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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2010 edited
     
    People commute around town by bicycle for many different reasons. One of those reasons is for sustainability for this planet and a basic feeling one person shouldn't have to make such an impact. I'm starting this thread as a general place we promote and ask questions about being green off of the bicycle. I have plenty of questions and plenty of things i still want to do and im sure most here feel the same way. I recycle at the shop but im looking to do more. much more.

    Here's some quick subjects right off the top of my head:

    Composting
    Alternative energy
    "Clean" automobiles
    Local food
    Recycling
    Re-using
    Organic food
    Organic clothing
    Organic substitutes for daily harsh chemicals in the home
    buying locally made products (not buying things that travel 10,000 miles to get to you)
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      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2010 edited
     
    Great subject that goes hand in hand with bicycling. I would like to do all of the above, and already do some of this some of the time (composting probably is top of the list).

    Along the same lines, I no longer use my clothes dryer - instead I dry everything on a line in the backyard. Would not go back - no energy use, no emissions, after two hours in the sun the clothes are dry, scented like a grassy meadow. Also have a small vegetable garden going, as well as several fruit trees. Depression-era frugality all the way!

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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2010 edited
     
    Here's what we have to eat from Suzies Farm CSA boxes this week. This is a good desctiption of what CSA farming is

    It's nice knowing that your produce comes from 15 miles away. It's also nice knowing the farmers and taking a tour. Having seasonal produce is new to me and it's nice. Getting a large array of produce means that we're forced to learn new recipes which is never a bad thing, not to mention we're forced to eat more fresh produce which really works well with me because i don't want it to go bad so i eat far more produce now than i ever have before.



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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2010
     
    Njord Noatun:(composting probably is top of the list).


    me too. i really want to try worm composting but im so worried about roaches. i keep reading that roaches will take over that it's been holding me back. i want one at the condo and at the shop. anyone have tips on keeping the roaches at bay? i know they help decompose but i still don't like the damn things and im sure my wife won't appreciate having them around.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2010
     
    roaches? I've never had problems with roaches in my compost bin. Even when we lived in a row home. I did have problem with fruit flies but then I learn to not compost banana peels. I plan on getting an outdoor composter shortly so I can use heat to compost some of the things we currently don't like egg shells and lemon peels as they drastically change the ph of the worm bin and bother our worms.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2010
     
    I've actually been hunting for alternative energy sources. The challenge is that I'm a renter so I can't make major modifications. I just purchased a solar oven so at least we can use the sun to cook some of our food. We average about 13 kwh per day year round. I forget how much gas we use - but we only use it for cooking.

    But I don't know how to source our energy from alternative sources. Is there an energy provider that caters to renters that source their energy from the sun or wind or water?
  1.  
    use the new soy triflow. you hand pump instead of aerosol. also comes in a drip.
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      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2010 edited
     
    Velo Cult:me too. i really want to try worm composting but im so worried about roaches. i keep reading that roaches will take over that it's been holding me back. i want one at the condo and at the shop. anyone have tips on keeping the roaches at bay? i know they help decompose but i still don't like the damn things and im sure my wife won't appreciate having them around.
    We definitely have roaches in the neighborhood too.
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      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2010
     
    Also, the jury is still out on how much benefit there really is to organic farming:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food#Environmental_impact

    It's kind of a mixed bag of good and not so good. Some of the "organic" pesticides are actually kind of scary. Yields can be lower, which means you need more land to feed the same number of people, may need more water etc.

    I'm guessing it's going to vary a fair bit from farm to farm as well. Some will do it better than others.
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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2010
     
    benefit to people and the water table will still be a better. pesticides in my body and in the water table i can do without. organic is not as important to me as being local though. the idea of produce being picked green, shipped 2000 miles and being an inferior product i can't get on board with. i mean, why use semi trucks to haul around our produce like that? thats one quick and easy way to cut down on your carbon foot print and in the end you get better produce. buying local helps small farmers and keeps money in our community. sames goes with all purchasing from local INDEPENDENT businesses.
    • CommentAuthorjeff_mills
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010
     
    Velo Cult:benefit to people and the water table will still be a better. pesticides in my body and in the water table i can do without. organic is not as important to me as being local though. the idea of produce being picked green, shipped 2000 miles and being an inferior product i can't get on board with. i mean, why use semi trucks to haul around our produce like that? thats one quick and easy way to cut down on your carbon foot print and in the end you get better produce. buying local helps small farmers and keeps money in our community. sames goes with all purchasing from local INDEPENDENT businesses.


    ^-- This.
  2.  
    This is decidedly one of the ways not to promote greenness: "Six-lane addition proposed to ease daily I-5 backups"
    [[_linker_]]
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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010 edited
     
    bëany:I plan on getting an outdoor composter shortly so I can use heat to compost some of the things we currently don't like

    Gotta put my 2¢, in our region when speaking of "heat" in a compost pile that does NOT mean sticking it smack dab in the middle of direct sun. That only dries it out, bakes your worms & organisms. They are talking about internal heat that is generated by the happy balance of microbes/microorganisms/beneficial bacteria (or whatever the technical term is). You can get internal heat even if you pile is in a corner under a tree. You just have to work out the happy balance i the pile and that includes the moisture levels and aeration as well as the greens to browns ratio. Our area of southern California gets too hot for a lot of the advice you read about composting. So we have to tweak it a bit. So to keep your micro-critters happiest with the least amount of effort I wouldn't have it in direct sun for too many hours a day.

    Velo Cult:organic is not as important to me as being local though. the idea of produce being picked green, shipped 2000 miles and being an inferior product i can't get on board with. i mean, why use semi trucks to haul around our produce like that? thats one quick and easy way to cut down on your carbon foot print and in the end you get better produce. buying local helps small farmers and keeps money in our community.

    Me too. I choose local, sustainable, then organic. If I can get all three - yay. You have to remember that Dole, Del Monte, Sunkist, etc all have organic sections now - HUGE organic farms with butt loads of machinery to run the farm not to mention the trucking miles. I like the switch, it's nice that they are trying I guess, but I don't like that they would take away from smaller, local farms (perhaps not so much here, but I know in PA, VA there are so many local producers but they may get out priced by the big companies). And now with our CSAs popping up, and Farmer's Markets becoming more of a "regular" thing rather than a weekend novelty, we want to encourage them by buying local.
    • CommentAuthoryoshi
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010 edited
     
    In regards to the benefits of organic farming there is much debate to be sure although I personally believe it's the way to go.

    I know Velo Cult had a Food Inc. screening and that's a great film on the food topic.
    Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma" is a must read for anyone eating food in the United States.

    Last week(?) NPR aired an Oxford-style debate on the topic "Organic food is marketing hype" featuring some heavy hitters in the field.
    It was very interesting and informative.
    Here's a link to the audio
    and here's the video of the debate:
  3.  
    Im all about composting as well. I also have chickens, and a pond. I use the pond water for my small garden which is also a dog house and I use chicken compost for the garden then feed all the scraps and worms to the chickens. I also have a worm compost, I keep it outdoors and have never had a problem with roaches either. I have all kinds of little bugs in it but they usually stay on top with the fresh scraps. I also use it as a collection area for the worms that I put into the worm compost. I have had luck with collecting worms by placing wet cardboard a little below the soil over night and collecting the worms in the morning or just going out and collecting the worms. I have never bought the red worms though. They breed really fast.

    I built the coop and dog house for about $100

    Photobucket

    This is a picture of my doghouse on the left with tomatos, lettuce, and some herbs
    Photobucket

    and here is a picture of my hound in the Dog house.. had to add this in, he is an awesome old dog
    Photobucket
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010
     
    you've done a lot of great things in a smaller space. impressive.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010
     
    re-think plastic water bottles

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      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010
     
    Go vegan.

    Or at least more vegan.

    It takes a lot of food, water and energy to produce a pound of meat or dairy.

    I will have fish on occasion, but less lately due to mercury concerns.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010 edited
     
    Chris Taylor:This is decidedly one of the ways not to promote greenness:

    "Six-lane addition proposed to ease daily I-5 backups"

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/may/28/six-lane-addition-proposed-to-ease-daily-i-5/



    But....Todd Gloria states this in response:
    Six additional freeway lanes? No thanks. I'd prefer the money be used to extend Trolley service and build more bike lanes. Much smarter ways to ease traffic congestion.


    I almost want to kiss the man.

    ---

    And very, very nice work 1rider. So beautiful.
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010
     
    Regarding roaches:

    Keep the compost hot and active with the right balance of vegetable matter, leaf mold, and water. And exclude animal products and bananas. Sowbugs are okay. They aren't disease vectors and assist in the composting process.

    Pour some boric acid into your water meter boxes in the parkway and where water pipes enter the building. We used to have those big black monsters when we first moved in. They'd be on the kitchen floor when we turned the lights on at midnight, had to drop a bag of newspapers on them. We haven't seen any in years, touch wood!
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      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010
     
    I have one of those "tumbling barrel" composters: I can second (or 3rd or 5th) that I have never, ever seen a single roach in it: And that's not for not having roaches anywhere on the property - they are here, but for some reason they are not interested in the composter.
    bëany: we currently don't like egg shells and lemon peels as they drastically change the ph of the worm bin and bother our worms.
    I didn't know that egg shells were bad: I considered stopping using shells because it seemed it took forever for them to break down. But then somebody said that eggshells in the soil keeps slugs away from vegetables, so I decided to keep on composting them: I must have dozens of worms per cubic foot of composting material, so they don't seem to be too bothered by it.
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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2010 edited
     
    No roaches here either. No ants. No flies (due to compost.) We also keep chickens and the manure mixed with the wood shaving that they are bedded on makes for a good mix with the veggie matter. I even have people come and pick up manure for their compost. And while I may not have enough eggs for everyone, I do have enough poo!

    And I compost it all including egg shells, citrus peels, everything. Left alone in the right environment it disappears within a couple weeks around here. One key is to fuss less with it. Just let the critters do their work. You should save up your scraps to add say once to maybe twice a week so as to disturb it less. So I keep a bucket in the fridge with my scraps to keep smell & rot down.
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeMay 29th 2010
     
    I use eggs so infrequently that the shells don't seem to be a problem. I peel out the membrane, since it is keratin and I don't want animal proteins in the compost, then reduce the shells to tiny fragments.

    Citrus rinds seem to keep the worms away from the topmost layer, but they break down quickly when the compost is moist enough. Digging down a few inches the peels are not noticable and the worms are active below.

    Slightly acidic soil is good for acid loving plants such as orchids, iris, and hydrangea. My house was built on vernal pool habitat in 1924. The hard clay is just below a thin layer of topsoil which I keep enriched with compost. It's a challenge to find plants that will tolerate the poor drainage. Jacaranda. bougainvillea, and lantana seem to do well. Ornamental fruit trees do not.
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      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2010
     
    Does anyone here reclaim "grey water"?
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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2010
     
    "grey water" is a Burning Man term since the playa dust mixed with water is grey. it's crazy how it caught on as the term for reclaimed water. and no i don't reclaim water. i would if i had a garden or something. living in a condo with no plants i don't have really much to use it for.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2010
     
    I've been reading Beth Terry's blog, Fake Plastic Fish, nearly since the very beginning. It is through her writings, I've slowly been eliminating plastic from my own life even though I'm no where close to removing all sources of plastic entering my life. Beth is very thorough in her research and inspires me lots on how to be assertive in refusing plastic. Her reasons on why to avoid them them are worth listening to (besides the fact that they pollute and create eyesores, they also take forever and a day to decompose).

    Today I finally bought packaging free ice cream from Mariposa. I took a pint sized canning jar and had them fill it up. So no waste, and I support a local, small business.

    Here is one video by Beth
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      CommentAuthorbilld
    • CommentTimeMay 30th 2010
     
    One note on the water. She was talking about bottling her own tap water. She lives in Oakland. Assuming they have the same tap water as San Francisco, they have awesome tap water. When I stayed with a friend in S.F., I was amazed at how good the tap water was. San Diego, on the other hand, has very bad tap water.
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2010
     
    I use grey water in my compost and to irrigate my yard. I don't use water contaminated with detergents or other surfactants, however.
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      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2010
     
    ray333:I use grey water in my compost and to irrigate my yard.
    How to you capture it - tanks collecting rain water from your roof?
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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2010
     
    i want to collect the water that is used waiting for the hot water in the shower. still, i don't know what to do with it since i have no plants or landscaping.
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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2010
     
    Last week i watched the entire first season of The Lazy Environmentalist from Netflix on my Roku
  4.  
    i want to collect the water that is used waiting for the hot water in the shower. still, i don't know what to do with it since i have no plants or landscaping.


    A friend of mine has a button hidden in his medicine cabinet that when pressed flushes the cold water back into a tank so that only hot water comes through the pipes. I I was impressed and the house came with it already installed
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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2010
     
    We've been trying to get a plumber to install a grey water system in our house for years. Haven't found one yet that will - get all sorts of excuses about "codes violations", etc... We just want to take our washer & bath water for the garden. And we do save the water that we spend waiting for the hot water to arrive. We have a large pretty glass jug on the kitchen counter & bucket in the bathroom. It's not a lot, but enough to water some plants.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2010
     
    Velo Cult:i want to collect the water that is used waiting for the hot water in the shower. still, i don't know what to do with it since i have no plants or landscaping.


    I've used the water to flush the toilet: collect water using a bucket and then pour into the tank or straight into the commode.
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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeMay 31st 2010
     
    We used to do that in the 70's - took baths, saved bath water & flushed the toilet by hurling a bucket of water down the bowl.
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2010
     
    Njord Noatun:
    ray333:I use grey water in my compost and to irrigate my yard.
    How to you capture it - tanks collecting rain water from your roof?


    Buckets in the bathroom and kitchen collect warm up water and water from washing produce. My friend Dave in South Park has rain barrels that collect 55 gallons of water each from the roof runoff. On Easter Sunday when the earthquake struck we watched one of the barrels gaily sloshing its contents onto the patio.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010 edited
     
    bëany:

    Today I finally bought packaging free ice cream from Mariposa. I took a pint sized canning jar and had them fill it up. So no waste, and I support a local, small business.


    Well...since I raved about Mariposa, thought I'd post what I also found. I asked Mariposa where they source their milk from. It is Heartland Farms based in City of Industry, CA. I've asked for clarification, because if the company is indeed the same subsidiary of Dean Foods, then I'm going to have to go back to eating either no ice cream or getting it from Strauss. Dean Foods is also known for their other subsidiary Horizon Organics where their organic cows are in CAFO style settings but get fed "organic vegetarian corn" (I read a few stories on this a while back - can't find them now), and Dean Foods has been accused of having bad workplace settings, etc, etc.

    EDIT: I intend to contact Heartland to figure out how their cows are treated. But so far it isn't looking good. Their website isn't listing the keywords I tend to look for and the place looks more industrial factory style than a farm. Plus I don't see pictures of the actual cows lounging around in a cow-like manner chewing the cud.
  5.  
    I buy a lot of Horizon milk, thanks for the information. i looked it up and it looks like I will be going to another company for my milk
    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     
    I gave up on dairy products. Never felt good eating them anyway. Miss butter though.
    •  
      CommentAuthorPaul
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010 edited
     
    Purely Decadent Ice Cream is made from coconut milk and is amazing. Tempt is made from hemp milk is also pretty good. Both are way better than the soy or rice milk products and are pretty widely available in SD. The Tempt milk is also pretty good for coffee or cereal, and of course Earth Balance is pretty good as a butter replacement.
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      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     
    The coconut milk ice creams are awesome.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     
    For those that may be interested, here is the Cornucopia Organic Dairy Report/Rating: http://www.cornucopia.org/dairysurvey/

    They rightly give Horizon a -O- rating. They not only rate on the cows immediate living conditions (feed/dry lots, CAFO, pastured, etc), but also on the companies' ethical standings, the cull rates, cattle sourcing, among other things. We try to stick to Stremicks & Clover dairies as they are in the highest catagory AND trucked the least distance (at least they're in CA). I'm glad others are finally starting to notice this stuff. I used to try to mention it and people would look at me like I was mad.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     
    Bev:For those that may be interested, here is the Cornucopia Organic Dairy Report/Rating: http://www.cornucopia.org/dairysurvey/

    They rightly give Horizon a -O- rating. They not only rate on the cows immediate living conditions (feed/dry lots, CAFO, pastured, etc), but also on the companies' ethical standings, the cull rates, cattle sourcing, among other things. We try to stick to Stremicks & Clover dairies as they are in the highest catagory AND trucked the least distance (at least they're in CA). I'm glad others are finally starting to notice this stuff. I used to try to mention it and people would look at me like I was mad.


    That link is very useful! Thanks for posting it.

    I tend to go with Strauss, because I like the glass returnable bottles and they seem to be genuinely interested in getting rid of their plastic packaging.

    And I can really relate to people looking at you like you're nuts. I still get that on occasion and I am honestly confused. Why the hell would you want to eat pesticide/hormone laden "food"?
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      CommentAuthoril Pirati
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     
    ^So useful! Thanks Bev. Does anyone know of a similar ranking for meat producers?
    • CommentAuthorHillbilly
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2010
     
    Bev:For those that may be interested, here is the Cornucopia Organic Dairy Report/Rating: http://www.cornucopia.org/dairysurvey/

    They rightly give Horizon a -O- rating. They not only rate on the cows immediate living conditions (feed/dry lots, CAFO, pastured, etc), but also on the companies' ethical standings, the cull rates, cattle sourcing, among other things. We try to stick to Stremicks & Clover dairies as they are in the highest catagory AND trucked the least distance (at least they're in CA). I'm glad others are finally starting to notice this stuff. I used to try to mention it and people would look at me like I was mad.

    Thanks for sharing! That's a pretty cool list of rankings and they have a lot of information on the top-tier companies but really lack any useful information on the lower ranked companies. I'm not saying that these companies are are unjustly ranked, just that the lack of information makes me skeptical about their "studies".

    I'm sad to hear about Horizon but am glad that it was brought to my attention so I could research it a bit...I didn't buy their products very often but won't be buying them at all in the future.
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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2010
     
    Hillbilly:Thanks for sharing! That's a pretty cool list of rankings and they have a lot of information on the top-tier companies but really lack any useful information on the lower ranked companies. I'm not saying that these companies are are unjustly ranked, just that the lack of information makes me skeptical about their "studies".


    That's the problem is that those compnies were not forthcoming with information. They are not transparent regarding their practices. If you don't have anything to hide, then why withhold information?
    • CommentAuthorHillbilly
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2010
     
    Bev:That's the problem is that those compnies were not forthcoming with information. They are not transparent regarding their practices. If you don't have anything to hide, then why withhold information?

    Right...that makes sense to a point. I have just always had trouble agreeing with the assumption that no data implies bad data. Though, I suppose in most cases like this it is a correct assumption since providing good data will in all only help your company gain popularity.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2010
     
    Few links:
    Greywater Action - a group that hosts workshops on greywater installation all over CA. I believe they're based out of San Diego.

    Zero Waste San Diego - I'm on the mailing list which is very useful. I learn about events going on in SD re: reducing waste/recycling/landfills and legislation relating to these topics. They often host events such as screenings. I saw Garbage Dreams at the Central Library a short while back that they hosted.
  6.  
    Velo Cult:
    Njord Noatun:(composting probably is top of the list).


    me too. i really want to try worm composting but im so worried about roaches. i keep reading that roaches will take over that it's been holding me back. i want one at the condo and at the shop. anyone have tips on keeping the roaches at bay? i know they help decompose but i still don't like the damn things and im sure my wife won't appreciate having them around.


    We boought this Red wriggler vermiculture from the Leucadia Farmer's market for $40 bucks. Three buckets: top two buckets for worms and the bottom catches the concentrated worm tea. The buckets have small drilled holes for air circulation. We've never had problems with rodents, roaches, or fruit flies.... As long as the food leftovers are buried under the soil fruit flies won't be a problem.

    In the picture below. I discovered that seeds thrive on the nutrient rich vermiculture environment . So I threw in some seeds: pepper, cabbage, etc. Presto! These will be ready for transplanting.

    No watering required. We'll be expanding our wriggly worm bins soon

    • CommentAuthorthom
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2010
     
    So, I don't know if this is a "green" question, but does anyone know a local store with all-natural bed pillows? No synthetics in the stuffing or covering. Or, if nobody knows any local retailers, any suggestions for good products to look for online? Any help very much appreciated.