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Do Your Part: Think Outside the (Chocolate) Box on Valentine’s Day

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By Terri Bennett

Valentines_Day_Roses(MCT)—Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about love, thoughtfulness, and maybe a few decadent treats. But did you know what’s really involved in getting some of the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts to your loved one? It’s not always so rosy. This year, Do Your Part as you send flowers, prepare dinner, or even deliver the sweetest of gifts.

The Flower Delivery

Be informed before you buy that traditional Valentine’s bouquet. Many imported roses can actually contain 50 percent more pesticides than what’s legally allowed on food in this country. My best advice is to look for retailers who are committed to selling safer flowers. Those selling VeriFlora certified ones meet strict environmental standards. There are other certifications that will give you peace of mind including ones from the Rainforest Alliance and EcoBlooms. And don’t forget how far flowers usually travel only to last a few days. Opting for flowers grown at local nurseries will help cut down on the resources need to ship and store them. Also, potted plants you buy are usually grown locally and will last a whole lot longer than cut flowers. Many can be transplanted outdoors to last for years!

The Dinner and Drinks

Why not show your Valentine you really care by making a thoughtful dinner from scratch? Seeking out organic and locally grown fruits, vegetables, and meats are good for you and the planet. You can visit a farmer’s market for inspiration or even the local section at your favorite supermarket. Adding a delicious local wine is also a nice touch as are a few candles. Instead of traditional petroleum-based candles, light soy or beeswax ones. They won’t pollute the indoor air as you enjoy your meal.

The Dessert

Dessert is always my favorite part of a Valentine’s Day dinner. Whether you are making a decadent chocolate dessert or shopping for that perfect box of candy, know what you are really eating. If you go for organic chocolate, your treats will taste even better because you’ll know that the cocoa beans were grown without any synthetic chemicals, which is better for you, the environment, and the farmers who grow them. If you want to go one step further when it comes to protecting farmers, look for chocolates marked ‘fair trade’, which ensures that those in the field have safe working conditions and were given a fair wage.

There are easy and delicious ways to Do Your Part for your loved ones and the planet this Valentine’s Day. If you are looking for more inspiration, simply visit DoYourPart.com/Columns for gift ideas and more resources to help you plan your perfect day.

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living” available at DoYourPart.com.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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