Deborahmclaren's Weblog

Sustianable Tourism, Buy Local, Rural-Urban Connections

Posts Tagged ‘Locally-owned’

New Zealand! Need your tips to “go local!”

Posted by deborahmclaren on March 20, 2011

We’re heading to New Zealand in April. Looking for sustainable, locally-owned businesses (accommodations, cafes, art galleries, etc), organizations and events. Tips for such places appreciated. Please send directly to me at Deborah AT mm.com

Itinerary

North Island
Auckland
Coromandel
Rotorua
Hamilton

South Island
Christchurch – Picking up car in Christchurch to drive to Queenstown,
considering a stop in between
Queenstown
Dunedin
Milford Sound

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Posted in art, Buy-local, cultural heritage, green travel, Indigenous tourism, sustainable tourism, sustainable travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gourmet chocolate, bone jewelry, vegan clothes and other cool ideas for Valentine’s Day

Posted by deborahmclaren on February 5, 2011

According to new economic predictions, Americans will spend more on Valentine’s Day this year. Amazing amounts really – almost $2.7 million! It would probably be more if Valentine’s Day was on a weekend, this year it falls on a Monday.  Think of all the sweet things we can do for our loved ones and communities if we buy-local or take a local/stay-cation! I’ve got some great ideas, but first look at the statistics:

“Consumers will be spending 5.7 percent more than last year on romantic getaways for Valentine’s Day in 2011, significantly improving upon 2009′s flat spending results, according to industry research firm IBIS World.”

Valentine's Day Spending
“Travel is the third most popular spend category for Valentine’s Day, with $2.16 billion in projected spend for 11.6 percent of the total.” And, according to another survey by the National Retail Federation, this is the first Valentine’s Day since 2008 where couples plan to spend more on each other than the year before. This year, couples will spend an average of $68.98 on their spouse or significant other.
First let’s look at greeting cards. Hand made cards are more romantic and personal than bought ones. Creating beautiful home made Valentine’s Day cards is easy. If you’re not crafty you can use a photo or even bake a giant cookie. Love notes are treasured forever. If you’re not a poet, tuck in a “coupon” that your love can redeem now or later (massage, picnic and wine under the stars, a romantic weekend getaway, cuddly movie night, whatever makes you happy). If a home made card is not your thing, find a local artist.  Etsy.com is a great place to find cards and other gifts that are made by real people, often in your own area. Here’s a lovely example of a hand crafted card that says I love you in 14 languages!

I Love You Card by riricreations in Richmond, VA (etsy.com)

Etsy.com has lots of other crafts, jewelry, etc. Check out this cute Little Wood Valentine Monster by Little Wood People in Buffalo, NY.

Little Wood Monster by Little Wood People, Buffalo, NY
Valentine Chocolates! With so many locally-made gourmet chocolates these days its easy to find traditional and exciting new recipes – especially organic fair-trade chocolate. I love chocolates that include spicy chilies. The Rogue Chocolatier, in Minneapolis, is the first true artisan chocolate maker to arrive in the Upper Midwest. The Sambirano bar, made with cacao from a single family-owned estate in Madagascar, was a winner of the 2010 Good Food Awards! One man bean-to-bar chocolate making!

Jewels for your valentine? Make sure to find a local artist that makes jewelry and avoid jeweler chains. Looks for artist co-ops, art fairs, and locally-owned clothing stores that sell jewelry.  Albany, NY artist, Corrina Goutos, combines her love for jewelry, sustainable living and veganism in her new line of jewelry: Vegan Bone Jewelry, part of Gilding the Lily, a nation-wide contemporary jewelry design company. She makes all the Jewelry by hand and is committed to employing recycled materials and sustainable found art into every piece she makes.

A rose is a rose! NOT. VeriFlora® is America’s first comprehensive sustainability certification program for the floral and potted plant industries. The VeriFlora® “Certified Sustainably Grown” label is your guarantee that flowers and potted plants have been produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and meet the highest standards for freshness and quality. When you choose a VeriFlora® product, you are contributing to a global movement to encourage companies to become sustainable. Already, this has resulted in significant and positive change for farmers, farm workers, and the environment. Organic Bouquet, the largest online provider of eco-friendly and organic floral gifts in the US. They also provide gift baskets, fruit baskets, nut baskets, gourmet chocolates, gourmet cookies, plants, wreaths, organic cotton apparel, organic towels, and organic linens. All of these products are certified eco-friendly and/or provide for environmental benefits through participation in Carbon Offset programs.

Local food co-ops and health food stores often carry organic, locally-grown flowers these days. Hard to find in the northern climates but High Tunnel Greenhouse and Hoop House Greenhouses are changing that. With these new techniques, growing flowers year round without the need for artificial heat is possible.

If you and your love truly love good, healthy food take him/her to a slow foods dinner in your area! Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. Good food is the language of love so delicious slow food is about the sexiest thing you can give! Slow Food promotes the celebration of food as a cornerstone of pleasure, culture and community. Find a local chapter near you by visiting the Slow Food USA website.

Many chefs and restaurants support and promote slow food, organic and locally-grown from farms, gardens and wineries near you. Look for them in your area. California isn’t the only place that produces quality wine these days. Many regions, even cold climates are successfully growing varietals appropriate for their regions. In fact, there are numerous wineries in Minnesota now!

Considering sexy new lingerie or other clothes for your sweetie? Eco-friendly bamboo is the most sustainable of natural fibers. It grows fast, requires little water, needs no pesticides, and can reach a height of 75 feet in two months. Fair Indigo and Maggies Organics are pioneers in the field of sustainable, pesticide-free clothing. Fair Indigo is a company wholly committed to making a difference in the fashion industry by creating eco-friendly and organic clothing that is made in keeping with fair trade principles. After researching cotton and learning that it is grown on 3-5% of the world’s cultivated land, and yet uses nearly 10% of the world’s pesticides and 25% of the world’s insecticides, Maggie’s Organics committed themselves to utilizing organic cotton to tell the real story behind conventional cotton clothing. Your best option is to find locally-owned clothing stores that sell these items or products designed by local artists. Check out Peta’s Shopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing for a list of dozens of cruelty-free, vegan companies.

Red Floral Bamboo Tee from Fair Indigo

A romantic Stay-Cation is a vacation that is spent at one’s home enjoying all that home and one’s home environs have to offer. It’s an alternative to pricey, stressful vacations and is more ecologically friendly as less energy is needed to travel locally. Star-gazing and a walk in the woods are romantic and can be done very close to home. Without going far you can find locally-owned accommodations – inns, B&Bs, home exchanges, etc. Wisconsin leads the nation in production of artisan and farmstead cheeses, thanks to the work of master cheesemakers around the state. On the WI B&B website you can carve out a culinary tour based around these small-batch cheese delights. The Minnesota B&B Association offers chocolate tours along the St. Croix River Valley. If you are an Eskimo you might want to stay cozy at one of Inns North which include 21 hotels, 19 in Nunavut and 2 in the NWT, owned by the aboriginal people of Northern Canada.

Do some research – there are lots of other organizations and indie businesses that offer staycation specials. The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis offers stay-cation programs that promote 2 for 1 concerts – you can give your sweetie a whole season of beautiful music!

Here’s wishing you a beautiful Valentine’s Day! – Travel Momma

Posted in art, Buy-local, Fair Trade, food and wine, Slow Foods, travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Local Flavor Travel

Posted by deborahmclaren on November 1, 2010

Please join me on my new Facebook page which celebrates LOCAL food, art, culture, heritage and travel. Please feel free to post about locally-owned businesses, organizations and events! See you THERE!

Buying local is the best investment in our economy!

Posted in art, Buy-local, ecotour, entreprenuers, Fair Trade, family travel, food and wine, green music, Indigenous tourism, microenterprise, Minnesota, Saint Paul, sustainable tourism, sustainable travel, theater, travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Minnesota cabins

Posted by deborahmclaren on October 27, 2010

Just back from Minnesota’s great Northwoods. Avoiding corporate chain hotels for locally-owned cabins. We found a rustic cabin for $55 a night on White Lake, just north of Duluth. Newly remodeled – family spent summers and weekends there for 15+ years while kids were growing up. Don’t get up there as much anymore, so renting it out for a fair price to Minnesotans who can appreciate their low-impact business and invest directly into the local economy.

Posted in family travel, Minnesota, travel | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Little Farm Store in St. Paul – Egg | Plant!

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 31, 2010

I knew the little store had opened about 4 blocks from my house this spring… I even joined Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply on Face Book. Despite numerous drive-bys I had not actually stopped in until Friday. Their FB announcement that “chicks are in” was too tempting. My son, Anil, has never seen baby chicks. Weird since I lived on farms growing up and even injected dyes into eggs so that Easter chicks were born blue, pink and orange. As a child, there’s nothing more wonderful than cuddling a soft baby chick in your hands.

Keepin cozy at Egg/Plant Farm Supply

We stopped in and fell in love with the place. The chicks were toooooo cute!!!!! It felt like walking into a 1850s farm store, except they have indoor plumin.

Their focus is on edible seeds and plants (vegetables, herbs, berries, fruits) but they also carry general purpose garden tools, soils, fertilizers, and supplies, with a primarily organic focus. Although we can’t raise chickens (although lots of people in St Paul are doing it – we just have a LARGE DOG problem), we found lots of other cool things. We bought eco-mulch which is organic hardwood chips compressed together so that one bale is equal to about three times what it looks like. There were some Chef Jeff’s organic seedlings – we stocked up on hot peppers – “super chili” and “Poblano” as well as an EGGPLANT and a watermelon. I wonder how the watermelon will evolve in our square foot garden. I wanted to buy some grow rings – terra cotta pots without a bottom. They are for protecting seedlings and plants from snails and other ugly buglies. They are a little on the steep side (although made by a St. Paul potter). We’ll save up for a couple next year.

Egg|Plant stocks Seed Savers heirloom seeds.

Egg|Plant’s owners are all about organic gardening so their small shop has a bevy of organic organic potting mixes, compost and composted manure, vermiculite, peat moss, and coir, and composting supplies including the Worm Factory worm composter.

Egg/|Plant has organic and conventional chicken feeds, and other supplies for raising chicks and urban chicken-keeping. As an addition to supplies for growing your own food, they carry canning and preserving supplies as well as D.I.Y fresh cheese kits and sprouters.

They are looking for local products, recycled and sustainably produced products in all areas. If you are a crafts person or artisan with pieces that fit into their product mix, please contact Egg|Plant Farm Supply to discuss sales of your products in their store.

If you are an urban farmer, you might want to check out City Back Yard Farming. It’s an urban CSA and U-Pick farm on Victoria Street in St. Paul.

I love my town! St. Paul Rocks and Gardens!

Posted in microenterprise, Saint Paul | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Carrotmob is coming to town: St. Paul

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 19, 2010

Let’s oroganize a Carrotmob in St. Paul/Minneapolis. Keep reading the blog for more information. Also send in your ideas.

WHAT IS CARROTMOB?

Carrotmob is a type of consumer activism in which businesses compete at how socially responsible they can be, and then a network of consumers spends money to support whichever business makes the strongest offer. We harness consumer power to make it possible for the most socially-responsible business practices to also be the most profitable choices. It’s the opposite of a boycott.

It’s easier to understand if you look at an example. In the first ever Carrotmob event, a liquor store agreed to invest in upgrades that made their store more energy-efficient. In exchange, hundreds of Carrotmobbers showed up at once to support the winning store. To the right is a video of that campaign, which explains the concept rather well. With over 50 events worldwide, this model is proven to work on a small scale. Next we are going to grow our network until we can apply the same method to large companies. Towards that end, we are currently incorporating Carrotmob into a new non-profit, building a team, and raising money to support a large expansion. Browse upcoming Carrotmob campaigns here.

Posted in Buy-local, food and wine, Minnesota, quite unusual, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Join the discussion: Responsible Tourism Week 2010: May 17-21

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 14, 2010

Responsible Tourism Week 2010: May 17-21

For the second year in a row, Planeta.com is proud to announce Responsible Tourism Week, revving up for action from May 17-21, 2010.

Created first in 2009 when the Belize Responsible Tourism Conference was cancelled due to the swine flu outbreak, RT Week, scheduled just a few weeks before World Environment Day, is “a free demonstration of Web 2.0 as a means of documenting the challenges of developing (and maintaining!) responsible tourism.”

While it takes place online and uses the latest Web-based information-sharing tools as the medium of exchange – participants will use Delicious, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and Slideshare to document their practices – the news transmitted will always be about down-to-earth good tourism reported from around the world.

Although the primary objective is of course to encourage the practice of responsible tourism and then broadcast word of it to as broad a community (online and off) as possible, another key outcome is the creation of incentives for continuity between tourism conferences, especially those that address responsible tourism issues and practices. RT Week is a perfect opportunity to share updates on recent events and cultivate interest for future ones, as well as renew and strengthen collaborative bonds within the industry… and create new ones.

In other words, this is the week where you get to shout out to the world the good things you see around you, so be honest and be public. Support a local event. Create a local event. Lead the way or follow the topics for which you have a passion. Talk food, volunteering, slow travel, local travel – and create a foamboard to help get your message across!
Some RT Week Tips

* Walk the talk – Practice responsible tourism wherever you are.
* Be generous – Compliment someone via twitter, fave a photo or write a testimonial on Flickr, give a thumbs up to a video on YouTube.
* Play nice – Enough said.
* Be creative – Can you make your own poster or graphic for RT Week 2010?
* Have your say – What is responsible tourism? Please take a moment to answer the responsible tourism survey.
* Show your twitter savvy – Use the hashtag: #rtweek2010 on any relevant tweets.
* Have fun! Organize a marshmallow challenge to test your creative muscle!

Posted in Indigenous tourism, sustainable tourism, sustainable travel, Technology, travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Go Local: St. Paul, MN Grand Avenue

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 13, 2010

Grumpy Boy

Local travel takes you outside of the bubble that you can often find yourself in as a traveler. Instead of traveling from place to place and only really scratching the surface, local travel helps you to gain more of an understanding of a place, it’s culture, it’s environment, it’s economy and it’s people. When I travel I like seeking out locally-owned businesses – getting away from the ever-present corporate chains that you can barely avoid these days.  I’m going to start blogging more about my home town cause it rocks!

I love my town!  Saint Paul, Minneota is noted for its neighborhoods. The city has been called “seventeen small towns with one mayor, “ owing to the neighborhood-based life of much of the city. It’s fairly diverse, with lots of  Southeast Asian (Hmong, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Filippino), Indian, Somalian, Eritrean and Ethopian new immigrants – mixed in with lots of Scandinavian, German, and Mexican immigrants that have been here for a hundred years or so. And of course – this is the original homeland of the Dakota Medwaketon (Sioux/Lakota).

Grand Avenue, St. Paul

This afternoon my son, Anil and I stopped on Grand Avenue  just east of Snelling to visit Shish Meditteranean Restaurant for a treat.  He was in a very fussy, grumpy mood and needed food immediately!  It was our first time to visit Shish. We ordered a chicken gyro plate that included to-die-for-hummus (garlicky and smooth, with lots of paprika), fresh pita bread and a generous salad. Shish uses local foods whenever possible. They also make delightful treats – your basic baklava but lots of tempting chocolate desserts and M&M cookies.

Yummies at Shish

I noticed at least a dozen salads on the menu – great to know about here in the Northland where salads have tended to be very limited (except summer time) until recently where winter greenhouses and tunnel gardening are making headway). Shish was voted Best Restaurant by readers of the City Pages (the Twin Cities free weekly entertainment news).

Sam at Shish!

The staff person, Sam, tried to tempt Anil out of his mood with offers of cookies but he wouldn’t budge. He was enjoying his little gloomy spell to the fullest.  However, he finally couldn’t resist and had to try the chicken. It’s not-hot, but “grill” spicy and so tender it falls off your fork! And half the plate was piled with it.

It was an emergency stop but made us feel so much better that we decided to walk around and peek into some of the nearby stores. This part of town, near Macalester College, is full of little locally-owned stores and cafes. There’s an army surplus type shop, Cat-Man-Do restaurant, Tea Garden, the very eclectic Coffee News Cafe, Khyber Pass (my husband’s favorite), the Italian Pie Shoppe & Winery, Pad Thai Grand Cafe, Dunn Brothers Coffee, a couple of spas (I like New Beginnings), gift shops, a cooperatively owned Ace hardware store and Wet Paint – an independently owned art supply store (since the early 1970s I’ve heard). About two blocks away is Coastal Seafood, the Twin Cities best fish market.  We always enjoy popping into the hardware store to browse through the seasonal stuff.  It’s May so we scoped out the latest model bar-b-q grills, wooden Adirondack chairs, gardening supplies and seeds. Our visit reminded me to take my torn window screens in for repair before the bugs arrive in full force.

Since this area is surrounded by small colleges most of the cafes provide wifi, won’t rush you, and have excellent food and fair prices. The area is a mix of college students, local residents, and adventurous diners.

I love my town! If you’re from the surrounding area, visiting, or just driving through, Grand Avenue is not far from I-94 (south at Snelling exit) and is a nice place to visit. It’s accessible by bus routes and is easy to bike to.  It’s an excellent place to get over the grumpies.

Posted in Buy-local, food and wine, Minnesota, Saint Paul, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Local Travel: Connecting Independent Travelers with People and Places

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 12, 2010

Local Travel: Connecting Independent Travelers with People and Places

8 April 2010 420 views No Comment

Within the past few weeks, over 40 (and counting) companies and organizations from around the world – representing a diverse range of industry segments and interest areas, from urban travel to wildlife safari, from international companies to community-based groups – have gathered in support of the Local Travel Movement, a new global initiative promoting the local way of travel – getting in touch with the local people and seeing a place like a local.

LocalTravelMovement

One look at the list of current partners, and you’ll see that this movement has not set out to create a narrowly defined category or set of terms to be analyzed; rather, the movement is about creating and promoting opportunities. Opportunities for travelers to discover new, exciting and enriching ways to experience the world. Opportunities for tourism organizations to connect with each other and share stories. Opportunities for the tourism industry to help give locals a real voice and develop a stronger ethical dialogue about tourism’s connections with local people, the local environment, local culture and the local economy.

Local-FarmersMarket
Visiting a local farmer’s market is a great way to enjoy
conversations with the locals and get a real taste of local flavors.

Promoting these Local Travel Values, TIES joins our friends and partners in encouraging travelers around the world to think about and appreciate all the things that make your travel special and memorable – learning to use simple phrases in the local language and communicating with your local hosts with and without words; experiencing an authentic taste of local specialties; being part of grassroots activities giving back to the people and places you’re visiting.

Local-Coffee
Spending your money locally and contributing to the local economy
is one important way of promoting the local way of travel.

We believe that these values are well-aligned with the principles of ecotourism, which are about minimizing the negative footprint of your travel, and maximizing the positive impact – benefiting conservation and the well-being of local people. By choosing to “go local” whenever possible – eating local food, enjoying traveling slowly by bike or on foot, and opting for locally-owned and operated accommodation – you are making a difference for the people and places you visit.

Local-Bike
Try renting a bike from a friend or from a local bike rental service
and take a relaxing ride around the community you’re visiting.

Learn More: Why Local Travel?

For travellers it’s a chance to get under a place’s skin (and let it under theirs), while also making the most of their travel time and saving money by spending locally. For host communities, it is vital for enforcing the beneficial qualities of tourism, maximising a general awareness of the local culture and minimising ‘leakage’ from the local economy. Read more

Local travel movement generating a buzz around the web:

Get Involved

>> Join the Local Travel Facebook page, invite your friends and share your comments
>> Join the Local Travel LinkedIn group, share the group and join the conversations

Posted in Buy-local, sustainable tourism | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Future of Travel and Tourism by Glen Hiemstra

Posted by deborahmclaren on May 7, 2010

Future of Travel and Tourism

by Glen Hiemstra on 01/07/09 at 1:24 pm |

Last week I spoke to the Travel and Tourism Research Association on alternative futures for travel and tourism. It was the 40th Annual Conference of the association, held in Honolulu, and my appearance was coordinated by Goldstar Speakers. The key slides from my brief program are available for download via Slideshare.

I asked where the future of travel and tourism lies, between the vision of a Virgin Galactic for space adventureVirgin-Galactic Space Port, and that of the creators of the Null Stern Hotel in Switzerland, meaning the “zero star” hotel in recognition of the current and future austerity of travel?Null-Stern Hotel

The heart of the program focused on 4 converging forces driving the future, and 4 emerging trends in travel and tourism. As a futurist speaker who tries always to see the 360-degree view of future forces, I began with a run-down on the primary forces shaping our time and which I see converging into one grand pattern – economic disparity and frugality, expensive energy, demographic destiny related to aging, young and diverse populations, and environmental imperatives with associated changes in life styles.

In the travel and tourism industry these forces are leading to 4 emerging trends:

1. Keeping it local. If trends in energy, economy, and environment continue, then traveling long distances for recreation will become more rare. In order for the resort community to maintain a market, they will need to cater more to a local clientele. This is captured in the concept of the 10-kilometer hotel, one whose prime customers come from the local area for a respite.

2. Alternative transport. Today the local paper in Seattle featured a photo of a local organic farmer delivering his wares via sailboat to the docks in Seattle. He calls it the no-oil food. In the travel and tourism industry this kind of move will be and is being mirrored as people seek out non-motorized experiences like biking through France, or taking trips by sail. Over the longer term, again depending on how energy, environment, and economic trends play out, it is likely that tourists will seek out slower, less energy intensive, even zero-fossile fuel energy experiences.

3. Destination evolution. This trend is underway, as destination resorts focus on becoming greener and more sustainable, more local in their attraction, more astute in their use of information technology for advertising and for management, and more knowledgeable of market trends via research.

4. New whys of travel. It is said that there is graffiti from ancient tourists on the monuments in Egypt. People have always and will always travel to see new places and people, even if they have to walk or ride an animal to do so. That is not going to change. But, one more time depending on how the converging trends play out, we may see a return to the why of travel being for two primary purposes – to visit family, and to seek new adventure. Business travel may decline as 3D-net technologies become robust, and distance travel may decline as economic and environmental imperatives demand. Local travel may fill the need for reconnecting with yourself and recharging the batteries. In fact making that a focus of what you offer in the travel and tourism industry may be one key to the future.

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, consultant, blogger, internet video host and founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech contact Futurist.com.

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Posted in alternative transportation, Buy-local, entreprenuers, travel | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

 
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