The Five Best Things About Organic Farming

I have posted a number of blogs and documents over the past two years that address some of the common myths about Organic farming.  From that, one might conclude that I am “anti-Organic,” which I am not.  There are many things about Organic that I have appreciated ever since my grandfather first taught me about it in his Organic garden in the 1960s.   I appreciate them more as an agricultural scientist.  I would like to address five positive features in this post, and then tomorrow I will talk about the 5 things that I see as most limiting for Organic.

1. Focus on Building Soil Quality

One often hears the argument that the world was always fed by Organic until the early 20thcentury.  That is not at all true.  Pre-industrial agriculture in the US and elsewhere was degrading the soil through tillage and depleting its nutrient stores.  It only “worked” because the population was small, and there was new, “virgin land” to exploit.  The greatest contribution of the Organic movement of the early 20th century was its recognition of the importance of building soil quality in terms of organic matter content and the complex aggregate structure and biological activity that come with that.  Neither pre-industrial farming or early industrial farming had that soil health focus.  The importance of soil health is much more widely appreciated today, but it started with Organic.

2. The Use of Cover-Cropping and Biological Nitrogen Fixation

Cover cropping is the practice of planting a single or mixed stand to grow after an annual crop is harvested so that it grows until winter sets in and then again in the early spring before planting of the next crop.  This cover crop is not harvested and serves instead as a way to “feed” the soil ecosystem and build up organic matter.  The cover crop can include legumes which have the ability to “fix” nitrogen from the air (with the help of a bacterial symbionts) and reduce the amount  of nitrogen fertilizer that is needed for the following crop.  This practice in not unique to Organic but is more common on Organic farms.  Annual crops followed by cover crops are a reasonable imitation of the perennial prairie biome that created such fertile soils prior to cultivation.

3. Rotational Diversity

Crop rotation is a good idea for any kind of farming.  It breaks pest cycles.  It spreads out risk. When legumes are in the rotation it reduces nitrogen fertilizer needs.  The USDA Organic rules don’t specify any specific degree of rotation, but diverse rotations have been a long tradition of Organic farming.  Conventional farmers can certainly rotate crops, but since they are using leased land and since they get no “Organic price premium,” it can be economically difficult to justify planting anything other than the 1-2 most profitable crop options.

4. Fostering Biocontrol of Pests Where Possible

Some broad spectrum insecticides used in Conventional farming kill off the other “good bugs” that could otherwise suppress the population of pest insects.  Organic growers can use pesticides that qualify as “natural” and these are generally not disruptive to natural biocontrol.  Some Organic growers also release biocontrol insects.  Conventional growers who employ Integrated Pest Management practices (IPM) are also fostering biocontrols.

5. Opportunities for Marketing Quality Options under the Organic Brand

Because Organic has become a widely recognized consumer brand, and since customers are used to the idea of paying premium prices for Organic, it makes it easier for growers to find markets for specialty items like heirloom tomatoes, purple fingerling potatoes, certain specific sweet corn hybrids, unusual grains…  This is a nice addition to the diversity of our diets.

These are five significant and good features of Organic.  They are also increasingly characteristics of progressive, conventional farming.

 

 

SOURCE: https://sustainablog.org/2011/03/the-five-best-things-about-organic-farming/

 

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What Is Organic Farming And It’s Importance

Organic farming is a broad concept with extreme application. It is well appreciated on a large scale by the people as now with the help of it they can easily grow their own food. If you have a little bit of free time with you then you need not to face any kind of problem. You can prepare and serve good quality delicious food by doing organic farming at your home.

It is not true that organic farming is practiced at a small scale only. By having a trip of farming sector you can easily understand how much vast this sector actually is. This is not the case some time before. Few years back it was not a highly thriving and demanding sector but now the case has totally changed. It is now not limited to a small scale industry as day by day more corporate sectors are taking interest in this field. Large corporate farming is taking keen interest in the concept of organic farming. Continuous research is going on to find out the way by which huge fields of a single crop can be grown. No one can deny the fact that in the process of organic farming, pests are believed to be the major threat. Due to harmful impact on the biodiversity unnatural pesticides are not much preferred to use.

If you are going for the natural pesticides for controlling the pests then it is certainly an eco friendly approach but believed to be much expensive in contrast to unnatural ones. Some time before, due to expensive nature they were not much preferred in the process of organic farming. After the entrance of large scale industries with huge budget this can be achieved now very easily. Natural pesticides can be a good option when it is about the large scale organic farming but if you are going for it at your home or at a small scale in a separate piece of land then it is advisable to look for any other good option. This is because like other kinds of farming organic farming also requires the process of sowing, cultivating and harvesting. If you do not have proper arrangement of water for the purpose of irrigation then you require depending largely on the rain water. If you are concluding the process of organic farming at your home then irrigation is not a big issue but even at a small scale proper arrangement of water is very essential. If you do not have a huge budget with you then it can be a difficult work for you. You require investing a good amount on purchase of seeds, irrigation, fertilizers, harvesting, etc.

There is much debate till now on the use of unnatural pesticides in the process of organic farming. Several environmentalists and consumer protection organization have claimed that the use of unnatural pesticides not only damage the environment but also have an adverse impact on the quality of food. For killing the insects and pests these pesticides are used but they are not considered helpful after sometime. It is so because these insects as well as the pests easily get adapted to the effects of the chemicals involved in them and so these pesticides looses their worth. Sooner or later it damages the health of the final consumer who without knowing consumes a large amount of lethal chemicals and synthesized materials along with the natural food. Thus it is injurious for the health of the human being as well.

Thus there are several ways by which you can have your favorite vegetables as well as fruits and that too with the help of inorganic as well as organic farming. As there are several pros as well as cons of both it is up to you to decide the one that is best for you. You can make use of organic farming to turn your dreams into reality and the best part is it is already benefiting millions of people so you are not at all required to worry for it as well.

 

 

SOURCE: http://www.streetdirectory.com/food_editorials/health_food/organic_food/what_is_organic_farming_and_is_it_important.html

Cacao vs. Cocoa: What You Need to Know

When it comes to chocolate, there’s never just one or two choices to satisfy your cravings. There’s not only numerous brands of chocolate out there, but also many different forms.

For instance: cacao vs. cocoa – is there a difference and which one is best?

Cacao and cocoa may sound similar, but both of them are unique when it comes to taste, nutrition, and cost.  If you’re unsure if you should buy cacao or cocoa, check out these differences below so you can make a well informed, choco-licious decision!

Cacao

  • Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. Cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods and the highest source of magnesium of all foods. It has been used throughout many cultures for years for health purposes and even used as a high trade commodity.
  • The cacao fruit tree, also known as Theobroma Cacao, produces cacao pods which are cracked open to release cacao beans. From there, cacao beans can be processed a few different ways.
  • Cacao butter is the fattiest part of the fruit and makes up the outer lining of the inside of a single cacao bean. It is white in color and has a rich, buttery texture that resembles white chocolate in taste and appearance.
  • Cacao butter is removed from the bean during production and the remaining part of the fruit is used to produce raw cacao powder.
  • Cacao nibs are simply cacao beans that have been chopped up into edible pieces, much like chocolate chips without the added sugars and fats. Cacao nibs contain all of the fiber, fat, and nutrients that the cacao bean does.
  • Cacao paste comes from cacao nibs that have been slowly heated to preserve the nutrients and are melted into a bark known that is a less-processed form of dark chocolate bars. Cacao paste can be used to make raw vegan desserts or you can just eat it as an indulgent snack by itself!
  • Cacao powder contains more fiber and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean are still intact. Cacao is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, cholesterol-free saturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, natural carbohydrates, and protein that make it an excellent source of nutrients.

Cocoa

  • Cocoa is the term used to refer to the heated form of cacao that you probably grew up buying at the store in the form of cocoa powder.
  • Though cocoa may seem inferior to raw cacao, it’s actually very good for you (and less expensive) if you choose a variety without added sugars and milk fats or oils.
  • Cocoa powder is produced similarly to cacao except cocoa undergoes a higher temperature of heat during processing. Surprisingly, it still retains a large amount of antioxidants in the process and is still excellent for your heart, skin, blood pressure, and even your stress levels.
  • If you buy cocoa powder, be sure you buy plain cocoa powder, not cocoa mixes which often contain sugar. Look for either regular cocoa powder or Dutch-processed (a.k.a. dark) cocoa powder.
  • Dutch-processed cocoa powder (dark cocoa) is cocoa powder that has been processed with an alkalized solution, making it less acidic and much richer in taste. Regular cocoa powder retains a more acidic nature and bitter taste, and is used in baking recipes with baking soda where Dutch-processed cocoa powder is not since it has already been alkalized.
  • Cocoa powder is a rich source of fiber, has little fat, and has a bit of protein in it as well.

You can use cocoa powder and cacao powder interchangeably in baking recipessmoothies,oatmeal, cookies, homemade raw treats, or even stir them into your coffee for a homemade mocha.  Both cacao and cocoa are highly nutritious for you and are sure to satisfy your chocolate cravings around the clock. If you want more nutrients, I would suggest you choose cacao, but if you want fewer calories and decent source of antioxidants,  then definitely go with cocoa powder.

Need cacao and cocoa recipes? We’ve got you covered with plenty of recipes to choose from to satisfy your chocolate cravings!

Which one do you prefer — cacao or cocoa?

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/cacao-vs-cocoa-what-you-need-to-know/

The Top 8 Benefits Of Organic Food For Your Body & The World

Organic food has been growing in popularity in recent years, especially with the debate surrounding GMOs heating up, and the increased consumption of processed and fast foods. But with the production of organic foods comes a hefty price tag, with some produce costing as much as 47 per cent more than conventional varieties. Despite this drawback, the demand for organic food is overwhelmingly increasing worldwide. We take a look at the possible health benefits of organic food and find out whether they are worth the extra expense…

Are the benefits of organic food worth the expense?

What Exactly Is Organic Food?

The idea of organic food is a very simple one. It refers to the agricultural method of growing and processing foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and dairy products. Organic farming resembles the origins of farming and food production, without the use of artificial chemicals, antibiotics or genetic modification. There are strict guidelines that farmers and producers must follow in order to legally label their food as organic, but, essentially it means there cannot be any artificial food additives in it. That includes artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or MSG.

Organic produce

Producers who grow organic crops generally use natural fertilizers that would have been used generations ago on farms, such as animal manure and mulch. They also generally use old-style farming methods like crop rotation, ultimately improving soil quality and groundwater conservation in the process. Animals that are raised for organic meat or dairy products are not fed or injected with hormones or antibiotics. Organic farming reduces pollution, compared to modern-day farming methods, potentially making it better for the environment.

However, a label confirming something is organic, does not automatically translate to it being healthy. The same rules apply in relation to sugar content and food types…

 

What Is The ‘Dirty Dozen’?

About a decade ago, an organization called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) started releasing an annual list of foods with the highest pesticide load, called the ‘Dirty Dozen’. The most recent list includes strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. These fruits and vegetables tested positive for a number of chemical pesticide residues, showing higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce on the market. The EWG found that 98 per cent of strawberry samples, peaches, nectarines and apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue. A single sample of strawberries showed residue of 17 different pesticides, while a single grape sample and sweet bell pepper sample showed 15. According to the EWG, nearly three-quarters of the 6,953 produce samples tested by the US Department of Agriculture in 2014 showed pesticide residue.

Pesticides

However, the claims that the ‘Dirty Dozen’ fruits and vegetables cause any harm to human health were debunked in a study published in the Journal of Toxicology in 2011. The research found that exposure to the 10 most frequently detected pesticides on the list are at negligible levels. Researchers concluded that substituting organic fruits and vegetables for the conventionally produced fruits and vegetables on the list would not necessarily have any measurable health benefits.

So, Does Organic Food Have Any Benefits?

The short answer is, yes. There is some evidence available today suggesting that organic foods have health benefits for humans. But on top of that, there are other benefits of organic food, including animal welfare and positive environmental factors. Here are 8 benefits of organic food…

1. Organic Foods Have More Antioxidants

Antioxidant levels in organic plants can be up to 69 per cent higher than in conventionally grown foods. A number of lab and animal studies have found that healthy organic food may increase antioxidant content, helping to protect cells from damage. Scientists haven’t conclusively agreed upon why organic plants produce more antioxidants. However, one theory is that they do not need chemical pesticides to protect themselves against disease – they product their own protective compounds, which are antioxidants.

Organic vegetables

Research also found that organic diets may benefit the immune system, growth and reproduction. A number of comparative studies into the health value of organic foods showed lower nitrate content, less pesticide residues, and higher levels of vitamin C, phenolic compounds and omega-3 fatty acids. In a study where chickens were fed an organic diet, researchers found that the birds had reduced weight gain and had stronger immune systems.

2. Organic Foods May Contain More Nutrients

This is a sketchy one, because studies comparing the nutrient content in organic food and conventional food have come back with different results. The evidence to date suggests that organically grown food may have more nutrients, but because of the variation in production and food handling, it is a difficult subject to determine conclusively. Some research has found that, as well as providing higher antioxidant content, organic foods tend to have higher levels of important micronutrients, including vitamin C, zinc and iron. One study found that berries and corn grown organically contained 58 per cent more antioxidants and around 52 per cent more vitamin C than non-organic berries and corn.

Organic food

3. Organic Dairy And Meat Have Higher Levels Of Healthy Fatty Acids

A European study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2016 found that organic milk and meat contains about 50 per cent more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced milk and meat. In the largest study of its kind, researchers from a number of universities and research institutes, including Newcastle University, the Norwegian Institute for Biochemistry Research and Warsaw University of Life Sciences, reviewed more than 150 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat. They found noteworthy differences between organic and conventionally produced milk and meat, particularly in terms of fatty acid content, but also in concentrations of some essential minerals and antioxidants.

“Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function,” Newcastle University Professor of Food and Human Health, Chris Seal, said. “Our study suggests that switching to organic (milk and meat) would go some way towards improving intakes of these important nutrients.”

 

 

SOURCE: https://bembu.com/benefits-of-organic-food/

Sea Green Cafe: A Healthy Fix in Davao City

Davao’s usual food scene consists of grilled tuna, kinilaw, and durian, but this cafe really caught my heart due to its variety of unique and healthy dishes. Sea Green Cafe, located at Circumferential Road in Davao City, offers a pescetarian menu (no beef, chicken, or pork). They also only use local and organic ingredients to make hearty and healthy meals.

Sea Green Cafe: Your Healthy Fix in Davao City

The interior is really cozy and laidback. Plus, the sun shines through the glass walls to create perfect lighting for Instagram posts (hehe).

Sea Green Cafe: Your Healthy Fix in Davao City

A cozy nook for the outdoorsy type

Sea Green Cafe: Your Healthy Fix in Davao City

Sea Green Cafe: Your Healthy Fix in Davao City

Whether you’re from Davao or not, Sea Green Cafe is really a must-try. I had a hard time choosing dishes from their 3-page menu as everything sounded delish. Some of their bestsellers are the Shrimp Burger (THE BOMB) sided with veggie crisps, Eggplant Parmesan, Creamy Pesto Vegetable Linguine, and the Lemon Garlic Shrimps with Garlic Black Rice. I also tried the Grilled Okra with Red Curry & Lime Dressing – a unique way to serve okra.

Sea Green Cafe: Your Healthy Fix in Davao City

Sea Green Cafe: Your Healthy Fix in Davao City

Sea Green Cafe: Your Healthy Fix in Davao City

Sea Green Cafe: Your Healthy Fix in Davao City

Sea Green Cafe: Your Healthy Fix in Davao City

Everything I ate was a feast for my tastebuds and my tummy. The Shrimp Burger was really something and the Pesto Pasta may be the best I’ve tried. I wouldn’t mind flying all the way from Manila just for it. For dessert, try the Tablea Cheesecake – the cacao used is from the local farms of Davao. It really tastes like pure chocolatey goodness.

Tablea Cheesecake | Php90

How cute are those wooden chopping boards?

The ambiance is a 10/10 for me with its perfect vibe for an afternoon coffee, breakfast or simply anytime you’re hungry. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, a health buff or not; you won’t regret dining at Sea Green Cafe. You’ll get more than what you pay for.

Sea Green Cafe and Lifestyle Shop

(082) 3054765

seagreencafe@gmail.com

Mon-Sat: 8am-10pm Sunday: 8am-9pm

Instagram: @sea_green_cafe

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://www.wheninmanila.com/sea-green-cafe-healthy-fix-in-davao-city/