Category Archives: Organic Living

Where is Dylan Ratigan from MSNBC?

REMEMBER HIM?

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I was an occasional viewer and my husband was a big fan, but after he threw in the towel, anchoring his own show last June, Dylan Ratigan was nowhere to be found.  Recently, he reappeared on a hydroponic farm in southern California.  He has joined forces with a former Marine to build a hydroponic network and employ veterans.

I’m impressed!  In today’s media we have a 24 hour resource of ‘talk the talk” personalities who do nothing else.  This man left it all, and is putting his boots in the soil.  Talk alone cannot change this world.  Exchange of ideas is important, but we need leadership, those who can “walk the walk,” and Dylan Ratigan is leading by example.  More power to him!  Thanks Mr. Ratigan.

Read the article at:  Mother Nature Network

Cheap and Simple Hydroponics:

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Toys NOT Made In China

It’s that time already!  Christmas is just around the corner, and I’m on my bully pulpit again about toys made in China.  There are two certainties regarding this issue:  Babies and toddlers will put all toys in their mouth, and if the toy is from China we have no knowledge about how it was manufactured.  On a recall site that I recently visited, ninety-eight percent of all recalled toys were made in China.  Check out this new app:

RECALLS.GOV mobile application  You can enter the product name in your phone and check toy recalls instantly from your home, daycare or store.

I’ve been researching this issue for a couple of years, and I understand the difficulty that retailers experience.  One told me recently that if they went to market and purchased only toys made outside China, they could not be prepared for holiday shopping.  SO SAD isn’t it, from a jobs standpoint alone.  And, with all due respect to retailers, many of them are doing their best.  It is important to keep letting them know that we have a preference for toys NOT made in China.

I’m not a purist – who can be?  If you want to purchase the latest and most popular toy, it will most certainly be from a large toy company and likely be manufactured in China.  Nevertheless, there are alternatives.  Consider your local holiday fairs and festivals, where you can purchase from local vendors.
And, options online are improving:

China Free Christmas

Toys Made in USA/Amazon.com

Kids Toys Made in USA and Europe

Happy holidays and happy shopping!  And remember, it may sound cliche, but our love and attention is the greatest gift we can give those wonderful grandchildren!

EVERYONE CAN AFFORD TO BUY ORGANIC

I’ve been buying organic produce, grass-fed beef and free range chicken for several years, and I don’t have an unlimited grocery budget.  This is how I do it.
Take a look at the items and costs below, then stay with me, and start thinking outside the box.

1/2 gallon of ice cream – $3.50
wiki.answers.com

Large bag of chips – $2.50
www.ask.com

Six pack of soda – $2.50
wiki.answers.com

Bag of oreo cookies (17 oz) – $3.95
www.chacha.com

Frozen pizza – $7.00 – $9.00
blogs.wsj.com

This is just a sampling and prices will vary where you live, but everyone is aware  that this “stuff” is VERY expensive.  We all have our cell phones with us everywhere these days, so here’s the challenge:  The next time you go grocery shopping, use the calculator on your phone.

You may be surprised when you actually discover what you can save by eliminating the items above.  Then go to the organic produce area (most supermarkets now provide some organic produce – YAY!) in your market, and see if the credits you gave yourself by eliminating junk food will pay for your organic purchases.  And, don’t forget your local farms; buy from farmer’s markets if you can find one in your area.  Go to Local Harvest, a Farmer’s Market locator.

Here is another thought:  If you eat out once in a week you have probably used up all the credits you would need  to buy organic produce and grass-fed and/or free range meat.

We are talking about lifestyle changes, and they are never easy, but these types of change not only benefit our health, but the earth as well.  And, if you are serious about eating better you can now eliminate the false concept that organic is not affordable.  I’m not suggesting that we give up everything at once, or even forever.  Start small, and eliminate a couple of things – think of it as gradually trading up to a healthier lifestyle.  And, by all means, treat yourself once in awhile.

BEYOND TABLET, T.V. AND i-PHONE

Recently I’ve been reading, Uprising For The Earth, by Osprey Orielle Lake.  This is a wonderfully inspiring book, with a subtitle:  Reconnecting Culture With Nature.  It’s not so easy these days, as the two have grown apart.

I am fortunate to live on the Pacific North Coast of California, surrounded by rivers, ocean and woods, where my children were also raised.  Frequently though, I think about the issues that Lake brings up in these quotes:

“What happens to us, TO OUR CHILDREN, in our urban centers when we experience primarily the smells of industry, smog, petroleum and chemicals?  What happens to our native ears when left only with the sounds of cars, telephones, freeways and mechanization?  What happens when our hands and eyes rest only upon human made things?…….Our human experience is dependent upon what influences our daily lives, and we are only beginning to take into account the consequences of depriving our children of direct communion with  the Earth, and all the plant life and creatures.”

 Uprising For The Earth

I know that we can’t all run from our lives in the cities, and it’s no longer just our locale that keeps kids indoors.  City dwellers, or country folk, I would love to hear about your plans to compete this summer with your child/grandchild’s electronic tablet, i-Phone, and television.  Thank you in advance for sharing on “comments.”

FIND A FARMERS MARKET – SUPPORT LOCAL FARMS

Why is it important to support local farmers?

“The loss of small family farms has dramatically reduced our supply of safe, fresh, sustainably-grown foods; it has contributed to the economic and social disintegration of rural communities; and it is eliminating an important aspect of our national heritage. If we lose our family farmers, we’ll lose the diversity in our food supply, and what we eat will be dictated to us by a few large corporations.”
Go to:  Sustainable Table, to read entire article.

To find a Farmer’s Market in your area go to Local Harvest.   Put in your zip code and you’re on your way!
To find out what’s in season year round, go to:  Eat The Seasons

There is good news, however, in the same article above, “Over the last several years, there has been an explosion of interest in small family farms, local food, and the preservation of rural communities and their heritage. Chefs, food lovers, citizens, parents, activists, students and many others are coming together to rediscover the benefits of eating sustainably-raised, locally grown food.”

When you find a Farmers Market, take your grandchildren along.  Turn it into an event, or if possible, take them to a farm.  They will love it, and they need to know where their food comes from.

CHOICES AND THE CONSUMER CULTURE

The home and belongings of a nomadic Nigerian family.

Let’s think for a minute about how much “stuff” we own.  Have you ever taken a walk in your neighborhood and looked through an open garage door?   In a lot of garages, in America, we no longer have room for the cars.  We have become a collector society for a number of reasons, to include financial stability.  Instead of sharing a seldom used item we each went out and purchased one.  Think about camping gear, gardening tools, inflatable beds.  In our family, a few years ago, there were two rototillers and one at the neighbor’s, next door – consumer culture.   Independence also breeds this type of behavior, but times are changing.  We need to depend upon one another more these days, to save money, but also to make a lighter footprint upon the earth.

Last summer I came across an article in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper that discussed the topic of borrowing items instead of buying everything we need.  The article stated that, “Social networking and smart phones have paved the way for people to share their stuff…….people who share information about themselves online are more likely to share their belongings.”

To read the full article in the San Francisco Chronicle, go to:
Buy it?  No, Borrow it!   The newspaper listed the following sources for access to borrowing, individually, or creating a group in your community:   Rentalic,   Neighborrow,        NeighborGoods,         Share Some Sugar,        Snap Goods   (This one has a guarantee).   Think about this lifestyle choice, the world won’t change until we do.

After years of maintaining all the “stuff” we own,  the simplicity in the image above, does have my attention.

GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD

If you have been near a market lately that sells organic food, then you have probably encountered volunteers informing the public about genetically engineered foods.  And, they are collecting signatures on a petition to demand labeling of GE foods.  1.1 million names have been uploaded to the FDA.  Go to this website:  justlabelit.org, and read the FDA’s unbelievable response.

However, the public is not finished.  Ninety-one percent of the American people want their food labeled to show if it has been genetically engineered.

If you don’t know what all this hoopla is about, go to this portion of the website and read the brief, but concise description of genetically engineered foods.
About GE Foods  and the Debate.   Read about the dangers of this experiment, and that is exactly what it is, and if you believe this is important (Remember, our grandchildren will be eating long after we are gone)  you can sign the petition on this site:  Just Label It   I believe we should have a choice, regarding our health.

It is a sad commentary on our times, but I believe, as do many folks, that the FDA is broken, i.e. recalled drugs, contaminated foods, pink slime meat, etc. etc.  In many ways, we really are on our own, with regard to safety.  Fortunately, we have watchdogs, and social media to help us stay informed.  We must educate ourselves, and a positive action that I always encourage:  Buy local and buy organic.

Thank you for paying attention, and taking action.