suspicious of it and wish we could make our own bread all the time. We have been trying but sometimes, like tonight, we just run out of time, so I pick up a loaf (in a plastic bag) and wonder, what the heck are we eating?
Getting back to the discussion (rant?) about grocery delivery services,
I realize It’s really hard to run a low impact business. If you look at it as a whole, they are doing really well. The soil and air are better for having grown organic. Our bodies are better for eating it. There is less packaging than you would have in a grocery store situation. They are focusing on local farmers as much as possible and cutting down carbon emissions by driving less. BUT if you focus on just garbage like we did for this project, delivery services fall short (so does focusing on just one thing, I admit). They are just not garbage free. I think the best bet would be a CSA but most of those don’t happen in the winter and that’s when we would need it. In the spring summer and fall, I can walk to the farmer’s market. It’s an enjoyable ritual for Aurora and I We can always see exactly what we are getting and talk to the farmers about it. Plus we can play in the fountain and buy a cookie. I think this year will be especially fun because now Aurora likes to ask what things are “this is?”



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More on Tetra Paks

I was thinking more about my complaints of the tetra pak being less recyclable with the little plastic spout because Tetra pack recycling is a bit of a joke anyhow. I knew that I guess my selective amnesia kicked in to allow me the convenience of buying juice and rice milk. Perhaps my next action should be petitioning the companies to put their products in glass, and even better to have a deposit return system like Harmony Organic Dairy, Organic Meadow or Pine Hedge Farms. Or I could go back to making my own (in my spare time-ha ha ha).

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Happy for no reason- just in happy

The title is a quote from some “English” stationary I got in Korea. I do have a reason for being in happy though- free chocolate and peaches!
I get Mama Earth Organic delivery and have been really happy with them. They try really hard to avoid packaging and the service (and food) is great. I always tip the driver and if I can’t, I leave baking in the box for her. I also use reused envelopes or Aurora’s drawings to put the money in and sometimes I include little notes or pamphlets about projects I’m working on.
This week, along with our delivery was a complimentary (compostable) bag of peaches and apricots and an amazing organic chocolate bar. They left a little note saying thanks for being a good customer and for doing this blog and for the goodies and tips. Awwww. I actually cried. Aurora immediately grabbed and ate one of the peaches.I loooove chocolate-in fact most of you probably know I am totally addicted to it. It was such a nice touch. I also love peaches and wish they were in season for longer.
PS If you are in the Toronto area and decide to sign up with Mama Earth, drop my name and I will get a discount.

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Home Grown Revolution

There’s a line in a Modest Mouse song that is something like ” I sound the same when I’m happy and I’m sad” that’s always really resonated with me. I just watched Home Grown Revolution and cried with joy. I would love to meet this family. The one thing I noticed was that they do wrap their veggies in plastic, but it’s not a criticism at all because they are doing so many amazing things. I can’t express my excitement. Just watch or go to the website. Oh I love these people! WHEEEEEEE!


Filed under alternative housing, environmental news, gardening, groceries, inspiration

The chocolate lover’s delimma

I’ve been reading the The Omnivore’s Dilemma for way too long now- it’s amazing how hard is has been to find time to read. I’ve been really enjoying it and would recommend it to everyone. It’s really gotten me thinking even more about food. I don’t agree with his chapter on animal rights- it’s a bit strange, but he has a lot of other good points.
Today I was in the bulk food store about to buy bulk Skor bars with my own bag, when I found myself wondering, “is it better to buy package free chocolate made with cocoa grown by underpaid workers in horrible conditions, grown with pesticides, and profiting a company who has done countless terrible things to people and animals; or to buy organic fair trade chocolate in a wrapper? The other problem is the organic fair trade chocolate (Green and Blacks) is owned by Nestle, who is the worst of the worst as far as morals go.
I bought the Green and Blacks but afterward, wished I had the bulk skors. The best thing to do would be to by organic (not factory organic, but the old sense of the word), fair trade local chocolate, which does exist. Chocosol is at the Wychwood farmers market and Dufferin grove and they are an amazing couple of young lads who work with families in Mexico, growing the cocoa and roasting it with solar and bicycle power. The problem is that I like their chocolate in theory but I always crave the bad stuff. It’s somehow too wholesome- not quite sweet enough. I like the samples, but when I buy a whole bar (wheel actually), it sits in my freezer as I run to the store for Skor. Perhaps I should try to buy cocoa from them and experiment with making my own.
OK so I just tried to research the wrong doings of Hershey, assuming they would be similar to NESTLE, and the first thing I found is this. If there is any truth to it, I should definitely go for the bulk SKors! I also found these articles which explain why I thought they had done wrong- they had but are trying to clean up their act. I think the best is to try and find something at Chocsol that I like or can make into something I like because I can talk directly to the owners of the company and trust that they are telling me the truth, where as I can’t be sure about a huge corporation.


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More food please!

Actually I have lots of gorgeous food-everything yummy seems to be in season here right now. I just wanted to post about food again and couldn’t think of a clever title.
We haven’t bought salad dressings in years, since we learned how easy it was to make them-and since we moved away from Loblaws. For some reason every time I go in there I come out with sauces and dressings-they make them look so good. Anyhow, we have recently become hooked on a do-it yourself (trash free) dressing from THE COMPLETE BOOK OF RAW FOOD.
Ceasar dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp honey
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
We add water to make it a bit smoother and “Creamier”
I would suggest making at least a double batch. It is so yummy that I eat it on toast!
I also wanted to update about Mother Earth organic delivery. I am more than pleased with them. It is a family run business and they are very sweet. I haven’t received any packaging other than one paper bag. Oh and the delivery driver was so blown away that I had left a tip that he left a nice little thank you note! The only thing that would make it better is if it was all delivered on bicycles-anyone need a business idea?

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What’s happening in TO.

It’s Harvest Season! MMMMMMMM. There are two Harvest festivals in Toronto I think you should know about. I probably won’t make it to either, as we are awaiting the arrival of the baby and they fall exactly on the due date, but I think they will be good enviro fun!

The first is at Colborne Lodge in High Park. You can buy old fashioned preserves, and do all sorts of activities or watch people in the old house (19th century) do all sorts of activities, many of which are cooking that you can taste the product of. That’s on September 29th.

The second is at Greenest City. I think I’ve talked about them before. They are an awesome organization that trains young people how to involve the community and start various environmental programs. One of their projects was the HOPE community garden. Here’s the invite to their festival.

Dear all,

As the summer winds down with every wistful sunset — the snap of a breeze getting chillier everyday — and the looming fall peers from within every tree, we here at Greenest City would like to invite you to an occasion of great merriness and gratitude. As you are aware, our beautiful HOPE Community Garden has been resoundingly successful from the bounties upon bounties of lush produce that we have managed to procure. On Sunday, Sept. 30, we will be hosting a festival that celebrates not only the arrival of the harvesting season, but also the memories, joys and the connections that this garden has fostered. And we would like to invite you as well, in celebrating and thanking the garden and all the people involved; through music, food, games and entertainment for all ages.

What: Parkdale HOPE Community Garden Harvest Festival
When: Sunday, Sept. 30 from noon till 3pm
Where: Masaryk Park, beside the garden, on 220 Cowan Avenue.
For: Everyone!

I will try to update Trashless Toronto tonight to include the Linux Cafe on Harbord St. They are trying to Green their cafe so they are charging a 25% take out fee on disposables. They are also open to suggestions on Greening their cafe, so feel free to send them along.

In my own life, everything is about the baby. He/she hasn’t arrived yet, but could any day now. Today I took some gift money to Grass Roots and bought Bamboozle diapers as well as Sage Mama Hermit diapers, some Wipe Solution and a few organic cloth wipes. We are almost ready. Oh! I just discovered I could have saved money if I had ordered the Sage Mama diapers from the internet, but Grass Roots is a good company to support so I don’t mind too much.


Filed under baby, fun, groceries

The incredible Bulk

We threw out another grocery bag of garbage yesterday. That’s 6 weeks this time. Woo Hoo! I’ve asked Kyle to start saving his chip bags and things like that again (which I insisted that he throw out to make room for the baby). I have a couple workshops coming up where I can use them for installation. Garbage installation! I also still want to try weaving them.
I went to the Young and Eglinton Centre Bulk Store  and bought a big bag of bulk chocolate bars(about 20), so that we could have some treats without packaging. Someone ate the majority in one day! That’s the problem with bulk. I wish there was a corner store near us that sold bulk so it was easy to buy just one package free bar at a time. It is hard to keep chocolate bars in the house when you know they are just sitting there. I wouldn’t be able to do it previously either. I can now because surprisingly, with pregnancy came self restraint. I can now eat just one bit of chocolate and save the rest for later.  Now all you detectives know that I wasn’t the someone who ate too many chocolate bars(not this time anyhow)….

Grass Roots no longer carries bulk vinegar. This is a huge blow. They are looking for another supplier but their supplier just stopped carrying it. We use vinegar as the main ingredient for cleaning supplies, and though I know the containers are recyclable, I really don’t want to get a container every time. Bulk is so much better! And we have no problems keeping lots of vinegar in the house. It’s not as tempting to over clean as it is to over eat!

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Anonymous Tip and my comments

I got the following email in my work mail. I have no idea who sent it to me, or how they got my work e-mail address, but it is worth passing on. My comments are in italics, and I’ve added links.

No time to waste, no time for waste

With glaciers melting, temperatures rising and cancers growing, consumers are desperately seeking
convenient everyday-product alternatives to help protect the planet and preserve their health

Toronto, ON – We are officially in the throws of a ‘green renaissance’ and with it has come a flood of new product, a deluge of information and a whole lot of consumer uncertainty.
What are the bad plastics?
Most plastics are “bad”. Corn plastic that’s biodegradable is slightly better, and PVC seems to be the worst of them all, which is probably why PVC clothing looks so bad ass. I guess you can’t be an environmentally friendly punk rocker or goth, although I sort of was. I never used airplane glue to make my Mohawk stand. I always used natural hair products. What are the good candles?Beeswax Candles are good and you can get them at Grass Roots. Dollar Store candles are bad.What’s the real deal with bottled water?Bottled water is a bad idea. Most of it is just tap water anyway and think of all that plastic! If you don’t like tap water, get a filter you can attach to your tap. How can I reduce my environmental footprint? I don’t think I can tackle this is one blog post, but here’s a shot, reduce your energy use, reduce your water use, ride a bicycle, be informed, buy green products or make your own, reduce your garbage. Reduce, reuse, recycle. (in that order)
What is an environmental footprint?
Can I green my house without breaking the bank?

Yes, most provinces have little guide books with cheap and easy tips to green your house. It can start with little things like reusing your bathwater to flush the toilet, hanging your clothes to dry, closing the curtains on hot days, planting tress for shade etc.

 Where can I get organic jeans?

Grass Roots, Hemp Stores like Roacharama,, Rawganique

Eco-advocate and mother of all things fabulously green Lisa Borden can answer all these questions and more ( so can I, can I join the team?), while she and her team of eco-experts help consumers green their lives with the world’s best selection of environmentally brilliant products.
Decades of research and scouring the earth for the best in show has brought Borden to the forefront of the environmental revolution, in which weeding through the excess of new “green” product on the market is one of the biggest consumer challenges.
Check out Borden’s latest round of must-have items, uniquely designed to reduce waste, improve health and actively promote “better living.”  
Perfect for back-to-school, back-to-work and back-to-basics…

The waste-free, lead-free lunch box
Laptop Lunches <

I want one of these and have been coveting this site for some time
The healthiest alternative to plastic bottles
Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottles <>
Coffee, tea and carcinogen-free
Enviro coffee & tea presses and mugs <>
For taking the edge off naturally
Organic Aromatherapy Pleasure Pillows <>
All natural, all homemade
Make-your-own, chemical-free home, pet and body product kits <>
For truly clean clothes
Nellie’s natural laundry soda and dryer balls < 

Or go to grass roots and get ingredients to make your own laundry detergents, or buy all natural detergents in bulk-don’t forget to bring your own container.
Note: Borden Communications promotes and stocks all above mentioned lines, plus dozens more.
For high res images, product samples and more information, please contact –
Lisa Borden at 416-484-6489 or

Facts that should not be wasted

Twenty-five recycled bottles can make one fleece jacket.
If every household in Canada changed one regular incandescent light bulb to an energy-efficient light bulb, Canadians would save over $73 million in energy costs every year. It would also reduce greenhouse gasses by 397,000 tonnes per year – the same as taking 66,000 cars off of the road.
By using a reusable mug every morning for your coffee or favourite beverage rather than a disposable one, you will personally save 23 pounds of garbage from going into landfill. [not to mention the potential toxic nature of the disposable cup]. Starbucks will even give you 10 cents off as an environmental discount per beverage.
One organic cotton t-shirt [over a conventionally grown cotton one] saves 744 gallons of water.

Canadians throw away 900 million plastic chemical bottles each year – enough to circle the earth five times.
Canadians take 55 million plastic shopping bags home from the grocery store every day.
Five billion drink boxes are thrown out in North America each year.
Every year, Canadians throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups. Five hundred years from now, those cups will still be sitting in the landfill site.

Each Canadian uses up to four trees per year in paper products.
One tree can filter 60 pounds of pollutants out of the air every year.
The average Canadian household spends over $600 on chemical cleaning products per year.
Backyards are three times more poisoned with pesticides (per acre) than farmland.
Watering your lawn uses 700 litres in half an hour, which is more than the average daily water consumption of an entire household.
Plastics numbered 3, 6 and 7 can contain carcinogenic substances and can be found in such everyday products as baby bottles and shower curtains. Numbers 1, 2 and 4 are acceptable if required…5 is the safest!
If everyone on earth lived like the average Canadian, we would need four earths to sustain our lifestyle.

Borden Communications + Design a full-service design and marketing company based in Toronto. With expertise in marketing, promotional products, product management, design and print for companies of all shapes and sizes, it is equally committed to bettering the earth and the Canadian lifestyle though promoting and stocking the world’s healthiest and most innovative products and services. President Lisa Borden is a world-class eco-advocate and mother of two, whose business is a direct reflection of her commitment to better, more responsible living.

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.” – African Proverb


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Cookie mistake

Yesterday I realized at about 8pm that we had no groceries and I had to work today. So I rode my bike to the nearest grocery store, Sobeys. I decided I really needed cookies and I didn’t have time to go to My Market Bakery to get them package free, or to make them myself. I looked at the bakery cookies, but they were all in big plastic containers. I didn’t check to see if they were recyclable. I went to the cookie isle and thought ” a bag would be OK because I should be able to compost the bag and if they inside is foil, I can use it in a card.” Boy it’s been a long time since I bought cookies. When I got them home and opened them, I saw the reason. Inside, is not only another non-reusable plastic wrapping but also a hard plastic try. D’oh! I really should have known, but it’s been many years since I’ve bought cookies like that. They don’t even taste very good! Kyle said he would make me some so I don’t have to do that again. Even if he doesn’t, I won’t. So much packaging for so few cookies. Oh, I’m sorry polar bears!

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