Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Are you a locallectual?

An exciting new website launched last week in its beta-form. The site, created by two local ladies, aims to help empower consumers everywhere to make purchase more in line with their values. That's so Betty!

Locallectual is a Web 2.0 (wiki-type site which allows its users to add to its content) tool and community for consumers concerned with place of origin and manufacturing processes of consumer goods.

Users can search by category of consumer goods, locale of manufacture, or filter by environmentally friendly and socially responsible criteria.

Betty, for one, is excited to see how this takes shape. Kudos!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Getting Back to Nature

It's that time of year for parents with school age children to contemplate the question: what are we going to do with the kids during the summer months to stave off mid-summer boredom (and parental insanity)?

My fondest memories as a child are filled with the sensations of summer camp in California - I can still sing plenty o' camp songs, I remember tree climbing, the cool "cute" counselors and my favorite day of the week: Thursdays at the beach!

Here in Charlottesville, we may not have a beach, but we have lots of great camp options.

The first thing I did when choosing a camp was to grab a copy of Albemarle Kids magazine and highlight the camps that offer my kids opportunities to connect with nature. I want my kids to learn and understand the natural world while treading lightly. There are a handful of camps (which hopefully will appear in the fall in a new "kids section" in the directory) and so for me, because I want to minimize driving, it was easy to narrow the camps down to ones in our vicinity of the 'ville.

So today I had the pleasure to sit down with the dynamic, energetic Program Director at Triple C Camp of Charlottesville, Ryan DeRose, who is leading the charge with exciting new "green" improvements he's been working on since January, when he first arrived.

Triple C is owned and operated by a great family, has a great location, is accredited (which means it's recognized and licensed by the state, which means they've got a quality staff and safety standards) and enjoys a great reputation in the community. I was curious if their respect for nature also played out in their business practice.

I was delighted to learn from Ryan and Libby and H and their crew have always had in their core philosophy a respect for the surroundings and a tread lightly policy. IN addition, though, this year they have chosen even greater steps to ensure that the kids, the counselors, and the rest of the staff tread EVEN lighter on the Earth!

Here's what's going green at Triple C

*The installation of 10 rainwater barrels will collect over 1,000 gallons of water for use in the gardens, washing muddy feet, watering the horses, (and possibly installing water toilets at a later date)

*Ryan has also put in five "lasagna gardens". No he's not growing fusilli pasta, but a variety of veggies. The "lasagna" refers to the laying of the groundwork for the garden - it's made up of a layer of newspaper, hay, raw compost, chopped leaves, manure, and wood chips. This is a no-till garden that will be a great educational tool for the kids.

*Triple C has 300 kids a day eating 1 big lunch and 2 snacks. In the past that has generated lots of trash so the first thing they've done is implementing batch composting for the organic waste.

*No more styrofoam and other disposables!! The bad stuff, gone. Instead kids will embrace the reuse philosophy for their lunchware and water fountains have been installed with water collectors.

*Also, the recycling bar has been raised. Kids will be bringing all the recyclables generated at the camp at the McIntire Center every Wednesday!

Future plans include a solar hot water heater and a composting toilet.

I believe these changes have a potential to not only help the camp have a lower impact on the environment, they will also get the kids excited and more motivated to change. Check out the or

If you are a parent who knows of a wonderful nature/science camp here in Charlottesville or Albemarle County and are willing to blog about it, please email me at


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Highlights from Earth Week in Charlottesville, Virginia

Of course the First Fridays After Five with Earthweek hosting was the beginning of a great week!

The Eco-Fair:
The stand out for me was the arrival of almost 30 kids, parents, neighbors and students who BIKED THREE MILES from where they live to the Eco-Fair event at Charlottesville High School, lead by all around cool urban farm guy Todd Niemeier from QCC (Quality Community Council-

A lot of amazing people stopped by the Betty booth: people all over sharing ideas with me or thanking me for the ones I shared. I was especially touched by two women residents of Garrett Square who tracked Betty down and asked for help in finding a way to recycle there - they live in the city, but the property is privately owned. We'll see what we can do!

I liked the visual/tactile educational booths - the city's sustainability committee had a pile of coal underneath both a CFL lightbulb compared to a regular candescent lightbulb so people could see the important difference in the amount of fossil fuels expended.

The excitement and energy and the solar-powered music was great as well.

Tuesday's highlight: playing DJ on 1061 for the Earth Day 3pm my corner playlist. That was a riot! Move over Tad, Betty wants back in the studio.

I'm sorry that I didn't get a chance to attend the amazing movie line up at Gravity Lounge. My son gets off his bio-fuel-powered County school bus when those were aired.

Thursday's highlight: working on the farm

My two boys and I started our work share at Roundabout Farm with Megan Weary and her crew. We planted strawberries! (or I should more accurately say I planted strawberries for two hours, while the boys caked themselves in mud after helping for forty-five minutes). This was after they declared that this wasn't a real farm since they didn't see any cows or horses upon arriving. Nice. The neighbors' ducks and chickens placated them enough that they could commence to "work." We are looking forward to future yummy strawberries and other veggies from less than 5 miles from home. Exciting!

For me Musician/Songwriter/Poet Danny Schmidt coming to town on Friday night was just icing on the cake, though as far as I know he didn't bike here from Austin!

So much work goes into producing Earth Week: sponsors, volunteers, coordinators from all around. I had the pleasure of being a part of the steering committee and I as so impressed at the dedication and perseverance of everyone. Kudos for a great week!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's a brighter, Bettier planet!

Ok, the average American needs another credit card as much as a rolling pin over the head, Betty knows. But if you want to ditch the old, corporate Visas for something more planet-friendly I have good news for you.

Brighter Planet - a greener credit card!

I met these guys, Andy and Jon, at the Green Festival in DC last fall and they are great. They are based out of Middlebury, Vermont. With every purchase you earn carbon offsets - and they have all sorts of renewable energy projects going on all across the U.S.

According to their newsletter, "Brighter Planet members have offset 6,071,380 lbs. of CO2. That's like taking 183,145 cars off the road for a day."

"You can join us in the effort to create a sustainable future for the planet and its people today—use the Brighter PlanetTM Visa® credit card and help fight climate change with every purchase. You can call 1-800-511-1472 and mention priority code FACBKE to get more details or go to their newly-launched website. Check it out at

If you sign up say hello from Betty for me.

Please remember, whether you choose this bank card/credit card or any other, or cash or check, use Betty's buy-conscious wisdom: being mindful of every purchase by considering what the inherent impact on the planet.

Best of luck Brighter Planet Boys,

It's not too late...

It's not too late to take your old electronics in to Crutchfield for FREE!! April 22-27 at the Rio Hill Store (434) 817-1100. Usually they charge a nominal fee, take advantage of this free e-cycling opportunity!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What does Betty do on Earth Day?

Some people, myself included, have at times eschewed holidays like Valentine's Day, (birthdays in your 30s and 40s), dismissing them as "hallmark holidays". My husband and I often jokingly pose for a kodak moment mid-hug and chime "Every day is Valentine's Day in our marriage, right honey?" The larger point being that we love each other every day, not more on a particular day because of red flowers or a token card.

Just like someone said to me the other day as he walked up to my booth. "Wait. Every day is Earth Day, right Betty?" True.

But let's talk about it.

My husband and I, our intention with ignoring a holiday has varied.

Sometimes we've been too busy and we are both just looking for an excuse not to have to buy each other something or do anything.

Other times we are collectively annoyed at what a big deal everyone makes of a holiday, so we decide to buck the whole thing, play rebel, and call the whole thing off (New Years 2006 perfect example - in bed by 10pm).

Once we had just returned from a wonderful no-kid couple vacation and felt Valentine's Day unnecessary.

So what about Earth Day? Is there a place for Earth Day if it's really supposed to celebrated be every day?

My answer is an emphatic "yes."

Earth Day is our chance to let the planet know we are paying attention. So we celebrate and connect and resolve to do better.

I think the important role "days" have is that it lends us an opportunity to heighten our awareness and raise the bar, even if for one day. With the hope that the love and giving will continue to inspire action.

So what does Betty do on Earth Day? Celebrates and connects and resolves to do better. There are a myriad number of ways to do that. Betty doesn't presume to know what that is for you.

It may be enjoying the stars out on your deck, it might be thanking someone who is working on environmental issues personally or monetarily, it might be bringing your own water bottle to the gym, it might be purchasing a rainwater barrel, it might be adding insulation to your home and compact fluorescent or LED lightbulbs.

In the cookbook of life, choose your own recipe and enjoy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

turn off the tv week starts today! and last chance to suggest green-themed songs

Today is the start of Turn Off the TV Week! A great opportunity to get off the couch, get outside, and enjoy. If you sign a pledge to do so, kids, you can receive a free book from the Jefferson-Madison Library.

Also, today is the last day to suggest songs for Betty's Guest DJ appearance on my corner playlist on 1061 the corner! Be sure to listen to Betty's top 5 green-themed songs for Earth Day (she welcomes input) which will be played at 3pm.

BTW: Check out their awesome newly revamped and designed website - especially nice is the green page (thanks for the link love everyone at the station) An inspiration for Betty to get a makeover one day!


Involve the kids... Ideas to share with your schools

Betty's trip out to Crozet Elementary School reminded me of just how much kids LOVE to learn and do the right thing. Their enthusiasm is contagious, so let's tap it this Earth Day.

Here are my top suggestions for kids to "go green":

1-Use reusable containers in your lunch. A typical American school kid generates 67 pounds of discarded school lunch packaging waste per school year. That’s more than 18,000 pounds yearly for the average-sized elementary school!

2-Eat one less meat meal each week. Most conventional meats are resource intensive, but feedlot beef is particularly wasteful. Producing one pound of feedlot beef in California, for example, requires five pounds of grain and over 2,400 gallons of water. It also results in the erosion of five pounds of topsoil

3-Take short showers, not baths. If your home was built before 1992, chances are your showerheads put out about five gallons of water per minute (gpm). Multiply this by the number of minutes you're in the shower, and the water adds up fast! An average bath requires 30-50 gallons of water. The average shower of four minutes with an old shower head uses 20 gallons of water. With a low-flow shower head, only 10 gallons of water is used. (

4-Avoid buying unnecessary things that will be thrown away in a short period of time. Also, pay attention to overpackaging and avoid buying those items.

5-Turn off the lights when you leave your room and the computer when you're not using it! Electricity used to run them comes from a non-renewable energy source: fossil fuels mined from the Earth.

6-Help your parents support local farmers and lower your carbon footprint by
shopping local at the store or farmers market. The average mileage your food takes to get to your plate: 1500 miles!

7-Start a carpool to sports practices. Taking an alternative to a 20 mile car trip each week will reduce your weekly carbon dioxide emissions by 18 pounds!

At my son's school this week, the kids are sharing these through the school announcements. Talk to your school principal - I'm sure he/she would appreciate these tips that help kids make a difference!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

earth week continues...

Don't forget there is still more earth week happenings to tap into:

APRIL 21st: City Council Chambers, 7pm: Vocalize your support for the city's green initiatives


*Green Dining's First Theme Meal!* In the Northside of Newcomb, come eat sustainably, learn about Green Dining at UVa, learn about organic/local/fair trade/humane practices, win prizes and share good times with your friends!

*Featured items:* Polyface Farms pork or beef, local asparagus, organic dessert, cage free eggs, fair trade bananas... and the list goes on.

*Comparison Bar: *come and and see if you can tell the difference between organic and conventional food!

*Bring your friends! *The more support for this event, the more we will grow Green Dining at UVa!

Tuesday April 22 - Please submit your favorite Earth song or any green-themed song to for the my corner playlist at 3pm. Win a Betty bag filled with Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs and good music!

April 22 - CCDC (Charlottesville Community Design Center) 7pm Energy Efficient Roundtable

April 23 - Workshop at CCDC: Residential Energy Audits Demystified, 6pm, free

April 24 - Amory Lovins Stanford Lecture on Energy Efficient Buildings, CCDC, 12pm, free

Environmental Movie Week - April 25 Crude Impact, 2pm at Gravity Lounge. April 26, Kilowatt Hours. Discussions to follow. Tickets $5. Kids free.

Saturday, April 26 10:30pm Feist Concert Afterparty with Dave Barnes will close out this week's Earth Week festivities. Sponsored by 1061 The Corner!


photos of Saturday's event, including new local green scene folks coming soon...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Come join us this Saturday!

I believe Saturday's event at Charlottesville High School will prove to be the biggest Earth Day event ever and I hope you all will join in that community excitement and collective energy! Everyone is encouraged to find creative transportation to get there: bike, walk, carpool, or take advantage of a free bus ride from the main transit downtown.

10am Dave Norris and Ann Mallek will help kick off the event!
Over 50 organizations and vendors will be there, including Betty World Betty
Four bands will be playing
Yummy local vendors like Sublime (one word: YUM) and Carpe Donuts (see previous blog!) will be there
Lots of fun kid activities (bring a frisbee, I can't find mine): Betty will have a fabulous face painter from 11-1pm.
Raffle at 2:45

Rain or shine, we'll be there!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Run for Betty!!!


15$ - now, $20 day of race

"This year marks Earth Week's first Trail Run/Walk! The Tread Lightly 5K will take place on the wooded trails that meander through and between the CHS athletic fields and McIntire Park—no cars, no bikes, no streets. Our unique race venue is complimented by equally unique prizes and raffles. The registration fee is $15 before April 1, $20 after (and at the door).

UPDATE 4/15: The course will be run backwards (against the direction of the arrows on the map) and a small section will be added on Melborne Rd. Email if you have any questions

50% of the race proceeds will go to one participating nonprofit organization NGO (random drawing) -- so the more runners Betty gets to sign up, the more likely she is to win!

Info & registration form:

This event still needs volunteers; please email Emily at

Run,through the FOREST, Run!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Earth Week Raffle Tickets and Betty Bags... buy them now!

This Saturday kicks off a lot of exciting events around Charlottesville. Don't miss an opportunity to connect with nature, activism, conservation, and community excitement around change starting this Saturday at Charlottesville High School's Track. For the rest of the week I will be highlighting some of the events that are available to you.

But first, Paige of the Blue Ridge Eco-Shop and I procurred some awesome raffle prizes to win at the Eco-Fair on Saturday at 2:45pm! Tickets are $5.00 or Five for $20.00, sold at the Eco-Shop. Winners don't have to be present to win. I just delivered this ultra cool bike today - it folds in half! The rain barrell is also nifty. Here is the complete list of items:

Wilderness Systems Pongo 10 Kayak from Blue Ridge Mountain Sports
Garden Gourmet Compost System from Blue Ridge Eco-Shop
Rain Barrell the Rivanna Conservation Society
Children's Gift Basket from Finn and Thatcher
Dahon Commuter Bicycle (shown above) from Performance Bicycle
Trail Running Shoes from the Charlottesville Running Company
40-passes for the Charlottesville Transit System from CTS

Thanks to these generous local businesses! 100% of the proceeds will help Earth Week 2009!

Oh yes, and many of you have been asking, "Where can I get those fabulous Betty Bags made of 100% recycled cotton?" Now they are at the Blue Ridge Eco-Shop available free for a $9.99 donation, or if you are feeling extra generous a $10.00 donation, to Better World Betty! (Make the checks out to VOP please) Support this grassroots effort while toting your local food items home.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Great questions at Whole Foods' Earth Day Event

How do I help my church "go green"?

Where do I recycle paint in Greene County?

Where can I learn about gray H2O collection?

Can you give me the Do's and Don'ts list of composting?

What is the best website when it comes to learning about precautions to take with pesticide use (because our neighbor, a vineyard, sprays their grapes and I don't know where to leave the windows in our house open or what other things we can/should do)?

What should I do if one of my CFL light bulb breaks in my home?

These are some of the excellent "Ask Betty" questions I received today at Whole Food's Earth Day Event.

Please stay tuned to my blog (and hopefully I will eventually have an enhanced "ask Betty" page on the website) for the answers to these important questions!

In the meantime, thank you so much to everyone who stopped by the Betty booth and doned a beautiful sticker and signed up for the monthly newsletter (email: and had interesting and encouraging things to say!


(p.s. The photo: Me with Bob and Michelle, owners of a "farmette" in Madison County. Betty connected them to a E.A.T. Local's listserv!)

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Story of Gerry Newman’s baking company

I want to highlight some of the local businesses who have been wonderfully supportive of Betty. So here is the first in the series

The other day my son was reading a book of his latest interest, Chemistry, which stated: “Chemistry is the science of change.”

Gerry Newman, the baker extraordinaire of Albemarle Baking Company can aptly be described as a chemist: changing flour, water, yeast and salt into a virtual staple in the diets of Charlottesville’s residents. You cannot go anywhere without running into Gerry’s tasty baked creations: whether it be a sweet pastry from Java Java, or morning pastry from Mudhouse, your lunch sandwich at Feast! or your pre-dinner bread and butter at C&O. His baked goods are ubiquitous in this town. For good reason.

After Gerry enthusiastically agreed to sponsor our bread event, I had the pleasure of sitting down with him to talk about how he made his dream of owning a bakery come true.

I came away with a specks of flour on my clothes, like pixie dust, in awe of how he magically transforms five simple ingredients into some of the most beautiful creations I’ve ever seen. I nod when he tries to explain long fermentation, the importance of retaining hints of rye, for example, and the micro-adjustments he must make for humidity and dryness depending on the season. He is speaking his language: the language of bread. Before long I’m asking to come in for the midnight to eight A.M. shift, which I imagine can be downright magical.

The idea of owning his own store began brewing in his head long before he arrived in Charlottesville. He was in Seal Beach, California at a Swiss bakery working as an apprentice baker. Then he and his wife decided to journey to the East. This is before kids. After working at the Homestead, he went to work at the Boars Head Inn. At one point he approached them about doing more baking, but they dismissed his idea. I could tell he was more than a little put off. At one point he said to his wife, “I’m passionate about this!” This vision for a new kind of bakery in Charlottesville. His wife slept on it and the next day told him they had to do this. She was pregnant with their second child. “If we don’t try, we’ll never forgive ourselves and we don’t want to be 50 years old saying, What if?”

Twelve years later, they have a wonderfully successful business at the Main Street Market. They pump out between 300 and 700 baguettes a day, using between 3000 and 3500 pounds of flour a week!

When I asked him what the business of making bread has brought to him above all, he said, “More than I can put into words. It’s made me more disciplined, more nurturing, much more patient.” From behind his spectacles and curly hair, his smile conveys the passion and the pleasure of taking something as simple as flour, salt, water, yeast and making something beautiful, delicious, and nourishing.

Thank you, Gerry, for sharing your story with me.

Teri and BWB

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I'm getting ready to "woman" Better World Betty's booth around town in the next two weeks. I'll be at Whole Foods this Saturday from 12-3pm; Wednesday, April 16th at Lexis Nexis 11:30-1pm; and of course Earth Week 2008, Eco-Fair, Charlottesville High School Track, Saturday, April 19, 10-3pm (more to come about that!). At the booth you can pick up the latest green recipes, a Betty bag (for a mere ten dollar donation), and or just gab green with me.

Here's a sneak preview of some tips (Please let me know if there's an eco-tip that's begging for a top 13 spot!)

Betty’s Bakers Dozen: Green things you can do now

1- Reduce your driving. Have one day a week car-free. Contact

2- Buy local and organic food when possible. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

3- Shift your thermostat by 3 degrees each season

4- Reduce your junk mail

5- Embrace the three minute shower!

6- Vinegar and Baking Soda are your cleaning friends

7- Say “No” to disposables: especially plastic water bottles

8- Think local when gift-giving: choice a gift certificate to a local business like Feast! or Read It Again Sam

9- Clothing: buy second-hand, host a clothing swap, line dry

10- Skip at least one red meat meal per week

11- Install CFL or LED light bulbs and buy energy-efficient appliances

12- Tighten up your home: sealing any cracks or leaks will maximum your home’s energy efficiency

13- Sign up for monthly tips in the Betty newsletter by emailing


Monday, April 7, 2008

Betty's new P.O. Box has a nice home!

It's exciting news! Betty has her own post office box. (Thanks to everyone who participated in the Bread Event Raffle and Auction!) Now you can send your tax-deductible check or money order to VOP (memo-Better World Betty), 1926 Abbey Rd. #66, Charlottesville, VA 22911!

And the location couldn't be better: Mailbox Express on Pantops. As you might know, Mailbox Express is one of the few mail centers in the directory.

With good reason.

Ken Hammond, the owner, recycles everything!

I gave him the BWB interview once-over and here's what came up.

Do you use recycled paper in your copiers?
100% Post Consumer?

Do you take those foam blocks my ultra energy-star saver appliance came in?
All kinds, like the ones electronics (like computers and tvs) are packaged in?
What's that packaging even called?

Do you recycle all sizes of cardboard boxes?

Do you give discounts to Betty users who bring in their recyclables?

I see you even sell Recycled Paper Greeting Cards?

Betty loves you, Ken!!

mailbox express
1926 Abbey Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22911
fax 434-970-2679

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Green your financial transactions...

Here are a few tips for greening your weekly financial transactions:

Put your money in the community credit union
. I quote the Better World Handbook, "Instead of putting your money in large corporate banks, whose overall impact is hard to determine, deposit your money in locally owned banks that have a strong commitment to contributing to their community."

Sign up for online bill pay through your bank.

If you're going to be more than 30 seconds, Turn off your engine at the teller/drive-through. You'll save gas AND won't emit those nasty pollutants.

Write a letter or call your bank to request a voluntary no-idling policy.

Consolidate your trips

With Betty's help, Sign up for no junk mail.

Decline the receipt when banking at ATMs.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

"Greener" lawn tips

I think most of us would agree that the American suburbanite's dream of the ultra-green lawn (surrounded by the white picket fence) is neither sustainable or environmentally friendly. On the other hand, as a family, we've always loved the playing field a lawn has provided us. We romp around our yard playing catch or frisbee; we let the dogs catch a tennis ball; or, for my son's last birthday, we had a neighborhood game of football.

That's good stuff.

Historically (this means pre-Betty), my husband and I had a lawn philosophy of all things in moderation, which included the use of fertilizers. We don't mind a few dandelions and wild violets and clover. My husband, an engineer, scientist, and overall brilliant guy explained long ago that fertilizers were just higher concentrations of what naturally occurs in soil. FACT: Plants (grass and everything else) need food to grow. They need nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and other micronutrients. You cannot always get this food from your own soil, so an organic fertilizer may be required. The problem is that most Americans overuse high-powered fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and the like.

I'm happy to say that now, more than ever, there are MANY alternatives when it comes to lawn care. I hope you find these "greener" lawn tips helpful (keeping in mind the Betty philosophy: live more consciously, buy wisely, and experience the virtues of less is more).

Eco-friendly lawn tips:

*REDUCE your lawn, if you are willing and able. Plant trees, a rainwater garden, edible landscaping, or your favorite drought-resistant and native plants!

*USE a human-powered reel lawnmower or electric lawnmower rather than gas. Using a gas lawnmower for an hour releases as many unburnt gas byproducts (PAHs) as an average 100 mile road trip! One I came across was the Earthwise 20" cordless electric lawnmower (available from until I can research where to get one in Charlottesville

*Get to know your soil! A soil test kit is a great option, Environmental Compliance Manager for the County Schools, Lindsay Check, suggested. These are available from garden stores, like Landscape Supply, for around ten dollars.

*NEVER APPLY MORE FERTILIZER THAN YOU NEED. Over-fertlized lawns are more susceptible to disease and can contaminate our water and harm pets and other living things.

*Use organic fertilizer with lower concentrations and slower release time. Worry Free Lawn Food, Ringer All Natural Lawn Restore, or Espoma brand lawn food

*You can reduce your need for lawn fertilizer by up to 1/3 by leaving grass clippings on the lawn and there are many nifty cool mowers with mulchers out there.

*Keep your lawn high

*Aerate your lawn

For more info check:

Hope that helps!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Say Hello to the Better World Beagle: Mugsy

As many of you know, we lost our Murphy dog at the end of January. She lived a long and happy 14 years with us. Her loss left us missing the wagging tail, beautifully abundant licks and kisses, and the pure therapy of petting and caring for a dog. So Sunday, Mugsy (pronounced Mugzy) joined our family (my boys cannot get enough of her!) and thus the Betty Team. (In case you are curious, I found them through a member of the Green Yahoo Group of Charlottesville whose mother-in-law breeds Beagles on a farm in Louisa) As you can see she is adorable.

So Monday morning we headed past the big pet store chains straight to locally owned and operated Pet Food Discounters (Woodbrook Drive, behind Lowe's and Kroger on 29 North). We were surprised at the limited "green" options (non-plastic, non-overseas) for chew toys and collars and pet homes. (Though they do carry a great bedding product for those of you who have pets that require that - CareFresh is made of 100% recycled newspaper. They carry biodegradable cat litter. They also had a dog house made with recycled plastic (unfortunately not available in a carrier).

As far as food for your frisky dog friends:
You can go totally local at Sammy Snacks. 2130 Barracks Road, North Wing of Barracks Road Shopping Ctr Phone: 434-984-5941 Open Monday - Saturday 10-6pm

Or go to Pet Food Discounters (9:30-7 M-F,9-6 Sat,12-5 Sun, phone: 974-6060)which sells Natura company dog food (innova, evo, california naturals) without fillers, grains or by-products.

Watching my kids romp and laugh and run wild with this furry pint-sized ball of love these past two days has been a gift.

Involving children in the role of pet care is an invaluable life lesson in responsibility, love, loyalty, and, of course, animal connection, which I believe can only serve to foster a better world.