Tag Archives: environmental working group

how you can help those affected by hurricane sandy

31 Oct

We send our love and wishes to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. It’s hard to sit there and watch, so if you want to action and help out those who were adversely affected by the storm, we have compiled some steps you can take:

Source: abcnews.go.com

  • One way to help is by donating to the Red Cross. All donations will provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by the storm. To donate, visit www.redcross.org, call 800-Red-Cross or text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Nearly 100 Red Cross blood drives were canceled because of Sandy, so blood supplies are low in the areas affected the most. The Red Cross asks that those who can donate to schedule an appointment to give blood. The New York Blood Center is urging people to donate blood for those in the New York/New Jersey area. To donate, call 800-933-2566 or visit www.nybloodcenter.org.
  • The Salvation Army has dozens of mobile feeding units and shelters along the East Coast that are working to serve thousands in the most heavily hit areas. Visit www.salvationarmyusa.org to donate.
  • Feeding America has thousands of pounds of emergency food, water and supplies in the disaster zone that it is working to distribute to the storm’s victims. To donate, visit www.feedingamerica.org or call 800-910-5524.
  • AmeriCares is providing medicine and other supplies to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. To donate, visit www.americares.org.
  • World Vision is distributing flood clean-up kits, personal hygiene items and emergency food kits to people hit by the hurricane. To donate, visit www.worldvision.org.
  • Save the Children is also working to provide relief to families and their children. Visit www.savethechildren.org to donate.
  • Samaritan’s Purse is asking for volunteers to help storm victims. To volunteer, visit their website.

Source: cnn.com

“If you are planning to give to a nonprofit in the wake of any disaster, verify that it is legitimate. Charity evaluators like Guidestar and Charity Navigator are good ways to check that the organization you’re donating to is established and your funds will go where you intend.”

Conventional or Organic?

19 Sep

8099419727_c31c7bbe2cTwo weeks ago, Stanford University published their controversial study in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluding that organic produce has no added nutritional health benefits over their conventionally grown counterparts.

However, one of the few distinguishable advantages of organic fruits and vegetables is that there is a lower risk of pesticide exposure. Despite this, the conventionally grown produce that was reviewed contained pesticide levels within the safety limits set by the EPA.

It was noted in the study that children are especially vulnerable when it comes to pesticide exposure, since they are maturing and their immune systems are more sensitive. Because childhood is a critical period in human development, exposure to pesticides during that time may cause adverse effects.

According to the FDA, foods labeled “organic” must be certified under the National Organic Program. They must also be grown and processed using organic farming methods that promote biodiversity and recycling. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, bioengineered genes, antibiotics, hormones, and radiation cannot be used. For more information on organic food labels, click here. To read about the challenges small farmers face should they chose to become certified organic, click here.

In the study it was found that organic produce has a 30 percent lower risk of containing detectable pesticide levels. The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of the twelve foods containing the highest levels of pesticides, calling them the Dirty Dozen (with apples, celery, and bell peppers at the head of list). The Clean 15 on the other hand are the foods lowest in pesticides, with onions, sweet corn, and pineapple as the top three least contaminated. Here is their methodology.

What this study did not focus on, was the nutritional, environmental and community value of locally grown produce. Eating local produce offers various health benefits for our bodies, and our planet. According to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, the top five reasons to eat locally are:

  1. taste
  2. environmental concern
  3. community
  4. variety
  5. health

Our food now travels an average of 1,500 miles before ending up on our plates.

At Butter Beans, we have created close relationships with local food purveyors, purchasing as much of our produce as possible from nearby farmers to provide the freshest and most nutritious food to our students. A list of our suppliers can be found here.

Despite the emphatic reactions to this food study, it’s a step in the right direction for the quality and safety of the food we eat daily. This sort of dialogue shows that our communities are taking more interest in different methods of food production, which trickles down to how we feed our families. It is of utmost importance that we nourish ourselves everyday with fresh fruits and vegetables.

First Lady, Michelle Obama sums it up pretty well: “We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture — imagine this — where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them.”

Photo courtesy of ePsos.de