Green B.E.A.N. Delivery: Local, Healthy Produce and More

Green B.E.A.N. Logo

Online grocery-shopping is nothing new: companies like Netgrocer have been fulfilling customers’ laziness since 1999. And now one can hop on Meijer’s website, or Amazon.com, to get just about anything shipped directly to their door. But for those with a more ethical lean, or who want fresh produce, is there a solution? Turns out, there is.

Enter Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, a company dedicated to “home delivery of organic produce & natural groceries to the Louisville community.” Green B.E.A.N. is actually a multi-state operation, started in Indianapolis, and now spreading to Ft. Wayne (IN), Cincinnati (OH), Dayton (OH), Columbus (OH), and of course Louisville. The service here has been around for a little over a year, and has garnered some great reviews. Cincinatti.com recently featured the founders, a couple from Indy, who started the business in 2009 as a way to “take the excuses away from people who want to eat healthy but aren’t doing it.” Hear hear!

I was recently contacted by Green B.E.A.N. to receive a trial run of their small produce bin (normally $35) for review on the blog. Not one to turn down fresh, local produce, I accepted, and within two weeks I found myself with a big green tote on my front porch:

Kudos to Green B.E.A.N. for their excellent branding, and having a good, re-usable way to deliver the produce. The bins are picked up the following week (usually at the same time you get your next bin, if you choose auto-delivery). Inside was a styrofoam cool pack (which, while I’m not a fan of styrofoam, at least they are re-using), with a great selection of organic produce: beets, onions, garlic, oranges (conventional), lemons, apples, asparagus, mushrooms, lettuce, strawberries, and tomatoes. Yeah!

Now, forgive me for assuming that some of it would be local, as this word is used quite a bit on the website, but this was not the case with my bin. The asparagus was the only item listed as local, with other items containing various stickers with their origin. Obviously, oranges and lemons are coming from a much warmer region than the Midwest (at least, seasonally warm…our present weather excluded). I asked Megan, my rep with Green B.E.A.N., about this, and she responded:

It is possible to choose only local produce during the growing season (May-October) by customizing the order. At this time, we do not offer an option that would automatically deliver only local produce.

Not to nitpick too much, but this bin came in April. Is there local produce being produced in Kentucky and Ohio in April? Absolutely: green onions, greenhouse tomatoes, lettuce, kale, mustard greens, cabbage, and more. I see it at the Root Cellar and farmer’s markets each week. On the website, choosing a Louisville produce bin neglects  to have these options, so while I was stoked to have organic strawberries and mushrooms (two super healthy foods), I would still like more local options, year-round. Currently, the “add produce” selection on the website is empty, meaning if you choose a produce bin it will likely be organic, but not local. While this is a point of contention for me, it is certainly not a deal-breaker for Green B.E.A.N’s service.

One thing I do like is the vast array of grocery-style products you can order. They have a separate section for “Vegan Cuisine” (Morels would be stoked that “vegan” is getting its own cuisine listings now!), with everything from local Blue Dog bread, to Amy’s soups, to Luna Burgers, a vegan burger company out of Ohio. That’s pretty rad: being able to order local and national vegan items, delivered to your door with weekly with organic (and hopefully more local) produce.

Kentucky is definitely represented on Green B.E.A.N’s site as well:  Fox Hollow Farms, Rooibee Red Tea, and Najla’s (they make some pretty dope vegan protein bars) are there, in addition some other KY vendors, and we can only assume the list will grow as time goes on.

Overall, I was happy with my bin, and my fiancee and I enjoyed the food immensely: our stir-fries, salads, and snacking was greatly improved (and healthier) in the week following the delivery! While I would have liked to seen more local produce, I understand there are season and logistic reasons behind the weekly orders of organic-sans- local fruit and vegetables. Green B.E.A.N’s mission is to “make healthy and sustainably grown local food affordable, accessible, and convenient to the Midwest communities we serve. We serve our mission by building food systems and businesses that address our communities’ greatest food challenges.” That is definitely something we can all get behind.

Are you interested in trying Green B.E.A.N. Delivery yourself? Sign up today and use this code: “15NailSticks” to get $15 off your first order! There’s a $35 minimum, and this discount applies to new customers and reactivations only. It will expire on May 15, 2012, so act quick! Sign up here.

Note: Green B.E.A.N. logo from their website. Thanks to Megan Lawler for her assistance and info.

Inspired Vegan Bryant Terry Coming to Louisville

Terry Bryant

I definitely applaud U of L for hooking it up with their “Body Awareness Body Appreciation Week,” culminating on March 1 with author, activist, and chef Bryant Terry speaking about “how access to food impacts our choices and how we can eat well in our community.” The vegan author has written both “The Inspired Vegan” as well as “Vegan Soul Kitchen” so I’m pretty stoked that the students will get to hear a lecture and see food prepared by a vegan – definitely a rarity on campus! I can only hope the “additional cooking demonstrations” will be vegan as well.

The Louisville Vegetarian Club will be there tabling so students can see that yes, there is a group for vegetarians and vegans in Louisville! Plus Grasshoppers Distribution and other local food movements will be hanging around. The event starts at 5:30pm and runs until 8:15pm. More info on the flyer below and at the Health Promotion page. Unfortunately it’s $10 for the public (but free for students). See you there!

Photo: Stanford Info Center

Committed To A Wood Burning World

Burning wood; picturesque, but deadly.

It’s no secret I’m fond of Sam Harris, and his latest blog post on wood burning and the effects of wood smoke is yet another tour de force by the rational thinker. In it, he compares our aversion to the idea that burning wood – in any quantity, at any time, for any reason – is harmful, to the faithful’s aversion that they might be wrong: that there is no god, no divine morality, no “son” sent by a father, and so on. In his latest post, entitled The Fireplace Delusion, he spells out what scientists have known for decades:

There is no amount of wood smoke that is good to breathe. It is at least as bad for you as cigarette smoke, and probably much worse. (One study found it to be 30 times more potent a carcinogen.) The smoke from an ordinary wood fire contains hundreds of compounds known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and irritating to the respiratory system. Most of the particles generated by burning wood are smaller than one micron—a size believed to be most damaging to our lungs. In fact, these particles are so fine that they can evade our mucociliary defenses and travel directly into the bloodstream, posing a risk to the heart. Particles this size also resist gravitational settling, remaining airborne for weeks at a time.

Much of his evidence comes from a 2007 study from the University of Georgia, which describes that wood smoke is harmful, without exception, but the question remains how to address it: should we regulate it like cigarette smoke? Also of concern to the researchers is the specific particle size of wood smoke, and how it effects us versus smoke with different size particles.

This was news to me. Though there is much I know nothing about, I try to inform myself about the various health issues facing our society, from environmental toxins to lack of fitness, and of course (my favorite) diet. So to think that wood stoves – a staple in my grandparents’ house – and wood-burning cook-outs (of which I’m a big fan) are all harmful and pollute the environment, well, that’s kind of a shock. And that’s the point, says Harris. You try reconciling the long-time belief, habit, ritual, and comfort of wood burning lore with the current science that says unequivocally: it’s bad! That’s what we are up against, when it comes to the delusional believer, the Christian, or the Muslim, versus the rational freethinkers. They are committed to a world where there is a heaven, a hell, a god, and a set of rules they have to follow, much as wood burners are:

Most people I meet want to live in a world in which wood smoke is harmless. Indeed, they seem committed to living in such a world, regardless of the facts. To try to convince them that burning wood is harmful—and has always been so—is somehow offensive. The ritual of burning wood is simply too comforting and too familiar to be reconsidered, its consolation so ancient and ubiquitous that it has to be benign. The alternative—burning gas over fake logs—seems a sacrilege.

Not content to merely trust Harris’ research, I made a quick search using Pubmed and Google, and sure enough, there’s plenty of research out there: a toxicology review in 2002 claiming that ” exposure to woodsmoke, particularly for children, represents a potential health hazard.” A link between wood smoke exposure and lower respiratory disease (1990). Sydney, Australia claims that wood smoke adds billions to health bills and is considering banning wood stoves all together (The Herald article). The site burningissues.org (by Clean Air Revival) has a comprehensive list of the science behind wood smoke and its effects.

I’m all for renewable energy, and certainly we can make wood go round and round in a natural cycle through burning, composting, planting, etc. But at what cost? Just because wood has been burned for thousands of years doesn’t mean we should keep doing it, even if it is more “natural” than gas or electric. Those aren’t great either, but solar remains off in the horizon, inhibited by the cost that corporation aren’t willing to put into it.

Harris gives two strong arguments here: 1) burning wood is a bad idea, and 2) the resistance to #1 should illustrate the resistance the religious feel to changing their minds. Another great analogy by a great mind. For an up-to-date look at the wood smoke crisis, Harris suggests San Francisco-based group Families for Clean Air.

Photo: frostnova

 

Why Rub Animal Fat On Your Body? Get Vegan Soap

Kalliste Soaps

Which of the following would you rather put on your body?

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate or Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

or

Blend of Organic Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Rapeseed Oil (all saponified), Purified Water,  Blends of essential oils, Ground Herbs and Plants.

Obviously, most of us, without thinking too hard, would go with #2. A bunch of oil from plants and some herbs. Indeed, the act of cleaning is just as much friction as it is the stuff you’re cleaning with, and oil helps lube up the surface for germs to run away on (they don’t do so willingly!) in a similar fashion to sodium tallowate or lauric acid. Lauric acid actually comes from plants, so why pull it out and mix it with a bunch of other crap? (Hint: because it’s cheap)

But no mind all this – the second soap comes from the lovely Kalliste Soaps, a “vibrant pop soap shop located in Scarsdale, New York.” They craft handmade, organic, 100% vegan soaps from oils and herbs, and were kind enough to link to me, so I thought I’d return the favor. What I like about Kalliste is their unabashed statement about being vegan and their commitment to it:

Kalliste Organics Inc. uses a traditional hand-crafting process of soapmaking incorporating only the purest, most natural plant, vegetable and fruit ingredients. These soaps, certified cruelty free and vegan by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) gently cleanse and naturally hydrate even the most sensitive skins.

A common ingredient used in the consumer soap industry, Sodium Tallowate, or Tallow, is a saturated fat derived of processed and rendered beef and mutton. This animal byproduct is inexpensive which is why it is so widely used, and is said to clog pores, creating blackheads and increase the incidence of eczema in sensitive skin.

Kalliste offers some pretty bangin’ soaps, like these tasty-looking Cupcake Soaps or Rose Soap, which, instead of a generic fragrance, contains essential oil of rose. Kalliste offers “private label” versions of their soaps if you want to carry or distribute them, and they’re pretty active on FacebookTwitter, and under-utilized Paper.li.

Kalliste was generous enough to offer readers of TNTSU 10% off on their orders! Just head to their store (look at that oatmeal soap!) and enter TNTSU10 at the check-out! Being vegan is about intention, not perfection, but there’s no excuse for soap any longer!

Photo: Twitpic; the ingredients in the first soap was Dove “White Beauty Bar

KyMBA Louisville Envisions 100 Miles of Human-Powered Trails

What’s a “human powered trail?” Sounds weird, but fairly intuitive: anything that you, as a person, power, instead of a motor. This means mountain biking, jogging, walking, perhaps even pogo-sticking if you could manage it. Billy Davis of KyMBA Louisville outlines the plan for what would be the east’s first 100-mile single track trail in this short presentation:

 

As someone who has walked, ridden, and jogged through the various of trails of Cherokee Park, I can say for a fact that KyMBA knows how to maintain a trail quite well. And since the volunteers are typically fellow mountain bike riders, they make some pretty sick passages for the knobby tire crowd as well.