How to Be an Organic Romantic

Organic-minded & natural gift ideas for Valentine's Day.

By Leah Zerbe


ideas for an organic valentine's dayShort on ideas for Valentine's Day? You're not alone. In fact, many companies actually prey on love-struck procrastinators by marketing last-minute Valentine's Day gift sales. All of this rushing around box stores, and trying to find a flower shop open past 9 pm on the eve of Valentine's Day, can turn a holiday that's supposed to be all about appreciating and celebrating your lover into a February 13 elbow-jabbing event at the local jewelry store counter.

If your better half happens to be an eco-minded, green-cleaning, CSA-subscribing, organic-eating locavore, the stakes are even higher. Buy her a scented jar candle, and she'll just crinkle her nose thinking of all the chemical indoor air pollution that the artificial fragrances create. Go to the trouble of making your green-minded man a special steak dinner, and before putting a forkful of the succulent cut to his lips, he'll ask, "This is local grass-fed organic, right, Hon?" Or maybe you, the giver, are the one who frets over the toll that a bad gift can take on your loved one's health (and planet).

To get a grip on how to please our planet-protecting partners without losing all romantic elements ("Hey, Baby, check out the compost bin I bought you!" just doesn't have that sexy edge) we turned to perhaps the world's most famous organic romantic, Maya Rodale. Maya encompasses a unique perspective to speak on the topic. She is the great-granddaughter of J.I. Rodale, who in the 1940s founded the organic movement in America by launching Organic Farming and Gardening magazine and founding what is today known as the Rodale Institute, an organic research farm in Pennsylvania where Maya is currently director of communications and outreach. Growing up with these organic roots (her grandfather, Bob Rodale, was instrumental in pushing for a USDA organic-certification system, and her mother, Rodale CEO Maria Rodale, published the book Organic Manifesto), Maya knows well the benefits of growing food and fibers without using toxic pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

But Maya published her fifth book last spring: A Tale of Two Lovers. The combination of her organic upbringing and her fiction books' plotlines are what makes her an organic romantic authority: She's a romance author.

With that type of organic/romantic background, you probably pity the beau who faces the task of wooing her. But wait! The plot thickens…we did talk to that man, and we'll share his gift-giving secrets soon. "Maya is a difficult challenge on the romance front. She's either read or written about every romantic situation known to man," explains her husband, Tony Haile. "It's not necessarily Valentine's Day focused, but the things that have worked with Maya have never been expensive gifts, but things which suggested thought or effort."