So I picked up a copy of the newly launched Simply Green magazine at the Natural & Organic Products Expo last month and have since had a chance to read through from start to finish.

It’s one of three new local ‘green’ magazines hitting the shelves this year (the others being the recently launched Red Magazine, and Shared Earth, coming in November)

At first glance I wasn’t too impressed with the design of Simply Green. Frankly, the cover looks more like it belongs to a computer magazine than anything remotely green or earth-friendly – and some (though not all) of the inside layouts are, in my opinion, a bit school-project-esque.

Plus, I think it’s a trifle cheeky to call it “SA’s No.1 Green Lifestyle Mag”, when the ink of its first ever print run is barely dry!

But, knowing that how something looks and what it proclaims to be isn’t really as important as what it contains, into the content I did delve.

The magazine is divided into various ‘green’ sections: greenNEWS, greenHOME, greenKITCHEN, greenFILES, greenSTYLE, greenTECH, and so on – each with accompanying news, views and information.

Plus, a number of ‘greenFEATURE’ articles cover more general issues such as ‘packaging power’, switching to energy-efficient lighting methods, ‘greening the nursery’ and more.

The articles are generally well-written, and an advisory panel of sustainability and eco-experts should keep the content current and relevant to the issues at hand.

I particularly enjoyed the article about organic gardening by Gary Hart (of Hart Nursery, in Ottery), which included a brief look at the history of vegetable gardening in South Africa, and gave plenty of great tips for turning your own garden into a food-producing haven.

In addition, several sections are dedicated to eco-friendly products – anything from solar-powered digital device chargers to natural fabric bio-baba nappies to jewellery made from e-waste. Also included, a number of home-greening solutions for the uninitiated, such as Woolworths’ new earth-friendly cleaning range, and Essential Green tissue paper products from Esspack.

What seems strange to me, though, is the inclusion of two cleaning products from the United States. Why not feature a local alternative rather than one that has had to be flown in from across the Atlantic? There are certainly plenty to choose from right here at home (Earthsap, Enchantrix, Bloublommetjieskloof pop immediately to mind)…

In general, I would say that Simply Green is an informative, well-researched magazine, which I will be quite likely to buy in future.

It has a tendency to be a bit dry… and does, I think, lack an element of lightheartedness. I’m not being flippant – obviously, there are many serious ‘green issues’ out there that need to be tackled, and about which we must all become informed, but I think we need to read about the good stuff too… community gardens sustaining the previously disadvantaged, and providing new sources of organic food, or how about the increasing popularity of fresh produce markets, perhaps…?

But, of course, those are things that are of particular interest to me, and might not be to everyone else! Plus, it’s only the first edition, and there’s only so much one can pack into one magazine, so I look forward to seeing what crops up (yes, yes, pun intended) in the editions to come!

Simply Green is available at Exclusive Books for R29.95. Keen green beans can take advantage of an ‘early-bird’ subscription special online: R135 for a year’s subscription (6 issues), which works out to R22.50 per issue.

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