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Curated! I love my Wool Dryer Balls

Dryer sheets, along with other scented household products including fabric softeners, contain a cocktail of industrial chemicals.  As single use items, they do not biodegrade but do leach their chemicals. These convenience items are not necessary!

Moss Creek Wool Works hand crafts each dryer ball from pure wool.  No colourings or scents added… just pure wool from free range sheep.

Using 3 balls in a dryer load leaves clothes static free and reduces wrinkling. If you want to scent your clothing, you can add for favourite essential oil to the dryer ball!  Fragrance without industrial chemicals. Yay!

And using wool dryer balls can reduce the drying time significantly (20%-50%).   Given the dryer’s high use of electricity (you see that plug!) this is a meaningful reduction.  No single use dryer sheets can do that.  

Use these dryer balls up to 500 times! And then, well, they are wool! … leave them to naturally biodegrade.

The packaging is not only delightful, but also plastic free!  And did I mention they are down the road in Norfolk County?

All of our curators’ corner items are available in in-store only.

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Curated! Lets ditch some Plastic

Have you ever considered the quantity of plastic in the packaging and product of dental floss?  It might be a small thing, but everything we do is small until we add it up through our lifetime and across a population.  And when there is a great alternative, why wouldn’t we choose it?

SenzaBamboo dental floss is 100% plastic free.  The floss is made of natural silk.  By spinning the floss cleverly into a cocoon, they were able to ditch the plastic knob in the middle.  The cocoon is sealed in a waterproof cornstarch bag that is placed in a paper box.

This is what is possible by just trying and committing. 

We also added their charcoal infused toothbrush with bamboo handle and 100% compostable packaging. 

All of our curators’ corner items are available in in-store only. 

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Curated! Nuts to You

All Nuts to You nut butters are palm oil free!  It is difficult to find nut butters without palm oil… even the ones that are organic. (Why is palm oil free important?)

Packaged in a glass jar and metal lid, the only plastic is the lid seal.

This hazelnut butter is unusual and delicious!  Made with a single ingredient: dry-roasted organic hazelnuts, and hence it is organic, non-GMO, vegan and gluten free.

All the nuts to you nut butters that I have tried are delicious!  I was so delighted to discover they are a family business located in Paris, Ontario!  

We are also carrying their smooth and crunchy organic peanut butter with similar credentials!

All of our curators’ corner items are available in in-store only.

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Curated! huh?

Label claims are confusing

We select the products in our curated market so we can support others who, like us, and you, strive to make a difference. It is always a matter of weighing one aspect against another.   “Do I purchase conventional loose produce or local certified organic packaged in plastic?”

Its complicated. And there is a lot of BS out there. With the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spin, we consumers intuitively know that while many of the claims may have merit, but it is difficult to sort out their comparative “goodness”. 

Choosing to tread lightly

To help us with our own purchasing, we consider these aspects to help us evaluate “goodness”.  They are based in our knowledge and judgement of their impact on ecosystems and people.  I should be clear, that we have found that quality is often aligned with sustainable production, and exceptional quality is always a prerequisite in our collection.

Our curators’ corner items are available at our storefront.

Our Bird Friendly certified coffee is grown in a biodiverse forest ecosystem that supports wildlife including our migratory songbirds… and Howler Monkeys too!

All  Bird Friendly coffee is certified Organic too.  Most is also certified Fair Trade and the others are direct trade with estate growers with better than fair trade prices.

“Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.”

The organic certification forbids the use of GMOs, so all certified organic products are also non-GMO

More than 80% of all genetically modified crops grown worldwide have been engineered for herbicide tolerance.2 As a result, the use of toxic herbicides, such as Roundup®, has increased fifteen-fold since GMOs were first introduced.3 All genetically modified food crops are modified to withstand the application of agro-chemicals.  

Most packaged foods contain ingredients derived from corn, soy, canola, and sugar beet — and the vast majority of those crops grown in North America are genetically modified. 1

Factory farming inflicts unimaginable cruelty upon livestock.  Imagine a laying hen’s life in a cage with 4 other hens, unable to turn around without shoving one another… feet forever on chicken wire… laying almost daily for years. This is the life of hens in industrial egg production facilities.  Factory farming is a monstrous example of what happens when decisions are made by uninvolved people using only money to decide and without regard to the consequences.   

It is legal to confine hens to these cages for their entire lives.


Palm oil is an environmental disaster laying waste lush biodiverse forests to monoculture. There is no excuse for the monstrous suffering inflicted by the palm oil industry. 

Palm oil is not heathy and there are many alternative oils.  It is used primarily in processed foods to keep them appearing fresh as they travel through long industrial supply chains. 

Palm oil is in most processed foods, most soaps and many cosmetics.  It appears on labels in sneaky forms like vegetable oil and  ammonium laureth sulphate and Glycerin.

Homeless and lost, this orangutan is darted by rescue workers

The problem with plastic arises from one of its best qualities: it does not breakdown in natural systems.  That is great for something you want to last forever, but it is a very bad characteristic for single use items like product packaging, bottles, takeout food containers, and all items with short useful lifespans. 

While decisions in big companies are made based on a spreadsheet, independent suppliers are influenced by other measures of “goodness” like the wellbeing of their co-workers and their families, their passion, and providing value to their customers. They are innovators inspired by factors other than money.

Local and independent companies are more likely to use local suppliers. Instead of profits being concentrated in the hands of big companies, they are distributed throughout our communities.  This results in more resilient networks of suppliers and allows our collective values to thrive.

Passion led us here

Vegan is a great way to go cruelty free.  By ensuring the vegan option does not contain palm oil we can know it did not contribute to clearcutting Indonesian forests.  And with strictly non-GMO vegan options, we know that it did not contribute to ecosystem poisoning.  And if it is certified organic, we can know it sustains soils and water.

The rise of the use of glyphosate in everyday foods in the USA correlates with 20 prevalent diseases including gluten intolerance.  While no study has proved causation, neither has one revealed another cause.  

Canadian producers drench millions of acres of wheat with glyphosate days before harvest to enable an earlier, easier and bigger harvest.

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50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Bird Friendly



Canadian/Indie Supplier

Cruelty Free/No Factory Farming


Palm Oil Free

Reduced Plastic


Gluten Free

Why is Birds and Beans selling soap?

At this time of unprecedented global upheaval, many of us are considering what really matters. 

We have. 

And we find ourselves deepening, broadening and refining our understanding of sustainability, and our appreciation of life’s simple pleasures.

For the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, we celebrate our record … and lean in. 

Almost 20 years ago we established this company to support the efforts of our Bird Friendly Coffee growers who preserve forest habitat in Latin America.  And we continuously improve our ecological footprint in every way we can.

This week we expand our Curators’ Corner to include many more items that meet our high standards of quality and sustainability. 

While the selection may seem a bit random at the moment, our aim is to connect independent suppliers who are trying to make a difference with consumers who want to support them in their efforts. 

We have tried all the products and we love them!  Many have been ingredients in our eats for years while others have been our favourites in our home pantries.

For example, we are offering soap and shampoo bars that are palm oil free and are packaged without plastic!  And we are adding Huron Sun organic sunflower oil made from Ontario grown sunflower seeds and processed in Ontario.  And I can’t wait for the Nuts to You Nut Butters are not only certified organic, but are produced by an Ontario family business! 

Every item has a story, and we want to share them all!  We believe that food connects us, and that sensing the connections can bring joy and strengthen community.

We hope you will join with us and live an ever more sustainable life full of simple pleasures.

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A Different Kind of Travel Cup

Disposing of Disposables

We are proud that our single use cups and lids are compostable. It is our core commitment to “no-single use plastics”.

But you know we always kick it up a notch, right? 

We have a trading pool of our REUSEit cups at the café.  You can bring us your used cup and trade it in for a clean one with your next coffee in it!  This gives you the convenience of single use but eliminates the disposable!  

As we celebrate our 15th Anniversary of our Mimico Café,  we are offering the REUSEit cup for only $8.00!  

only $8.00 until Christmas

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Celebrating 15th Years of our Café

This week marks the 15th Anniversary of our Café!

Over the past 15 years, we have proudly devoted ourselves our values in  Birds and Beans Café here in Mimico!  We think it is working out. 😉

When we opened here, everyone thought we were crazy!  But we saw potential.  And we chose to make our Mimico Café an expression of our values. 

We are grateful for the support of the community as we dared to serve certified organic, bird friendly and fair trade coffee at a time that specialty coffee had not yet made its way west of the Humber River!  Some of you are still with us.  We thank all of you who have crossed our threshold.

We remain steadfast to our most basic values as reflected in our tagline: “A richer taste, a richer earth.”®  We express it in our commitment to the growers of certified Bird Friendly coffee, and our in our standard of excellence in roasting, brewing and serving you the the most sustainable coffee in the world.

We carry our values through every conceivable detail, more than I can mention here:  compostable packaging, native garden with food pods, no single use plastic, no palm oil, no GMOs, mostly organic ingredients.  We value our community and we show it with involvement like being the sole sponsor of 10 bird walks a year.  And we value each other, inviting committed employees to join into café ownership so we can build the future we want together.

We are proud to be a different kind of café.  And we look forward to our next 15 years here in Mimico.

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Birds and Beans Café’s Curator’s Corner

A richer taste, a richer earth®.

Greenpeace Tuna Ranking

As Birds and Beans Café approaches its 15th year anniversary we decided to celebrate by launching our Curator’s Corner!  

Over the last 15 years we have searched high and low for products that exemplify our values and compliment our certified Bird Friendly coffee.  We have assembled ingredients bursting with natural flavours, that are healthy and are genuinely sustainably produced.  

In the complexity of real world label claims, we have developed several purchasing criteria.  Some are hard rules and others weigh one aspect against another:

Steadfast, unwavering commitment to

    • Certified Organic and Bird Friendly coffee
    • No ingredients with GMOs 
    • No items with palm oil
    • No factory farmed animal products
    • No drinks in plastic bottles
    • No single use plastic service items 

Where possible 

    • Certified organic ingredients
    • Local 
    • Independent
    • Responsible packaging

In celebration of our 15th year, we are assembling a corner in the café where you too can purchase the items we have found.  Over the next weeks and months, we will introduce items and explain why they belong in the collection. We’ll describe some of our menu items too.  

So join Birds and Beans Café as we celebrate our 15th year as we explore our Curated Collection of offerings.

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Cool Creek Artisanal Honey

Birds and Beans Café is excited to present our latest offering: Cool Creek Apiaries Honey in a 500 gram jar. We’ve been using Cool Creek Apiaries’ unpasteurized, pure and unfiltered bulk honey in our breakfast cookies for years. It is delicious!

While industry standard is to extract honey once per year and blend across wide regions, Cool Creek Apiaries extracts honey 6 times a year and preserves batches from each of their 10 bee yards in Mount Pleasant, Ontario.  Each batch has its own flavour and character and thereby exhibits the “terroir” of the specific yard.  If the bees are collecting nectar from late blooming summer wildflowers, that is what you’re going to taste!

Honey serves as another example of why labels and certifications matter. Honey with a label reading Canada No. 1 Grade Honey can have as little as 10% honey in Canada and it may be blended with honey from anywhere in the world. Ontario No. 1 Grade Honey is produced strictly in Ontario. In order for honey to be certified organic, it requires that all land within 3 km of the hives and bees must be non-agricultural or all certified organic agricultural – very difficult to do in Southern Ontario, so this one is not certified organic.

Most honey sold in grocery stores doesn’t contain any pollen, which means it isn’t real honey.  It may be made with other ingredients, like glucose and GMO corn syrup, and it is artificially flavoured like honey.  Honey that has no pollen cannot be traced to any particular region.  Here is one of many articles about fake honey.

By contrast, here is a beautiful photography exhibit of Roy Allemann and his bees. We know where Cool Creek Apiaries Honey is sourced – and we can taste it!

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Reflecting on 10 Years being Palm Oil Free

Warning!  These images reflect the consequences of our blind consumerism. 

Whether you join us or not, we are not buying anything with palm oil. Because we are not going to feed the monster.

Single organgutan in the last tree standing after deforestation for palm oil

Emaciated orangutan found in devastation where his home once thrived Hopeless orangutan died 3 days after this rescue attempt Orangutan made homeless by the palm industry is darted by rescue workers Orangutan horribly burned by fires to clear forest for palm

Palm oil is UBIQUITOUS! It the preferred oil for the 10 Food companies responsible for almost all global brands

Most of you will not be able to watch this.  If you can even bear to scan this article about the film you may be forever changed.

” ‘She has lost everything’: Filmmaker’s heart-wrenching documentary shows tragic final hours of orangutan’s life as her rainforest home is ruthlessly destroyed”

On “Sustainable” Palm Oil, we say NO!

The palm oil industry has taken over the resistance to palm oil claiming that we need palm oil and that it is better to produce it sustainably.  I will write a specific rebuttal in the coming weeks.   But for now, it is our position that sustainable palm oil is a ruse by “big agriculture” and “big food” to silence opposition and continue business as usual.  Their so called certification fails all three tests of a credible certification:

  1. a public standard set to achieve a purpose with monitoring against its effectiveness
  2. chain of custody traceability
  3. verification by an independent third party

It has been 5 years since Birds and Beans Café went completely palm oil free.  David and I went palm oil free at home at the same time.  So we thought it would be interesting to discuss how its going with us as well as look at what has changed in the industry.

The palm oil problem is the shocking destruction of forests perpetrated in its production.  These forests are often taken from indigenous peoples without permission nor compensation and laid waste for all but the gluttonous palm oil industry.  Of special notice, is the horrifying pain and suffering faced by displaced animals, most of whom are endangered species.   I doubt most readers can tolerate looking at the images.

When David and I came to understand this in 2012, at a visceral level, our resolve kicked in: Under no circumstances will we support this monstrous behavior!

So this is not a crusade, nor do I imagine our stance or communication will make a meaningful impact on the industry.  But my body and my soul ache for the pain we inflict, and I will not support it.

At first it was difficult to find products without palm.  Palm oil ingredients are UBIQUITOUS!  And big food sneaks it into the ingredient lists so we have to learn to recognize it.

Once we understood that “vegetable oil” is a cover for palm oil, we realized that palm is in most processed foods (and most consumer soaps and cleaners).  For health reasons we were also motivated to reduce salt and we noticed that most processed foods are loaded with salt (and sugar) too.  It was overwhelming!  Where to begin!

We took a step at a time approach.  We looked at

  1. what we purchased the most
  2. what we didn’t need

We found processed foods that use sunflower, safflower or other explicitly stated oil1.  You won’t find these at the 7-11, but most responsible grocery stores have something.  We continued item by item.

Over time, perhaps a year, we found we were preparing our own food again.  This would have seemed impossible at the beginning of this process, but by changing one thing at a time, it happened on its own.  We shifted our shopping from the big grocery retailers to smaller organic grocers.  Interestingly, by bringing our food preparation back in-house, we found it was less expensive too!

We noticed that the huge loads of sugar, salt and fats in processed foods dull our flavour pallets, so it took some time for our pallets to recover back to full taste sensitivity. Now, I just cannot eat a conventional tomato… they are bland and pithy.

The food processing industry has convinced us that we need them, but we don’t.  The cost of outsourcing our food preparation is extremely high and it does not save as much time as we imagine.  We have now established new shopping habits and we support local grocers and organic production. Preparing food has shifted to a shared pleasure followed by the shared delight of real flavours! My fear of living on chickpeas and rice was utterly unfounded…Quite the opposite! That fear was planted by big food to keep me addicted to their low quality, bland, unhealthy food that is engineered to their lowest cost.

And by their lowest cost, I mean the unfathomable cost of the utter destruction of entire ecosystems and the human and animal inhabitants. The cost of life on earth.  And the cost of all of us becoming monstrous.  Cheap oil?  Really?

If you got to here, now you know.  You can never go back.  What you do now is who you are.

  1. Since banning palm oil from our diet and the café, we have since banned GMO foods.  Over 90% of canola oil is GMO, so now it is banned from our diet and the café too.