Posts Tagged ‘Organic’
Whatever happened to the good old days when deciding what to eat didn’t have to be a political statement or involve enough research to qualify for a doctoral dissertation? Now, if you want to be sure that you are consuming food that is free of pesticides, genetic modification or the influence of big agribusiness, it’s necessary to be hyper-vigilant about what goes into your body. Among the major offenders to the environment, small farmers, and decency in general, is Monsanto, the maker of Roundup and a number of GMOs that have infected other crops, created superweeds, and potentially affected the health of millions around the world.
From its poisonous pantry of industrial seed stock, Monsanto boasts a wide variety of “Roundup Ready” crops — including soybeans, alfalfa, corn, sugar beets, canola and cotton — whose DNA has been altered to withstand heavy doses of their own trademarked herbicide. This allows farmers to spray their fields with toxins, eradicating the weeds and leaving behind nothing but their cash crop, albeit laden with Roundup®. These Roundup Ready crops grow prolifically in the United States, although they have been banned throughout the European Union and much of South America.
Make a strong statement by using a little sense of humor! Start a conversation and a revolution to take back control of our food supply. Roundup may be what’s for dinner, but Monsanto will get their just desserts.
NOTE: Although our parody of Monsanto is protected by the Fair Use Act, we have opted not to list this t-shirt on our website, due to biotech behemoth’s notoriously aggressive legal practices, regardless of what side of the law they are on. Please contact us directly to order a “Roundup” shirt, and we’ll gladly send one your way.
Planting and harvesting bamboo is not only good for the environment, but can also be beneficial to the community that supports its cultivation. Founded in 2003, the Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative is a biodynamic and sustainable bamboo nursery on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Maui. Certified organic by Stellar Certification Services, the company is home to a number of bamboo species as well as tropical hardwood. They offer a range of timber bamboo including black bamboo in diameters from one to four inches. A plant nursery grows hedging bamboos and landscape vegetation for the garden. Whispering Winds also sells kit structures that use bamboo to create sheds, shade structures, carports, caddies, and even housing for bee hives.
As a result of the Ola Honua mission, the employees at Whispering Winds Bamboo Cooperative purchased the business from the original owners, turning it into a cooperative. Apprenticeships are offered on site, and the employees are all dedicated to replanting and restoring native flora on the plantation. With the notions of community engagement and social responsibility in mind, Whispering Winds provides its workers with fair wages as well as affordable housing for the people of Kipahulu.
Bambu Batu is delighted to offer this new line of natural fiber products made in India exclusively for Yala Designs. We wanted to share with you the steps that go into producing this block print collection.
Many skilled hands are involved in creating these prints.
First the blocks must be carved. The elaborate designs are carved into wood blocks by hand. Each color and pattern requires a new block. It takes one week for a block maker to carve the nine blocks for the Blue Lotus Quilt.
The vibrant colors are hand mixed, using a well-worn “recipe” book as a guide to create the unique colors. The colors for printing are derived from minerals, plants and Azo-free dyes.
A skilled craftsman dips the hand-carved block into the dye and then stamps the fabric. Once the first color has dried the process is repeated with each color.
The front and the back of the Blue Lotus Queen Quilt requires more than 1250 stamps. It takes a team of two printers one full day to print enough fabric for four queen size quilts.
Washing, setting the dye, and drying the fabric takes about six hours per queen quilt. After this process, the fabric will not shrink and is completely colorfast.
It takes an experienced quilter a full day to place the organic cotton filling and hand stitch one quilt.
A queen size quilt has passed through more than 30 pairs of hands on its journey from plain white fabric to becoming a quilt. These local artisans are grateful that you appreciate the care that goes into each quilt and thank you for supporting and preserving this ancient art form.
These unique quilts are available from Bambu Batu in three colors — Blue lotus, Gold fleur and Plum razia — and each is reversible with coordinating patterns. We offer them in three sizes — throw (52″x72″), queen (90″x94″) and king (108″x94″), prices starting at $149.95.
Sadly, you can’t win ’em all, and this past election cycle California’s Prop 37 to label GMO’s went the way of so many rotten tomatoes. However, all is not lost, and there are ways that you can avoid genetically modified foods with a little research, vigilance, and by asking the right questions.
Go organic: Anything certified organic is also free of genetically modified materials. Look for the label on processed foods, at your farmers markets, and opt for heritage breeds of fruits and veggies where you can find them.
Label it yourself: The website labelityourself.org is a decentralized, grassroots campaign that uses #LIY to show fellow consumers what contains GMO ingredients via the web. The site allows you to download and print your own labels, and encourages activists to stick them on products, snap a photo, and upload it to their Tumblr account.
Use your phone: For a little help identifying GMO’s, use your smartphone and the True Food Shopper’s Guide for android and iPhone, brought to you by The Center for Food Safety. The application is constantly updated to bring you the newest list of GM foods, activist campaigns, and tips on how to buy healthy, non-manipulated foods. Other programs include ShopNoGMO, and the Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide.
Buy whole, local foods: When you can, take a trip to your local farmers markets and buy whole, local produce. Make sure that the produce is grown to your standards, and do not be afraid to ask a couple of questions. We put our trust in Jerry Rutiz and the Rutiz Family Farms in Oceano. One of the best ways to avoid hidden GMO’s in processed foods is to bypass the frozen dinners altogether, and cook with fresh ingredients. Tastier, more nutritious, and supporting your local economy, opting for local fare is a healthy choice all around!
With Fall firmly established and Winter on its way, it is time to start the search for the season’s perfect, warming beverage. Luckily for San Luis Obispo residents, we have a fantastic resource for some of the highest caliber tea around.
Founded by two sisters with a passion for tea and culture, Swan Sisters Tea is a boutique company that maintains a year-round presence in the US and China in order to ensure the quality of some of the best and rarest leaves in the world. Each harvest season, Swan Sisters travel to remote regions seeking the most unique and delicious vintages. To them, tea is a magical beverage that encompasses culture as well as health, ceremony as well as science. It is the mission of the company to spread the joy of tea and educate the public in an effort to share their passion and promote the drink as a way to live a healthier and more connected life.
Consistent with an environmentally conscious business ethic, Swan Sisters only sources teas that have been grown organically and without the use of chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers. All packaging is either recycled or reused, leftover tea and cardboard are composted, and press materials are printed with eco-friendly inks. The farms chosen to supply the company are selected based on the ethical treatment of its workers, meaning that Fair Trade practices are followed and encouraged. It is the hope of Swan Sisters to coordinate and fund more Fair Trade certifications for their growers in the future. To ensure freshness, each leaf is hand picked, and the dates of harvest and grade of each tea are carefully marked and recorded.
Bambu Batu is happy to announce Swan Sisters tasting and demonstrations this Saturday, November 26. Come and sample expertly brewed and beautifully presented varieties, learn a little about the company, and take home a gift for the holidays. For more information on Swan Sisters, contact Didi Yeh at <email@example.com> or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
So I’ve been going back and forth lately. To eat meat, not to eat meat. Being a former vegetarian then vegan turned back to fish only, then full blown omnivore once again, I’ve gone through the ringer (or more appropriately, the food processor) of dietary decision making. Currently reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s treatise about his same struggle, the issue has sprung to the forefront of my mind once again.
One thing, in the midst of my lack of conviction in the situation, is certain: I prefer out and out, to support places that provide options for all colors of the dietary rainbow. I also prefer to support places that have organic, free range meat should they choose to serve it (even better if it comes from their own family farm). I prefer places that have good beer on tap. I prefer places that are clean, and locally owned and operated. Also, I prefer places that are open 24/7. Does such a thing exist in this little town? Yup. Enzo’s New York Eatery.
Admittedly, my first experience at Enzo’s could be easily discredited. It was four (AM). But still, it was sooooo clean and sparkly. And then I ordered the french toast. I was expecting Denny’s style french toast of course. It couldn’t have been further from. Legit French toast, with just the right amount of cinnamon, butter, vanilla, and yeah, they had peanut butter.
I was sold. And then, when I went back in for a second cup of coffee, I noticed on their giant red menu, a substantially large section with the heading “Vegan Menu.” I had to look again, because not too far from the menu was a very nice meat counter, offering up cold cuts and house made sausage… as it turns out from the family farm. No, that was right. Vegan pizzas, pastas, all kinds of stuff.
So not too long after my introduction to my new favorite eatery in SLO, I had to drag my other half, being that he happens to have a weakness for a good Philly cheese steak. He too, was more than sold on the good vibe, reasonable prices, organic and free range meats, selection, and of course, the authenticity of his cheese whiz covered entree.
In sum, places like this don’t come along every day in SLO, so please. The next time it’s three or four in the morning, and you happen to be with your vegan best friend, yet you have the worst craving for a real hot dog, pay them a visit. And then pay them another one in the light of day. You’ll be equally as impressed.
Enzo’s Eatery WAS located at 733 Higuera St., between Mother’s Tavern and Bubblegum Alley.
The days are growing longer, the rain is falling — albeit intermittently — and the pollen on my porch is in an uproar. In the land of permanent sunshine and perpetual springtime, this could only mean one of two things: spring is either here or very close at hand!
And if you’re a perpetual gardening enthusiast like myself, then your thumbs must be perking up, as green as the oxalis rioting in your flower beds.
I don’t know about you, but when I get to feeling this way, the first thing I do is walk around the side of the house to inspect my compost pile. For me, there’s nothing like a happy heap of compost to put a smile on the face of an organic gardener.
So in order to ensure that happy heap, here’s a quick list of Dos and Don’ts to help you maintain a healthy, well-balanced mound of compost.Compost Tips for the mindful gardener
1. DON’T let your compost get slimy. This is of paramount importance. If you’re regularly adding buckets of wet “green” kitchen scraps to your backyard heap, you will definitely need to add some dry “brown” waste to the mix.
2. DO add dried leaves, dried lawn trimming and wood chips to help break down the wet kitchen scraps and fresh green garden waste. Ultimately, you want a mix of about 50-50 wet waste (nitrogen) and dry waste (carbon).
3. DON’T just dump your kitchen waste on top of the pile and leave it there for all the world to see. Mix it in, and try to cover it with some older and/or dryer waste.
4. DO add wood and paper ash from your fireplace. Ashes are a great source of potash, or potassium carbonate, an essential component of a rich soil mix.
5. DON’T add ash from petroleum products like starter logs, or from cigarette butts.
6. DO add eggshells in moderation, but generally DON’T add animal products like meat or cheese. They will rot rather than compost. They will also attract unwanted, carnivorous pests and scavengers.
7. DON’T put poop in your compost, either from your pets or yourself. Fecal matter can harbor dangerous bacteria and parasites.
8. DO feel free pee on you pile. A healthy compost pile needs to be kept moist, and readily-available urine actually adds trace minerals that can benefit the mix.
9. DON’T add too many orange peals. Too much of anything can throw your compost out of balance, but the acidity of citrus peels (esp. if clumped together in the pile and not spread around) makes them slow to decompose and attractive to fruit flies.
10. DO add coffee grinds and tea bags. These contain great soil-enriching ingredients. A healthy compost will also break down the paper filters and bags without a problem. Same goes for bathroom tissues and occasional paper towels.
11. DON’T expect wine corks to break down very fast, but they can make a good addition. Natural wine corks are made from oak tree bark, definitely organic matter that will eventually, slowly decompose. In the meantime, their porousness can help with aeration and provide a niche for beneficial microorganisms.
12. DO cut your twigs and branches as small as possible before adding to the heap. Thick branches can take months or years to break down. (One or two long branches across the middle of the pile can actually be helpful for aeration purposes, but they won’t break down.)
13. DON’T worry too much about flies around the compost. That’s pretty normal, as long it doesn’t start looking like a 1950s science fiction movie. With any luck your compost will become home to herds of earthworms. We also get legions of pill bugs loitering in our compost; they thrive on the moisture. They also help break things down because they will eat anything that doesn’t move, and yet they’re relatively harmless as far as garden critters go.
14. DON’T expect your compost to do all the work. You’ll need to prod it with a shovel from time to time to make sure it’s not drying out or staying to wet. Periodic shoveling will keep it well blended and aerated. Eventually (after 3-6 months), you’ll want to flip the whole pile (so the fresh top layer ends up on the bottom and the more decomposed bottom layer ends up on top), and then start a new pile.Go Green
I hope these tips on conscientious composting will help you deal with your waste management, and at the same time get your garden revitalized. Closing that loop between the production of household waste and the need for soil enrichment in the garden is a brilliant concept that can reduce your carbon footprint and increase your vegetative bliss.
Bamboo is another great way to make use of your garden space, as it is one of the best plants for converting CO2 into oxygen. It is a remarkably functional and versatile plant. In addition to making a very attractive shrub, bamboo can also be used as a fence or a privacy hedge, and its stalks can be harvested for any number of uses, including making fishing poles and various arts and crafts projects.
Photo Credit: A healthy heap of steaming compost (Unsplash)