Still Lots of Life in the Green Living Show

CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter. Lloyd Alter

Could it be that green living is making a comeback?

When the Green Living Show started in Toronto in 2007 it was huge. Al Gore opened the show; Margaret Atwood demonstrated her LongPen with George Monbiot,. It was a very big deal. Over the years it seemed to have faded, as has interest in green living generally. This year it has even moved to a smaller venue and I didn't actually expect very much. But actually, this year's show is kind of fun. There is not much about green building, just one booth about bikes, none of the things that used to dominate the show. But there was a buzz to it, perhaps from the addition of all the cannabis booths that have introduced a different kind of green.

One Hop Kitchen

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0And crickets! Mealworms! Quite a few booths playing with them. I particularly liked the bolognese sauce from One Hop Kitchen; it is tasty, high in protein, you really do not know that you are eating yucky mealworms, it is probably the easiest introduction to eating bugs on the market. And it is good for you:

  • 10g of protein per cup.
  • 3x the vitamin B12 compared to beef.
  • 1⁄2 the saturated fat compared to beef.
  • 1⁄3 less cholesterol compared to beef.
  • No sugar added and made with all natural ingredients.
  • Gluten, soy, dairy, and egg free

Order online at One Hop Kitchen.


Midgard/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

If you don't have the nerve to get into eating crickets, you might feed them to your plant or maybe even your dog. Joy Hillier raises crickets and collects their poop or frass, as they call it politely, and turns it into plant food. "Cricket manure, or ‘frass’, is a natural plant food providing balanced nutrients, beneficial bacteria, and chitin for the development of healthy roots, built-in pest resistance and strong growth."

The crickets themselves, after they are pooped out, are turned into dog food. "Midgard dog treats are made with our eco-friendly and nutritious whole ground crickets and local fruits and vegetables found in Nova Scotia, Canada. We take pride in our recipes knowing each protein packed bite is 100% grain free with no additives or preservatives."

Why crickets

© Mygard Farms

I suspect that given the benefits, in a few years we and our dogs will be eating a lot of crickets and mealworms; there are so many benefits with such a low footprint. More information at Midgard Farms.

Kato Matcha from genuine Tea

Kato Matcha from genuine Tea/CC BY 2.0

I used to drink Matcha every afternoon at two as a pick-me-up but have not as often this year; the stuff I am drinking takes like dust. Perhaps it is stale; perhaps it is just not that good. That's why I was excited to discover this Kato Matcha, imported by David of Genuine Tea. He found it in Kyoto, where it is made by the Katō Family. They evidently play Mozart to the leaves before they harvest them. Perhaps I will ask my pianist wife to play Mozart while I drink it; that will make all the difference. More at Genuine Tea.

fair trade bananas

Lloyd Alter/ Equifruit bananas/CC BY 2.0

Yes, we have Fair Trade bananas! Most bananas are grown on vast plantations by huge corporations in what used to be known as banana republics, but Fair Trade ensures that the workers get better pay and better conditions. They cost a bit more, but as Equifruit notes,

Nothing comes for cheap – and though bananas may be the cheapest fruit in your basket, it’s often at the expense of plantation workers. At Equifruit, we want to be sure that we’re not selling fruit tainted by exploitative labour practices. Our commitment to Fairtrade and organic farming is a commitment to supporting safe work environments and fair working conditions for our producers and their workers.

And this is real international Fair Trade too, not that watered-down, American corporation-friendly Fair Trade USA stuff. Sorry, but this one is only available north of the border from Equifruit.

LA plantation Pepper

Lloyd Alter/ LA Plantation peeper/CC BY 2.0

Pepper used to be valuable stuff. "During the Middle Ages when the trade was monopolized by the Portuguese and later the Dutch, pepper was so valuable that it was worth more than gold by weight, and individual peppercorns were widely accepted as legal currency." And some peppers were more valuable than others; the region of Kampot in Cambodia made particularly good stuff. According to La Plantation, distributor, "Kampot pepper was mainly exported to France. It has always had a reputation of being a high-quality pepper, one of the best in the world. Its flavour and unique aroma make it very popular with gourmet chefs."

During the civil war of the 70s pepper growing was abandoned, but it is back and now even has PGI, or Protected Geographical Indication. "The PGI requires producers to comply with very strict specifications laying down rules governing production (land, cultivated area, natural fertilizers and natural pesticides), processing, packaging and traceability." It also tastes really, well, peppery. Different somehow. "The Kampot black pepper develops strong and delicate aromas. Its taste is very intense and mild at the same time, with hints of eucalyptus and fresh mint. " I am looking forward to dinner and trying it. Order it at La Plantation.


garbage/CC BY 2.0

Really, the Green Living Show is now mostly green lite, focused on lifestyle, food, health and now marijuana. But one thing that hasn't changed is that they still give a lot of room for volunteer organizations, like the lovely people at, who collected this little display of plastic waste in 45 seconds. We worry about the Pacific garbage gyre but in fact, 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year. They are currently running a drive to ban plastic bags in Toronto, which is a movie we have seen before but have to do a sequel. Everyone from Greenpeace to the Bruce Trail people, even the crazy chemtrail activists, deserve credit for giving up their weekends to work the Green Living Show in Toronto. They alone make the Green Living Show worth a visit.