Better Choices for the Table: What the Obama’s, the Windsor’s and Millions of Consumers have in Common

This week the White House made an effort to set the pace for the rest of the nation by announcing the property’s first organic garden - foodie blogs to national media ran the story with zeal. Since the beginning of the Administration, Michelle Obama has taken on the challenge of setting an example for the rest of us when it comes to healthy eating and local options for our tables. There also a subliminal message that this can help cut costs during a slow economy and generally boost spirits. However, the trend doesn’t stop at the White House gates - it is also popular overseas. The trend for local and sustainable gardening is being revived by our British friends who also inspired Eleanor Roosevelt to call American gardeners to their yards during WWII.

On the other side of the pond, London’s largest landowner, the Queen, has developed a Victory Garden in St. James Park “to bring back the flavour of those times (WWII) and encourage people to embrace the idea of growing your own.” During WWII, “Dig for Victory” was a government-led wartime campaign that turned gardening into a patriotic duty. More than 15.5 million people in Britain are already estimated to grow some of their own food and the recession has increased demand for allotments and seeds, as families turn to the soil to cut bills.

Even those of us without a community garden option are just as enthusiastic about the trend and want to take advantage of options for eating local produce. We support this healthy trend by stocking up at our local farmers markets that provide good healthy options with a lower carbon footprint. In my backyard, Alexandria, VA , a bedroom community of Washington, DC, we have over one thousand visitors to our neighborhood every Sunday from May through October - all looking for local produce and handcrafted products at the neighborhood market. I recently sat down with one of the market’s organizers to hear more about how the venture has grown. Three years ago when it started, there were a half dozen vendors and today it has expanded to almost twenty-five. According to the organizer, if it grows to thirty vendors, then it’s considered a small mid-size market. On a larger scale, DC’s Freshfarm Markets “operates 8 farmers' markets in the Chesapeake Bay region” and can demand crowds of up to 100,000 customers with recognition in national media outlets including the Wall Street Journal.

So whether you have a slice of land as small as a suburban yard, a few acres or an urban bungalow, there are options for everyone to make better choices and support the growth of healthier and local food options.

To find markets nationally go to Local Harvest

To find one of the over 200 Washington DC markets go to the Washington Post guide.


HBR In Brief: Why Sustainability Is Now the Key Driver of Innovation

I picked this (and the PDF) up from Environmental Leader today. Worth a read as they give tips on implementation and theorize a process for corporate sustainability.

Key ideas from the Harvard Business Review article by Ram Nidumolu, C.K. Prahalad, and M.R. Rangaswami

The Idea in Brief

• Sustainability isn’t the burden on bottom lines that many executives believe it to be. In fact, becoming environment-friendly can lower your costs and increase your revenues. That’s why sustainability should be a touchstone for all innovation.

• In the future, only companies that make sustainability a goal will achieve competitive advantage. That means rethinking business models as well as products, technologies, and processes.

• Becoming sustainable is a five-stage process, and each stage has its own challenges. Here’s how to tackle them and emerge from the recession ahead of the pack.


Guest Blogger: Jeanne Jennings - Maximizing Deliverability for Email Marketing

In celebration of the new month, I'm pleased to bring you a guest blogger submission by friend, colleague and email marketing guru, Jeanne Jennings (www.jeannejennings.com). For anyone who is charged with managing communictions efforts using email, the topic below sheds new light on how to minimize bounces and maximize reach using email.

Maximizing Deliverability for Email Marketing

Sending a press release via email is great – but knowing that it was delivered to the inbox of your intended recipients is even better.

If you’re sending email from your own servers or using an email service provider (ESP), there are some free tools you can use to gauge your “deliverability,” which is a fancy word for the likelihood that your messages are making it to the inbox. Knowledge is power; if you aren’t checking your deliverability on a regular basis, you might have a problem and not even know it.

To check your deliverability, you’ll need the IP address of the server sending your email (best) or the domain name that appears in your sender address. The latter only works if you’re using your own domain (“gaia.com,” “jeannejennings.com”), not if you’re using a generic domain (“aol.com,” “verizon.net,” “gmail.com”). Even if you have your own domain, it’s still good to check both that and your IP address.

If you’re sending from your own server, ask your IT team for the IP address. If not, you can still get it with just a little investigative work.

Your IP address appears in the email message header of every email you send. To find it, include yourself on the send list and wait for the email to reach your inbox.
If you’re using Outlook, you can then right click on the message in your inbox (not when it’s open full screen) and choose “Options” from the drop down menu. In the “Internet Headers” section of the Message Options box (at the bottom), scroll until you see “Received: from…” then scan for a ten digit number in brackets that looks something like this “[]” – that’s the IP address of the server your email was sent from. If you’re using a different email client to read email, click on “help” to find out how to view your Internet headers and find your IP address.

If it looks like you might have a problem, contact your ESP or your in-house IT team and ask them to look into it. They can contact the owners of the blacklists that are blocking your mail and find out what about your email messages (or the email messages of others sending from your server) is causing the server to be tagged as one sending spam.

If it’s something that’s easily fixed or if they can show that it’s a “false positive” (meaning that your mail is mistakenly being identified as spam), you can clear your good name and get your messages back on track to the inbox.

To learn more about two free email deliverability tools you can check out today, read my recent column on ClickZ.

More on Jeanne Jennings
Jeanne Jennings is a leading authority and independent consultant with over 15 years of experience in the e-mail and online realm. She specializes in all aspects of e-mail marketing and publishing, from strategy through design and metrics analysis. Jeanne works with medium- to enterprise-sized organizations and is expert at helping her clients become more effective and more profitable online. She is the author of "The Email Marketing Kit: The Ultimate Email Marketer’s Bible" (SitePoint, 2007) and publisher of "The Jennings Report," a free e-mail newsletter for online marketing professionals. Visit her online at JeanneJennings.com.