September and October events

After the steamy heat of summer in D.C., the cooler days of fall give us a chance to get outside to explore the area’s parks and hiking trails, work in our gardens, and enjoy the fruits of the season. Please leave comments to help us develop our list of farms and orchards that avoid or limit the use of sprays.

Waldorf season card apple harvestThe peak for apples around here, I was told last time I chatted at the farmer’s market with the folks from Toigo Orchards, which uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is mid-to-late October, so wait a few weeks and watch the baskets overflow with different flavors. Early September’s heat and dry conditions may have been tougher on home gardens, so take heart if you have yet to get lettuce and other fall crops started that you still have a little time with cooler temps ahead.

In addition to outdoor endeavors (of which plenty can be found on some of the other great DC-area family resources), fall also offers a wealth of activities to support you in your green and healthy family lifestyle. Check out our calendar for locations and times of the events listed below (and plenty more!).

Kick off a green home weekend on Thursday, September 19, by attending the “Green Home, Healthy Home” presentation at the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network.  Then, go talk in person to the folks from Amicus Green Building Center and a whole lot of other amazing vendors at the DC Green Festival September 21 and 22 at the DC Convention Center.

This traveling show brings together hundreds of national and local organizations and businesses that want to help you lower your carbon footprint. Although I admit that the hugeness of the venue can be overwhelming, especially if you or your kids have sensory issues, I still really can’t say enough good things about this event.

Judging by this year’s packed Green Festival schedule, you could spend the whole day listening to speakers and doing yoga and not buy a single thing, or you could spend the whole day shopping at vendor booths and walk away with great deals and new understandings about the power of your purse. Expect to see vendors in the areas of clothing, food, health, home, and much more.


The kids will enjoy crafts and activities in the Green Kids Zone (and yoga on Sunday), but see if you can go once with them (preferably in the morning) and once alone to take full advantage of the offerings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s certainly normal for it to take a few months (or years!) for everything to sink in and for you to put some of your newfound knowledge to use. I bought my first Kleen Kanteen at the 2006 Green Festival when they were new on the market. It took me forever to wash the thing out and actually use it, but now I can’t imagine being with out my stainless steel!

Next time you are at MOM’s Organic Market and spend $25 or more, stow that receipt someplace special for free admission to the Green Festival, or buy tickets at

Follow up all this inspiration toward green living with the 23rd Annual Metro DC Tour of Solar and Green Homes on October 5 and 6. You can download the guide for free at to learn where the houses are and what green features they have, or buy a copy as a printed booklet at MOM’s Organic Market for $5. There are homes across the region, and you simply visit the ones that interest you on the day(s) they are open.

For literary types, on September 21-22, there is the National Book Festival on the Mall, which this year includes Daniel Pink, whose writing on business and its implications for schooling was discussed in a presentation given by venerated Waldorf education teacher Jack Petrash a few years back.  And from September 22 to 27 runs the Fall for the Book Festival sponsored by George Mason University. Seth Goldman, local entrepreneur and founder of Honest Tea will be reading on Tuesday afternoon.

Moving into the realm of holistic health and wellness, there are a number of items to put on your calendar. The Hay House is bringing its “I Can Do It!” conference back to National Harbor on September 28 and 29. The weekend is packed with motivational speakers, including Caroline Myss, and Kris Carr and plenty of other groovy stuff, like training to become an angel card reader.

The following weekend, the Pathways Magazine Natural Living Expo returns to Fairview Park Marriott this year on Sunday, October 6. You’ll find a large expo hall with vendors of physical, metaphysical, emotional and spiritual healing hue along with fascinating workshops throughout the whole day. Our site will be developing a database of practitioners specifically catering to families, but Pathways is the place to go to find any kind of healer you want. Pick up a copy at MOM’s Organic Market and many other locations.

Preceding the Pathways event and at the same venue is the new Stress-Less Living Expo on Friday night October 4 and Saturday, October 5. Sponsored by Gainesville Holistic Health Center, Tony Robbins Company, Spa Day Empire, Xoçai Healthy Chocolates, the expo will mark the launch of the new Whole-listic Children’s Foundation. The free event includes exhibits, services and workshops.

If you can take a break from the kids, reserve a room at the Marriott Friday, and stay for both events through Sunday, chances are good you may just be walking on air by the time you head home to your family. Your children and partner, if you have one, could also come along with you, especially if they are worn babies, but sometimes older children are better served by staying in a calm environment while their parent gets to cultivate inner peace.

Speaking of which, if mindful parenting is what you’re after, act quickly to grab one of the spots for  Momma Zen and Hand Wash Cold author Karen Maezen Miller’s Movement and Meditation Workshops at lil omm yoga studio on October 19 and 20.

The previous weekend, consider heading up to Mahwah, NJ for the 10th anniversary Holistic Moms Natural Living Conference on October 12. Then again, check first to buy a ticket to ensure that this event – which features both a full-day Saturday conference and expo hall and also a gala evening dinner to honor the likes of Mothering Magazine founder Peggy O’Mara and other natural living pioneers – still has room. A sell-out is likely, for good reason. It’s a great gathering!

The amazing Take Back Your Health conference is taking a break this fall, which means its founder, holistic health coach Robin Shirley, has time to talk to parents in smaller settings. She will present to the Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria chapter for a special daytime meeting on October 2 (new visitors welcome, as always!) and will speak at the regular evening meeting of the Holistic Moms Northern Virginia chapter on November 12.

Robin will share insights on how to strengthen your family’s immune systems and also discuss what it looks like to use holistic health practices to manage an autoimmune disorder, drawing on her practice as well as her experience having had rheumatoid arthritis since childhood.

That should be plenty to keep you busy through the end of October, except for perhaps planning a Green Halloween and thinking about what the Switch Witch might leave in place of candy, as explained in this cute children’s book.

If there are additional events we should share, please leave a comment here or on the calendar or drop an email to dchealthygreenfamilies (at) gmail (dot) com.


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