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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and even though the colours are generally red and pink, let’s make this Valentine’s every shade of green.
From organic flowers and fair-trade chocolates to romantic local dining and gifts for your amore, we’ve got a host of ideas for celebrating your love. Sustainably.
Smells like L-O-V-E
Every woman loves fresh flowers and, let’s face it, Valentine’s wouldn’t be Valentine’s without them, but instead of hitting the first flower stall you find, try seeking out an organic florist. They use organic greenhouses and farms that support sustainable, chemical-free growing practices and use minimal packaging in their shops.
Ask your florist about eco-friendly flowers, native potted plants or check out Vancouver-based Amoda Flowers, which only uses flowers that are organic, local, fair trade and Veriflora-certified.
You can also try Margitta’s Flowers and Just Beginnings Flowers, who are making the more than 1,800 Olympic medalists’ bouquets as well. Being as these are “the most sustainable Olympics ever,” the bouquets for the medalist were planned to include only local flowers; however, given the time of the year, the final version contains green spider chrysanthemums, green hypericum berries and green aspidistra leaves from both local and Ecuadorian greenhouses.
If your appetite for incredible food is as big as your love, take your date to a great, sustainably minded restaurant. Some restaurants boast cloth napkins, low-flush toilets and energy-efficient lighting—but even better are their regional, seasonal and sustainable gourmet meals.
Check out the Green Table Network for a list of restaurants taking measurable steps to effectively reduce their operations’ impact on the environment. Such steps include waste and energy reduction as well as providing benefit to the local economy.
Elixir at the Opus Hotel
Goldfish Pacific Kitchen
NU Restaurant + Lounge
Salt Tasting Room
Many mainstream and health food stores sell eco-friendly bonbons made without preservatives or chemicals. Look for the TransFair Canada logo certifiying the cocoa products are directly traded, fairly priced, environmentally protected and worker friendly.
Saul Brown Gift Co. founder and blogger for Granville’s The Goods blog Saul Brown says with many local, artisan and organic chocolate producers, BC is a great place to be for a chocolate lover.
He especially recommends the Cool Mint by Denman Island Chocolate, and the orange-ginger chocolate bar, Squeeze, by Zazubean. But there are other ethical chocholate makers out there to fall in love with, including: Terra Nostra, Cocoa West, Gem Chocolates, Organic Fair, Cocoa Camino, Whistler Chocolate and Sarandipity.
Also, try CocoaNymph‘s dark chocolate covered cherry cordials, made with local organic cherries preserved in brandy. Yum!
Dinner and a night of cultural indulgence can make for a truly memorable Valentine’s Day—and is a great way to support the city’s poorly funded art scene. And lucky for you, the mother of all arts and culture events, the Cultural Olympiad, has lots to offer, including music, art, video and all intersections thereof.
Here are just a few:
Virtuoso violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain brings classical music together with thrilling rock and hip-hop arrangements with “DBR/VSO: A Voodoo Valentine!” at the Orpheum Theatre.
Culture Shock: Video Interventions at the QET transforms the Queen Elizabeth Theatre with a series of films that explore everything from the poetry of the everyday to the body’s relationship to its surroundings and footage of musical performances.
CUE: Artists’ Videos. Wander over to the Vancouver Art Gallery for an outdoor video experience, as the museum presents works by the world’s leading artists on a giant LED screen. Programs run 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
See what else is happening on February 14 during the Cultural Olympiad.
Lavish & Lime offer a range of unique locally made and eco-friendly jewellery, including this “natural love” necklace.
For many, Valentine’s Day offers the opportunity to make big, bold affirmative declarations about the warm, squishy feelings our lovers give us—and sometimes those rhapsodies are accompanied by a gift of something sparkly.
Steer clear of the generic blood diamonds by either choosing an ethical gem or passing on a family heirloom (be it from your own family or not).
Seek out conflict-free Canadian diamonds. Canadian mining standards are higher than most countries. For where to buy in BC, check out the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct’s British Columbia retailer guide.
Explore vintage shops for antique jewellery. Show your love with antique sapphires, emeralds and rubies from vintage and consignment stores—or ask older family members if they are ready to pass on any of their classic treasures.
You can also find a good selection of upcycled jewellery at Lavish and Lime, including the gorgeous “natural love” necklace (pictured).
(Image: Flickr / FaceMePLS
Nothing could be sexier than rolling around in natural fabrics, right? Dim the lights, put on some slow jams and show off your cotton lace negligee, and let the organic in you go wild.
First, the knickers. Luckily, the market for lingerie doesn’t just include nylon, rayon and polyester. Organic, bamboo, hemp-silk blends and recycled lingerie lines make it a little easier to spruce up the middle of winter. And increasingly, local designers are putting out lines of intimates, such as Love Made Me.
Take ’em to the mattress, especially one dressed in eco-bedding. Find sheets, duvets, pillows and more in eco-friendly fabrics made from renewable materials at various specialty shops around Vancouver. Check out our eco-bedding buyer’s guide for details.
Non-toxic sex toys and other ac-SEX-eries. Emily Jubenvill covers the whole gamut on “green sex,” from phthalate-free vibrators and vegan condoms to organic cotton lingerie and petroleum-free lube in “Green Up Your Sex Life.”
Surprise a much-deserving partner with the gift of total relaxation and pampering. (Image: iStock)
Give a gift for the two of you. A spa gift certificate, or even an IOU for a DIY spa treatment at home, is a great idea for stressed-out couples needing some pampering.
Vancouver spas offering packages for couples that use all-natural, organic body care products include Casbah Day Spa and Solarice Wellness Spa.
Or there’s the do-it-yourself route. Imagine your lover walks into the bathroom and discovers it’s been transformed into a private spa. A lavender/basil-scented bath has been drawn; wine sits on a tray by the tub. And you are there waiting to give a massage with natural oils. Sound good?
Find eco-friendly bath salts, massage oils, creams and fragrances at Kama Soap, Juliet’s Room and Saje.