It Ain’t Easy Being Green

This Word by: Ginny Torok

As the little guy, it’s not easy, but we do it. At OMPP we are committed to creating the smallest footprint possible – that’s why we use biodegradable materials, compost all our waste, and support local businesses and farmers. Our question is: if we do it, why can’t they?

Being sustainable and local as a business doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come cheap.  As a small business it can be a challenge. With fewer employees, and less money to throw around, the obstacles of being the little guy and being green can be pretty tough – but since it’s what we believe in, we go the extra mile. We have noticed more and more corporations going green and going local – we say, “It’s about time!”

Corporations have more resources, people and money, to use green practices. Businesses such as, Starbucks, HP, Coca Cola, Adidas and Walmart, have all begun to pave the path for green corporations. Starbucks and Walmart are also doing what they can to support more local artists and farmers.

Walmart recently announced its plans for sustainable agriculture. These plans will strive to put more locally grown produce in stores, and monitor the efficiency and sustainability of their produce providers.

Corporations of this size announcing dedication to sustainability and the local movement shouldn’t be so shocking. After all, these corporations are the guys with the resources to make such moves possible. Why aren’t all corporations following suit?

Our challenge to you: think about the businesses you support. Are they making moves to run sustainably, support local, or other green practices? Think there’s nothing you can do about it? Think again! Part of the reason any corporations are practicing in a more sustainable matter is because they have realized it is what people want. The people have spoken, have you?

Check out this Global 100 list of the top 100 sustainable corporations – If a corporation you support is not on this list, tell them! Like any good relationship, communication is key. Tell them what you want! Write on the customer service Web page, submit a comment in their store, do anything you can to get your voice out there – if enough people are talking, they will hear you.

With more corporations being more socially responsible, hold yourself responsible for making the right decisions too. Support the businesses making sustainable choices over the ones that haven’t stepped up. These kind of sustainable actions in big businesses are just the start. We are at the threshold of a major movement in which you can take part. Do your part.

Of course, you should always support locally owned businesses when you can, because like we said, it’s not easy being the little guy – and being green!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Go Green, Go Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies, sustainable

A Green Halloween

This Word by, Emily Holden

Break with consumer tradition this month by celebrating the holidays in healthy and sustainable ways.  In honor of Columbus Day, celebrated yesterday across the nation, we at OMPP are keeping the spirit of exploration alive by discovering new and environmentally friendly ways to have fun over the holidays.

Halloween is almost here! Have you started planning your eco-friendly entertainment? I know that it is weeks away, but celebrating traditional holidays in unusual ways requires some preparation. It’s worth it for you and the environment! Halloween is in the running for one of the most excessive and unsustainable holidays, with consumers spending millions of dollars on candy and often unsustainable, non-biodegradable products that will only be used once. One of the best ways to save money and become a smarter consumer is to plan your purchases ahead of time to avoid buying unnecessary items. Necessity is the mother of invention and Mother Nature needs us to be creative!

Start thinking about ways to make this Halloween…green. By preparing for this exciting day in advance, you can find clever ways to make this Halloween fun for everyone without creating excess waste. To get you started, here are a few ideas for “green” Halloween costumes and goodies.

First of all, think about the costume that you or your children will wear. Be it a witch, goblin, or a Lady Gaga costume, you can easily find ways to use recycled fabrics and materials to create your outfit. Search local thrift stores for used costumes or reusable fabrics to save money and turn old materials into original creations. For a few ideas, see these homemade costumes that range from the human Etch A Sketch, to a handmade crocodile and more unusual costumes.

Also, consider household items that you can turn into costume accessories. Get crafty with the kids by using recycled plastic products, and old arts and crafts material to create Halloween decorations. Use costumes from previous years or trade with friends. For costume swaps in your area, check out greenhalloween.org. Although the swap in Houston appears to be “private,” this is the perfect opportunity for you to arrange your own swap among friends and neighbors. If that seems like too much work, try the site’s online swap. Use your imagination and have fun being so resourceful and clever!

If you’re going to carve pumpkins, why not use the whole thing? Consider turning your jack-o’-lantern leftovers into delicious homemade pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds. If you’ve never made pumpkin pie from scratch, here’s a great recipe. Also, once your jack-o’-lantern’s sinister grin turns into a soggy scowl and the flies begin to swar­­m your front doorstep you may think it’s time to finally toss it into the trash. But here’s a better idea. Compost it! If you’re not an active composter, but want to learn more about it, take a look at our previous post, or COMpost if you will, that explains the composting process. Speaking of delicious pumpkin treats, be on the lookout for OMPP’s pumpkin pie, during our fall menu…

Don’t forget about snacks and candy to hand out this Halloween! NatureMoms is a great source for healthy and homemade ideas.

These are just a few ideas to fit you October festivities into a sustainable lifestyle, but there are an infinite number of ways to celebrate in eco – conscious ways! Let your conscience and creativity be your guide this month and bravely start your journey towards a sustainable lifestyle.

Leave a comment

Filed under compost, Go Green, oh my pocket pies, pie, recycle

Exciting Interview

Did you take our poll on Gulf seafood? Do you still have questions? Let our shrimp vendor, Lynn Walker of Shrimp Hut, answer them! See his interview, posted under the Vendor Spotlight section. Know our vendors – know where your food comes from!

Leave a comment

Filed under local houston

Leave a comment

Filed under houston, Houston Food, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies

Gulf Seafood – A Questionable Future

As the oil-affected Gulf waters became reopened for fishing and shrimping just recently, questions over the safety of the seafood caught in the Gulf are still ringing in American’s minds. Is the Gulf seafood really safe to eat?

Here’s the rather complex, multi-faceted answer: Yes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proclaimed the shrimp and seafood safe – but, perhaps not, according to Gina Solomon, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She is calling on federal officials to conduct a better test consisting of a larger sample, holding that the NOAA only recently tested 12 samples consisting of 73 individual shrimp.

While the NOAA insists that testing will be done on an on-going basis to ensure the safety of consumers, research gathered in July by the University of Southern Mississippi found droplets of oil in blue crabs that feed much larger sea life in the Gulf.  Now, the blue crabs do not pass inspection for human consumption, but the concern is, is our food supply of fish being contaminated by consuming them? Researchers at the NOAA Fisheries Mississippi labs show that the only contaminated fish samples have been found in water that is still closed for fishing. Serious questions also remain about seafood affected by the dispersant used by BP to break up the oil.

A study by the University of Minnesota found that 44% of people don’t trust seafood from the Gulf to be safe for consumption.  However, President Obama, trying hard to restore Americans’ faith in Gulf seafood, served barbequed Gulf shrimp at his birthday party in early August.

All this worry of contaminated seafood poses a strong possibility of changing the economy of many Gulf coast cities, including Houston, where fishing and shrimping are main industries. Though the prices of seafood may rise in the fishable waters, are Americans willing to pay the price for food that many are afraid to consume?

Steven Curtis, president of Austin Seafood Products, a wholesale supplier, saw a boom in shrimp sales just before oil reached the waters along the Texas coast. He actually had people calling to buy the entire inventory to stock up for desperate shrimp times. But Curtis says shrimp will be fine this year – “What people need to worry about is shrimp two years from now, three years from now,” as the spill affects plankton and larvae that the shrimp feed upon.

Many restaurant owners have braced for the worst outcome: a shortage of seafood, price hikes and a public image that Gulf seafood is dangerous. We at OMPP are still going strong with the sale of our shrimp burgers, made from all local Gulf shrimp.

How would you like to hear from a vendor right in the heart of the issue? Stay tuned for an interesting take on how the spill has affected our local shrimp vendor.

Sources from this article:

Statesman.com

Nola.com

Los Angeles Times

Leave a comment

Filed under houston, Houston Food, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies

Back at it!

After a rather long hiatus (and rather longer move) for me, the blogger in this joint, we’re back in the blogosphere! Step aside other blogging Houston food trucks…

Stay tuned for our upcoming post on the oilspill and the Gulf, and an exciting interview with another of our vendors.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Green Eggs and Easter

Hold on Easter Bunny – ditch those old wasteful Easter baskets! there is still time to make this Easter local, sustainable, and green…

First, act sustainably and reduce waste by re-using your Easter baskets. Choose a nice, high quality, wooden or tin basket that will last for years. Easter basket painting can also act as a great craft for kids prior to the big day. A neat idea from SuperEco.com is to consider growing your own grass in each basket, instead of using more non-biodegradable grass of the plastic variety. But, if you are going to use plastic grass,  save it and reuse it each year – it will not go bad!

To fill those baskets we suggest, as with most other holidays, buying fair trade local chocolates and candies. You can easily find a candy shop in Houston to buy fine, organic, fair trade candy, but if you are looking for some bags of bulk candy for the kiddos, a good place to find them is Whole Foods or the like. They will have a large selection of fair trade, organic candies. Also, think about hand making your Easter basket gifts. Can you knit, sew, or even braid a friendship bracelet? Let’s face it – kids will love almost anything fun, colorful, and sugar-filled in their basket, so why not act sustainably and save some money by making your own gifts?

Next, let’s focus on the main event – Coloring Easter eggs. Put down the food coloring and step away from the mixing table. Check your fridge for a few simple ingredients that can color your eggs any shade of the spectrum, naturally. Here is a list from suite101.com of some ingredients to make a few colors, but you can go wild with any natural dye combination you can think of: Purple grape juice (for lavender), Red cabbage (for blue), Spinach (for green), Carrot tops, orange peels or lemon peels (for yellow), Coffee or black walnut shells (for brown), Yellow onion skins (for orange), Beets or cranberries (for pink), Red onion skins (for red). Find more instructions on how to color your eggs naturally here.

We hope these few tips will get you thinking about sustainability this Easter. It is important, always, but especially during each holiday, to remember how to stay green while you celebrate. Now that you have all these tips for a sustainable Easter, go out there and celebrate, Easter Bunny style!

Leave a comment

Filed under Go Green, Go Local, Green, houston, Local, local houston, oh my pocket pies, organic, recycle, sustainable