Archive for the ‘eco-friendly’ Category

Flat Stanley Goes Organic {Cascadian Farms Giveaway}

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Cooped up with the kids on yet another snow day? Here’s a fun way to think ahead to spring and learn a little something, too. Remember Flat Stanley? The world-traveling paper cut-out has gone digital, and through the Flat Stanley mobile app kids can now explore organic farming thanks to a partnership with Cascadian Farm.

Organic Stanley

While on the virtual farm tour, kids can explore where their food comes from, what organic means and why organic farming is important to protect the ecosystem. I didn’t even realize Flat Stanley has a sister now, Flat Stella — the foodie tot dressed her Flat Stella in a t-shirt and sporty skirt and they were off to the farm together.

Organic Stella

Ready to play? Download the free app, create your Flat Stanley or Flat Stella character and look for the Cascadian Farm logo in the far northwest corner of the US. (Cascadian Farm was founded in Washington’s Skagit Valley.)

About Cascadian Farm: Since 1972, Cascadian Farm® has grown from its original farm in the Skagit Valley to be recognized as a leading participant and champion in the organic movement. Since day one, the brand has been dedicated to organic goodness, making all of its products from organic ingredients. All Cascadian Farm products are made without GMOs or reliance on synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Cascadian Farm offers more than 75 delicious, high-quality organic products including cereals, granolas, frozen fruits, vegetables and potatoes, fruit spreads, granola bars, juice concentrates and more.

Here at the Foodie Tots house, we are big fans of their Cinnamon Crunch cereal. I appreciate that their organic cereals don’t have crazy amounts of sugar, contain no artificial colors or preservatives and are GMO-free.

Organic Stanley Cascadian Farm giveaway

GIVEAWAY: To spread the word about Flat Stanley’s new organic adventure, Cascadian Farm is offering a prize package (pictured above) to one FoodieTots reader. The prize includes an indoor gardening kit, Organic Stanley to color, and assortment of Cascadian Farm cereal, granola and granola bars. Enter in the giveaway widget below. Contest will end at 11:59pm EST next Thursday, February 6.

Disclosure: Cascadian Farm provided us with product samples and is sponsoring the prize package for this giveaway. No other compensation was received and all opinions, as always, are our own.

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Happy Earth Day! Hope you’re celebrating with some healthy, organic greens today. :)

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We spent some time finally cleaning up the garden this weekend. After a freezing cold March, April has been busy. Note to self: suck it up and get things started before Little League starts next year. What have you planted this year?

Bringing Greens to Inner DC

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Happy Earth Day! I was going to write with some Foodie Tots tips for going green — you know, plant a garden, join a CSA, go meatless, yada yada yada, but I’ve got some other exciting news instead. The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture — an awesome new nonprofit effort launched by local Neighborhood Restaurant Group — is just dollars away from raising the necessary funds to launch DC’s first ever Mobile Food Market. Check out the video, and if you’re so moved, consider chipping in a buck or two to get the bus on the road! (As of this post, they just need $90 dollars in the next 24 hours — so close!)

mobile market on kickstarter

I am so excited about what Arcadia has in store and look forward to visiting the farm later this spring for a first-hand look.

Dope-Free Dairy

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Part IV in the Sustainable Family Supper series

dairy cow

What’s the matter with rBST? I’ve written before about how my path to natural and organic food began with a look at milk. When I became pregnant with my son, milk took on a renewed significance as I eliminated sodas and caffeinated beverages from my diet. I finally got around to reading up on bovine growth hormones, a.k.a. rBST or rBGH. You probably already know that they are artificial hormones designed to increase estrogen in female cows, thus increasing their milk production. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its use in 1993, and like with so many other issues, refused to reexamine its safety despite growing consumer pressure and health concerns. The problem, or problems, are that the unnatural increase in production leads cows to develop infections at much greater rates, requiring them to be more heavily treated with antibiotics, which are passed on to milk consumers and flow out into soil and water with the cows’ waste. Then, there are studies linking rBST with increased breast, prostate and colon cancers in humans. The most galling part of the whole situation, in my opinion, is the ridiculous requirement by the FDA that requires dairy producers who label their milk rBST-free to include a disclaimer stating that “there is no difference between milk from cows treated with rBST and those who are not.” Actually, there are scientific studies showing that rBST is harmful and yet the burden is on the good actors to refrain from impugning the “good” name of the producers who continue to use rBST in the face of such studies.

Consumers Fight Back: The good news is that after repeatedly losing attempts in state legislatures to ban the use of rBST-free labels entirely (hello consumers’ right to know what they’re eating!), in the face of growing consumer pressure against the use of artificial hormones, its creator Monsanto actually sold off the product last year. Meanwhile, consumer campaigns targeting major dairy companies and grocers have successfully forced many companies to voluntarily reject the use of milk from cows treated with rBST. You can sign up to receive alerts from the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to stay apprised of the latest. Food & Water Watch offers downloadable and mobile (iPhone/Blackberry) lists of rBST-free brands by state. Last month, Dannon and Yoplait joined the roster of major yogurt producers rejecting rBST milk (Stoneyfield has never used it). In the cheese world, Tillamook‘s farmer cooperative led the industry in adopting a rBST-free policy back in 2005. Cabot Creamery is the latest to get on the drug-free dairy bandwagon, announcing that they will finally stop accepting rBST-containing milk as of August 1, 2009. Even *some* Kraft cheese products (2% milk line) are rBST-free.

Next Stop, Schools: So if consumers won’t buy it, where’s rBST-treated cows milk going? Some is still in use commercially, and of course much winds up in schools. Food & Water Watch has a campaign underway, coinciding with this year’s reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, urging Congress to give schools the ability to let schools choose to use rBST-free and/or organic milk. According to Food & Water Watch, one out of five pints of the milk served to public schoolchildren may contain rBST. (Visit their School Milk action center to learn more.)

Better Yet, Drink Organic: If you already drink rBST-free milk, you might also want to consider organic. If you have to choose what to buy organic, organic milk and meat may be more beneficial than organic produce because the pesticides on cows’ feed are concentrated in their digestive system – and nonorganic feed includes genetically-modified (GMO) grain. And make sure that you’re choosing a brand that scores well on the Cornucopia Institute organic dairy study, because while organic certification guarantees that cows are fed GMO- and pesticide-free grain, it does not guarantee that the cows were allowed to graze on grass or treated humanely. Certain big-organic producers (Aurora and Horizon, notably) are only slightly better than conventional feedlot operations. (There’s a reason some store-brand “organic” milk is priced significantly lower – avoid Safeway, Giant, Publix and Costco store brands, which are sourced from Aurora Organics, a company found by the USDA to have “willfully” violated 14 criteria of the federal organic standard. Visit the Organic Consumer Association action page to sign a petition asking these company CEOs to boycott green-washing “organic” suppliers.)

We’re lucky to have a local, though not organic-certified, dairy delivery service, but when I have to buy milk between deliveries or on the road, I try to find Organic Valley. They are a co-operative of farms organized regionally, so the milk you buy may actually be fairly locally-produced, and they provide support to their farmers to make their farms more environmentally-friendly, such as helping their member farms obtain grants to place wind turbines on their farms. I attended a presentation by an Organic Valley farmer at last fall’s Green Festival and fell in love with the adorable pictures of his happy little cows and tale of how they prefer listening to rock music over classical. A recent study found that cows who are called by name (typically signifying a higher level of care) produce more milk, naturally. I may be a little idealistic, but shouldn’t every cow live like that?

What About Raw Milk? I haven’t read enough yet to take an informed opinion on the highly controversial issue of raw milk. Its sale is banned here in Maryland and Virginia (unless in a “cow share” program in VA), so I haven’t had the option of trying it. (At least not since I was a kid with cow-owning friends! Its true nothing else tastes like truly fresh milk.) On the one hand, I’m inclined to trust farmers who are praticing time-tested method,s and raw milk proponents insist that there are a wealth of health benefits to drinking raw. On the other hand, cows are naturally dirty animals! (That’s not a scientific argument, just an observation.) All the more reason to get to know your food’s producers, of course, whatever the product. At any rate, if you want to learn more, CheeseSlave has a great post on the reasons she chooses raw milk and links to more resources.

Going Green Begins at the Kitchen Table

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Introducing the Foodie Tots’ Sustainable Family Supper Project

I started this blog to document our family’s efforts to eat healthier and more sustainably, and that has trickled over to other green choices around the home. I have occasionally been asked how to weed through all the alarming news and studies and figure out where to start “going green” at home. Naturally, I am a proponent of starting in the kitchen. The foods we eat have an impact on our health and on the health of our environment. Here in the Chesapeake Bay region, choosing oysters over endangered blue crabs supports restoration efforts in the Bay, as shellfish naturally filter nutrients out of the water. Choosing local, organically-farmed produce means less pesticide run-off into the Bay’s tributaries.

It may be selfish, but I am more concerned about reducing the toxin load on my two-year-old son’s developing brain and growing body than I am with the polar ice caps, at least on a day to day basis. But as we make small changes in our cooking and buying habits, we find being green(er) starts to become second nature, and the next steps come more easily. And at the end of the day, if we’ve reduced our consumption of fossil fuels and helped slow climate change, well who can argue with that?

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing a “Twelve Steps to a Sustainable Kitchen” plan, highlighting some of the toxins we try to avoid and offering suggestions for steps to implement in your home. Please read along, ask questions and join the discussion!

You’ve probably heard of the “Dirty Dozen” list of pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. Here are the “Dirty Dozen” food and home contaminants the Foodie Tots family tries to avoid:

  1. unsustainable fish
  2. pesticides and dirty produce
  3. synthetic fertilizer and industrial farming
  4. doped up dairy (rBST)
  5. feedlot meat (beef and pork)
  6. irradiated mutant food (GMOs)
  7. refined sugars, including high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  8. caged birds (poultry)
  9. exploitative imports
  10. plastics and bisphenol-A (BPA)
  11. volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in cleaning products
  12. heavy metals and petroleum by-products

For each installment, we’ll suggest alternatives to these kitchen toxins and offer a complete “Sustainable Family Supper” menu incorporating that week’s theme. I hope you’ll follow along and share your recipes and tips, too!

Sharing this via the January Green Moms Carnival on global warming, hosted this month by The Not Quite Crunchy Parent.

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