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Posts tagged “United States Department of Agriculture

I’m dreaming of a GREEN Christmas!

Enjoy A Real Green Christmas!

Enjoy A Real Green Christmas
If you’re planning on heading out and getting a Christmas tree this holiday season, please leave the axe at home. Urban Roots is teaming up with Riverkeeper, Grassroots Gardens and Olmsted Parks to, once again, offer up an alternative that can help your home, the city and our planet. Why not consider investing in a living tree? “Living trees improve the air quality of your home,” says Patti Jablonski-Dopkin, General Manager of Urban Roots Community Gardening Center. “And eventually your community.  They absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen as well as mediate air temperature and humidity. When you bring a living tree into your home, you and your family get the benefits of natural air purification. By planting the tree in your yard or an urban neighborhood after Christmas, you give the continued gift of improved air quality to the community.  The trees will also provide habitat for native wildlife species as they grow. Living trees reduce landfill use and methane production.  30-35 million cut Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. each year and approximately 10 million of them end up in landfills, thus producing methane.  When you purchase a living tree, you keep valuable nutrients out of the landfill and cut methane production.”

If you’re not sure what to do with the tree once the holidays are over, bring it back to Urban Roots and they will take care of it until spring. Then they will give your tree to one of the partnering groups to get it planted (you can even get a write off). Additionally, since you did such a good deed, you can go and visit your tree whenever you want! Then you can buy a friend for your tree next season, and the season after that. After all, we were once known as the City of Trees.
Urban Roots Community Garden Center, located at 428 Rhode Island Street, offers eight (8) varieties of living, locally-grown evergreens for the holidays.  They are priced in the $60-$70 range and stand 3′-4′ feet tall. The staff can provide you with full planting instructions. 


Our Own Jack Miller Seen in Clemson World Online

Jack Miller -

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New law would let farmers donate surplus produce to food banks instead of letting it rot in the fields

By Anne Hart

A new law would give farmers a 10 percent tax credit for the cost of fresh produce donated to food banks. Who will be voting for the new bill, A.B. 152 which would allow state farmers to donate their surplus fresh produce to aid food banks and similar organizations rather than let the vegetables and fruits rot in the fields because they can’t afford the price of gas to truck the food to various markets?

The new law or bill already has been approved by the Assembly in Sacramento. A.B. 152’s author is Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes from San Fernando Valley. This week Fuentes will visit the Senate Appropriations Committee. Will the bill pass into law? If so, A.B. 152 will help the local farmers harvest their vegetables and fruits. Without this type of help, the food would rot in the fields.

The goal is to get the local surplus produce trucked to food banks. The law would give financial assistance to the farmers. Otherwise, the local farmers would not be able to afford to move the surplus produce to the food banks and similar places where the food is given away to local people in need.

At least we know that so far the bill has passed through the assembly with no votes against it. All were in favor of the A.B. 152. The next step is to get the bill approved and signed into a law. How it would work is to provide a 10 percent tax credit to farmers for the cost of fresh produce donated to food banks. Then the food banks would give the food free to Sacramento’s hungry population who could not otherwise afford the fruits and vegetables. Think of the alternative. Without the incentive, the food rots in the field anyway.

For further information, check out the website of the California Association of Food Banks. If you live in Sacramento, you’ll soon find out that the entire state of California still does not have an emergency food-assistance program as do 38 other states. See more statistics on this topic in the August 11, 2011 Sacramento News and Review article by Hugh Biggar, “Take it to the (food) bank – News – Local Stories.” So what you do have are little organizations that feed the needy such as the food banks in Sacramento. You also have a few churches that give food donations from their pantry to the hungry, and what’s increasing is the concept of churches growing produce on their land and giving it away free, but that’s just catching on and only if the church owns enough land to grow seasonally. (more…)

Apples top 2011 ‘dirty dozen’ list, says group

Apples are the most chemically contaminated produce, says a new report by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit focused on public health.

The report suggests buying organic apples instead of conventional, and names other fruits and vegetables that rank highest in pesticides. Organic produce is grown using materials of plant or animal origin, instead of chemicals. On the “dirty dozen” list are: (more…)

Q&A: Buying Organic Food, Worth the Cost?

Once upon a time, organic food was special; it wasn’t easy to come by and those who followed an organic diet were often either super health conscious or had the means to pretend to be.

Nowadays, organic goods are finding their way into shopping carts more than ever before. The Organic Trade Association, an organization that represents more than 6,500 organic businesses across North America, estimates the U.S. organic industry grew 7.7% to $29 billion in 2010 from 2009 while overall U.S. food sales rose only 1%. Sales of organic fruits and vegetables jumped 11.8% and represented 12% of all fruit and vegetable sales, while sales of organic dairy products increased 9%, representing 6% of all dairy sales.

Consumers may be embracing organic food, but concerns about cost and regulation still abound. In fact, given that there are probably only a few people – if any – who prefer their peppers with a side of pesticides, cost is probably the biggest gripe consumers have when it comes to choosing organic foods, followed closely by concerns about the way organic food is regulated.

We spoke to Marion Nestle, a food studies professor at New York University and well-known voice in issues related to nutrition, to get her take on the price and safety of organic foods. (more…)

Understanding Organic Foods

Learn more about the history, definition, labeling guidelines and costs of going organic.

It seems to me as though the organic movement started as one small section in the produce aisle. Then I noticed half a store aisle with unfamiliar products. I checked it out as more out of curiosity than anything else, noting they were products marketed as healthier for us and then finishing the rest of my grocery shopping. But as time went by, I noticed more and more of these products appearing on store shelves. And then there it was; this organic brand sitting right next to my peanut butter. As a health conscious individual, I wanted to learn more about “going organic.”

In my review of the current literature, I found recurring questions: What is the difference between natural and organic foods? Are organic foods more nutritious than non-organic foods? Why do organic foods cost more? Two of the three questions had straight forward answers, but one remains inconclusive and speculative at best. This article will answer those questions, highlight what the clinical significance may be and feature price comparison shopping done at my local supermarket. (more…)

Going organic can be tricky

By Leslie Baumann

More women are turning to natural and organic skincare products, but this segment of the beauty industry can be compared to the Wild West. There’s little regulation and oversight when it comes to labeling, so it’s important to be educated. Unfortunately, unscrupulous companies are trying to capture a piece of this burgeoning market.

You can find so-called “organic” skincare products in drugstores, department stores and natural markets like Whole Foods. But don’t just take their word for it, look for these labels: (more…)