As I wrote about last week, you can give gardening love for Valentineís Day and literally have a green day. But, if gardening or gardens are not your thing, there are other ways to ensure that your day of love is as green as possible.
A good place to start is with the meal. If home cooking isnít your thing, then have dinner at a Certified Green Restaurant in your city. You can search the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) for one near you. The GRA certifies restaurants as ďgreenĒ based on a number of categories and using category specific criteria.
Sustainable food is one of the GRA certification standards. Other categories include water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, energy, disposables, and sustainable furnishings and materials.
In order to be green certified, an establishment must meet minimum standards/points in each of these categories, accumulate a total of 100 points, have a full-scale recycling program, and be free of polystyrene foam (aka Styrofoam). Points are awarded for each category and it lists a restaurantís ranking for these criteria. As GRA says on itís web site, when ordering seafood and meat, ask if itís sustainable, hormone-free, naturally raised, etc. They also suggest carrying pocket-size guides to sustainable seafood, like the ones from Blue Ocean Institute to help you make smart seafood choices at the fish counter, or your local sushi restaurant.
If you have searched the site and still canít find a Green Certified Restaurant in your area, you can also check Local Harvest to at least find a restaurant that serves locally grown and/or organic cuisine for your holiday celebrations.
If you are opting for a home cooked meal, or, even if you are eating at a GRA certified restaurant, you might want to consider the wine that accompanies your meal. There are an increasing number of good organic and biodynamic wine choices.
What makes a wine organic? Basically, 100 percent organically certified wine is a wine made completely from organically grown grapes and without any added sulfites. Some growers are even going beyond organic growing biodynamically. Biodynamic growers also strive to be self-sustaining while working closely with the natural ecosystem.
Many biodynamic wines are grown in accordance with the Biodynamic certification agency the Demeter Association whose standards are stricter than organic standards and emphasize farm animals, soil, and compost preparations that enhance plant growth and fertility. Find organic and biodynamic wineries by checking out Fork and Bottle’s comprehensive list.
Aside from a romantic meal together, perhaps the most popular gift on Valentineís Day is a bouquet of roses. There are more and more places to find locally grown, organic, earth-friendly flowers including Organic Bouquet or check for other organic flower growers by visiting Local Harvest.