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July 2009

Laptop Lunch Times: July 2009
July 2009

In this issue, you'll find:

  • From Our Desk to Yours...
  • Favorite Photo
  • Breakfast for Lunch
  • Green Opportunities
  • New Retailers
  • All About Eco-Briefs
  • What works...Success Stories
  • Featured Web site:

From Our Desk to Yours...

We hope you're having a great summer! Ours has been very busy as we've spent the last few months preparing for the launch of our new Bento 2.0 line! We've been listening to your requests for additional features, including a new medium container with lid, a deeper bento box, all-stainless utensils, and the ability to incorporate multiple inner container configurations. Read on to learn more!

FLOWER FUN: This stylish new Bento System 2.0 includes the new Bento Set 2.0, all-stainless utensils, and a carrying case made with 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene fabric. Learn more at

ALIENS: Got an alien fan in your family? Check out our new Alien Bento System 2.0 at This system also includes the new Bento Set 2.0, all-stainless utensils, and a carrying case made with 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene fabric. Perfect for any journey to outer space!

BENTO BUDDIES: Our new Bento Buddies can be used on their own directly inside a lunchbox or inside the Bento Set 2.0 for additional inner container configurations. They're available in three colors at

CLOTH NAPKINS: No waste-free lunch kit is complete without a cloth napkin! We're very pleased to announce that we're now offering four cotton kid-friendly styles to choose from...and they're all made in the USA! More information and product photos available at

LAPTOP LUNCHES IN THE NETHERLANDS: We're very pleased to announce that Laptop Lunches have arrived in the Netherlands! Please visit our newest international reseller online at Know someone in that part of the world? Please let them know about this wonderful new resource.

PERIWINKLE COLOR OPTION TO BE DISCONTINUED: We are in the process of retiring our periwinkle color option. We still have a few sets, systems, inner container sets, and bento bundles left in stock, however, so if you've been eyeing this color, this is your last chance to place an supplies last.

Amy and Tammy

Got a favorite photo to share?

Email it to us at [email protected], and we'll publish it here!


  • Ham and pepper jack sandwich
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Mini tomatoes
  • Dried apricots
  • Laughing Cow cheese
  • Red grapes

"Love my Laptop Lunch box. I'm keeping a photo series of all the lunches. This is Bento Lunch #2. Thanks!"

                     -- Vanessa Kaufman

Breakfast for Lunch

It's fun to change it up a bit at lunchtime by packing breakfast for lunch. Kids, in particular, seem to get a real kick out of this surprising change in their routine. And while you're at it, why not serve lunch for breakfast?

  • Garlic Potatoes

  • Garden Tomato Salsa

  • Whole Wheat Biscuits

  • Fresh Apricots

  • Scrambled Eggs
Breakfast for Lunch
1. Prepare the potatoes as follows: Shred two potatoes, saute in a small amount of olive oil, add minced garlic and saute until cooked all the way through. Then add fresh scallions and herbs. (Parsley or basil works well.) Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.
2. Add two apricots.
3. Bake the biscuits. (We love the recipe from the Tassajara Cookbook
4. Scramble two eggs the way you like them.
5. Spoon some salsa into the dip container to enjoy with the potatoes and/or the eggs.

  • Whole Grain Pancakes

  • 100% Maple Syrup

  • Sausages (Tofurky Italian Sun-dried Tomato sausages pictured here.)

  • Organic Grapes
Breakfast for Lunch
1. Prepare the pancakes.

2. Pour some maple syrup into the dip container.

3. Add some grapes.

4. Cut sausages into bite-sized pieces and pan-fry until slightly crispy.

Green Opportunities

Some earth-friendly tidbits that have landed in our office in recent weeks...

  • PESTICIDE DATABASE – The Pesticide Action Network has launched a new online searchable database designed to make the public problem of pesticide exposure visible and more understandable. Whether you want to find out what's in your apple juice, milk, peanut butter, or bottled water, this innovative tool links pesticide food residue data with the toxicology for each chemical, making this information easily searchable for the first time.

  • SAFE BICYCLE ROUTES – Several cities now have Web sites that work like MapQuest, Google Maps, and other mapping applications. Sites like Ride the City,, and Google's BikeThere will help you find the shortest bicycle-friendly distance between two points. Want to find routes that maximize the use of bike lanes, bike paths, greenways, and other bike-friendly streets? Let your fingers do the typing.
  • THE FUTURE OF FOOD – This informative video offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade. If you haven't seen it, check it out at

  • FOOD, INC. – In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.
Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. Visit to find a theater near you.

New Retailers

Fredericksen's Hardware
3029 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 292-2950

2281 Carl D Silver Parkway
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Safe Babies Plus
930 Chanler Drive
Haines City, Fl 33844
(863) 438-5382

Chicken Little
1236 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 962-7771

Learning Express
1350 El Paseo de Saratoga 
San Jose, CA 95130
(408) 871-0499

Go Green Baby Co.
720 E. College Ave. #6
Salisbury, MD 21804
(443) 736-8611

Cutie Tootsie
5807D Kingston Pike
Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 249-7012

Grandrabbit's Toy Shoppe
2525 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 443-0780

Serendipity Children's Store
6124 A SW Highway 200
Ocala, FL 34476
(352) 861-0035

Fit Lifestyle Studios
171 Tremont Street
Melrose, MS 02176
(781) 662-3306

Whole Foods Market
2201 Preston Road Suite C
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 612-6729

Whole Foods Market
6689 Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 589-7711

Whole Foods Market
6930 S. Highland Drive
Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121
(801) 733-9455

Whole Foods Market
2245 Springfield Avenue
Union, NJ 07083
(908) 688-1455

Available July 15th at the following Earth Fare stores:

Earth Fare
66 Westgate Parkway
Asheville, NC 28806
(828) 253-7656

Earth Fare 
1856 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC 28803
(828) 210-0100

Earth Fare
74 Folly Road Blvd.
Charleston, SC 29407
(843) 769-4800

Earth Fare 
2965 Battleground Avenue
Greensboro, NC 27408
(336) 369-0190

Earth Fare
12235 N. Community House Road
Charlotte, NC 28277
(704) 926-1201

Earth Fare
10341 Moncreiffe Road
Raleigh, NC 27617
(919) 433-1390

Earth Fare
178 W. King Street
Boone, NC 28607
(828) 263-8138

Earth Fare
1735 W. State-of-Franklin Road
Johnson City, TN 37604
(423) 232-1011

Earth Fare
3312-B Devine Street
Columbia, SC 29205
(803) 799-0048

Earth Fare
3620 Pelham Road
Greenville, SC 29615
(864) 527-4220

Earth Fare
725 Cherry Road
Rock Hill, SC 29732
(803) 327-1030

Earth Fare
1689 South Lumpkin Street
Athens, GA 30606
(706) 227-1717

Earth Fare
368 Fury's Ferry Road,  Suite 3
Martinez, GA 30907
(706) 288-3042

Earth Fare
10903 Parkside Drive
Knoxville, TN 37934
(865) 777-3837

Earth Fare
140 North Forest Park Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 558-1432

Earth Fare
721 Governor Morrison Street Suite 110
Charlotte, NC 28211
(704) 749-5042


Visit for a complete list of retailers.

Want to see Laptop Lunches at a store in your neighborhood? Email us at [email protected], and we'll give them a call.

Eco-Briefs: An Interview with Roberto Giannicola

Want to know what lunch foods kids eat at school and what they throw away? Roberto Giannicola, founder of and creator of the Eco-brief series, is happy to show you. His educational presentations put a "real face" on environmental issues, including a very insightful and compelling presentation on a subject near and dear to our hearts--waste-free lunches. Amy interviewed him this month about his unique approach to "getting the word out."

Roberto Giannicola
Amy: Hi Roberto. What prompted you to create Eco-briefs?


After launching Provokare Presentations, I wanted to offer my audience a booklet with more details and references about the subject I presented. In about thirty pages, these booklets include essential information about the challenges we are facing and the solutions that can be easily implemented to create meaningful change.

Amy: It was the waste-free lunch Eco-brief that really caught my attention. Tell us a bit about it.


Like my other Eco-briefs, this one includes three parts: the findings, the impact on our planet, people and the animals, and the solutions that can be applied. In the first section “Trash,” I include pictures, the weight and the cost of discarded edible items: milk, fruit, homemade sandwiches, pizza, and drinks, as well as the packaging used for all these items. In the second section, “Impact,” I describe the impact of that waste: what it took to produce the milk - factory farming, milk cows, and environmental degradation; then more about plastic bottles and plastic waste; last, a section about hunger in America. In the third section: “Solutions,” I offer alternatives for parents and schools: switching to reusable lunch boxes, sandwich boxes and utensils, preparing lunch with children, making changes in cafeterias and schools, and understanding the cost benefits of a waste free lunch.

Amy: When did you first become involved in promoting waste-free lunches?

Roberto: After volunteering at my daughter’s elementary school with their waste buster program, I thought that just telling students to recycle and compost their trash wasn’t enough. I wanted to show them that there was more that could be done to reduce the waste. I decided to analyze all their trash by extracting, sorting, photographing and measuring what I found. I wanted parents to see how much perfectly edible food was being thrown away and the quantity of trash that a simple thirty-minute lunch period could produce, as well as the actual dollar value this was costing. Most importantly, however, I wanted to show the consequences a school lunch had on the world, including the effects on people and animals. Like my other Eco-briefs and presentations, I strive to demonstrate that with simple, meaningful changes in our lifestyle we can make a big difference in the world.

Amy: What has the response been to your waste-free lunch work so far?


I just finished this report a few weeks ago, so only a few people have seen it. So far, everyone has been absolutely amazed by the quantity of food that is being thrown away and the amount of trash that is generated. A small presentation was given at a local school and I also sent the report to the local waste authority and school district superintendent. I’m hoping to spread the message throughout the summer and reach even more people for the beginning of 2009/2010 school year.

Amy: What changes have you seen at the schools you’ve worked with?

Roberto: The schools were eager to participate in waste reduction. They have implemented various procedures to sort their trash into waste/recycling/composting and have done a great job at it. However, that requires constant supervision and the quantity of trash hasn’t gone down much. What I hope to achieve with this report is to involve parents, teachers and students in waste reduction, and educate them about the impact of school lunches.

Amy: What has surprised you the most?

Roberto: I would say the quantity of perfectly edible food that was thrown away, particularly milk. Every day, on average, of the 200 lunches served, 56 cartons (½ pint) of milk were thrown away, which is about 3.55 gallons of milk a day, with a third of the cartons not even being opened. Knowing about the impact that dairy factory farming has on the environment and how much animal suffering is caused by these factory farms, that was truly disturbing. The next two edible items that made me realize something had to change were the homemade sandwiches and the fruit. Entire pieces of fruit and whole sandwiches, still in Ziploc bags, were tossed in the trashcans. These three items alone would add up to 2400 lbs of waste and 560 gallons of milk a year: over $4200.00 worth of food thrown away!

Amy: What other Eco-briefs do you offer?

Roberto: The other Eco-Briefs are: Water, Factory Farming, Greening the Workplace, Consumerism, Toxic Chemicals and the Environment. Others still in development: Human Suffering, Population, That Sludge is Good for You (misleading media and the lies we are being told), Our Oceans, Prejudices and Privileges.


I understand that you’re in the business of conducting workshops and giving presentations? Can you tell us a bit about what you do?

Roberto: In 2007 I founded Provokare Presentations, a company offering presentations with practical solutions, a positive approach and plenty of humor to demonstrate how everyone can participate in making small changes that can make a huge difference in the world.

My presentations are based on what I learned in my two-year humane education program. This program focused on issues including the environment, human rights, animal protection and a broad range of cultural and media issues. From that, I learned that living the more conscious life didn’t mean downgrading my lifestyle or giving up modern conveniences. Instead, I found alternative solutions that were good for the planet and gave me peace of mind without rigid sacrifices. My goal is to help others discover these same truths.


What do you enjoy most about your work?

Roberto: What I enjoy most is seeing someone making changes in their life because of what was learned from my presentation. While the information I provide can sometimes be harsh and disturbing, I make it a point to provide solutions and alternatives that are fulfilling and easy to apply. If I can “provoke” or touch someone deeply enough to incite him/her to take small steps towards a more socially responsible life, then I think I’ve accomplished something great.


And finally, what’s your favorite lunch?

Roberto: I’m Italian and love to cook. If I had to go back to school and bring my own lunch, I would make myself a nice grilled eggplant or zucchini sandwich with olive oil and mozzarella on focaccia bread; but if you come over to my house, I’ll make homemade thin Italian pizza, gnocchi, or a risotto with radicchio, depending on whether you come unexpected or plan ahead of time. Red wine always included.

Eco-briefs Waste-free Lunch Presentation

Roberto Giannicola grew up in Switzerland, where he obtained a degree in Business Management and Administration. He’s fluent in French, Italian and English.

Roberto has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and North America, where he has acquired a deep knowledge and understanding of the cultures and customs of the world. In 1992 he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he still lives.

Past endeavors include working as a tour guide and as a computer consultant. He earned a humane education certificate from the Institute for Humane Education, broadening his knowledge of issues related to the environment, human rights, animal rights, and a range of cultural and media issues.

For more information about Roberto's presentations, visit and View a sample PDF of his waste-free lunch presentation HERE.

What Works...Success Stories

"My 'story' started with my son’s 3rd grade teacher (2 years ago, now!). One day she reported that my son “doesn’t eat his lunch” most days!! Imagine my horror when I found out my little boy was going from 7 am to 3 pm without food!! Every day I’d ask him about school, and usually I’d say “how was lunch?” and he’d reply “good!”. Well, he was fibbing. He didn’t like school lunch food. I immediately started packing a lunch for him, using only the foods that I know he loves, just to get some calories into him midday. I researched online and found the Laptop Lunch System and immediately ordered 2 (one “spare”). I stuff it full of good things for him to eat (yogurt, sandwiches, fruit, crunchy veggies, pudding, and each day, a treat). Not only is he eating his lunch, he’s doing better in school. We’ve kept it up for 2 ½ years and I don’t see stopping. He helps by packing most of his lunch each day. I am so thankful for your easy-to-carry and pack system."

        -- Mary Ellen Reimers, Jamestown, ND

"I am a mother of three and we ALL use Laptop Lunches, even me! They make it so fun to pack lunch in the morning, and so easy! I love to think about all the trash we prevent from entering the landfill and the wonderful lessons my children are learning about conservation and health, just by doing something as simple as eating lunch! At first I was only using them for the kids, but then I realized that if I paid $8 for lunch every day and the lunchbox cost me $32, it would pay for itself in only four days! I am crazy in love with these things and recommend them to everyone I know. Thanks guys! "

        -- Sara Brown, San Anselmo, CA

"Thank you so much for helping my family along the road to better health! I absolutely love the Laptop Lunch kits that I bought for my husband, my 11 year old son, and myself. We have so much fun deciding on new things to pack in our lunches, and I have become OBSESSED with looking at pictures on Flickr of other's lunches to get ideas! While I've been a vegetarian for almost twenty years, it is a new decision for my son. As for my husband, lets just say that he will eat anything that doesn't eat him first, and will eat it even faster if it is dipped in grease. Laptop Lunches have made it easier for me to introduce edamame, hummus, and whole grains to them both. In fact, I grabbed the wrong lunch the other day: it was a beautiful one filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and a yummy veggie patty pita sandwich. Imagine my suprise to find out that it was my fried-food-loving husband's! Again, thank you for your ingenious invention that makes me feel good about what I'm putting into my family's bellies, as well as what I'm doing to cut down on environmental waste! "

        -- Sherri McNally, Houston, TX

Do you have a success story or photo to share? Email it to us at [email protected].

Featured Web Site:

Heading off on an exotic beach vacation this year? Before you book your reservations, be sure to check for the Blue Flag, a voluntary eco-label awarded to over 3200 beaches and marinas in 37 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean.

On this site:

  • Blue Flag Beaches and Marinas
  • Publications
  • Blue Flag History
  • Partners and Links
For more information, visit

August Highlights

Simple Summer Menus, Green Opportunities, and an Obentec Interview


Comments, questions, concerns? Please email us at [email protected].

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© July 2009 Obentec, Inc.

849 Almar Ave., Suite C-323
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Feel free to reprint or forward this newsletter with the following acknowledgment and contact information clearly visible: "Thank you to Obentec, Inc. for permission to use this copyrighted material. For more information, contact Obentec, Inc. by email at [email protected] or by phone at 831-457-0301, or visit their Web site at Reprint permission granted with this full notice included."