Monday, September 27, 2010

How I spent my weekend....

On Saturday I woke up nice and early (check out the pic of my sunrise :)) so that I could head over to my mom's where she was going to instruct me on the art of canning meat.

Why was I going to do this? Well, for a couple of reasons. We are fortunate to live in a part of the world where we can actually go out and literally bring home the....elk which my husband and son had done and secondly, by canning some of the meat it creates another great way to enjoy it. I was saying, my mom was going to assist me with this venture as she does whenever I attempt to preserve something (the pressure cooker terrifies me). I had 50 pounds of lean elk meat, cut up into stew size chunks. We proceeded to sterilize jars, lids and seals. The meat loses flavour while processing so we browned up each batch on the stove adding roasted garlic, pearl onions, cracked black pepper and salt. The house smelled heavenly!

It was such a lovely day, spending time with my mom, creating something that we all were going to enjoy all year.

Many, many hours later we had 29 jars of elk meat done. What can you do with this antibiotic free, hormone free creation? Well, I can make stew with it, I can serve it with pasta or rice, I can make a blue ribbon worthy pot pie.....

It was alot of work, but eating local is alot of work.....but totally worth it :)


Becoming a greener guest

The most popular season for entertaining is right around the corner, beginning with Thanksgiving and then the slippery slope to Christmas and New Years. Many will receive invitations to homes during the holidays for either dinner, drinks or a party. Combining etiquette and sustainability, how can we become a “greener” guest?

Here are some tips to help to minimize your environmental footprint and that of your host during this upcoming holiday season.

RSVP or “répondez, s'il vous plaît," which means "please reply." – By sending your RSVP to your host, you are actually minimizing waste! By letting your host know that you will or will not attend, you are ensuring that they do not overbuy or over-prepare food for the party, therefore minimizing waste.

These Boots are Made for Walking – When considering transportation to the party or event, consider how you will travel. If you live close, consider walking. Not only will you be minimizing your carbon footprint, you will not have to worry about determining who will be the designated driver. High heels? No problem, throw on your runners and change into your heels when you arrive. If you live in the city, there is no shame in taking public transit or sharing a cab ride with other guests. Of course, carpooling with other guests is always an option.

Hostess gifts – We always want to bring something for the host or hostess just to say thank you. Many bring wine….if this is the case, try to bring a local wine. In lieu of the traditional flowers consider bringing a lovely soy candle. If you have just finished a great book and are ready to pass it along, don’t be shy about tying a lovely ribbon around it and bringing it with you…..wrap it with a package of tea and a note that says, “Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did and you have a chance to relax with it and a cup of tea”. Home decor & living icon, Martha Stewart, suggests bringing something homemade like a preserve with a lovely personalized label. Whatever you bring, don’t be disappointed if they don’t serve it or use it that evening. There is no rule that a hostess gift needs to be used during the course of the evening. In fact, it is the opposite. Your host has already considered the food, wine and décor for the event and quite frankly, your gift may not suit the theme.

Potluck? – If your host asked you to bring a food item, consider using local ingredients. Make sure you bring your dish in a reusable container. Tip – If you are concerned about getting your serving dish back, put a piece of tape on the bottom with your name.

Green it forward – What about bringing your host something which will help them green their future dinner parties. Purchase some linen napkins in a neutral colour and present them wrapped in a lovely ribbon. Simple napkin rings can be added the next time you are invited. Linen napkins can be used over and over again, taking the place of single use paper napkins.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Do green events lack creativity?

I don't know what it is, but for the first time in my green meeting planning career, I have been asked the question "don't green events lack creativity? I don't want to have a boring event" not once, but twice recently. Once we begin planning the event, their fears are soon dispensed. It is clear that their green event will not be boring.

So I have to ask the question.......

Are we emerging from the recession driven period of individuals shying away from over indulgence who came over to the "green side" in an effort to not appear over indulgent? Are clients once again jumping on the "the more the better" band wagon?

I never questioned the motives of clients who wanted to green their events. For didn't really matter what was driving them to greener pastures because once they went on that journey with me, I knew I could convince them that it truly was the better way of doing business. When the recession occurred, clients felt that going green = being able to still hold meetings/events because they were being "good". Now that the economy is picking up, I am finding that new clients are questioning the amount of "greening". They don't want to appear cheap.

Green events/meetings do not have to appear cheap. In my experience green events and meetings can be some of the most creative events out there! Why? Because we are always looking for ways to innovate. We are the early adopters.

Is there anyone else out there sensing a shift?