Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Water Week...

As some of you know from last week's blog: this summer is mommy camp a la Better World Betty. This week's focus is water! Already this morning we saw the first signs that my boys were "getting it" when they noticed the shower water running in the bathroom
"Dad! You're using water!"
"I'm taking a shower. It's not warm yet!"
We raced to get a water bucket, but he had hopped in by the time we all got back.
Welcome to water week,dad, and the three minute shower (which he hasn't yet fully embraced :-).

Knowledge and awareness bring positive change.

We started the week Monday at the library and loaded up on books with titles like: A Drop of Water by Walter Vick (I highly recommend this one! Beautiful photographs), the Magic Schoolbus at the Waterworkswhere Miss Frizzle takes the kids on a tour of the waterworks, Water: What It Is, What It Does by Judith Seixas, The Drop in My Drink by Meredith Hooper and Chris Coady, as well as a book about Hurricanes (my seven year old loves learning about natural disasters) and Tsunamis.

We stopped by a local coffee shop to read them and as we were sitting outside we suddenly felt a raindrop on our arms coming from a single cumulonimbus cloud and one splashed perfectly on our water book. Nice timing by Mother Nature! So we closed our books and talked about where the water that falls from the sky goes. We found a storm grate and investigated. Wow, there are underground pipes that carry water. And we talked about what happens to water when it hits the pavement, compared to water that hits the flowers in the garden across the street.

We are having so much fun with this weekly focus concept. It invites books, discussions, activities, questions (what happens to the stuff in the toilet after we flush it), learning (only 1% of the Earth's water is drinkable), and gratitude into our lives. It's what happens when you eliminate one sense - all the others are heightened. That's what we are doing. Eliminating all the myriad of subjects/possibilities and setting a focus, a kind of microscope to narrow in our perspective. Heightening our ecological awareness.

Friday our field trip is yet to be determined, but we have lots of choices: Sugar Hollow, a local pool, Ivy Creek, or perhaps the Rivanna Solid Waste treatment plant or maybe we need to head straight to the beach to see where the cloud's water gets recycled!

Giving thanks to water,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cooling off this summer... green tips for your home

While we all wish we could convert to greener technologies like geothermal systems and solar panels, when it comes to cooling the air in our home, the hard truth is that most of us cannot afford those kinds of renovations at present.

So what are some simpler ways to cool your carbon footprint as the summer heats up?

*Close your blinds in the morning to keep the sun out. Use overhead fans. Consider adding solar film to your windows, plant trees which will allow for shade if possible, even window boxes help create some shade. And seal any cracks. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council's spokeswoman Jenny Powers, "The average American house has gaps around windows and doors that would equal a 3-foot-by-3-foot hole in the wall."

*Consider more insulation in your attic, which can save 20-35% on cooling costs. Talk to John Meggs over at Nature Neutral to find out your top choices in green materials (You can't go wrong with a little Levi-loving - cut-up denim as insulation).

*Buy a programmable thermostat to keep the temperatures high (78 degrees, if you can) when you are away. It will pay for itself in energy savings.

*Keep your AC units well-maintained and change filters regularly (like tomorrow!)

*As of May 29, 2008 Dominion Virginia Power is offering green power. Check online and purchase renewable-energy credits (you decide a dollar amount to be added to your bill each month to fund renewable energy sources) or sign up to offset 100% of your energy use with renewable energy as of May 29, 2008.

Here's to keeping cool,

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Betty's Kale Frittata Recipe

Ok, this recipe is actually from my friend Jude, which is from her cookbook: The Complete Vegetarian by Jack Fisher. I figured fellow CSA shareholders would appreciate a good/easy kale recipe perfect for breakfast, brunch or serve it with a salad (you can even freeze it). You can also use swiss chard.


4 cups of chopped kale or swiss chard (take out the stem)
8 large garlic cloves (roast these in a skillet or oven)
6 large eggs
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (or your preference)
4 T olive oil (for roasting the garlic AND for the skillet of the frittata)

Beat the eggs, kale, garlic, salt and pepper.

In a 10" cast iron skillet, pour the mixture, top with cheese and let the eggs set. Cook the remainder in an oven set on BROIL (2 minutes?)

There you have it.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, June 20, 2008

In our backyard and across the nation: change for the better is happening!

This is such an exciting time. Thursday I had the chance to connect with three people: two in our own backyard and one from my old home state, Utah, which made me smile at the positive change taking place everywhere!

John Holden (owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Sports) and I were talking about traveling in the West (I have to get to those mountains or the red rocks soon!) and we hit on transportation costs.

Many of us, myself included, have been rather shocked at the price to fill the tank up in recent days.

But John and I sang praises for the huge gas prices!!

It's prompting mindfulness, forethought, re-prioritizing, and re-thinking in all of us.

Later that day, my elderly neighbor called me with a great idea. She wants to create a neighborhood store co-op, where everyone in our cul-de-sac can call one another when we are going to the store in case one of us has one or two items to add to the list for pick up, to cut down on car trips. (This will be especially helpful because she is a music teacher who loves to entertain people, but is getting rather forgetful) So the next time I head to the local grocer, I call her and see if she needs anything to be picked up. We will cap it at 5 items and throw in a dollar extra every once in a while for gas.

On a side note, another helpful idea I began in my own neighborhood last year was the lending tree. Please in your neighborhood sign up with their phone, email, address and if you find that you are in the middle of a recipe and don't have that extra egg or 1/2 cup of milk, you call people on the lending tree. Kind of like, give a penny, take a penny. That also saves on trips to the store.

I also reconnected with my friend, Lisa, in Salt Lake City who told me that her new thing is that she has told her family of five - "No more new things are coming into the house! We are making do with what we have. And if we don't have it, we will borrow it or buy it used."

I said, "Welcome to the Betty pledge!" And we chatted about how that's going. But I was so excited that she has hopped on to this new movement that goes far beyond recycling into reducing the amount of our stuff. In this vein, she told me about "the guy named Dave" - no not our Mayor, (though who knows he may be the next to take this challenge).

Dave is a guy who has vowed to whittle his life possesions down to 100 things by this November and then for one year he will life with only those 100 possessions and he is urging people to join him. It's the 100 things challenge.

Who knows, maybe after my buying pledge is over in January, Betty will take the challenge (Let's be honest I think I probably have 100 things already just in the family car - copious CDs, reusable betty bags, art supplies for the kids, requisite blanket/football and frisbee, dog leash, the list goes on...) 100 possessions? Could you do it?


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Important meeting about the air we all breath...

I ran into Tom Cormons of the local non-profit Appalachian Voices last week at the farmer's market and he gave me the rundown of the important events happening in Wise County, Virginia next week.

Many of you have been following Dominion Power Company's attempt to approve the Wise County coal plant and the subsequent mountaintop removal. The fate now rests with the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board. If you have not yet sent a message to Governor Kaine about the important appointments he is making to the Board, please go to the website now and do that. They need to hear from you. They have to know that this is NOT the direction we want to go for a better world: more pollution of our air, continued reliance on fossil fuels, removal of mountain tops in what is now undisturbed forest.

Right now 30 people are signed up to go and the list keeps growing! I hope Betty will have some representation there (I am fairly sure the Board Meeting ettiquette does not include four-year-olds making primal noises while playing in the back row, so unfortunately I personally cannot attend, but I am happy to send positive and clean energy to those who are and spread the word to those who may be able to attend).

The folks at Appalachian Voices and their coalition website are hosting a plethora of events beginning on Monday, June 23: A service project, site tour of Black Mountain, hike on roaring branch, spaghetti dinner, breakfast and of course the attendance at the Virginia Citizen Air Pollution Control Board Meeting with time for public comment.

It turns out there will be no new speakers - those who can speak are limited to those who have already spoken or submitted written comments. The Agenda language is below:
"Persons who commented during the public comment period may address
the Board for up to 3 minutes. No new information will be accepted at
the meeting."

I have been to enough public meetings to know that attendance is crucial. Tom told me that all plant-opposition leaders will be wearing a green bandana - important visual clue that will send a powerful message!

To get all the details so you can join them, check out: Call 293-6373 or email to get info on lodging, map, directions, ride-sharing, etc. I am hoping for a guest blogger to perhaps take pictures and report on this event (please email me if you are willing!)

Safe travels,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Local vendors highlighted...

The next time you stop by Whole Foods, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

It's true, I couldn't find any peaches or apples from this side of the country, the prices can be steep, and I still see fish being sold that is not on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's seafood watch avoid list (which Betty hands out whenever she can make it to the farmer's markets), but more and more they are featuring local products and are striving to make even bigger and better committments to helping the environment.

As of Earth Day, no more plastic bags. Great excuse to use your Betty bag. (available via email or the Blue Ridge Eco-Shop for ten dollars eaches) Also, no more plastic containers for their hot and cold food bar. It's all compostable (hopefully the plastic flatware will also be replaced - in the meantime, bring your own)

Today I was admiring their new front display of locals complete with a colorful photo and a short write-up. Farmers like Megan Weary of Roundabout and Wendy Harrison of Red Hill and Jenn Savedge green parent author and many other local vendors and advocates. It's just above their new recycling center area (which now recycles aluminum, plastics 1 and 2, paper, and even has a section for compostables). that features a photo and a short write-up.

When I talked to the Sandy at the store several months ago, she shared the community, green-minded and quality focus that has made whole foods stores so successful. They've always been generous with local charities and mindful of consumption - recycling their aprons by giving them to local schools, for example. We've moved twice in the past five years here in Charlottesville and they have graciously provided most, if not all, of the boxes for our in-town moves. (Fox, who no longer works there, would save empty cardboard boxes weekly for me - call ahead if you are interested in helping you out with boxes)

This spring I don't think I was the only one who noticed their large selection of locally-grown organic plants. I appreciated how well they were marked with their birthplace.

Coran was telling me today that soon they will be featuring beautiful locally-grown flowers that no one else in town carries.

The staff is so positive, friendly and helpful and very enthusiastic about the efforts of Better World Betty. (Thanks again for donating bread for our Bread for A Better World event and hosting Betty for Earth Week).

It's not a perfect world with perfect grocery stores, but it's becoming a better world every day. Whole Foods has been ahead of the game for many years when it comes to carrying organic goods and more sustainable produce and products. Hats off.


Monday, June 16, 2008

First week of "Mommy Camp" with a Betty twist

So a couple of months ago, seeing that my sons weren't engaged in a deeper awareness of our connection to the earth, wind and air around us in their school curriculum, I decided I needed to embrace this on my own this summer by instituting my own Betty-inspired curriculum for the kids.

This "Mommy Camp" (I'm fortunate enough to be home with my kids this summer) would include books, activities, crafts, field trips surrounding environmental topics. The former teacher in me rubbed my hands together and smiled in anticipation of the endless opportunities for fun and learning this would offer and make me feel better about the "off" months, when plastic is still being served with disposable plates (sigh).

Today was the first day - our intention and attention is FOOD. (Other topics will include water, energy, air, consumption and reuse). Of course I'm always trying to raise awareness of food issues, nutrition, wise purchasing, etc, but this can too often get lost in life's daily chores. So for a week or so we will have a FOOD focus. We'll talk about where our food comes from, how we get it, what the challenges are, and more.

We began this morning with library books about where food comes from and how plants grow.

After we read some of those we headed to the Berry Patch near Free Union (see yesterday's blog about the great site It was a gorgeous day for it - a lot less muggy than days past. After about 30 minutes of concentration and picking, the kids were done. I could have stayed there most of the day. Peaceful, beautiful mountain views. I thought I could hear a butterfly land and then my son screamed - "I found a good one, mom!" We vowed to make something yummy with them tomorrow for mommy camp.

Then we visited our friends who live on a farm. We communed with the piglets and cows and chickens and we even got to take a few eggs home!

So after dinner we sat down and charted the where and how of our food.

Where does it come from (plant, tree, underground)?
What does it need?
Where did WE get the food
How far did it travel to reach us?

The lesson really hit home when I explained to my son the reason that I don't buy raspberries at the store.

Do you know where they come from? California. How far away is that? Yes, 3,000 miles. How far away were the raspberries we picked today? 15 miles each way.

That enabled a discussion about the greater costs of food. And how, if we want to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, we can't buy so many things from so far away all the time. I didn't use the words imbedded energy because I didn't need to. Our meal tonight using mostly local ingredients traveled less than 900 miles (less than the average 1500 miles, but we can do better) to get to us. We were even counting the organic ketchup which said Austin, Texas and the no-name brand salt and pepper too. But I told him if we purchased those raspberries we would have already reached 3,000 miles to get to us. I thought I saw a lightbulb go off above his head.

Later this week we will visit the library in search of a chapter book about the adventures of farm life, we decide, and watch the bread being made at the local bakery. We all agreed Mommy camp is going to be a great way to spend the summer!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

For the music lovers out there...

Our family LOVES music!

So when we recently had to replenish our supply of CDs for burning our favorite tunes (after all, you can't save the world without a little background music), I was determined NOT to purchase those non-recyclable plastic cd holders (that my four-year-old breaks within minutes anyway) and find an eco-friendly alternative.

Voila: I found Resleeve's 100% recycled cd sleeves, sold at the Blue Ridge Eco-Shop here in town. They are the perfect alternative to those easily breakable, but not easily biodegradable landfill hogs: old cd plastic cases.

Good riddance.

Now we need you all to please forward this to your favorite musician and record company!

La, La, La, La

p.s. My buddies Brad and Tad at 1061 the Corner happily inform me that many musicians are making the switch to eco-friendlier options for doling out their music to fans and, by the way, our favorite radio station's music samplers are plastic-free!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Great site for moms this summer...

This summer you may find yourself sticking close to home with the kids twiddling your green thumbs. Especially with gas prices over four dollars, traveling could well be out of your budget. No worries. A staycation in your own backyard can be just as fun and adventurous!

I found a great site yesterday to facilitate a popular activity, a day trip to a nearby farm to pick your own fruit, called

Our plan was actually to visit the Berry Patch Friday afternoon. Since it is at least a 30-minute car ride for us, we wanted to consolidate by visiting friends on that side of town in the same trip. After visiting the site and calling ahead, we learned that the blueberry-picking was likely sold out by late afternoon. Whew, a wasted trip and sure-fire whining averted!

This site helps you properly plan for a farm trip, thus making the most out of your experience and your precious burned fossil fuels (unless you plan on biking the back roads with the kids in tow). The site is nothing fancy, just the facts and great tips. They suggest bringing a snack/picnic for the ride and the time there, old clothing, wide-brimmed hats, containers (just in case), sunscreen, and plenty of water. Besides directions and phone numbers, they also include helpful tips on storing the fruit.

The site will be useful in the fall for corn mazes and the winter for Christmas tree farms. Great find.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Don't miss Farm Food Voices Virginia 2008

This evening is the big Farm Food Voices Virginia 2008 starting at 5:30pm tonight, going until 9:30pm at Western Albemarle High School.

I saw Carroll Ann, one of the emcees for the event, at the Meade Market yesterday (which, by the way, is the most kid-friendliest of all the markets. A big field for frisbee throwing, plenty of shade. I find this to be the zen-ist market as well, though I'd like to see more vendors! Every Wed 4-7pm).

Carroll Ann said FFVV 2008 is one of the most exciting farm food events of the year, with people coming from all over to share ideas and good times.

You can enjoy farm fresh food, meet local producers, hear dynamic speakers, bid on silent auction items, visit lots of booths, and best of all: childcare is available!

This is a free event sponsored by and Charlottesville chapter of the Weston A Price Foundation, but donations will graciously be accepted. Sally Fallon is the guest speaker.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Recycling with Ease, Efficiency, Effectiveness

This goes out to my lady friends Susan and Pare with whom I was chatting about the logistics of recycling the other day at ACAC. Pare is where I was two years ago with recycling: piles, piles everywhere in sight. Our garage was being overtaken! My husband threatened to throw it all out - it was driving him crazy.

And then my mother, the organized Betty Lou that she is, bought us these great stacking bins (they are plastic, but I believe the best alternative, available at They are a total space saver and they stack beautifully clear to the ceiling if you want. And they stack nicely for us County residents who have to drive in our recycling each week. They are so easy to transport, I use them at all my son's home swim meets and at this year's MSWalk.

The best feature is the Betty sticker for decoration on the back.

The next hurdle for me was getting all the recyclables out to the garage. This sounds ridiculous but it's true. Understand I recycle everything. (regular recyclables and then I collect things that need fixing including clothes, clothes for donation, mis-matched socks, other items for donation, books for swapping with friends, wine corks for making cork boards and card holders. And the list goes on.) So I would literally be making a hundred visits to the garage per day if I didn't have a system in place.

In order to create sustainability (something that you personally can keep doing), I believe you must create ease. It really has to be easy for you. What do you have to do to make it easy?

Train your family, strategically place a basket, put recycling on your calendar. Whatever that is for you. Then the efficiency and effectiveness will fall into place.

To make it easy for us, we have a straw basket that we use to collect all recyclables on the kitchen counter and then (theoretically) at the end of the day (or two) we can it out there to sort.

Hope this helps!

Monday, June 9, 2008

First try at composting (using a bin) successful!

I'm gleefully reporting today that our family's composting efforts which began in earnest last summer and was unveiled about three weeks ago turned out to be a beautiful and actually not-so-stinky success! (I'll try to get the photo up tomorrow). At this very moment, it is nurturing the small garden we have out back as one of the lasagna layers (Ryan DeRose, Triple C Camp's Environmental Educator, gave me this idea - layer the garden using newspaper, raw compost, hay and soil).

Remember there are two parts to a good compost:

*Greens (grass, kitchen scraps but NOT meat or dairy, eggshells, coffee grounds) which contain a lot of nitrogen

*Browns (leaves, hay, napkins, paper towels, cut up newspaper) which contain carbon. Too much carbon will slow the decomposition process.

*Tips: Your pile should be damp but not wet. I used a bin I purchased from E-bay - not local, but the price was at least half of what I would have paid in town. It was nice because I just kept adding throughout the winter all of our kitchen scraps along with leaves from the yard.

One problem I had was that mine got a bit too wet, but no worries, I just added more leaves. I was a tad discouraged in February (in anticipation of the spring garden needs) when I checked and it still didn't look ready. So I temporarily stopped adding new organics and added compost accelerator from Paige at the Blue Ridge Eco-Shop and upped the number of times I was rotating it per week (which was uhhmmm whenever I remembered).

On Mother's Day my beloveds built my two garden boxes and we were good to go with homemade compost. So don't delay any longer, give it a try - you can do it!


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Historic Preservation: recycling on a grander scale...

I have been a National Trust member ever since I went to Charleston over ten years ago and learned of an incredible group of women who stood in front of a historic building to save it from the wrecking ball. Both the National Society of Colonial Dames and its sister organization, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) were some of the first preservationists in America who were instrumental in saving what is today beautiful historic downtown Charleston.

So I was thrilled to read Preservation's Green Issue earlier this year and now the National Trust for Historic Preservation has formally launched an exciting Sustainability Initiative.

I took some time this afternoon to read about what they are doing and I'd like to share with you. Especially for those FOBS (friends of Betty) who own an old home and or beautifully renovate them for a living (essentially recycle them) like Charlottesville's own Frank Bergland (who appeared in the local green scene in January).

What you should know (I've paraphrased a letter from Richard Moe, President):

The Pew Center on Climate Change found that 43% of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States come from the operation of buildings. So while green building is an important part of the solution, conservation is equally important. We have to use what we already have in better, wiser ways.

"About 80 billion BTUs of energy are embodied in a typical 50,000 square ft commercial building. Tearing down that building would negate all the benefit of recycling more than 60 million aluminum cans. Demolishing the building would create 4,000 tons of waste" (26 railroad cars worth)

Also, it's a myth that older buildings are energy "hogs". The US General Services Administration found that historic buildings had 27% less utility costs than their modern counterparts.

So this initiative will 1) work on a policy level to help promote the preservation/recycling of old buildings 2) research to inform best practices for green rehab of older buildings 3) launch a national green building education campaign on green building

Their Position

"Historic preservation can – and should – be an important component of any effort to promote sustainable development. The conservation and improvement of our existing built resources, including re-use of historic and older buildings, greening the existing building stock, and reinvestment in older and historic communities, is crucial to combating climate change."

How can you help?

* Become a member at or call 1.800.315.6847
* Specifically donate to the sustainability initiative
* Take their GREEN PLEDGE. They will send you an impressive checklist d.i.y home audit with lots Betty-tips like: check local shops for salvage, when appliances reach the end of the useful life, replace them with Energy Star appliances, purchase antiques or refurbished furniture, compost, shift your thermostat (78 degrees in summer, 68 degrees in winter),
*Share this information with others


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Update on the no-new-purchase pledge!

2008 purchases:

1 bionicle
2 dishwasher
3 baseball glove for hubby

These three have been previously blogged about.

The next three are the only new purchases we chose to make to a one-week, badly-needed family vacation to the beach, which I was pretty pleased about (having two young boys and all).

4 casting net for catching (and of course releasing) cool creatures at the beach
5 frisbee - I debate whether this isn't truly essential to have with you everywhere you go and therefore shouldn't be on the list.
6 bucket for putting the krill and sand crabs and other cool sea creatures, looking and learning about them

Not bad, right?

But the purchase I made this week was a pretty egregious flouting of the "non-essential" pledge, at least at first glance.

I bought a bird bath! A cement bird bath from Garden Spot. Simple, yet beautiful.

The thing is I've heard the birds in my neighborhood singing, actually more like complaining, about the lack of good baths from here all the way through Crozet up to Waynesboro on their way from Richmond to DC for the weekend. What's a Betty to do? Their flapping wings say birds need bathing too!

The beagle thinks its a glorified drinking bowl for her and the kids adore the frog that is smiling on top.

That's what I call buying wisely, don'tcha think?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Friendlier alternatives to traditional dry-cleaning aplenty!

I was sorry to miss the grand opening of Eco-Dry Cleaners, a new dry cleaning business conveniently located in the heart of downtown Charlottesville, which is a earth-friendlier choice than the traditional method of many of the dry cleaners in the Ville. I know personally the owners of this business - good people!

It's conveniently located in the heart of downtown Charlottesville. Their grand opening event on June 17th was a huge success: with face painting, planting seeds in reused yogurt containers and making wooden beaded bracelets with hemp string for the kids.

Tomorrow from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. they are having a ribbon cutting with refreshments and door prizes. Vice Mayor Taliferro is scheduled to be there. This event is open to the public, so bring your friends! EcoDry Cleaners is located at 801 West Main Street, directly across from Amtrak/next door to Continental Divide. If you haven't had a chance to stop by, that would be a perfect time.

Traditional dry cleaning pollutes the environment (one estimate reports they are responsible for spewing 90,000 tons of toxins into the air every year). But the CO2 cleaning process uses carbon dioxide as a non-flammable, non-toxic solvent as an alternative to regular drycleaning whose main offender is Perc (which pollutes).

For you north side residents that don't make it to the downtown area often, try EverGREEN dry cleaning: their location is near ACAC at Albemarle Square. Formerly Terra Bella (now under new and friendlier management :-)

Betty tip: when purchasing your professional dress clothing in the first place, read labels and try to avoid the expensive and care-intensive label "dry clean only." Also, save on those extra car trips by taking advantage of free pick-up and drop-off services and recycle your hangers and bags.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Betty has a new friend at the green picnic table!

Spread out the red and white checkered, reusable table cloth… Betty has a new friend at the picnic table: Cville Weekly’s Abode!

I am excited to announce that Better World Betty and Abode have joined together in an effort to connect our beautiful and fast-growing green community here in Charlottesville and the surrounding area.

Better World Betty will have monthly tips in Abode’s Green Scene both in print or online at under Abode's Green Scene.

Here is our first shared piece where Betty helps us green our summer picnic:

Inside the green basket
What is summer without the requisite afternoon picnic? This summer, treat the ubiquitous picnic guest—Mother Nature herself—more kindly with these green tips.
*Choose your favorite greenscape, nearby vineyard (eight vineyards lie within 10 miles of Downtown), or romantic spot by the river and go local for the menu. Select fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market (Tuesdays at Forest Lakes 4-7pm, Wednesdays at Meade Park 4-7pm, and Saturdays Downtown and Scottsville 7am-noon), but be sure to ask about the farm’s location and spray protocol.
*For fancier fare, visit the Main Street Market. Local cheese from Feast!, a fresh baguette from Albemarle Baking Company, and some Gearhart’s chocolate will satisfy the greenest palate. Finally, toast to your pint-sized carbon footprint with a local beer (Starr Hill) or wine.
*Pack reusable plates (bamboo, recycled or biodegradable plastic work well), flatware, glasses, and cloth napkins.
*For those uninvited guests, mosquitoes, try Avon’s Skin-So-Soft bug repellent (an alternative to DEET) and chemical-free sunscreen from Burt’s Bees or JASON Natural.
Your summer picnic is now a brighter shade of green!

Besides enjoying their consistent green coverage over the past 2 ½ years, Betty has happily learned of their inner green efforts they have implemented as a business. Here is a growing list of initiatives:

--new in 2008, C-VILLE printed on 100% recycled paper!
--office-wide recycling of all city curbside recyclables (plastics, newspapers, etc)
--company policy: computers must be turned off before leaving work
--thermostats have off-hour settings to save energy
--recycled, biodegradable kitchen supplies are used
--plastic and styrofoam drinking cups are banned
--toilets are low-flow
--renovation of their new space on the downtown mall includes many green features

We believe the union of Better World Betty, a burgeoning grassroots green movement, and Cville Weekly (and Abode), a long-standing news publication which has consistently highlighted green happenings in our community, will further galvanize the many green efforts going on locally.

Check out more monthly green living tips at
Everyone here at Better World Betty

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Forest Lakes Farmer's Market Big Opening Tomorrow!


I hope you north side Betty users will come out and support the exciting new Farmer's Market at Forest Lakes tomorrow from 4-7pm. I will be there for the opening (late - swim practice calls) with the Better World Beagle, Mugsy, and my two sons. I hope to see you there! I know the beautiful ladies from the Piedmont Environmental Council and Buy Fresh, Buy Local have really worked hard to push this great endeavor. Forest Lakes has about 5,000 residents - all of which are invited to attend as well as stop on by with extra goodies (flowers or veggies or homemade crafts) from their home gardens. Below are the details from Betty's event page:

Piedmont Environmental Council, Forest Lakes and Buy Fresh, Buy Local present...
Opening of the New Farmer's Market!
Tuesdays starting June 3rd, 4-7pm (rain or shine)
Forest Lakes, 1650 Ashwood Boulevard, South Recreational Facility parking area
Come out this Tuesday for the big opening of this new farmer's market! What makes this market unique is the open invitation to families to participate by coming out and selling their surplus fruits, veggies or flowers they have grown (even if it's just for one night). Also growers of food, flowers, live plants; local producers of meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, specialty food products; local food vendors selling prepared food (must comply with all local health department regulations) ; local artisans and crafters with items to sell and/or artistic services to offer (ex: face painting) ; local musicians and street performers are invited to be vendors. For more information: Contact Dawn Story at (434)977-2033 or to receive the Rules & Guidelines, the Vendor Registration Form and Liability Wavier. Then return the Vendor Registration Form by mail, email or fax. They will contact you to coordinate a space (spaces are limited). This year, it will be FREE to participate. All vendors are responsible for handling all federal, state and local guidelines for sales tax and business licensing. The Forest Lakes community is home to over 1,400 households and about 5,000 people.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

End-of-the-year Teacher Gift Ideas

I know some of you have kids who are already out of school and some who have already made their yearly gift purchases or donations to teachers, but for those of you like me who may be scrambling these last three days, here are some green gift ideas from myself and other Betty users (keeping in mind a recent survey that reports that teachers MOST appreciate a sincere, heartfelt note) ...

*Is he/she a chocolate lover? A Gearhart's gift assortment box is a great local option.

*"I know that a lot of people like to give teachers gifts like lotions, soaps, and candles. A nearby company that makes Goat’s Milk Bath and Body products in small batches from natural goat’s milk from family run farms is Dionis"
-Karen B (at

*"We went to Chiles Orchard and picked strawberries and made homemade strawberry bread" -faithful and anonymous Betty blog reader

*"My friend told me she bought some great recycled paper journals and wood pens with refills at Blue Ridge Eco shop. I was also thinking about Sigg bottles for our teachers" - Gabriela

*Does he/she enjoy plants? Why not give a gift certificate to a local nursery like Garden Spot, Ivy Nursery or Elzroth and Thompson (these three also recycle their pots when you bring them back)- Teri

*How 'bout a delicious locally-grown, home-cooked meal prepared by Jennifer Bedrosian's Greenbean Cuisine or local chef Ashley Hightower? - Teri

*"I just bought two FEED Bags from Whole Foods for my son's teachers. They are sturdy bags for groceries, pool, anything and you feed 100 children for the school year. We have an international population at our school so I thought they would appreciate it" - Tracy

*Albemarle Edibles are sold at Hot Cakes and Feast! and the Virginia Shop.

Hope that helps!