Amy’s Kitchen, Organic Foods

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Discover more about all things organic. Do you want to plant some veggies? Interested in learning more about organically grown products and produce? We  with some information and ideas. Keep checking back as we are going to talk about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in food and recommend other great producers of tasty organic foods.

Archive 2008

Yoplait’s rejects rBGH-tainted milk

YoplaitYoplait, a leading brand of yoghurt, and the19th largest dairy producer in the U.S., has announced, that as of August 2009, it will no longer purchase milk from dairies injecting their cows with Monsanto's controversial genetically engineered synthetic hormone, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).

Yoplait's rejection of rBGH-tainted milk comes in the wake of a consumer campaign organized by the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, the OCA, and dozens of allied public interest organizations. Yoplait's action is amplified by a growing number of mainstream companies who have recently turned their backs on rBGH, including Starbucks, Caribou, Cabot cheese, and Subway.

For over ten years, OCA and our allies have led the charge against rBGH and other genetically engineered foods and food ingredients.

Although rBGH is not allowed on organic farms and is banned in most of the industrialized world because of its threats to both animal and human health, this cruel and dangerous drug is still injected into approximately 10% of U.S. dairy cows--to force them to produce more milk. With your help, OCA and its allies will continue our campaign until Monsanto's rBGH is driven completely off the market.

Boris Johnson unveils plan to create 2,012 new vegetable gardens in London

Scheme aims to boost the amount of locally grown food in the capital

Crouch End

A man tending his allotment in Crouch End in north London.
Photograph: David Levene

Londoners will be encouraged to turn flat roofs into vegetable plots as part of a scheme to grow food on 2012 patches of land across the capital by 2012, Boris Johnson said today.

The "Capital Growth" project is the first initiative delivered by Rosie Boycott since she was appointed chair of London Food by the London mayor over the summer.

The former newspaper editor wants councils, schools, hospitals, housing estates, and utility companies to identify derelict land that can be turned into vegetable gardens by green-fingered Londoners keen to grow their own spuds rather than buy transported produce from the supermarket.

Boycott also envisages that spare pieces of land can be found on canal banks, banks of reservoirs, and disused railway yards.

Boycott said: "London has a good deal of green spaces – some derelict or underused - but not being used as well as they could be. We also have a veritable host of enthusiastic gardeners who are well equipped to turning derelict or underused spaces into thriving oases offering healthy food and a fantastic focus for the community.

"Capital Growth will identify spaces across the capital – often in surprising places such as roof gardens – and help London's communities grow their own food."

Boycott said in an interview in yesterday's Times that it was hoped that the 2012 makeshift plots could be found in time for the Olympics so that some of the homegrown food could be provided to athletes.

The demand for allotments has rocketed over recent years as environmental awareness has increased.

But a survey conducted by the London assembly two years ago found Londoners in some parts of the capital were waiting up to 10 years for an allotment, due to a dramatic decline in the number of available plots caused by owners wanting to put the land to other uses.

The London mayor wants to turn back the tide to promote locally grown food in the face of rising food prices and the challenge to protect the environment.

Londoners will receive both financial and practical support to grow their own, such as gardening tools and compost.

Launching the project at a vegetable and herb garden run by a charity for disabled people in Battersea Park, Johnson said: "Linking up currently unloved patches of land with people who want to discover the wonders of growing their own food, delivers massive benefits. It will help to make London a greener, more pleasant place to live while providing healthy and affordable food.

"This will aid people to reconnect with where their fruit and veg comes from and cut the congestion and carbon emissions associated with the transportation of food from miles away. Capital Growth is a win-win scheme - good for our communities and good for our environment."

Why organic gardening is good for the body and mind

Maybe your mother didn't cry, "Mangia!" when you ate dinner, like mine did. Still, you're likely to whisper it to yourself. That's because you possess a simple survival impulse: Eat until sated. Our neanderthink legacy is to store as much energy as possible, since calories were scarce and uncertain for most of human evolutionary history and our metabolism was set to guard against the possibility of starvation tomorrow. The problem is that eating more doesn't sate us; we merely recalibrate how much we think we need.

Our evolved mind-set on food hinders us in several ways. Our instincts tell us to keep eating well beyond when we are sated. Worse, the foods we crave—calorie-dense fats and sugars—were once rare and valued as a bulwark against starvation; now they're plentiful and harmful in excess. We don't crave plants, precisely because they were more abundant in our past. And if we do manage to temporarily gain a handle on the gustatory Disneyland in which we live, our dietary rigor plummets once we've lost weight.

Our "gut" instincts can swiftly divine whether someone is an ally or a cheater and whether something is distasteful before we even taste it. But listening to our literal gut in the contemporary world has led only to an obesity epidemic.

Eighty thousand years ago—yesterday in evolutionary terms—we ate at a very different restaurant, the savannah. Food was scarce and uncertain, and great physical effort was required just to acquire enough for survival. Our ancestors were lean and muscular, their bodies sculpted by scarcity. The mismatch between savannah dining and today's smorgasbords means our bodies are best adapted to a life at boot camp, not a 24-hour minimart.

+ Read Full Article at Psychology Today

Go Organic for Your Kids

Reduce pesticide risk for your kids by opting for organic.

KidsPregnant women, infants, and children are uniquely at risk of significant—possibly permanent—developmental damage from low-level pesticide exposure. In surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and others, 90 percent or more of the children tested had insecticide metabolites in their urine and blood.

Protect Little Ones
Infants are unable to detoxify most pesticides, making their developing brains and nervous systems particularly vulnerable to these neurotoxins. “Prenatal and childhood exposures to pesticides have emerged as a significant risk factor explaining impacts on brain structure that can increase the risk of neurological disease later in life,” a recent report by the Organic Center concludes.

Early exposure to organochlorine and organophosphate (OP) insecticides has been linked to disease development later in life, including leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Children through age thirteen, particularly one- to two-year-olds, tend to be exposed to the highest levels of pesticides per pound of body weight.

Research confirms the relationship between diet and pesticide exposure in children. An organic diet “provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposure to OP pesticides,” finds a study published by the National Institutes of Health. The Organic Center recommends choosing only organic fruits and veggies when planning a family and raising children. Consumers can also urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote organic foods in school lunches and other government nutrition programs.

. . . And the Environment

Toxic and persistent pesticides applied in conventional agriculture can remain in soil for 20 years or more, and tainted irrigation water is one cause of cross-contamination between farms. The U.S. Geological Survey found that about half of sampled groundwater contained at least one pesticide—including the long-banned DDT and dieldrin. Organic production prohibits toxic, persistent pesticides and relies largely on natural pest control methods—supporting healthy soil and groundwater for ourselves, our children, and generations to come.

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