Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and for those of you that wait until the last minute to do your holiday shopping, here are some helpful ideas to keep the day green for you and your special someone:
The quintessential Valentine’s gift. Who doesn’t love chocolate?
From a sustainability standpoint, you’re best off either making your own gift basket of fairtrade and organics from a local purveyor, or contacting a local artisan chocolate shop to find out how they source their Valentine’s chocolate. Otherwise, there are a variety of online vendors that will ship you sustainable chocolate and candy.
Vosges – has a wide assortment of Valentine’s gifts as well as their (in)famous Bacon-Chocolate bars. While not fully organic, they are a certified organic producer and their production as well as their retail stores are powered by renewable energy. You can read more about their commitment to the environment here.
Sweet Earth – has a huge collection of organic and fairtrade Valentine’s Chocolates. It’s one of the better places to start looking for chocolate. You can read about their sustainable philosophy here.
Green & Blacks – is a larger commercial brand available at many grocery stores throughout the US/Canada. They are fully organic and are moving all their product lines in the US towards fairtrade.
Dagoba – is another organic brand committed to sustainability, and has a strong relationship with the growers and communities that produce the chocolate used in their products.
Organic Style – also has a really nice selection of sweets available for the holiday, beyond just chocolate.
Theo – is one of the few domestic ‘bean-to-bar’ manufacturers with oversight over the entire production process, and they were the first organic and fairtrade chocolate producer in the US. You can read about their extensive commitment to sustainability here.
Green Promise – has an excellent collection of links to the online stores of organic chocolate producers and is a great resource to find the perfect gift.
Cadbury – is going Fairtrade so we can feel less guilty about enjoying a little milk chocolate every now and then. Obviously dark is where the money is at, but if it’s fairtrade we still get hipster points.
Even amazon.com has an extensive array of organic and vegan options. Although amazon’s packaging is notoriously ungreen so choose wisely.
Buying chocolate sight-unseen–without tasting it–can be a bit of a shot in the dark. So the most environmentally-conscious (and delicious) option is definitely to find something green you like from a local shop and sample the goods beforehand. Otherwise you may order something that will never get eaten and will wind up in the trash or compost.
Flowers are tricky from a green standpoint. They have such a short shelf life and many are flown from very remote climates with little or no restrictions on fertilizers or pesticides. It’s usually much greener to gift a plant, instead of fresh-cut flowers. But if you must, when shopping for fresh-cut flowers either online or in store look for Veriflora certification for sustainable products.
The greenest option would be to call up your local florist and see if they have any organic flowers and bring by your own vase. If you’re pressed for time and can’t find a local florist that can help you out, try one of these online sellers:
Organic Bouquet – uses all organically grown flowers and ships them carbon neutral to your door.
California Organic Flowers – nice selection, but fewer options that Organic Bouquet and no carbon neutral shipping.
Diamond Organics – has a very limited selection of organic US-Grown flowers, but they also have a variety of other green foods you could order at the same time.
If you happen to be in the DC area, we have some excellent sustainable options inside the beltway. A shortlist is available here, personal favorites being Hook and Farmers and Fishers/Founding Farmers.
You can learn more about the overall sustainability of many traditional Valentine’s Gifts from our previous entry on Valentine’s Day. Good luck, and remember to keep sustainability in mind.