Baby Gourmet Organic Baby Food – Recommended by Carter

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We really enjoyed the Baby Gourmet Organic Baby Food. Kyle and I tried a little of each kind of the food, and we were happily surprised with the great taste. Each variety had lots of flavor and a nice consistency, with a little more chunkiness than other brands we’ve tried.

Baby Gourmet also has so much more taste than the generic, non-organic foods we usually feed Carter. I also really liked that we could see and taste actual chunks of food. The chunks were very small, so they were baby-safe.

Carter LOVED the baby apple crisp food the best (although he ate all the other flavors just as well). He would smile with each bite of the apple crisp. We could smell and taste the apples and cinnamon in that flavor—it was like real apple crisp! …

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Love Those Fruits and Veggies – When They’re Safe to Eat

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Hungry? How about a juicy peach? Imported grapes are sooo delicious. Apples are yummy. And cherries are a snack straight from Paradise.

Or not.

Fact is, every one of those conventionally raised, scrumptious food choices is laden with pesticides — dozens of different pesticide chemicals. According to an article on About.com, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiled information about pesticides “from approximately 96,000 studies by the USDA and FDA of the 49 fruits and vegetables listed between 2000 and 2008.” EWG then created a handy Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which lists the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean Fifteen.”

When I first read EWG’s list last year, I was more than a little chagrined to see many of my favorite foods listed in the Dirty Dozen. I truly love 11 of the 12 foods: “peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes, grapes.” (I’m not so crazy about celery.) These are many of the foods I most enjoy. And being almost-entirely a vegetarian, they’re foods I depend on for their nutrient value — especially kale….

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9 Months – 11 Buckets of Dirt

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There are many things in life that require patience: the growth of an embryo into a full-term baby, the long slog through a school year, the development of seedlings into luscious tomatoes … and the turning of garbage into rich, healthy soil.

In July of 2009, Joe built a compost bin in our backyard. It was a relatively simple structure that cost less than $100 (it could have been nearly free, if I hadn’t Freecycled the “extra” cinder blocks we thought we wouldn’t need again). We started dumping our food and garden waste — along with contributions from close neighbors — and didn’t give it too much thought.

When the pile grew to the top of the bin, we kept throwing in food. Mysteriously, all summer and into the fall, the pile never grew higher than the lid. We never stopped adding food and leaves and such — even paper towels and toilet paper rolls. We were careful, though, not to add newsprint or any paper with ink on it. Ours is an organic garden.

It wasn’t until winter set in solidly that we had to add more cinder blocks. That’s when the mass froze, and the pile stopped sinking down. (Thank you, Freecycle, for providing more blocks for the extra height.)

Spring finally rolled around, and, as our thoughts turned to gardening, Joe decided to dig out the pile.

Wow! …

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Fairfield Green Food Guide – A Resource for Local Foods

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Fairfield Green Food Guide started out as a service to Fairfield County residents. But people all over the state are now watching the blog’s founder, Analiese Paik, on New Channel 8′s Good Morning Connecticut. Paik, who is dedicated to offering her services for free just to spread the word about local foods, is becoming a household name and a helpful resource for locavores across the state.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with Paik about the passion that drives her and what she hopes to accomplish with her website. Paik’s 18-hour days take her all over the county, partnering with nonprofit organizations and sharing the news about healthy, organic, and local foods.

But, what if you’re not from Connecticut, let alone Fairfield County? If you’re a fan of sustainable agriculture, Paik offers resources and ideas that you will surely find intriguing….

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Chorlton Big Green Festival Celebrates “All Things Eco & Ethical”

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Community members and visitors in South Manchester, England are gearing up for the second-annual Chorlton Big Green Festival, to be held March 27. In 2009, an estimated 4,000 visitors gathered at the first festival where they learned about livign lighter on the planet and celebrated the green lifestyle.

The 2010 event, which begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, the 27th, will include a mix of entertainments and exhibits, a bicycle race, and a wide variety of organic foods. “The idea behind Chorlton’s Big Green Festival,” say the organizers, “is to offer local people the chance to sample sustainability in fun and friendly surroundings.”

Several types of events are promised for the day, but don’t miss the lead-off Thursday evening at the What Next? Forum…

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Natural Living Expo, March 27 & 28 in Des Moines

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By the end of March, spring will be poking her head out from behind winter’s white dress. Leaves will begin to sprout, wearing a fleeting light-green that will deepen in hue by the time the summer arrives in all her glory. Ah, spring. What better time of year to be thinking about gardening, fresh produce, and delicious natural foods?

And what better event than the Natural Living Expo to entice sun-starved Midwesterners out of hibernation?

The Fifth Annual Natural Living Expo, to be held March 27 and 28 at the Polk County (Iowa) Convention Center, promises to be bigger and even more exciting than in previous years. The Expo features natural, organic, and sustainable companies and products, live entertainment for kids and adults, and a speaker series on topics related to sustainabilty and health/wellness….

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Salba Smart – Super Bowl Treats that Are Good for Your Heart

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On Super Bowl Sunday, when you dip your hand into a bag of pretzels or grab some chips and salsa, you can take good care of your heart while indulging your junk-food craving. Yeah, I know. You’ve heard lots of claims of “healthy” foods that “taste good, too” — but do they?

Many of the “healthy” snacks I’ve tried are less than satisfying. But Salba Smart snacks are both delicious and good for you. My friends and I can testify to their taste, and the fact sheets give ample evidence of their health effects….

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How to Master Organic Gardening (An eBook)

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We’re not quite to New Year’s Eve, and already I’m dreaming of my summer garden. If you, too, are digging your fingers into virtual soil and planting a garden in your head, then you might want to read How to Master Organic Gardening, an e-book by Katie Elzer-Peters and Chris Molnar.

Perhaps you’re an experienced gardener who is just now getting into organic methods. You’ll learn a lot from this book. Or maybe you’re a total beginner, essentially clueless about the meaning of such terms as compost, soil compaction, and brown rot. This book is also for you. If you’re already an expert organic gardener, you don’t need this book. But think about the people you know who could use a primer; this book is for them….

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Sprout Baby – Love Your Baby, Love the Planet

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Sprout Baby sells organic and natural products for babies and moms. When Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) interviewed founder Jody Sherman by phone, we learned about the process the company uses to vet products for sale on their site. We also learned that the story behind this baby products company has an unusual — and heart-tugging — twist….

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Sprout Baby – Spreading by “Word of Mom”

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With the economy struggling to get back on its feet, you might think a fledgling eco-friendly baby products company wouldn’t stand much of a chance at survival. But California-based Sprout Baby celebrated its first anniversary last week, and the company is going strong.

What’s the secret of their success? And what makes Sprout Baby’s products so good that word-of-mouth advertising is their main — and highly effective — marketing strategy?

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) interviewed Sprout Baby founder and CEO Jody Sherman by phone from his Los Angeles office to find out….

SHERMAN: I kept hearing over and over again that [moms'] biggest concerns were centered around feeding and chemicals and things they were going to put in, on, and around their babies. They’re being bombarded with information about how damaging chemicals are to babies’ skin and to their health. And they’re worried about hormones in foods and such…. I started talking to some of my friends about, “What if we could start a company that would help moms find eco-conscious, responsible products that are also top-notch, healthy choices for their children?”…

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Got Organic?

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Walk down any aisle in the grocery store and you are faced with an astonishing choice of items to purchase. You may have apples on your shopping list, but do you want the red ones or the green ones, the big beautiful ones or the little pre-bagged ones, the ones from New Zealand or Washington State? More and more, we are now also being given the choice between conventional and organic food.

Ask people what organic means, and you’ll get words like expensive, natural, healthy, local, safe and no chemicals. Most people are thinking as consumers, but I am a farmer, so I think as a producer. I believe that knowing the more complete story behind the organic labels on the grocery shelves can help us be more aware of what we are choosing and why it matters….

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Healthy Soil -> Healthy Food -> Healthy People -> Healthy Communities

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E. coli on lettuce. Salmonella on peanuts. Corn sweetener laden with mercury. Growth hormones and antibiotics in dairy cows. Arsenic in chickens. Sub-therapeutic antibiotics in swine. … Consumers have plenty of reasons to be concerned about the safety of our food supply.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Angie Tagtow, a registered dietitian, who has spent many years working in the public health sector, to talk with us at about the role of public policy in assuring safe, nutritious food. …

TAGTOW: After leaving public health, I recognized that policy is influential with all elements of our food system. So I am connecting the dots between soil, food, and health. Food, of course, is directly related to environmental issues — soil, water, biodiversity and those types of things. I do a lot of public speaking. I work quite a bit with universities, with undergraduate and graduate classes in delivering the message that there is a very important connection between the health of our environment, the health of our food system, as well as overall public health. …

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HappyBellies Organic Brown Rice Cereal – The Perfect First Meal for Baby

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When my little one was ready to add something more than breast milk to her belly, I felt very unprepared. Food suddenly seemed like a very daunting, complicated thing. I’d seen how different foods had affected her when transferred with varied results through my breast milk, so I started my search for the perfect first food. It was a no-brainer that any food entering my baby’s body had to be organic, and most of my research turned up rice formula as the best option. Rice is the easiest to digest and less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Rice it would be….

As it turned out, there were really only a few organic rice cereals on the market, and HappyBellies was the only one to offer an organic cereal made of brown rice. Brown rice isn’t a different grain than white rice, it’s really just white rice with the brown cover removed. By definition, leaving the brown cover on the grain qualifies it as a whole grain.

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Local Foods Connection – Providing Healthy Foods and Smart Nutrition to Low-Income Families

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Imagine you’re the head of a family. You’re out of work. Or maybe you have a job that pays minimum wage. Maybe you’re an immigrant, trying hard to adjust to a new country, new foods, new customs — all on a limited income. Or, perhaps someone in your family has a serious illness, and your struggle to pay for medical care leaves little to spend on nutritious food for your children and yourself. In this harsh economic climate, for many of us, eating a diet of organic foods is as much a fantasy as a taking a trip to Mars.

“As incomes drop and food budgets shrink, food choices shift toward cheaper refined grains, added sugars, and vegetable fats. The first items to drop out of the diet are usually healthy foods – whole grains, lean meats, dairy products, vegetables and fruit. Energy-rich starches, sweets, and fats, many of them nutrient-poor, frequently offer the cheapest way to fill hungry stomachs.” — Can Low-Income Americans Afford a Healthy Diet? Adam Drewnowski and Petra Eichelsdoerfer March 2009. A publication of the University of Washington Center for Public Health Nutrition…

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Crofter’s Superfruit Spread Gives a Tangy Twist to Jam

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When Crofter’s sent Blue Planet Green Living samples of their new jam, I wondered how different could this product really be? Jam is jam, right? But after one bite into a piece of toast topped with the gooey spread, I knew I was in for a treat.

Manufactured in Canada, Crofter’s Superfruit Spreads are a USDA-certified organic product. The four varieties are named by the continents on which the fruits grow: North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. The spreads are produced by combining morello cherries and red grape with superfruits — fruits with exceptional nutrition and antioxidants — unique to a specific continent.

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A Stroll through the Farmer’s Market

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What to have for dinner? It’s that ever-present question that we ask ourselves night after night, meal after meal. To keep things fresh, I love to take a walk through the farmer’s market to determine my dinner. Early summer at the Iowa City downtown market provides many ingredients to build wonderful meals. Farmers are offering great abundance from their fields now, including fresh strawberries, glistening radishes, green onions, fresh-baked breads, tomatoes, cilantro, and dill …

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Community Supported Agriculture – A Win-Win for Farmer and Shareholder

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If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, as we are here in Iowa, you’re coasting through spring on the way to summer. Either you’ve planted a garden, you’re getting ready to plant — or you aren’t intending to plant at all. This post is for the third group, those of you who either don’t want to, or don’t have the space to, plant a garden of your own.

There’s another option: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). A CSA is a mutually beneficial arrangement between a farmer (or farm collective) and members. Members become shareholders in the CSA farm by pledging a certain amount of money for regular deliveries of a season’s worth of vegetables, fruits, and/or meat. The farmer sets the price and the amount of produce/meat to be delivered, how often, and how long in the season…

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Healthy Kids – Yours, Mine, Ours

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With the meteoric rise of childhood and young adult health diseases: diabetes, obesity, eating disorders, high cholesterol, asthma, high blood pressure, depression, ADD, ADHD, and the lists goes on and on… Diseases once thought to be brought on by age deterioration in adults are now epidemic, even plagues, among our children. Drugs are not the answer. One definite answer is natural foods. Too simplistic? Things in life don’t have to be that complicated. You really are what you eat…

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Product Review – Bora Bora Organic Almond Sunflower Bars

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You eat snacks, don’t you? Most of us do. And if they’re good snacks — natural, healthy foods that aren’t too high in refined sugars, salt, or the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup — we can even feel good about eating them. At least that’s what I told myself when I set out to review a couple of natural and organic goodies for this website….

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Book Review – The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

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If you could interview your food, what would it say? As a journalist Michael Pollan attempts to give a voice to what we eat: That is to say, he explains what food really is, where it comes from, and what it can do for us. The Omnivore’s Dilemma expounds on fast food, big organic food, local food, and foraged food, identifying the resources, causes, and effects of each one.

Devoted to the scientific, while valuing the personal significance of food, Pollan reveals not only the corn behind our food, the government behind the corn, the corporation behind the government, but also investigates the possibilities for eating that can bring us back to earth, and everything in between. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is our fascinating predicament; written for those who care about what they eat, it presents us with an array of menus, encourages us to eat, and to eat in good conscience…

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