Whether we’re splashing along the Santa Monica coastline or throwing snowballs in the mountains near Mammoth, we get to call this lovely part of the planet our home 365 days a year. So it only makes sense that we take the time to protect it. Here are a few simple, local, ways to show our planet just how much we care.

photo: Santa Monica Farmer’s Market via Facebook

Find your Local Farmer’s Market
There’s nothing better than walking through a farmer’s market and picking your own fruits and veggies for the week. Let your kids wander and discover some new favorites – samples are an easy way to try new foods. Don’t forget to check out the vendors that sell already made items like honey, bread, cheese, and more. So why are Farmer’s Market’s so eco-friendly? For one thing the food is local and doesn’t have to travel hundreds of miles to get from the farm to your plate which means less fuel consumption. You also get to skip the plastic and packaging that comes with shopping at a large scale supermarket.

Online: localharvest.com/farmers-markets

photo:  Winnie L. via Yelp

Co-opportunity Market and Deli
It’s easy to teach our children from an early age that less waste is best for Mother Earth. Try buying in bulk at the Co-opportunit Market and Deli’s two locations in Culver City and Santa Monica. These are the only two, true co-ops of thier kind in the whole city. Think of it as a permanent farmer’s market that’s open every day of the week. Bring jars and cloth bags to take home your goods instead of filling up those one-time-use plastic bags at regular grocery stores. Kids will love walking down the aisles and seeing all the foods in their natural forms instead of hidden behind packaging. Plus you’ll be helping out local farmers and vendors. Don’t see what you need? Drop them a suggestion postcard in-store or virtually online and don’t be surprised if you see it on your next trip.

Co-opportunity Market and Deli
Culver City
8770 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
323-746-2899

Santa Monica
1525 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90404

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Online: cooppurtiny.com

Retail Therapy
Discarded clothing makes for a large portion of our waste created each year, and it’s quickly filling up our already crowded landfills. Instead of impulse buying from big box retail stores, consider buying used. On the flip side, you can always donate those items you no longer need.

Bluebird Kids
A favorite clothing store among parents who don’t want to spend an arm and a leg purchasing trendy kid shirts, dresses and pants. Their offerings change weekly so there’s always something fresh to find.

Bluebird Kids
652 North Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
323-466-0408
Online: bluebirdlakids.com

photo: Grow Kid Grow via Facebook

Grow Kid Grow
Located in the heart of Silverlake, you’ll find Grow Kid Grow, a hub for new and gently used children’s clothing plus shoes, accessories, and maternity wear. Because if it’s one thing kids do well, it’s grow. That’s why buying new for every growth spurt is officially out and buying used is in.

Grow Kid Grow
4310 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
323-661-4769
Online: growkidgrow.com

photo: Kristen Wallace Tostado

For Mom: Social Paint Cosmetics
Did you know that the average person eats one pound of lipstick per year? Better make sure you know what’s in your favorite tube before you run out and buy another. Next time you’re up for a new shade check out Social Paint, a new Los Angeles-based lip line that features five glossy, creamy shades and every one of them is certified organic, natural and gluten-free. Plus they hold their own antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties with SPF 15 for happy, healthy lips.

Online: facebook.com/SocialPaintCosmetics

For Kids: Karen’s Toys
Karen’s Toys boasts one of the biggest in-store selections of the Green Toys line of 100% recycled toys in Los Angeles. From trucks and trains to tea sets and play food, you’ll find something for every tot. Also check out their toys from the brand Hape that uses bamboo materials instead of plastic.

‪16101 Ventura Blvd.
Encino
818-906-2212
Online: shop.karens4toys.com

For the Home: Sur la Tab
A few eco-friendly changes can add up to big results for planet Earth. Switch out plastic straws for stainless steel. Ditch plastic cutlery for bamboo. Even bringing your own reusable water bottles on your next family outing will help the environment not to mention your pocketbook. You can find all of this and more at Sur la Tab, including reusable dishcloths (instead of sponges) and cloth napkins. Bonus: Check their calendar for canning classes so you can save those fresh veggies and fruit from your farmer’s market visit for later.

Online: surlatable.com

Donate
Not sure what to do with all of your empty Amazon boxes? Fill them up with clothing, accessories and household items you no longer need and donate them to your nearest participating charitable organization. Download your prepaid postage label at GiveBackBox.com.

Did you know that some of your favorite clothing companies will take back your used or unwanted items in exchange for a discount on your next purchase? Now that’s a win-win! Check out the deets for Levi’s, Madewell, H&M, Kiehl’s, and North Face.

And if you want to clear up some storage space and do good for local families in need, donate your gently used baby and children’s items to Baby 2 Baby.

photo: Treefort via Flickr

Learn To Compost
Vegetable, fruit and some food scraps don’t need to go in the trash. Instead, start your own compost pile. If you’re not sure where to start, the LA Sanitation Department holds free monthly classes so you can start composting in no time. Want to go a step further? You can also learn to make and maintain your own worm farm. Once you tell your kids that nothing makes plants grow better than worm poop, they’ll be all in on the project.

Online: lacitysan.org

photo: Heal the Bay via Facebook

Be Water Wise
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will give homeowners incentives and cash back rewards for any water-saving improvements done in your home. This includes the use of rainwater collection barrels and drought tolerant landscaping.

Online: waterla.org/incentives-rebates/

Lend a Helping Hand
Beach cleanups are a great way to teach your family about community service and the environment. Both Heal the Bay and the Surfrider Foundation hold monthly clean-up days at beaches up and down our local coastline. You’ll learn lots about our oceans and our environmental impact on them through our daily lives. Make a day out of it by picnicking on the beach afterward. Just be sure to take your trash with you!

Online: healthebay.org and surfrider.org

What do you do to protect the Earth? Tell us in the comments below!

—Christina Montoya Fiedler

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