Feb 2011 
Home Green Home Newsletter
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As I write the temp is mid 50s in downtown Ithaca*, and apparently my writer's block has thawed. This is the first newsletter of 2011, and I'm happy to report that we saw healthy growth in foot traffic, website traffic and sales from 2009 to 2010. We adjusted in the past year to sharing our space with Finger Lakes Running & Triathlon. I think it has proved to be a healthier size for us, and allowed us to refocus our efforts on offering a wider range of affordable green lifestyle goods.

May 2011 be a prosperous year for you, for Ithaca, and for HGH!

*Feb 17. I guess this reveals that newsletter writing is a slow process for me. At least it is still February!


Help Steer our Evolution
And Win Cool Stuff!

evolution image

We'd like to continue to deepen our product selection in the departments that are doing well for us (such as Trash-Free Lunchware), and maybe introduce a new category or two this year. We have a long list of product ideas from our own heads as well as requests that customers have made in person, but we'd also love to have your input!

Fill out our super-quick two question survey, and you'll be entered to win one of two $100 gift certificates! On March 10, we'll randomly select TWO respondents from this survey to receive a gift certificate, and contact you by email if you've won.


Wool: Miracle Fiber
Why Bother with Biomimicry When You Can Have the Real Deal?

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One of the things I've learned from working next to the Finger Lakes Running & Triathlon store is that sheep's wool (and merino in particular) is a very popular and highly-regarded material in high-performance technical sports apparel. When it comes to staying comfortable and dry in all kinds of weather, and for resisting odor-making bacteria, it is hard to beat Evolution's solution - the uniquely structured, kinky wool fiber. Its scaly outer shell repels liquid water, but allows water vapor to pass by and become absorbed in the fiber's core. The kinks in the fiber create a light and airy yet insulative material when the fibers are massed together. This moisture management system means a healthy layer of drier air near the sheep's (our our own) skin. We won't get into the aroma of our post-workout synthetic clothing, but suffice it to say, it does give one pause when thinking about the ideal properties of bedding. 

These same properties that make wool ideal for hiking socks or thermal running shirts also make it the ideal stuffing for pillows and comforters, and a great breathability layer for mattresses and futons.


Spring Clean Carpets with HOST
  Dry carpet cleaner is green AND works well

host cleaning imageDuring a recent home energy audit of our house by Snug Planet, our cat apparently became nervous and had a gastrointestinal incident on our fair trade wool carpet...

Luckily, HGH sells a great carpet cleaning product, and offers a very affordable brush-machine rental with it. So, by that evening, HOST Cleaner had come to our rescue, leaving our beautiful naturally dyed wool rug looking good as new.


Calling All Local Organic Couch Potatoes

We have the perfect
"raised bed" for you!


When we reduced our retail space to 2300sf, we sold off most of our furniture floor models, including all sofas and loveseats. But then we missed having Cisco Brothers sofas to show off. And then in 2010 we sold another five sofas based on customers' happy memories of what used to be here, even though we had no sofas on the floor! This convinced us to give it another try - and thus we now have a new Cisco Betula Loveseat with a slipcover (see photo at right) in "Eva Ruby", a luxurious fabric with a gorgeous pattern and texture that is 44% hemp.

Not familiar with Cisco Brothers? In a nutshell, they are the only company in the USA that we are aware of who make high quality upholstered furniture with all-natural materials and offer a variety of appealing designs. (Short digression: a number of furniture makers have come out with a "green" line featuring "soy foam". This foam is really only 15-20% plant based, the rest being the same old petroleum-derived polyurethane laced with who-knows-what flame retardants and additives. We consider this to be more "greenwashing" than a significant step forward.) From FSC (Forest Stewarship Council) certified-sustainably-harvested hardwood frames to wool or down-wrapped natural foam rubber cushioning, jute webbing, and dozens of available fabrics in organic cotton, linen, hemp, recycled PET, and more, Cisco is the real deal in sustainable upholstery. You can see, feel, and most especially smell the difference between Cisco furniture and the conventional stuff (much of which comes from an oil refinery). There are very few places outside of NYC or LA that you can sit on a sofa that's made from renewable materials and is compostable at the end of its long life. Home Green Home is again one of those few!

My wife says Cisco Pinedo, the founder and fabulous furniture designer at Cisco Brothers is "so cute". Decide for yourself by watching a short video about their green materials and methods.


Our Customers in the News

Kerra Quinn is a customer as well as a vendor - supplying HGH with handcrafted wash cloths, soap bags, holiday ornaments and more made from reclaimed wool, kapok, and other sustainable materials. We already knew that she was working to establish a community garden in Dryden, and we were pleased to read the news that her "Three Sisters Sharing" project, combining gardening, education and inter-generational sharing, was awarded a grant.  


In case you missed it in last week's NYT Magazine, Ithaca-based author and HGH customer Diane Ackerman wrote a poignant essay on the struggles and joys of an unexpected journey through the illness of a spouse. We gratefully stock Diane's books on the joys of being a sensual being surrounded by the beauty of nature. 

On a sad note, one of our young and earth-passionate customers passed away earlier this month. Meghan Murphy was the founder of Ithaca Biodiesel, editor of "Biodiesel America", and director of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation (educating on the benefits of a plant-based diet). While undergoing treatment for cancer, 30 yr old Meghan kept an online journal, and wisely reminded those of us who gripe about the downsides of aging that "growing old is rad!". We were moved by Meghan's journal and the many memories shared online by her friends and family, and so we will donate 25% of our sales on February 27 to Hospicare of Tompkins County in Meghan's memory. 


Thanks for reading, and don't forget to Like us on Facebook so you can take advantage of our occasional Facebook Green Light Specials and brief news updates.




Save 15%
You probably know that conventional cotton is one of the most pesticide-intensive crops, and poses a threat to water quality as well as the health of farmers and soils.

Try out one of the great alternatives:

Mention this ad for 15% off any item made primarily from organic cotton, recycled cotton, flax linen or hemp (we have lots to choose from, including but not limited to sheets, blankets, duvet covers, towels, t-shirts, produce bags, cosmetics cases, backpacks, and lunch bags).


Offer Expires: March 31