Written by: Natalia Brown

The holiday season is quickly approaching! Over the next two months you’re likely to be bombarded with ads, flyers, and promotions urging you to purchase gifts for your family and friends. Gift-giving is a great way to express how much you value relationships with the special people in your life, but it can be difficult to find vendors that align with your aims to lead an environmentally and socially conscious lifestyle.

I’d argue that experiential gifts are the most meaningful and memorable! Planning an intentional activity that you and the person you are gifting for can enjoy together is a great way to celebrate and strengthen your relationship. But, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about new risks and challenges for social gatherings, and it is likely that you will find yourself in need of a gift for those you are unable to physically be with in the near-future.

When we decide to invest in a product—whether stocking up on a weekly grocery staple, purchasing a gift, or making the big decision to furnish a new space—we have the opportunity to express our values and priorities as consumers. This blog post will highlight some of the environmentally and socially conscious, local businesses in Miami that are worth looking into and supporting this holiday season.

For household items and bulk-buying, Verde Market is the DFO Team’s top pick! They offer plant-based, organic, and waste-free products sure to meet your needs year-round. To learn more about all that Verde Market’s team does to promote conscious consumption, check out our IG live interview featuring Co-owner Pamela Barrera.

Throughout Miami, there are many farmers and vendors growing and selling fresh fruits and vegetables. The option to purchase locally grown food offers many benefits! Although it is not accessible or affordable for everyone to make weekly purchases in this way, each time you make the decision to buy locally sourced foods, you strengthen this aspect of the local economy. Over time, as more consumers express their interest in advancing local and sustainable systems for food production, Miami’s local farmers and vendors can increase their capacity to make the fruits of their labor more accessible for all. Some of our favorites are: Urban Oasis Project, Bee Heaven Farm, Harpke Family Farm, and Little River Cooperative.

Verde Market

Urban Oasis Project

Little River Cooperative

If you’re interested in dabbling in organic gardening yourself, check out Tree Amigos Growers for an abundance of information and supplies!

A great gift for all ages is a set of reusable utensils to stay clean and plastic-free when enjoying meals on-the-go. Pauji Outdoors offers great sets, and they’re also based in sunny South Florida!

In addition to the purchases that’ll help to keep you healthy on the inside, it’s also important to identify vendors that will help you stay healthy on the outside. Cruda Soaps, Tree Hugging Soap, Sarada Craft, Vita Vibe Organics, and Camellia Naturals each offer all-natural, minimal-waste personal care products to keep you refreshed and rejuvenated. Any of their high quality products would make a thoughtful gift to encourage your friends and family to take some time for themselves after this long year.

Cruda Soaps

Waterlust

Pauji Outdoors

A great place to find many different local businesses and handmade goods is Etsy. They have a vibrant stock of children’s toys, home-ware, event decor, accessories, clothes, art and more! As you’re searching for the item or gift of your choice, you can learn about sellers’ businesses, filter results by shops located closest to you (again, it’s great to support local entrepreneurs!), and message sellers directly.

If you are looking to refresh your wardrobe, we suggest you scope out the racks at a nearby thrift store. Shopping second hand is a more ethical and environmentally friendly alternative to buying new, and it’s a great way to find one-of-a-kind pieces to make your own!

Fortunately, there are lots of great second hand stores in Miami, but one of my personal favorites is the Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique. They are consistently stocked with treasures, and the store’s success directly benefits the house-less women, youth, and children serviced by the Lotus House Shelter. You can support the Lotus House through the Thrift Chic Boutique by indulging in a bit of shopping or donating clothing, furnishings, small appliances, kitchenware, decor, and other household goods that are new or gently used.

Gift giving is a fun way to celebrate your relationships, but it’s important to stay grounded in the meaning of the holiday season beyond the material or non-material joys that you exchange with those around you. We all have the power to give back to the people and places we love through acts of kindness and gratitude!

Some pieces, such as active-wear and swimwear, may be a bit more difficult to find in your specific size and style at a second hand store. As part of our Positive Impact Partnership, you can give back to DFO by shopping at Waterlust: www.waterlust.com/DFO. This locally owned and operated apparel company offers unique and sustainable pieces to meet those needs. Plus, when shoppers use our link, the company donates 25% of the proceeds from your purchase to advancing our work!

We can’t talk about fashion without mentioning face masks—after all, it’s 2020! Sea Jasper is one of many local vendors hand-making masks to keep our communities safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the support of their customers, the company has donated over 600 masks to frontline workers since March.

Finally, keep an eye out for Boho Birch’s site launch! This up-and-coming local business will be offering customizable, sustainable plant gifts to streamline your searches for special occasions.