• If you're looking for a food that divides the health nuts and the farmers' market crowd from the others, kale is probably it.

    It's abundant, cheap and super nutritious but the closest many people get to it is the meat counter at the supermarket, where it's often used as a green base to show off the red cuts of beef.

    Before we offer recipes for a kale conversion, let's sing its praises: First, it's a superfood, ranking among the foods with the most Vitamin A, Vitamin K and beta carotene. In many climates, it's an easy-to-grow perennial vegetable, and it's available from the winter farmers' market, given it's tolerance for cold weather.

    One word of caution: In the Environmental Working Group's ranking of the dirty dozen foods with the highest pesticide residues, which is based on government testing data, kale and other dark leafy greens have often made the list. So it's a good vegetable to buy organic.

    But how do you make it taste good? Some people can drink it raw, in a

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  • When You Have a Choice…

    By Sherry Brooks


    Living an eco-friendly lifestyle doesn't just happen overnight.

    It begins with a few small changes, or better yet, some big ones. We can't always be perfectly green when we are feeling overwhelmed with obligations and our lives are happening at warp speed all around us.

    What if, however, this was your new green mantra?

    "When I have a choice, I will . . ."

    . . . reach for the cold water handle instead of the hot so that the hot water heater does not have to use fuel to heat the new water to replace what was used.

    . . .turn the water in the shower off while sudsing and conditioning your hair.

    . . . shut the refrigerator or freezer door when pausing for a conversation so that the inner temperature will remain low, not requiring electricity to restore it to pre-wide open temperatures.

    . . . refuse a bag and carry the item out of the store in hand or in any handbag, bag or tote that you are already carrying.

    . . . eat vegan

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  • 10 Giant Edible Crops You Can Grow

    Giant pumpkins at the National Heirloom Expo

    By Jordan Laio, Networx

    I had the great pleasure of attending the first annual National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, CA this past year. There were thousands of varieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables, but some of the biggest attention-grabbers were the giant pumpkins. With the smallest weighing in at a few hundred pounds, those giant pumpkins were a sight to behold. Did you know you can grow giant pumpkins and other giant vegetables at home?

    Lest you think the pumpkins are huge because of some special fertilizer or mineral treatment, giant vegetables, like other jumbo crops, just have giant genes. A good indicator of these crops is the word "giant" in their name (like the giant pumpkin and giant flat Dutch cabbage, see below). If you want to be the envy of everyone at your community garden this year, give these oversized crops a try.

    While not all these varieties are as dramatic in their size as the giant pumpkin, they are extraordinary in their categories.

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  • by Green Diva Meg


    Last February Rodale threw down the challenge to a handful of green living bloggers - live "Plastic-Free" for a month. With uncharacteristic arrogance, I jumped into the fray. I, who mostly remembers my reusable shopping bags, uses glass containers for kitchen storage and generally chooses wood, steel or glass above plastic whenever possible; I was sure this wouldn't be so awful. Ok, the rules were fairly clear about not bringing in new plastic into the house. Oh, the denial . . .

    My first challenge came when I went to the grocery store to shop for Super Bowl party food. I usually pile up my veggies in my cart without putting them in individual baggies - check. But, there were a couple of items that inevitably came in plastic and it was just impossible to avoid. Well, I suppose I could've tried to find a live chicken and done the butchering myself, but being that I'm a vegetarian and only indulge my family in chicken under duress, that wasn't really an option.

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  • By Toni Salter


    How much do you spend every month on fresh fruit and vegetables?

    $200? $300? For some, it may be as much as $500 or $600. Each family is different and depending on how often they eat out and how often they cook at home, the expenditure could vary widely.

    Certainly, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is healthy for you and your family and organics are always the best choice, but every dollar counts, especially in our current economic climate.

    If you grow your own fruits and vegetables at home, you could save yourself a lot of money on groceries. Perhaps you have considered a vegetable garden, but don't know where to begin.

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  • 8 Tiny Organisms Earth Can't Live Without

    By Stephanie Rogers

    Our planet is home to about 5 trillion trillion bacteria, a number that seems too huge to contemplate. That may sound scary to people who think of bacteria as nasty little bugs that just want to make us sick, but the fact is, tiny organisms like bacteria, fungi and protists are absolutely essential both to the health of our bodies and to that of the entire planet. Unseen and under-appreciated, these organisms play a huge role in marine food chains, the growth of forests, climate change and our own digestive systems.

    Lactobacilli in our digestive systems

    We've got ten times more bacterial cells in our bodies than cells of our own. In fact, fully 10% of our dried body weight is made up of bacteria, and most of that isn't the harmful sort that causes infection, illness and tooth decay. Scientists are only just beginning to explore what they're now calling the "human biome," and they haven't yet identified most of the bacteria that our bodies host. But we do know

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  • Lauren Conrad - InStyle.comLauren Conrad - InStyle.com

    Beauty devotee Lauren Conrad is not just a blogger for thebeautydepartment.com, now she's a makeup bag designer, too! The reality star alum announced she will launch a line of sustainable pouches with ecofriendly brand BlueAvocado this summer. "Because I travel so much, I wanted to create a stylish way to carry my products that was also good for the planet," she told InStyle.com exclusively. "This partnership represents three things that are important to me-designing great products, enabling women to realize their dreams, and inspiring thoughtful action." Sign up to get updates on the launch at blueavocado.com.

    -- Marianne Mychaskiw

    More on Lauren Conrad's Green Makeup Bags
    Green Beauty Products
    Earth Day Beauty Buys

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  • The 7 Best Cardboard Toys for Kids

    Eco-friendly toys for kids!Eco-friendly toys for kids!It's an irony most parents have experienced at least once: They buy their kids the latest and greatest bells-and-whistles toy, only to find them playing for hours with … the cardboard box the toy came in. What's so great about cardboard? For one thing, it requires no batteries. And another thing: Using toys made of cardboard is good for the environment and is a great way to teach your kids to be more socially responsible and ecologically aware at a young age! And just one more perk of using cardboard toys: It leaves plenty of room for kids' imaginations. So in honor of the humble box, we've rounded up 7 amazing, eco-friendly cardboard toys your kids are sure to love.

    Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle
    1. Space Shuttle
    This Shuttle Imagination will take your child on a new adventure every day. Besides, who doesn't want to be an astronaut when they grow up?
    Buy this cardboard space shuttle

    Storage and Play Boxes Storage and Play Boxes
    2. Storage and Play Boxes
    These storage boxes double as seats and can also be used for educational play - teaching your little one

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  • by Alexandra Pauline - January 23, 2012


    Your Big Day The Green Way

    Planning a wedding is a costly, emotional and time consuming undertaking - often leaving little room for the idea of sustainability. I mean, this is the one day where the entire focus is on you, right? And with so much going on, it might not even cross your mind to think about the environment… But if you're planning a wedding, going Green doesn't have to mean more work and more money. In fact, by making your wedding a more sustainable event, not only will you make your big day even more memorable, you can save some serious cash!

    Go Partially Paperless

    While there's still something special about sending printed invitations for your actual wedding, save money and paper by sending digital invites for your save-the-date, engagement party, rehearsal dinner and shower. Websites like Paperlesspost.com, Evite.com and Punchbowl.com have some elegantly festive Fab & Fru options so you can get the job

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  • 12 Ways to Up-cycle Plastic Bags

    There are so many ways to reuse these bags!
    By Adam Verwymeren, Networx

    The scourge of landfills and the enemy of environmentalists, plastic bags have been much maligned in recent years. Starting in 2007, cities around the country have voted to ban or curb the use of these non-compostable carriers in favor of paper or plant-based alternatives. For instance, the San Jose, CA plumbing and sewer system was plagued with an overabundance of trash in its storm sewers, and issued a plastic bag ban in January of 2011.

    But while their eco-impact might be pretty harsh, you can at least make a plastic bag serve a second purpose before it ends up in a landfill. There are, of course, the obvious uses: lining a trash bin, cleaning up after a dog or reusing them as bags at the grocery store. But here are some other great, innovative ways to re-use plastic bags.

    Soccer Ball: As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. In Africa, kids looking to kick a ball around will often reach for plastic bags. Wrapped and packed

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