|eco-eggs egg coloring kit from eco-kids|
Easter is a month away, so now is the time to start thinking about making this year's celebration a bit more better for Mama Earth.
Step 1. Eggs
Call me an old-fashioned country girl, but my sisters and I always used real eggs for our Easter celebration. So how do you make your Easter eggs eco? First off, choose organic and/or free-range eggs. If they have the USDA organic symbol, that means that the poultry was fed organic feed (free of pesticides and insecticides). It also means that the laying hens must have access to the outdoors and cannot be raised in cages. But I have to point out that there are organic farmers out there that don't bother to get the USDA organic seal (it's an expensive process).
When I think of free range, I think of my maternal grandparents' farm where the chickens roamed in the open air in an open field. Unfortunately, a chicken farm can get away with calling their eggs free range even if the chickens only had access to the outside or daylight for 5 minutes. So how to be sure your eggs are truly free range and/or organic? Purchase them from a reputable source -- the farmer! More and more farmers' markets are cropping up around cities these days. If you don't have one near you, find one at Local Harvest. Just input that you are looking for a farmers' market and enter your zip code. The site will provide a list of markets near you. It's also a great resource for finding farms, restaurants, grocery stores/co-ops as well as CSAs (community supported agriculture where you purchase a membership in a farm and it delivers produce to you weekly).
If real eggs aren't an option for you and you must use the plastic kind, be sure to re-use the plastic eggs year after year and fill them with fair-trade chocolate (read more below). Our neighborhood has an annual spring egg hunt every year and to keep things from getting messy (and stinky if a real egg is never found), each family brings one dozen plastic eggs filled with candy. Each kid can then find up to one dozen eggs and takes them home. Once the candy has been eaten, we store the plastic eggs so we can reuse them the following year.
Step 2. Egg Coloringeco-kids offers an eco-eggs egg coloring kit for $15.99. It is made with natural and organic fruit, plant and vegetable extracts from annatto seed, curcumin, purple sweet potato and red cabbage. The package includes a color chart and instructions. The kit is also available at one of my favorite eco gift stores which is aptly named nest! If you are in the Baltimore/DC area, you should visit nest!
Step 3. Candy
If you read this blog for Valentine's gift ideas, you learned about fair trade chocolate from Equal Exchange. For Easter, they are offering 2 great items.
For those with a slightly bigger budget, try the Mini Chocolate Basket for $33 wihch includes a round basket filled with 12 ounces of Organic Dark Chocolate Minis. Imported from Vietnam by Ten Thousand Villages, the fairly traded smoked bamboo baskets are sourced from Craft Link, a non-profit that works with artisans in an effort to generate income, with a focus on ethnic minorities, street children, and artisans with disabilities. The chocolate is vegan and gluten-free.