Category Archives: Organics

10 Benefits Of Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut-Oil-Web

Although it is a 90% saturated fat, organic coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that can improve your health in many ways. One of the smartest choices of good fat you can add to your diet is organic virgin coconut oil. Yes, coconut oil.

First of all, organic coconut oil is very stable to cook with because it withstands high temperatures without heat damage. If you switch your cooking oil to organic coconut oil, you can start improving your health right away.

coconut oilWhat’s more, you can easily digest the MCFAs in coconut oil. So, it’s a lot easier on your system than other oils. Plus, these hard-working fatty acids are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored in your body as fat. Overall, MCFAs help to boost your metabolism, which is a great help to any weight loss program.

Considered a functional food, organic coconut oil is now being recognized by the medical community as a powerful tool against immune system related diseases. Several studies have been done on its effectiveness in this area, and much research is currently underway concerning the incredible nutritional value of pure organic virgin coconut oil.

Organic coconut oil is highly nutritious and contains a superior disease fighting fatty acid called lauric acid. It is also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The best kind to get is organic raw unprocessed extra virgin coconut oil. This will assure you that your product is unrefined, certified organic by USDA standards, and contains no added chemicals or genetically modified additives.

You’ll also know your organic coconut oil is made only from fresh coconuts and is a solid at room temperature. The Philippines is the world’s largest exporter of organic coconut oil.

10 Benefits of Organic Coconut Oil:

  1. Keep You Healthy and Slim You can help boost and regulate your metabolism to keep your weight under control with this wonder oil.
  2. Support Your Immune System Organic coconut oil is jam-packed with lauric acid, the immune supporting nutrient.
  3. Promote Heart Health Packed full of healthy fats that are good for your heart, organic coconut oil is a great addition to your daily diet.
  4. Give You Instant Energy Organic coconut oil can help you feel less fatigued and require less sleep by stimulating your metabolism. It can also enhance athletic performance.
  5. Support Healthy Thyroid Function Organic coconut oil helps to stimulate the activity and proper functioning of this important gland which provides energy, supports the health of your skin and metabolism, and keeps your moods in balance.
  6. Help Keep Your Skin Youthful, Smooth & Healthy Looking Using organic virgin coconut oil as a lotion will help improve your skin, hair, and nails due to its moisturizing and smoothing effects that also promote elasticity.
  7. Increase Cell Regeneration When your metabolic rate increases, your cell regeneration speeds up, too. This means that your body will more quickly replace old cells with newer, healthier cells.
  8. Promote Anti-Viral, Anti-Fungal, and Anti-Bacterial Activity Teeming with lauric acid, organic coconut oil possesses abundant natural agents that may reduce fungus, bacteria and the viruses that cause influenza, herpes, and other illnesses.
  9. Improve Insulin Secretion This helps to better utilize glucose to balance insulin output which can help relieve the symptoms and reduce the health risks associated with diabetes.
  10. Protect Your Body from Disease Organic coconut oil may help protect your body from cell damaging free radicals.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

New Report Takes Cheap-Shot At Organic Foods With “Recall” Scare

GMO-Propaganda

A new “report” of data intended to be used as propaganda, in this case against foods that are NOT genetically modified, a company called Stericycle has produced data that it says proves organic food recalls are up. The news of the report, of course was recently spread by the U.S. corporate media as a subtle propaganda campaign to directly condemn organic foods in hopes to offsetting consumer growing confidence and demand for organics. All no doubt to the delight and support of GMO food producers like Monsanto.

No one should be surprised by this, considering that Stericyle, a “global” publicly traded company who also owns Bio Systems, is also the U.S.’s leading company for ‘sharps management’ services. In other words Stericyle profits immensely from selling needle and syringe disposal plastic containers to hospitals globally! This statement is from their own site:

“Today, we operate in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, and employ more than 18,000 people worldwide. Our primary business in each of these markets focuses on providing integrated solutions for the management of medical wastes.”

It is thus in their interest for people to use hospitals and remain sick since they are deeply intertwined with the profits surrounding hospitals and sickness.

It is no wonder therefore that Stericycle would play such a central role in putting out information that ignores the overall insignificance of this data because overall when you take into account the full picture- that when you consider the markedly increase in demand for organic foods, the recalls have actually not changed at all. The Organic Trade Association has already come out and flatly called out the lies put out by Stericycle. Senior Director Gwendolyn Wyard has stated;

“A key point to keep in mind is that an overall increase in organic recalls between 2012 and 2015 would not be surprising — not because organic food is less safe, but because of the dramatic increase in organic food sales and purchases that we’ve been seeing in this country,”

Vice President of Stericycle, Kevin Pollack quietly admits that the reason for the rise in recalls is “partly” because of the enormous increase in the demand for organic foods. Despite this quiet admission Pollack goes on to spread organic food psyop phobia stating:

“What’s striking is that since 2012, all organic recalls have been driven by bacterial contamination, like salmonella, listeria and hepatitis A, rather than a problem with a label,” … “This is a fairly serious and really important issue because a lot of consumers just aren’t aware of it.”

And just like that, Pollack leaves it to the U.S. corporate media to spread the propaganda from there. The propaganda here is subtle and transparent to anyone not paying attention, but is quite obvious to anyone who is. The message being conveyed here is that genetically modified foods are somehow safer than organic foods and that organic (non-GMO) foods are becoming increasingly “dangerous”!

Let’s consider a few things. Let’s all remove our Orwellian hats for a moment. First, there is no such thing per-se as “organic” food. We all call it organic, but more importantly it’s natural and it’s real. Everything else that is not real, natural or organic is fake, genetically modified, synthetic, or not real. Sadly the GMO psyop is so deep today that the control system has everyone thinking that genetically modifying things is a normal thing to do and somehow not genetically modifying things open you up to danger, illness, death and destruction.

Pro-GMO Psyop Stages

As we review the first level of this secret pro-GMO psyop we consider that the first intent of this propaganda piece is to make that “weird” special category of food called “organics” seem like it perhaps doesn’t belong in our world. It’s the culprit of bacterial spreading and it is therefore a problem for humanity. Organic foods are being painted as somehow bad for you.

The second level of this pro-GMO psyop is that once the problem is offered- “organic foods are responsible for spreading bacteria”- then we must come up with a solution. That solution of course, not mentioned here is to perhaps cut down on organics, or maybe get rid of them all together. The replacement problem-solving food of course is genetically modified foods, the one with the tiny microscopic labels that no one can read with the paragraph sized list of ingredients of things most of us can’t pronounce.

The third level of this pro-GMO psyop is that nowhere in these corporate media stories or in the issued report are the dangers of GMO foods mentioned. Let’s not forget that GMO foods are banned in many countries and for good reason. That’s because genetically modified foods are dangerous. Yet these dangers are completely ignored to the delight of Monsanto, Syngenta and other GMO giants.

Health and safety is not something to debate. I would rather risk a self-limited bacterial infection which a healthy immune system can take on, than to alter my DNA and ingest a cancer-causing and other chronic human disease-causing food. The fact is that outside of nature’s natural “organic” foods there are no safe choices. The truth they don’t want you to know is that all GMOs should be banned forever. This is about science, health, common sense and morality.

The controllers layer these deceptions and then point you in the opposite direction. So instead of looking at the GMO problem they want everyone instead fearing organic foods.

Have you considered that perhaps this is the very early stages of a future aggressive campaign against organic foods? Have you considered that perhaps this is a propaganda beta-test to see how people react to the story? I believe this is very possible. These subtle stories usually grow in size later on. Perhaps later on they’ll stage a massive “out-break” to be blamed on “organics”. The public would then be forced (vaccine-style) to eat GMO foods. Imagine that!

Remember the measles outbreak psyop of 2014? We all saw how it morphed into forced vaccination bills (SB277) in states like California, which if it sticks will surely be a template for an attempt at a federal mandatory bill. Don’t forget the measles story came out in small sections for months throughout 2014. The mainstream media kept trying different angles on it. Then by the end of the year they switched from Measles to Ebola and gauged everyone’s reaction on that. Before you knew it they employed Hollywood celebrity mocking “anti-vaxxers”, funded several “pro-vaccine” campaigns and the rest is history.

So don’t be fooled by subtle seemingly innocent stories about a new “report” that suggests that organics food recalls are up and how “serious” this is. This is just propaganda from the same people who have given us many other recent “studies”, new “data”, and “reports” always spinning the narrative sometimes slowly, sometimes more aggressively toward the profit of choice.

We should all be aware by now that essentially all scientific research of  medical claims are absolutely “untrustable and fraudulent“. Especially when we observe the synchronistical spread of these study results by the mainstream media only to later on observe that these study conclusions seem to always have political or corporate profit ramifications.

So nothing should surprise us from the empire that tells us that a “new study” shows cancer is just “bad luck“. Or that everything needs to be genetically controlled instead of considering the environmental factor like eating healthy and pursuing a healthy lifestyle so that you can minimize your trips to the doctor and not waste so much money on hospital bills.

SOLUTIONS

Eating healthy I believe is the most important thing you can do to dump doctors and expensive tyrannical medical-hospital systems out of your life. Health begins during conception, continues after birth and then throughout your life. This is why it is so important to avoid anything that is unnatural as much as possible.

Don’t let a multi-trillion dollar vaccine maker or pharmaceutical company tell you their GMO food, drug or vaccine is “safe”. They only tell you that because “safe” claims means trillions $$ of dollars for them especially if they can get government to force you to take their product.

Aside from pursuing personal health as a token of self ownership and self-responsibility, let’s continue to pursue solutions in the form of inter-dependence. Share health knowledge with one another and help make healthy foods available to one another. If you can now is the time to grow your own food and become familiar with what medicinal values organic foods have. The most important goal is to boost your immune system and thus strive to make government’s medical tyrannical system obsolete since many diseases are based on functional compromise of the body and a depleted, improperly working immune systems.

I believe doctors including many medical doctors will eventually go to where the demand is, given that most of them are well meaning and in their hearts are committed to evidence-based medicine. Many of them will begin to see the greater agenda at play and there are many signs this is already happening.

Ultimately, health is an individual thing and there is no other topic that requires self accountability and responsibility than your own health. As always it starts with you. Eating healthy organic food is one of the easiest and most powerful and effective things people can do to start dumping the control system. It’s no wonder they are slowly preparing their propaganda for what appears to be a long but eventually losing battle.


Bernie Suarez is a revolutionary writer with a background in medicine, psychology, and information technology. He has written numerous articles over the years about freedom, government corruption and conspiracies, and solutions. A former host of the 9/11 Freefall radio show, Bernie is also the creator of the Truth and Art TV projectwhere he shares articles and videos about issues that raise our consciousness and offer solutions to our current problems. His efforts are designed to encourage others to joyfully stand for truth, to expose government tactics of propaganda, fear and deception, and to address the psychology of dealing with the rising new world order. He is also a former U.S. Marine who believes it is our duty to stand for and defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. A peace activist, he believes information and awareness is the first step toward being free from enslavement from the globalist control system which now threatens humanity. He believes love conquers all fear and it is up to each and every one of us to manifest the solutions and the change that you want to see in this world, because doing this is the very thing that will ensure victory and restoration of the human race from the rising global enslavement system, and will offer hope to future generations.

The Benefits Of Organic Hemp Milk

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Though its name might be a bit misleading, organic hemp milk is a perfectly legal, not to mention healthy, alternative for vegetarians or non vegetarians. Produced from the seeds of the hemp plant, this milk has only begun to be sold in the United States within the past few years.

One concern that people have about organic hemp milk is that it might contain some of the chemical THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is found in marijuana. Rest assured that this ingredient is not present or associated with hemp milk.

Another concern is that the hemp seeds must be imported since it’s currently not legal to grow the hemp plant in the US. Some hemp milk producers have to rely on obtaining hemp seeds from farmers in Canada or Europe, where the growth of hemp plants for oil or milk is perfectly legal.

Health Benefits of Organic Hemp Milk

Organic hemp milk is also a great alternative to toxic cow’s milk and those who cannot consume dairy because of dietary issues.

One 8-Ounce glass contains the following healthy nutrients:

  • 900mg Omega-3 Fatty Acid
  • 2800mg Omega-6 Fatty Acid
  • All 10 Essential Amino Acids
  • 4 grams of Digestible Protein
  • 46% of RDA of Calcium
  • 0% Cholesterol
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorous
  • Riboflavin

How To Make Your Own Organic Hemp Milk!

Combine the water and the Shelled Hemp Seeds in a blender. Use more water to achieve a skim milk consistency and less water to produce a heavier cream consistency of the milk.

Turn blender on high for 2-3 minutes, or until you reach your desired consistency. (I use the VitaMix™ brand blender)

After blending you can sweeten the milk by adding: raw honey, or Organic Vanilla. Blend again to mix sweetener. You can drink it thick or strain it through cheese cloth to remove the large seed particles. The seed pulp can then be used as an excellent body scrub, facial mask or compost.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hemp seeds (shelled)
  • 5-6 cups of purified water
  • Natural Sweetener, such as Raw Honey

Recipe Makes: 6-7 cups and will stay fresh for 3 days in the refrigerator in a sealed glass container (use a mason jar). Shake well before each use.

Parents: This is a very easy way to supplement a good source of organic protein, Omega-6 & Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids in your child’s diet.

Organic shelled hemp seeds can be purchased online. (I personally use ManitobaHarvest.com or Nutiva.com)

Other Things You Need To Know About Organic Hemp Milk

It can be purchased in plain, vanilla, or chocolate flavors, and the boxes they are packaged in do not have to be refrigerated until after you open them. There are now multiple stores selling multiple brands, so if you are a consumer who prefers to stick to organic products, you should not have too much difficulty finding them.

Plain organic hemp milk contains no sugar, no cholesterol, and is free of soy and gluten. For many people, these factors make it an obvious choice for an abundant source of vital nutrients. The essential fatty acids, vitamins & nutrients that are contained in organic hemp milk provide a wide variety of health benefits.

Hemp Milk Benefits Include:

  • Strengthened Immune System
  • Clear, Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails
  • Strong, Healthy Heart
  • Increased Mental Capacity

NOTE: As with anything, you should always conduct a sufficient amount of research on any products that you are considering trying. There are actually quite a few different brands available on the market, and not all of them are made with organic ingredients.

Try to get in the habit of reading product labels on everything, not just food and beverage items. When you regularly read ingredients of the things you and your family are using or consuming, you will develop a greater understanding of labeling practices and what to look for to be safe.

Organic hemp milk may very well be the best alternative for those of you who either do not like cow’s milk, suffer from lactose intolerance, or are vegans. While the taste of it may be something that you have to adjust to, you might just find that you actually prefer it to any of the other milk products you have tried.


Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

The Health Benefits Of Avocados

Make-Authentic-Mexican-Guacamole-Final

Avocados are native to Central and South America and have been cultivated since approximately 8,000 B.C. By the mid-1800s, they had been introduced to Asia and Jamaica, but they did not arrive in the United States until the early 20th century. California and Florida produce most of the avocados grown in the USA with other commercial producers existing in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.

Guacamole is a popular way to enjoy avocados and this delicious food contain other ingredients besides avocados that offer some surprising health benefits.

Ingredients in Organic Guacamole

  • Organic Avocado – Contains Lutein (a carotenoid along with Vitamin E), Magnesium, and monounsaturated (healthy) fats. Avocado helps fight cancer of the mouth, breast, and prostate, and improves skin tone. It also improves absorption of nutrients in other foods.
  • Himalayan Crystal Salt – Stabilizes blood sugar levels and regulates heart beat. Himalayan salt also improves absorption and cell communication, and relieves the sinuses and lungs.
  • Organic Lime Juice – Contains potassium and supports the immune system. It also helps to cleanse the blood and liver.
  • Organic Cilantro – Contains several antioxidants, and is a natural deodorizer. It relieves nausea, bloating, urinary tract infections, and indigestion. Consumption of cilantro also helps to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and has properties that make it beneficial against harmful organisms.
  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Helps balance systemic redness and swelling, also promotes healthy blood pressure. It helps to increase metabolism, and supports health of the ovaries and breasts.
  • Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – Once lauded by Hippocrates, apple cider vinegar (raw & unfiltered) helps countless health ailments. It strengthens the immune system, improves metabolism and stamina, and provides relief for sore throats. I personally recommend Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Organic Cumin – A natural antioxidant that supports the liver, promotes digestion, and vitalizes the immune system.
  • Organic Garlic – An antioxidant that may lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and helps to cleanse the liver. Garlic has unique benefits whether consumed raw, cooked, or aged. It also contains unique properties that make it an excellent fighter against stomach cancer.
  • Organic Lemon Juice (fresh) – May aid the body in removing gallstones when mixed with olive oil, relieves stomach discomfort, and may help reduce the risk of developing arthritis, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and kidney stones.
  • Organic Onion – Onions contain an antioxidant called Quercetin, which is a flavonoid. They also contain Vitamin E, Potassium, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, and Fiber. Onions are known to relieve congestion and allergy symptoms, and help to reduce cholesterol. In addition, they remove heavy metals from the body, and help fight cancer of the lungs, bladder, ovaries, and breast.
  • Organic Pepper – Pepper contains an antioxidant called Capsaicin, which relieves congestion, headaches, allergies, colitis, ulcers, and discomfort. Eating peppers can aid with blood clotting, cholesterol reduction, and the rate of stroke. Peppers also increase metabolism.

Tips for Buying Organic Avocados

Look for avocados that are slightly soft, but without dark sunken spots or cracks. Tree ripened avocados generally have a better flavor and can be identified by their slight neck. California avocados usually have a richer taste than avocados grown in Florida. Be sure that you only purchase avocados that have a dark green skin, light and bright skin is a sign the avocado is not ripe.

Organic Guacamole Recipe

Guacamole Recipe

  • 2 ripe, medium organic avocados
  • Juice from 1 organic Lime (to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh organic cilantro
  • ½ Tsp organic olive oil
  • ½ Tsp raw organic apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from 1 organic lemon
  • ½ Tsp organic Cumin
  • 2 cloves organic Garlic
  • ¼ cup finely chopped organic onion
  • ¼ Tsp freshly ground organic pepper
  • ¼-½ Tsp finely ground Himalayan Crystal Salt (to taste)

Peel avocados and remove the pit. Dice avocado; mince garlic cloves; chop onion and cilantro. Squeeze your lemon and lime and grind your pepper as needed. Combine all your ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Toss well instead of mixing, to maintain the chunky consistency.


Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

 Organic farmer Margot McMillen holds a grape leaf damaged by pesticide drift on her farm, Terra Bella Farm, in central Missouri.      Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Organic farmer Margot McMillen holds a grape leaf damaged by pesticide drift on her farm, Terra Bella Farm, in central Missouri.
Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don’t plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

“We’ve traditionally raised about an acre and a half of pretty intensively managed produce, so it’s a very productive acre and a half,” Eric Reuter says.

Their neighbors grow acres of conventional corn and soybeans, and they mostly got along. That is until one July evening in 2014. Joanna Reuter was transplanting some broccoli when a sound caught her attention.

“I basically heard this loud noise,” she says. “It was coming north to south, and I basically yelled, ‘What the ‘beep’ is that?’ “

They spotted a crop duster passing unusually close to their property. Shortly after experiencing headaches and irritation, they knew the wind had blown something chemical onto their land. Without knowing what it was, they were left in the lurch, with a big asterisk on the authenticity of their organic crops.

“We were concerned about how do we properly market ourselves, because we feel very strongly about openness and honesty,” Eric Reuter says. “We felt a little odd about marketing farm shares and such for the next year as a sustainable, chemical-free farm.”

They’ve opted not to sell their produce this year and hope the contaminated soil will rebound for next year. It’s a big hit for their small business.

And for the crop duster? He received a warning letter. The farm next door did not respond to my requests for an interview.

“We’re more susceptible to that kind of contamination than we thought,” Eric Reuter says. “And that raises the stakes significantly for a farm like ours.”

In the U.S., farmers use nearly 900 million pounds of pesticides every year to protect their crops from weeds and insects. Sometimes those chemicals drift to neighboring property, which can ruin crops on organic farms.

Although conventional farms can also get hit with unwanted pesticides, it’s the $40 billion organic industry that’s most vulnerable. As more organic farms pop up, these kinds of disputes will only be more common.

Kaci Buhl of the National Pesticide Information Center says there’s no clear picture of how common pesticide drift is for the nearly 20,000 organic farms nationwide.

“The data would get better, and possibly resource allocation would increase, if there was more consistent reporting,” she says.

Each state’s agency responsible for handling pesticide-drift investigations — typically, it’s the state agriculture department or the equivalent — deals with the probes differently.

Organic farmers Margot McMillen and Julie Wheeler check on their tomato plants. They moved the plants into a greenhouse to protect them from pesticide drift.  Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Organic farmers Margot McMillen and Julie Wheeler check on their tomato plants. They moved the plants into a greenhouse to protect them from pesticide drift. Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Organic farmers Margot McMillen and Julie Wheeler check on their tomato plants. They moved the plants into a greenhouse to protect them from pesticide drift.

Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Missouri Department of Agriculture spokesperson Sarah Alsegar says the department does its best, but is sometimes limited by the turnaround time of lab analysis, as well as gathering records from the pesticide applicators in the region.

That’s why the organic industry is pushing for national regulations that prioritize drift investigations and consider stricter penalties for negligent farms. Farmers say investigations into chemical drift can drag on for months, and penalties vary.

“Once we do have a federal approach to pesticide drift, I suspect we’ll be a lot more coordinated in our responses, and potentially, have better prevention strategies and more timely reaction to events when they do occur,” says Nate Lewis with the Organic Trade Association.

Lewis says that drift needs to remain on the forefront of policy efforts, especially as organic acreage grows and farmers become more aware of pesticide drift. Currently, there is no federal policy outlining pesticide drift investigations or recourse.

Paul Schlegel with the American Farm Bureau Federation says unless the drift problem escalates, the current state regulatory system that handles drift incidents works. The focus should be on improving education and drift-reduction technology.

“I think you would probably find in the organic sector as whole, there’s a greater reluctance to accept pesticides as a whole,” he says.

Ultimately, he says, pesticides are part of the food production landscape all farms just have to navigate.

Recently, organic farmer Margot McMillen was traipsing through her muddy farmland, about 25 miles from Chert Hollow. At her farm, called Terra Bella Farm in central Missouri, she grows all sorts of vegetables.

While scanning her crops after a recent rain, she noticed some possible pesticide damage on her grape vines.

“This curling of the leaf is real characteristic, and there’s a real thinness of that leaf,” she says, cradling the leaf in her hand. “To me they look like little fists (saying), ‘Help, help.'”

McMillen is all too familiar with curled up foliage. She says in 2014, pesticide drift destroyed $25,000 worth of her tomatoes. The state agriculture department confirmed drift occurred, but couldn’t identify the culprit.

Even if her contaminated produce had survived, it was no longer sellable as organic. Pesticide drift puts McMillen and much of the organic industry in a tough spot.

“It’s so out of our hands,” she says.

This year, she says, she’s been forced to grow her plants “defensively.” Large bushes now block the wind from the road. She moved crops over a hillcrest, away from other farms, and moved the tomatoes inside the greenhouse.

“Everybody (who) doesn’t use [pesticides] is running into this problem,” she says.

McMillen says she knows her farm is still vulnerable. She says a federal policy would help, but planting defensively — even through it’s not foolproof — is the best she can do for now.

Source: NPR

This story comes to us from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting collaboration that focuses on agriculture and food production.

Organic Crops: Lower Heavy Metals, Higher Antioxidants

Fresh organic vegetables on a table close up

By: Easther Crain | Rodale’s Organic Life –

Share this with friends and family that are still on the fence.

Ever since the USDA Organic label began showing up on some food labels in the early 2000s, a debate has raged over whether crops grown without chemical additives and fertilizers rack up more nutrition than their conventional counterparts. Now, a new review of 343 previous studies throws its support behind the pro-organic side. Researchers writing in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organic crops and products made with them (such as cereal) pack 17 percent more antioxidants on average—with levels of some subtypes of antioxidants as much as 69 percent higher. The research team also reported four times more pesticide residue on non-organic foods, as well as significantly lower amounts of some toxic metals in the organic-grown items.

Sounds like the debate is settled then—consuming foods certified organic is the way to go. Not so fast. The researchers cite previous studies showing that antioxidants are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions, yet they’re stopping short of advising that consumers make a permanent switch to the organic aisle. “This study demonstrates that choosing food produced according to organic standards can lead to increased intake of nutritionally desirable antioxidants and reduced exposure to toxic heavy metals,” wrote lead author Carlo Leifert, a professor at Newcastle University in England. “This constitutes an important addition to the information currently available to consumers, which until now has been confusing and in many cases is conflicting.” Still, the authors add that more research needs to be done on whether the boost in antioxidants translates into better health.

In the meantime, choosing food higher in nutrients and lower in toxic chemicals certainly can’t hurt. For more information on food that’s contaminated with the most pesticides, check out the foods on the latest dirty dozen list.

This article was originally published on Women’s Health.

Backyard Chickens Must Be Registered In North Carolina “For Your Own Safety”

Warsaw-backyard-chickens

There isn’t much that feels more self-reliant than going out to your backyard hen house to get fresh eggs for breakfast.  There’s no need for USDA approval, you know what your hens have been eating, and you don’t have to pay a premium price and hope that the farm who raised the chickens that laid those grocery store eggs actually treated the hens humanely.  Bonus points if the bacon you fry up comes from a local farm, and bonus BONUS points if you raised that little piggie yourself. Raising backyard chickens is incredibly rewarding.

It’s pure freedom, this control over your own food.

Of course, until you have to register your chickens. Then, as food freedom activist Joel Salatin says, “Everything I want to do is illegal.”

With so many people moving towards self-reliance, you had to know it was only a matter of time before the government got involved.

And now they have. But don’t worry, it’s all for your own good.

In North Carolina, the state’s Department of Agriculture wants to protect you against the avian flu. So regardless of the number of chickens you have, you must register for a state farm ID number as of August 1, 2015. Surprisingly, this if free. Not surprisingly, this is mandatory.

Up until the recent avian flu fear, farm registration was voluntary. Now, even families with two or three hens in a nifty little moveable chicken tractor in the backyard must register.

According to State Veterinarian (who knew there was a State Veterinarian?) Doug Meckes, this is vital. “In planning our response for highly pathogenic avian influenza, one problem we’ve come across is that we can’t protect birds that we don’t know exist. We need to know where poultry are located so we can properly protect commercial and backyard flocks.”

Chicken owners must fill out a FORM LIKE THIS and declare all of their animals. According to the state’s website, this won’t be used for any other purpose than health tracking. “Information gathered through registration will be used solely for animal health purposes. This critical data will provide animal health officials with necessary contact information in case of an animal health concern and help identify animals and premises that may have been affected.”

Of course, I figure once you register your chickens, they’re no longer really your chickens. The state is just letting you use them. Think back to Michigan, a couple of years ago, when a farmer was forced to destroy his heritage pigs because the state said so. Who can forget the shepherd in Canada whose beloved sheep were thought to be a threat and summarily destroyed? Personally, I’d prefer that my chickens remain happy little libertarian chickens, footloose, fancy free-ranging, and unfettered by a license.

Given the history of any type of registration (cough *guns* cough), is it any stretch of the imagination whatsoever to think your backyard chickens or your small homestead will not become vulnerable to some kind of future “public safety” mandate? Don’t you think they could be subject to seizure or execution based on the whims of the state? And what do you think will happen to families who don’t register their chickens? Do you really honestly feel safer with the state knowing your business? Am I going to have to write an article about stealth chicken keeping to aid and abet wannabe backyard chicken bootleggers?

While this is presented to the public as a way to keep everyone healthy, don’t be fooled. It’s “game on” in the war against self-reliance.


Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor who lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States. She is the author of The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy writes about healthy prepping, homesteading adventures, and the pursuit of liberty and food freedom. Daisy is a co-founder of the website Nutritional Anarchy, which focuses on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

Rodale: 30 years Of Comparative Data Reveal Organic Farm Yields Match Conventional

organic farm

(Permaculture magazine) Is organic farming more resilient, higher yielding, more energy efficient and more profitable? The Rodale Institute’s latest report of a 30 year trial says it is. Read the full report free here.

The Farming Systems Trial (FST)® at Rodale Institute is America’s longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture. Started in 1981 to study what happens during the transition from chemical to organic agriculture, the FST surprised a food community that still scoffed at organic practices. After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of transition, the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the conventional system. Over time, FST became a comparison between the long term potential of the two systems.

After a 30 year side-by-side trial, the Rodale report shows:

Organic yields match conventional yields.
Organic outperforms conventional in years of drought.
Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
Organic farming uses 45% less energy and is more efficient.
Conventional systems produce 40% more greenhouse gases.
Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional.

Although the Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial is America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of organic versus conventional farming, a number of universities have established long-term trials over the years. Between them all, they know that organic agriculture is more profitable, builds more soil fertility over time, and can yield just as much as conventional systems.

“As we face uncertain and extreme weather patterns, growing scarcity and expense of oil, lack of water, and a growing population, we will require farming systems that can adapt, withstand or even mitigate these problems while producing healthy, nourishing food. After more than 30 years of side-by-side research in our Farming Systems Trial (FST), Rodale Institute has demonstrated that organic farming is better equipped to feed us now and well into the ever changing future.”

You can read the full Farming Systems Trial Report free HERE.

Is Your Grass-Fed Beef For Real? Here’s How To Tell And Why It Matters

hamburgers

By: Civil Eats |

When you buy a pound of hamburger in the grocery store, you’re likely to be bombarded by an incredible assortment of labels. With all-natural, grass-fed, free-range, pastured, sustainably sourced, and certified organic options to choose from, it’s not easy to parse which beef is actually the best.

In recent years, demand for grass-fed beef has grown rapidly, thanks to the popularity of high-protein diets and growing consumer awareness about the overuse of antibiotics on farms and other related concerns. Grass-fed beef is also seen as nutritionally superior to its corn-fed counterparts, thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids that cows ingest when they graze on clover and other grasses. Grass-fed burger chains are popping up all over the country, and even Carl’s Jr. began offering a grass-fed burger earlier this year.

But what exactly do we mean when we say “grass-fed”? And is all grass-fed beef the same?

It’s All in the Finishing

“All cattle are grass-fed at one time in their life, until most end up in a feedlot where they’re finished on grain,” says Texas rancher Gerry Shudde. Indeed, most cows spend at least six months eating grass, before they are “finished,” or fattened up, with grain. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association puts that number at 12 months, but most grain-finished beef cows don’t live beyond 18 months.

According to rancher and the author of Defending Beef Nicolette Hahn Niman, the real number likely falls somewhere in the middle. “On average, the cattle in the U.S. that is going through feedlots is slaughtered at 14-16 months,” she says. “They do grow fatter and faster if they’re being fed grain, so they’re going into feedlots at younger ages to shorten that time as much as possible.” In a feedlot environment, grain causes cows to put on about one pound for every six pounds of feed they eat. In contrast, grass-fed cows are slaughtered anywhere between 18-36 months.

“When you keep cattle on grass their whole lives, and truly have them forage for a diet that their bodies have evolved to eat, you allow them to grow at a slower pace,” says Niman. Not surprisingly, caring for the animal for so long can be expensive for ranchers and consumers.

Many informed eaters will tell you that this slower process results in a signature flavor and distinct leanness that sets it apart from its corn-fed counterpart, but the fact is that beef producers can label their product “grass-fed,” even if the animal is fed grain over the course of its lifetime. Unlike the lengthy auditing process involved in U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic certification, the use of “grass-fed” is only regulated under the agency’s “marketing claim standards.

According to these standards, grass-fed cows are supposed to be given continuous access to rangeland, and they cannot be fed grains or grain by-products. In the event of drought or other “adverse weather conditions,” farmers are allowed to bend these rules if the animal’s wellness is in jeopardy, but they must maintain meticulous records. Unfortunately, these regulations are, for the most part, a paper tiger.

Missing Oversight

Marilyn Noble of the American Grassfed Association argues that beef producers have little incentive to stick with those rules. “It’s a big issue, and there is a lot of misunderstanding. The Agricultural Marketing Service developed the grass-fed standard, but the Food Safety and Inspection Service actually enforces it,” says Noble. “The two organizations, even though they’re both part of the USDA, don’t communicate especially well. You see a lot of beef labeled as ‘grass-fed,’ but whether or not it actually meets that standard is questionable.”

Noble’s skepticism is rooted in the fact that, for the most part, the USDA allows producers to determine whether or not their beef meets the grass-fed beef marketing claim standard. Noble says farms “self-certify” their own beef, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service generally goes along with their claim. The ubiquitous “naturally raised” label on meat has no enforceable meaning either, and further muddles a consumer’s ability to find beef that has been exclusively raised on pasture.

The American Grassfed Association, established in 2003, has far more stringent standards for its own label than the USDA, and hires third-party auditors to inspect the farms of its 100-plus certified producers across the country each year.

Farmers’ markets are also often full of vendors offering grass-fed beef from their own pastures. And the rising popularity of meat CSAs and whole animal buying clubs is an indication of how dramatically this trend has grown in recent years. With these options, consumers can talk directly to farmers to find out how their beef was raised. Many of these producers have begun using the term “pasture raised,” another unregulated labeling term that is popular among ranchers.

Even Whole Foods has adopted some of this farm-to-market language in its meat sourcing standards. For example, “pasture-centered” farms score a 4 out of 5 on the grocer’s Animal Welfare Rating scale (owned by Global Animal Partnership). In reality, Niman says, these animals may not be doing much of the foraging that gives grass-fed beef its nutritional benefits.

“[Whole Foods] has been encouraging this segment of beef in the marketplace where animals are roaming on a small area with vegetative cover,” says  Niman. “But they’re being provided feed, and not actually getting most of their nutrition from foraging. It’s almost like a feedlot.”

At BN Ranch, which Nicolette operates with her husband, Bill Niman, “the godfather of sustainable meat” and founder of Niman Ranch, cattle is given more time to slowly develop fat over a period of more than two years. For the Nimans, good “eating quality” in the beef is paramount. But, Nicolette says, that’s not always the case on farms where people are “doing it for philosophical reasons. They believe that grazing is ecologically superior, and that it is the right way to raise cattle. The things that are motivating them are not eating quality.”

As a result, grass-fed beef’s lean flavor is often seen as inferior. Some chefs, particularly in fine-dining steakhouses, still resist serving grass-fed beef in favor of corn-fed, USDA prime beef, because of its fat content.

Worth the Wait

Michael Sohocki, chef of Restaurant Gwendolyn in San Antonio, Texas, chooses grass-fed beef over the cheaper, richer, corn-fed cuts because he firmly believes that the process is worth the extra time and money. And his discerning diners come to his restaurant because they know the meat has been properly sourced. “When you eat stockyard beef, all of that beef is the same,” says Sohocki. “It’s done that way to guarantee its consistency. That’s what McDonald’s specializes in.”

Sohocki calls grass-fed beef “the only trustworthy product left in this world.” He sources it from nearby Shudde Ranch, where Jeanne and Gerry Shudde make a point of raising a specialized cross-breed of species suited to naturally develop fat on pasture.

“Our [cows] are on grass when they’re with their mother. And when separated, they stay on the grass,” says Gerry Shudde.

The Shuddes decided to go grass-fed by chance after acquiring a herd of Longhorn cattle that they planned to cross-breed with their own. The offspring did not fare well, but the Shuddes ultimately decided to keep the longhorn cows. When they butchered a six-year-old cow, which had been raised on grass for much longer than usual, Jeanne says, “It was really tender. We thought ‘gosh, this tastes better than what we get in the grocery store.’”

From there, the Shuddes developed their own, new breed of grass-fed cattle. They were already raising cows without antibiotics or hormones, and their farm eventually evolved into a completely grass-fed operation by 2002. Still, they had to find the right cow to produce the quality of beef that they desired. “Most of the animals that you find today have been genetically selected to do well in a feedlot environment,” says Jeanne. “If you take them and put them on grass and think they will [taste good], I’d say maybe, maybe not. But if you take an animal that is genetically survival-oriented, it will become well-marbled on grass.”

Their own cows are now a cross between that original herd of Longhorn cattle and a heritage Devon bull. “Our belief is that if they eat what they evolved to eat, and live in the way that they have evolved to, the nutrition for the animal’s survival will be there,” says Jeanne. “If the nutrition is there, humans will get that nutrition when we eat the meat.”

– See more at: http://civileats.com/2015/07/01/is-your-grass-fed-beef-for-real-heres-how-to-tell-and-why-it-matters/#sthash.xob3tDMw.dpuf

The Sweet Truth: Why Buy Organic Maple Syrup?

maple syrup
By: Jérôme Rigot, PhD | Cornucopia

Certified Organic Production Surpasses Conventional on Several Scores.

Many people may wonder why a seemingly natural product such as maple syrup would need to be certified organic.

Chuck Bolstad gathers sap from  a maple stand near Viroqua,  Wisconsin. Over 10 years ago,  Chuck and his wife, Karen, were  among the founding members of  a maple syrup co-op, the  predecessor of the certified  organic Maple Valley Cooperative. Photo by Karen Bolstad

Chuck Bolstad gathers sap from
a maple stand near Viroqua,
Wisconsin. Over 10 years ago,
Chuck and his wife, Karen, were
among the founding members of
a maple syrup co-op, the
predecessor of the certified
organic Maple Valley Cooperative.
Photo by Karen Bolstad

However, the reality is that there are significant differences between conventional and certified organic maple syrup production.

One key difference is that the maple stand (or sugar bush) must be managed for long-term health and sustainability. Under the organic standards, good forestry practices are required to ensure a healthy and diverse stand composed of mixed young and mature maples species with at least 15% of different tree species.

Organic producers are expected to follow practices that will minimize impacts to the forest and the trees. Tubing and pipelines that carry the sap to the sugarhouse must be secured so as to not damage trees. Nails and other hardware inserted into trees to hold lines are prohibited, and paint (a synthetic substance) cannot be used to mark trees. The chemicals used to clean or disinfect the lines must follow organic regulations avoiding toxic products.

Tapping standards protect tree health by preventing over-tapping, and state regulations often differ from organic regulations. (Some states regulate domestic maple syrup production.) States may allow tapping trees with smaller diameters than required by organic regulations, and the number of taps allowed per tree can be significantly different. It must be noted that a tree with a smaller diameter is a younger tree that will be more stressed by the tapping than a more mature tree.

Small taps (5/16”) are used in organic production while taps up to 7/16” in diameter may be allowed by state regulations in conventional maple syrup production. A larger bore is likely to generate more damage to the trees and holes that will heal much more slowly.

Furthermore, no synthetic chemicals can be applied in the sugar bush. Conventional producers often use herbicides or other synthetic pesticides to control unwanted plants or insects and may also apply synthetic fertilizers.

Lead is a big concern. Old galvanized containers that were used to collect sap directly from trees or the galvanized tanks used to store the sap would leach significant amount of lead into the sap. In organic production, all tanks are stainless or food grade plastic and evaporator pans are stainless steel. The drums used to pack the finished syrup are stainless or food grade plastic; if galvanized, they must be inside-coated with epoxy and regularly inspected for flaking of the epoxy paint, in which case the drums are discarded.

The sugarhouse must be clean; all equipment, such as the reverse osmosis unit, the filter press, holding tanks, and the evaporator pans, must be in good condition and thoroughly cleaned every day throughout the season. Only certain cleaning chemicals for the pans and the reverse osmosis unit are permitted in organic production, and the rinsing must be extensive as noted in the required protocols.

During the sap boiling process, conventional syrup producers often add synthetic defoaming agents that contain food additives such as mono- and di-glycerides as well as polyethylene glycol. Organic producers must use certified organic vegetable oils or organic butter. Remember that the sap is greatly concentrated (approximately 40 gallons of sap creates one gallon of maple syrup) so anything added, or any contaminants, will be significantly concentrated as well.

The organic inspector checks that all organic standards are being followed and the records (required in organic production) are up-to-date during an annual inspection of both the sugar bush and the sugarhouse.

In summary, certified organic maple syrup is healthier for you, the maple trees, and the environment.

American-Raised Meat? You May Not Know For Long

meat labels

It took years to get country-of-origin labels, so you know where your meat comes from. But just after these labels began appearing in your grocery store, they could be gone for good simply because other countries don’t like them!

The House just voted to kill the labels, and the Senate vote is our last chance to save them. Tell your Senators to take a stand for your right to know, and don’t let other countries push us around!

take action

Whole Foods Markets: Throwing Organic Farmers Under The Bus?

whole foods market
By: Cornucopia Institute |

Veteran Growers Shaken Down to Fund Grocer’s Marketing Program

Incensed and insulted, five of the most respected and influential, veteran Certified Organic farmers in the nation have sent the CEO of Whole Foods Market a letter calling the company’s new “Responsibly Grown” produce marketing scheme “onerous and expensive” and stating that it devalues the Certified Organic label.

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The signatories come from California and Pennsylvania. They, along with many other growers around the country who felt unable to speak on the record for fear of risking their livelihoods as Whole Foods suppliers, express concern that the giant retailer is setting aside decades of partnership with farmers in building the organic movement to pursue an ill-advised, self-serving marketing program.

Their letter was addressed to the corporation’s Chief Executive Officer, John Mackey.

Whole Foods’ growth, with annual sales approaching $15 billion, has run into strong headwinds in the maturing marketplace for organic food. Same-store sales are flat and other retailers are gaining market share from a company that has long had a reputation for being top-quality, but expensive, earning the nickname “Whole Paycheck.” The iconic natural foods grocer has more than 400 stores.

One of the signatories, Tom Willey, of T&D Willey Farms, located in Madera, California, is a longtime Whole Foods supplier. “Intending to create a value-added image for the conventional produce on their shelves, Whole Foods is undermining the work my family and I have done, along with so many others in the organic farming movement, to create a Certified Organic ‘gold standard’ in terms of safe food production,” Willey said.

While devising a new labeling program that identifies fruits and vegetables as “Good,” “Better,” and “Best,” Whole Foods is asking the growers to pay for participating in the retailer’s verification program.

Another signatory to the letter, Jim Crawford, founder of New Morning Farm in Hustontown, Pennsylvania, said numerous growers reported that their cost to comply with Whole Foods’ new program ranges from $5,000 to $20,000. “That is not an inconsequential sum for medium-sized, established organic growers like myself. But this cost, and the added labor to administer the program, could be impossible for some smaller and new-entry farmers to absorb,” stated Crawford.

“I call this marketing model ‘Robin Hood in reverse’,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute. “Although their market capitalization has taken quite a hit recently, at over $14 billion Whole Foods remains one of the wealthiest grocers in the United States. In an effort to enhance their image, they are asking modestly scaled family farmers to pick up the tab for a program whose benefits will almost exclusively accrue to the corporation,” Kastel stated.

One of the most objectionable elements of the “Responsibly Grown” program, for farmers, is the company’s alleged attempt to devalue the importance of the Certified Organic label in terms of customer perception. Under the Whole Foods program, conventionally grown produce, treated with toxic agrochemicals, can be rated higher than Certified Organic produce, which is grown under strict, legally enforced compliance overseen by the USDA.

An example of this grievance is clearly illustrated in photos taken this spring at Whole Foods stores in California. The company was selling conventionally grown asparagus, imported from Mexico, at $4.99 per pound with signage identifying it as “Best.” 

asparagus-1

Simultaneously, the grocer was offering locally grown, Certified Organic asparagus for $7.99 per pound, which only garnered the stores’ lowest rating, “Good.”

asparagus-2

“Why would a customer pay three dollars more per pound for the Certified Organic asparagus when they could buy what a trusted retailer has labeled ‘Best’?” asked Kastel.

Because T&D Willey Farms has not yet complied with Whole Foods’ program, their produce is currently labeled “Unrated.” “I am most assuredly rated!” said Willey. “I have been Certified Organic for 28 years and my farm undergoes a rigorous annual physical inspection and auditing by CCOF, an independent certifier, accredited by the USDA. That’s a pretty high rating in my book.”

This is not the first time The Cornucopia Institute has referred to some of Whole Foods’ marketing tactics as “bait and switch.”

“Here is a business that touts their status as being the nation’s first national Certified Organic grocery chain,” Cornucopia’s Kastel explained. “In their marketing materials and signage they are constantly promoting their dedication to organic agriculture. But when you shop at their stores, you might notice that a high percentage of their offerings are not actually organic. Now the ‘Responsibly Grown’ program is attempting to put some of this conventional food on a pedestal higher than organic,” Kastel lamented.

Whole Foods has long been criticized by some in the organic movement for developing a proprietary meat department rating system, which predominately sells premium-priced conventional meat labeled as “natural.”

“The meat Whole Foods sells that is not Certified Organic was produced from livestock that were fed conventional feed, almost assuredly genetically modified, and, based on USDA research, likely contaminated with agrochemical residues,” Kastel added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body. Dr. Michael Crupain, Director of the Food Safety and Sustainability Center at Consumer Reports, states, “We’re exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis.”

Although the new Whole Foods rating system bans a selected list of synthetic pesticides, most toxic agrochemicals are still available for their conventional growers to use based on the company’s “Responsibly Grown” protocols.

For example, the USDA’s National Organic Program bans the use of antibiotics, sprayed on fruit trees to control the bacterial disease fireblight, in apple and pear orchards. The agency also bans the use of synthetic mold and sprout inhibitors, sprayed on the skins of potatoes after harvest. However, these materials can be used on fruits and vegetables that receive the “Best” rating under Whole Foods’ new approach.

“Undoubtedly, based on research, some of the produce that Whole Foods has rated ‘Best’ carries detectable levels of pesticides demonstrably higher than anything that would be found on Certified Organic produce,” added Kastel.

Tom Willey, who farms year-round in California’s San Joaquin Valley, added, “If Whole Foods truly is committed to the values they expound, nothing in their stores should be rated ‘Better’ or ‘Best’ unless it first passes muster under the strict regulations Congress designated when they passed the Organic Foods Production Act.”

Jim Crawford, of New Morning Farm, and Tom Willey, of T&D Willey Farms, were both recognized in a 2014 gathering, covered by the New York Times, of “Organic Elders” who founded the organic movement. Crawford thinks Whole Foods’ marketing program is unfairly burdensome and expensive for farmers, especially smaller-scale ones, but he says that’s not the worst aspect of it.

More harmful, he says, is the fact that the program deceives consumers in their perception of which foods deserve to be rated “Best.” “It’s a privately dreamed up, proprietary food-rating system directly contrasting and competing with a publicly created system, USDA Certified Organic, which was painstakingly developed over years and is administered rigorously and with verifiability.”

Crawford thinks it especially ironic that the private Whole Foods program is made to appear more demanding, more rigorous, and more restrictive than Certified Organic. “In reality, it is drastically more permissive, especially in the area of pesticide use, and not rigorous or verifiable at all in the way it’s administered,” Crawford said.

And, unlike within the USDA National Organic Program, farmers participating in Whole Foods’ labeling campaign are not subject to annual, on-site inspections or audits of the paper trail for their farm inputs and all sales to assure compliance. Nor could any detected malfeasance lead to large fines and other sanctions.

Close The Loophole Allowing Conventional Cows On Organic Farms

Cows-on-farm-milk

Origin of Livestock – Proposed Rule

*Comment by July 27

The new origin of livestock rule released by the USDA has tightened the rules that govern how conventionally raised livestock can be brought into organic production system, but a major loophole remains. This loophole could allow significant abuses to continue to the detriment of organic family farmers, who follow the spirit and letter of the law, and their loyal organic customers seeking authentic organic food.

Conventional farmers, converting to organic farming, are allowed a one-time transition of their existing herd to organic production. After that point all animals brought into a herd are supposed to be raised organically from the last third of gestation (meaning, prior to birth). However, some industrial scale organic dairies (“factory farms”) have been flaunting this rule for years by continuously purchasing conventional heifers that have been transitioned to organic.

Factory farms, milking thousands of cows each, have been regularly bringing in conventional cattle to both grow their operations and replace animals burned out by their high production management approach. Instead of raising the new animals on organic milk and feed, these cattle are raised on medicated milk replacer that includes antibiotics, and fed GMO grains and hay treated with toxic pesticides. The intent of the proposed new rule is to prevent this practice.

Holy Cow!

The problem with the proposed rule is that USDA bureaucrats define a dairy farm as any farm milking at least one cow! The farm does not even have to be a commercially licensed dairy. Theoretically, a farm could have a single cow that they milk and this would then allow them to also raise thousands of conventionally fed dairy heifers and transition them to organic, before ultimately selling the transitioned animals to the factory dairies already exploiting consumer trust. This would allow the same flagrant abuses to keep occurring.

Cornucopia makes the following suggested changes to the rule:

  • Require the farm to be a “commercial dairy,” inspected and permitted by the state, and have a relationship with a licensed milk handler shipping to a licensed dairy plant. Furthermore, the operation should be fully established, shipping milk, for no less than 180 days and that any animal sold has been producing milk themselves (no young transitioned heifers, who have never been milked, could qualify to be sold as “organic”).
  • An even more powerful and simpler solution would be to ban, outright, the sale to an organic operation of any cattle that had been transitioned from conventional production to organic production.

You can comment directly using the link below and mention that you agree with The Cornucopia Institute’s suggested changes to the proposed origin of livestock rule: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/28/2015-09851/national-organic-program-origin-of-livestock

The public comment period is open until July 27th, 2015.

A short sample letter appears below. Please customize this to fit your voice. You can cut and paste the final version into the USDA website (noted above):

RE: Comment on Proposed Rule on Origin of Livestock (Docket Number AMS-NOP-11-0009; NOP-11-04PR) To Whom It May Concern: Thank you for the opportunity to provide public input on the National Organic Program’s Proposed Rule on the Origin of Livestock. I fully support the effort to close the loophole that has allowed the continued practice of bringing in conventional cattle onto organic farms. This loophole has been abused and allowed factory farm livestock operations to manage their herds using practices that aren’t sustainable and do not promote the health of their livestock. However, the proposed new rule appears to to see closed to prevent the ongoing abuse of the intent and spirit of organic law. Specifically, I support the following two changes:

  • The rule must require that any organic dairy farm selling organic animals be a functioning “commercial dairy” that is inspected and permitted by the state in which it operates. Furthermore, this dairy farm must have a relationship with a licensed milk handler shipping to a licensed dairy plant. In addition, this operation should be fully established, shipping milk, for no less than 180 days and that any animal sold has been producing milk themselves. This means that no young transitioned heifers, who have never been milked, could qualify for sale as “organic”.
  • Should the National Organic Program seek an alternative solution to the potential loophole noted above, they could choose to ban, outright, the sale to an organic operation of any cattle that had been transitioned from conventional production to organic production.

Thank you for considering my comments on this important matter. Sincerely,

Again, please act by Monday, July 27 to submit your electronic comments to https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/28/2015-09851/national-organic-program-origin-of-livestock

Should you wish to submit comments by mail, send them to:

Scott Updike, Agricultural Marketing Specialist National Organic Program USDA-AMS-NOP, Room 2646—So., Ag Stop 0268 1400 Independence Ave. SW Washington, DC 20250-0268

Make sure that in your letter you make clear that your comments are about Docket Number AMS-NOP-11-0009; NOP-11-04PR.

Thank you for helping protect the integrity of organic agriculture and food.

Food Alert: Toxic Beetles Being Found In Organic Salad Greens In Canada And U.S.

blister-beetle-toxic

By: Natasha Longo | Prevent Disease

Insects are a staple food in many diets around the world, however Iron Cross Blister Beetles are usually not on the menu. Food Inspection Agencies in Canada and the United States are on alert after the toxic beetles have been turning up in organic salads and packages of leafy greens.

There are several reasons to grow your own organic food, and pest control is often one of them. Although rare, fresh produce can harbour insects that may be injurious to consumers. The Iron Cross Blister beetle is very distinctively coloured, with a bright red head and bright yellow markings on the wings, separated by a black “cross”. If found in any produce, this particular beetle should be treated with caution as it may release an irritating chemical called “cantharidin”, a chemical which may cause blisters at the point of contact.

Farrah Hodgson said her husband began feeling sick after eating from a bag of organic baby spinach. Hodgson believes her husband’s stomach pains were caused by the poisonous beetle she later discovered in the bag of greens she purchased from a Sobey’s grocery store.

In Toronto, Erin Cameron was preparing lunch when her appetite was spoiled by the sight of a bright yellow and red beetle in her mixed greens.

“I took a scoop, just with my hands, of the lettuce, and put it into my bowl,” she told CBC. “Right away I noticed there was a giant bug inside… and I kind of freaked out.”

Another CBC story appeared out of the province of Saskatchewan, featuring another woman who found the same type of beetle in her salad: this one from Earthbound Organics. The company told the CBC in a statement that it had never encountered the Iron Cross blister beetle in its farms before, and that it would stop using greens from that particular supplier and investigate the situation.

An entomologist in the U.S. confirms the insect was a blister beetle, common in Arizona and California. While the beetle likely wouldn’t be fatal if eaten, it would cause significant discomfort.

Earthbound Farms said they’ve never encountered the insect on their farms before, however one of the original four salad beetle reports was about an Earthbound Organics product. A similar beetle was found in one 2 weeks ago. The company responded by sending a form letter about the beneficial insects used in organic farming. The blister beetle, you may have guessed, is not supposed to be one of them.

A woman who lives in Texas encountered one of the critters in a restaurant. Although the beetles are native to Texas, they’re not supposed to live in restaurants. She didn’t get a picture, but described the scene as shocking.

Reminder: if you find a large black, yellow, and red beetle in your food, contact the Food and Drug Adminstration in the United States or Canadian Food Inspecition Agency in Canada and let them know. Also contact the packager of the product as well as the retailer if those are separate companies.

Sources:
inspection.gc.ca
foodpoisoningbulletin.com
consumerist.com
cbc.ca


Natasha Longo has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany. She writes for Prevent Disease, where this article first appeared.

The Benefits Of Organic Shampoo

shampoo

Shampoo seems like a harmless enough item. But in reality, many shampoos contain chemicals that your body absorbs. Chemicals, like parabens and sulfates, interfere with the endocrine system and can up your chances for serious diseases. [1] With this reality staring us right in the face, it only makes sense that we seek out healthier, all-natural options.

Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid

When shopping for shampoo and conditioners, read the labels before purchasing. Here are a few of the specific ingredients you need to look out for:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfates — Known to cause cataracts in adults and improper eye development in children. Regardless, it’s used in most store-bought shampoos and conditioners.
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate — A surfactant moderately associated with organ toxicity.
  • Derivatives of Lauryl Alcohol — Thought to be harmful to the organ system and can cause irritation to the skin and the eyes.
  • Propylene Glycol (Antifreeze) — High concern for skin and lung irritation and organ toxicity.
  • Olefin Sulfonate (Deodorized Kerosene) — Possibly harmful to organ and hormone function, also highly irritating.

Ingredients Commonly Found in Organic Shampoo

Organic shampoos and conditioners usually contain much safer plant-based products. Tea tree is common and has been used for a long time to support scalp health and dandruff, not to mention fighting bad breath. Certified organic tea tree also has antiseptic elements that can aid in controlling naturally-occurring microbial levels that can result in different forms of scalp irritation.

Another popular ingredient in many organic shampoo and conditioner products is beta glucan. Beta glucan has immune-enhancing properties both internally and topically. [2] It helps to soothe inflamed cells of the scalp, which is particularly beneficial for people who suffer from skin conditions.

The Bottom Line: Organic is Best

True organic shampoo and conditioner products offer a wealth of benefits for your hair and scalp that will be immediately noticeable. Organic products gently infuse your hair follicles and skin cells with natural minerals, herbal extracts, and oils. If you are looking for shampoos that stimulate healthy hair growth, look for products made with aloe vera and coconut oil, as they naturally moisturize your scalp. If you need enhanced shine and moisture for your hair, organic shea butter is an important ingredient to look for in your organic shampoo.

References:

  1. Bledzka D, Gromadzinska J, Wasowicz W. Parabens. From environmental studies to human health. Environ Int. 2014 Jun;67:27-42. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.02.007.
  2. Heike Stier, Veronika Ebbeskotte and Joerg Gruenwald. Immune-modulatory effects of dietary Yeast Beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan. Nutrition Journal. 2014, 13:38. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-38.

Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.

Buying Local Honey: What You Need To Know

local honey

One of my favorite long-term food choices in our pantry is honey. Storing honey is a popular choice amongst preppers. After all, its versatility coupled with the capacity to last a lifetime is a perfect investment for your long-term food stores. Many are aware of the additives put into honey and ultra-filtering that inevitably removes all of the health benefits it possesses in its natural state. In fact, recent laboratory tests have revealed that 76% of the honey purchased in common chain grocery stores has been ultra filtered.

Why Buy Local?

Buying locally will ensure you get the purest form of honey around. As well, purchasing in bulk quantities will help you add to your natural prepper pantries and save a buck at the same time. When raw honey is left in its natural state and is unfiltered, it contains pollen, enzymes, antioxidants and many other beneficial compounds that researchers are just beginning to learn about.

honey vs raw honey

Benefits of Raw Honey

  • Has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.
  • Due to its low water content, it’s a poor environment for the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Acts a cough suppressant and soothes a sore or scratchy throat.
  • Boosts immunity, and protects against infections in wounds.
  • May improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.
  • Contains phytonutrients, which have been shown to possess cancer-preventing and anti-tumor properties.
  • Honey from certain flower sources contain friendly bacteria that are good for digestion.
  • Minor source of vitamins B2 and B6, copper, iron, manganese.

Where to Find Local Honey

A few years ago, I was lucky to find a local honey supplier in my area that sells us 20 pound buckets of honey. For a family of five, (see food calculator here) this is enough honey for a year for my family. We usually end up purchasing one to use for the year and another for long-term storage. I have found that scouting out local farmers markets can put you in direct contact with local beekeepers who are more than willing to sell you honey on a regular basis. As well, they have other great products they can sell you like bee pollen, beeswax, royal jelly, and even a beehive, if you are interested. Additionally, farmers markets are great for finding local produce, meat and other food sources. I have also found beekeepers selling honey through Craigslist.

What to Ask Local Honey Suppliers

Today, I wanted to share some tips with you about buying and locating local honey sources. If you plan on purchasing honey from a local supplier, make sure they can answer these questions:

  1. What are the kinds of flowers the bees have been foraging on? Knowing the kind of flowers that the bees used for nectar and pollen will give you a good indication of how robust the flavor of the honey will be.
  2. Do they mix the honey with any additives? Purity of honey is another issue the USDA does not look into when giving out their sacred “USDA organic labels.” Most store-bought honey isn’t even honey at all. It’s a combination of additives like sweeteners and high-fructose corn syrup (check your maple syrup too, folks!) to make it more honey-like. An advantage to buying from local honey sellers is that they sell a far superior product compared to the honey you purchase in stores. Not only is local honey in more of a pure state, but you have more of a variety that is unavailable in supermarkets. There are tests that you can do to test your honey. Learn about honey purity laws here.
  3. Has the honey been filtered to remove pollen? Many honey companies filter their honey to remove any minute particles, pollen and bits of honeycomb. Unfortunately, when companies ultra-filter their honey, they force the proteins out of honey removing the natural health properties in the process. The result is a clearer honey that companies market as healthy, when in reality, ultra-filtered honey does not have many health benefits at all. Most local suppliers skip this step and keep the honey pure.
  4. Is it organic honey? I added this because I wanted to inform you all that it is very difficult to find real 100% organic honey. In fact, it’s near to impossible! Honeybees fly an average of 2 miles from their hives in their search for nectar and pollen. A hive would have to be in the center of a minimum of 16 square miles of organic plants. This is extremely difficult to do considering there are neighbors, golf clubs, businesses, etc. who still believe in chemically treating lawns and gardens with pesticides. Wild plants sound good but there could be an issue there if the hives are near any land where herbicides are used, including BLM land. So, here’s the fact on organic honey: There are no standards for USDA certified organic honey. They simply do not exist. According to the USDA Rules and Regulations, “…honey does not require official inspection in order to carry official USDA grade marks and since there are no existing programs that require the official inspection and certification of honey,…” So the organic honey you are purchasing at the store is only a ploy to inflate the price and make more money.

Buying locally is your best bet in taking steps to buy the purest form of honey and create a natural prepper pantry. If you decided to purchase honey at the grocery store, make sure you purchase raw unfiltered honey. I have been purchasing local honey for years and have only had one container crystallize; and that was a year after I purchased it. Use these tips when looking for local honey sources.


Tess Pennington is the editor for ReadyNutrition.com. After joining the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross in 1999, Tess worked as an Armed Forces Emergency Services Center specialist and is well versed in emergency and disaster management and response. Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But by following Tess’s tips for stocking, organizing, and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months, or even years.

Where To Find Natural Building Materials

Wooden-framing

Whether you’re looking into building your dream home or simply want to renovate a specific area of your home or office, using green building materials is the best way to create an environment that isn’t detrimental to your health. Organic, natural, and eco-friendly building materials from reputable, trusted suppliers is a must for protecting your health from the endocrine disruptors found in conventional building supplies.

Where to Find Organic Building Materials

Many building materials today contain things like formaldehyde, VOCs, and fire retardants, all of which can disrupt hormone function. While building materials don’t have the same organic certification process as food, it is possible to find paint, adhesives, and other materials made with organic or natural ingredients. Here’s a list of the most common building materials you will need, along with suppliers you can trust.

Organic/Natural Sheetrock

Also referred to as drywall, sheetrock is necessary for making the interior of walls. Finding natural and eco-friendly alternatives is a bit easier in this day and age, and luckily many builders are popping up all over the place offering these options. Here’s a quick list of the best suppliers for natural sheetrock:

EcoRock, made from 85% industrial byproducts, 100% recyclable.
Durra Panel is an eco-friendly sheetrock made from wheat or rice straw fibres, contains no formaldehyde.
JetBoard, made in Texas, recently released in the US.

Organic/Natural Glue

Glue and adhesives are necessary every step of the way when you’re building, yet some can give off toxic fumes. Here’s a list of the top-selling natural adhesives you can use in your projects:

ChemLink is a leading solvent-free and VOC-compliant sealant that can safely be used for constructing a healthy indoor environment.
EcoBond is another popular adhesive earning points from environmentalists and health advisors.
Capco Adhesives are also eco friendly and low in toxic compounds.

Organic/Natural Paints

Whether you’re painting the outside of your house, your living room, or wooden furniture, you should always use lead-free, VOC-free, natural paints as much as possible. Here’s some suppliers you can look into:

Ecos Paints sell no odor, VOC-free paint for interior use.
Auro Natural Eco Paints uses zero petrochemicals, VCOs, and only organic linseed oil in their products.
Green Pant Paints is another interior paint company, selling paints that use plant-based ingredients.

Organic/Natural Grout

Not only is grout used during construction, it’s commonly used in the maintenance of buildings. Here’s some natural grout solutions:

Eco Bath Tup and Tile
Eco Grout
Eco Systems Grout

Organic/Natural Sheetrock Mud

Sheetrock mud is also referred to as ‘drywall joint compound’ and is used to seal joints between sheets of drywall. Here’s some hypo-allergenic choices you can use:

Keim, works best with JetBoard or Dragonboard as a joint compound.
Murco Wall, do not use as a joint compound.

Organic/Natural Thinners

Paint thinners are commonly tainted with chemicals, most notably VOCs. Here’s a list of reliable, healthier alternatives:

Solvent-Free Paint thinner is made from 100% purified linseed oil.
Real Milk Company uses organic citrus solvents as a natural paint thinner.
Eco-Solve is a paint thinner made with soy and is non toxic.

Organic/Natural Caulking

While caulking doesn’t typically present a dire health concern, the PCBs found in conventional caulking materials can be hazardous over time. Here’s a couple of sources of caulking without the endocrine disruptor:

SafeCoat Multi-Purpose Caulk is non toxic and good for the environment.
Eco-Bond has a 10 year mold-free guarantee and is low in VOCs.

Natural/VOC-free Concrete Sealants

Most concrete sealants contain VOCs, which interfere with the immune system. Here are the top VOC-free concrete sealants:

Seal Green provides concrete sealants made with green ingredients.
DurasealZero™¨is made by Enviroseal, and uses natural ingredients that are EPA approved. No VOCs.
Conkrete-Seal by AgraLife is a natural, VOC-free concrete sealant.

Organic / Natural Ceiling Tiles

Formaldehyde a toxic poison that is commonly added to conventional ceiling tiles. Here’s a couple of suppliers for ceiling materials that do not use chemicals:

Armstrong is one of the leaders in providing sustainable ceiling tiles for office buildings.
Sustainable Ceiling Resource Center provides information and products related to healthy ceiling products.

Got a favorite that I missed? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.


Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.