Giving Back for Random Acts of Kindness Week

At Organic Grocer we’re so pleased to be blessed enough to be giving back often and generously!  During Random Acts of Kindness Week we’re reminded why we do what we do – and we hope we can inspire you to give back kindness wherever and however you can too!

 

When you shop at Organic Grocer you’re doing more than supporting a 25 year old local business owned and operated by Surrey residents – you’re supporting LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL charities that make a real impact.

Every year the owners of Organic Grocer, located in the Newton neighbourhood of Surrey BC, donate generously to several local charities that directly impact their community’s most vulnerable residents.  Without these charities the owners believe that Surrey would be a much poorer and meaner place to live.  We hope that you’ll consider supporting them too during Random Acts of Kindness Week – and all throughout the year!

The owners also support international charities that are inspiring significant change around the world and moving industry forward ethically.  Finally, Garth & Deb also encourage their staff to find forward thinking companies that are making a difference through their products and services so that we can feature them in our store!  We hope that you find this article inspiring and that you will feel even better about shopping with Organic Grocer knowing that your hard earned dollars are doing good all around the world.

 

SOME AMAZING LOCAL COMMUNITY CHARITIES:

 

Surrey Women’s Centre 

The Surrey Women’s Centre protects and empowers women and girls.  It is a crisis centre for women and girls escaping domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence.  The Surrey Women’s Centre is the only women’s Centre in Surrey, BC. They are often the first and sometimes the only place women and girls in need call for help.

It is only because of generous daily donations that these women and girls have a safe place to turn.

The Centre is open 24 hours per day. 7 days per week. 365 days per year.

 

Surrey Food Bank 

Hunger affects us all; it knows no age, it knows no race and it knows no season. At the Surrey Food Bank they have created specialised programs to ensure they are providing food assistance to everyone who needs a hand up in our community.  

Hungry clients may visit the Surrey Food Bank and receive a nutritious supply of food every 14 days. The Food Bank’s goal is to provide sufficient food for 3 to 4 days, offering vegetarian and non-vegetarian options based on Canada’s Food Guide for Healthy Eating.   However, the Food Bank is limited in what they can offer as they can only supply what has been donated.

 

 SOURCES BC (at Peace Arch Hospital)

In 1978, Peace Arch Community Services (PACS) was formed to serve the Surrey and White Rock community. Only a few thousand people sought its services and referral information; but as family and social challenges intensified, so did the need for PACS volunteers and professionals to help others overcome adversity and build a better life. In 2008 the organization provided direct service to approximately 12,300 individuals. SOURCES was born in 2010 as other agencies consolidated their services with PACS; these included Gateway Autism Society and Gateway Autism Foundation (2010), Newton Advocacy Group Society (2011), South Fraser Women’s Services Society (2012) and Cornerstone Care Society (2015).

SOURCES now strives to create more vibrant and resilient communities by offering support to children, youth, families, persons with disabilities, seniors, and others who are coping with isolation, addiction, poverty, disability and conflict. We also support our communities through leadership, education and volunteerism.

 

Covenant House 

Covenant House provides love and hope to Vancouver’s street youth. Covenant House helps youth aged 16 to 24 who have fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse; those who have been forced from their homes; and those who have aged out of foster care.  Covenant House is a premier provider of shelter as well as other services for homeless youth thanks to the hard work and dedication of their staff and volunteers and generous donor’s support.

 

We at the Organic Grocer believe that once a person’s basic needs for food, shelter, and safety are taken care of a beautiful and healthy environment will enrich their lives.

A healthy and vibrant environment doesn’t just create a better place for our animal friends to live, but also creates a healthy and supportive environment for us humans to thrive in as well.  Keeping that in mind, we support several environmental and agrarian charities across the country every year:

 

SOME AMAZING ENVIRONMENTAL CHARITIES: 

 

Burns Bog Conservation Society

The Burns Bog Conservation Society networks with leading scientists to give and distribute accurate and up-to-date information on peatlands. In 1995 Dr David Bellemy discovered that Burns Bog was regenerating after the peat harvesting. He told the Society “you have proved by accident in Burns Bog the theory that the bog will regenerate within 40 years!”

When you give to the Burns Bog Conservation Society, you become part of a powerful movement to save one of our country’s most fragile and precious ecosystems – Burns Bog. Thank you for protecting “the lungs of the Lower Mainland.”

 

Did you know that you can Adopt an Animal for your Valentine?

 

Young Agrarians

Young Agrarians (YA) is a network for new and young ecological and organic farmers. Since they started January 2012, the network has grown across Canada from coast to coast because of farmers who have organized events (mixers, farm tours & potlucks, apprentice meet-ups, etc.)  The network is made up of a diverse array of food growers and lovers: rural and urban farmers, market gardeners, seed savers, food activists, bee keepers, community gardeners, food/farmer organizations and more.  All of who are working to steward land and soil, and grow our local food systems.

Young Agrarians recognises Indigenous title to all lands in Canada. They feel it is their responsibility to care for and respect the land that we all live on and depend upon for water, food and shelter. In a time of climate change, we must all do our part to nurture resilient food systems (local, ecological and equitably produced) choosing with our dollars, values and hands to consume and produce foods that are healthy for us and future generations.

 

Canadian Organic Growers 

COG’s mission is to lead local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources.

Not all COG members run certified organic operations, but they share a vision for a sustainable bioregionally-based organic food system. COG members believe that organic food production is the best choice for the health of consumers and producers, for the protection and enhancement of the environment, and for the sustainability of the food production system. In fact we believe that the survival of our country and even of the planet depends on it!

 

FarmFolk CityFolk 

FarmFolk CityFolk is a not for profit society that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. Their projects provide access to & protection of foodlands; support local growers and producers; and engage communities in the celebration of local food.

“Something happens to people who plant seeds–it is impossible to watch a plant grow and flourish without getting a sense of the miracle of all life.”

-Herb Barbolet, Co-founder of FarmFolk CityFolk

 

Certified Organic Association of BC  

COABC’s approach to food production is based on care for the earth. They recognize that as human beings, we are one creature among many which are all inter-related and interdependent. The COABC is part of an organic movement that embraces a wide diversity of activities and enterprises related to the organic production of food and encompass all sizes of operations.

One of the tools the COABC uses is a regulatory framework to permit exports.  Their priority is the establishment and maintenance of local food systems. They accept the principles of organic farming and processing identified by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) and engage in research of appropriate techniques to enable us to put them all into practice.

 

We know that donating directly to charities is meaningful and changes lives daily – but sometimes it’s best to support initiatives that are run by companies and organisations which we trust and which we know will direct funds into the most needy hands and environments.

Because we want our dollars to make a meaningful impact we look for products that we can carry brought to us by companies and organisations doing really meaningful work!  Two such companies come to mind (below), but don’t forget that any of the fair trade products we carry make a difference in the lives of people around the world!  That’s why we strive to carry a fair trade option wherever possible.

 

 

Alaffia Body Care Products

Buy an Alafffia product and contribute to their Empowerment initiatives in Africa with every purchase.  Empowerment Projects are Alaffia’s mission in action, funded by the sales of Alaffia products.  Alaffia invests in their communities because they believe it is their moral responsibility to ensure African resources empower African communities. Their goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality.  Alaffia’s Empowerment Projects include several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, FGM Eradication, Eyeglasses and Reforestation. All of Alaffia’s projects empower Togolese communities to provide their skills and knowledge to the rest of the world and to rise out of poverty.

As of 2017 Alfaffia’s Empowerment Initiatives have:
•• DISTRIBUTED 7,482 BIKES ••  •• GIVEN 32,842 CHILDREN SCHOOL SUPPLIES ••  •• BUILT 2,261 SCHOOL BENCHES ••  •• CONSTRUCTED 10 SCHOOLS ••  •• FUNDED 4,463 BIRTHS ••  •• PLANTED 57,575 TREES ••  •• DONATED 24,927 EYEGLASSES ••

Learn more here:  https://alaffia.com/empowerment/

 

Natural Calm Magnesium & Calcium Products

Every purchase of Natural Calm Products supports the Organics 4 Orphans Charity which supports organic gardening, nutritional training, natural medicine and income generation in communities across Africa.

 

Natural Factors and the Plant a Seed and See What Grows Foundation

Every purchase of a Whole Earth & Sea Supplement sends $2 directly to the Plant a Seed and See What Grows Foundation – a local charity that creates a lot of buzz around food and the interconnectedness that unites us all.   We are all interconnected with one another, with our food, with our environment and with our communities. And we are what we eat. And we are stewards of our land. And we are what we contribute to our communities.  At Plant a Seed Foundation, they nurture a sense of interconnectivity with one another, with our food, our land and our communities. They are committed to helping others to:

They further support our local communities by:

We hope that knowing the hard earned dollars you spend at Organic Grocer are making a significant difference every day in both local lives and lives across the globe brings warmth to your heart and a smile to your face. 

Now get out there and make a difference in someone’s life!

What’s New at the OG?

During the month of April many new products become available to us – and you!  We’ve been carefully sifting through the new products and we’re excited to bring some pretty spectacular products to you.  Here’s a sneak peek:

New Roots Herbals – have a look through the vitamin section – we’ve brought literally dozens of new products in by this knowledgeable company.  You’ll find them competitively priced; yet New Roots products are often the highest quality and highest potency on the shelf!  Make sure you have a close look at these guys!  Most of their products are on sale this month.

Sisu Children’s Line – we’ve brought is the hugely popular Sisu U-Cube Gummy MultiVitamins, Gummy Cal/Mag for Kids, & Gummy tart Vitamin C.  Your kids are gonna love them – come in and ask for a sample.

Truly Turmeric – wild crafted whole root turmeric & black pepper paste.  This paste is therapeutic grade turmeric with black pepper to enhance the healing properties of the turmeric.  Blended in coconut oil with a twist of lime – we’re super excited about this one!  (Find it next to the therapeutic coconut oils in the grocery section).

Denman Island Grizzly Bars – a tasty way to support our local rain forests this Easter Season.  (We’ve got the bunnies too!)  Take a picture with the bar for your chance to win a trip to Tofino!  #GrizzlyBar

Better Than Pasta Konjac Noodles & Rice alternatives – High in fibre, low in carbs, these tasty noodle and rice alternatives keep you feeling satisfied while keeping your carb intake down.

Flora Health Teas – we’ve brought in several new medicinal teas by Flora Health.  Make sure you stop by the tea section the next time you’re in the store.

Radico Organic Hair Dye – These all natural chemical free hair dyes are permanent and safe to use for the whole family.  Give them a try and let us know what you think!

Genuine Health’s shelf stable probiotics – Our NEW advanced gut health probiotic contains 15 strains that mimic human gut flora in an allergen- and plastic-free delayed-release capsule to deliver our probiotics straight to your gut!  We keep them in the fridge with the other probiotics.

3 Brains Formulas – for over all body health.  These formulations take a holistic approach to brain health and are getting great feed back!  Look for these great products through out our supplement section.

Nirvana Pies – Pot pies made with clean, scrumptious ingredients by a local family in Richmond.  Foods that comfort the soul and brighten the spirit!

There’s so much more that hasn’t yet arrived – but will be here before the end of the month!  Make sure to take some extra time this month to look at all the new stuff!

 

 

 

Joys of Sprouts

In the worship of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, the ancient Greeks beheld the mysteries of life itself in the simplicity of the single grain of wheat. They understood the incredible potential of the tiny seed. In it lies the power to sustain, nourish and satisfy. In the germination and sprouting process is contained the vital energies which transform the seed into a tall strong plant which can ultimately reproduce itself many times over.

And so today we are rediscovering, in our own homes, these very mysteries. Sprouted seeds and legumes are being eaten and enjoyed in unprecedented quantities in the 21st century. Sprouting provides fresh salad ingredients any time of year and is a fun thing to do with even very young children.

Nutritionally, sprouted seeds contain vitamins, minerals, enzymes, oxygen and proteins in an absorbable forms, which the most sophisticated supplement pill could not rival. Starches become simple natural sugars, splitting long-chain amino acids and converting saturated fats into free fatty acids, providing more nutrients gram for gram than any other known natural food.

Sprouting easily satisfies the demands of 21st century sustainability – it’s cheap, it’s fast, it doesn’t take up much space and, hey, it’s even FUN – on top of being so completely good for you! Here are some tips to get you started.

Overnight: soak almonds, hazels, cashews, sunflower seeds, etc.  Then drain & rinse.  Store in the fridge in a sealed container for just a day or two.   This is enough to improve digestibility and flavour; add them to salads or to cooked rice.

Sprout for 3-5 days: following a simple soaking and rinsing system, alfalfa seeds, lentils, beans, wheat germ, will produce succulent shoots, providing a little salad patch in the tiniest corner of your own kitchen.

After soaking seeds or grains to grow shoots, make sure to keep the water. It now contains enzymes, vitamins and minerals that can benefit your houseplants.BANNER-Joys of sprouts-300x250

If you’re interested in starting your own kitchen garden we’ve got what you need to get started.  BioSnacky produces a small
jar with a screw-on mesh lid and integral stand, so that you can easily drain off water. There is also a 3-tiered set of trays, which allows you to sprout several varieties of seed without any extra effort.  BioSnacky also offers a nice selection of organic seeds for growing at home, and we’ve got other grains and seeds in the bulk section that are viable for sprouting too!

Come in and ask a customer service consultant for tips!

Article provided by A.Vogel

Why Support Fair Trade?

Introducing Fairtrade

Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. When farmers can sell on Fairtrade terms, it provides them with a better deal and improved terms of trade. This allows them the opportunity to improve their lives and plan for their future. Fairtrade offers consumers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their every day shopping.

When a product carries the FAIRTRADE Mark it means the producers and traders have met Fairtrade Standards. The Fairtrade Standards are designed to address the imbalance of power in trading relationships, unstable markets and the injustices of conventional trade.

10 Principles of Fair Trading

10 FT PrinciplesWFTO prescribes 10 Principles that Fair Trade Organisations must follow in their day-to-day work and carries out monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld. (The principles are also available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, RomanianSlovenian and Hindi.)

Principle One: Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
Poverty reduction through trade forms a key part of the organisation’s aims. The organisation supports marginalised small producers, whether these are independent family businesses, or grouped in associations or co-operatives. It seeks to enable them to move from income insecurity and poverty to economic self-sufficiency and ownership. The organisation has a plan of action to carry this out.

Principle Two: Transparency and Accountability
The organisation is transparent in its management and commercial relations. It is accountable to all its stakeholders and respects the sensitivity and confidentiality of commercial information supplied. The organisation finds appropriate, participatory ways to involve employees, members and producers in its decision-making processes. It ensures that relevant information is provided to all its trading partners. The communication channels are good and open at all levels of the supply chain.

Principle Three: Fair Trading Practices
The organisation trades with concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalised small producers and does not maximise profit at their expense. It is responsible and professional in meeting its commitments in a timely manner. Suppliers respect contracts and deliver products on time and to the desired quality and specifications.

Fair Trade buyers, recognising the financial disadvantages producers and suppliers face, ensure orders are paid on receipt of documents and according to the attached guidelines. For Handicraft Fair Trade products, an interest free pre-payment of at least 50 % is made on request. For Food Fair Trade products, pre-payment of at least 50% at a reasonable interest is made if requested. Interest rates that the suppliers pay must not be higher than the buyers’ cost of borrowing from third parties. Charging interest is not required.

Where southern Fair Trade suppliers receive a pre payment from buyers, they ensure that this payment is passed on to the producers or farmers who make or grow their Fair Trade products.

Buyers consult with suppliers before canceling or rejecting orders. Where orders are cancelled through no fault of producers or suppliers, adequate compensation is guaranteed for work already done. Suppliers and producers consult with buyers if there is a problem with delivery, and ensure compensation is provided when delivered quantities and qualities do not match those invoiced.

The organisation maintains long term relationships based on solidarity, trust and mutual respect that contribute to the promotion and growth of Fair Trade. It maintains effective communication with its trading partners. Parties involved in a trading relationship seek to increase the volume of the trade between them and the value and diversity of their product offer as a means of growing Fair Trade for the producers in order to increase their incomes. The organisation works cooperatively with the other Fair Trade Organisations in country and avoids unfair competition. It avoids duplicating the designs of patterns of other organisations without permission.

Fair Trade recognises, promotes and protects the cultural identity and traditional skills of small producers as reflected in their craft designs, food products and other related services.

Principle Four:  Payment of a Fair Price
A fair price is one that has been mutually agreed by all through dialogue and participation, which provides fair pay to the producers and can also be sustained by the market. Where Fair Trade pricing structures exist, these are used as a minimum. Fair pay means provision of socially acceptable remuneration (in the local context) considered by producers themselves to be fair and which takes into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. Fair Trade marketing and importing organisations support capacity building as required to producers, to enable them to set a fair price.

Principle Five:  Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour
The organisation adheres to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national / local law on the employment of children. The organisation ensures that there is no forced labour in its workforce and / or members or homeworkers.

Organisations who buy Fair Trade products from producer groups either directly or through intermediaries ensure that no forced labour is used in production and the producer complies with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national / local law on the employment of children. Any involvement of children in the production of Fair Trade products (including learning a traditional art or craft) is always disclosed and monitored and does not adversely affect the children’s well-being, security, educational requirements and need for play.

Principle Six:  Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Freedom of Association
The organisation does not discriminate in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, HIV/Aids status or age.

The organisation has a clear policy and plan to promote gender equality that ensures that women as well as men have the ability to gain access to the resources that they need to be productive and also the ability to influence the wider policy, regulatory, and institutional environment that shapes their livelihoods and lives. Organisational constitutions and by-laws allow for and enable women  to become active members of the organisation in their own right (where it is a membership based organisation),  and to take up leadership positions in the governance structure regardless of women’s status in relation to ownership of assets such as land and property.  Where women are employed within the organisation, even where it is an informal employment situation, they receive equal pay for equal work.  The organisation recognises women’s full employment rights and is committed to ensuring that women receive their full statutory employment benefits. The organisation takes into account the special health and safety needs of pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers.

The organisation respects the right of all employees to form and join trade unions of their choice and to bargain collectively. Where the right to join trade unions and bargain collectively are restricted by law and/or political environment, the organisation will enable means of independent and free association and bargaining for employees. The organisation ensures that representatives of employees are not subject to discrimination in the workplace.

Principle Seven:  Ensuring Good Working Conditions
The organisation provides a safe and healthy working environment for employees and / or members. It complies, at a minimum, with national and local laws and ILO conventions on health and safety.

Working hours and conditions for employees and / or members (and any homeworkers) comply with conditions established by national and local laws and ILO conventions.

Fair Trade Organisations are aware of the health and safety conditions in the producer groups they buy from. They seek, on an ongoing basis, to raise awareness of health and safety issues and improve health and safety practices in producer groups.

Principle Eight:  Providing Capacity Building
The organisation seeks to increase positive developm
ental impacts for small, marginalised producers through Fair Trade.

The organisation develops the skills and capabilities of its own employees or members. Organisations working directly with small producers develop specific activities to help these producers improve their management skills, production capabilities and access to markets – local / regional / international / Fair Trade and mainstream as appropriate. Organisations which buy Fair Trade products through Fair Trade intermediaries in the South assist these organisations to develop their capacity to support the marginalised producer groups that they work with.

Principle Nine:  Promoting Fair Trade
The organisation raises awareness of the aim of Fair Trade and of the need for greater justice in world trade through Fair Trade. It advocates for the objectives and activities of Fair Trade according to the scope of the organisation. The organisation provides its customers with information about itself, the products it markets, and the producer organisations or members that make or harvest the products. Honest advertising and marketing techniques are always used.

Principle Ten: Respect for the Environment

Organisations which produce Fair Trade products maximise the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges, buying locally when possible. They use production technologies that seek to reduce energy consumption and where possible use renewable energy technologies that minimise greenhouse gas emissions. They seek to minimise the impact of their waste stream on the environment. Fair Trade agricultural commodity producers minimise their environmental impacts, by using organic or low pesticide use production methods wherever possible.

Buyers and importers of Fair Trade products give priority to buying products made from raw materials that originate from sustainably managed sources, and have the least overall impact on the environment.

All organisations use recycled or easily biodegradable materials for packing to the extent possible, and goods are dispatched by sea wherever possible.

Fairtrade Minimum Prices

The minimum price paid to Fairtrade producers is determined by the Fairtrade Standards and Pricing Unit. It applies to most Fairtrade certified products. This price aims to ensure that producers can cover their average costs of sustainable production. It acts as a safety net for farmers at times when world markets fall below a sustainable level.

When the market price is higher than the Fairtrade Minimum Price, the buyer must pay the higher price. Producers and traders can also negotiate higher prices on the basis of quality and other attributes.

At the OG

At the OG we believe in the ideals set forth by the fair trade movement and we want to support a healthier world.  In doing so, we believe that we are helping humanity and the planet.  We are always looking for products and companies that we can bring to your attention, and carry in our store so that you can support the movement too!  Watch for the Fair Trade symbol all over the store!

References & Gleaned Material:  
WFTO.com:  Last revised and approved by WFTO members in October 2013.
Fairtrade International

Life is Good at the Factors Farm

Located on United Boulevard in Coquitlam BC, Natural Fators Farm is the newest extension of a local natural comapny that has been around since 1950!  Today, Natural Factors is one of the largest manufacturers of nutritional products in North America.  Right from day one, they’ve been fully committed to making products right. They are not a public company with shareholders to impress. Instead, they care about impressing their customers.  Here’s what they’ve got to say about the new movement in natural supplementation:

IMG_9863   guys-cropping-320x235

Working Hard

Local, whole, and good for you: get to know your supplements

We’ve been getting to know our food a bit better in recent years. Not in in an up-close-and-personal kind of way – we don’t need our chicken to have a name and hobbies (though a chicken who could juggle might make for an interesting marketing campaign). No, we want to know that our food was grown in a way that’s good for us, for farmers, and for the environment. We want to know our kale was tended by people who care about the earth, and not just the bottom line. We want to know that the nutrients in our strawberries fulfill the promise of their ruby red colour. And what about the nutrients we take in the form of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements?

Well, yes, we want to get to know those, too.

After all, whole foods aren’t just a trend at the dinner table. Today’s nutritional supplements are capturing the benefits of whole foods – such as Natural Factors’ Whole Earth & Sea line, with offerings from multivitamins to bone-health formulas, and more. Like that heirloom tomato from your local farmers’ market, whole food-based supplements bring you the best of what nature has to offer, plus all the benefits of locally grown, locally produced goods.

 

Whole foods vs. isolated nutrients

The best way to get nutrients is from whole foods. Plants provide a broad spectrum of nutrients, from vitamins and minerals to enzymes and phytonutrients, and the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts. Research suggests that nutrients from whole, raw foods are team players; in other words, a valuable synergy allows key vitamins and minerals to work more effectively together, and makes them more bioavailable, so your body can absorb them easily.

Arguably, this means we would fill our plates with an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies three times a day, every day. And if you’ve figured out how to come up with fresh, home-cooked meals while juggling work, kids, exercise, and if you’re lucky, a social life, call us. No, really – you’ve stumbled upon the secret of life, and we want in. For the rest of us, whole food supplements like Whole Earth & Sea can take the pressure off a little.

7Z9A1234  7Z9A6334

Organic Echinachea

It’s all about soil

Organic farmers often joke that they grow healthy soil – veggies are just a happy side effect. Like all good jokes, there’s truth in it. After decades of mismanaged soil thanks to the advent of chemical agriculture, certified organic farmers are experiencing a renaissance. Healthy organic soil contains all the vital nutrients that plants need to thrive, and foods grown organically have been shown to contain higher levels of key antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals.

Growing organic herbs, fruits, and veggies for whole food supplements makes perfect sense, according to Jan Slama, Research Scientist for Natural Factors in Kelowna, BC: “The purpose is to control the quality of our products from the ground up.” Jan is speaking of Factors Farms, a certified organic farm in BC’s fertile Okanagan Valley where many of the ingredients for Whole Earth & Sea are sourced.

At Factors Farms, Spring is in the air, and seeds are being sown for another season of locally grown herbs and supplements. 25 years of organic, non-GMO farming experience have taught the farmers here just what it means to grow high-quality ingredients. Soon, the fields will be bursting with colourful echinacea, vibrant greens, and sweet, antioxidant-rich berries. Fertilized only with compost and nitrogen-rich sea plants and meticulously cared for by hand, the plants are harvested at their peak and, just down the road, they’re raw processed to preserve those delicate antioxidants.

Factors Farms 7Z9A8479

 The Feilds

Local does it better

Those fields of green could be grown almost anywhere on the planet, but for Jan and the team at Natural Factors, growing at home is important. Sure, you can find Natural Factors and Whole Earth & Sea across North America, but they act more like your friendly neighbour than anything else.

And that’s important to Jan, who says “Canadians want local, organic herbals that they can trust.” For many of us, that means food and supplements grown right here in our own backyard, with all the benefits that come with buying locally grown, locally produced goods: a boost for the local economy, local jobs, sustainability, and healthier communities.

If you’ve made room on your plate for local whole foods, be sure to make room in your medicine cabinet too.
After all, life’s a healthy feast – enjoy it whole!

Palm oil vs. the orangutan: Let’s act responsibly!

by Sonia Chartier, on 14 September 2015
co-written by Marie-Claude Coupal,  
Food Manager at A.Vogel 

Gleaned from A.Vogel’s Blog

Did you know that every time you wash your hands with soap, spread margarine on a piece of bread, snack on cookies, apply lipstick or light a candle, you are jeopardizing the survival of the orangutan?

All of these products contain palm oil, which is widely used in the food and cosmetic industries due to its many qualities:

  • It does not increase blood cholesterol levels.
  • Its semi-solid texture at room temperature adds an oiliness to food.
  • It is stable when heated.
  • It is not expensive and its yield per cultivated area is very high.Orangatang

Unfortunately, demand for palm oil is so high that huge swaths of tropical forest are cut to make way for palm tree plantations, causing major environmental damage, especially to orangutan habitat:

  • 83% of palm oil production and 89% of exports come from orangutan habitat.
  • Over 90% of orangutan habitat has been destroyed.
  • It is estimated that, currently, approximately 5,000 orangutans die each year from the effects of deforestation

What can we do to help?

Simply replacing palm oil in our food products wouldn’t necessarily be the best solution.  For one thing there are many products for which it would be difficult to substitute this oil because it provides a particular texture to food.  As it stands, the food industry has very few options for reproducing the desired texture using a different vegetable oil.

But mainly, given that oil palms provide a very high yield, less land has to be cleared than for other oil-bearing crops (e.g. soy, canola or sunflower) to produce the same quantity of vegetable oil.

Palm oil can also be cultivated in a sustainable, socially responsible way—it all depends on the method used. What causes a lot of the environmental damage is the large-scale production methods currently used by many of the agro-industrial players. If oil palms are cultivated on a fair-trade basis, there is a low environmental impact thanks to their high yield.  This tree also has a strong diversification potential and can be cultivated profitably by small farmers as well.

Given the urgent need for environment-friendly palm oil production that is respectful of local communities, the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)—a group of organizations striving to protect the environment, including the WWF (World Wild Fund for Nature)—and the palm oil industry developed environmental and social standards allowing for the production of fair-trade palm oil.  RSPO fair trade certification assures the consumer that the palm oil has been produced using an environmentally friendly method that is respectful of the workers.

And we can do our part by insisting that common consumer goods be clearly labelled so that we can choose products that don’t contain palm oil from high-risk plantations.

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