Sorry, Kermit, but it actually is pretty easy being green – especially in the Bay. With Earth Day on April 22, what better time to take advantage of the Bay’s resources and make your life (and the planet) just a little bit greener?
Shopping in environmentally friendly and sustainable stores reduce the amount of waste produced by using recycled or upcycled products. These stores also watch the chemicals in their products and ensure that the ingredients aren’t harmful to you, or the
Shopping doesn’t always have to involve buyer’s remorse. Did you know what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body? Zenabelle in Bristol does. With ingredients carefully picked out by the staff, each product is good for you and good for the environment; right down to the packaging – no creepy scary chemicals here. 573 Hope Street, Bristol. 401-396-9603, www.Zenabelle.com
Need a gift? How about some home decor? Some spices maybe? Luna Sea has got it, and more. They also sell LifeFactory bottles, which help cut down on harmful plastic water bottles that end up in landfills. 259 Thames Street, Bristol. 401-256-0485, www.LunaSeaShop.com
Every item in Green Envy – right down to the furnishings – is handmade, eco-friendly, recycled, upcycled and/or fair trade. Get housewares, gifts, jewelry, skincare, baby clothing and more. 8 Franklin Street, Newport. 401-619-1993, www.GreenEnvyShop.com
Their tagline is “the art of green living” so it’s pretty clear what they’re all about. Barksfield offers healthy, chemical-free home, personal and pet care products as well as home decor and gifts made from artists that choose to “work green” with sustainable business practices, upcycled or recycled materials and nontoxic dyes. 3964 Main Road, Second Floor, Tiverton. 401-816-0944, www.Barksfield.com
Green Your Home
Believe it or not, going green can be as simple as making small changes in your home. Something as easy as changing your cleaning products or getting an energy audit can make a big
If you have a problem at home with mold, odor and mosquitos, the only effective option must be to go out and buy some chemicals to kill the problem, right? Wrong. Green Home Solutions of Newport a “100% green company” that aims to provide affordable, responsible, natural and safe solutions to allergens, mosquitos, mold and odors in your home. 1698 E Main Road, Portsmouth. 401-293-0616, www.GreenHomeSolutions.com/Newport-RhodeIsland
Getting your home energy audited is a great way to see where you’re wasting energy and where you can improve. It not only saves you money, but making your home as energy efficient as possible saves the planet too. Get in touch with National Grid to set up an appointment. www.MyNGrid.com/EnergyWise
Recycle and Compost
Recycling is something we learned about when we were kids, but it has never stopped being important. Now’s a good time to add composting. What is composting and why is it important? Composting is the process of recycling decomposing yard and food waste and turning it into a rich soil to be used in your garden instead of sending it to a landfill. With our population ever rising, the amount of waste we produce is rising along with it – and our landfills aren’t getting any smaller. Together we can divert material from the landfill, here’s how.
Many local farms and farmers markets do composting – like Aquidneck Farms in Portsmouth. They make an effort to keep usable material out of the municipal waste stream by selling their own tote bags (instead of those pesky plastic bags) and offering the ability to drop off your food scraps for composting. Most of the scraps collected and turned into compost are collected by the Island Community Farm (www.SustainableAquidneck.org) and used to enrich the soil of their community gardens – an effort that has diverted over 40,000 pounds of material from the landfill. Aquidneck Farms also rents compost buckets for $20 at the market’s welcome stall. These compost buckets can be used in the comfort of your own home to place food scraps into and bring back to the farmer’s market. Compost for your home garden can also be purchased at their Farms Store. 333 Wapping Road, Portsmouth. 401-849-0337, www.AquidneckFarms.com
Every town is different, so it’s important to check your local town laws for their specific recycling and composting rules and regulations. There are so many resources out there, but the easiest way to find out what you can and cannot recycle or compost is to call your local Town Hall. The internet works too, of course. If you’re a RI resident check out www.RIRRC.org/Recycling and if you’re in MA go to www.RecyclingWorksMA.com
If you’ve been on the highway, you’ve seen black smoke spouting from the exhaust pipe of a tractor-trailer or another vehicle into the air. Freaky? Absolutely. Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States; luckily there are things we can do in the Bay to reduce our own impact.
If you have a diesel fueled motor vehicle or home heating furnace and want to lessen your carbon footprint and reduce waste, Newport Biodiesel is the place for you. They collect waste vegetable oil from over 2,000 Southern New England restaurants and turn it into clean burning fuel. The nontoxic, biodegradable biodiesel is “ecologically the best and highest use of waste vegetable oil.” 312 JT Connell Highway, Newport. 401-846-1117, www.NewportBiodiesel.com
Riding your bike uses zero gasoline and produces zero waste – and that’s what Bike Newport is here to encourage. Bike Newport’s mission is to improve, and facilitate biking in Newport for the good of its residents, visitors and the environment. They aim to make Newport a more bike-friendly city by hosting group rides and events throughout the year. 437 Broadway, Newport. 401-619-4900, www.BikeNewportRI.org
Public transportation reduces the amount of emissions released into the air from automobiles. RIPTA now has hybrid trolleys and hybrid diesel Gillig buses and trolleys. www.RIPTA.com/Green-Initiatives
Being green doesn’t have to break the bank; all you need is a little bit of time. If you’re the type of person who wants to put in a little elbow grease to help the environment, we’ve got just the right activities for you.
As residents of the Ocean State, we have a responsibility to help clean up our oceans. Clean Ocean Access in Middletown is a Newport-based environmental group focused on the coastlines of Aquidneck Island. They host several beach cleanups, and have four this month alone on the 2, 9, 16 and 23 from 12-2pm at various locations. 23 Johnnycake Hill Road, Middletown. 401-465-0628, www.CleanOceanAccess.org
In Seekonk and Bristol, the Audubon Society of Rhode Island is dedicated to education, land conservation and advocacy. By volunteering, you’ll help run nature-based activities during school vacation camps, assist in educational tour groups and pitch in with administrative duties. 1401 Hope Street (Rte 114), Bristol. 401-245-7500, www.ASRI.org
Help clean up Narragansett Bay by volunteering your time with Save the Bay. This organization allows people to join cleanups to collect trash, schedule cleanups, participate in events or join the Save the Bay team. 175 Memorial Boulevard, Newport. 401-324-6020, www.SaveBay.org
Support Our Farmers
The Bay has a lot of great farmers and farmer’s markets that have locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh baked goods, handmade crafts and more. Buying from these farms and markets not only helps small businesses and farmers, but it also cuts down on the pollution associated with trucking goods across the country. Plus, it just tastes better when you to buy directly from the source.
Mount Hope Farm has their farmer’s market every Saturday from 9am-1pm rain or shine. There is so much here – baked goods, vegetables, eggs, cheese, meats, fish, potted plants and home goods to name a few. They even accept debit, credit, SNAP and WIC cards, making buying healthy foods and goods that much easier. 250 Metacom Avenue, Bristol. 401-245-1745, www.MountHopeFarm.org
Hope & Main in Warren has so much to offer: workshops and classes, information sessions, events, community programs. Located in a 100-year-old schoolhouse on Main Street, Hope & Main is Rhode Island’s first culinary business incubator and brings together food producers, farmers, fishermen and other food industry members to collaborate and engage with the community. You can scope out all the goodies at their farmer’s market on Sundays from 11am-3pm. 691 Main Street, Warren. 401-245-7400, www.MakeFoodYourBusiness.org
The Aquidneck Grower’s Market has organically- and conventionally-grown local products like fresh veggies, flowers, herbs, fruit, meats and seafood as well as prepared foods. The market brings the community together and offers easy access to fresh, responsibly grown food and raises awareness to the benefits of shopping local for your health, the economy and the Earth. The indoor winter market runs every Saturday at the Newport Vineyard and Winery in Middletown until mid-May. The summer market happens twice a week: once on Wednesdays on Memorial Boulevard in Newport from 2-6pm, and again on Saturdays at the Newport Vineyard & Winery from 9am-1pm. 401-848-0099, www.AquidneckGrowersMarket.org
Opening back up this month is Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown. Spanning 100 acres of preserved farmland, the market has seasonal fruits and veggies and fresh cut flowers as well as a plethora of other local products and goodies. 915 Mitchell’s Lane, Middletown. 401-847-3912, www.SweetBerryFarmRI.com
The family-owned Four Town Farm in Seekonk is set smack dab in the middle of Seekonk, Barrington, East Providence and Providence. The farmstand opens back up – with a new farmstand – the middle of this month, and closes the end of December. They have a variety of seasonal veggies. Four Town Farm also has an impressive 50,000 square feet of greenhouse space and their experienced staff will help you. There are also educational tours in the fall. 90 George Street, Seekonk. 508-336-5587, www.FourTownFarm.com
Grow the Solution
Where do most people get their produce? Okay, yes, the supermarket, but do you know where it came from, really? How many miles did it travel on a truck to get to the store? And what chemicals were used? Growing your own food – or supporting those who do – does wonders for the environment and your health.
Mount Hope Farm in Bristol has a wealth of programs for all ages that focus on food, culture and creating a better world. Mount Hope Farm’s 4H Clubs teaches these values to kids ages five to 17 through their Green Fields and Revolutionaries curriculum. This provides kids with experiential learning in agricultural practices, environmental stewardship, health and nutrition classes, community service opportunities and leadership training. The 4H Clubs are also able to participate in Mount Hope Farm’s Growing4Good garden – a 75x75 foot handicap accessible garden that acts as a demonstration site where all the food grown is donated to the East Bay Food Pantry. 250 Metacom Avenue, Bristol. 401-254-1745, www.MountHopeFarm.org
Community Gardens are also a great way to get into gardening and meet people around town who share the same passion. Many towns have community farms or gardens where residents can apply for a large or small plot or volunteer their time to care for a garden.
Who says eating out has to be unhealthy? Going out to eat can not only be healthy for you, but it can also be good for the environment – talk about a win-win. These area markets and eateries help you to be deliciously green.
Known as a “Super Food Eatery,” Keenwah Super Food Eatery in Newport serves organic, natural and locally-sourced food to promote healthier living and a sustainable planet. 311 Broadway, Newport. 401-619-5266.
The Green Grocer in Portsmouth operates under a set of principles that focuses on making the world a better place through positive social and environmental change. They take great care in providing organic products and fresh produce that support your local farmer. Included in their inventory are household cleaners and kitchen supplies that aren’t full of harmful chemicals that make their way into the environment and pollute the Earth, but instead are sustainably and responsibly manufactured. They also have an expansive Health and Beauty section, with soaps, shampoos and conditioners, lotions and baby supplies that are good for your body and the planet. 934 East Main Road, Portsmouth. 401-683-0007, www.TheGreenGrocerRI.com
From their interior design to their menu, Eli’s Kitchen in Warren is environmentally conscious from the ground up. Their menu boasts meat and fish from local farmers and fishermen, and the greens and herbs used in the food are from just the town over in Bristol. 40 Market Street, Warren. 401-245-1809, www.ElisKitchenWarren.com