On any given day, environmental headlines can really drag you down. The latest on pesticides alone brings up a raft of bleak stories, from the spreading dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico to rampant bee die offs worldwide. Thankfully, citizen groups are pushing back, fighting GMOs, pestcides and corporate control of the food system.
By now you have heard about the Stanford University study which found that organically grown fruits and vegetables are not significantly better, in terms of your health, than conventionally grown produce.
I cringed when I first heard these findings blurbed on the radio. I didn’t want it to be true, and I also feared that the conclusion is premature.
I wasn’t the only one cringing.
If you value your drinking water, food, local economy, farmers, children, adults, animals and the health of the planet, you’ll want to take three minutes to see a cool new video that debuted at the annual Farm Aid event held in Milwaukee last week.
Underwritten by Anvil Sportswear, the biggest buyer of American-grown organic cotton in the U.S., this fun short film enumerates why it’s important to buy organic. In fact, it lists many, many reasons to go organic. And there are many.
Chicago-area residents will get to survey the latest green goods, listen to eco-thought leaders and snack on Fair Trade goodies at the Chicago Green Festival planned for Navy Pier on May 22-23.
The two-day event will feature more than 350 local and national green businesses, and 150 speakers at panel discussions and how-to workshops. It will include a Fair Trade, Green Home and Organic Food and Gardening pavilions as well as eco-kids activities and green refreshments such as organic beer, wine and food.
By Michele Chan Santos
Green Right Now
If you’ve ever considered joining a CSA, a community-supported agriculture group, now is the time to do it. A CSA is an arrangement where people subscribe to get a weekly or bi-weekly basket or box of produce from a local farmer. January, February and March is the time when many farms encourage people to sign up to receive produce through the spring, summer and fall.
A box of locally-grown vegetables and fruit might seem like a simple thing, but CSA members say becoming a “member” or “sharer” in these farms has transformed what they and their families eat, making them more aware of their food, more connected to the process of growing and cooking, and improving their overall health. You can find the CSA nearest you at Local Harvest; enter your zip code to locate a nearby farm.
By Julie Bonnin
Green Right Now
Looking for a mid-winter activity that costs little and reaps big benefits for families who are trying to grow more of their own organic food (or flowers)?
Consider starting seeds indoors to plant outside when the weather warms up in your region of the country. Even for experienced gardeners, the sight of little green sprouts emerging from seeds when little else is growing is always a thrill. Not so thrilling is the disappointment that comes if your perky little seedlings start to droop.
Though seed-starting isn’t difficult, it’s not foolproof. There are lots of different ways to do it, and you can buy accessories like covered trays and plug-in warming pads to help the process along. But why not keep things simple, and make this an off-the-grid, green activity that takes advantage of recycled items?
Apparently conventional farming techniques aren’t too grape for vineyard keepers in the Midwest. Their tender fruit withers when it comes into contact with a commonly used herbicide, called 2, 4-D that is spread on corn and other field crops to control broadleaf weeds.
So researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new grape that can stand up to 2, 4-D (or R2D2 if you’re playing Star Wars).
This new improved grape – imperially named “Improved Chancellor” — does not die when confronted with 2, 4-D (the D stands for Dicholorophenoxyacetic) because it has been genetically altered with an added bacterium that breaks down the herbicide, according to an Environmental News Service release.
Brenton Johnson, who hosted a recent local-food gourmet dinner on his organic farm, Johnson’s Backyard Garden, just east of Austin, Texas, represents a new breed of young, organic farmer whose philosophy is to live in harmony with the land and bring back the sustainable ways. Naturally (no pun intended), he advocates buying local food.
In between tending his turnips and perusing the potatoes, Brenton penned this wise, authoritative list, which he agreed to share with us. (We couldn’t write it any better.)
This isn’t just about helping the local farmer, it’s about preserving our planet (and eatin’ better, too!).