Meet the Dads: Introducing Barrett
Meet Barrett from Oregon
Meet Barrett, one of our UpChoose dads from Portland, Oregon. Barrett is a first-time dad of Everett, a one year old boy. You can follow him on Instagram @barrettabrooks and twitter @BarrettABrooks.
What’s your name? Any nickname?
Live in? Grew up in?
Born in St. Petersburg, FL; Raised in Atlanta, GA; Building a family and life in Portland, OR.
You’re the dad of...
Everett, a one year old boy.
What made you want to be more careful about the things you buy for you or your family? Was there an “aha” moment or a specific event? Did becoming a father impact how you approach your consumption choices and behaviors?
The moment I knew I wanted our home, our food, our wardrobe, and our life to be more sustainable and conscientious was when I started having health problems in my early 20s without a known cause. I had been the picture of health my whole life and then all of a sudden I was having myriad issues that affected my work and relationships. It all started with food and expanded from there. Watching The True Cost, a documentary about the apparel industry, solidified the fact that I wanted everything we buy to align with our values and our hope for a more sustainable world.
How did you get started? What were the first few changes you made?
The first change we made was transitioning to organic produce. Then we started focusing on the quality and types of animal products we ate — pasture-raised eggs and poultry, reducing our red meat consumption and only eating grass-fed, pasture-raised beef. Then we focused on only buying new clothes made from more sustainable materials and with fair labor practices. We’ve now expanded this philosophy to the home goods we buy and funding a monthly subscription to take our family carbon-negative. At the same time, we try to buy less stuff, buy from local creators, entrepreneurs and farmers whenever we can, produce less waste, and focus on experiences over things. We’re human and we fail at this regularly, but the mindset helps us make better choices.
Playtime for Barrett and Everett
What are some benefits you have seen over time, are there things that worked well for you?
The biggest benefit is the feeling of alignment between our beliefs and values and our actions. That feeling is priceless. Then there’s the health aspect. We feel better when we eat high quality foods. And we spend our money doing things together more often, which leads to more shared memories and less clutter.
❝ The biggest benefit is the feeling of alignment between our beliefs and values and our actions. That feeling is priceless.❞
Any tips you'd like to share with other expecting parents who just heard about these issues and trying to figure out their first steps?
Start with one area of your life. Your baby’s wardrobe is a perfect place to start because you’re starting from scratch. Produce is another great place to start because it’s a matter of picking organic spinach off the shelf rather than conventional. It cost a bit more, but by starting small, you can make the shift gradually as your budget allows.
Barrett and Nicole
One of your personal projects is farmtocloset.com. Can you tell us more about what made you start this? How can this community learn more and get involved?
There are so many websites and Instagram accounts promoting sustainable habits for women. This is awesome! Also, why do we always place more of the burden for doing good on women in society? We should set expectations higher for men and ask them to carry their weight in the movement for a more sustainable future. So the site is built to make it easy to look good and feel good while doing good. We make it easy for men to discover the most sustainable brands making classically fashionable and durable clothes.
Can you tell us a bit about the set(s) you received from UpChoose? What did you pick and how have you used the platform so far?
UpChoose was especially awesome during the newborn days. They curate sustainable brands and ship you everything you need so that you can make one decision rather than 100 about what clothes your baby needs. You already have so much to worry about when welcoming a new child to the family, UpChoose makes it easy to make a good choice for your baby and the environment at the same time.
Do you already have a favorite outfit or item from your UpChoose set?
I used to *love* the little stocking caps that came in the newborn sets. We’d put them on his little head and they were both hilarious and kept him warm.
Barrett, Nicole and Everett on a day at the beach
What’s most exciting to you about being part of the UpChoose community and what are the most important things we can help you achieve?
The best part of being in the UpChoose community is that we get to make a statement about who we are and what we value — we’re voting with our dollars for the kind of world we want to exist as Ev grows up.
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
The power to heal.
Favorite activities or game you play with the kid(s)?
We love going on long family walks with Ev. Any time outside is time we love.
My favorite documentary is The Biggest Little Farm or Free Solo. Favorite movie is tough, but we re-watch the Harry Potter and Star Wars sagas nearly every year.
Haha. Atlanta hip hop that’s not appropriate for a family blog :)
Dream place for a vacation?
Maui is our favorite place we’ve been to relax and take a break from everything while also experiencing great food and cocktail culture.
Chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast
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