Archive for Organic Produce

Why Organic

– Cindy Medrano

Growing up we are always told to eat our fruits and vegetables. However, did you know some fruits and vegetables have high amounts of pesticides? You as a consumer can lower the amount of pesticides you intake by avoiding the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and consuming the least contaminated produce. You will find fruits and vegetables that are least contaminated from those produce that were organically grown. Eating conventially grown (organic) produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.

Did you know that apples are the number one fruits with the most pesticides? 98% of conventional apples have pesticides. The second highest contaminated produce is celery, which tested positive for 57 different pesticides followed by bell peppers as the third highest with 15 different pesticides.

The produce with the least amount of pesticides are onions, sweet corn and pineapple. It is encouraged that consumers but produce from the “Clean 15” list. Although, organically grown produce might be a bit more expensive it is worth the extra dollar.

Organic foods do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic food are also not processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, and chemical food additives. Organic farms use less energy and produce less water. When you purchase organic food, you are helping the environment! Not only are you eating healthier but giving back to mother nature as well.

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Eco-Friendly Ireland Hostel

Spaceship-looking hostel/Photo: Cheap-Hostels Website

Located in the North-West Irish countryside of Sligo County near Castlebaldwin, the eco-friendly Gyreum Ecolodge Hostel is designed to lower the carbon footprint by reducing the impact of human activities on the planet.

Derived from the Greek root ‘GYR’ that means ’round’ and ‘EUM’ implies ‘building,’ the innovative 100 ft. wide structure overlooks Lough Arrow and has a 360 degree view of Sligo’s cairned mountains and lakes spanning five counties.

On the cutting edge of energy saving technology, the iconic structure uses solar and wind power that aligns to dawn and dusk of the winter and summer solstices.

Renewable resources include solar panels that generate hot water, flagstone floors that are geothermally heated and wall insulation made of sheep’s wool. The water recycling system involves the collection of rain water in a 1500 litre tank that is pumped back for use in showers and toilets.

With its indoor-like camping features, the hostel-style accomodations include: capsule-tents, a glass domed library, a central hall with an open fireplace, a large movie screen and an organic vegetable garden.

The Gyreum Hostel is Ireland’s first ecolodge to be awarded the EU Flower for enviornmental and ecological standards and was one of four national finalists in 2007 for Best Ecological Building of the year.

For more information, visit the hostel’s website at: http://www.gyreum.com/

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Guayakí is so good

By Julio A. Cruz

Like most of you, I did not know what was Guayakí Yerba Mate Organic until I saw its Fair Trade table at the Fair Trade Futures Conference in Quincy, Mass. early September.

Guayakí Yerba Mate logo. Photo Courtesy: University of San Diego Student Radio.

Guayakí isn’t only Fair Trade but certified organic, too. I’ve only tried a couple of drinks, including the 16 oz. non-carbonated organic yerba mate Lemon Elation which comes in a can.

Some might ask, what is a yerba mate? I had that same question, and found that it’s:

Yerba mate is the legendary infusion from South America that is luring people away from their daily coffee fix.  Yerba mate first caught the attention of world-class athletes and health-conscious people, but now mate is becoming a favorite healthful daily ritual for all people taking their well-being seriously. Grown in the sub-tropical rainforests of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, yerba mate has long been revered as the “drink of the gods”.

So as you can see, it’s healthy, good for us. It’s also Kosher certified.

In its packaging process, starting from the start in growing the yerba mate to processing it, to packaging to transporting it to having it in your hands, Guayakí products takes out carbon from the environment.

Even the pamphlet, which all its info is on, the paper used is from 50% Post-Consumer Waste paper, it’s processed with free of Chlorine, uses vegetable based inks,  and it’s Green-e certified.

They even plant native trees in South American forests.

So get out, check out Whole Foods Market, for example, and choose any of its six stimulants, like yerba mate, coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa or guarana.

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Honest Tea is going Fair Trade

By Julio A. Cruz

Triple Pundit reports that Honest Tea will be Fair Trade Certified by the end of the 2011 first quarter.

Variety of drinks from Honest Tea. Photo Credit: FreeMania!

This makes them much better in its social and environmental practices plus places them even higher in the beverage category. It comes to no surprise they announce this during Fair Trade month.

It’s probably been a couple years since I started consuming Honest Tea. The green tea with honey grabbed my attention. Now I have about three of their 28 different flavors.

I enjoy the drink because it taste good, it’s healthy, certified organic, light, and very environmentally-friendly.

They do have some drinks in glass containers, which are usually found in Whole Foods Market, but for the most part the drinks are on plastic #1 containers, being 22 percent less plastic than regular bottles, BPA-free while saving world resources.

The drinks are tasteful, especially the ones from the  pomegranate and blueberries to the one with goji berries, where most of its fruits come from the eastern part of the world.

I’m going be even more satisfied when I drink, let’s say the new lemon tulsi as I see the Fair Trade Certified label on the bottle.

Some of its drinks come in packages of 12 and can be found in a Smart&Final.

What this does now is have Honest Tea officially meet Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) and Fair Trade USA standards that better tea farmers’ quality of life.  Meaning, that workers gain a fair portion of profits, have fair working conditions, freedom of association, minimum wage, and that they work under environmentally sustainable agricultural practices.

Hones Tea are ahead of the pack now and people are supporting it, like the President and CEO of Fair Trade USA Paul Rice who said:

“Honest Tea is once again raising the bar for the entire industry. Honest Tea has been a pioneer in social responsibility from the beginning…and that they care about the workers who harvest their tea and the future of their communities.”

Enjoy!

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Proposition 23 – A backwards Solution!

Today marks the six moths anniversary since the worst oil disaster of the U.S. history. Eleven workers were killed as well as thousands of marine life were affected and miles of beaches were tinted with oil. As usual today has gone undetected by the mainstream media due to lack of interest of issues that could affect millions of people for decades to come. Many efforts were made to prevent deep sea oil drilling but early this month the federal government went ahead and approved to continue such practice due to raising unemployment in that region. Political agendas should keep moving toward a environmental friendly solutions instead of fading away from this issues.

"10/10/10"

Hundreds of people show their support against global warming at the Los Angeles City Hall rally on October 10th. They called for the end of oil and coal dependency. Photo by Oscar Ortega.

In California, according to Greenpeace, Coalition for Clean Air and the American Lung Association say that Proposition 23 is backed by oil Texas companies. This initiative will suspend the control of air pollution in California until the unemployment drops to 5.5 percent. This means that any company that is under state regulation could have a license to pollute in the name of the “Economy or Unemployment.”  Our state government raised our sale taxes 1.5 percent a couple years ago and it didn’t make a dent to our economy, what makes them think this proposition can help our economy by allowing unscrupulous corporations to pollute our environment.

In the other hand, Meg Whitman, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, says that Green technology isn’t the right answer to generated jobs in California. She wants to suspend the 2006 Global Warming law and re-think it along with the estate economy. For decades California has been a leader in new technology and the environment but in the last few years it hasn’t even made it to the top ten environment friendly estates. It seems that some people are reluctant to a positive change and want to keep the same old attitude toward the environment.
Knowing what happened six months ago in the Gulf of Mexico, why politicians want to keep messing with California’s environment, beaches or the development of new technology. Why a Texan oil company has to have a “say” on California political issues? California’s environment should be decide by californians not by corporations, let along out of estate companies or politicians, who have no sense of the effects of global warming.

Be Proactive!

Make your Own Greener Cleaner 101:

Tub and Tile Cleaner

Ingredients:

1 cup water

3 cups baking soda

Directions:

Mix ingredients into a paste and apply with a brush. Use a toothbrush to scrub paste into grout. For a tougher jobs, first wipe surfaces with vinegar – use sparingly, as vinegar can break down tile grout.

For more greener cleaners visit Coalition for Clean Air.

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Be a Pro-active: Preventing Trash Get to Our Oceans

The Heal the Bay organization has hosted several events in the past weeks to bring awareness to out environment. On September 25th this organization will be hosting a cleanup at the Sepulveda Basin and it’s open to the public. This event is target to remove items such as plastic bags or any kind of trash which could end up in the oceans. Most of the items found in the oceans are grocery plastic bags, plastic snack bags, cigaret butts, plastic bottles, plastic fast food wrappers and many plastic relate items. All of us can be a part of the solution by being proactive toward this ecological problem. Some suggestions to keep our oceans clean can be from buying less products that are made from plastic, keep your home front curve clear of trash, while walking you dog in your neighborhood  keep a trash bag with you in case you see a bottle or plastic bag on the ground. All these little actions can make a big difference in our eco-system.

In an article aired on NPR and published by the Republic on the environment makes a good  debate on which to decide: a  better life for mankind or a better environment. You  be the judge.

I believe that we as human beings have a duty to maintaing and prolong our Mother Nature with our own actions. We need to responsible for what we do in this life.

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A Growing Trend in Eco-Consciousness: Using Backyards to Grow Food

By Karoline Steavenson

When the Obamas moved into the White House one of the first things Mrs. Obama did to set an example for children about eating healthy was plant a garden on the front lawn.

 

Students from the Bancroft School help Mrs. Obama plant the White House garden. (Photo credit: whitehouse.org)

 

The New York Times has reported in several articles this year that urban gardening is becomingly increasingly popular all over the nation. Some people grow their own food because they want to eat organic produce, and some do it to save money in hard times. Whatever the reason, gardening at the very least is good exercise and with a little practice and expertise, can save families money on food in the long run.

One local man who has turned urban gardening into an art form and a business is Jules Dervaes.

 

Urban gardening expert Jules Dervaes. (Photo credit: julesdervaes.com)

 

He and his three children transformed the backyard of his Pasadena home into a mini-farm that produces so much organic produce that he sells the excess to local restaurants.

He takes the urban gardening expertise he learned over decades and teaches others how to do the same. He and his children maintain many educational websites devoted to the topic. They also made a short film about how to start and maintain an urban garden.

Beware: after watching the Dervaes film you may find yourself inspired to tear out your lawn and let the soil beneath it do something useful for a change.

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