On March 17th people all over the country will be sporting the color green in honor of St Patrick’s Day.  It’s not just the people, as bars begin serving green drinks, shamrock shaped anything sells in stores, and even the Chicago River runs green for the day. With all this green being thrown around one would think everyone was celebrating the environment. But in all actuality St Patrick’s Day can be the complete opposite. With many disposal decorations, often plastic, that end up littered on the street eventually rest in landfills. It’s not only the decorations that are harmful but massive amounts of beef is consumed as well as harmful chemical dyes added to drinks and food.

How do you avoid using this Irish themed holiday to be wasteful and make sure you turn your St Patrick’s Day thoroughly green? It’s actually easier than you think! By using the age-old wisdom of reduce, re-use, and make responsible choices. Here are a few of our suggestions to green your St Patty’s Day.

Re-purpose Decorations: This year, if you must walk around with shamrocks on your head or decorate your office in all shades of green, consider re-purposing items around your house. You may still have plenty of green items left over from Christmas laying around or perhaps from last year. It can be a fun family activity or craft party with your friends. You may also try hitting up your local thrift stores as many of the items not sold the previous year end up in their possession.

Re-use Clothing: Dying to wear green on St Patrick’s Day? Look through your closets for already existing items that you can use for the day rather than purchasing something new to wear. A thrift, vintage shop, or Etsy trip would be a great place to find previously worn green clothing to celebrate the big day.

Go Organic: Hold the dye and choose some organic brewskis for your festivities! There are plenty to choose from including Bison Brewery and Peak Organic. For a whole rundown of organic beer and your best choices, check out our old posts. You should also consider some eco-friendly breweries such as New Belgium and Brooklyn Brewery who are both run on wind power. If you are baking cupcakes or Irish favorites make sure all your produce choices are either local or organic.

Hold the Meat: Another great way to keep your St Patty’s Day feeling green is to cut back on the meat. Many traditional Irish recipes call for meat such as colcannon, corn beef, and shepherd’s pie. Alas, do not worry, there are great vegetarian and vegan versions of every favorite St Patty’s recipe. We have a terrific vegan Irish recipes including Irish Soda Bread and Stew, as well as Irish Coffee.

Re-usable Cups: Instead of spending the day and night drinking out of that plastic solo cup, use-reusable cups.  Yes the dishes can be annoying, but in the end you will feel better about not sending a stack of plastic cups into the landfill.  Another options is to choose recyclable or compostable cups.

If you are reading this, you are most likely going to be drunk this weekend. Why? Because everybody gets drunk on St Patrick’s Day. And by everyone, we mean most people. Yes, we know, the holiday occurs on this coming Wednesday, but the only realistic celebration days for the working world are this weekend, which means you don’t have much time to prepare. And that is why you have turned to us! With a drinking holiday fast approaching, we researched our beer options and found purchasing organic is superior for various reasons. Read on and be, first, horrified, then satiated.

Now, like you, perhaps, many of our favorite beers are conventionally produced. Essentially, this means, large-scale, factory farm produced hops end up in almost all beers. Much like with conventional fruits and vegetables, conventional hops are farmed using harmful pesticides. In fact, the EPA has reported in the last 60 years farming has moved away from labor intensive techniques to pesticide heavy methods. This comes with a whole host of environmental nightmares from the obvious pollution of soil, drinking water, and aquatic eco-systems to the startling death of wildlife, more than 60 million birds die annually from pesticide poisoning. Which makes us wonder, how much of these harmful chemicals end up in our bottled beers? In a Japanese study, many residues were found in shelf ready beers. For some chemicals, this means up to 36% of pesticides lacing the hops in the field, survive processing, brewing, and end up in the finished product. The bottom line, we are drinking and ingesting crop duster poisons. Told you we would horrify you, didn’t we?

We have covered why conventional beers can be harmful to both the environmental and our own personal health. Now on to be satiated! Drinking conventional beers can be dangerous, however, we are not recommending you give up the wonderful world of beer just yet. Instead, we can all turn to organics! The benefits of drinking organics is pretty simple, as you won’t be ingesting any of those harmful chemicals mentioned above. But on top of drinking pesticide free beer you will be supporting local farming. Most organic hops come from  farms which are 100 acres or less. So by purchasing organic beer, you are not only doing your body good, but are supporting local and small farms! Sounds like a double win to us.

Fortunately, the organic beer market is expanding and there are many more choices available these days. The best place to find organic beer is in your city or region! Some of the best beers are from small, local, micro-breweries. You should check around your neighborhood for suggestions. However, there are many great organic companies that are available around the nation and should be stocked at your local specialty shop, large liquor store, natural foods store, co-op, or even Whole Foods. There are many different companies to choose from. Here are some of our favorites: Peak Organic(from Maine), Samuel Smith (although from far away Britain, how can you deny flavors like Strawberry?), and Wolaver’s (Vermont brewery, Otter Creek’s organic line). If none of our favorites satisfy your palate, you can check this list of organic beers from the Daily Green.  You just might find something local and delicious!

Organic beers may not be as readily available as the conventional type yet, however, drinking them and supporting their business helps you and the environment. Next time you are at the liquor store think about those poor birds or the pesticides that can survive in your beer and fork out the extra cash to purchase the organic alternative. Remember the more we purchase, the more demand breweries will see, and that means more organic beers to choose from! So knock one back for the ole’ Irish style holiday and make sure your label reads USDA Organic!

-Jeremy Pearson & Gina Williams

St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! This day may not be traditionally Irish, as many Americans use it for an excuse to party, drink, and wear green, you can still celebrate the Irish by culinary means. Many Irish friends of mine are always discussing the delicious treat of Irish Soda Bread, so we thought we would share a vegan version with you! This is a great treat by itself or serve with our Vegan Irish Stew. Have a blast this St Patrick’s Day and even if you do party your hearts out, remember Irish Soda Bread makes for a great hangover delight.

Vegan Irish Soda Bread

Prep Time: 20 Minutes    Bake Time: 45 Minutes

1 Cup Organic Soy Milk (or other non dairy milk)
3/4 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 Cup Organic Unbleached Flour
1/2 Cup Raisins
2 Tbsp Water
1 1/2 Tbsp Organic Earth Balance Margarine
1 1/2 Tbsp Ener-G Egg Replacer (or Applesauce)
1 Tbsp Vinegar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Basking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt

Preheat your oven to 375 F. In a regular size loaf pan, grease the bottom with a little extra margarine or oil. If you are using Egg Replacer, follow the directions on the box for 1 Egg and whisk together. In a bowl, combine the soy milk and vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes (it will start to curdle). In a large mixing bowl, combine the wheat flour, white flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in softened Earth Balance and combine together. Add the Egg Replacer or applesauce to the soy milk and vinegar. Now slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix slowly. Add the raisins and mix, but do not over mix. Pour dough into the loaf pan and bake for 35-45 minutes.

Happy St Patrick's Day Photo By Artsi~AnnieOn March 17th, the whole world will “go green,” but not the eco-friendly type. However, celebrating the Irish holiday doesn’t have to mean you have to give up your true going green convictions! There are a bunch of great ways you can spend this year’s holiday and still promote the GO GREEN message. You can be sure that this year wearing green might mean a little more than just a social requirement to avoid a pinch. So in the spirit We have pulled together a few helpful hints on to celebrate a truly green and eco-friendly St Patrick’s Day!

New Belgium Beers Photo By fitchactionDrink Local and/or Organic Beer: Besides wearing green, the biggest St Patty’s Day tradition is a visit to the good ol’ pub!  This year celebrate in an eco-friendly style by ideally ordering an organic local beer on tap and in a re-usuable glass. But if this ideal is not attainable near you, check out some of these eco friendly and organic breweries: New Belgium Beers (a worker owned co-op run by wind power, Brooklyn Brewery (also run by wind power in NYC), Peak Organic, or North Coast Brewing Company. And remember if you must drink out of the bottle, be sure to recycle!

Eat Irish favorites Vegan Style: Another St Patty’s Day favorite is eating delicious Irish meals. So this year try to make your Irish favorites with organic, local veggies. By not eating meat on this holiday you are lessing your impact on the environment and sooth your conscious. It is pretty easy to make all your favorites vegan. Try out some of these favorite recipes of ours including our very own Vegan Irish Stew, Vegan Irish Soda Bread, and Vegan Irish Colcannon. So serve up your favorite vegan Irish recipes before you hit the bars.

Day 268/365 - happy st. patrick's day! Photo By ~*erin*~Avoid Plastic Decorations: It seems like everyone is out to make a buck during St Patrick’s Day and several cheap plastic gadgets such as beads and plastic shamrock rings. These cheap and disposable decorations are made out of plastic, a no no to greenies, and are usually thrown out the next day, only to end up in landfills. So this year be sure to avoid these unnecessary  accessories. And if you must have some shamrock snazz try making your own decorations for your party or purchase items you will actually re-use. And finally try some face paint to wear out on the town!

Organic Kiss Me I'm Irish By CafePress.comWear Organic/Promote Green: Instead of just wearing any old green T shirt or Irish slogan, wear organic T Shirts! That way your green tees really can BE Green! These days Organic Tees aren’t hard to come by, even major brands carry them. But many are still manufactured in sweatshops. So be sure to look out for the labels when you purchase them. If you want a little more St Patrick’s Day Cafe Press has a great “Kiss Me I’m Irish” Organic Tee. Also, you might want to take the opportunity to promote green issues on this day. Check out the New Green Deal Organic Tee or our very own Declare Your Autonomie Organic Tee. If you wear your green slogans out and about, just maybe your tee will start a conversation with someone at the bar and you can really promote green!

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