December 2011 SEEDS Newsletter

December 4, 2011

Holiday Greetings All,

Disclaimer: you might notice a lot of name dropping (product placement) in this issue.  It’s an attempt to balance out the buy, buy, buy craze of the times with some local sustainability.   So check out our green gift ideas.
Getting your gift list together? Please check it twice.  Is it locally made and/or sold?  Will it help the environment? Can it run without batteries?
1.  Community Holiday Cookie Exchange, Thursday, December 15, 7 to 9 at the Chamber of Commerce Building 32 Commercial Street, Honesdale.  Sponsored by Transition Honesdale, this is an exchange:  you bring a plate or two, to take a plate or two.  But here’s the thing—you’ll also learn how to make beautiful bows out of old magazines!
2.  Calkins Creamery always has great gift baskets.  This year they’re offering smoked hand-stretched mozzarella. Smokey Moo Mozz, and Georgic Quark, a kind of pasteurized farmer’s cheese as well as their old faithfuls including 4 Dog Dill and Udderly Hot.  (What are they doing when they come up with these names!)  Visit them at 288 Calkins Rd, 9 to 5, or at

3.  Beach Lake United Methodist Church has added to it’s Equal Exchange array of coffees and chocolates.  They now have teas and olive oil—all reasonably priced.  (I’ve found the way to my son-in-law’s heart–partial to HOT hot chocolate–with their chili enhanced hot cocoa mix.)  This is stuff you can’t get locally, but you can get it Fair Trade and Organic, so call (570) 729-7011 or email to reserve yours.

4.   Jo Clearwater makes lovely all-local, all-natural soups, breads and quiches you can give or eat yourself when you’re too tired to cook or don’t want to resort to store-bought.  Reach her at 224-7687

5.  A passive solar indoor clothes drying rack will save the lucky recipient hundreds of dollars over its lifetime.  My favorite is the Expanding Indoor Clothesline, $53, made in Pennsylvania.  Phyllis & Mark Terwilliger, TEAAM participants won one this fall and if you join Kick the Watt,  (Sign up at you might win one, too.

6.  Several of you have asked us about solar leasing.  Well the Dec/January 2012 issue of Home Power magazine has a great comprehensive overview of various options to get solar on your roof without the heavy initial cost.   You can read it at the Honesdale library,  or go to   Or reply to this and I’ll send you a copy of the article.  You can get a gift subscription at their web site for $14.95 or $9.95 digital.
7.  And for that really-special-over-the–top extravaganza, send someone to a 12 day permaculture course in Belize with top notch instructors including Hancock local Andrew Leslie Phillips and Albert Bates. The cost is $1,250, which includes all meals, course materials, expeditions, farm accommodation and, upon completion of the course, permaculture certification  (but not transportation to & from Belize). For dates and full information, go to
Green the Green stuff
So what’s the greenest way to pay for your holiday gifts:  coins, cash, plastic, Google Wallet or similar smartphone apps?   Treehugger looked into production, recycling, server transactions, number of uses per unit…even the kind of ink used on receipts.  Here’s the short answer, but go to the full article for all the facts:
“Cash has the added benefit of making you more aware of your purchases because you are handing over something physical rather than just swiping a card. This awareness has the potential of reducing your consumption.”

For the Festive Foodies
If you base your holiday snacking and eating on how much renewable energy is used in production,  then consider the Hershey Company who unveiled 1,092 solar panels and Pennsylvania’s first electric vehicle charging station at its Chocolate World in Dauphine County.  Or Snyders-Lance, the pretzel maker who this summer completed a 3.5 megawatt solar array—the largest ground-mounted solar array in PA, and will reduce energy costs at the facility by almost 30%.
And how about Bronzini and Orata fish grown sustainably near Albany, NY and sold at Wegmans. Bet that fish would go good well with some locally made Open Sesame Sauce from Jill’s Kitchen just across the river in Narrowsburg.
But don’t go overboard.  The World Watch Institute says that we waste more food each year than the entire sub-Saharan continent of Africa produces.  And, at it gives tips for reducing that waste during the holidays.  (Tip 10 suggests we gift with fair trade chocolate, because it keeps well—as if if stays around long enough to “keep.”  See item # 3 above)

Finally, if the holidays are getting you down, join Transition Honesdale on Tuesday, December 8th at 7 pm at the Chamber of Commerce Building on Commerce Street, for a discussion about how to Simplify the Holidays.

Send your sustainable gift suggestions to us and we’ll put them up on our facebook page  Look there to find how to get rid of holiday junk mail and lots of stuff we think you should know about, between newsletters.

And a Happy Sustainable Living to All,


Michele Sands
Chair, SEEDS
1023 Main Street
Honesdale, PA 18431