How to Grow Your Vegetable Garden-GMA

 For those who did not catch a great segment on GMA 

How to Grow Your Vegetable Garden

Eat Healthier and Cheaper by Growing Your Own Veggies

Organic Fresh Foods

Top Fruits and Vegetables You Should & Should NOT Buy Organic !

To make wiser consumer choices here is a list of produce with the highest level of pesticide contamination. The following list is based on information and studies by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Consumer Reports, and the Environmental Working Group.

Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.
Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.

Here is a list of fruits and vegetables found to contain the least amount of pesticides. Notice that many of these have thick, inedible skins which protect the fruit.

Asparagus
Avocados
Bananas
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Corn (However, almost all corn is genetically modified)
Kiwi
Mangoes
Onions
Papaya
Pineapples
Sweet Peas

There’s lots of reasons to buy organic. First, it’s better for the environment. No pesticides means healthier soil, water, and wildlife. Buying organic supports small farmers. Organic farmers can earn a fairer price for organic produce compared to factory farming. Organic farming is good for biodiversity. Organic farmers are growing a wide variety of non-genetically modified (non-GMO) fruits and vegetables. Organic farmers are resurrecting many heirloom varieties.
Finally, organic foods are healthier for you. The research on whether consuming organic food is healthier for people remains inconclusive. However, the USDA’s own tests show that most non-organic produce contain residual pesticides even after washing. The long term effects of consuming these pesticides has not been sufficiently studied, but they can’t be good for you.

Consuming less food that is contaminated may actually save you money and your health in the long run. If you have children you are investing in their future health too!

EcoStilleto for the modern woman!

What does EcoStilleto.com say about green cleaning? 

http://www.shaklee.net/greendaytoday/gc_yourhome1

June 26 2008

We think a lot about greener cleaning, mainly because it seems like a no-brainer that if you’re going to take baby steps to make your life more environmentally friendly, the best place to start is in your home. Conventional cleaners contain chemicals that make the indoor air of the typical American home on a typical cleaning day more polluted than the outdoor air of our most polluted cities. And this is according to the EPA, which, we might remind you, is not the most alarmist organization on the planet.

And though there’s fabulous laundry soap and dishwashing detergent and general home cleaners and even waterless, chem-free car wash, there’s not one company that’s been doing the whole kit and kaboodle so well, and for so long, as Shaklee.

They’ve been making sustainably produced, organic, biodegradeable household cleaners since 1960, and have sold them door-to-door as part of a vaguely hippie Tupperware cleaning revolution ever since.

Today, although there still is a slightly cultish vibe to the people who use and sell their products (probably because they just work so darn well), you can get Shaklee online. And though “membership” these days means you type in your info rather than commit to inviting a Shaklee representative in to your living room for yerba mate, it’s still incentivized with a pretty hefty discount.

With that said, their bestselling Get Clean Starter Kit (Oprah loves it; hence the “bestselling”) is $167 for non-members. This investment in home cleaning products seems like a lot until you break it down and realize that the kit includes 27 pieces which average out to just over $6 per. That includes things you use a lot of, like Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate, Dish Wash soap, Fresh Laundry HE Concentrate (which comes in fragrance-free for truly sensitive souls), as well as things you might not go through so fast, like Scour Off Heavy-Duty Paste (tile, kitchen sinks, really grubby pans) and spray bottles (a one-time buy). Plus, the Shaklee folks say their products are so super concentrated and effective, you’d have to spend $3,400 to get the equivalent, and they’ve got studies to prove it. And (drum-roll here) they offer a money back guarantee.

Cost-comparisons aside, here’s what you’re paying to not get: 108 additional pounds of landfill waste (every bottle is recyclable), 248 pounds of greenhouse gases (no chemicals, natch), VOCs, kerosene, hydrochloric acid, petroleum distillates, ammonia, formaldehyde, and a host of other icky chemicals that despite what some billion-dollar commercial will tell you really don’t clean anything any better than their natural counterparts, which had been used for generations until the chemical industry realized the goldmine they had in the dirt-phobic American consumer.   ”

“What saves 248 pounds of greenhouse gases and cleans your house better than Alice?”

http://www.shaklee.net/greendaytoday/gc_yourhome1

 image

Compact Florescent Lightbulb (CFL)

Please check out these two sights:

1)Regarding the benefits of using CFL’s, and the concern over mercury emmission into the soil upon recycling these products –http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7431198

2) The EPA recommendations for recycling – http://www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling/

light_bulb.jpg Lightbulb image by van-nostrand

Fair Trade: What it is and How it Works

You may have heard of coffee, tea, jewelry, and chocolate being “fair-trade” recently, but haven’t bothered to really learn what it means.Coffee-Plantation.jpg jungle image by jamesway19

The coffee we normally buy and brew for morning coffee doesn’t come from the U.S., it comes mainly from Africa and South and Central America. The growers in these countries make a living growing coffee, a commodity that’s price fluctuates with market demand. When demand is low, the farmers make much less money per bushel or pound of coffee that they sell, and have less money to buy food for their family and put their children through school.

fair_trade.gif fair trade image by greggo2

In the same way, people work in mines, on cacao plantations, and in sweatshops, for next to nothing, to produce other goods that we buy regularly. The growers, laborers, artisans, and seamstresses work hard for very little pay. Our buying habits, which are constantly seeking the cheaper price, keep many people throughout the world bound to a life of poverty.

Fairly traded goods present a simple solution to such a large problem. Fair-trade coffee companies make sure the growers receive a fair and livable wage for their  coffee beans. Fair-trade jewelry comes directly from artisans who work in small shops and community centers to produce beautiful high-quality jewelry. Rather than peddling their goods on the street or in the market, they are sold to businesses, such as 10,000 villages, for sale in the U.S. The process also eliminates middle men, so the growers and artisans sell their goods directly to the company that sells it in the U.S.

Fair trade offers fair pay for the goods that people produce in other countries where they would otherwise be living in deep poverty. In addition, fair trade means that profits from the products bought will be put back into the community where the product came from, in the form of building a school, a community center, and other projects that benefit the whole community.
Fair trade also guarantees that the products were produced ethically, without child labor and sweatshops. Fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate, and other consumable goods are often also organic. Fair trade means that those people working on the land are using sustainable environmental practices.

Just as more and more people have realized that buying organically grown foods is better for the entire world; people are beginning to realize that their buying habits affect many other people in other countries. With this knowledge, the better buying option is to buy things that are fair trade goods.

Coffee black

So the next time you go to buy your cup o’ joe, ask for fair trade coffee.  The more we demand fair trade, the more positive impact we make on our environment!

Greening the SCHOOL (I)

Protecting our children and the environment:

The first priority of any school must be the health and safety of th children under its care.  Unfortunately, however, many school environments are not safe due to the use of household and industrial strength cleaners. Often the cleaning products that are used within the school contain dangerous chemicals which may be harmful to the health of the children.  Health effects may seem temporary and benign such as headaches, eye and throat irritation, couching and increased susceptibility to temporary illness; or they may be acute, such as triggering of asthma attachs or severe allergic reations.  Unfortunately, there may also be chronic, long term effects from these chemicals such as learning kisabilities and serious illness.

ChildrensMercyHospital-1.jpg Childresn Mery Hospital, KC, MO. Dedicated to the sick children. image by Dinkyjean

There are two vital ways to greening the schools:

1) Elimate harmful toxic cleaning products within school buildings, thus making them safer and healthier environments, and;

2) By eliminating these harmfull substances the earths environment is also being helped!

 

Making Green and Economical Changes

Finding ways to go green and save money is the key;

Tight budget? You can still switch to green in your home
For consumers who want cost-effective ways to eco-friendly energy, there are many options Homeowners battling rising utility bills and concerned about their carbon footprint can go green and cut energy costs.

Half of all carbon emissions come from buildings rather than cars and other sources! – yet there are various eco-friendly methods available to adopt a greener attitude to energy needs.

OPEN WINDOW 2

These vary from simply fitting low-energy lightbulbs, which burn for four times as long as standard bulbs, to installing sophisticated “microgeneration” equipment such as solar panels and thermal heating systems.

Eco-friendly portfolios: buyers fill up on guilt-free nest eggs!

Nest Egg
“Rising energy prices have had the knock-on effect of generating a large amount of interest in micro-technology and how to create electricity at home.”

Yet for those on a tight budget but keen to brush up their “green” credentials, there are numerous options.

For example, electricity display units (EDU) can be bought for the home. These show you how much energy you are using when making a cup of tea, for example, or watch your favorite television program, encouraging homeowners to consider their energy usage more carefully and reduce it – along with their bills.

  
Other popular changes to create a greener home life include recycling, adding loft and cavity-wall insulation and switching to doubleglazing.

A lesser-known option is simply buying integrated appliances, such as TVs with built-in digital receivers that use less energy and can also cost less than buying a separate TV and digital receiver.

By insulating your loft and cavity-wall insulation you can save money and just under a ton of C02 every year.

For example, pipe insulation helps to prevent heat escaping, saving on your energy bills as well as about 70kg of C02 a year.

More expensive methods of going green in the home are also growing in popularity. However, examples such as heat pumps and solar panels carry a hefty price tag – although they really work to reduce your carbon footprint over the long-term.

Air-to-water pumps are the most cost-effective and practical, with very low running costs. These are usually 15 to 20 % cheaper than natural gas, and if you usually use oil they are 50 to 60 % cheaper.

Other energy-efficient products install underfloor heating and digital thermostats for radiators to control the level of heat in the home more accurately.

Underfloor heating can give a room six different temperatures in a day, bringing the cost of heating down and saving around 8 % on bills.

I will be adding some links to go to shortly!