By Lara DiPaolaWhat do kids and vegetables have in common? They both grow like crazy in the summer months. It’s not such a hard balance to strike when Sirius is in town for those famed “Dog Days” of summer. Some shorts, a tank top, flip-flops and the cold fruit du jour will do in a pinch between play dates and grocery runs. As July melts into August and the “supply lists” start to multiply like our infamous “stink bugs” in the entryways of every mass retailer, the scales start to tip.

Every parent is all to familiar with the annual squeeze in the family budget that is directly proportionate to the purchasing of backpacks, school clothes, uniforms, socks, shoes and the myriad of gear required to mount the annual expedition that is, “Back to School.”

If you are a parent who is trying to hand down a reduced carbon footprint, this expedition might seem more like an insurmountable summit. Oft times, “going green” means dolling out large amounts of greenbacks. Lucky are the parents who live in Charm City. Here in the house that Ruth was BORN in we have a line-up of outstanding, affordable, quality ways to go green while saving “green.”

The Lunchbox

Let’s start with the all-important lunchbox.  We parents can often be just as -if not more- picky about what goes into our kid’s lunchbox. Few people will argue that organic is best. It’s healthier, safer and just plain tastes better. The thing is, at some retail grocery stores, you might have to choose between an apple and a college education for your child.  What is a health and budget conscious parent to do? How about pack up the brood and head down to the Baltimore Farmer’s Market?

Every Sunday underneath the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday & Saratoga streets in Baltimore, the best of the best in locally grown produce, artisan crafted foods and handmade delights are offered up in a setting that is an event for the senses.  Bring the kids along and involve them in the process of choosing healthy, less expensive and tasty items for their lunch boxes. When a child takes part in the selection and preparation of a meal they are much more likely to enjoy it and start building a life-long habit of healthy choices. An added bonus? This little trip will cost you far less green than a trip to a big retail store. Plus you’ll get out and meet people in your community. Baltimore is populated with people as great as the food they offer up.

School Supplies

Now that your little scholar is set for brain food it’s time to get them “geared” up. Skip the department stores or discount retailers and go green with consignment couture. Now before you freak out about “used” clothes or backpacks, do tell, when was the last time you went to a consignment boutique? This ain’t your grandma’s goodwill folks. Baltimore, and the surrounding burbs, are chock full of chic boutiques offering up gently used, re-purposed and even new items. Why spend $45 every school year on a new backpack when you can nab a “nearly new” one — from a high-end retailer no less — for less?

290 800x533 Going Green For Back To School

Photo credit: Jack and Immy

Jack & Immy

2108 Fleet Street
Baltimore, Md.
(410) 732-0195
Hours: Tue to Sat-  10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Reviews, Directions & More Info

Amazing finds abound at consignment shops like Jack & Immy. This sweet boutique starts with eye-candy window displays and follows that up with shelves laden with gently used, high-end, items. In addition to the great finds, you can feel good about having reduced your carbon footprint by buying re-purposed as opposed to general retail. Treat yourself to their handcrafted items as well (they have an Esty store, yeah!).

lily pad Going Green For Back To School

Photo Credit: Lily Pad of Towson

Lily Pad of Towson

6909 York Road
Baltimore, Md.
(410) 377-0025
Hours: Mon to Sat –  10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Reviews, Directions & More Info

Lil Pad of Towson (located at 6909 York Road, Baltimore) is as green as the name suggest and as cool, too. They carry everything from preemie sized baby clothing to preteen fashions, plus the gear… oh my the gear! With brands from Lilly Pulitzer to Mini Boden, Talbots Kids to Ralph Lauren, Crew Cuts, Lands End and beyond you’ll be in as happy as frog that just got kissed!

When it comes to the expedition of “going green” and saving green, Baltimore is the BEST base camp ever!

Lara DiPaola, a professional writer and mother of four, lives life to the fullest in her adoptive hometown of Baltimore. The seeds of her inspiration are rooted in words, laughter, wine and being an everyday advocate of global impact through local action.


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