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Montreal Families

How to throw an eco-friendly baby shower

When I found out my friend was pregnant, I eagerly offered to host her baby shower. Her only request was that it be “eco-friendly,” meaning organic food, décor and gifts. It seemed easy enough, so I got busy planning the event. While doing my research, I discovered that there are a number of local companies that offer “green” products and services.

Blossoming invitations

When singer Sheryl Crow had an eco-friendly shower, invitations were made on biodegradable paper with wildflower seeds that were pressed inside the paper stock. Guests at her party were able to plant the whole invitation in the ground or a pot, and then watch their flowers grow.

In Montreal, Wishbuds sprouted up a couple years ago and offers a beautiful variety of seeded papers. The company offers two options: you can send the baby shower information to them and the staff will create the invitation for you or you can buy the paper and write the invitations yourself. For more information, call (514) 693-8510 or go to www.wishbuds.com. You can also find these products at Atelier de fleurs, 5658A Parc Ave. or Fleuriste Dames d’Alcantara, 6640 Sherbrooke St. E.

Another option is to avoid paper invitations altogether. Instead, go to Facebook and invite guests, post photos and comments, and track RSVPs. Or, for $12.95, you can go to www.sendomatic.com to create your own invitation from a variety of colourful templates that can be sent by email.

Mother GourmetOrganic produce

Outdoor markets and health food stores have a great selection of produce from organic farmers. From organic meats and cheeses to breads and beer, there is something to please everyone’s palate. Also, many of the big chain grocery stores have expanded their organic food sections.

If you don’t have time to cook, think about an organic catering service such as Mother Gourmet, which was started by Mirsada Dragonjic and her husband Marco. The mother of two girls, Dragonjic trained for many years on an organic farm in Italy before bringing her culinary talents to Montreal. She will prepare a homemade array of organic dishes delivered right to your door. Everything is served on china dishes that are picked up after the party. For more information, call (514) 296-2929 or go to www.mothergourmet.com

Wishbuds seeded paper and gift boxBaby shower gifts

Don’t forget to mention to the guests that gifts should be eco-friendly. And ask guests to wrap gifts in a baby blanket or cloth diaper and use a diaper pin to hold it all together.

Another option is to buy small, plantable seeded boxes from Wishbuds (for small gifts like jewelry or chocolate), or you can order seeded wrapping paper from Plantable Paper by Bloom www.plantablepaper.com.

Organic cotton clothing

Montreal designer Lilidom makes certified organic and fair-trade onesies and clothing for kids. Go to www.lilidom.com to find a retailer near you.

Other stores that sell organic baby clothing include Bummis, American Apparel, Maxi & Co., and Bebe Plus, which also displays an entire green baby room with organic baby bedding (sheets, mattresses), furniture and baby toys.

All about diapers

Two local companies that sell cloth diapers are Bummis (514) 289-9415 or (514) 674-0828, www.bummis.com and AzureWraps Boutique (514) 509-7892, www.azurewraps.com.

If you would like to offer a diaper service as a gift for a certain period of time, you can contact BabyAuric at (514) 483-2874 or Maman Ecolo at (450) 474-3550.

Finally, there is a web-based company founded in Montreal called www.Eco-Handbags.ca that sells a fashionable diaper bag made out of recycled materials. Once you are on the website, do a search for “diaper bag trio set”.

Seventh Generation Baby Starter KitBaby products

Seventh Generation’s Baby Starter Kit makes a great baby shower gift. It includes two packages of chlorine-free diapers (8-14 lbs), one tub chlorine-free baby wipes plus a refill and laundry detergent. You can order it at www.seventhgeneration.com (click on “where to buy” and then “gift shop”). When mom runs out of the products, she can replenish them at Nature Sante 2000, 5006 Queen Mary Rd., (514) 738-4638.

Tickle Tickle is an online store that sells skin care products for babies called Dimpleskins Naturals, which are made from 100 per cent organic ingredients. You can order by phone (866) 575-4913 or at www.tickletickle.com.

Earth-friendly activities

Paint a mural on the wall of the baby’s room with soy-based paint. The mural could simply be a combination of handprints of all the guests placed on the wall in a rainbow of colours. You can buy non-toxic products for the activity, including milk-based paints from The Real Milk Paint Company (www.realmilkpaint.com) or soy-based paints from Green Planet Paints (www.greenplanetpaints.com). Milk paint can be purchased in Montreal from La Mémoire de L’Artisan at www.lamemoiredelartisan.com or at (514) 250-7752.

Safe clean up

Cleaning up after the baby shower can also be done in an environmentally safe way. Green cleaning brands like Shaklee’s “Get Clean” leave surfaces clean, safe and prepped for toddlers to crawl around on. The “Get Clean” line of products was chosen by Oprah as one of her “favourites.” For more information call, (514) 274-0827 or go to www.shaklee.ca/future2morow.

Nettoyants Lemieux, located at 1329 Mont-Royal E., offers a wide variety of natural, biodegradable cleaning products that were developed in Quebec and are sold in bulk in re-fillable containers. These phosphate-, nitrate- and enzyme-free products include various odourless and naturally scented detergents and stain removers for clothing, carpets and furniture. For more information, call (514) 528-9102.

Lastly, print out a list of all the eco-vendors and give them to guests as suggestions for future parties or to use as a general resource for day-to-day living.

Easy ways to go green

Think global

  • Buy organic & local
  • Serve organic wines, liquors, beers & juices.
  • Buy flowers from local gardens using pesticide-free methods.

Green invitations & gift wrap

  • Use 100 percent recycled paper goods if possible and/or made with bamboo.

Clean up

  • Use biodegradable cleaning products and make sure to have recycle bins easily accessible throughout the party.
  • Send food home in reusable containers or covered in wax paper and cloth instead of plastic wrap.

Earth-friendly gifts

  • Give a subscription to an eco-friendly magazine that is printed on recycled paper.
  • Give a gift certificate for organic food delivery to arrive each day during the first week (or month) after the baby is born, so the new parents don’t have to cook.
  • Hire a housekeeper who uses only biodegradable products to clean their home once a week for the first month.
  • Give a basket of eco-cleaning products and chlorine-free diapers & baby wipes.

Reuse

  • Use real plates, silverware and use linen or cotton napkins instead of paper.
  • Bring potluck foods in containers you leave as gifts or take home with you. Use caterers who only use reusable containers.
  • Decorate the party with baby onesies strung from a clothing line, put soy candles in used baby food jars, and use growing wheat grass as floral table arrangements that you can eat later.
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