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Earth Day, Organic, Recyling, and More

Celebrating Earth Day, these are my thoughts: from organic, recycling, articles and videos I enjoyed, and thoughts beyond food and farming.

Tomatoes. While they are in the Clean 15 list, organic tomatoes might offer a nutritional advantage over conventionally grown. Picture source: Flickr, by Ben McLeod

Organic or Not

We used to think organic foods are similar to regular when it comes to nutrients, that they only have less chemicals and pesticides. But recently, we’re finding that nutrients in organic foods can be higher because they grow in a nutrient-rich soil. This is true for tomatoes. Organic tomatoes have higher levels of two flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol compared to conventional tomatoes. Grass-fed beef has more omega-3 than corn-fed.

Another study that compared 13 nutrients in 43 conventionally grown and vegetables between 1950 and 1999 reported a decrease in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin C levels. They suggest that when crops are produced bigger and faster, they don’t pick as many nutrients from the soil as they could.

While it’s optimum that all your food comes from organic and local/sustainable sources, sometimes, the availability and cost are barriers.

The Environmental Working Group came us with the Dirty Dozen, the 12 fruits and vegetables that rank high in pesticide content. These are the ones that are worth the extra bucks. From worst in pesticide content, these are peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, and pears.

The Clean 15 are the opposite. These are the fruits and vegetables that don’t pick up pesticides as much. They are onions, avocados, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mango, asparagus, frozen sweet peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplants, papaya, watermelon, broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Recycling

It’s great and we should all do it. Did you know that there’s a town in Massachusetts that charges households money for regular trash bags but picks up recycling for free? According to testimonials, this new policy significantly reduced the amount of trash and increased recycling.

Now I’m not suggesting all towns do that because we are responsible adults and we know we can and should make a difference. Without paying money!

Another tip is to reduce the amount of packaging in the food we buy. Buy in bulk if possible. Avoid individually packed items. Buy fresh greens instead of bagged or packaged. Now that it’s the season for artichokes, mangoes, and pineapples, buy them fresh instead of pre-cut and packaged or canned.

More articles and videos

Danielle Omar wrote about the 10 Ways to Eat Clean and Green

A video about going green in your house:

Beyond food and agriculture

I’m sure many of you saw these videos before, but if you haven’t, here’s a short trailer. The whole story is 20 minutes long and is on You Tube here. This video goes into political, economical, and technological topics, and while I’m not an expert or interested in discussing these details, I do think it’s eye opening. Have you ever thought of where your computer or cell phone came from? What happened with your old desktop? Tube TV? Old computer games? Floppy disks? Why are there so many disposable convenient items? Food and agriculture are important, but there’s also more to the big picture.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • kim April 22, 2010, 7:11 pm

    Happy Earth Day to you too! Great advices!

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