Organic food is no better for you than the traditionally grown even though it may taste better, say researchers.
Despite the perception that organic food grown without artificial fertilisers, pesticides and other chemicals, is more pure, nutritious and virtuous, scientists have said there is little evidence that it is healthier.
There are no convincing differences between organic and conventional foods in nutrient content or health-benefits
A review of 237 research studies into organic food found the products were 30 per cent less likely to contain pesticide residue than conventionally grown fruit and vegetables but were not necessarily 100 per cent free of the chemicals. They found no consistent differences in the vitamin content of organic products.
There were higher levels of phosphorus in organically grown food but the researchers said this was of little importance as so few people were deficient in this. The only other significant finding was that some studies suggested organic milk contained higher levels of omega-3 fatty acid, which is thought to be important for brain development in infants and for cardiovascular health. Dr Crystal Smith-Spangler, of Stanford’s Centre for Health Policy, said “we were a little surprised” by the results but that people should eat more fruit and vegetables, no matter how they are grown, because most Western diets are deficient.
Dr Dena Bravata, a fellow researcher, said that, beyond their perceived health benefits, people also bought organic products because of taste, concerns about the effects of conventional farming practices on the environment and animal welfare. Continue reading
Former President George H.W. Bush hated broccoli. But I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t love avocados. Cool and creamy, rich and texturally divine, this native American fruit is a perfect ingredient in, say, a California roll sushi, layered in a sandwich, and mashed into a spicy guacamole to be served with crunchy chips.
I also love to scoop out the buttery meat, slice into eye-appealing thick pieces, and sprinkle with a little cayenne, sea salt and a drizzle of lemon. Perfecto!
Those heading to the Big Island of Hawaii this weekend will find the sixth annual Hawai‘i Avocado Festival celebrating the versatile fruit.
Today, the festival fun will be centered around Kealakekua Bay Bed and Breakfast for a Farm-to-Fork Hawaii Dinner, according to publicist Fern Gavelek.
”The menu of the five-course, avocado-inspired meal is by Chef Devin Lowder of When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie. Dessert Chef Hector Wong of My Yellow Kitchen in Honolulu will prepare a seven-layer avo dessert. Seating is limited and a portion of the $85 price benefits the festival. For reservations, phone 328-8150.”
”The celebration culminates Saturday, Feb. 18 with the family-friendly 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Hawai‘i Avocado Festival at the Keauhou Beach Resort. The free, community event offers a wealth of activities for attendees of all ages sprawling throughout the resort’s grounds.”
”Get tips on growing and grafting avocado trees, plus trees will be on sale for the home orchard. Leading the educational botanical sessions is a team of University of Hawai‘i staff Continue reading
We were poking around upcountry Maui and driving its narrow, twisting roads, but by midafternoon we had to turn around. We had an important date at a lower elevation.
Forget meeting friends for mai-tais or heading to Lahaina for the sunset. We were going to herd the animals at Surfing Goat Dairy.
Herding anything may be the last activity one considers for a Maui vacation. But the dairy is one of several island farms that have opened for public tours over the last few years. They offer the chance to explore the island’s back roads, meet the growers and learn something about the exotic fruits, vegetables and cheeses you’ll encounter and enjoy on Maui.
“It’s a growing national trend,” says Maui resident Charlene Kauhane, a board member of the Hawaii Agri-Tourism Association. “Visitors are looking for authentic experiences, for opportunities where they can meet locals and buy local.”
And sometimes, you just want a break from the beach. So let’s go down on the farm on Maui.
Alii Kula Lavender Farm
Even before you arrive, you’ll detect Alii Kula Lavender Farm from the lovely fragrance wafting over Upcountry. It comes from 45 lavender varieties planted over 10 acres in Haleakala’s foothills. You can meander over paths on your own, or join one of the walking tours. You’ll learn about lavender’s culinary uses and healthful benefits, as well as the farm’s dedication to practicing agriculture in a sustainable way.
Alii Lavender also offers workshops in wreath making and container gardens, and other special events. Continue reading
The heir to the British throne prunes brambles with a hand sickle and empties buckets of compost in “Harmony,” a documentary on NBC that showcases Prince Charles’s pet environmental causes.
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The film, made by the independent filmmakers Julie Bergman Sender and Stuart Sender, is part of a royal twofer being broadcast on Friday evening at 10 p.m. right after an hourlong interview with the NBC anchor Brian Williams, which Prince Charles gave in August and which focuses more intently on his marriages — and on his son William’s imminent one — than on biodiversity. In what looks like a quid pro prince, NBC agreed to broadcast “Harmony” as part of NBC Universal’s annual Green Week.
As it turned out, the timing of the interview and of the documentary, coming on the heels of the splashy engagement announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton this week, was lucky for NBC.
It also seemed like a fortuitous case of sustainable royal marketing — the prince indulges the kind of media curiosity he despises in exchange for the chance to expound, uninterrupted, for an hour on primetime television. (Royalty has many privileges, but one curse is that interviewers rarely ask about the topics royals most want to discuss; Hollywood celebrities like Brad Pitt have less breeding but a lot more clout.) Continue reading
By HARRY EAGAR, Staff Writer
Pierre Omidyar, who invested in Maui Land & Pineapple Co. stock when the company was being pushed in a greener direction, is now supporting a for-profit/charitable combination that is taking over ML&P’s Kapalua Farms, one of the largest organic farms in the state.
Since ML&P also closed its Maui Pineapple Co. subsidiary, then leased much of its land and equipment to the upstart Haliimaile Pineapple Co. this month, the handover takes ML&P completely out of agriculture.
On Friday, Ulupono Sustainable Agriculture Development LLC, a subsidiary of the Ulupono Initiative, announced it would be assuming operations of Kapalua Farms, which not only supplies vegetables and eggs to ML&P’s Kapalua Resort but also conducts research into new methods of producing food on Maui. Ulupono Initiative is a Hawaii-focused social investment organization founded in June with backing from Omidyar and his wife, Pam. He was a founder of eBay, and they now live in Hawaii.
Warren Haruki, chairman and interim chief executive officer of ML&P, said, "We are pleased to partner with Ulupono Sustainable Agriculture Development as they assume operations of Kapalua Farms. Our desire was to find an operational partner that would be able to continue organic farming operations and to maintain Kapalua Farms as a community resource, employer and provider."
There is a place for GMO. Check out this article from the “Wired Blog.” It makes a very lucid argument for the necessity of genetically engineered crops in sustainable agriculture.
Sustainably Engineered Organic
- By Bruce Sterling
- July 30, 2009
…checklist for truly sustainable agriculture in a global context. It must:
Provide abundant safe and nutritious food…. Reduce environmentally harmful inputs…. Reduce energy use and greenhouse gases…. Foster soil fertility…. Enhance crop genetic diversity…. Maintain the economic viability of farming communities…. Protect biodiversity…. and improve the lives of the poor and malnourished. (He pointed out that 24,000 a day die of malnutrition worldwide, and about 1 billion are undernourished.)
…But organic has limitations, he said. There are some pests, diseases, and stresses it can’t handle. Its yield ranges from 45% to 97% of conventional ag yield. It is often too expensive for low-income customers. At present it is a niche player in US agriculture, representing only 3.5%, with a slow growth rate suggesting it will always be a niche player.
Genetically engineered crops could carry organic farming much further toward fulfilling all the goals of sustainable agriculture, Raoul said, but it was prohibited as a technique for organic farmers in the standards and regulations set by the federal government in 2000.
Sustainable Tropical Agriculture 294
June 12th-July 19th, 2007 University of Hawaii-Hilo is offering an experiential class this summer in diversified, organic, holistic agricultural practices with local experts Nancy Redfeather, Tracy Matfin, Craig Elevitch, Melanie & Colehour Bondera, Mike Brown, Geoff Rauch & more! The focus will be on practical solutions in organic farming with plenty of hands-on group projects and several field trips to working farms.
Topics to include: Bamboo Production/Marketing, Seed Saving, Growing Traditional Hawaiian Crops, Animal Husbandry, Organic Food Production, Soil Health/Compost/Compost Tea, Agroforestry/Diversity, Multiple Yealds/Niche Products, Myths of Industrial Agriculture, & Permaculture Principles & Techniques.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-12noon June 12-July 19th, 2007
For information call Sarah Sullivan, 808-756-1269
UH admissions office: 808-974-7414
Join us for this hands-on course at UHH Panaewa Farm!
Local food ‘greener than organic’
Organic apples, BBC
Food should come from within your area, the report says
Local food is usually more “green” than organic food, according to a report published in the journal Food Policy.
The authors say organic farming is also valuable, but people can help the environment even more by buying food from within a 20km (12-mile) radius.
The team calculated a shopping basket’s hidden costs, which mount up as produce is transported over big distances. The study found “road miles” account for proportionately more environmental damage than “air miles”.
Therefore, the researchers’ message to consumers is this: it is not good enough to buy food from within the UK – it is better if it comes from within your area, too.
A big city like London could be provided with a lot more seasonal vegetables from local farms
Co-author Professor Tim Lang
However, they admit that consumers are prevented from “doing the right thing” because of inadequate labelling.
“The most political act we do on a daily basis is to eat, as our actions affect farms, landscapes and food businesses,” said co-author Professor Jules Pretty, from the University of Essex, UK.
“Food miles are more significant than we previously thought, and much now needs to be done to encourage local production and consumption of food.” Continue reading