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greenHaven Features

  • Greening Your Drive: Tips for Cutting Down on Gas Guzzling This Summer
  • Waste Not, Want Not: Seven Greener Ways to Get Rid of Things
  • Natural Easter Egg Dyes
  • How to Beat the High Cost of Eating Natural
  • Holiday Debrief: So How Green Were the Holidays?

Greening Your Drive: Tips for Cutting Down on Gas Guzzling This Summer


BP gas signI frequently come across articles with great tips for improving gas mileage and thereby driving a little greener. While there is often a lot of overlap of information, I have yet to see one concise checklist of what you can do to reduce your environmental impact while traveling on the road. So I have tried to pull everything together here–tips for long trips, everyday commuting, and errands alike. When you can’t carpool, use public transportation, walk, bike, or buy a more fuel efficient car, try . . .

**12 Simple Tips to Improve Gas Mileage**

  1. Fill ‘Er Up
    Unused gas in your tank evaporates more quickly the more oxygen is available to it, so try to keep your tank at least half full.
  2. Tune Up
    Keeping your engine in shape will ensure it works at peak efficiency, using as little gas as possible.
  3. Lighten Your Load
    Additional weight in your car decreases your fuel efficiency, so make sure you are not driving around with heavy things you don’t need in the car. Taking out 100 unnecessary pounds can increase fuel efficiency by 1–2%. Removing a roof rack between long trips is a great suggestion because it is both heavy and wind resistant.
  4. Inflate Your Tires
    Weak tire pressure decreases fuel efficiency, so be sure to hit the air pump regularly and especially before a long trip.
    Tire Pressue Check
  5. Slow Down
    Because of wind resistance, the optimal driving speed for gas mileage is around 50-60 mph, depending on the car, and then decreases rapidly at higher speeds. So when on the highway, drive in the right lane and try out your cruise control — it might be a safer trip, too!
  6. Easy on the Pedals
    Every time you hit the brakes, you’re wasting the momentum your car has built up; then you have to accelerate again. So try to keep a steady pace and anticipate stops. Coast to stop signs and red lights instead of rushing to them only to brake at the last moment and try to roll through slow downs (safely!) so you don’t have to get going from zero again.
  7. Don’t Accelerate on a Hill
    The guys at Car Talk say that “accelerating uphill is a fabulous way to burn up enormous amounts of gas.” So,  just maintain the same speed, or even allow the car to slow down a bit until you get to the top.
  8. (If you drive stick) Don’t linger in Low Gears also says “Getting into the highest gear you can, at the lowest possible speed, will save you plenty of gas . . . Because you use less gas when the engine is turning slowly.” The website advises, “As long as the engine doesn’t buck, shudder, or ping, you’re fine. You’ll sacrifice the ability to accelerate quickly — but you can always downshift if you need to accelerate.”
  9. Know Your Oil
    To maximize fuel efficiency, be sure to use the grade of motor oil recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Also, look for motor oil rated as  “Energy Conserving,” like Eco Power brand (which I have not used).
  10. Don’t Idle
    Did you know that idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than it takes to shut off and restart your engine? So while you should not turn off your car at a red light, it does make sense to cut the engine while dropping someone off, picking someone up, or running back into the house for something. And make sure you are all ready to go (seatbelt and sunglasses on,  mirrors and seat adjusted, etc.) before you turn on the car.
  11. Don’t Warm Up
    Driving gently is the best warm up there is, so unless it’s below freezing (hard to imagine this July!), just head on your way. (Per, if it’s 25 degrees, you can warm it up for 30 seconds and twice as long if it’s 10 degrees out.)
  12. Use AC Wisely
    If you are driving over 40 mph on a hot day, it’s actually better to close your windows and use the AC. The impact on your gas mileage caused by the drag from your open windows is higher than the impact of the air conditioner. Below 40 mph, open windows don’t have as much of an impact, so this is the better option. Of course, driving with closed windows and just the flow-through vent fans is best, but if that will cook your family we realize that it’s not an option!

Sun reflector

Plus . . .  4 Ways to Reduce Your AC Use:

  • Parking in the shade will keep the car cooler, making it easier on the AC when it’s time to go.
  • Cracking each of the windows just a touch (presuming you feel it’s safe where you are parking) will have the same effect, as will . . .
  • Using one of those dashboard reflectors.
  • Turn off your AC when you are close to home; your car will stay cool for the few more minutes it takes you to arrive and unload.

And . . . 3 Ways to Reduce Your Drive Time:

  • Make sure you know where you are going and stop to ask if you need directions. Driving around in circles only adds to pollution!
  • It’s a great idea to plan driving around rush hour and check the traffic report before you go. Idling in traffic is a huge waste of gasoline and your time. This goes double for road trips. For instance, consider whether your path takes you next to a major sports stadium right when a big game lets out.
  • A little planning goes a long way in reducing the number of times you need to drive to that strip mall in a week. So get organized and combine your trips.


Anything else? Let me know and I will add them!


Waste Not, Want Not: Seven Greener Ways to Get Rid of Things


Written by Green Mama (edited 6/3/12)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—we hear it all the time, right? But, even though many towns have moved to single-stream recycling, we can’t just throw everything into the blue bin. So, what actually goes in there? And what are other alternatives before the landfill? (Can you recycle batteries? Shrink wrap? How do I dispose of expired medications? Electronics? How difficult is composting?)

So, herewith:

Seven Ways to Dispose of Your Stuff Besides Tossing it in the Trash

#1 (Let Someone Else) Reuse

Have things you want to get rid of (clothes, toys, household goods)? See greenHaven’s Second Time Around for a list of consignment and resale shops in our area, or consider selling via Craigslist. Is your stuff a little too worn to sell or maybe in need of a small repair? Throw a swap meet at your house, offer items on Freecycle, or donate to one of the many area thrift shops. Donate books to your local library or to New Haven Reads.

#2 Recycle: The Basics

What is recyclable in your town? Are you sure? Towns change recycling policies all the time, and word doesn’t always get around. You might be pleasantly surprised that all numbered plastics are now recyclable or a type of paper that wasn’t previously now is. Be sure that you are recycling everything you can (and not putting in things you shouldn’t) by checking greenHaven’s Recycling Town-By-Town. Many town sites also offer information about disposal of bulk trash, leaf and brush waste, and electronics (see also #4, below).

#3 Repurpose

Channel your inner crafter! Pieces of cardboard make great bases for collages, onto which your kids can glue every scrap of leftover wrapping paper, string, or fabric that passes through your home. Save empty tissue boxes, then work with your kids to make them into blocks by simply taping paperboard or pieces from other boxes over the holes. Toilet paper and other cardboard rolls can be used in so many ways—play telescopes, binoculars, or what we call “toot-toot horns,” or try making a ball run like ours (top photo), inspired by a trip to the Eli Whitney Museum.

If you just don’t have the time or inclination, make a collection bag for potential project material to offer to your child’s school!

#4 Electronics

Many towns accept electronics at their recycling or transfer stations (for example, Bethany, East Haven, and Hamden). See Recycling Town-By-Town to see your town’s regulations. Or try . . .

  • Goodwill: With the Reconnect Partnership, take your unwanted computer equipment and accessories—any brand, any condition—to a participating Goodwill site. The program will refurbish, reuse, or recycle the equipment, benefiting communities and putting people to work. Select locations also take TVs, cell phones, and appliances. See: for participating sites in our area (including Orange, Branford, Wallingford, and Westville) and be sure to call first for any details.
  • Best Buy (with locations in North Haven, Orange, Milford, and Meriden) will now recycle—FOR FREE—up to three items per household per day. Best Buy accepts most consumer electronics regardless of where they were purchased. For more information, see:
  • WeRecycle!, with a location in Meriden, is the only e-Stewards certified electronics recycling location in CT. They take computers and peripherals, cell phones, stereos, TVs, game systems, and more. See their website for more information on drop-off and mail-back programs.

#5 Safety First

Did you know there is a safe way to dispose of household chemicals and other toxic waste? HazWaste Central, located on Sargent Drive in New Haven, down by Long Wharf and IKEA, is open on Saturday mornings starting May 19, 2012 for the season. Don’t pour paint thinner or antifreeze down the drain! Don’t toss batteries or fluorescent lightbulbs in the trash! Open to all residents of Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, East Haven, Fairfield, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Wallingford, West Haven, and Woodbridge.

Note that HazWaste does not take unused medication, but this stuff can equally end up in our groundwater or drinking water. (Most treatments do not remove all drug residue from our water supply, so it can come right back into our house.) At the drugstore I found “TakeAway: Environmental Return System.” For $3.99, you get a prepaid envelope to use to send your expired meds to Texas where the company (which also disposes of used needles from labs, etc.) deals with it safely. You are asked to send the original packaging, but I was still able to get a decent amount into the 8″ x 11″ envelope. (Apparently some pharmacies will take your meds and send them directly to TakeAway–mine does not–so you might want to ask.) Note that you can’t send controlled substances. (So what do I do with my three leftover two-year-old Percocet from my very unexpected c-section?)

Another option for unused meds is to wait for a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The most recent event was April 28, 2012 with anonymous drop-off locations all over the Greater New Haven area. (A record 276 tons were collected!) Keep your eye out for the next one, which could be as soon as next fall. (I will certainly post it. ~Green Mama)

The final option for medications is to follow the guidelines in this flyer from the CT Department of Environmental Protection for disposing of meds in regular trash (click on the first link, “disposal guidelines”). Tips include adding water to pills to dissolve them or salt or flour to liquids to absorb them, and sealing and concealing the medications in their original packaging.

#6 Plastic Bag Recycling — Not Just for Plastic Bags!

Did you known that the plastic wrap around a package of diapers or toilet paper is recyclable? But don’t stick it in your blue bin or haul it to your transfer station. All of the following can be recycled along with used grocery bags at most supermarkets.

  • newspaper bags
  • dry cleaning bags
  • bread bags
  • produce bags
  • toilet paper, napkin, and paper towel wraps
  • furniture wrap
  • electronic wrap
  • plastic retail bags (hard plastic and string handles removed)
  • plastic food storage bags (clean and dry) – (e.g. Ziploc® Bags)
  • plastic cereal box liners (if it tears like paper do not include)
  • Tyvek (no glue, labels, other material)
  • diaper wrap (packaging)
  • plastic shipping envelopes (no bubble wrap/remove labels)
  • case wrap (e.g., snacks, water bottles)
  • All clean, dry bags labeled #2 or #4.
  • NO food or cling wrap or prepackaged food bags including frozen food bags.

Reuse the plastic in any way you can first (I use extra plastic as packing material and keep bread bags for dirty diapers when out on the town), then collect all your bags and film—you’ll be amazed at how fast this adds up—and take it along with you on your next trip to Big Y, Whole Foods, Shop Rite, or Stop & Shop. Check out this informative and easy-to-use resource for more information:

#7 Compost

Even if you don’t ultimately want to use compost in a garden, you can greatly reduce your food waste by making some of it practically disappear. In addition to produce scraps, some of the many things you can compost which you might not have realized are coffee grounds and used tea bags, clean cardboard and newspaper, hair, and even dryer lint. And as long as fats, meats/fish, and animal waste don’t sneak into your compost, it should not smell unpleasant!

A how-to on composting could easily be its own article, but since there are plenty of resources out there, I’ll point to a few:

  • Compost Instructions is a comprehensive resource with pages on what can be composted, composter designs, worm composting, and more. Check out the one-page quick-start guide here.
  • Earth911 (a fantastic site!) has a number of articles on composting. A good place to start is with this one on summer composting. Search the site’s articles database for more.

ALSO: The City of New Haven offers residents a small free compost bin for your backyard. Call 203-946-7700 for information.


Seven tips not enough? Hungry for more? Check out, a local business which will salvage building materials from your home’s construction (or deconstruction or reconstruction);, a mail in program that also takes DVDs, VHS and cassette tapes, and cell phones; and the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe Program, which recycles old sneakers (any brand) and has drop-off locations in Clinton and Farmington. There’s also the fun “10 Things You Never Knew Were Recyclable” on Earth 911.


Natural Easter Egg Dyes



dyed eggs in a basket

Is dyeing eggs part of your Easter tradition? Then why not give a try to natural dyes this year? They’re fun and easy and you’ll feel a lot better when your kids get them on their hands and faces and possibly in their mouths. Plus, as long as you minimize the time the eggs are kept outside the fridge, there’s no reason not to eat them when you are all done! Making these dyes involves boiling and cooling, so prepare them ahead of time. Note that you’ll never get those intense hues that come from artificial dyes, but the pastels from these methods are lovely. Soak longer—around 15 minutes—for deeper colors. Also, not straining the dyes can give you a cool texture, especially with the turmeric.

  • Yellow: Boil 2 tsp. turmeric in 1 cup water. Simmer 5 min., cool,  strain.
  • Orange-brown: Boil a bunch of onion skins in 1 cup water. Simmer 10 min., cool, strain, add 1 tsp. white vinegar.
  • Green: Boil 1 cup water, remove from heat. Add contents of 3 chlorophyll capsules (buy at health food stores), stir, cool, strain.
  • Blue: Boil 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup water. Simmer 5 min., cool, strain,  add 1 tsp. white vinegar.
  • Pink: This is the basic recipe for pink, but I have never gotten it to work. (My dye looks right, but the egg comes out brown. I’m trying fresh beets next time.) If you want to try: Boil 1 cup water with a jar of beets. Simmer 5 min., cool, strain, and add 1 tsp. white vinegar.

I recommend using hardboiled white eggs (anyone know where to buy organic white eggs?). Double-soaking (e.g. in green then blue) can create some nice shades. Again, be sure to keep eggs in the fridge when not dying them if you plan to eat them. And be sure to cover sensitive surfaces with newspaper or rags—these dyes can be just as staining as artificial ones! Some additional options and methods:

What to do with the leftovers? Some ideas:

  • Blueberry: mix  berries into oatmeal, muffin batter, or smoothies. Use dye as basis for a simple syrup and mix with seltzer for a treaty natural soda (with addition of sweetener, you won’t notice vinegar).
  • Chlorophyll: use dye to water plants
  • Turmeric: add some dye to rice cooking water for a nice complement to an Indian-inspired meal.

How to Beat the High Cost of Eating Natural



Written by Green Mama

There are many ways in which living a little greener can save you money: conserve energy in your home and you will save on your utilities bills, buy secondhand clothes and you will cut your wardrobe budget, reuse and re-purpose objects and you will simply have less to buy.

But, in general, eating organic or all-natural food is going to cost more. So, just how much more money are we talking about? And what to do about it?

Green Mama: Comparison Shopper

High Cost of Natural #1While my supermarket cart looks a lot greener than it did a few years ago, not everything I buy is organic or all-natural. But this week, I wondered what my grocery bill would look like if everything on it were organic or all-natural. So I did my best to make it so, and then I calculated what it would have cost to buy the “traditional” versions instead.

So, what did I learn? First, I learned that comparison shopping is a big headache — no joke. Organic and non-organic versions of the same foods are often in totally different sections of the market, or they are very different sizes, or priced differently (e.g. by weight vs. by unit). This project required a lot of note-taking and fighting my son for the calculator (“buttons! buttons!”), as well as a follow-up price study on the market’s online delivery website.

Also, I couldn’t find comparables for a bunch of items (e.g. no organic garlic, avocados, or pears; no non-organic tofu or scallions) and so, for the sake of this exercise, I left them off the list. The resulting grocery bill doesn’t look exactly like a week’s shop for my household, but it’s pretty close, and includes produce, dairy, fresh meat, grains, canned and jarred non-perishables, and snacks (no paper or cleaning products).

The Result: A 30% Premium!

The organic/all-natural grocery bill was 30% higher than the “traditional” one. My initial reaction was that this isn’t so bad, probably because I thought it would be worse. But wait, am I crazy? What if my household income were cut by 30%? That would sure seem like a lot, right?

High Cost of Natural #3 (Text Box Image)All Natural vs. Organic

The nitty-gritty of food labeling is well-beyond the scope of this article. Here, “all-natural” or “natural,” means a product without artificial flavors, coloring, or preservatives, or things I can’t pronounce. The use of these terms by manufacturers is NOT regulated, so you need to read labels! When I say “organic,” I mean USDA organic, as labeled on the product. (For more info, see the USDA website and look for the Organic Labeling and Marketing Fact Sheet midway down the page.)

Looking a little more closely, I discovered that some products’ prices were very close to those of their comparables (e.g. peanut butter, salsa), and sometimes I found an organic or all-natural version of a product less expensive than the traditional version I would have otherwise bought (e.g. pasta sauce, tortillas, cheddar cheese).

On the other hand, I really paid a premium for some organics, including 78% for those organic Os over that yellow box from the leading brand, and 51% for organic apples over non-organic.

So, since buying organic/natural is not an all-or-nothing proposition, your supermarket flyer, grocery bill, and store shelves might all merit a little study.

The Bottom Line: Saving Money

So, how to deal with the desire to eat clean without breaking the bank? Here are some tips, sources, and resources for making natural eating more affordable. Some of these are old standbys, but they bear repeating because they work!

TIP #1: Prioritize your Purchases
Should I really pay extra for organic apples? (YES!) What about sweet potatoes? (MAYBE NOT.) Check out the 2011 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 in the Environmental Working Group’s annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This awesome resource will help you determine which produce has the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables (the “Dirty Dozen”) and eating the least contaminated produce (the “Clean 15”).
High Cost of Natural #2

TIP #2: Buy Store Brand
Supermarkets can offer lower prices for their store-brand natural and organic lines (e.g. Stop & Shop’s Nature’s Promise) because they don’t spend for advertising. I can’t tell the difference between two brands of organic milk or butter — can you? As always, be sure to take a moment to read labels to see if the claims on the front stand up to the ingredients list.

TIP #3: Stock Up With Sales
The natural and organic items on sale at the supermarket are usually featured in the same place in your flyer each week — in a sidebar or at the bottom of a certain page — so it only takes a moment to check. (Plus, it can be a fun family activity, flipping through and identifying pictures.) Also, make a point to spin through the natural section each week to find non-featured sale items. And when organic non-perishables, like snacks and canned soup, or frozen organic fruits and veggies are on sale, stock up! (And try to combine with coupons — see below).

TIP #4: Green Coupons!
While you can sometimes find printed coupons for organic and natural products in newspaper inserts (if you don’t get a paper at home, grab a free New Haven Advocate), your best bet for coupons is going to be online. Many natural food companies, like Stonyfield, offer printable coupons, as well as rewards programs that allow you to earn points toward additional discounts. Most sites require a free registration with an email and reset coupon limits monthly.

See greenHaven’s new Green Deals & Coupons page for a list of some popular companies, and tell us about any we are missing! Also, sign up with services like Organic Deals & Coupons to receive free email alerts of discounts for green groceries at national chains, including Target and Whole Foods, as well as online retailers, and special coupons that can be printed via Facebook, for example. A great time-saver when planning the week’s food shop.

TIP #5:Buy Big
Buying big really means two things. As with all products, the larger the package, (typically) the lower the unit cost. Organic baby carrots cost 20% more than non-organic, and I don’t feel like paying that! However, a 5 lbs. bag of organic carrots — you know, regular carrots like you used to eat as a kid — costs $4.99, way less by weight than either type of baby carrots. Can’t I find time to cut up carrot sticks? (yes) Won’t it be nice to have extra carrots around to incorporate into mashed potatoes and pasta sauce? (yes) And with their skin on, they stay fresher longer.

Also, the larger the store (typically), the lower cost for the same product. While I can’t find many organic items, like cream cheese, at my supermarket and must go to a natural foods store, I can find many others at the supermarket, and for a lot less. The organic yogurt that my family goes through like water costs 32% less at the supermarket than at the natural foods store. (Note: I am absolutely all for supporting my small, local, independently-owned food store rather than a corporate chain, and do so as much as I can. I am torn about even including this tip!) Also, price clubs, like BJs and Costco, are increasingly carrying organic products, especially produce and dairy, so if you have a membership — or maybe a friend or neighbor who does — you might be able to save. (Be sure to recycle all that frustrating shrink wrap on multi-packs wherever plastic grocery bags are taken.)

There are many other dimensions to a discussion about cost and healthy eating aside from supermarket shopping, but, alas, it is time to stop. Potential budget-saving options like buying from farm stands and CSAs, growing a food garden, and cooking more from scratch will have to wait for another time!

Holiday Debrief: So How Green Were the Holidays?



Written by Green Mama

The holidays can certainly be a busy, stressful time, a time when all around us waste goes up and conservation goes down. I admit that holidays throw me for a loop; I can get easily overwhelmed and let best practices slip. A month later, I have finally caught my breath! Below is a quick assessment of how I did this year during the holidays — What I did well and not so well. How did you do? What will you try to change next year? (Remind me to look back at this next November!)

Top 5 Things I Did Right (i.e. Green) This Holiday Season

1.     Giving: Our son was over the moon about his two big gifts — a wooden kitchen and a baby stroller — both of which Santa acquired at a tag sale last August. For my son’s teachers, we candied organic almonds and packaged them in reused (and reusable) decorative tins. For a close friend, I bought a gift certificate at an upscale local consignment store.

2.     Wrapping: We wrapped everything in reused or reusable materials, including cloth, empty cereal boxes, pillowcases, and decorated bags/boxes, old wrapping paper, and re-used ribbons seeing their nth Christmases.

3.     Receiving: We convinced grandma to give my son about half the number of gifts she gave him last year (yay!) and requested from grandpa a stainless steel water bottle and dish set — both of which my son adores.

4.     Cleaning Up: I meticulously separated out every piece of shrink wrap (recyclable with grocery bags), paper & cardboard wrappers (went right to my son for drawing), and reusable material before putting anything in the garbage. (After a chaotic Christmas morning, it was rather soothing to drink a cup of tea and smooth old tissue paper into neat piles for next year.)

5.     Swapping: A few weeks after the holidays ended, I hosted a swap meet. Friends cleaned house and showed up to trade no-longer-needed clothes, children’s stuff, and housewares. (Think tag sale, but everything is free!) All leftovers were donated to charity.

Resource in Progress

  • See greenHaven’s newest page Buying Greener and help us build a list of sources for locally made, organic, fair trade, or otherwise greener gifts in our area.

Top 5 Things I Want to Change Next Year

1.     Better Buying: While I purchased a number of things locally this year, I still depended way too much on ultra-convenient two-day shipping. Ugh, the size of those boxes!

MY GOAL: Next year everything I give for Christmas will either be made locally (including home-made by me) or will be a non-tangible/non-shipped (a gift card, a charitable donation, a coupon for babysitting, etc.).

2.     Holiday Cards: I love sending them; I love receiving them. But is this use or waste? We can definitely reduce our impact in this area.

MY GOAL: Next year, I will send fewer cards by at least half. (People we see regularly will probably get e-cards — hey, maybe those will actually be on time!) With the savings, we’ll print cards on recycled and recyclable paper instead of photo stock (we keep our cards, but maybe others toss them?). I think I’m also going to follow a friend’s lead: send holiday postcards this year instead of card in envelopes. The postcards had photos on the front, and messages and addresses on the back. The photo still looked great on the mantel, but they saved all those envelopes (and some $ on postage, too). I think we’ll give that a try next year, too.

3.     Lights: We’ve been using the same decorative lights for years and we are meticulous about running them for only a few hours each evening for a few weeks. (Anyone got tips on hinting to the neighbors that no one sees their illuminated reindeer at 3am?) The lights do absolutely help my mood on days when it’s pitch black out before my son’s nap is over. But we are still using too much energy. I need to research who makes the best LEDs and maybe scoop some up on sale out of season.

Part of my collection of reusable Christmas wrapping, including a holiday-themed tissue box circa 2003.

MY GOAL: I will replace two strings of holiday lights with LEDs each year for the next three years.

4.     Cleaner Eatin’: I really get a low score for food over the holidays. At celebrations, I indulged in plenty of junk — chips, desserts, and drinks full of chemicals — just because it was in front of me and I was hungry. I even found myself giving in to my son about what ended up on his plate (e.g. the cupcake with the fluorescent frosting) because I was tired and it was easier. Usually I am up to the food challenge, but during the holidays, I lost my resolve a bit.

MY GOAL: I will stick to my guns next year when it comes to how my family eats. I will arrive at celebrations fed and rested, and I will bring with me a healthy, delicious food contribution that, if all else fails, I will eat all of  it (just kidding).

5.     Okay, so I don’t really have a fifth major category to tackle—everything else either fits in one of the above or a little off-topic for greenHaven (e.g. argue less with relatives). So I’ll just say this: I know that to be successful with my goals during the next holiday season, I will need to be better organized and less harried. That means I will need to be calm and not over-committed, with realistic expectations about what I can get done.

MY GOAL: I will slow down during the next holiday season so that I have the wherewithal to remain strong in my convictions. I could even start that now . . .

Green Mama, kidHaven’s newest contributor, is a local parent doing the best she can to raise her toddler with sustainability in mind. She first got involved with green efforts while working at a local university and found that she really enjoys learning and sharing green knowledge, especially time and money-saving tricks! She looks forward to hearing tips and ideas, from readers.

A Community Supported Fishery for CT


You’ve heard of CSAs, right? Community Supported Agriculture? But what about Community Supported Fisheries? Good idea, huh? Connecticut’s and Long Island Sound’s first CSF was the brain-child of the Thimble Island Oyster Co.’s Brendan Smith and Bun Lai of Miya’s Sushi. Shares for the first season, which ended in October, sold out in a matter of days, so hurry up and grab a subscription for next year!

The CSF functions just like a CSA: You pay an annual fee at the start of the season, investing in the farm’s operating costs, and, in return, receive regular shares of the harvest. The CSF provides monthly shares of shellfish–usually one dozen oysters and two dozen clams–from April through October, with local scallops, mussels, and trout substituted some months, as necessary.

This is the perfect way to support local business and enjoy local, organic, sustainably-produced seafood. For parents, it’s a great opportunity to take a monthly trip out to Stony Creek (pick-up also available at Miya’s in New Haven), see where your dinner came from (and maybe meet the oysterman who harvested it), and, with older kids, talk about the positive impact shellfish farms have on ocean health.

For more information, see or contact the CSF at or 203-533-9670.


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