Then take a look at our Green Guide to Back to School for tips! This guide isn't just for grade schoolers. College students need school supplies and meal-time inspiration as well, and reusable containers, utensils and straws aren't just for students, they're great for work or take-out too!
Back to school is fast approaching! Did you know that many school supplies have an eco-friendly counterpart? Does your child take their lunch to school? Have you ever wondered how you could make packed lunches greener or find yourself in desperate need of healthy lunch ideas?
Then take a look at our Green Guide to Back to School for tips! This guide isn't just for grade schoolers. College students need school supplies and meal-time inspiration as well, and reusable containers, utensils and straws aren't just for students, they're great for work or take-out too!
Green your holidays with this collection of eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas! According to Sustainable America, an estimated 8,000 tons of wrapping paper is used during the holiday season – that equals roughly 50,000 trees!
Wrapping paper is designed for single-use, and although the patterns can be cheerful and bright, the environmental impact is anything but. Think you'll just recycle the gift wrap? Think again! Most wrapping paper is not recyclable – meaning its final destination is a landfill.
Instead, everyday household items can be repurposed into creative gift wraps for the holidays or any occasion!
Furoshiki (traditional Japanese wrapping cloth)
The handmade cosmetics and beauty products company Lush was inspired by the traditional Japanese art of wrapping cloth called Furoshiki. The company sells colorful eco-friendly fabric wraps in-store and online. The scarfs are made from either organic cotton or two recycled plastic bottles! They'll even throw in instruction cards with directions on how to wrap all of your goodies. The wraps are basically a gift within itself, and the recipient can either pay-it-forward and reuse the fabric to wrap their next gift in or use it as a tote, scarf, or headband.
Never heard of Lush? The company is against animal testing and all products are 100 percent vegetarian. Try the shampoo bar! Ditch the shampoo bottles and use a bar instead (there's even a tin you can purchase to store it in). Conditioner bars are available too.
Here are five ways you can reuse your knot wrap via LushUSA.com.
Holiday Wrapping Hacks from "Good Housekeeping"
Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas from OLIO
Upcycled Gift Wrap Ideas from HGTV
Repurposed Cereal Boxes
Easy peasy and adorable! Check out this idea from "SustainableMags."
Got a gift certificate or small item such as a bracelet or other trinket? Try this recycled pillow boxes idea from Older and Wisor. How cute are these?
Put a bow on it!
Put a bow on it – you're done! How about this great idea from "Creative Homemaking?" Use your leftover fabric scraps to make fabric twine!
Rooterville, A Sanctuary, is located near Gainesville, Florida, about one and a half hours from Jacksonville, Florida (where The Girls Gone Green is headquartered).
So, we grabbed our boots and our friends, and our friends of friends and hit the road to tour the sanctuary and lend a hand for the day!
Our volunteer day and vegan potluck took place Nov. 25. Heading to the sanctuary on Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate "ThanksLIVING," it was very impactful to interact with the rescued animals who call the sanctuary home – many species of which just took center stage on the majority of American's dinner plates.
In addition to the main residents, the pigs, the sanctuary also has rescue goats, turkeys, chickens, dogs, cows and more. But the sanctuary took its mission one step further. In addition to rescuing abused or neglected animals with no where else to go, they do something The Girls Gone Green is 100 percent behind: they promote and encourage the vegan lifestyle. So vegans and non-vegans alike gathered after pitching in with the work, giving everyone a chance to sample delicious plant-based recipes. A perfect way to end the day!
Vegan Potluck – yum!!
But let's back up a bit. What exactly is Rooterville?
Rooterville was founded in 2004 by Elaine West. The sanctuary, sprawling 30-acres of land, tucked away in a secluded area, truly is that – not only a sanctuary in the sense of a place for rescued animals to live, but a place that all beings, can come and reflect and enjoy sentient beings and serene landscape. The animals roam freely amongst the property.
Today, more than 300 animals call the sanctuary home, including pot-bellied and farm pigs, goats, turkeys, chickens, cows, dogs and cats!
There’s even a butterfly garden, planted in honor of Stella, the first farm pig that came to live at Rooterville. Stella fell from a truck on her way to a slaughter house. She died in 2014, but got to experience what life was like away from cruel factory farm conditions.
The animals who come to the sanctuary are often abused, abandoned or neglected. Many of the residents are former “teacup pigs” who end up growing much larger than the breeder promised. Teacup pigs are a myth. In order for the pigs to stay small, breeders will recommend virtually starving the pigs. (Read more about teacup pigs here).
Other pigs end up at the sanctuary for various reasons. Space and mischievousness, not to mention home owners association rules and zoning laws are just some of the reasons pigs end up at the sanctuary. Pigs can be difficult to care for, if you don’t know what you’re in for. With the intelligence equivalent to a 3-year-old child, a pig’s lifespan is about 20 years and they aren’t fully grown until they are three years old.
What is Rooterville?
Watch this short video to learn more about the sanctuary!
We spent the day helping fluff hay in shelter areas and place fresh, new hay where needed. You see, the pigs like the hay "just so." And we were warned not to be too surprised if while poking at the hay, a pig or two might rise out of hiding. The hay-laying was in preparation for a cold snap. (Yes, for all those not from the Sunshine State, it does indeed dip into freezing temps in Northeast Florida!) Gotta keep those piggies warm!
The pigs like the hay piled high on the sides and back of the enclosures so they can dive head first into the piles and nestle down for the night.
Not just pigs!
It's not just pigs who call Rooterville home. The sanctuary also has rescue goats, turkeys, chickens, dogs, cows and more! Click here to read more animal stories!
We had a great day at the sanctuary and hope you visit it sometime soon or support the sanctuary with monetary or physical donations. The sanctuary is always looking for volunteers!
Food for Thought: signage around the sanctuary explains the plight of factory-farmed animals and its environmental and ethical impact.
Ways you can help
At the time of our visit, the no. 1 most needed item was comforters. Here are a few other items the sanctuary requested:
Rooterville's full wish list.
Rooterville's Hay Winter Drive runs through Jan. 31, 2018.
Other Ways You Can Help:
Upcoming Rooterville Event:
View the slideshow to see all the photos from our volunteer day!
A Final Thought (courtesy of a sign at the sanctuary)
The Girls Gone Green was established in 2007 and since then, there have been several big milestones including the establishment of the Northeast Florida Veg Fest, No Meat March, our vegan outreach initiative, #NachoBar, the Hang up the Foam campaign and so much more!
We celebrated our "big 10" Sept. 30 at Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine, Florida with supporters and friends, complete with live music from the amazing local singer/songwriter talent, Mere Woodard!
Scroll through the timeline to see some of the major initiatives the group has set up, and see below for a slideshow of (our very wet) anniversary party!
The Girls Gone Green is a nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring environmental, animal and health issues. We have seen positive change being made in our community since 2007 as people continue to build happier and healthier lives. Your support is crucial to this change and by working together we can put sustainable, humane and healthier choices in front of people who help shape our community!
The first Northeast Florida Veg Fest, presented by The Girls Gone Green, took place at Riverside Park in 2010. It opened to an attendance of about 2,500 people and organized a community hungry for change. The 7th Annual Northeast Florida Veg Fest will take place March 3, 2018 with an expected attendance of 10,000 people! Our veg fest has been instrumental in watching eco-friendly and compassionate businesses develop and grow in Jacksonville. It helped to unify a veg community and allow our voices to be heard throughout the year.
The first No Meat March took place in March of 2011. It was created to invite those curious about exploring a plant-based diet to sign a pledge for 31-days and forgo meat during the month of March. In its first year, No Meat March touted about 500 participates who were sent daily emails with recipes, information and guidance. In 2013, just two years later, No Meat March went international with little to no advertising budget. Now people from all over the world sign up for the challenge reaching thousands of homes.
The launch of www.vegjax.com, Jacksonville’s Veg-Friendly Dining Guide, took place in 2012. It was the first-of-its-kind local website dedicated to making it easy for residents and travelers to find healthier, more humane options at restaurants in Jacksonville and surrounding areas. More than 50 restaurants are listed and broken down by area. Every suggestion details what items on menus are free from any animal products or by-products, which have been linked to obesity, heart disease and cancer. The guide makes it extremely easy for people who have health concerns or special food requirements to eat out.
The new logo showcases all the causes near and dear to the hearts of its core group. It symbolizes the connectivity between animals, people, food choices and the health of the planet. The heart in the center represents the love and compassion needed towards each in order to achieve a healthier and happier lifestyle.
That same year, our brand new website was launched, including a blog, what the organization is about, and ways to get involved. Additionally, 2013 saw the launch of A G3 Affair, a monthly meet-up event.
The Girls Gone Green would like to see Jacksonville, Florida listed as a city that voluntarily bans the use of foam to-go containers. Through our Hang Up the Foam campaign, we are requesting businesses to seek out healthier alternatives while gaining support from their customers during this transition. We are currently reaching out to the restaurant industry in hopes of working together to eliminate EPS foam due to its high probability of leaking known carcinogens into the food.
On Sept. 24, 2015, exactly one month from Florida's controversial bear hunt, The Girls Gone Green organized the first press conference speaking out against the killing of bears. What happened on Oct. 24, 2015 was only the beginning. If we can't find room for 3,500 black bears now in a state that supports 19 million people, then what will happen as development continues?
What's happening in Hendry County should not only concern Florida citizens but put this state and others on high alert. Government secrecy, animal torture, improper land use, business cover-ups and scare tactics all sound like a best-selling conspiracy book. However it's not - it's real and it's been happening right under our noses for the past 15 years! Close to 100 people showed up for the Commissioner's meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12 in Hendry County. Those confronting the Commissioners included concerned people who live near the facility and others who traveled quite a distance to speak out against these businesses housing thousands of monkeys. Read more about the issue here.
We celebrated our 10-year anniversary Sept. 30 at Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine, Florida! The night, which also served as a fundraiser for the organization, featured a silent auction, giveaways, our #NachoBar vegan nachos, a champagne toast and keepsake glass and other giveaways! We were joined by a few other local organizations who were on hand with information about their initiatives including EPIC Outreach, Sea Shepherd Jacksonville, Olsenhaus-Pure Vegan, and Rooterville, A Sanctuary, Inc. And the talented singer/songwriter Mere Woodard performed live.
10-Year Anniversary Party Pics
Rooterville Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit sanctuary with over 400 rescued animals dedicated to rescuing abused, neglected, and desperate farm animals all over the United States.
Founded by Elaine West in 2004 to care for the many unwanted, abandoned and abused pot-bellied pigs in need of a safe and loving home, Rooterville encourages compassion for all animals through education, rescue and activism.
We'll doing some volunteer work around the grounds, so wear clothing you don't mind getting dirty and closed-toe shoes or boots!
We are also collecting some Rooterville wish list items for donation. The no. 1 needed item right now are comforters to keep the animals warm during winter! If you can’t make it but still would like to donate, we’d be happy to coordinate pick up – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few other needed items are as follows:
☑️ 8-12 inch cable ties
☑️ Simple Green
☑️ Barn/garage brooms
☑️ 33-55 gallon trash bags
☑️ Letter size paper, pens
☑️ Sharpie markers, dry erase markers
☑️ Laundry soap (for cleaning comforters!)
☑️ AA batteries
Rooterville Animal Sanctuary is located at 5579 Darwood St. in Melrose, FL. For more information about the organization, call (386) 661-2287 or visit www.rooterville.org.
Local artist Brad Jones paints at the event. Jones will be painting a mural outside the salon once some siding damaged from Hurricane Irma is repaired.
Selphi employs 99 percent recycling procedures, recycling metal, plastic, hair dye and even hair itself! The hair is collected and shipped to a company who uses it to make hair booms which are used in the cleanup efforts for environmental disasters such as oil spills. And it's effective, too. Did you know that hair can hold up to five times its weight in oil?
In lieu of reusable towels, which salons must constantly wash, dry and repeat, Selphi uses bio-degradable towels.
Kevin Murphy hair products are comprised of sustainably-sourced ingredients and are sulphate-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free! Additionally, Kevin Murphy bottles are box-shaped to reduce the amount of packing materials used in shipping their products. Loma produces natural hair care products that are paraben and gluten-free, sulfate-free and sodium-chloride-free.
The salon offers a “Choose to Reuse” promotion, where customers can save 20 percent off all retail purchases if they bring in their Kevin.Murphy or Loma bottles to be refilled.
The entire salon runs off of a low-profile solar banner. The banner is so inconspicuous, that many guests didn't notice it and had to go outside to check it out. Not only did the system survive Hurricane Irma, a major hurricane that impacted the area in September, it allowed the salon to be up-and-running and have power while many nearby businesses were still without.
Wyatt Sanders, CEO and engineer of Insite Energy, LLC, was also be at the event speaking about his renewable energy company.
Incorporated in 2012, InSite Energy, LLC. designs and manufacturers an array of products in the field of Building Integrated Photovoltaics. The products encourage responsible living by helping people tap into the renewable energy available on site.
InSite Energy designs and manufactures clean energy products to take advantage of️ solar, hydro, and️ wind power. They make their products so anyone can install them.
The company also offers energy efficiency audits to the North Florida area to show you how you can affordably cut your electric bill and carbon emissions by up to 30 percent with energy efficiency, by using energy-saving items such as:
- Occupancy switches - turn on lights and fans automatically while you’re in the room, and turn them off after 5-30 minutes.
- Energy meter - watch and record the energy you use in real time, and get alerts to help you monitor your energy efficiency and hit your budget each month.
- LED light bulbs -switching from incandescent light bulbs to LED’s can save 90% on lighting costs. InSite Energy will recycle your old light bulbs and replace them with higher energy efficiency LED’s.
- Smart Thermostat - By replacing your old thermostat with a Nest Learning Thermostat you can cut your electric heating and cooling costs by up to 30 percent year over year.
Originally scheduled to take place Sept. 9, the workshop had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma.
According to Man in Overalls, aka Nathan Ballentine, fall is the easiest and most productive growing season of the year in Northeast Florida. The workshop focused on the fall/winter season (September through February) and served as an introduction to organic raised bed food gardening, but all levels of gardening experience were encouraged to come learn and ask questions.
Cool season crops to plant:
- brussel sprouts
- onions - green & multipliers
- sweet peas
- sugar snap peas
Ballentine is an urban farmer, entrepreneur, educator and community organizer in Jacksonville. He encourages the community to plant "urban gardens" and maintains that only a small amount of space is needed to grow a large amount of food, something he promotes as #GrowYourOwnGroceries.
As a demonstration, he brings a small raised garden bed. Using a technique based on "The Square Foot Gardening Method," he shows attendees how much they can plant in 1 sq. ft. (12 x 12 inches), to underscore the notion that anyone – even those tight on space – can plant gardens if they so choose.
Organic gardening includes natural pest control such as using diatomaceous earth, a naturally occurring siliceous sedimentary rock. Planting flowers, such as marigolds, can also help keep pests at bay, as will introducing beneficial insects such as lacewings or lady bugs which feed on common plant pests.
In his most recent blog post, "Why Can I Eat Bread in France but Not the USA?," Ballentine focuses on the dangers of the weed-killer Roundup. Click here to read the blog in its entirety.
To see a full list of resources from Man in Overalls, click here. In addition to Gardening 101 and pest management, you’ll find other resources including recommended farming books, links to food gardening videos, and more.
Man in Overalls offers many services including consultations. Site visits can be scheduled and can include design help, garden bed building and installation, installation of micro irrigation systems, planting, and additional maintenance and education. Ballentine also sells a special growing medium blend called “Magic Mix.” To see a full list of services, click here.
Keep up with Man in Overalls by following his blog at maninoveralls.blogspot.com or follow Man in Overalls on Facebook @maninoveralls or Instagram @man.in.overalls. Ballentine can be reached by phone at (850) 322-0749 or via email at email@example.com.
Riverside Avondale Community Garden, the location for the past two garden workshops, opened in April 2016 and is located on the corner of Park Street and Azalea Terrace, near the Willowbranch Library.
Gardeners pay a yearly fee for individual plots.
For more information about the community garden, contact Riverside Avondale Preservation by calling (904) 389-2449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go Max Go
- Jokerz (like Snickers)
- Twilight (like Milky Way)
- Mahalo (like Mounds)
Thumb's Up (like Butterfingers)
Snap! - (like Nestle Crunch)
2-fer - (like Twix)
Buccaneer (like 3 Musketeers)
Vegan Dirt Pudding Cups Recipe:
Crush some chocolate vanilla cream cookies*
Make chocolate pudding. JELL-O pudding is actually vegan! Use these instructions to learn how to make pudding using soy milk.
Use So Delicious CocoWhip in place of Cool Whip. (Check the refrigerator aisle where Cool Whip is located at your local grocery store.)
Directions: Alternate layers of of pudding and CocoWhip in a clear glass or bowl. Top with crushed Oreo cookies and place a few Surf Sweets gummy worms on top of the "dirt."
* A note about chocolate vanilla cream cookies. Oreo brand cookies are "accidentally vegan," however, they and many other brands contain palm oil, a type of oil found in many (too many) food and household products that is leading to the destruction of Orangutan habitats. One brand we found to be palm oil-free was Earth Fare's Chocolate Vanilla Cram Cookies. Be a label reader! If the palm oil is sustainably sourced, it will usually say on the package or the company's website.
Surf Sweets are also available in Halloween treat packs for sharing! BUT, speaking as an environmental nonprofit, the drawback to these (or any individual serving packs) is the extra plastic waste. Whenever possible, buy in bulk and use sustainable or reusable packaging to make your own "snack packs!"
Make sure to read the labels, just in case. The Ricemilk Crunch bars and minis contain honey which many vegans exclude from their diet. A quick note about cocoa butter. Although cocoa butter contains the word "butter," it is vegan and dairy-free. Cocoa butter is a vegetable fat derived from the cocoa bean.
So go on, grab a pack and roast one on a campfire or backyard fire pit this winter and make a S'more with your favorite vegan chocolate! Warm up with a cup of vegan hot chocolate (use cacao, Hershey's chocolate syrup, or just warm up some chocolate-flavored soy milk) and top it with some pumpkin marshmallows for a taste of fall or peppermint ones for a minty winter sweet treat.
Need some more inspiration? How about some Pumpkin Dandies Rice Krispy Treats? Just follow the directions for making regular Rice Krispy Treats, but substitute Dandies marshmallows and vegan margarine such as I Can't Believe It's Not Butter's new vegan butter or Miyoko's Kitchen vegan butter.
Peanut Butter Cups:
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
Crispy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Milk Chocolate Gems
Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems
Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems
Justin's Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Bunny Patch Fruit Snacks flavors include: grape, strawberry, tropical, citrus, berry and pink lemonade. For Halloween, there's organic Bunnies & Bats Berry Fruit Snacks in berry patch fun-sized packs.
Annie's also offers a line of vegan, bite-sized cookies including: Organic Chocolate Chip Bunny Grahams, Gluten-Free SnickerDoodle Bunny Cookies, and Gluten-Free Cocoa & Vanilla Bunny Cookies.
Bonus! Annie's Homegrown uses 100 percent recycled paperboard!
Dream Chocolate Bars
Endangered Species Chocolate
Endangered Species Chocolate is an American-made chocolate that uses fair trade beans from West Africa sourced from sustainable farming practices. The chocolate bars and chocolate bark are all natural and select flavors are certified vegan and organic.
The chocolate bars are vegan, but may contain traces of milk from equipment so they are not suitable for people with dairy allergies. Chocolate bar flavors include: Sea Slat & Nibs Dark Chocolate, Mint Crunch Dark Chocolate, Salted Almond Dark Chocolate, Pure Dark Chocolate Bar, and more!
Where to Buy
Check out other specialty stores as well such as Earth Fare, Lucky's Market and Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's actually carries its own brand of vegan marshmallows! Also, check out the location finder tools on the candy manufacturer's websites.
Can't find what you're looking for? Order online!
Here's a few places to try:
Natural Candy Store
Are you the DIY type? Try your hand at making your own chocolate! Here's a recipe for homemade vegan chocolate from Minimalist Baker.
Close to 100 people showed up for the Commissioner's meeting on Tuesday, January 12th in Hendry County. Those confronting the Commissioners included concerned people who live near the facility and others who traveled quite a distance to speak out against these businesses housing thousands of monkeys. Many of the monkeys were torn from their families in the wild! Why the sudden outcry? Great question! It's because some of these facilities have been in this very rural and poor Florida county for almost two decades with few people awar e of their existence. The operations were cloaked in secrecy so no one really knew what was happening on this property! Neighbors and citizens were never alerted to the fact that County leaders planned to expand these monkey testing businesses allowing for FOUR different companies to operate in South Florida.
Side note: if this expansion goes through, Hendry County could house up to 10,000 monkeys, making it a hub in the nation’s supply chain.
A few things happened that blew the lid on government's big secret. It began with the discovery of the secret approval for two more businesses to open its doors. Then, a whistle-blower who worked at one of the facilities - Primate Products, Inc. came forward and shared horrific details of what this company was doing to sentient, emotional and highly intelligent monkeys. The former vet tech, David Roebuck stated workers at Primate Products’ “Panther Tracks” facility located near Immokalee were regularly told to perform C-section abortions on pregnant female monkeys, remove the dead fetus, then package it for sale to buyers. Roebuck said milk was then extracted from the female cytomologus monkeys using human breast pumps. The milk was then sold to laboratories.
This is where improper land use comes in on this issue. The more than 600-acre property is agriculturally zoned for animal husbandry. If the company is conducting animal tests or experiments it is violating the agricultural zoning code. But, they have a way around this in their amazing game of semantics. The owner of Primate Products, Inc. can just say all those invasive procedures listed above are "standard usage" and not "experiments."
When you really begin to dig into this issues, you will find all kinds of links between government and business with little regard given to public safety and health. People living in close proximity this property now have to worry about water contamination, monkeys escaping and the possibility of an Ebola outbreak.
Here are a few quick facts:
These facilities are not benefiting mankind. They are comprising our health, they are comprising our morals and they are comprising the integrity of Florida leaders. We have created a website - FREETHEMONKEYS.com dedicated to this cause. We will post upcoming meetings, protests, petitions, ways to help and more. We also have a Facebook page to keep everyone informed and up-to-date.
We are joining the fight to keep this issue in the spotlight! We want to draw as much national attention as possible and expose these businesses as unsafe and ineffective. We will speak out and organize high-profile ways to stop these facilities from coming to Florida.
You can help us! Join our mailing list and let us know you want to get involved. Donate to the cause so we can heighten our visibility and voice! We can make a difference, but not without your help. Stay tuned as we will reveal our next step very soon.
We will speak at a public meeting asking the Hendry County Board of Commissioners to revoke its approval for Primate Products, Inc and similar monkey facilities operating in the county.
An eyewitness investigation was recently conducted at Primate Products Inc. (PPI) and what they uncovered is horrific.
PPI is a notorious Hendry County, Florida, animal dealer that imports thousands of monkeys from China and Africa, imprisons them in decrepit conditions and performs invasive procedures—and sometimes kills them—to remove their bodily fluids, tissues and fetuses for sale.
Some of the monkeys are shipped to other laboratories for often painful and deadly experiments. The expose prompted federal authorities to open an investigation—which is ongoing—and cite PPI for more than two dozen violation of animal welfare laws including violently handling monkeys and failing to provide them with adequate veterinary care.
Hendry County is currently being sued for secretly and improperly approving several of these monkey warehouses, despite the significant environmental and public health and safety risks they pose.
Undercover footage captured reveals that workers violently handled monkeys and systemically neglected them at Primate Products, Inc. (PPI), in Hendry County, Florida.
PPI is a primate dealer that sells monkeys to laboratories and has been awarded federal contracts worth more than $13 million—including by the National Institutes of Health, the Army, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
WARNING: Graphic footage of employees at Primate Products, Inc. abusing and tormenting monkeys held captive at this facility in South Florida.
We need people willing to hold signs before and during the meeting and even speak for 3 minutes giving a voice to those captive monkeys.
A blog dedicated to exploring environmental, animal and health issues.
Hang Up The Foam
No Meat Athlete
No Meat March
The Girls Gone Green
To Go Containers
Vegan Health And Body