Adopting Green Methods of Farming

dopting Green Methods of Farming

Modern agriculture has become more dependent on chemical fertilizers to increase crop yields and ensure better quality of products.

This has been a cause of alarm for consumers because of the possibility of chemical transfer to fruits and vegetables. To counter this scenario, different communities started working together to exchange ideas and techniques to ensure the stability of their livestock and agricultural produce. Continue Reading →

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Getting to Know your Food

Getting to Know your FoodOne distinct advantage of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is that it builds better relationships within the community. These small farm clusters often support each other by providing help in the form of manpower resource and additional supplies.

A major benefit of this set up is the strengthening of the natural network between the farms and their workforce. In the end, it is more than just producing fresh goods because it affirms the bond of the community members. Continue Reading →

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Growing Your Own Herbs Indoors

Gardening TipsHerbs are not just used for medicinal purposes, but for cooking as well.  If you love adding them in your every meal, you may want to consider growing your own so you can have freshly picked ingredients when you need them. You don’t need to be a pro in gardening in order to do this. Since it wouldn’t be possible to grow herbs outdoors during winter season, you may grow them indoors, so you can have fresh sources of herbs all year long.

Many people grow them in the window sill of their kitchens. While you may grow them in other parts of the house, it would be ideal to do this in the kitchen so it would be convenient to pick them when needed. Here the steps on how you can grow your own herbs indoors.

Purchase Plants or Seeds

Determine what types of herbs you would like to grow. Some of the popular options for indoor gardening are basil, bay, chervil, chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and tarragon. Go to your local nursery to see if they have the herbs you need. You may purchase seeds and grow them from there, which could take more time or you may purchase them as plants.

 Choose the Best Location to Grow Them

Herbs need 4 to 8 hours of direct sunlight in order to grow healthy. This is why the best location to place them is in the window sill where it gets a good amount of sunlight. You should be able to open the window conveniently or sunlight should easily get in through the panes. If you have a damaged window that needs replacement, you may consider getting a new one that’s best for your indoor gardening in Niagara Falls. High quality and energy efficient windows and doors in Niagara Falls can be purchased from companies that specialize in these products.

Water and Light Your Plants

Place them in pots or containers that have drainage holes. Water them only when the soil turns dry and make sure not to drown them as herbs don’t like this. Since they wouldn’t get enough sunlight during winter, artificial lighting can be used.  This can be purchased from gardening stores.

Use fresh herbs in your meals by growing your own plants indoors.

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Tidying the Garden for Winter

With autumn just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about tidying up the garden for winter. There is plenty to do to get your garden looking neat, tidy, and ready for the colder months ahead.

Tidy the Borders

Get rid of any dead or dying leaves from your herbaceous perennials. You can do this by pulling them or cutting with a pair of secateurs.  If stems have collapsed, cut them off. If there are nay seed heads left on the stems, leave them for the birds to nibble at.  Weed the borders and then spread a generous layer of compost over the top.

Pick up Leaves

It is nice to leave a pile or two of dead leaves for wildlife to nest in or shelter under but too much can look an unsightly mess.  Pick up as many as you possibly can and put them in your composter.  Another reason for clearing them is safety – wet leaves can be a slippery as ice!

Pull out old Crops

If you have vegetable plants that are done, pull them. Do it before they rot because they attract a load of garden pests that you don’t want, as well as spreading diseases.  Put everything in the composter. Beans and peas can be chopped at ground level and the roots left in – they are a valuable supply of nitrogen and will feed the soil ready for next year.

Trim the Lawn

Your borders look lovely and neat but it doesn’t look good if your lawn is a mess. Mow it and use a half-moon garden tool to tidy up the edges. Don’t cut it too low otherwise the frost will kill it.

Tidy up Plant Supports

If you have annual climbers or climbing beans, cut them down and put the foliage in the composter. Was the plant supports to remove dirt and mud from them. Treat them with a coat of good preservative and put them away for the winter.

Repair What’s Broken

Check raised beds, your sheds and your compost bins. Repair or replace anything that needs it. Make sure the shed roof is watertight and that fences can’t blow down.

Clear out old Nest boxes and Bird Feeders

Remove nesting boxes and give them a good clean out. Wash with hot water and then put them back. Clear old food out of feeders and do the same, as well as the bird baths and make sure they are kept topped up with clean fresh food and water.

Clean out the Pond

Net out any leaves floating on top otherwise they will sink to the bottom and rot.  Cut back plants around the outside and, if you are switching off the fountain or pumps for the winter, take them out and give them a good clean before storing them away.

Wash Patio and Garden Furniture

Garden furniture should be washed and dried thoroughly before being stored away and the patio washed down to remove accumulated and ingrained dirt and mud.  If you haven’t got on, check out these electric pressure washer reviews – these are the best tools for the job!

Also, if your water butts are nearly empty you should give them a good clean out to stop algae from forming and turning the water green. The power washer reviews found here will help you choose the right one.

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Getting the Most of Organic Food and Home Garden Produce

There are some tropical fruits and produce which home gardeners can only dream about planting. Some, however can be resilient even in sub-temperate climate. At a pinch, there are some plants which can be grown in a pot as part of an herb garden.

Avocado, for instance is one fruit tree which can be grown in sub-temperate regions. It can be a relatively tall tree, with fruits up to the tips of the highest branches. Although it is famous for guacamole and other Mexican or Creole dishes, it can also be enjoyed as a dessert or as a sherbet.

For a pot herb garden, bulbs can also be grown, like garlic, shallots, onions, leeks, and even tubers like ginger. These are low maintenance plants which don’t need any fertilizer or pesticides. Other low maintenance plants for the herb garden include lemon grass, oregano, rosemary, thyme and basil. When you need these aromatics for your dishes, you only need to take a few leaves or sprigs because of their strong flavor.

For the serious gardener, there are some plants which could not be planted without some thought and a relatively large area for planting. Even in tropical countries, coffee and cacao are planted in orchards. However, nowadays, these are usually planted following organic farming concepts. For instance, in the case of the very expensive civet coffee, the orchards are planted in such a way that the civet cat can feed at night. The civets would pick and eat the ripe coffee beans. The use of pesticides would have a detrimental effect on the civet population. For fertilizers, the civet dung would serve as well. As anyone who appreciates coffee knows, the secret of civet coffee is the civet dung. The coffee bean comes out whole, and encased in fecal matter. The civet’s digestive system eats up the bean’s acid and this creates a milder coffee.

Another benefit to coffee growers is that unlike other orchard farming methods, coffee can be grown in between other cash crops. Tropical coffee farmers usually plant coconuts, and citrus trees in between rows of coffee plants. This may be a cultural thing. In Africa, cacao farmers are not noted for inter-cropping.

Coffee and cacao are typically transported in jute sacks. From their country of origin, these beans are shipped in shipping containers to where they would be processed. Shipping container prices are fairly competitive and stable, which would have no effect on the stability of prices of the beans. It would be easy to get a reasonable quote online from Shipping Container Pros.

Organic farming is not just about using the land properly. It is also about getting the most flavor from the produce. To that end, pesticides and artificial fertilizers have been shown to have an effect on the natural growth and flavor of the produce. Another important concept of going green, is buying locally produced goods. The distance and time between farm to the market or grocery also has an appreciable effect on the quality of the produce. When buying local, or when harvesting from your own garden, the consumer is assured of the freshness and flavor of the produce.

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Why You Should Buy Organic Foods

Organic farming uses natural methods of farming, including the use of compost, green manure and crop rotation. Pesticides and fertilizers may be used though they should also be considered natural.  This type of farming produces organic foods, which people should support. There are several reasons on why we should consider purchasing these organic foods over conventional foods and here are some of them.

Good for the Environment

Only natural products are used in farming, which is healthy for the environment. No chemicals or toxic solutions are utilized, which prevents negative effects on the environment. Chemicals that are used in other methods of farming could harm our surroundings, including the water and animals around the area.

Supports Local Farmers

Local farmers that use traditional methods of farming do not earn as much as big companies that own hectares and hectares of farms. When you purchase organic foods produced by these local farmers, you’re able to help them. There are also poor families that are thought by the government and non-profit organizations to farm, so they would have a source of income like in South Africa.

This becomes their job for them to live a better life. If you’re planning to visit the place, you may choose from several South Africa tours that would show you its beauty, culture and diversity. Don’t forget to visit the locals and support them by purchasing organic products.

 Good for the Health

Since natural products and methods are used in farming organic foods, you can be sure that they are free from chemicals. Products that were farmed with the use of various chemicals solutions may contain substances that may not be good for your health. Organic foods are healthier.

Tastes Better

When chemicals are used in farming crops, you may still be able to taste that on the food when eaten.  This is not the case with organic foods since they do not contain any form of chemicals. They are fresh and they also taste great.

These are just some of the reasons why you should consider eating organic foods. It’s good not only for you, but for the environment too.

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Imported Organic Food: Why You Should Go Local

With the rise of the popularity of organic food today, consumers often leave out the question of where their organic food comes from. This is because restaurants, shops, and sellers are quick to label their food as “organic” and “natural”, but they do not inform their customers or know where they source it. That is why this article aims to explain how international transportation practices used in the importation of organic food from various countries affects consumers’ health and the environment.

1. The Fumigation of Cargo Containers Containing Organic Food

Although it is still a small-scale operation, the demand for organic food in developed countries, namely the United States and Europe, has sparked the need for massive transportation of organic food in cargo containers like this. However, even if farmers and processors abroad produce high quality organic food on their end, the for rent cargo containers used for shipping perishable goods such as these undergo a certain process that has a large and harmful effect on organic food: fumigation. Although this process kills all pests or prevent insect infestations, it still uses chemicals such as aluminium and magnesium phosphide that taint the content of the cargo. In the case of organic food stores in treated shipping containers, it no longer stays organic by the time it gets to your plate because it has also been treated with synthetic substances.

2. Organic Food is Sometimes Mixed with Non-Organic Products

Cargo container companies should ideally observe important rules when shipping organic food: first, they should thoroughly clean the all of the holds, regardless of its previous load, using safe cleaning detergents; and second, organic food must be separated from non-organic food at all times. While both rules ensure that the cargo is not contaminated with chemicals and insects, some carriers do not record their cleaning procedures or are not aware that organic food must be treated differently for the consumer’s sake.

3. Higher Pollution due to Importation

Related to the first one, the impact of importing organic food contributes to the destruction of the environment. When transported by airplane, there are greenhouse gas emissions produced. On the other hand, transporting organic food by ship can contribute to oil pollution in the ocean. So by the time the imported organic food gets to the market, the pollution has contributed to the rise of asthma and other respiratory diseases in many parts of the world. That is why studies have shown that sourcing locally-produced food can minimize pollution and global warming across the globe.

With these issues in mind, it is important to be aware of the organic food you buy and eat everyday. Aside from making sure that it is not contaminated by chemicals, it also pays to make an effort to know if the source of organic food in the community is also aware of these health and environment issues regarding the transportation of organic food from abroad. Hand-in-hand, you both can make better choices when it comes to the health, nutrition, and environment of the community, society, and the world.

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The Organic Lifestyle

With the fast paced lifestyles we lead in the present, more people are starting to suffer from a myriad of ailments, ranging from obesity to heart diseases. Because of the ever growing number of people stricken with various illnesses, people are starting to veer towards different lifestyles. As compared to years back, people have become more conscious about their diets. As illnesses even ail those who are in their prime years, people have started to revamp their food intake. People have become more particular about the kind of food they eat, thus the sudden uptrend in the sales of organic food being sold in the market.

Benefits of Choosing An Organic Lifestyle

As conventional methods of growing produce would often include the usage of pesticides, produce which have been grown in the conventional manner are often attributed to play a role in the present day’s myriad of illnesses. But by purchasing organic food, one can not only be certain of the nutrients they will get, but they can also ascertain that they will not be ingesting any kind of medication used in conventional methods of farming.

How to Start Living Organically

As the organic food industry is not yet fully established, the food you can get that are grown organically are quite limited. Although there are quite a number of vendors that sell organic produce, there is often not that many choices as compared to the number of choices you have in the market for produce that are grown through conventional ways. But you can start by purchasing vegetables that are grown organically. These organic produce are vegetables and the likes that are grown in farms or a pergola, whose soil does not contain any pesticides. Using vermiculture in place of fertilizer, the produce grown in organic farms or gardens have been said to retain more nutritional content as compared to the conventionally grown produce. So during your next marketing session, do take the time to pick up some organic vegetables. They might be pricier as compared to the regular ones you buy. But remember, you can never put a price tag on good health.

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The Use of Hessian Bags in Agriculture

People carry bags made from different materials these days. One of the most popular materials being used to make bags is hessian, a traditional fiber made from weaving the fibers of the jute plan skin. There are several names to bags made from jute such as burlap, gunny bag or hessian bag. A lot of consumers, especially environmentalists, believe that jute bags are the better choice since they are made from a natural material and thus, biodegradable, compared to the ones made from plastic or paper which do not last that long.

Aside from being eco-friendly and durable, hessian bags like the ones here play a vital role in agriculture as well.

First, hessian bags are used as container for coffee beans, potatoes, rice and other crops. Since these bags are made from woven fabric, they allow for contents to breathe which is very ideal for products, specifically crops, which are very sensitive to moist. Plastic and other synthetic materials may not be suitable for some crops as they tend to trap moist.

Another importance of jute bags is its use to prevent water damage to crops. There are instances in which water may flood the plain which needless to say is destructive for the crops. In order to prevent this, jute bags filled of sand will be used to stop water from entering the plains. These bags of durable and can hold large amounts of sand. Jute sandbags are not only used in farming but also in preventing water damage to residential areas.  

Bags made from the jute plant are also used in another branch of agriculture, which is horticulture. Jute bags are used to efficiently avoid crop damage during the cold seasons. They may also be used as frost protection for materials used in construction industries. Jute bags are also used to protect seeds, in landscaping as well as weed control.

Environmentalists are now urging people to use biodegradable bags to save the Earth. Using jute bags does not only benefit you as a consumer but it also benefits the Earth where we live in.

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How Personal Trainer Jake Florez Switched To Organic Foods and Gardening

Health fanatic and personal trainer Jake Florez was not eating as healthy as he is now. As a personal trainer at Next Level Fitness in Orange County, CA, he is looked up to as a food, health, and training expert. However, just 3 years ago, Jake was a completely different person.

Jake’s Story Proves It’s Never Too Late to Change

You would not believe it, but in the past his favorite foods were cheesy baked Mac, blueberry pancakes with lots of maple syrup, cream pies, chocolate sundaes, 2-pound burgers, soda, french fries, and other fast food. These foods were just part of his regular diet that he ate on a daily basis in the past. Sometimes he would even guzzle down an entire one-liter soda with just one meal. He confessed that he would often eat when he is bored.

Jake disliked cooking and preferred to eat out instead. Going and coming home from work, he would always stop by at the nearest fast food chain in his neighborhood. During lunchtime, he would often go for a large order of fries, and soda with his cheeseburger.

The abusive food intake went on for years. Before Jake knew it, he gained a lot of weight and his face became covered with acne. He got food allergies and would develop “big ugly red blotches” from time to time. The itch would drive him crazy. On top of that, he would get dizzy whenever he got hungry. Jake even found it hard to breathe and he easily got tired. His condition worsened and this alarmed him. So, he went to see a doctor, because he had become too overweight for his liking. The unhealthy overeating also made his blood sugar spike up. His doctor warned him it might lead to diabetes and other complications if he continued to eat the way he did.

That was Jake’s wake up call…

How Jake Got Into Eating Organic and Gardening

He promised himself to eat healthy starting from that day on. It was not an easy switch. Jake had to overcome his cravings for fast food and sugary drinks. He started planning what to eat, and he avoided eating too much low quality meat and dairy products. Instead, he opted for foods and meat that were organic and grass-fed. In the morning, he would start with a green veggie juice – composed of celery, spinach, green apple, and carrots. Then in between meals, he would snack on an apple or carrot. By lunchtime, he would go for a salad dressed with light vinaigrette or olive oil. By dinner, he would go back to juicing with a grilled lean chicken breast. According to Jake’s fitness blog, after just ten days, of strict dieting his skin cleared up and he did not suffer from allergic rashes. He even felt more energized and noticed he felt less bloated.

Upon seeing these great results, Jake decided to make this new diet of his permanent, but the only problem was how expensive it was to always buy organic foods from the market. So he decided to use a space in his backyard to create garden beds for vegetables. He planted tomatoes, kale, spinach, cabbages, carrots, and other vegetables he can use for juicing. He even planted an apple and an orange tree in the corners of his backyard. Tending his garden, according to Jake, had become an enjoyable and relaxing activity. On his patio, where he can look over his vegetable garden, he set up a picnic table. There he likes to relax, munch on the food he grows, or just sips green tea while reading the morning paper.

Going organic, growing a garden, and eating healthy was the best decision that Jake ever made in his life. Now, Jake exercises, grows his own food, and prepares most of his own meals. All of these activities are something that Jake truly enjoys on a daily basis thus making him healthier and happier.

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Economic Benefits of Organic Food Production

At a time when most US-based foods are manufactured and distributed by large food production corporations, the need to revert and establish organic food production systems is quite high. According to Organic Consumers Association, the Industrialized Food Production system was introduced in the 1950s with the aim of providing plentiful and cheap food to US citizens. Although it was successful in producing high quantities of food, the cost paid was in terms of increased inorganic foods and reduced organic farming practices. The consequent result was seen in higher obesity rate, deteriorated health and lower nutrition levels of the general masses. Read on to find out some of the economic benefits of organic food production and why should it be promoted and adapted on a larger scale. 

Increase in Employment Level
By building up organic food production facilities and adopting it's practices, a whole new array of employment opportunities are bound to develop. Along with increased need of labor and farmers, there is also a wide scope of entrepreneurial opportunities leading to the development of small and medium enterprises. Due to this, the average income level would increase and so would the living standard of the particular sector. 

Lesser Environmental Hazards and Protective Measures
Since there will be no need of injecting hormones or keeping them in an anti-bacterial environment, lesser chemicals will be used and environmental hazards will decline. A sizeable budget is set every year to compensate for and invest in protective measures against the harmful fumes released by inorganic production of food, the budget can be put to better use such as funds and grants for organic food farmers and distributors.

Reduced Diseases and Healthcare Costs
The diseases and health issues that take place due to the consumption of inorganic foods would reduce considerably with the increase of organic food production and usage. Many children and adults alike have to face indigestion problems, and side effects of inorganic foods that can be read on WebMD in detail. Saving on the healthcare costs and reduced diseases is a positive input for the economy and people in general. Organic foods can be stored and consumed for longer periods without any bacteria forming in them, options such as food dehydrating and steaming can help in organic food storage which is healthier than inorganic foods. There are plenty of useful food dehydrator reviews websites like http://www.dehydratorreviewsguide.com/. Excalibur dehydrator review can be found here on that same website.

Economies of Scale at the Cost of Pollution
Industrialized food production systems give the advantage of economies of scale by producing larger batches of food. However, the disadvantage of producing in larger chunks is increased pollution in land, water and air by the use of chemicals for herbicides, fertilizers and insecticides. Some of the economic benefits in organic food production include farming methods that are low in cost, labor intensive and protect the animals from chemicals too. The different kinds of chemicals fed to animals produce animal waste that pollutes the land, water and air. By adapting organic food production practices, the environment will definitely be safeguarded against from pollution.

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Nutritious Gifts that are Worth the Hassle

When choosing a gift for a loved one, we tend to look out for stuff that the receiver would love to have and take benefit from. According to our opinion, there is no gift better than a nutritious, mouth watering treat that adds on to the health benefits of the receiver, and also leaves a pleasant taste on the lips. Let’s go through some of the most nutritious gifts that are worth the hassle, and should be opted more over other stuff like household decoration pieces or clothes that simply turn to piles of junk in a matter of time without any productive use of it.

Basket of Fresh Organic Fruits
Organic fruits that are fresh, juicy and right out of the farms are truly a treat. Fruits enhance the body’s hydration level, along with important fiber, vitamins and minerals that safeguard the body from different types of health issues. It helps in reducing weight, keeping the skin fresh and fights against inflammation. Moreover, the yummy taste of fresh fruits is simply irreplaceable. Check out fruit basket decoration ideas at Martha Stewart.

Gourmet Snacks
Gourmet gift baskets have been one of the trendiest and most loved gift items of the seasons. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it even serves as a great nutritious gift item. Gifting high quality cheese sticks or cheese crisps is a great idea for food lovers, visit http://www.cheesesticks.com/GiftsAndAssortments for gift basket snacks ideas and items. The mouth watering flavors of vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate not only increase blood circulation but also pumps the right amount of adrenaline for a healthy heart and glowing skin.

Stocks of Seasoning
For encouraging home cooked meals, a good friend might consider gifting, home made stocks of seasoning. These stocks can be easily prepared at home, the spices and herbs using in the seasoning would be healthy and nutritious along with a good hygiene level. For instance, taco seasoning, healthy ranch dressing mix, homemade Italian seasoning etc can be easily prepared and stocked in beautiful mason jars to be gifted to loved ones. For more ideas or simple recipes of these DIY seasoning stocks, visit the Wellness Mama page.

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