St. Paul, MN

Is is possible to bring a child into this world without a small avalanche of disposable plastic junk? Yes it is! Just ask the folks at Peapods Natural Toys & Baby Care in St. Paul, Minnesota, who have been helping parents make more sustainable choices for over 15 years.

Millie Adelsheim and her staff at Peapods have helped thousands of parents with cloth diapering, babywearing, breastfeeding, attachement parenting, and choosing safe toys for their kids. Millie's minimalist philosophy toward baby gear focuses on products that benefit both babies and the planet. Here you won't find big plastic playpens and baby swings that crowd big-box stores and landfills. Instead, Peapods offers the best of what parents and children actually need.

Millie's guiding philosophy has always been that simpler is better for babies, kids, and the planet. Why buy a fancy stroller when a baby's need to be held can be better met with a comfortable linen baby sling? Why spend thousands of dollars on chemically absorbent disposable diapers when you can spend a few hundred on cute and reusable cloth diapers? Why buy overly-engineered electronic toys when you can teach your child to engineer her own creations with wooden blocks or planks?

Peapods is well-known in Minnesota for the quality and play value of their toys. Toys are an important way to teach children values like fairness and sustainability, which is why Peapods offers only toys made from recycled or natural materials without typical pink and blue gendered stereotypes or commercial character tie-ins. Simple classic toys like building blocks or wood trains may not have computer chips or blinking lights but are nevertheless more satisfying because they are fueled by a child's own imagination.

Peapods strives to source locally-made and made in the USA products and to help these small manufacturers and toymakers to grow their businesses. Whether it's a robot construction toy made in Minnesota from recycled cardboard, a growth chart made from reclaimed Minneapolis boulevard trees, or a baby rattle made from cabinet-maker wood scraps in Oregon, Peapods shares it with the world.

As a family-owned brick & mortar store, Peapods knows the importance of thinking globally and acting locally. They actively promote quality products nationally through their long-term memberships in Green America, The Handmade Toy Alliance, and the Real Diaper Industry Association. Locally, Peapods is also active in their local independent business alliance and contributes to dozens of local charities every year.

From the beginning, Peapods chose to be part of a walkable city instead of in a suburban mall. Their current location in St. Paul served for many decades as a neighborhood hardware store and features reclaimed hardwood and cork floors.

If Peapods is honored with Green America's People & Planet Award, Millie and her team are planning to upgrade their store lighting system with more energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures.