Why Hanging Out With Each Other is Good for the Planet

I read an interview the other day with Vermont Professor and Healthy Living guest, Sheila Liming, about her new book, “Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time.” She writes about the forgotten importance of just being with people. “There’s a great freedom that comes from low expectations,” she says. I was struck by this idea because finding these simple, yet meaningful moments is exactly what we do at our stores! And guess what: they lead to a healthier planet, too. 

We’ve always embraced the importance of “hanging out” with one another—with guests, truck drivers, local farmers, and as a staff. As Sheila explains, these interactions have zero agenda, but somehow this makes them even more substantial. Feeling heard and valued is powerful medicine. If guests leave our stores just a little happier, I’m happy. 

And these interactions add up. One moment we’re chatting with a guest who also happens to be a local grower—the next we’re forging a partnership, and before you know it, we’re building community infrastructure. 

These local collaborations have an environmental impact we can see and feel. It means trucks drive shorter distances with less of a carbon footprint. It means we’re keeping land open and soil healthy for future generations. And it all starts by simply being with each other. 

Our AMAZING Category Manager for Produce, Keith Drinkwine, just celebrated his 1-year anniversary with us! He knows the business inside and out because he lives it, having his own farm with livestock. Keith’s deep dedication to organic produce is a big reason our fruits and vegetables are consistently beautiful and fresh, and it all began with taking the time to get to know our farm partners. 

Like Bill Suhr from Champlain Orchards in Shoreham, VT. “Bill is so passionate about apples and so excited to share his knowledge,” Keith explains. “They’ve been a leader within the ‘Eco-Grown’ certification and a staple of our produce departments year-round.” 

And Tim and Brooke Hughes-Muse from Laughing Child Farm in Pawlet, VT. “They grow the most amazing sweet potatoes I’ve ever seen,” Keith says. “I lived and worked in the next town over for several years and even planted and harvested sweet potatoes on Laughing Child farm. Their hard work and dedication inspire me every day.”

“I am constantly in awe of the farms and distributors we source from. Don’t tell anyone, but I have the best job!” – Keith Drinkwine, Category Manager Produce

Earth Day is often described as this enormous, global fight to save the planet, but I see it as something much smaller and more personal. When we take the time to be with one another, we’re naturally building community. And communities take care of each other. That’s why protecting our land, air, and water is so important. It makes us ALL healthier and gives us more quality time to just hang out. 

Always delighted to be with you,


P.S. Below are listed some of my favorite eco-friendly products. Stop in soon to check them out and say hi!

8 Eco-Friendly Products We Love! 

1. Floss & Rock Gifts and Toys for Kids

This family-owned, international children’s toy brand focuses on gifts and toys for children aged 2-10. They responsibly source all their materials using recycled & recyclable tin/paper/card, vegetable/soy inks, FSC, and biodegradable materials.

2. Tru Earth Laundry Strips and Detergent Tabs 

Plastic-free packaging means a lower carbon footprint. They’re paraben-free, phosphate-free, readily biodegradable, and vegan! 

3. Caboo Plastic-Free Paper Towels and Toilet Paper

It’s up to us to save our butts! Caboo products are always tree-free and made from bamboo.

4. Klean Kanteen Rise Collection + Earth Day Limited Edition Bottles

Made with recycled aluminum and Carbon Neutral Certified. Klean Kanteen invests 1% of sales into organizations working to make the world a more resilient and sustainable place.

5. Attitude®️ Oceanly Facial Care

The company’s first full line of plastic-free facial care products; cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and eye creams for every type of skin. EWG-verified, they’ve reduced plastic use by more than 1,000 tons since 2021 and planted over 1.5 million trees to help preserve the planet.

6. HiBar

Plastic-free hair care and deodorant. Packaging is either compostable or easily recyclable, including the shipping material. All are cruelty-free with vegan options! 

7. CleanLogic Bath Accessories

Sustainable line of organic cotton textured body scrubbers. Free from dyes, cut and sewn with certified organic cotton, and recycled polyester in 100% tree-free packaging.

8. Our Entire Bulk Section

All of our stores offer robust bulk sections. Bring your own containers to refill your spices, beans, grains, and more! Use less plastic and save money at the same time.