By Cecilia Cho
With the pressure of finding that perfect Valentine’s Day gift, it can be easy to forget the environmental impacts this sweet occasion has on our planet. Here are some greener alternatives to the plethora of chocolate, jewelry, flowers and other gifts that can have a damaging eco-footprint.
1. Kiss & Tail or adopt a “wild child”
Take your sweetheart to the Kansas City Zoo Saturday, February 13 for hors d’oeuvres and live music at the Valentine’s Kiss & Tail event. Guests will enjoy an improv presentation on animal courtship rituals portrayed by actors from The Living Room Theatre. The fun starts at 5:30 p.m. and is an adult-only event. Tickets are $35 for Friends of the Zoo (FOTZ) members and $45 for non-FOTZ. Register here. The zoo is located at 6800 Zoo Dr., Kansas City, MO.
The zoo also offers couples the opportunity to adopt your favorite “wild child.” For less than a dollar a day, you can add to the natural habitat, purchase hundreds of pounds of food and toys for animal enrichment. The adoption includes a framed photograph of your adopted animal, an official animal adoption certificate, two tickets to the zoo and an optional plush toy. To adopt a “wild child,” visit the KC Zoo and enter the promotion code: KCLovebird.
2. Make a romantic date at a conservatory
Discover “Winter Romance with Victorian Flair” at the Powell Gardens conservatory exhibit featuring kalanchoe, succulents, cineraria, cyclamen and African violets. The flora is displayed on antique stands from the Victorian era.
Admission is $7/adults, $6/seniors 60+, $3/children 5-12 and free/members. The exhibit will continue until February 28.
3. Lock your love
Give your honey a personalized padlock to proclaim your unbreakable and everlasting love. Then head to Minor Park and celebrate your commitment by “locking your love” to the Old Red Bridge. The bridge area will be lighted from 6 – 10 p.m. on February 13 and 14. The Kansas City Parks Department encourages you to take a picture and post it with hashtags #kcparks, #redbridgelovelocks and #lovekc.
While you’re at Minor Park, explore the 235-acres, find the marker that commemorates it as part of the Santa Fe Trail and look for the 10 decorative panels that record the individuals who made history at this significant crossing of the Blue River. It was the only location where the Santa Fe, California and Oregon Trails intersected.
4. Give a t-shirt to support local food
Local vintage t-shirt company, Charlie Hustle, created a series of t-shirts and bags to support Cultivate Kansas City and its efforts to create a local, urban agriculture system. So, you can give your favorite foodie a “Support Your Local Farmer” gift with part of the proceeds going to Cultivate KC. You’ll find them at Whole Foods stores in Overland Park, KS.
“We’re thrilled that our mission has gained so much momentum throughout Kansas City and grateful for the growing support from our many local business partners,” said Katherine Kelly, executive director and co-founder of Cultivate KC.
5. Choose sustainable jewelry
If you are shopping for jewelry, consider a few more sustainable options. Start by looking for used or heirloom jewelry. There are many options ranging from consignment to antique stores.
There are also local jewelers with a commitment to sustainability. Karats Jewelers in Overland Park uses recycled precious metals for its custom jewelry and repairs, while also ensuring its designers and manufacturers follow the same methodology. Its’ partners also have committed to environmentally safe practices during the production process. In addition, the diamonds are “conflict-free,” meaning they were sourced through non-violent measures. Jewelry by Design in Kansas City also specializes in custom jewelry with a commitment to the environment. The metals they use in gold, platinum, sterling silver, fine silver and more are recycled from Earth’s “existing metal supply.” Diamonds are also conflict-free.
6. Enjoy a romantic evening with local wine and sweets
Kansas City has a great selection of wonderful wineries, and many offer special tastings. Check these wineries for Valentine’s Day events:
Amigoni Urban Winery
1505 Genessee St., #100, Kansas City, MO
Chandler Hill Vineyards
596 Defiance Rd., Defiance, MO 63341
Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery
16905 Jowler Creek Rd., Platte City, MO
Mallinson Vineyard and Hall
3029 N. River Blvd., Sugar Creek, MO
Stonehaus Farms Winery
24607 NE Colbern Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO
If your beau likes cupcakes, cookies or chocolate, here are some local businesses to put on your radar:
Heirloom Bakery & Hearth
401 E. 63rd St., Kansas City, MO
Heirloom Bakery creates pies, pastries, cookies and even homemade pop tarts. The bakery use local eggs, organic Heartland Mill flour and organic dairy products in all of its creations.
Kansas City Cupcake Co.
5038 Lamar Ave., Mission, KS
Offering more than just cupcakes, this bakery also serves up scones, dipped pretzels, cake pops and more.
Manifest Chocolates creates raw and vegan chocolates that can be found at local grocery stores, Natural Grocers and online.
12462 Slater St., Overland Park, KS
Smart Cookies Bakery serves its “sweets with an attitude,” according to its website. If the smell of fresh cookies and bread doesn’t make someone happy, there’s a candy and dessert selection, too.
Sweet Kiss Brigadeiro
Brigadeiro is a popular Brazilian delicacy that mother/daughter team, Jessica and Regina, brought to the Midwest in 2015. Each candy is handcrafted and made with quality products.
Like what you see? Keep up with more local stories by subscribing to the free Greenability Weekly. Sign up here.