Failure to Yield Any Benefit - The Truth About GMOs

I watched the movie Genetic Roulette online for about the third time. Each time I watch it, I see a new fact about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) that I hadn’t really paid attention to quite as clearly before. This time, it was the statement about the chemical companies who promote GMOs have been promising that the use of GMOs would create higher yields of food and therefore feed the world. Except that hasn't panned out - in fact, just the opposite. If you want to read the study for yourself, you can read it at the Union of Concern Scientists’ in their Failure to Yield report. The truth about the use of GMOs is quite different. The fact is that without GMOs, there is still plenty of food in the world to feed everyone. The problem is not the production of food, but the distribution of food which is a whole other problem to solve. So, let’s put that misinformation to rest. Still, chemical companies would have you believe that we NEED GMOs in order to manage our production so we can all eat more at a lower cost. In most industrialized nations, the problem is not about having enough food and it’s become more a problem of having healthy food. According to the Union of Concern Scientists, the promises of increased production are false. According to the USC,
“Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields.”
In fact, many farmers are beginning to see that their yields are lower after buying these GMO seeds and spraying chemical products on those seeds. One cotton farmer interviewed in Genetic Roulette said he began to really question his initial decision to use GMO seed when he began reading the dire health warnings on the seed bag itself. Don’t eat it, don’t touch it, don’t breath it, don’t let it touch your skin….sounds like the warning label on poison, doesn’t it? The bottom line is this - chemical companies like Monsanto have been promoting the use of chemicals under the promise of higher yields (i.e. more crops for the farmer as lower costs), and that has not been the case. As farmers see their crop yields drop and their animals suffer from eating GMO crops, they’re beginning to understand that their livelihood depends on them NOT using GMOs. The tide is turning, people are starting to understand the link between GMOs and human illnesses that seem to be on a steady increase. As these links between GMOs and human health, livestock health, crop yields and agricultural sustainability are made, informed people will vote with their dollars and buy foods that do not have GMOs. Our health as a nation, as a world and as a species literally depends on it. Read more!


If GMOs Are So Great, Why Not Advertise Them?

As you’ve probably noticed, there’s a lot of buzz around genetically modified organisms (GMO), especially in food. California voters are going to be heading to the polls to determine if manufacturers will be required to label GMOs in their food products in that state. California is the 8th largest economy in the world (yes, you read that right), so if manufacturers are required to label GMOs in California, all products they sell (likely) will be labeled since it’s not cost-effective to have packaging for California and packaging for the rest of the country.

I can’t speak to the text of California’s Prop 37 – I’m not a voter there and haven’t read the bill in its entirety. However, I can speak to wanting to know what’s in the food I’m eating. That’s pretty fundamental. And, to repurpose one of the common arguments FOR Prop 37, if GMOs are not harmful or better yet, if they’re so great, why the refusal to label them as such?

When foods are packed with Omega 3’s, manufacturers splash that all over the packaging. The big thing right now seems to be “made with 33g whole grain”, which I honestly don’t know exactly why that matters since that product has 1g fiber per serving….but I digress. The point is when there’s a health benefit – real or perceived – manufacturers are quick to pounce on it and announce it all over their packaging, even when it’s just “window dressing”. So why don’t we see big splashy packaging announcing “packed with GMOs!” or “made with the latest GMOs, try it today and taste the difference!” ?

We don’t because there’s no consumer benefit to GMOs (lots of downside, but that’s for another post). The benefit is to large growers and manufacturers and, as most major issues in life, it comes down to money.

So, here’s my suggestion for you – this month is the 3rd annual non-GMO month, sponsored by the Non-GMO Project. In celebration, check out the movie Genetic Roulette (http://www.geneticroulette.com) or visit the folks at Responsible Technology (http://www.responsibletechnology.org/) to learn more. It’s a fascinating topic and when you have a wide range of people from many different disciplines opposing GMOs, it’s worth paying attention to. Learn more, become informed, form your own opinion. In the meantime, shopOrganic just relaunched as shopOrganic & shopGMOFree to let our customers know that every product we carry is free of GMOs. We’ve dropped entire product lines because the manufacturer indicated their products all contain some GMOs (that was a real jaw-dropper). We’ve added new products (often from smaller producers) to offer products that we know are organic & GMO-free. Visit today and shop safe. Read more!


We're re-booting our blog and revamping our website this month in honor of the 3rd annual non-GMO month.

shopOrganic, the premier online retailer of organic foods and eco-friendly products, has just re-launched as shopOrganic & shopGMOfree.

Studies show that a vast majority of Americans, more than 90%, want to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant or animal whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. And though the data is not clear on whether or not these foods are safe to consume, it seems reasonable to know whether or not the food you're eating contains GMOs. In the U.S. there are currently no restrictions on GMO’s, but in many other countries around the world, GMOs are banned. These countries include the entire European Union as well as China and Russia. Alas, the U.S. is not on that list....yet.

Without mandatory labeling, it's difficult for consumers to determine whether their favorite products are produced using GMO’s. As U.S. consumer concern over GMO’s reaches critical mass, interest in non-GMO shopping options is on the rise and shopOrganic & shopGMOFree have responded to this need.

shopOrganic has responded to this need by ensuring that the thousands of organic foods and eco-friendly products offered on their site are GMO free. The newly redesigned site focuses on consumers searching for non-GMO foods and provides reassurance about the nature of the products they purchase. The timing of the re-launch coincides with both the celebration of the 3rd annual Non-GMO month and the upcoming California vote on the labeling of GMO products.

shopOrganic & shopGMOfree believes that everyone has a right to safe and healthy food and they make it easy for concerned consumers to shop without the worry that they’ll be feeding themselves and their families GMO foods.

October marks the 3rd annual Non-GMO Month. Started in order to raise awareness of GMO’s this month-long educational opportunity broadens the knowledge to a wider and wider population each year. The issue has created a groundswell of concern in California, where their population will soon vote on Proposition 37, a GMO labeling initiative. Whether or not that proposition passes, shopOrganic & shopGMOfree remains a trusted non-GMO shopping source.

shopOrganic.com was founded in 2008 to provide consumers with access to organic, non-GMO and eco-friendly products. The company is located in Tucson, Arizona and is privately held. Read more!


Gourmet Greens - Foraging and Farming

I read a delightful story in the New Yorker this afternoon that made me recall how much I just love food. The article entitled "The Food At Our Feet" (by Jane Kramer) (click here to read it in entirety) recalls a summer of foraging for gourmet greens...

OK, so never mind that it's autumn in the U.S heading briskly into winter. Never mind that those tender wild greens won't be around anytime soon, but reading this article will bring you back to those wonderful summer months even if all you did was sit in your air conditioned office slogging through mounds of paperwork.

That said, I recently discovered our own little version of wild foraging - well, not exactly wild and, ok, not foraging. My weekly farm basket comes to me courtesy of a local organic farm just southeast of Tucson. Sunizona Family Farms is not only organic, it's vegan organic (who knew?) . I had seen a variety of farm basket programs but never signed up until I found one that was all organic all the time. Now, every week, I get delightful micro-greens along with spinach, kale, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and more.

My recent fave? Organic, unbelievably delicious spaghetti squash.

More importantly, I'm forced to get out of my habitual food grooves and explore new tastes, new cooking (or not-cooking) methods and flavors.

So, for those of you who have access to a farm basket program in your area, try it. Of course, if it's organic, it's primo, but supporting local farmers who are using sustainable methods is a good starting point. The point is to start.

Support your small local farmers, support your local organic farmers and support small businesses making a big difference (and yes, shopOrganic.com is a small business and one you can proudly support). Our motto - shop local, then shopOrganic.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May your holiday be filled with family, fabulous food and perhaps a few foraged (or locally farmed) greens!

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Right2Know and Your2Cents

There seems to be a growing theme around 2's right now...This month, there is the Right2Know march heading down the East coast of the U.S. demanding the right to know what's in our food. There is growing concern about the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply. The march is intended to bring awareness to this often quiet but disturbing trend. You can read more about the Right2Know march and lend your voice and support by clicking here.

This month, we're happy to announce an initiative that is part of the answer to that problem. The Rodale Institute has launched the Your 2 Cents campaign to raise funds to support organic farms and the future of organic farming. Maria Rodale - and the Rodale Institute are working to help fund the future of organics through getting manufacturers to donate a portion of product sales to the Institute.

When we learned of the program, we contacted Rodale and asked to join in. So, starting October 8, 2011, we're donating 2 cents from every sale we make.

Now, that may not seem like a lot to you, but as a small company still competing with the 'big boys' out there, we're doing our part. We'll be looking to expand our participation through providing an opportunity for our customers to also put their 2 cents in -

As I like to say, one by one and all together, we can make a difference.

Visit Right2Know or Your 2 Cents today to learn more, or head to shopOrganic, buy healthy organic products and contribute to our organic future that way.

Now, go out there and enjoy your day!
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Summertime Means Fresh Organic Produce - Chock Full of Anti-Oxidants

Summertime is a great time to increase your consumption of local, organic fruits and vegetables. Here in the arid southwest, it can be a challenge, but with just a bit of water and generous shade, lettuce, tomatoes, basil, oregano, mint, eggplant and a few other favorites will grow and produce the most local of local produce. So, while you're busy enjoying the fruits (or veggies, as it were) of your labor, you can also know you're eating the healthiest food available. So here's a question for you - do you know which foods are the highest in anti-oxidants? Take this little quiz...

1. True or false: Anti-oxidants protect us from the evils of free radicals.

2. True or false: Some anti-oxidants are made in our bodies.

3. True or false: Organic farming methods can increase anti-oxidant levels in foods.

4. True or false: Commercial, pasteurized juice has 20% more anti-oxidants than an equal amount of fresh fruit.

And the answers? Virtual drumroll please...
1. T
2. T
3. T
4. F - commercial pasteurized juice has about 20% less anti-oxidants than most organic juice or homemade juice.

Here's a list of foods with the highest anti-oxidant power and many of them are in season now. Boost your immune system, aid your overall health and add 3 or 4 servings of these anti-oxidant heavy hitters to your diet.

Blackberries (noticing the theme, berries berries berries!)
Red grapes

What the full list? Read this great article from the Organic Center. (PDF format)
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Imagine That....Pesticides Linked to Lower Brain Function

We've been proponents of organic food since I don't remember when...but if you needed anymore compelling evidence, here it is. An article posted today on WebMD here shows that pesticide exposure in the womb and during early childhood can have a dramatic impact on IQ. "Even at relatively low levels, organophosphates may be most hazardous to fetuses and young children, where healthy brain development depends on a carefully orchestrated sequence of biological events."

Although our friends at the FDA banned the use of these products in residential locations in 2001, it is still in use commercially....

Fruits and vegetables are still sprayed with these organophosphates - so here you are thinking you're helping your children develop good eating habits by loading them up with fresh fruits and veggies...only wait, they're not so great when they're chock full of chemicals that impair your child's mental development.

So, even more reason to make sure you choose organic. The more we learn about pesticides and the impact on human (and planetary) health, the more it becomes a no brainer...pun intended.

Choose organic. It's that easy. Want to learn more? Start here to learn more about why choosing organic just makes sense.

Here's to working together to create a greener planet. shopOrganic.com.

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