By Dawna Matthews
Do you want to share the love this Valentineʼs Day but still stay eco-friendly? Luckily, this is easier than ever before. Whether you are gifting for the more traditional loved one or the more unique, avant-garde hipster-sweetie, the options below have you covered to give some sweetness to your sweetheart while also supporting the planet and warming your heart!
Chocolate: Valentineʼs Day is a wonderful day to experience and delight in this decadent gift of the planet. Cocoa is a crop often produced in lesser developed countries, under poor work conditions, with workers making unfair wages, and often contributing to environmental damage. There are several companies that celebrate chocolate, and do so with love for the farm and people it is sourced from. Here are some of my favorites:
Theo Chocolate — pioneers of using certified organic cocoa beans as well as building relationships with the farmers and improving their lives. Try the Salted Almond Milk Chocolate or the Casanova Caramel Sampler http://www.theochocolate.com;
Vosges Haute Chocolate — this unique boutique sources from Rainforest Alliance farms, which work to conserve the biodiversity of the land and sustainability method. Vosges also uses green methods in their production facility. They create everything from truffles to vegan chocolate, all with passion and flavor. Try the exotic heart truffles and bars (Moʼs Bacon Bar or Naga are my favorite). http:// www.vosgeschocolate.com;
Taza Chocolate — the taste of their cinnamon chocolate takes me back being a kid in my grandmotherʼs kitchen. This company uses a traditional Mexican stone-ground method to grind the beans into beautiful textures and flavors. They also pay premium wages (Direct Trade certified while sourcing the highest quality bean. Try the Chocolate Mexicano and the Coco Besos http:// www.tazachocolate.com;
Lingerie: I always have been a fan of pretty, girly intimates but, untilrecently, finding something sexy whose fabrication wasn’t harmful to the environment was difficult. The textile industry is known as a major polluter as well as for poor working conditions. Itʼs exciting to know that an increasing number of companies are creating improved working conditions as well as pretty underwear. Todayʼs lingerie is filled with sustainable, sexy fibers such as cotton and bamboo, and are oh-so-soft and luscious! Low impact on our beautiful earth and still sexy? Iʼm all for that!
Belabumbum –– classic, playful, and colorful choices for lounging or out-and-about. They even have maternity covered, which is how I discovered them. Their green line has super soft and pretty eco-friendly fabrics, including organic fruit-dyed cotton and bamboo.www.belabumbum.com;
Urban Fox — eco-friendly and designed with the everyday woman (“lingerie for the knockout”) in mind. They use environmentally sustainable materials, and everything is hand-dyed and hand sewn bamboo and organic cotton. They also use cute little eco-details for added flair. Check them out here: www.urbanfoxeco.com;
Felina Lingerie — very sexy yet sophisticated and soft, made from natural materials and free of toxins and — bonus — they also design for bustier women. Their Papillon (butterfly) collection is part of the World Land Trust, so a portion of the profits from this collection is used to preserve the forests of Argentina. The initiative’s motto is “one meter of fabric for one meter of forest.” How cool is that? felinausa.com.
Some people prefer something without hearts and flowers. The ideas below will be both useful and appreciated by your sweetie.
For the Techie: GSkateBack iPhone case –– Super cool and up to the minute; made in Oregon from 100% post-industrial skateboard material; no case is the same pattern. www.grovemade.com.
For the animal lover: The Farm Sanctuary has a sweet “Adopt a Farm Animal for Someone You Love,” a beautiful gift for the one who loves animals. They receive an adoption certificate, a photo of the animal, and can even schedule a tour to meet the animal. You are sure to get heaps of kisses with this gift!
For the romantic: I am a big fan of simple and homemade. Do something you know the person you love will appreciate: make a card, arrange a walk on the beach, cook breakfast, or try something crafty like the 52 Reasons Why I Love You Book made from a deck of cards.