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“Organic is something we can all partake of and benefit from. When we demand organic, we are demanding poison-free food. We are demanding clean air. We are demanding pure, fresh water. We are demanding soil that is free to do its job and seeds that are free of toxins. We are demanding that our children be protected from harm. We all need to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done—buy organic whenever we can, insist on organic, fight for organic and work to make it the norm. We must make organic the conventional choice and not the exception available only to the rich and educated.” ― Maria Rodale, Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe
Every purchase you make is a vote with your dollar – a vote that has the power to lessen your impact on people, species, and planet. It all starts when we become informed global citizens and shift habits, a shift as simple as buying a piece of certified organic produce.
You’ve probably heard the term organic, but what exactly does certified organic mean, and why should you care? Certified organic means that item was grown and produced without toxic, synthetic pesticides or fertilizer and without genetic modification, which minimizes harm to the soil, water, air, humans and animals. Certified organic products promote ecological health and biodiversity by meeting specific production requirements as outlined by national organic programs and independent certifiers. Buying certified organic also means you’re supporting farmers and businesses that place human, animal, species, and environmental health first.
Let’s take an apple. The average conventionally grown apple has about 47 pesticide residues on its surface (47 pesticide residues – let that sink in), many of which are known or probable human carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer in living tissue). Check out what’s on your favorite foods here. Organic cotton is another example; the life cycle analysis of organic cotton found that energy demand was 62% lower than that of conventional cotton. Moreover, the total global warming potential of organic cotton is 46% lower than that of conventional cotton. For some more info on the benefits of organic cotton, check out our partner, Natracare’s, video on “5 Fantastic Facts About Cotton.”
The U.S. represents 43 percent of the global market for organic food, but less than one percent of total U.S. cropland is devoted to organic farming. There are many forward-thinking companies committed to organic and taking action to heal our planet. Today’s partner, Simply Organic, is one such company that believes embracing organics is key to a simply healthy way of life, and that dealing fairly with people is the key to a healthier society. One way that they are giving back to people and planet is by supporting organic research and education projects, sustainable agriculture scholarships, and social organizations such as organic urban gardens and community food banks.
We believe that every step we take together in a more ethical direction makes a difference in our ability to strengthen communities, personal health, environmental impact, and commitment to one another, and collective future. Turning Green lives by the statement that what you dream, you can do. Onward!
Product labels are super important. They’re created to help you better understand the ethics and intention behind what you buy, consume, and put in and on your body. However, if you’re not familiar with the specifications behind a label, you may not be making an entirely informed decision about your purchases. This challenge will prompt you to become a more conscious consumer.
To get started, read this article here about the benefits and basics of organic food and how to make organic more affordable. Feel free to seek out other resources as well to become that conscious consumer.
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Companies often use images like rolling green pastures, bright blue skies, vivid leaves, or words like “natural” or “farm fresh” to create the illusion that their products are eco-friendly, even when they’re not. This is when it matters most to be an informed consumer. This practice of using marketing and advertising to redirect messaging is referred to as “greenwashing”.
It’s your turn to be a detective.
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Upload a PDF Document with your responses, pictures of your 3 products and their ingredient lists, your side by side comparison and your social media post. Include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
In today’s TED Talk, Ali Partovi, a founder of tech non-profit Code.org, previous board member of FoodCorps and vocal investor in sustainable farming, speaks about how important it is for policy makers to write laws that support organic farmers and the future of organic agriculture for all of us. With more and more people demanding organic food, why are our policies still focused on supporting and subsidizing conventional agriculture? There is a better option for our health, our farmers and our planet that isn’t reflected in our policies.
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