Large Presents, Small Presence




Small living spaces present large challenges, but there’s no need to skimp on the best things in life due to a tiny apartment. When looking for the perfect gift for your friend (or yourself) with a low environmental footprint, focus on gifts with a useful nature.


So, how does one find a present that does not impose nor is unnecessary? The key is finding products that are multi-use, giving you the most impact, without taking up too much precious real estate in your home.


We’ve searched high and low for our favorite environmentally friendly holiday gifts for those living in smaller situations- these presents are useful, personal, sustainable and of course fun!



Turn your windowsill or fire escape into a vegetable garden and you’ll be eating healthy all year long!

A small space doesn’t necessarily mean a small possibility for culinary delight. With Back to the Roots Growing Kits, any apartment dweller can nurture their green thumb with a USA certified organic cherry tomato growing system.  


The best part? It’s extremely low maintenance. You only have to water this plant once a week!





Back to the Roots
Organic Cherry Tomato Self-Watering Planter 






Eco-friendly functional gifts with a personal flair are ideal for a professional chef or friend just beginning to curate their personal kitchen collection. Each cutting board is handmade from sustainably sourced maple wood and is fully customizable.


When not in use, let these boards adorn your kitchen as functional art.  Now that’s a kitchen tool we can all get behind!


Words with Boards

Personalized Cutting Board






Made from 100% eco-friendly bamboo, Oceanstar’s wine rack is key for creating an elegant display of wines, perfect for entertaining in a tight space.

Stacking wines vertically keeps bottles organized while saving precious room on your countertop or bar cart.


With so many people giving the old-bottle-of-wine-standby, your friends will be thankful for your original gift, which will be useful long after the drinks have been poured!



Natural Bamboo Wine Rack








The kitchen is the heart of the home and well-designed, sustainable kitchenware is a must for anyone keen on incorporating a healthy lifestyle. Store-bought food often sneaks in excess sugars and preservatives, while disposable containers increase our carbon footprint.


Canning at home let’s you skip the preservatives and lock in the natural flavors. Properly canned fruits, vegetables, jams and sauces can be stored without refrigeration, allowing you to be assured you have a plethora of healthful options on hand all year long!


This canning kit comes with all the necessary information and tools, including a canning cookbook to easily get started creating nutritious dishes right at home!




Fagor Home Canning Kit





Bring a little bit of the outdoors in with our Water Garden to elevate your mood, while providing fresh herbs and greens for nutritious meals and snacks. The Water Garden aquaponics’ system, easily interjects life into a loved one’s space with a self-cleaning fish tank that grows organic herbs and microgreens on top. The fish waste helps fertilize the plants and the plants clean the water, making it simpler than ever to grow organic food indoors.


For those interested in alternative gardening techniques and water conservation, this gift is a perfect introduction into aquaponics technology and closed loop ecosystems. Plus you can’t beat the enjoyment of watching each new sprout appear!

Back to the Roots

Water Garden 2.0

$99.99 $79.99






Half of the fun of having a space to call your own is decorating it. Unique objects with a special meaning make a space feel cozy and homey. These handwoven throws from a fair-trade cooperative are not only beautiful, but something they’ll feel good about displaying in their home.


They’re versatile, gorgeous, naturally dyed and available through Maven. Use it as a shawl, a throw, a picnic blanket… the possibilities are endless!


Half Moon Throw


Made from harvested lutindzi grass, picked off the savannah in a manner to keep the roots intact for quick regeneration, these baskets support the local artisans of Swaziland. Their beautiful handwoven baskets generate income for these women with Gone Rural to provide basic needs for their families, such as clean water, healthcare and education.


This 10” basket is ideal for sorting mail, storing cosmetics or keeping fruits and veggies organized on the counter. A conversation piece that your friends will enjoy for years to come.


Global Goods Partners

Handwoven Swazi Basket






Have a suggestion to make a small space feel larger? We’d love to know what gifts you’re giving this year! Leave us a comment or send us a tweet @BacktotheRoots to share all the gifts you’re wrapping up this season.


-Jan S.





Images Referenced from:

Global Goods Partners| Maven (captured by Emily Poole) | Amazon |Eartheasy| Fagor|Words With Boards

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Gifts that Keep on Giving



The Holiday Season is upon us, which means cooler weather, hot drinks and the daunting task of finding the perfect gift! While there’s no shortage of items to choose from at your local mall, all perfectly packaged and ready to be nestled under the tree, this year, adopt the true meaning of the holidays with presents that give back.

Just as it’s important to know about the food we put in our bodies, we should also be aware of how the products we buy are made and if those companies we support are making a positive impact to create a more sustainable culture. Through conscious consumption we can support ethical products and practices and make a difference!


 From saving our natural resources to giving back to children in need, there are countless ways to show you care with quality gifts that will bring smiles to all.

We at Back to the Roots have rounded up our favorite holiday gifts that are not only perfect for your friends and family, but ones you can feel good about giving. In fact they’re so great, we won’t blame you for ordering an extra one for yourself!



For the Healthful Kitchen Connoisseur



Our Garden-In-A-Can herb set is the perfect gift for the friend or family member who’s always cooking up a storm! Your loved ones will feel pride and excitement as each can begins to sprout.

With a wealth of vitamins K, C, B-6, manganese and iron to name a few, these cans act as a growing pharmacy.

Herbs are able to help support strong bones, stabilize blood sugar and boost your immune system, among many other great benefits.

However, the best part of having fresh herbs always on hand is how great they taste! These flavorful plants amp up soups, stews and sauces, taste great in salads and enhance just about everything! It’s so easy; just pop open the top, water and leave these cans on your windowsill for a bevy of flavor ready at your disposal.

Plus for every Ready to Grow product grown and posted on social media, Back to the Roots donates a kit & educational curriculum to an elementary school classroom of your choosing. Committing to foster a future of conscious learners and knowledgable consumers with each can grown to help shift the world towards a more sustainable future!


Back to the Roots

Garden-in-a-Can Herb Set (4-pack)






For the Friend Who Loves
to Cozy Up Next to the Fireplace


Keep their tootsies nice and toasty in a beautifully crafted pair of slippers by TOMS. Known for their bandage style shoes and commitment to donate a new pair of shoes to a child in need with every purchase, TOMS is a brand they’ll be happy to show off.

For her, check out the Drizzle Grey Wool Tassel Women’s Ivy Slippers. With a faux shearling lining, wool upper and rubber outsoles for traction, these comfy slippers can be worn both inside and outdoors.

The Grey Slub Textile Men’s Berkeley Slippers will be a big hit for the man of the house on a cold winter night. Just like the women’s slippers, these are also vegan with faux shearling lining and rubber outsoles for walking around the kitchen or taking a quick trip to the store.

Plus with TOMS’ “One for One” program, just like their regular shoes, every pair purchased will directly result in a new pair of shoes donated.


Men’s Berkeley Slippers & Women’s Ivy Slippers






For the Fancy Tea Fanatic

Housed in a bamboo box, these beautiful glass tea pots transform basic tea into a work of art! Organic tea leaves are hand-sewn around flowers which blossom as they steep in hot water revealing a simply stunning beverage.

Your friends and family will enjoy watching these beautiful flowers bloom while sipping the exquisite flavors of these smooth, rich teas. While they’re Instagramming their new favorite gift, they’ll feel good knowing each box of tea is made from high quality organic ingredients and eco- responsible packaging with an aim to offset carbon emissions. The box itself is sourced from China to help support predominantly female local artisans and their families.

Additionally, each purchase helps support the Numi Foundation, Communitea, Together for H2OPE and other charitable organizations to help give back to the community and provide clean, safe drinking water.

Social media likes, beautifully delicious teas and helping provide safe drinking water?  Sounds like a holiday hit to us!


Numi Organic Tea

Flowering Tea™ Set in Bamboo






For the Outdoor Adventurer

The Luzon, a lightweight, repurposed ripstop nylon pack by Cotopaxi is ideal for hikes, camping and backpacking. With light mesh backpack straps and an internal hydration sleeve, it’s easy to take along on every adventure.

This Utah-based outdoor outfitter prioritizes both the innovation of products and experiences while funding sustainable solutions for poverty-stricken communities. Through grant programs in the fields of health, education and livelihood initiatives, Cotopaxi has established itself as both a sustainable clothing company and a philanthropic organization.

The perfect gift for all the hikers, bikers and explorers on your list!




Luzon 18L Daypack





For the Wellness Lover that Spends
Their Entire Paycheck on Bottled Kombucha


Kombucha, a bubbly, fermented drink offering a probiotic punch, contains vinegar, B-vitamins, enzymes and a high concentration of acid to create an “addictive” supplement to one’s health regime. These days, various brands of Kombucha can be found everywhere, from health food stores to even gas stations. However, the act of producing and bottling a beverage comes with a serious carbon footprint, while encouraging a culture of wasteful consumption, particularly if the bottle is plastic.

Rather than consuming Kombucha created on a corporate level, start brewing your own! Customizing flavors and the carbonation of the beverage allows for full creative control for a drink that’s completely unique with Uncommon Good’s Brew Your Own Kombucha Kit.

When making a purchase through Uncommon Goods, $1 is donated to the Better to Give partner of your choice. Uncommon Goods has donated thousands of dollars to their partners. To learn more about these organizations and pick which one you’d like to donate to, check out their Better to Give page.


Uncommon Goods

Brew Your Own Kombucha Kit






For Nurturing Curiosity In Children of All Ages

A Back to the Roots staple, the Organic Mushroom Farm produces delicious mushrooms your children (or inner child) will be excited to harvest.

From the pride that stirs when the very first mushroom pins to the joy of waking up to see the box filled with mushrooms, it’s easy to see why growing them is almost more fun then eating them!

Just soak overnight and follow the simple watering instructions to be gifted an abundant explosion of healthy and nutritious oyster mushrooms your child will be excited to devour!

Oyster mushrooms offer fantastic nutritional and culinary advantages including high levels of zinc, iron, potassium, and vitamins as well as antioxidant properties. They taste delicious and the fact that picky eaters are more likely to try something they’ve grown themselves- well that’s just a bonus!

It only takes 10 days to grow a full batch of organic pearl oyster mushrooms and with the Back to the Roots downloadable curriculum detailing the science of mushroom farming, both young and old are bound to enjoy learning about the growing process.

Back to the Roots

Organic Mushroom Farm

$19.99 $14.99




For the Friend Always on the Move

Lifestraw offers safe, EPA-approved technology for quick and accessible water filtration, regardless of the quality of water available. Used by both outdoor enthusiasts and humanitarian organizations alike, this portable, yet powerful tool allows for the comfort of safe drinking water anywhere.

While the Lifestraw Play was designed for kids, this sturdy and leakproof bottle is great for anyone. With it’s 2-stage filtration process, the bottle removes waterborne bacteria and protozoa up to 1,000 gallons. It also improves taste, reduces chlorine and organic chemical matter making it terrific for travelers, backpackers and runners to ensure they always have clean water, no matter where they go.

For each Lifestraw purchased, a school child in a developing community receives safe drinking water for an entire school year. Lifestraw plays a vital role in distributing their products amid natural disasters and is committed to ensuring accessibility of clean water for all.


Lifestraw Play





Planning to gift any of these items to your friends and family?  Or a gift from another incredible company giving back?  Let us know in the comments!



-Jan S.



Images Provided by:

Numi Organic Tea |  TOMS | Uncommon Goods | Cotopaxi | Lifestraw

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