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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « How "Organic" Is Organic Dry Cleaning? | Main | Can You Recycle Your Car? »

    She shifted $1,000 of her budget to eco-friendly goods...and chickens!

    If you’re looking for ways to live a greener life, take some pointers from Fran Martin.

    Snookey Fran is the newest member of the One in a Million campaign, a feat she achieved by switching more than $1,000 of her household budget to products and services that offer the greatest environmental benefit. The campaign doesn’t ask people to spend MORE money. Instead, it encourages consumers to throw their marketplace clout behind non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives that often end up saving people more money in the long run.

    Who is Fran?

    Fran, who is married, 67, and the mother of grown children, has lived in Butler, PA for the past 43 years. Her husband trains and breeds Labrador retrievers; “We have two,” she says. Fran is retired, but works part-time conducting food demonstrations where “I really push the organic products whether it is my demo of the day or not.”

    "At home I am an avid cook - everything from scratch,” says the One in a Million devotee.  “After the Women for a Healthy Environment conference last year, and after reading Omnivore's Dilemma, I extended my organic garden and got two hens so I could have organic eggs.  I erected a hoop house in October to have a winter garden which proved to be quite successful.  The only red meat we eat is venison, and I can and freeze everything possible.”

    “I also made homemade mouthwash and fabric softner,” she said.

    How did she shift $1,000?

    Here are the actual eco budget shifts Fran made between October 2008 and December 2009:

    Organic Grains, Beans - $40
    Organic Coffee - $208
    Organic Dairy - $155
    Organic Nuts –  $52
    Organic Pasta - $21
    Household Products (like eco-safe laundry detergent, dish soap, and cleaning soap) - $115
    Nontoxic Health/Beauty Products - $66
    Organic Chicken Feed - $26
    Beverages - $23
    Soymilk (2 cases) - $25
    Meats/Fish - $123
    Snacks - $8
    Veg/Fruit - $90
    Organic garden fertilizer and soil amendments: $75
    Stopped using clothes dryer almost completely: undetermined energy savings

    Total: at least $1,025


    When I asked Fran why she made the shifts, here's what she said:  
    * What inspired you to join the One in a Million campaign? I attended the Women’s Health and the Environment Conference in Pittsburg and heard you describe the difference we can make based on how we spend our money. I thought, “I can do that.”
    * What change was unexpectedly easy to make? Keeping track of my purchases!
    * What proved to be most challenging? Finding the best prices (ed. Note: This is true for many people, but a little bargain shopping can make organic food and recycled products very affordable)’
    * What's your next step? Continue to purchase present organic products and add new ones as I find them.

    Great job, Fran! Thanks for sharing your success with us.

    Join Us!

    And for all of you who are inspired to make your own spending shifts, get started here.


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    The Raven

    What a wonderful profile--and what an excellent time (the new year) to help us imagine making commitments like hers.

    --Hannah in Takoma Park

    Diane MacEachern

    Thanks, Hannah. Why don't you join the campaign? I'd love to profile your efforts to go green!

    The Raven

    I just signed up. We've already made many changes but have been postponing a few really big-ticket items like a refrigerator to replace our 40yo fridge, and window work upstairs--as well as installing the big "victory garden" in the front yard. Perhaps this challenge will help us get it done!

    Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog

    Wow, what an inspiration! It just goes to show how the little switches do really add up.


    Kasey and everyone else who commented, Please join the campaign! I'd love to add your story to the growing list of people who are making the shift to a greener, cleaner world!


    Wow, Fran truly is an inspiration! this only goes to show that when you put your heart and mind into something and really persevere in achieving your goal (no matter how small), you can do it! thanks for sharing Fran's story...I'm sure she has already inspired many to make greener, healthier choices!

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