First and Largest Vegan Grocery Store Chain Comes to U.S in 2016

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European super market and wholesaler Veganz  has plans to open its first U.S location this year in Portland, Oregon.  Founded in 2011, the Berlin based supermarket carries only products which are 100 percent vegan, including  cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries.   Bredack, owner and creator of Veganz, decided to get involved in the business soon after changing his own lifestyle in 2009. Finding it difficult to shop for plant-based products in his own city, the former meat eater decided to make vegan living easy and accessible for everyone.

Although vegans only make up about 6% of the U.S population,  plant heavy diets continue to gain in popularity, creating a much broader customer base for the new chain.  It’s no surprise the market is choosing to make Portland OR its first U.S. home.  Portland, often recognized for its progressive culture and style, was ranked number two by PETA for vegan friendly cities. If the chain proves to be as successful in the U.S as it has been in its many European locations, there’s a good chance you will see one pop up in your town soon.

Sustainable Valentines Flowers

By Alexandra Hart

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Trying to keep your Valentines flowers sustainable?  Ditch the bouquet and give potted flowers.  They too are fragrant, bright, and add elegance to any room. More importantly, you’ll be doing yourself and the planet a favor. According to MSNBC, 78 percent of the 4 billion flowers sold in the U.S are harvested and shipped out of Colombia and Ecuador.  Not only does the journey use millions of gallons of fuel to arrive at your local floral boutique, these countries commonly use pesticides and herbicides that are banned in the United States.  These pollutants not only cause health problems but serious destruction of local habitats as well.  And while a majority of cut flowers in the U.S are not locally grown, keep in mind if you do buy local, high amounts of hazardous chemicals are still commonly used, effecting human health, the environment and our precious bee population.

If you’re still set on giving your valentine cut flowers start by looking for organic and fair trade flowers.  Skip the added foam and plastic heart plant inserts and look for decorative materials made from more sustainable materials. But keep in mind by avoiding cut flowers all together you can give your love beautiful flowers they can enjoy for years.   Lilies, orchids, begonias, and roses, among others, can all be grown indoors and an added benefit to potted plants is they can even reduce indoor toxins in your living space.  This Valentine’s Day be environmentally responsible and watch the flowers bloom year after year.

Ben & Jerry’s Launches Vegan Flavors

 By Alexandra Hart

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After months of research and development, the legendary ice cream brand Ben and Jerry’s has launched their non-dairy frozen dessert line.  Since 1978 Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have been creating distinctive ice creams recognized for their quirky names and unique flavor blends.  For years Ben & Jerry’s has sold the idea of ice cream euphoria with a side of peace and love.  It’s no wonder, a brand that has guided itself on caring about world issues and spreading awareness would expand to a dairy-free option. 

The certified vegan flavors include non-dairy spins on the classic favorites Chunky Monkey and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, as well as two new special varieties, P.B & Cookies and Coffee Caramel Fudge made with fair trade certified coffee. The almond milk dessert not only satisfies customers with a dairy intolerance but also allows those who choose to avoid cow’s milk for environmental and welfare reasons, to once again experience the delicious tastes of the Ben & Jerrys brand.