Planning the Ultimate Green Picnic: A Guide for City Folk
Throwing an urban, green picnic? It ain’t no picnic. (Well, actually…) Seriously, though—to make sure your chowing and chilling al fresco is as Earth-friendly as possible, a bit of pre-planning never goes amiss.
So grab some sustainable, reusable supplies that’ll cut down on waste, prep an all-natural repellent that’ll keep the bugs at bay, choose the perfect park to relax in and, oh yeah—don’t forget the snacks. (You weren’t going to forget the snacks…right?)
Bamboo + eco = the best of both worlds, with Bambeco’s sustainable pic-a-nic basket. Photo courtesy of Bambeco.
SUPPLIES YOU NEED (THAT MOTHER NATURE WILL LOVE)
First things first: It’s time to bid adieu to all things throwaway; plastic cutlery and plates definitely aren’t invited to this picnic. But don’t stress—that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck hauling heavy ceramics and fistfuls of silverware from your apartment.
For a green picnic basket that you can use all summer long, Bambeco’s basket is a great bet. Made from all-natural, renewable materials, it’s also lightweight enough to tote to and from the subway, thanks to its bamboo cutlery and plates, as well as its cotton napkins.
What’s cooler than cool? Recycooler’s eco-friendly chilling solution. Photo courtesy of Recycooler.
Looking to bring along some refrigerated ingredients—or even some portable, handmade soft-serve? (Of course you are). Instead of the hefty, grody old cooler that you’ve had since college, opt for the perfectly portable Recycooler. Easy-to-carry and made of recycled ingredients, it’ll keep your lemonade chilly even when the sun’s beating down. Bonus: It can be recycled when you’re done, too.
Keep twigs and grass stains at bay with SewnNatural’s organic and spill-proof textiles. Photo courtesy of SewnNatural.
Then, there’s the matter of your picnic blanket. Don’t reach for your bedding (who wants muddy sheets?). Instead, choose from among the handmade options made by pro Etsy sellers SewnNatural, which are cute, as well as waterproof. (Not that it would ever rain on your perfect picnic.)
Know when it’ll drizzle fo shizzle with DarkSky’s precise weather alerts. Photo courtesy of DarkSky.
THE WEATHER REPORT
That reminds us…you have checked the weather forecast, yes? Do touch that dial. Instead of TV news, get the most reliable updates on summer showers with the DarkSky app as your ultimate picnic resource. It predicts when it will rain, right down to the minute, so you can start a countdown for just how long you have left to finish the last of your cheese and crackers.
Keep bugs at bay with non-toxic options you can make yourself. Photo courtesy of Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock.
Fact: No one wants to be nibbling on cucumber sandwiches within a cloud of mosquitoes and gnats. But those commercial bug sprays? They’re often full of chemicals that you might want to think twice about slathering yourself in.
Time for a bit of DIY know-how: This homemade insect repellent is quick to whip up, should keep the pests away, and even smells good, thanks to the essential oils in the recipe.
With picnics—as with real estate—it’s all about location, location, location. Photo courtesy of John Lund/Annabelle Breakey/Thinkstock.
PICK YOUR PARK
Of course, all you need is a patch of grass for your open-air repast. But for the ultimate green picnic, the spot you choose should be plenty green, big enough to share with your fellow urbanites, and accessibly located (license to grill is a BIG plus).
In New York? Skip the crowds in Central Park and head to Brooklyn for a Prospect Park afternoon. San Franciscans can enjoy some pretty incredible views from Crissy Field. In Philly, Fairmount Park is as pretty as it gets. And, of course, we’re big fans of Seattle’s Gas Works Park.
Pack fresh, local food for a picnic that’s as green as it is delicious. Photo courtesy of sugar0607/iStock/Thinkstock.
If you’re noshing outdoors, then it makes even more sense to time your meals with the seasons. If you’re handy in the kitchen—or just want to stock up on ready-to-eat goodies—hit up your local urban farmers market to see what’s sustainably in store. You’ll be supporting area growers and producers, and, whether it’s homemade cheese or handbaked bread, piles of summer fruits or freshly pressed juice, your haul is sure to be fresher than fresh.
Did we leave anything out of our baskets? Let us know your green city-picnic tips below.