Emergency Issue: Help Save Organic Citrus!

Organic citrus is under attack by the deadly citrus greening disease.  If we don’t take action organic citrus could disappear from the U.S. within the next decade.

Florida’s citrus industry is facing the biggest threat in history: a bacterial disease with no cure that has infected all 32 of the state’s growing citrus counties. Save our citrus and donate to www.organic-center.org to help find an organic solution to this disease.

SAVE OUR CITRUS!

Citrus-Greening-Infographic-7

 

Why is Citrus Greening such a big deal?

citrusgreening

If you can help please go to the Organic Center’s Crowdfunding page here.

If you can’t give financially we understand but the Organic Center is asking for our help, so if you can help by spreading the word about citrus greening and its devastating effects on organic citrus. Please share their crowdfunding campaign with your friends and family to raise awareness about how serious this issue is.

8 Organic Links – Stay in the Loop of Organic Food!

Why?

Because organic food has more nutrition.

organicfoodlinks

Here I will share a list of awesome links to keep you in the know of what’s going on Organic-wise!

  1. The Organic Center

  2. Organic Trade Association

  3. How to Go Organic

  4. The Organic Pages

  5. Rodale Institute

  6. USDA Organic

  7. Non GMO Project

  8. Organic it’s worth it

 

Other helpful organic posts from us here at HealthJunk.com

 

Be in the know Monday!

Share this post on social media!

Community Creates Neighborhood Garden

tn_color.garden

 

I recently read an inspiring article of a community in Chula Vista, CA getting together and creating a 1 acre garden that will be accessible for all residents.  With food costs rising, fast, and processed food being more readily available then fresh vegetables, its great to see a community come together in promoting healthy living and a better lifestyle.  This is truly a wonderful and exciting article that I hope will inspire more folks across the country to consider doing as well.

The garden, Jacoby said, will be used for more than planting and picking vegetables.

“The idea of the garden is to provide not only a place to garden, but also a place for people in the community to come and meet and do things,” she said. “We’re trying to incorporate art in the garden, and science in the garden, and any other types of things that people decide they would like to do there,” she said.

It would be great to see more neighborhoods and communities come together like this to not only create a healthier lifestyle but to teach the next generation to be more health and environment conscience.  With the new generation relying on so many pharmaceuticals, they tend to forget that health doesn’t come from a pill but in what you eat.  Congrats to Chula Vista and good luck with your future crops.

Check out the full article below for the full inspiring story.

Source – The Star News

For original article: http://www.thestarnews.com/chula-vista/neighbors-plot-homegrown-food/

What is Organic?

Do you buy organic? If so, you probably have that good friend or family member who gives you crap about spending more on organic when they say – “It’s not worth it, you’re just wasting money.” Yeah, you’ve heard that a time or two haven’t you? Well, I know when I purchase organic it’s because I just know it’s “better”. And better health is my aim after all.

Organic at Heart
Organic at Heart

If you purchase organic foods or are on the hunt to find out what organic food really is. Or perhaps you want to know what organic really means? Well friends search no longer. I have done research and put it all together in one place for you.

What is organic?

According to the USDA Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.

Definition of Organic Agriculture

“Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.”

– IFOAM

Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use.

Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors follow a defined set of standards to produce organic food and fiber. Congress described general organic principles in the Organic Foods Production Act, and the USDA defines specific organic standards. These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.

Organic farms and processors:

  • Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
  • Support animal health and welfare
  • Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
  • Only use approved materials
  • Do not use genetically modified ingredients
  • Receive annual onsite inspections
  • Separate organic food from non-organic food

“An organic farm, properly speaking, is not one that uses certain methods and substances and avoids others; it is a farm whose structure is formed in imitation of the structure of a natural system that has the integrity, the independence and the benign dependence of an organism” —Wendell Berry, “The Gift of Good Land”

Raising livestock and poultry, for meat, dairy and eggs, is another traditional, farming activity that complements growing. Organic farms attempt to provide animals with “natural” living conditions and feed. While the USDA does not require any animal welfare requirements be met for a product to be marked as organic, this is a variance from older organic farming practices.

Also, horses and cattle used to be a basic farm feature that provided labor, for hauling and plowing, fertility, through recycling of manure, and fuel, in the form of food for farmers and other animals. While today, small growing operations often do not include livestock, domesticated animals are a desirable part of the organic farming equation, especially for true sustainability, the ability of a farm to function as a self-renewing unit.

Organic farming is not simply the substitution of approved input materials. It is the replacement of a treatment approach with a process approach to create a balanced system of plant and animal interactions.”
—Rodale Institute

Every organic farm, packing facility, processor, and distributor involved between the farm and market is inspected to verify compliance with the USDA organic regulations. Every organic operation is required to renew its certification each year. During the renewal process, the certified organic operation provides an annual update to the certifier, the inspector conducts an annual on-site inspection, and the certifier reviews the application and the inspector’s report to determine if the applicant still complies with the USDA organic regulations. This process continues as long as the operation is certified.

With over 30,000 on-site inspections per year by certifying agents to monitor compliance with USDA organic standards, consumers purchasing products with the USDA organic label can rest assured that the product has maintained its organic integrity – from farm to table.

choose_real_food

So what I gather from my research is organic should be better if all are following the compliance’s and standards as required by the USDA. I know it makes me happy and puts a smile on my face and comfort to mind knowing I am putting effort into healthy decisions when I purchase items that say ORGANIC and you should be too!

REAL FOOD just tastes better. 🙂

Other Related Posts:

http://www.healthjunk.com/are-gmo-foods-saving-the-world-from-hunger/

http://www.healthjunk.com/ever-thought-about-what-the-sticker-code-on-fruit-and-vegitables-means-if-not-you-should/

Article Reference Sources:

http://www.ifoam.org/en/organic-landmarks/definition-organic-agriculture

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=organic-agriculture.html

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_farming

http://www.beyondpesticides.org/organicfood/environment/

http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/02/26/organic-101-ensuring-organic-integrity-through-inspections/

 

Every organic farm, packing facility, processor, and distributor involved between the farm and market is inspected to verify compliance with the USDA organic regulations. Every organic operation is required to renew its certification each year. During the renewal process, the certified organic operation provides an annual update to the certifier, the inspector conducts an annual on-site inspection, and the certifier reviews the application and the inspector’s report to determine if the applicant still complies with the USDA organic regulations.  This process continues as long as the operation is certified.

With over 30,000 on-site inspections per year by certifying agents to monitor compliance with USDA organic standards, consumers purchasing products with the USDA organic label can rest assured that the product has maintained its organic integrity – from farm to table.

– See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/02/26/organic-101-ensuring-organic-integrity-through-inspections/#sthash.xWXmB9HQ.dpuf

Take Action For A Fair Food And Farm Bill

 


Tell Congress to Repeal the “Monsanto Protection Act” and Support Pro-Farmer and Pro-Consumer Amendments!

 


The Senate has begun debate this week on amendments to the Farm Bill. As you know, the Farm Bill has historically given large bailouts to agribusiness companies and the country’s largest industrial farms at the expense of consumers, family farms, and the environment. However, a number of amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill have been offered that would support labeling of genetically engineered food, support organic farmers, repeal the “Monsanto Protection Act,” protect honey bees and other pollinators, and so much more.

Tell Congress to Repeal the “Monsanto Protection Act” and Support Pro-Farmer, Pro-Environment, and Pro-Consumer Amendments!

There are five amendments in the Senate Farm Bill supporting labeling and oversight of genetically engineered food and crops:

1.  Senator Boxer (D-California) introduced an amendment in support of mandatory GMO labeling (#1025) as well as her amendment requesting that FDA and USDA study the 64 countries around the world that already require GMO labeling (#1026).

2.  Senator Sanders (I-Vermont) introduced an amendment supporting the existing rights of states to enact their own laws requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Already this year 26 states have introduced labeling laws with the possibility of passage in a number of states.

3.  Senator Begich (D-Alaska) introduced an amendment (# 934) to ban the sale of genetically engineered salmon until Federal wildlife agencies are properly consulted and find that GE salmon pose no environmental risk.

4.  Senator Tester (D-Montana) introduced an amendment to reinvigorate public plant and animal breeding, which has hit an all-time low because of private sector assaults from companies like Monsanto.

5.  Senator Merkley (D-Oregon) introduced an amendment (#978) to repeal the “Monsanto Protection Act” provision in the 2013 government spending bill that attacked judicial oversight of genetically engineered crops.

Senator Boxer (D-California) has also introduced an amendment to protect honey bees and native pollinators (#1027), which declined by over 45% last winter as a result of pesticides and industrial agriculture, and Senators Leahy (D-Vermont) and Cowan’s (D-Massachusetts) EQIP Organic Initiative amendment would eliminate the separate payment limit in EQIP for farmers participating in the Organic Initiative so that all farmers are subject to the same payment limitations in EQIP.

The Farm Bill is a 5-year bill that affects all of us. It is crucial that we pass a Farm bill that is protective of the environment, consumers, and organic and family farmers—not just protective of big agribusiness. The Senate is voting on amendments this week, so please take action today!

Tell your Senators to Support GE Food Labeling, Pollinator Protection and Organic Farming in the Farm Bill!

Help is Needed to Tell Congress to Stop All GE Salmon!

Please help anyway you can to stop the coming devastation that GE Salmon will bring.  We must get Congress to Pass the Pegasus Act!


Nearly 2 million people told FDA not to approve GE salmon

Tell Congress to hold the FDA accountable and stop GE Salmon!

 


The end of April will mark the close of the comment period on FDA review of GE salmon, and nearly 2 million people wrote to FDA opposing approval of the fish. Rather than just wait for FDA to make a decision, we’re taking action by urging Congress to pass the PEGASUS Act, which would ban the approval of GE salmon unless it is reviewed and found safe by expert fisheries agencies.

FDA limited its already minimal environmental review to the local impact of these genetically engineered fish at two isolated locations currently used by AquaBounty—one in Canada and one in Panama—and the agency based it’s finding of “no significant impact” on the U.S. environment largely on the fact that the fish would not be produced or raised in the U.S.

But internal documents we uncovered reveal that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has already received applications to import AquAdvantage salmon eggs into the U.S. for commercial production.

Agency documents further revealed that scientists within the FWS questioned the FDA’s ability and authority to review the impacts of GE salmon, and that they believed a full Environmental Impact Statement should be conducted before making any decision on approval.

We couldn’t agree more.

That’s why we’re supporting the PEGASUS Act (the Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered Salmon in the United States), which would prohibit “the shipment, sale, transportation, purchase, possession, or release in the wild of GE salmon unless the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service complete a full environmental impact statement and find that it will result in no significant impact to the environment.”

 


The failure to study the impact of U.S. production has grave consequences for our fisheries and the environment. Each year, an estimated two million salmon escape from open-water net pens into the North Atlantic, outcompeting wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that even a small release of GE fish could lead to the extinction of wild populations, wreaking havoc on the fishing industry and the natural ecosystem.

Tell Congress whether it be April, May or June to hold the FDA accountable and protect our health, our environment, and our fisheries from the dangers of genetically engineered salmon by passing PEGASUS!  We cannot allow this GE Salmon business to continue.  Our food future and even the worlds is at stake.

Are GMO Foods Saving the World from Hunger?

This is what many have been telling us over the years, haven’t they? GE companies have been making this claim for a very long time. Like they really care about humanity and will do everything in the interest of saving those starving people around the world from the lack of food and nutrition. If I didn’t know any better, I could be sold on that bill of bull.

Personally I don’t buy into the hype that GMO is the savior of our food supply.After reading and studying now for over a decade on the subject, I’m finding more falsehoods about the good that GMO or GE foods are bringing to the table. I’m hearing true life stories from folks making some serious claims of illnesses they believe are attributing to the years of consuming certain foods and after just doing a little study turn out to be genetically modified foods.

The answers are in the eye of the researcher, this means study anywhere you can, and don’t believe any websites that are owned or supported by companies with a vested interest in the GE industry. GMO producers have billions of dollars in profit at stake if not future trillions. So, the writing is on the wall. I have run across a couple of supposedly independent websites trying to boost consumer confidence in favor of GMO’s that in turn are silently owned by the gnarly culprits themselves.

What I’ve done is obtain some great information from the: Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology aka (PSRAST)

What GE foods are on the market?

Applications for marketing a rapidly increasing number of GE foods are being submitted to governmental agencies. The numbers already on the market vary from country to country.

NOTE: All these crops and plants and all the products derived from them may, in the worst case contain some unexpected, undetected harmful substance

The most common genetically engineered foods in the world are presently:

• Soy and its derivatives including soy flour and soy oil(sometimes sold as oil for cooking without specification of its source). Soy is very common in processed foods, bakery, meat products and pet food.Look out for the ingredients: soy protein, soy lecithin, soy oil, soy sauce, soy isolates. Soy is also common in infant food. Unless this food is organic, there is a considerable risk that it comes from GE sources, as a large part of soy is genetically engineered today.Soy is also used as animal feed. If feed contains a harmful substance, it may appear in considerably higher concentrations in the meat than in the feed.

 

• Corn is also a common GE food. You can expect to find GE corn in for example Corn Flakes, corn oil, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, corn mealand other cornbased foods. Any of these products derived from corn may, in the worst case, contain some unexpected and undected harmful substance generated by genetic engineering.Corn is also used widely as animal feed.

 

• Canola (rapeseed), used most commonly as oil for cooking and in margarines and “lean” butter substitutes. It is also used extensively in baking.

In addition, the following GE vegetables, crops and plants have been approved for commercial use in the US by the end of 2005 (which was the latest update by january 10, 2007). For a full list of products in the US see “List of Completed Consultations on Bioengineered Foods” at FDA):

• Alfalfa

• Tomato

• Potato

• Rice

• Cantaloupe

• Sugar beet – (all kinds of sugar)

• Radicchio

• Flax (linseed)

• Papaya

• Squash

• Oilseed rape, in some cases called Canola oil

• Wheat.

In the United States, GE foods are now common on the market. Because labeling is not required in the US, it is difficult to avoid these foods in this country unless one only eats organically grown food.

You will find some guidelines below.

 

GMO in Europe

No genetically modified fruit or vegetables are on the market in the EU. Any GM plants authorised in the EU are not intended for direct consumption.

However several GMOs have been approved for experimental study. Genetically modified fruits and vegetables are still quite a long way from commercial use in the EU. PSRAST is happy about this and we find it very satisfying that there is now a growing resistance among the population against approval of GMOs. This includes several campaigns, for example ” Anti-GM Movement Spreads Across Europe”, A seed Europe, “Scientists for a GM Free Europe”British protests and Greenpeace.

Link to a full list on approved GMOs

Brands that may contain GE foods

We have made a list of US brands owned by members of “The Grocery Manufacturers of America” (GMA). They are a member of the Alliance for Better Foods, which actively supports modern food biotechnology and spreads remarkably incorrect and misleading informing about its “benefits”, claiming that the GE foods on the market are safe.

This is not an exhaustive list of food manufacturers that may use GE ingredients. But it contains some major internationally widespread brand names, see list of GMA Member Company Brands.

The list of “Mothers of Natural Law” is also a good source for finding out what food in the US may be genetically engineered.

For a good list on GE foods on the american market, see Truefoods’s True Food Shopping List.

The safest way to avoid GE foods is to use GE free brands , and organic foods, see below.

 

GE free Brands

Mothers of Natural Law have a very good list of GE free brand names. Although it only contains US brands, it is of general interest as internationally marketed US brands not on the list may contain genetically engineered ingredients if they contain any of the above listed GE organisms unless they are declared GE free.

 

 

 

10 Cold Weather Safety Tips for Kids

The season you either love — or love to hate — is in full swing. Whether you’re out and about with your family braving the elements, or getting cozy at home, don’t let cold-weather fun snowball into a safety hazard. Keep your kids protected with these tips.

 

1. Maintain a sunny disposition. The season’s frigid temps shouldn’t fool you — snow reflects more than 75% of the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Don’t stow away the sunscreen during winter; use it to protect kids’ faces before they go out to play.

 

2. Keep snug like a bug — but not too snug. Winter wear should fit kids properly, but gear shouldn’t be so tight that it restricts movement. This is particularly true for footwear. Too-tight boots constrict blood flow, causing feet to become even colder. When sizing shoes, allow room for an extra pair of socks.

 

3. Be clever about clothing choices. When sending kids off to school or out to play, make sure they’re dressed warmly in layers that are wind- and waterproof. If possible, opt for wool instead of cotton. This durable and flexible material is an excellent insulator that will help keep kids dryer and warmer than cotton, which is quick to absorb water.

 

Help your little ones stay warm with adequate head, face, hands, and neck protection. You can save time while getting your brood out the door by storing gloves and scarves inside hats.

 

4. Get around safe and sound. Driving in winter can be dangerous, so you should make sure you’re ready for any situation. Prepare your car for such emergencies by keeping the following must-haves in your trunk: a first-aid kit, blankets, shovel, rock salt, ice scraper, water, and nonperishable snacks.

 

5. Practice safety when playing winter sports. Always supervise your child’s winter activities. Ice skating should only be done on ice that has passed proper inspection. Sledding paths shouldn’t be too crowded or too close to roadways. The safest sleds are those that allow for steering, so avoid snow tubes or disk-shaped sleds. If your little ones want to try skiing or snowboarding, consider getting lessons from an instructor. While out on the slopes, they should always wear helmets and gloves with built-in wrist guards, and be accompanied by an adult.

 

6. Serve superior snacks. Good nutrition can help kids fight off cold and flu season, so strengthen their immune system with a balanced diet. Snack time is a great opportunity to sneak in some extra nutrients; try dried and fresh fruits, sliced raw vegetables, whole-wheat crackers with cheese, and yogurt.

 

7. Keep them hydrated. Although your kids may not be sweating as much as they do in warm-weather months, they still need to keep hydrated. Smart choices for winter are low-sugar juices that are high in vitamin C, which studies show can lessen the severity and duration of winter colds. Decaffeinated tea and hot cocoa are also wise picks — these comforting hot drinks are a great source of antioxidants, which are believed to strengthen the immune system.

 

8. Make your home a safe haven. Be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions by stocking up on essentials, such as extra batteries for flashlights, bottled water, first aid staples, and nonperishable food items. Safety kits can help protect your family in extreme situations.

 

9. Get your kids prepared. Make sure your kids have an extra pair of gloves and tissue packs tucked into their book bags. These necessities will help prevent the spread of germs, and come in handy if a glove goes missing.

 

10. Heat your home safely. Before temperatures fall below freezing, make sure your home’s heating equipment and your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors function properly. If you own a space heater, keep it away from small children or, better yet, don’t use one at all. And don’t forget to discuss fire safety with your family each winter; the likelihood of indoor fires increases during the colder months, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The Element of our Air

That breath we take!

Oxygen is probably the number one source that fuels the body; we need good clean air to breathe everyday. Without it, we would surely die and the average oxygen content in our air is around 22% worldwide (7% is the minimum we need to survive) But a lot of us live in an environment that exposes us to dirty air and pollutants. Such as outdoor smog, carbon dioxide, particulate matter outside and in, carbon monoxide indoors and out, as well as chemical exposures.

We can ingest chemicals for example through the workplace or doing cleaning tasks around the home. We may work somewhere where solvent based chemicals are used indoors or out inhaled through the air or absorbed through the skin. We need to always be aware of such things that surround us and use precautionary measures such as respirators, proper ventilation and gloves.

Sometimes we don’t have an easy option of just avoiding these substances and by living healthier we can build up our resistance to help the body fight against things like smog, indoor pollution and even chemical exposures. Taking supplements, eating organic foods, drinking herb teas (they really help rid the body of toxins), using tinctures (herbal remedies) and eliminating harmful allergens or foods from the diet.

Not everyone can own a “hyper baric chamber” (we will discuss the use of one of these in the future) or hangout at an “oxygen bar” (if there was one even nearby). We need to boost or build up our bodies with nutrients to help us stave off free-radicals that build up or form in our bodies under different types of daily exposures through the air we breathe. That is why studying ways to improve our health and daily habits is so essential. This is not a simple task and takes time to acquire knowledgeable traits and habits.

Everyone should take time to learn all they can regarding living a more healthier lifestyle. My goal here on Health Junk is to give readers insight that may help us improve our health or make living more enjoyable through feeling better. I was just touching on the subject of the air we breathe and bringing attention to it.

Cheers!