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Green Eating

Going Green….with wine!

by Kelly Ann Schneider

October 23, 2009

Going Green....with wine

It seems like the latest going green passion is recycling food packaging. Remember when pizza came in a styrofoam box instead of cardboard? Or your burger came in a box instead of a paper wrap? Now the wine industry is into green recycling.Some companies now have recyclable wine boxes actually. They are not green, but colorful boxes, that don’t use, on many levels, our precious green resources.

We first discovered the collapsible cardboard boxes in Canada ( where it seems like everything is green ) at a wine shop featuring French Rabbit Wines. The containers are made by Tetra Pak, which are 100% recyclable, use a twist-off cap and weigh only 4% of the total weight. How’s that for convenience and going green! And, most important, the wine tastes great.

French Rabbit Wines is doing their part to go green by reducing packaging waste by 90%, compared to glass bottles, and reducing emissions and greenhouse gasses during shipping. Go Green statistic: One truck of empty French Rabbit cartons is equivalent to 25 trucks of empty wine bottles. Since 2005 the company has saved over 4,400,000 pounds of greenhouse emissions, equivalent to taking more than 400 cars off the road for a year. The company also plants trees, one for each 4 "bottles" of wines sold, totaling some 35,000 trees so far in their partnership with American Forests. So the next time you want to be responsible, be green, and drink wine, consider the Tetra Pak packaging with French Rabbit.

For more info on their wines go to For more info on the Tetra Pak packaging go to

Five Organic Foods for a Healthier Lifestyle!

by Amanda Quraishi, Austin TX

Eco-style is all over the runways! In the past ten years the increasing concern about the environment has finally found a voice in the fashion industry.

Organic foods are the very best you can buy and eat. They are grown in an eco-friendly manner without pesticides and chemicals that can get in to your blood stream and cause all kinds of negative effects to your body and mind. However, it may not be possible to buy only organically grown food for your meals. There are, however, some important items that you should buy organic if at all possible:

1. Strawberries
Official studies show that strawberries are usually grown with around 500 lbs. of chemicals per acre. Furthermore, because of their shape and the hundreds of little seed pockets on the outside of the berries, they are hard to clean so there is a higher chance that you will miss removing all the chemicals even if you wash them.

2. Milk
Milk should be bought organic, if for no other reason but that it is consumed in such huge quantities by small children. Organically produced milk is free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Additionally, to be labeled organic, the milk must come from cows that have access to pasture grazing--which means that they are healthier and better cared for animals.

3. Bananas
The majority of non-organic bananas are grown with benomyl, a chemical linked to birth defects, and chlorpyrifos, a known neurotoxin. Bananas are also given to children from a very young age, which makes it all the more important to buy them free from these damaging chemicals.

4. Grapes/Raisins
Grapes are in high demand--not only for the raw fruit, but for the manufacture of juice and wine. To protect these valuable crops, many vineyards will resort to using pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The chemicals will affect any product made with these grapes, including raisins. Look for organic grapes, wine, juice, jellies, and raisins to avoid any possible health risks.

5. Nuts
Because of the high fat content in nuts, any chemicals used in producing them can be stored effectively in high quantities. Chemicals such as Endosulfan are banned in most countries yet still used in both the U.S. and India for growing cashews. Phosmet and Diazinon are both used to protect nut crops but are deadly to honeybees and other important wildlife.

It makes no sense to destroy important natural resources in the process of growing our food. If you're going to buy these items, by them green or not at all! Farmers and growers have economic pressures on them to use chemicals, but when they begin to see a decline in their profits, they will rethink their toxic ways. If we as consumers only buy organic food, they will respond to demand in order to stay in business.

Calculating Food Miles, Yes Miles!

By Elisabeth Bailey, Going Green Resources .com

Food miles n. the number of miles that a food item travels from its source to the consumer: namely, you.

In the United States, retail experts estimate that the average distance for any one item of food is around 1,500 miles--or most of the way from Washington, DC to Denver. Depending on what you ate and how many ingredients were used, today's lunch may be better travelled than you are.

Calculating food miles is an important step towards assessing the environmental impact of food production, but is only one of the many dimensions to consider. Food miles are most meaningful when economy of scale, the form and fuel-efficiency of the transportation system, and the energy used in the production of the food are also considered.

For example, a recent study by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs in the UK found tomatoes imported from Spain created a smaller carbon footprint than home grown tomatoes did, due to the high energy use of local greenhouses and the efficient cargo transport of the tomatoes.

The easiest and most effective way to address concern over food miles is to eat locally as much as possible. Many people have taken up this challenge--and some of them have even turned it into an art. The 100 Mile Diet is a phenomenon that gained popularity after the 2007 publication of Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally (also known by its Canadian title, 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating).

The authors spent a fun and frustrating year eating foods grown, caught, or otherwise produced entirely within a one hundred mile radius of their Vancouver home.
Going on a strict 100 mile diet is a sizeable challenge for anyone.

It works best for folks who are willing to do some serious canning! If that's not you, relax--there's a lot of ground between the 100 Mile Diet and buying China-farmed produce. Patronizing your local farmers' market and requesting local products from your regular grocer goes far towards addressing the environmental impact of food.

If you'd like to evaluate your non-local purchases, Falls Brooks Centreoffers one of the best food mile calculators available.

Healthy Cooking with Organic Foods

By Reenita Malhotra, San Francisco (Jarden Consumer Solutions)

Have you thought about staying healthy by cooking right while decreasing your impact on the environment?

Cooking with organic foods is a simple, sustainable practice that makes going green easy and flavorful. Literally - not only do organic foods taste better than conventional produce, they help maintain dietary health, increase immunity and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Organic foods are those that are cultivated using natural soil and farming resources rather than artificially synthesized fertilizers and pesticides. Organic produce is not genetically engineered or modified, or irradiated to make its shelf-life longer. Fruits and vegetables grown in organic soil contains a higher vitamin content than produce grown in a non-organic soil base, because organic soil contains more living organisms and trace minerals imparted through the use of cover crops, diverse crop rotation, and added organic compost.

Cooking with organic foods reduces the degree of pesticide exposure associated with conventionally grown foods. Many conventionally grown fruits and vegetables contain high levels of pesticide residues because their outer layer is especially permeable. Non organic animal produce can contain a high degree of toxins resulting from growth hormones and other substances that have been injected into the animal.

Going green with organic foods is not a difficult exercise. There are a variety of resources that you can tap into:

  • Shop at farmers' markets
    Farmers' markets are becoming more and more prevalent all over the country. Some run year round and some are purely seasonal. Either way, find one that is near to you.
  • Visit organic grocery stores
    Whether it is a single store or a multiple unit chain, there is no dearth today of natural grocery stores that offer organic foods.
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

    You can buy a share in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in return for a weekly supply of organic produce delivered to you at the peak of its ripeness. Community shared agriculture options are also available for dairy and animal produce from animals raised in humane, clean and organic environments.

    Cooking with organic foods provides healthier alternatives to going green and gives you the opportunity to experiment with new and different gourmet resources.

    Grow Your Own Organic Herbs and Veggies!

    by Amanda Quraishi, Austin TX

    The health benefits of organic foods has been established in countless studies, but for the ultimate ‘green’ diet, you can grow your own organic herbs and veggies to supplement what you buy at the store! Even if you only have a small space like an apartment patio, you are going to be able to grow some produce. You'll use almost no energy, you can be sure it is 100% organic, and you'll have a real sense of satisfaction that comes from the ancient tradition of growing your own food.

  • Seeds
    The first thing you want to do is decide what you want to grow. There are several factors involved with this decision, including your geographic location, the time you have to spend taking care of your garden, and of course, your personal preferences about what you like to eat. Keep in mind that there are certain pairings of plants which work well together through companion planting. This technique boosts the plants' germination or helps control the insect population without the use of pesticides.
    Once you've made your decision about what to plant, you can buy your seeds from the internet, from local nurseries, or you can harvest them yourself from the organic veggies you eat.
  • Soil, Compost, and Fertilizer
    Start with the highest quality soil you can find. If you need to, you always have the option to buy organic soil to get yourself started. Then, if you have the space, make your own compost; or you can buy organic compost to mix in to the soil. When it comes to fertilizing your plants, there are plenty of natural and organic options that you can purchase or even make yourself. Since soil is the building block of any green garden, don't skimp on these three things, because they are essential to a healthy, nutritious final product. There are literally thousands of resources online and off that can provide you with the necessary information to optimize your soil.

  • Havesting
    When your veggies are ripe, it's time to enjoy! Share your crop with your friends and family. Make sure you freeze, can, or pickle items that you won't be able to consume right away. Even though your veggies are organic, wash them gently with a vegetable wash and inspect them for any damage or decomposition. Taste the tender greens, ripe tomatoes, and crisp cucumbers freshly cut and unseasoned to really experience the joy of an organic garden!

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