Going Green with Lightlife and Como Water!

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Gaining more insight into how our food is produced and brought to market, along with the far reaching implications of our food system has been a recent obsession. Lately, I’ve been fixated on the implications of this system and have started watching documentaries and reading books on chemicals, environmental justice, and sustainability. This is why when I saw Lightlife and DailyBuzz Healthy Living’s call for bloggers to hold a ‘Sustainable Garden Party,’ I was all over it! To my surprise (and great excitement), I was selected to try Lightlife’s new frozen veggie burgers and to host a party! There was just one little catch… what IS a Sustainable Garden Party???? 😀

The short answer is that a Sustainable Garden Party is whatever you want it to be. So, first, I started with my definition of sustainability. To me, sustainability is using as few resources as possible and consuming only when you have to.

In a more concrete sense, sustainability for me means:

  • eating as locally and seasonally as possible.
  • actually eating (or using in some way) all the food that I buy.
  • using natural (or homemade) cleaning and beauty products when possible.
  • being veg-centric!
  • walking, biking, or using public transportation when possible.
  • reusing the things that I buy, rather than simply buying new things.
  • and watching my water consumption (turning the water off when brushing my teeth, etc. etc.).


So, with this ‘definition’ of sustainability, I was ready to translate it into a party for ten of my friends! Here’s how I did it:

First of all, I live in an apt. building. So the concept of ‘garden’ had to be adapted. Luckily, we have a lovely, fully-equipped communal kitchen that overlooks an outdoor courtyard. This became the backdrop of the party. I also asked everyone to wear green. We would bring our garden to us!

Next, the menu. Of course, I wanted Lightlife’s new burgers to be the highlight (and they were!). I complemented them with local toppings like sauteed mushrooms. I also created a menu of green (literally :D) foods to remind everyone why we had gathered and to foster a conversation on sustainability. The menu included: the Lightlife frozen veggie burgers (Backyard Grill’n and Farmers Market veggie), marinaded green olives, steamed edamame, green chile hummus, guacamole, tomatillo salsa, green gandules, cilantro (recaito) rice, broccoli/cucumber/caper salad, lime-mint spritzer, and mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches!

Finally, I was ready for the finishing touches. I decorated the space with items that I found around my home, including green and blue placemats, vases, and plates. I also used fresh herbs and limes leftover from my food prep in the table setting. I wrote the menu for everyone on paper lunch bags that served as place settings and then as a holder for the keepsake I gave to all who attended–a clipping from the coleus plant my great-grandmother gave me. Now, everyone could take home a little green and breathe a little bit better!

All in all, the party was a great success! Folks really enjoyed the burgers, with the crowd being split almost evenly between those who preferred the Farmers Market Veggie and those who preferred the Backyard Grill’n. I, myself, preferred the robust smokiness of the Backyard Grill’n burger.

And at the end of the night, as I cleaned up the last few remnants of food, I thought to myself, “this is what sustainability is really all about. It’s not using special products or shopping in certain places, it’s about community. It’s about sharing with your community, giving back to your community, bartering with your community and fellowshipping with your community. It’s about laughing, eating, and drinking with your community. And it’s about thinking about how your actions impact your community in this moment, and about ensuring that your community will have a safe and healthy world in the future!


This series is brought to you in partnership with Lightlife, Live long. Travel light. To learn more, click here http://www.lightlife.com.

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. I love that you bring sustainability into your blog. Thanks for your thoughts on cutting back on resources, reducing our carbon footprint, and importantly, sharing, laughing, and thinking of how our actions impact the great community. Lovely to share this with your friends! What a great idea to give them each a clipping from the coleus plant from your great-grandmother!

  2. What a great idea for entertaining! I tend to go overboard when planning for guests and that includes too much of everything, food, drinks, fresh flowers. Your post came at the perfect time. I have out of town guests arriving soon and a nudge keep it simple and use what I already have and is in season is just what I needed! A refreshing and remarkable post!

  3. Tiffany you are awesome!! What a fun and socially conscious party. I am trying to eat more locally and seasonally too. I have a far way to go to be as good as you are at it. I’m glad you are having such a great time. 🙂 Have a wonderful week ahead.

  4. Wow that sounds like such a cool event! Eating seasonally and as locally as much as possible is starting to become a huge focus in our family too 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Looks like such a fun party, Tiffany and I think you nailed your concept of sustainability! Every little bit helps and whatever small ways one can think to support community is great. I made a conscious effort to support local farmers this spring and summer. And I now buy all my dairy from a local farm. Green is such a lovely color, isn’t it?! : )

  6. sounds like such a great party with a eco-conscious slant! and i think your definition of sustainability is spot-on. it was so lovely to give a clipping from the coleus plant from your great-grandmother – so creative! great post!

  7. Hi Tiffany! This was such a great idea! We too are incensed about a lot of what happens in the American factory farming industry, especially since so much of the world’s food comes from the US and US ingredients make their way into products made all over the world.

  8. How lucky are your friends to get all that delicious food! I’m excited to hear that Lightlife has a veggie burger product.

  9. Sounds like great fun; and it could double as an Equinox celebration!

  10. Today green has become a fashion statement and most people don’t know what true sustainability is about. I like the way how simply you portrayed sustainability and brought the idea of green party in your apartment. It is really wonderful. We need more and more people like you to make this planet greener. I try to go greener every step of the way but very far behind you.

  11. Wow…I like this idea, Tiff! Everything looks awesome even though I am not veg.
    Great post!

  12. Tiffany how cool. This company contacted me as well but I didn’t have the time to do a post for them. I am so glad that you did. I did try the Farmers Market veggie patty and enjoyed them. What a wonderful party you put on so filled with love and communtity spirit and friendship. You rock!

  13. ACK! I wish I could have gone! What an awesome party! And such a great theme as well. I’m trying to be better about all of the things you mentioned in your list…I’m still really bad about having to throw out food at the end of the week 🙁 Must fix!

    Well done, darling! Looks like a fabulous, delicious and environmentally conscious party!

  14. Great job Tiff! I think you were the BEST candidate to do this party and I see why Dailybuzz picked you! Glad the party went well and the food looks awesome. I bet everyone including you had a blast! Have a great weekend!

  15. Good morning! I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! Here’s the link: http://thecookssister.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/one-lovely-blog-award

  16. Thanks for the comments everyone! 😀