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A-Peeling Reuse
March 2011

Practical Recycling Tips for Fruit and VeggieAPeelingReuse

“A rind is a terrible thing to waste,” says Jeff Yeager, who refers to himself as the ultimate cheapskate. Yeager has discovered multiple uses for produce rinds and ways to extract extended benefits before they land in the compost pile. Here are a few of his favorites, shared with us during a recent interview:

 
Double-Duty Label
March 2011

Fair Trade Goes Domestic

DoubleDutyLabelMany people today are familiar with International Fair Trade, as it applies to the importing of items such as coffee, tea and cocoa. However, as the movement has grown, it has become apparent that many of the challenges facing producers in developing countries are also shared by North America’s family farmers. Big agribusiness continues to thrive, while small farmers have gone out of business. Consumers pay more, while farmers receive less. Meanwhile, farm workers are often denied fair wages and basic rights.

So, a group of Canadian farmers, convinced that organics had been co-opted by large corporate-style interests and that cheap organic grain imports were undercutting their homegrown organic production, have given birth to Domestic Fair Trade certification. To aid organic food shoppers, they have developed the fairDeal food label. It will most likely show up in the organic bins of local food co-ops. Initial products include flax, wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, lentils, hemp seeds and mustard.

Domestic Fair Trade Association (DFTA) members include farm workers and their organizations; farmers and farmer groups; retailers; non-governmental organizations; marketers; and processors and manufacturers. Qualifying standards commit members to the principles of Domestic Fair Trade and continual improvement of their day-to-day practices.


For more information, visit thedfta.org.

 
The Buzz
March 2011

Trouble for Wild Bumblebee

TheBuzzBumblebees, those ace field hands that pollinate apple orchards, berry crops, tomato fields, wildflowers and flowering yard plants, are facing hard times in the United States. Nearly 10 percent of wild bumblebee species have suffered serious declines in numbers and geographic range, according to the first attempt at gauging the health of such populations nationwide.

Research surveying 78,000 specimens across eight species—and correlating reductions in numbers with potential causes—found that four of the species are in decline. Each had significantly lower genetic diversity than the four more robust species. This factor may make them more vulnerable to environmental stresses, including fragmented habitat and the intracellular parasite, Nosema bombi, sometimes present in high numbers in the troubled species.

The bees’ ranges have dropped by as much as 87 percent below their historically greatest extent, much of the decline occurring within the past 20 years. At the same time, the relative abundance of bees as compared with estimates of their known numerical peaks has plunged by as much as 96 percent.

Sydney Cameron, Ph.D., an entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, characterizes bumblebees as “incredibly resilient.” Yet, he remarks, “There’s a threshold, and above that threshold? Bang, that’s it. We just don’t know what the thresholds are for these species.” The study is considered an environmental warning and wake-up call.


Source:
The Christian Science

 
Dietary Shift
March 2011

Home Preparation of Fresh Veggies on the Decline

DietaryShiftA new U.S. Department of Agriculture study reports that households headed by older generations spend more money per person on fresh vegetables prepared at home than their younger counterparts. After accounting for income and other demand factors, its Economic Research Service found that households headed by a person born in 1960 spent 66 cents per week less than those with a household head born in 1930. Younger generations continue to spend different amounts in each subsequent age point, with the youngest spending the least.

Because of younger people’s continued reliance on convenience foods, the researchers project that, as they age, they will spend more on fresh grocery veggies than they do now, but when they reach their parent’s current age, they will still spend less on such foods than their parents do now. Several mainstream health advocacy organizations now promote consumption of plant-based foods, aiming to turn this trend around; they include the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Johns Hopkins University and American Heart Association.

 
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