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Greenbelt Alliance

A Giving Guide that Gives Back to the Greenbelt

While this season of giving looks atypical to years past, there are ample ways to celebrate the holidays with thoughtful gifts. We have some recommendations for the nature-lovers, advocates, and outdoor enthusiasts in your life! Read on to be inspired by gifts that are environmentally-focused, equity-minded, sustainably produced, or that support the natural places we know and love right here in the Bay Area.

“Who wouldn’t devour delicious local edibles from farms across the Bay Area?! I found these farmers delivering gift baskets ranging from fruits to dried nuts and more. Sigonas Farmers Market out of Palo Alto and Redwood City, Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, and Winters Fruit Tree in Winters, CA are a few to try this holiday season! Bolstering our local food system is especially critical right now, and a great way to reduce carbon emissions from transporting food over long distances. Many Bay Area farmers use sustainable practices reducing chemicals used and maximizing the benefits of healthy soils that also sequester carbon. A triple win for our environment, economy, and gift-giving!”
Sarah Cardona, Deputy Director
“When the days are short and sometimes cold, I delve into books that take me away to wild lands near and far like the two now on my coffee table. One sweeps up to the top of Sonoma Mountain and the other journeys to the land of the snow leopard in the high Himalayas. Both feature incredible photos and nature writing and were published by, and benefit, local conservation groups. Whether you live in Sonoma County, or just love it, you’ll become more intimate with its heart and soul while reading “Where the World Begins: Sonoma Mountain Stories and Images” published by Sonoma Mountain Preservation. The Snow Leopard Conservancy, with offices based at the foot of Sonoma Mountain, shares mystery and magic in “Searching for the Snow Leopard”. I promise you’ll be moved by the power of nature whether you gift these books or sit down under a blanket with a hot cuppa and enjoy them yourself.”
Teri Shore, Advocacy Director
“We always want to celebrate our friends and family over the holidays by getting them that perfect gift. But if you’re like me, you get frustrated by all of the plastic waste that comes along with your purchase. Luckily, in the Bay Area we have a variety of zero waste shops selling beautiful local items that don’t harm the planet! This holiday season buy gifts that do less harm, like Tonle and Wisdom Supply Co in San Francisco, The Source Zero in San Jose, Non Disposable Life in Mill Valley, or plan a socially-distant, zero waste coffee date at MudLab in Oakland.”
Paris Badat, Corporate and Foundation Manager
“A few months ago I purchased an America the Beautiful Annual Pass ($80), which grants entry to National Parks, National Monuments, and Federal Recreation Areas. I find that the purchase of a park pass is two-fold, I am able to support the work of the National Park Service and it also serves as added inspiration and motivation to visit and support my local, national parks. I am excited to use my pass next year (once the pandemic is under control) to visit places I haven’t seen yet, such as The Bay Model in Sausalito, Alcatraz Island, Pinnacles NP, as well as revisiting Point Reyes and Yosemite. If you are truly a Bay Area Ambassador (particularly in the East Bay), you should also check out the East Bay’s Regional Parks foundation’s annual pass. For $60, you are granted free unlimited day-use parking, annual dog passes, camping discounts, and a subscription to the foundation’s recreational publications.”
Kevin Riley, Solano County Regional Representative
“In the early 2000s, I moved to the Grand Lake neighborhood of Oakland, where a small Farmers’ Market huddled in the parking lot under the freeway every Saturday. At that market, I met a gregarious Napa-based farmer with an array of strikingly beautiful, multicolored, multi-shaped beans. The farmer explained that these heirloom beans were tastier and better for the environment than your average bean – and quickly dispelled any notion that they were fussy in any way – he said it was fine not to soak! And not to worry about mirepoix – just throw in a half an onion! I was hooked. Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo, the aforementioned bean vendor, is long gone from our market but went on to become the premier purveyor of and advocate for heirloom beans in the entire country, profiled in the New Yorker in 2018. While unfortunately, you’ll need to get on the waitlist to join the bean of the month club (I highly recommend you do this!) you can order beans online, at his store in Napa, or in many shops around the Bay Area.”
Amanda Brown-Stevens, Executive Director
“For me, one of the highlights of the holiday season is the excuse to bust out my warmest, fuzziest clothes (as warm and as fuzzy as clothes get in the Bay Area). Unfortunately, the warm fuzzy feeling you get from these clothes might not necessarily translate to the environment. There’s increasing evidence that natural and synthetic microfiber pollution is having serious impacts across the world. From the deep sea to king penguins in South Georgia (the island, not the state), we’re seeing the hidden costs of our clothing. That’s why my recommendation for the environmentally-conscious gift shopper is Patagonia’s GUPPYFRIEND™ Washing Bag which protects synthetic garments while reducing the amount of microfibers that may enter the environment. It’s worth noting that they are selling the bag at cost(!) and not making any profit on the sales. It’s an easy way to make sure that you and your loved ones can snuggle into your favorite holiday sweaters, polyester and all, guilt-free.”
Justin Wang, Advocacy Manager
Unable to get out and really travel this year, I’ve missed visiting our national parks. I found this spectacular coffee table book: USA National Parks: Lands of Wonder, which is packed with beautiful photographs and the history of our nation’s awe-inspiring and breathtaking national parks. Anytime you need to feed your adventurous spirit, it’s always fun to open up this book.”
Nora Cullinen, Director of Major Gifts
“If you’re looking for unique, eco-friendly, and hand-crafted gifts this holiday, you can find them at TreBamboo. A social impact company with zero waste, zero inequality, and zero exclusion. I especially love their bamboo toothbrushes and Cocozen candles. Not only do I love their products, but I also love their passion for protecting the environment.” —Luna Vu, Finance Director
“The holidays are the perfect time to cuddle up on the couch with a loved one and a good book. “Becoming a Good Creature” by Sy Montgomery is the perfect story for little ones, that adults are sure to enjoy too! For those who prefer a grown-up read, I highly recommend “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis” a compilation of essays from inspiring women leading the way in the climate movement. Jessie Brennan, Director of Marketing & Communications

P.S. if you are planning to shop on Amazon, be sure to shop with Amazon Smile by going to smile.amazon.com and choosing Greenbelt Alliance as your charity. Then, when you make a purchase, 0.5% of the cost will be donated to us from the AmazonSmile Foundation. Learn more about this program here.

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