Category Archives: Sustainable Business

Eco Fashion Week 7th Edition day 2

Thanks to dear Eve I was given the impetus to attend EcoFashion Week.  Thanks to Jessica, I was given VIP tickets.  Merci beaucoup to both of you.  I attended the Value Village evening at this week’s Vancouver Eco Fashion week.  Going strong since 2009, Miriam Laroche organized Eco Fashion Week to create awareness and thought-provoking questions about our consumption.  This event was totally up my alley for those of you who familiar with Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet and Style-Diet Shot.  The evening was about re-purposing, recycling and upcycling. Below Myriam is dressed head to toe in Value Village.  She said that her dress was originally made in Italy by a chi-chi brand.  She looks fabulous.  DSC_1066

jessica with friends

(L to R) Carolynne Beaty of the Sitka Foundation, Leonard Schein of Festival Cinemas recently acquired by Cineplex, Dr Jaqueline Hudson, the only woman I’ve met who got to name a mountain, and the delightful Jessica Taylor

I got so many fantastic Style Diet Shots I am dying to show you.  But I must pace myself.  It will be an exercise in patience on my part!

Below are some pics of the runway, the theme of the evening was Value Village,  68 pounds is the amount (by weight) that the average North American throws away annually, in textiles. DSC_0038 DSC_0085DSC_0106 DSC_1142 DSC_0030

Salon solids

“The human body is the best work of Art’

– Jess C. Scott

I was perplexed to learn several years ago that our cosmetics, creams deodorants often contain carcinogens and hormone disruptors. I was alerted to this by a sign that said You Care About What You Put In Your Body but Not About what You Put on Your skin…. It’s been a few years of trying different products, especially since we moved from Europe. I’ve even got a recipe for home-made deodorant I’m waiting to try.


I recently met Sarah McCoy, creator of Salon Solids, at a Yes event for Washington’s 522 event. She is concerned about GMOs and Labelling issues. Our topic of conversation centred about hair care (she has lovely rich auburn locks) and she asked me what brand I used. “Oh,” I my chest puffing with pride said, I use Cancer Free Shampoo” I meant carcinogen free as advertised on the bottle – because it is DEA free. “I also use organic shampoos,” I added proudly, “you know ones with organic ingredients”.

The lovely Sarah McCoy nodded politely. Afterwards, she sent me the Environmental Working Group Assessment Skin Deep of products I’ve been using thinking they are safe. But they aren’t. Between the food and the cosmetics, it is any wonder that cancer is an epidemic. (Only 10% of cancers are genetic). 90% of cancers are coming from what we put in our bodies and what we put on our bodies.

I couldn’t believe it! Everything I’ve been using has toxins, carcinogens, reproductive disruptors blah blah blah…. Not one product I been using systematically scores low on the hazard scale. I went to the David Suzuki’s site. He concurs.

Everyone should avoid these toxins allowed in cosmetics. I can’t believe that the federal Government allows these products to be sold! Scratch that… The federal government allowed GMOs into our food supply after 3 month trials on rats. Instead of acting according the precautionary principle, our governments have been allowing toxic products into and onto our bodies.

WE must find out what is actually good for us, and not rely on government. We have to seek out the environmentalists, the activists, for information. I challenge you to go to the EWG site and plug in the ingredients from the shampoos sitting in your bathroom. Do it right now! Here’s the link You can search by Brand, product or ingredient.

Fortunately, Sara is the real McCoy and offers a products called Salon Solids. She was inspired to as a salon owner and stylist and concerned for her clients being exposed to synthetic toxins. Her products are free of Sodium Lauryl and Ammonium sulfates, isopropyl alcohol, sythetic fragrances, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, mineral oil, petroleum, DEA, MEA, DMDM Hydrantoin/Urea, Parabens and Talc.


What does the Salon Solids shampoo actually contain:

  • sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate
  • guar gum
  • orange peel oil
  • aloe barbadensis leaf juice
  • cocoa butter

All the ingredients in salon solids score low according to hazard levels of the environmental working group. I looked them up, using the EWG Skin Deep

Now what I also like about salon solids is that the shampoo comes as a dry package. This way you don’t pay for the water to be shipped around the country. (Another reason to avoid liquid soaps.) With salon solids you add hot water and presto you have shampoo! Plus you can reuse the bottle.

I’ve tried it, it’s easy. Why don’t you?

Revamp Gala

Belugas, anemones, music, eco-fashion and applauding courageous women.  It was a night to remember!  Gowns by Pure Magolia eco bridal couture (made In Canada, from sustainable fabrics) and Jewellery by Mirror Mirror Bijoux.  We have a special treat today: NY Photographer Richard Lecoin took some lurvely photos of the models.  Big up to Richard  You’ll see his RDL initials in the photos he took (they will be interspersed).  Here are my favorite two shots of his:

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Singer Ashley Robyn





DJ Wax


DSC_0917Pure Magnolia designer Patty Nayel.  She was the brainchild behind this event to raise funds for the YWCA Crabtree Corner.  Her gowns are locally made from divine fabrics.  (She is wearing her own creation!)



Pam Chang Jewellery designer in the middle from Style-Diet Shot with friends(l to r) Patty, Elaine, Pam’s Mama, sister-in law.  Alex from Style-Diet Shot on the left.  Alex’s coat is vintage Ralph Lauren the beads fairly traded.




Grower Pete

Grower Pete along with his son, grows lettuce in greenhouses. Grower Pete’s grandparents  have grown vegetables in green houses since 1927.  Not so unusual you might say….  Certified organic,  Yep seen that before…..   Hang on!  Are those roots attached?

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Living Butter Lettuce and Watercress – Wow!  I had never thought of that before.  Have you?

Evergreen Brickworks

“The stones were dancing now.  O yes, they were dancing.  But it was not hopping and skipping like jigs or reels, nor was it the dismal revolving of a ballroom.  Not a stone moved from its place, but they rocked and turned slowly and with the greatest of dignity, as if to say, ‘We are the lords of the earth and of the water.  We shall stand when all has gone.  We shall endure until better things come.  But what can be better than we?  So we shall endure forever.'”

– Robertson Davies, Harper of the Stones (1986)

The Evergreen Brickworks is a national charity and a top 10 geotourism destination (according to National Geographic) located outside of Toronto.  This former brickworks factory has become a symbol of successful re-purposing, of integrating ecology, design, technology, and the arts.  Phew that was a mouthful – just think about it.  But the spaces – mamma mia! Everything was photogenic here from the graffiti to the lake to the artisan studios.  Here is sample of photographs I took with my new Nikon.


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tout est possible

All is possible!

522 Fundraiser

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

My mother Ratana quoted Margaret Mead the other night in her acceptance speech at the  Organic Trade Association Awards. It got me thinking about how a group of concerned committed citizens are leading this charge for the Basic Democratic Right to know what’s in our food. 64 countries around the world either ban or label GMOs. The USA and Canada are the only developed nations without Labelling laws. Given that 93% of Americas want labelling, why isn’t this a reality? If the companies selling GMOs only did short-term studies safety studies why are they allowed to sell GMOs?  Especially given they are not proven safe to eat? Why are GMOs not banned or labelled – at the very least?  Coming from Europe it took me a while to figure out that most N. Americans dont know what GMOs are, dont even know that they are in 80 – 85% of processed foods.  And why would they know?  Well Duh?  They are unlabelled.  The chemical companies who own the seed companies don’t want N. Americans to know.  What have they been hiding? 500x500-Avatar-Sup

In Washington State these is an initiative to require Mandatory labelling of GMOs. Called I 522 and put to the citizens, it was be voted on this November.  If you want labelling of GMOs you will vote yes. If you don’t want to know what’s in your food, you will vote no. Already record and ridiculous amounts of money have been poured into the No side by the pesticide companies, “big agriculture”, and purveyors of junk food. To date, they’ve put in over 12 million dollars. Most of these junk food companies also own organic companies, confusing the already complex chains of ownership.

The YES side comprises the grass roots, the environmentalists, farmers who fear that export markets will dry up as GMO contamination spreads, people who care about nutrition and biodiversity, and independent organic companies that are minuscule in comparison to the NO side. Stonyfield – mostly owned by the French Group Danone, and Whole Foods a public company are notable exceptions supporting the YES side.  But compared to the NO side, the YES side companies are digging deep in their relatively tiny pockets. It is not an equal fight to begin with, simply based on resources of the NO side.

At Baltimore’s Black Olive Restaurant there was a fundraiser for the YES on Washington State’s I 522 two days ago. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be a great idea to celebrate the YES side, given that a whole group of supporters were together. So ignited the idea for this post.  Let’s put names and faces to some of the YES supporters.  This is by no means an exhaustive list of those attending the dinner nor those who support YES.  It’s just folks that I bumped into during my short time at the event.

The YES on I 522 fundraiser was organized by Living Maxwell and Vani the Food Babe Both are passionate about food and your right to know if you’re eating GMOs.  They are on a mission to inform and educate. Here is Max Goldberg (L) with Errol Schweizer of Whole Foods  Whole Foods has taken the laudable and unprecedented step by a national retailer to require labelling by all suppliers by 2018.  This is amazing.  It’s already causing ripples, nay waves.  But Whole Foods says they want to focus beyond GMO labelling and support biodynamic systems, heirloom varieties.  GMO labelling is just the starting point.


Below here is the Food Babe (she *is* a BABE), with Mike Bronner of Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps.


Below my brother Arjan (L) my of Nature’s Path Foods with Greg Fleishmann of Suja Organic Juice


Below Nutiva founder and CEO John Roulac  posing with Kat Schuett.  Kat is a fellow jazz singer!  She’s also an international journalist, editor and community activist and –  (I’m sorry I didn’t get your name-someone please tell me so I can fix this).  Food Democracy Now’s David Murphy was in conversation with Delana Jones Campaign Manager for I 522  Dave’s short term goal is a Million Members for  FOOD DEMOCRACY NOW.  Please sign up.


Below Young Activists Birke Baehr  and  Rachel Parent, who toppled Kevin O’Leary in a debate recently.   Kevin said “All right, Rachel,  I’ll give you labelling. With greater transparency this is going to happen.”   Do it already!  (Go YOUTH) These kids are only 14.  Birke has already given a TED Talk when we was like 12 years old.  These two have poise and charm and eloquence. GO YOUTH.


Below, Dr Bronner’s Magical Soap team  The Bronner family cares about health and the planet, like everyone at this event.  The Bronners, Mike in the back and Dave in the hat, are big donors for the YES on I 522 and an inspiration to all fighting for your right to know what’s in your food.


Below Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich.  They both were in the film GMO OMG.  Dennis said in the film, “If we are what we eat, then we must know what we eating so can learn what we’re going to become.  Until the year,Congressman Dennis Kucinich was the Democratic House representative for Ohio’s 10th district. A former mayor of Cleveland and Ohio state senator, Dennis has served seven terms as congressman for Ohio and in November 2010 was elected to serve an eighth.


Below Dr Rimjhim Duggal-Stephens, my sister in law whose marriage to Arjan inspired LOVE Crunch cereal.  In a bite-for-bite program, for every bag sold of Love Crunch one is donated to the food bank. A loving person Rimjhim fell in Love with Suja Juices this last week.


Below Darren Mahaffy, of Natures Path Foods, surrounded by delightful companions: Maria Anderson, Andrea and Randi from Naturally Savy


Below Ken Roseboro below surrounded by friends. Ken is the editor of the Organic and Non-GMO report.  He appeared in the film GMO OMG, driving around corn fields with Jeremy Seifert.  He is the one who first explained to Jeremy in the film that the GMO corn is technically a pesticide.  That pesticide companies are putting pesticides in our food.


I wanted hoping to catch Steve Crider, regional volunteer for the YES on 522 Campaign.  He is with Amy’s Kitchen, making our family’s favourite frozen pizzas.  They also support YES with all their Heart.

In sum, you have a committed group of folks who live, sleep and breathe the YES movement for a safer, more delicious world.

The NO side is a nameless, faceless conglomeration of huge multinationals, pesticide companies with huge legal teams, infinitely bottomless wells of cash resources and shareholders who only care about protecting their bottom line.  Lest you think that this is the Organic industry versus the chemical companies it’s not so simple.  It may surprise you that not every large organic food company is fighting for your right to know.  In fact most are NOT supporting citizen’s right to know.  As Big Multinationals bought out organic companies, (like Kelloggs bought out Kashi for example), most large Organic brands are actually supporting the NO side.  What?  Say that again? How doest that work?  Well, if they hadn’t sold out I can guarantee you that they would be supporting YES. They are supporting no because they are beholden to their Giant parent companies who share a very different set of ideals than the idealists who started out wanting to grow food without poisoning the Earth.  

Organic food growers and farmers are my heroes.  They replenish the soils, purify the waters and go above and beyond the call of duty to the Earth.  Every single one I’ve met wants everyone to grow organic for the sake of our future. Long-term side-by-side comparison studies by the Rodale Institute show equivalent or greater yields.  Without poisoning the water or soil.

Why are we doing this again?

Whom would you trust?