Monday, October 1, 2007

Green Living Now: 2007 People's Choice Award - part 5

I hope you all had a great weekend and now you're ready for the second week of our nominees series. Today Eco-Libris blog presents nominee no. 5 to Co-op America's 2007 People's Choice Award for the Green Business of the Year:

Green Living Now

Business description
: Green Living Now is a unique woman owned, organic and natural products online store, based in Vermont. What makes Green Living Now unique is that they only sell the products that Amy Todisco, founder and owner, researches and uses herself. Green Living Now does the research so consumers don’t have to. They also provide a free monthly newsletter and many informative articles on green living.

Located at: Huntington, VT

Operating Since: 2004


The questionnaire (Replied by Amy Todisco, founder and owner of Green Living Now):
1. What makes your business a green business?

Many things make Green Living Now a green business beyond just selling truly green products. One big thing that sets me apart from other natural product stores is that I only sell the products that I've researched (I'm an information-a-holic) and used myself, rather than all of the ones marketed as 'green', 'natural' and 'organic'. And, I'm basically a purist with very strict criteria. There are lots of products in natural food stores that aren't much better than conventional supermarket brands. A few added herbs and essential oils, and earth looking packaging, along with a bunch of toxic synthetic chemicals.

Green Living Now makes it easier for consumers (I hate that word, but that's what we are?) to find truly organic and natural products from companies who are walking their talk. Also, I provide free articles and tips on green living, as opposed to sales oriented newsletters. My mission is really about sharing information to help people become more informed. I sell the products to make it easier to take the next step. Selling online provides an option for people that don't have stores locally that sell these products.

Mainly I want to help people be sure they are getting truly organic and natural products and inspire them to live greener healthier lives.

I would like also to add that Green Living Now donates products, consultations, and money to a variety of nonprofit socially and environmentally responsible organizations each year.

2. What is your green characteristic you're most proud of?

I walk my talk. My business is home based which means I don?t have to commute anywhere. I use USPS priority mail, in part because they provide free recycled cradle to cradle certified boxes ecologically-intelligent design that eliminates the concept of waste. USPS is also more affordable for the customer, which keeps our shipping rates reasonable (especially with heavy liquid soaps).

We use recycled paper to pad the boxes, or reuse packing peanuts that we receive from manufacturers.We use only the same natural and organic products in our home office that I sell. We compost, reduce, reuse and recycle, keep our thermostats set to 60 in the winter and heat with local wood, practice a whole bunch of energy conservation techniques, including using energy star appliances, buy local organic food in season (and organic all year round).

We also use natural building materials (just had our kitchen tiled with ceramic tiles), have hardwood floors, use no VOC paints, sealants, stains, etc. We signed up to have a solar electric system installed with Citizenre (it's essentially a rental deal that allows you to lock in your current electricity providers rate for 1, 5, or 25 years, and feed solar generated electricity back into the grid). There's more, but you get the idea.

3. What is your biggest achievement so far?

I've been in the green movement for over 15 years, and my biggest achievement is hearing about the lives I've touched in positive ways through living and sharing about green living. Sometimes it?s through a newsletter article, a personal note with an order, a telephone consultation, or quick question answered for free via email or telephone. Or, sometimes it happens when I'm chatting with someone while I wait in line somewhere.

4. In what way do you think that you help people to take a green action and make a difference?

First, by taking action myself and then talking about it. It's all based on my personal experiences, or at the very least-my research. Whenever I communicate about green living I try not to preach, but to share information as one friend to another. Using humor when writing has helped me to deal with the often depressing state of our environment.

I have been told by various people over the years that they have been inspired to act by my newsletter articles (which appear on my site, the Ecomall in the 'Ask Amy' section of the Green Living Magazine-, and many other places on the Internet), through my answers to questions from people via the Earth Day Network ( and my own site.

Years ago I did a lot of community activism, creating nonprofits and events, and writing letters to the editor of newspapers (the most read section of any newspaper).There's no question that one person can make a difference (sadly we often see the negative effects of one person's actions). Every step we take, no matter how small, may inspire someone else. And, even if no one else is watching, we can feel good knowing that we are doing our best.

5. Who is your green hero?

Rachel Carson

6. What's your green dream for your business?

To reach a much larger audience with the message of green living. We need bold action now to save life on this planet. I plan to do that by finishing writing my book on green living and be a guest on the Oprah Winfrey show sharing about green living.

The next nominee:

And if you missed the parts of the Unofficial Guide we published so far on Eco-Libris blog, please check them out:

Part 1 - Natural Pet Home Store
Part 2- Mountains of the Moon
Part 3 - Yoga Nine
Part 4 - Pizza Fusion


Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for everybook you read!