Friday, August 24, 2007

The end of unemployment fairy tale land

I feel like I'm in school again... the summer is almost over and i have to go back to work :( I have been so lucky to get the entire summer off... it's been incredible. of course, i've spent most of the summer working anyway, getting LAVA set up is a day and night job. but still, i also feel like i've had one long ass holiday.

so now i'm working at a coffee bar. c'mon not just any coffee bar! a really cool coffee bar! hahahaha

they have something like 30 or 40 different kinds of tea, 20 different kinds of coffee, and of course all the mixed frappacinos and double mocha lattes on ice etc. it's a little intimidating. i have therefore made myself deal that i'll learn more about the different kinds of coffees and teas that grow on this beautiful planet, so you can expect to learn about that too in the coming days, since i'm so fond of sharing my knowledge with you guys.

Organic Cotton

I received this article in my inbox today about Organic Cotton. Very interesting. Please read. Brought to you by Treehugger.

Organic cotton is the version of its conventional counterpart grown without pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers or any other chemicals, and that makes it hugely different, especially considering that cotton (organic or otherwise) provides about half of all the world's fiber needs. Conventional cotton is one of the most chemically-dependent crops, sucking up 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides on 3% of our arable land; that's more than any other crop per unit. That adds up to 1/3 of a pound of chemicals to produce enough cotton for a t-shirt, and 3/4 of a pound for a pair of jeans. And that's just not bad for the planet; 20,000 deaths occur each year from pesticide poisoning in developing countries, many of these from cotton farming, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Organic cotton, on the other hand, uses agricultural methods designed to help sustain the land it grows on, the people who grow and harvest it, and the planet in general. Organic farming really starts with the soil. Compost, frequent crop rotations and cover crop strategies replace synthetic fertilizers to keep the soil healthy and productive. Weeds are controlled by innovative farm machinery, hand labor or flame devices rather than herbicide applications. Rather than attempting to eradicate all insects with chemicals, organic farmers cultivate a diversity of natural enemies which prey on insect pests, and lure pests away from cotton by planting trap crops. Insect pests can be effectively kept in balance with well-timed introduction of beneficial insects to fields. In warmer growing regions, where the cotton plants must be killed or defoliated to pick a quality crop before the onset of winter rains, organic growers shut off water early, and apply certified materials to promote cotton boll opening and leaf dropping, readying the fibers for harvest. In the US, both conventional and organic cotton are mostly machine-picked; in some developing countries, cotton is still harvested by hand.

When it comes time to harvest by hand, it follows then that organic cotton is also much safer for those who pick it. Workers aren't exposed to breathing or otherwise ingesting toxic chemicals while active in the field, and don't have to worry about the same nasty chemicals getting into their water supply if they live nearby. They can raise healthier children and livestock, and everyone is happier (okay, we made that last part up, but it seems to fit, right?).

Like other organic products (food is the most prominent example), organic cotton must be certified as such by a third party, based upon pre-determined rules and regulations for what is and isn't allowed in the cultivation process. Here in the United States, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the organic certification process, based on the standards set in the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 (OFPA); because organic cotton is grown around the world, and the US supply is not large enough to keep up with demand, other certification groups are often cited for products we see and use. The Dutch organization SKAL (one we've seen around a lot), for example, works in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia to certify different agricultural products as organic. Among the rules for certification, in addition to the ongoing ban of pesticides and other chemicals, is that the soil cannot have been sprayed with any of the banned substances for three years, so proper organic certification takes significant time, effort and bureaucratic rule-following (some might call it hoop-jumping or cutting red tape, but we won't) but the results are something to be proud of: a truly sustainable product.

hen it comes time to put it on, many believe that organic cotton is softer and easier on your skin (though we don't have any scientific data, this TreeHugger is happy to corroborate this), and, of course, there aren't any latent pesticides or other chemicals that might disagree with your skin. This extra comfort is an added bonus when considering all of the benefits for the planet and its people, and the result is that organic cotton has been growing at an incredible rate.

Market retail leaders like Patagonia and Nike, who both blend and use organic cotton exclusively in their outdoor apparel, are being joined by high-end designers like Loomstate and Katherine Hamnett (whose work is directly above). This has been modulated by more mainstream designers like H&M, The Gap, Levi's and L.L. Bean, meaning that it's easier (and cheaper!) to get than ever before. Doesn't that make you feel all warm & fuzzy inside?

More information can be found via the USDA, the Sustainable Cotton Project, the Organic Trade Association and PAN Germany's Directory for Organic Cotton. It's been a very popular topic here at TreeHugger; in addition to all the links above, we've mentioned it in everything from wallpaper to crib sets, underwear to aprons, long johns to yoga mats and towels and sheets to organic cotton candy (wait a minute...). We also recommend a quick spin through our How to Green Your Wardrobe Guide for info on organic cotton and other green textiles.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fun with Camaras

Chris experimenting with our camara's cool features.

More about Vegan Radio

How could I possibly forget about the Vegan Freaks? Very silly of me.... These guys are fun to listen too because they are witty and sarcastic and generally cynical about everything. They've even written a book which you can buy here. Although I HOPE that I will also be able to have the book available at LAVA. The lovely Sarah Kramer has agreed to supply her incredible vegan cookbooks already, so we'll wait and see if the Vegan Freaks are cool enough to be seen at LAVA too! ;)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Vegan Radio

Leave it to the Americans to think of all the cool stuff first. Ok, maybe that's not fair. But in terms of vegan culture, I'm sad to say that the Americans are ahead of us. At least, the Californians are. Check out their new "vegan radio" at

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vegan Beer

Finally! I got around to searching out vegan beers, and I'm happy to report that my friend... is wrong. It seems that many many beers are vegan these days. However, I was sad to find out that many wines are not. I went to two great sites that had a ton of information (so much info, that i didn't feel the need to keep researching). You'll find the sources at the bottom as usual.

Beer is occassionally fined using isinglass.

Isinglass is a very pure form of gelatin obtained from fish bladders(often sturgeon). The addition of a fining product simply speeds up a process which would otherwise occur naturally.

Unfortunately, many ciders aren't vegan as a number of large-scale comercial cider companies use animal products in the fining/clarification process. Specifically, some companies use the following non-vegan ingredients: gelatin (from an animal derived source), isinglass, chitin (crab shells), collagen.

Vegan ciders are usually naturally fermented in large oak barrels and allowed to settle over a period of months. Bentonite clay (mined and specially prepared for clarification purposes) or cellulose filter sheets are also sometimes used, to process cider in a vegan way.

Don't many alcohol companies support animal exploitation and abuse?

Unfortunately many do. They've been included on this list despite that, but it doesn't mean you have to drink them! Unfortunately a number of these companies support rodeos, bull-fighting, marine mammal captivity and much more (for example, Anheuser--Busch supports bullfighting through its Corona Beer affiliations, rodeos through Budweiser Beer, and animal captivity at its Sea World and Busch Gardens amusement parks). Many of these companies also use horribly sexist advertising. My advice? Boycott them too!


Bitters, etc.

Alloa Light
Alloa 70/- Special
Alloa 80/- Export
Alloa Stout
Batemans IPA
Batemans Nut Brown
Batemans XXXB
Batemans Victory Ale
Batemans Dark Mild
Batemans GB Bitter
Burtonwood Bitter
Burtonwood Mild
Burtonwood Pale Mild
Burtonwood Top Hat Ale
Drybrough Heavy
Drybrough Best Scotch
Felinfoel Bitter
Felinfoel Double Dragon Bitter
Fuller's London Pride
Fuller's Chiswick Bitter
Fuller's Mild
Fuller's ESB Export
Fuller's Pale Ale
Fuller's Brown Ale
Fullers LA
Gale's Southdown Bitter
Gale's Best Bitter
Gale's 777 Mild
Gale's Prize Old Ale
Gale's Pale Ale
Gale's HSB
Golden Promise Organic Beer
Hall & Woodhouse BXB Bitter
H & W Malthouse Bitter
H & W Oasthouse Bitter
H & W Badger Country Bitter
H & W Tanglefoot Bitter
Morrells Friars Bitter
Morrells Castle Ale
Morrells Light Ale
Morrells College Ale
Morrells Brewery Gate Bitter
Redruth Brewery Bitter
Redruth Brewery Mile Ale
Redruth Aston Manor Bitter
Redruth Gold Cap Bitter
Redruth Brewster Bitter
Redruth John Davey Bitter
Robinson's Best Bitter
Ross Brewery Hartcliffe Bitter
Ross Brewery Clifton Dark Ale
Ross Brewery Saxon Ale
Sainsburys Premium Ale
Sam Smiths Old Brewery
Sam Smiths Sovereign Best
Sam Smiths Tadcaster Bitter
Sam Smiths 4X Best Mild
Sam Smiths Dark Mild Ale
Sam Smiths OB Strong Brown
Sam Smiths OB Strong Pale
Sam Smiths Pale Ale
Sam Smiths Light Ale
Sam Smiths Nut Brown
Sam Smiths Strong Golden

Low Alcohol, N/A

AyingerBrau Low Alcohol
Greene King Lowes
Marston's Low "C"
Wheelwright Low Alcohol
Wyvern Low Alcoholic
O'Douls Premium Non-Alcoholic Brew


Aston Manor Lager
AyingerBrau D. Pils
AyingerBrau Very Strong
Brewster Lager
Burtonwood Dagen
Cornish Pilsner Lager
Henri Funck
Guapa Lager
Hall & Woodhouse Hectors
H & W Forum
H & W Compass
H & W Skona
H & W Royal Hofbrau
Harp Extra
Heineken Export
Holsten Pils
Lincoln Green Organic
Lowenbrau Strong
Pinkus Special Organic
Prinz Strong
Redruth Brewery Pilsner
Sam Smiths Natural Lager
Scorpion Dry
Tennent's Gold Bier
TQ Lager
Tuborg Gold

US Domestics and/or bottled in the United States

Anderson Valley
Arrogant Bastard (Stone Brewing Company)
Big Dog's Hospitality Group
Blue Ridge
Dallas County
Dock Street
Eddie McStiff's
Genesee Brewing Company
Golden Pacific
Grant's Yakima (but Grant's Apple Honey Ale uses honey)
Greene King
G. Heileman
HighFalls Brewery (Genesee Brewing Company)
James Page
Jones Street
Latrobe (Rolling Rock)
Les Brasseurs du Nord
Lost Coast
Mad River
Manhattan Beach
Masters Brewpub & Brasserie
Nevada City
North Coast
Nouveaux Brasseurs-Bar L'Inox
Otter Creek
Otto Brothers'
Pacific Hop Exchange
Pyramid Ales
Ragtime Tavern
Samuel Smith (except Oatmeal Stout)
San Andreas
Scottish & Newcastle
Shan Sui
Shepherd Neame
Sierra Nevada
Sonoma (Dempsey's)
Spinnakers Brewpub
Stone Brewing Company
Table Rock
Thames Valley
Treaty Grounds
Triple Rock
Upper Canada
Vaux Brewery
Weeping Radish
Whitbread Beer
Young & Co.

My favorites:

[+] Corona: Vegan Friendly

Status: Vegan Friendly
Checked by: Rick
Double Checked by: Nobody yet
Company email:
Yes, our beer is suitable for vegans; in fact, corona is made with natural products like Rice, Water, Hops, Refined corn starch and Yeast. No animal products are involved.

[+] Creemore Springs Brewery: Vegan Friendly

139 Mill Street
Creemore, ON, L0M1G0
P: 705-466-2240
F: 705-466-3306
Status: Vegan Friendly
Checked by: Denise
Double Checked by: Nobody yet
Company email:

Yes our product is Vegan friendly. We do not use any animal bi-products in any part of the production of our beer.

[+] Moosehead: Vegan Friendly

89 Main Street West
Saint John, NB, E2M 3H2
P: 1-877-888 BEER (2337)
Status: Vegan Friendly
Checked by: Amanda
Double Checked by: Nobody yet
Company email:
Thank you for your inquiry. We are happy to say that we do not use animal products in any of our brands of beer. The ingredients are malt, corn, hops and water. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions or comments. As one of the country's few remaining independent brewers, your support means a lot to us.

[+] Sleeman Breweries Ltd: Vegan Friendly

551 Clair Road West
Guelph, Ontario, N1L 1E9
P: 1-800-BOTTLES
Status: Vegan Friendly
Checked by: Vickie
Double Checked by: Nobody yet
Company Email:
"Hello Vickie,
Thank you for contacting us. It is my pleasure to tell you that we don't use any additives or preservatives in any of our brands. There are no animal products used in any phase of production.
All the best!
Sue Keuhl"

source 1:
source 2:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's been a crazy week! I have been working on my website non-stop morning and night and teaching myself how to program. That's no easy task! The website is still FAR from complete, however I'd love it if you checked it out at (and I'd love it even more if you wanted to contribute some feedback!). I can't wait to get some products up! I've been speaking to some amazing people though, like vegetarian shoes, matt & nat, keep company, etc. If you're out there and you've got some ideas about what kind of products you'd like to see at a canadian vegan online store, please let me know. I'm excited to offer a big range of stuff from shoes to face cream to baby stuff to recycled paper. yep. the sky is the limit!

Took my dog to the vet today to get her paw bandaged. She ripped out her thumbnail (ew!). She was such a suck, I swear I've never seen a dog that's more like a human being. She is like a little kid who needs a bandaid and a hug to make things better. The whole time she was being bandaged she had her face against my chest. If she could talk she would have been saying; "mommy, i don't like this. make them stop!" in a cute sad voice, not a temper tantrum angry voice.

So another project I've got on the go is that I have got to figure out if Corona is actually vegan. Anybody know? A friend of mine swears he's gone to the brewery and claims he's seen the clarifying agent himself, and it was geletin. He said the same thing about Sleemans and Labatts, but I've read everywhere that those beers are vegan. Are the breweries just lying or is the information on the web inaccurate. I'm making it my mission to figure this out, because... well... I like beer.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Herbivore ROCKS

Herbivore is an incredible clothing business / magazine from Portland, Oregon and if you haven't been to their site yet, you should because it's FULL of beautiful clothing and articles that will make your sides hurt. I figure there's no harm in posting this article, it's free, and it talks about Terra Pass. I think I'm going to go out and buy a Terra Pass for everyone I know. Happy Reading!

BestiaPass: Wash away your vegan sins, it’s easy!

By Ryan MacMichael and Josh Hooten

Celebrities love them some TerraPass. That’s those freakin’ awesome “things” you can buy that supposedly help you undo the damage your lifestyle has inflicted on the environment. The way it works is you give money to somebody else in the world who does something GOOD (like plant trees), to fix up your BAD (like having a manure lagoon). Want to be a proud steward of the land? No need to change your behavior at all, just throw some cash at the problem. Want to be a proud steward on the Love Boat? Sorry sailor, that show went off the air years ago.

There’s no feeling quite like driving around in an SUV from one end of your gigantic house to the other and then clearing your conscience the good old fashioned American way to “offset” your carbon use. Your very beautiful and famous carbon use.

But what about us non-filthy-rich vegans? We’re generally pretty environmentally aware and do everything within our grasp to avoid supporting the exploitation or suffering of animals. But even the strictest of strict vegans will make the occasional mistake. So, in order to offset the guilt that comes with making one of these mistakes, we present an honor code-based “vegan offset” program. No need to join, just follow our simple suggestions to ease your conscious and make up for the world o’ hurt you’re causing by simply existing in the first place.

Offense: Stepping on an ant.
Offset: Pour something sweet on the ground to attract more ants. This will accomplish two things: it will ease the surviving ants mourning and benefit the ant community at large as you’re providing nourishment and a safe place to grieve. Ideally you will do this somewhere other than where you killed the ant in the first place to avoid more senseless death at the hands… no… feet… of otherwise kindly souls… no… soles. Bonus points for using agave nectar so as to extend your circle of compassion to include diabetic ants. Extra bonus points if you hang around for at least a half hour redirecting any foot traffic that may be headed for your grieving pile of shitfaced-on-agave ant mound.

Offense: Accidentally eating a snack food that you later realize had whey in the ingredient list.
Offset: Volunteer at a farm sanctuary picking up cow pies. Apologize to the female cows as you do and give them a warm, solemn, “namaste.” If you do not live close to a farm sanctuary… well… next time read the ingredient list, you big dummy. There is no other way to offset this offense. Rectify it as prescribed or burn in karmic hell for all eternity. YES YOU!

Offense: Hitting an insect with windshield of your car.
Offset: Next time, ride your bike. Avoid showering for a day or two in order to provide a welcoming sanctuary for more flies, a la Pigpen from Charlie Brown. As this offense is so common and there are already plenty of smelly vegans out there, we endorse a preventative approach to this problem. We endorse bike riding but if you must drive we recommend driving 11 miles an hour in the brake down lane everywhere you go. It has been determined scientifically that that rate of travel will not harm insects in your way it will merely bump them gently. Don’t forget to turn on your hazard lights! This is also a great time to outfit your ride with pro-AR sentiment bumper stickers as you’ll be getting so much more attention on the road… er… in the breakdown lane. Be sure you only pick REALLY persuasive slogans like “Beef: It’s what’s rotting in your colon” and perhaps a quote or two from Gandhi or Einstein.

Offense: Using a speciesist cliché like “kill two birds with one stone” or “I’m gonna stuff this albino Walrus down your pants, manbaby!”
Offset: Memorize and use the cliché’s alternative from Joanne Stepaniak’s classic Vegan Vittles (”Slice two carrots with one knife.”), no matter how cheesy. Oh, crap. There I go.

(Note: Though Josh swears he heard it several times a day growing up, no one else at the Herbivore World Headquarters has been able to verify the Walrus line is a cliché. Hence, we have no specific recommendations for offsetting that term.)

You might also offset speciesist clichés by changing them into human centric clichés to help people realize the power of language and how harmful it can be. We have found the following to be very useful in getting people to think about what we’ve said. And in many cases, to walk away very quickly, we assume to go change their ways.

Instead of: Running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Try: Running around like I just cut your head off!

Instead of: You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
Try: You can’t make an omelet because I’ll break your legs.

Instead of: You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Try: You will serve more salads if you use money instead of lettuce. But they are very expensive salads.

Offense: Eating a little bit of honey that made its way into your bread or pretzels or whatever it was.
Offset: Next time you’re drinking a smoothie and a sweets loving bee lands on your cup, let it drink its fill. Even if this takes all day. You ate some of her food, it’s only fair. If you’ve wracked up some infractions in this category, it is always a nice gesture to put a dozen or so really tiny straws into your smoothie so the bee can invite some friends to join him.

We’re also big fans of that weird phenomenon from the 80’s that was always on programs like Real People and That’s Incredible—the beard of bees. No idea how that relates to offsetting your callous and destructive ways, but wow huh? Beard of bees!


Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Beginning of LAVA

So a lot has happened in the last couple of days. Being unemployed is GREAT!!! hahaha I'm very close to getting the store up and running... there is still a lot of reading and planning to do, but... the business name is registered and we have a domain name! I hope that soon we'll have a website, so that we can offer many more things than just my random ramblings and the cool articles I find on the internet. I've found a place that offers printing on 100% recycled paper with all vegetable based inks (how perfect is that?! - thank you Frogfile!)

How many people are vegan in Canada? How many people have a tough time buying vegan shoes (or other products) that are good quality and don't have to be shipped from another country? How many of us are there that would like decent, up to date information on vegan cuisine and culture? In the next few days it's my mission to figure out the answers to these questions and more! Starting up this online community is so exciting! I only wish that I could right more interesting blogs about everything I'm going through. Are you a writer (assuming I have readers out there...) please contact me. I think I'm more of a reader personally. Speaking of which, I'm reading Ecoholic right now, by Adria Vasil. Very interesting and very informative. I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading. Love, Kelly