ECHOstore Continues Sustainability Initiatives

ECHOstore, the country’s pioneer green retailer, is also the country’s primary advocate for Slow Food movement and sustainable seafood. These two movements complete ECHOstore’s thrust in responsible production and consumption of food.

The United Nation’s sustainable goals are concerned with responsible food production and consumption given the rise of climate change issues affecting food supply.

ECHOstore brings these concerns to the fore by encouraging its customers to enjoy eating sustainably from local sources. “It’s not rocket science,” says Chit Juan, ECHOstore founder and ECHOsi foundation chair. “Just eat what you enjoy but make sure it comes from local and natural sources,” she continues .

Sarah Claudio, ECHOstore Davao licensee, could not agree more. “We have had to expand our cafe because more people want to buy organic and natural produce,” she says. “They also enjoy grass-fed beef, organic greens, and even pizza at the ECHOcafe,” she continues .

This year ECHOstore will be opening new branches in Cagayan de Oro City and Baguio City. Meanwhile, its Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao branches ensure that consumers can enjoy good, clean, and fair food all over the country.

Green Mind #20: Road to Rio+20

By Jeannie Javelosa
(reprinted from The Philippine Star)
Second in a series of article on The Road to Rio+20

Moving up closer to the coming UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, policy makers and multilateral stakeholders involved in threshing out steps towards a green economy are getting more intensely wrapped up in the many issues that confront them….well, that confront us all as one humanity trying to live through the challenge and effects brought about by climate change not only on an environmental level, but on social and industrial levels as well.

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Green Mind #19: Social Enterprises Make Women’s Group Viable

By Chit Juan
(reprinted from The Philippine Star)

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meets yearly to discuss women issues for about two weeks at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City.

For the 56th session of the CSW, I was asked by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to join them in a side event of the Philippine delegation last February 29.

As head of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines (WBCP), I have been tasked since last year to sit in many events of the PCW to represent the business sector of women.

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Green Mind #18: Green Growth: The Hague in Spring

By Jeannie Javelosa
(reprinted from The Philippine Star)
First in a series of article on The Road to Rio+20

Travel makes us only realize how similar we all are as human beings, playing under the trappings of cultures so diverse as our personalities. Yet, underneath our diversity, one humanity’s heart carries issues that our Planet faces today. And so I travelled halfway across the world to meet the beginning of Spring at The Hague in the Netherlands. Timely as it was, for I was there for a purpose so like Spring: where green growth begins as flowers profusely make their presence felt, despite the nippy wind making windmills dance.

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Green Mind #17: Be More Zen

By Chit Juan
(reprinted from The Manila Times)

One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. – Urban Dictionary

“Complete and absolute peace” is another way to define Zen.

Life is short. We should not be wasting it on getting angry and getting upset. I always tell people that, when I retell a story about being upset, blood rushes to my head. Why do I allow myself to get angry or stressed? It is precious time that is wasted on nothing productive. I pray so hard to stay calm and “zen-like” as much as I can.

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Green Mind #16: From Seed to Stove, from Farm to Cup

By Chit Juan
(reprinted from The Manila Times)

There is a growing trend for restaurants that serve from “farm to fork” or from “farm to plate,” which means the establishment can trace the source of its ingredients, which most practically should come from local or nearby sources.

Consumers now want to know what is in their food and who grew it. This concern stems from the growing scare about chemicals or pesticides in vegetables, hormones in meat, and mercury in fish. What to eat then?

Sustainable restaurants are the order of the day. Such hangouts now promote that majority of its ingredients are from local farmers and from nearby sources. It promotes “locavorism”—or eating and buying local. We again are learning to appreciate local fish and salads made with local lettuce and other greens. If you google “sustainable food,” they are no longer limited to just vegan or organic restaurants, but to places serving a whole range of dishes, meat included, and many indulgent offerings like calamansi pie and pandan sans rival.

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Green Mind #15: We Are What We Eat

By Jeannie Javelosa 
(reprinted from The Philippnie Star)

Everything in our world today is so interconnected. Not only do we see this in how television and the Internet that connects our minds and consciousness, but also in the way we live our lives, the food we eat, the choice of consumer products we purchase. We see a food ad—we want to try it, no matter that the food item itself is loaded with fat, sugar, salt or, worst, unhealthy binders or preservatives.

Sometimes, due to the convenience of groceries and fast food stores all around us, we purchase food products without even thinking of where they come from or what’s been added on to make that chicken more plump, the canned roast beef tastier,  the bread whiter, or even what’s in that foamy milk. We are the sum of all the choices we make. And if food is one of the major factors that keeps us alive, then it’s worth taking a second look especially when health issues like diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, and heart diseases are on the rise.

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Green Mind #14: Grow Your Own Veggies

By Chit Juan
(reprinted from The Manila Times)

Yes, you can grow your own vegetables and herbs right in your patio or city garden! A friend now grows patolaupo, and ampalaya (bitter gourd) on his trellis right in his terrace. Another friend is growing her own herbs like mint, tarragon, and basil for pesto right in her condominium patio.

Growing your own vegetables and herbs is therapeutic (you water the plants and talk to them) and money-saving. Imagine being able to make your own pesto sauce (basil, cashew, and olive oil) from scratch. You can then toss your own pesto pasta, and give them away to friends as a homemade gift for birthdays or an any-occasion treat.

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Green Mind #13: Want to Know Your Past Life?

By: Jeannie Javelosa 
(reprinted from The Philippine Star)

When past lives are mentioned, people either look up in interest or send a gaze of disbelief and skepticism. Such mixed reactions are valid in that schools of thought run in direct oppositions or even counter to each other. The Church clearly states “no way,” as Church Fathers of old have junked the belief in reincarnation that gives the validity to past lives. Reincarnation was suppressed by the clergy at the fifth ecumenical council, held in Constantinople in 553 AD. The reason for this would have been the spiritual immaturity of the Christians, who could not grasp the doctrine at that time, or the desire of the clergy to manipulate the masses. Religion after all, served a political purpose during that time.

And so this was the belief I was raised in, and which I started to question when I began getting glimpses of my past life experiences on my own, so much so that I was compelled to take a course on comparative religions when I was taking my Masters degree in the U.S. I guess I just wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t crazily-loony undergoing all my own personal soul experiences. That course opened me up to a world of other belief systems that pointed to the evolution of consciousness through time. And that hunger for searching for the truth has never stopped with me since then. The path was always about wholeness and liberation, about moving towards deeper compassion for one’s self, which inevitably translates to a deeper compassion for other people and the world we live in.

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Green Mind #12: Sustainable Coffees

By: Chit Juan
(reprinted from The Manila Times)

With the popularity of coffee shops over the last decade, it has been a challenge looking for shops who sincerely want to help save the Philippine coffee industry. As a business set up for instant profit just like instant coffee, coffee shops find it difficult to look for honest-to-goodness sources of local coffee so that, while they make it a profitable business, they still help prop up the fledgling Philippine coffee retail landscape. Fortunately the Philippine Coffee Board has reached out to small coffee farmers around the archipelago, and now they have enough coffee supply to serve the needs of local coffee shop chains. One of these chains truly serving Philippine coffee is Le Bistro Sustainable Coffees. Located at the gateways of the country, in particular at NAIA Terminals 2 and Terminal 3, Le Bistro dictates that its suppliers source their coffee supply from local farms.

Local farmers will be proud to see the sustainable coffee lineup of Le Bistro, as the chain has concentrated on coffee and pastries, all locally inspired and sourced. The Le Bistro coffees are traceable to small coffee farms that didn’t used to have access to mainstream markets. Each batch is roasted and cupped by the Coffee Board’s resident experts, and the Board actually puts its stamp on every bag of coffee sold to Le Bistro.

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