Is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Right for You?

For Eco-Conscious Moms

Celebrating National Iced Tea Month in June

Green Your Yard Sale

Nearly Half of All Smokers Think Cigarette Butts Are Biodegradable

nature conserve

Is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Right for You?

Thinking about signing up for a CSA but want to learn more about the idea before you commit?  For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

There are several advantages to joining your local CSA, here are a few:

You Know Where Your Food Comes From
In a CSA share your produce comes directly from your farmer so you know who is growing your food and how. If you have questions about their farming practices or values just ask! With this level of transparency, you can rest assured knowing your farmer cares about what matters to you.

Support Small Farming
By supporting small family farms you are guaranteeing that 100% of your money goes directly to the farmer to grow and harvest high quality food for you and others in your community

Most CSA farms strive for ecological diversity and a wide variety in crop production, so over the course of the season CSA farmers usually grow more types of vegetables than found at a grocery store. You’ll discover varieties that you might not otherwise find or buy, so get ready to enjoy your share of the season’s bounty including leeks, celeriac, edamame, garlic scapes, daikon, and many other diverse goodies!

Better Flavor
Fresh is best!  The time between harvest and consumption is reduced so you get fresher food that tastes better. Unlike industrial farmers who harvest for shipping and shelf-life, CSA farmers harvest for ripeness and flavor. Eating seasonally means every week you receive what the conditions were most fit to produce so you’re guaranteed to eat your veggies at their peak. Get ready for a culinary delight and adventure!

Have fun!
There are lots of exciting ways to enjoy your CSA share- including visits to the farm, u-picking, potluck dinners and community events. During the growing season there is always something fun to do with you and your family to celebrate local agriculture, enjoy good food and mingle with other CSA members.

Find a local CSA in your area, visit:


For Eco-Conscious Moms

There’s a new line of fashionable and environmentally friendly accessories for moms—check out Bumkins.

Bumkins Nixi line features an array of stylish bags made of eco-friendly fabric—made from post-consumer plastic bottles! From cosmetic bags, travel bags, diaper bags, wet/dry bags, a waterproof clutch or just everyday bags, the Nixi line has busy moms covered. The bags are all durable, waterproof, and come in a variety of chic prints.

Bumkins reusable snack bags are the eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic baggies. Made from easy-wipe waterproof fabric, the bibs and snack bags we received were machine washable and dishwasher-safe. Great for many uses: picnics, hiking, camping, cycling, fishing, dog treats, road trips and so much more! Also available in a larger single option.

The reusable bags we received were made from super-cute designs, had zipper closures, were lead free, PBC free, BPA free, phthalates free, and vinyl free.  They range in price depending on the size. Visit to see the entire collection which includes much more than just the snack bags.


Celebrating National Iced Tea Month in June

It was a scorching hot summer day at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and festival attendees were uninterested in the hot tea that Richard Blechynden was serving. Attempting to salvage the day, he poured his brewed tea over ice, and the quintessential English tradition of “taking tea” was forever changed. Crediting the “invention” of iced tea to Richard Blechynden is the subject of great debate, but all might agree that his efforts helped to popularize this most refreshing and delicious elixir.

It's cool, refreshing, good for you, and so popular that an entire month has been set aside to celebrate…Summer is here and so is National Iced Tea Month. June’s National Iced Tea Month is a good time to drink up the many benefits of tea.  It’s tasty, refreshing, has zero calories and is chock full of health benefits, so it’s a terrific beverage choice. With a multitude of research suggesting that the substances in tea may help the body maintain healthy cells and tissues, contribute to heart health and keep your weight in check, why would anyone choose to drink anything else?

According to the Tea Association of the USA, approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced and over the last ten years, Ready-To-Drink Tea (RTD) has grown more than 15 fold. In 2014, Ready-To-Drink sales were conservatively estimated to be more than $5.56 billion.

In the southern US they make sweet tea, in Thailand it is called cha yen, and in Austria the refreshing drink is called “ice” tea, rather than “iced” tea. No matter what you call it, iced tea is a satisfying and refreshing beverage enjoyed the world over.

When you home brew your iced tea you can customize it to your particular preference—some like it sweet, others unsweetened, some prefer fruit infusions like blood oranges or summer peaches, others prefer just a simple lemon wedge or sprig of mint as a garnish. If you don’t homebrew, RTD (ready to drink) teas are a convenient and delicious way to enjoy iced tea. A trip to the convenience store or local supermarket will reveal dozens of brands—each offering something to appeal to the varying tastes of today’s iced tea drinking consumer.

Iced tea fun facts:

  • The oldest known recipe for sweet ice tea was published in 1879 in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia, by Marion Cabell Tyree. This recipe calls for green tea. In fact, most sweet tea consumed during this time period was green tea. However, during World War II, the major sources of green tea were cut off from the United States, leaving consumers with tea almost exclusively from British-controlled India.
  • Today, if you ask for an “Arnold Palmer” you will be served a mix of iced tea and lemonade. It is named after its creator, golf legend, Arnold Palmer.
  • “Texas tea” in the Beverly Hillbilly’s theme song refers to oil--nothing to do with tea at all.
  • In 2003 Georgia state representative John Noel tried to pass a house bill making it mandatory for all restaurants to serve sweet tea. Mr. Noel insists it was an April Fools' Day joke but admits he wouldn’t mind if it became law.
  • The famous “long island iced tea” drink doesn’t contain any tea.

It has been more than 100 years since Blechynden’s cool idea and iced tea remains one of the America’s most beloved beverages.

Green Your Yard Sale

Garage sales and yard sales are a great (and green) way to relinquish items which we once held dear and for which we had great use, but no longer need. offers you these tips for hosting a green garage sale this summer:

Signs are important as they’ll inform those in your community about the date, time and location of your sale. Make your signs on repurposed paper, cardboard, or poster board—try a pizza box top, the side of an empty carton, or a brown paper bag.

Make sure you pack purchases in paper not plastic bags.

Be realistic and reasonable when setting prices—you’ll move more merchandise, find new homes for some of your most treasured items, and you’ll keep items out of the local landfill.

Remove batteries from old electronics. This will ensure that they are disposed of properly and not just discarded by the new owner.

Instead of the time-consuming task of tagging each item at your sale, create pay-one-price sections. If an item doesn’t sell at one price, you can move it to another area.

Consider involving the kids. Have them sell homemade lemonade or organic iced tea to thirsty browsers. (Serve in paper cups, not plastic or styrofoam).

Involve your neighbors! If you can get some of your neighbors to schedule a yard sale on the same day, your block can be a true destination for thrifty shoppers.

Nearly Half of All Smokers Think Cigarette Butts Are Biodegradable

V2®, one of the nation’s leading brands of electronic cigarette and vaporizer products, today announced the results of a commissioned study examining cigarette butt disposal among smokers. Each year, cigarette butts make up 1.69 billion pounds of litter worldwide [1]. Additionally, nearly all cigarettes sold in the U.S. feature a non-biodegradable plastic [2]. This information prompted the study, which polled 872 adult smokers across the U.S. between April 18-20, 2016 to understand their approach to cigarette butt disposal.

84% say cigarette butts are ‘toxic’

When asked whether or not they agreed or disagreed with the statement “cigarette butts are toxic,” 84% agreed; 6% disagreed; and 10% said they weren’t sure.    

“Cigarettes butts are known to feature a number of hazardous materials,” said Adam Kustin, Vice President of Marketing, V2. “That the overwhelming majority of smokers recognize that butts are, indeed, toxic is definitely a positive. However, with 16% of smokers believing butts aren’t toxic or are unsure of how toxic they might be, it’s clear more education is needed.”

44% say butts are biodegradable

Biodegradation is the natural disintegration of materials by living organisms, like bacteria or fungi. In addition to perceived toxicity, survey participants were also asked whether or not they thought cigarette butts were biodegradable. Most respondents, 44%, agreed that they were, while 43% disagreed. 14% said they didn’t know.    

“Previous research shows that, given the plastic material within most cigarette filters, butts are non-biodegradable,” said Kustin. “They’re like water bottles or plastic bags. The material never truly disappears. For nearly half of all smokers to think that butts are biodegradable, or might be, is a major cause for concern when it comes to disposal.”

25% throw butts on the ground

When asked how they typically dispose of cigarette butts while smoking outdoors, 59% said that they put them in a “designated cigarette receptacle.” 25%, however, said they “throw them on the ground,” including sewers and gutters; and 14% said that they put them “in any trash can” they see. In total, 39% of those surveyed either throw cigarette butts on the ground or put them in undesignated trash receptacles. 

Among the 25% of smokers who tend to throw cigarette butts on the ground, just under two-thirds (62%) said that they did so “every time.” 27% said “most of the time;” and 4% said they did so “half of the time.” Only 6% said they threw butts on the ground “occasionally” and only 1% said “rarely.” 
“When you do the math, the numbers are scary,” said Kustin. “264 billion cigarettes were sold in the U.S. last year alone [3], meaning nearly 41 billion of those were tossed on the ground. With so many smokers thinking that cigarette butts are biodegradable, they’re tossing butts anywhere, rather than disposing of them properly using a specified receptacle.”

When asked why they throw cigarette butts on the ground, instead of placing them in a designated cigarette receptacle, 37% attributed it to a lack of cigarette-specific receptacles nearby. The runner-up was “fear of starting a fire anywhere else” (26%), followed by “there’s already a lot of litter on the ground” (21%); and “it doesn’t do much, if any, harm to the environment” (15%).

Added Kustin: “Beyond general education around cigarette butt toxicity and biodegradation, local governments and businesses need to consider investing in more cigarette disposal units. Smokers don’t think there are enough of those in areas where they smoke and it’s hurting the environment.”

79% say throwing butts on the ground is ‘littering’

Though 25% of all smokers throw their cigarette butts on the ground, 79% of all 872 survey respondents acknowledged this type of disposal as “littering.”

“It’s a complicated issue,” said Kustin. “Most smokers understand that tossing cigarette butts on the ground is littering. But they may not think twice about it because they see the environmental effect as being small. By shining a light on that misperception and showcasing how significant the damage can be long-term, hopefully we can change behavior.”

According to Keep America Beautiful, when smokers litter their cigarette butts, several things happen:

Community quality of life suffers and can result in a decline in a city’s foot traffic, tourism, business development, and the value of housing;  the appeal of public spaces, such as beaches and waterfronts, ball fields and parks, and picnic areas and hiking trails decreases; and  fire hazards that impacts local wildlife and eventually contributes to lost economic development opportunities can occur.

[1] Int J Environ Res Public Health, “Cigarettes Butts and the Case for an Environmental Policy on Hazardous Cigarette Waste,” 2009
[2] Int J Environ Res Public Health, “Cigarettes Butts and the Case for an Environmental Policy on Hazardous Cigarette Waste,” 2009
[3] CDC, “Economic Facts About U.S. Tobacco Production and Use,” 2015