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!

NEW PRODUCT – Fermented Greek Yogurt Protiens by Genuine Health

 CLEAN, GRASS FED PROTEIN!

 Opa key benNew Bars

The milk for fermented GREEK YOGURT proteins+, is sourced from a California Dairy farm that is highly conscious of, and committed to ethical and sustainable practices.  The cows are raised, pastured and farmed in California, producing the milk used to make fermented GREEK YOGURT proteins+, a grass fed dairy, free from: Gluten, Soy , GMO’s, hormones, and antibiotics.

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NEW PRODUCT – Vege-Pro

0THE VEGAN SOLUTION: VEGE-PRO

Finally, an answer to the question that vegans and the health conscious have been asking for years!

If you’re like us, you’re tired of searching endlessly for a plant-based protein supplement that consists of complete protein, and is above the average 10-15 grams in most powders.  Especially for athletes! Or even you weekend warriors.

You’re unique, and as such have unique nutritional requirements.  For celiacs, the lactose intolerant, allergy prone or even the health conscious — it can be a struggle to find protein sources that fuel your everyday triumphs.  Time and time again, the same question arises for many of us:

“How do I get enough clean protein in my diet?”

You could eat your body weight in quinoa, savi seeds or soy in the hopes of meeting your daily protein requirements (which could get quite messy), or, you could think about an instant, delicious alternative.  Enter Vege-Pro® fill the gaps in your diet!

With 19 grams of delicious, 100% organic plant protein sourced from sprouted brown rice, hemp and mushrooms – we just found the answer for you.  Providing approximately one third of your adequate intake of protein, Vege-Pro® is a finely processed protein that offer all 20 amino acids in a convenient format, essential for:

  • Athletes
  • Developing children and teens
  • Those with unique dietary conditions
  • Anyone looking for a clean protein alternative with minimal calories, saturated fat and no sugar!

Normally when you think of plant-based proteins, you recall most powders that involve chalky, gritty proteins that don’t mix well or taste like the soil they came from. Blech!

Vege-Pro® mixes with no grit, is sugar-free and sweetened with Stevia, making for a protein powder that has a deliciously smooth finish and taste.

With your health in mind, Vege-Pro® contains fibre from inulin, pre-and probiotics and calcium to help support your active metabolism, digestion and immune health.

 

The Mushroom Advantage

In contrast to the chalky grit of plant-based proteins you may be accustomed to, Vege-Pro® is unique because of its taste and texture, but most importantly because it combines the benefits of 8 unique mushrooms:

Mushrooms are rich in B-glucans, protein, iron and B vitamins that have been studied to boost metabolism, lower cholesterol levels and improve immune health as a potent source of ergothioneine, that acts to reduce the damage of free radicals to skin, organs and tissues.

The Cleanest Protein on the Market

Grown on an organic, wheat-free oat base, these mushrooms couldn’t get any cleaner. It’s a well-known fact that mushrooms absorb and concentrate from the material they are grown inso we made sure they are only absorbing the best nutrients, and none of the gluten.

Vege-Pro® is gluten, soy and dairy free, as well as being organic certified!

Be sure to get creative with it in the kitchen with this versatile powder:
Vegan lentil burgers? Sure, why not.
Protein pancakes in the morning to start your day off right? Definitely.

Let us know what you come up with in the kitchen using Vege-Pro®!

 

Copyright © 2015 Organika Health Products Inc. – Re-posted with permission

SHOUT OUT TO DAVE!

Dave Chhoker is a customer of ours who blows our mind with the humanitarian work he does!  He’s quietly doing so much good  – we thought everyone should know about it!  So we asked our Leslie 2 to interview Dave and write us a quick article about what he does and why he does it.

We hope that this will bring some interesting farming alternatives to your attention, and that you’ll be inspired by a single person making a world of difference in many people’s lives.

Way to go Dave!

Dave Chhoker uses new/ancient farming techniques to improve farming in India

“It’s called Rishi Krishi,” Surrey’s Dave Chhoker says of an irrigation system that originated in ancient India from one of the four parts of the Veda—ancient scripture that deals with agriculture—once farmed by sages and saints. According to Chhoker, farmers would scrape the soil from under a Banyan tree—an extremely large and holy tree.  “There are these hanging roots ,” Chhoker says, describing how they drip hormones and enzymes into the soil creating a substance known as Angara or holy ash.

It takes 15 kilograms of Angara to be sprinkled upon one acre of field, which is then flooded with water to irrigate it. “It works like a yogurt culture,” Chhoker explains, “starting the growth of micro-organisms in the soil. The healthier the micro-organisms, the healthier the crop.”

Chhoker himself has six acres in India and uses his farm as a tool to teach other farmers how to go back to the ancient and self-sustaining methods of farming, using his own successes as an example. Rishi Krishi is just one of them. Another is what is known as the Sulab system which takes human waste and through the use of two separate pits (customized to fit the size of the farm and family) allows one pit to fill with excreta and other human waste while the other filled pit is sealed with cement slabs and allowed to compost or “percolate” for two full years.

The pathogens are eaten up by bacteria in the soil, leaving behind “a nice smelling manure.”  A manure loaded with natural nutrients. “It is very successful, very cheap, very practical.”

A nectar comprised of honey, ghee, cow dung and water is used while the crops are growing which enhances the growth of micro-organisms in the soil. Whatever is put in the ground provides the activation. It is, Chhokar states, a self-sustaining system. “You are not dependent on anyone.”

Chhokar describes modern India as having turned away from these ancient forms of farming in favour of chemicals and genetically modified seeds (GMO). He laments the plight of modern farmers who have been “victimized” by the lure of an easy crop with little to no weeding, only to lose everything to drought. The farmers—now in debt to the chemical companies—must sell whatever crops survived to the pay the bills. Any GMO crops that are kept to feed their families are engineered to be sterile so the farmers have no choice but to buy more of this seed for next year’s crop. When the farmers can no longer pay the chemical and GMO seed corporations, they lose their farms.

“The dependence on chemical agriculture in India is creating a lot of farmers and their families to commit suicide, jumping into their wells,” Chhokar says, adding that most farms have been in the family for generations and it is an “honour” issue, a “losing face,” when the farms are lost.

“It is a huge problem in India.”

by Leslie MacFarlane
Leslie 2  (L2 for short!) is a writer and she also provides exceptional customer care at the back end of the store.  Feel free to ask her for help whenever you see her – she’s happy to help you.

Why is Going Organic Worth it? Plus the Who, What, Where, and How of Organics in Canada

The organic industry in Canada is growing fast and the options for Canadians choosing to go organic are on the rise as well. Many Canadians are still unsure of the benefits of opting for certified organic products. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), along with the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) and the Canadian Organic Growers (COG), are teaming up to help Canadians celebrate the bounty of Organic Week this September 20 to 28. Read on for the “who, what, where, why and how” Canadians can go organic this fall.

 

What does going organic mean in Canada?

It seems that organic is on everyone’s lips these days, but what does “organic” really mean?

Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed; organic food is produced using environmentally and animal-friendly farming methods. Organic certification lets consumers know that every step along the supply chain has protected and maintained the organic integrity that begins at the farm.

In Canada, this system is overseen by government organic standards and regulations, and applies to both domestic and imported products. Canada’s organic standards are among the most widely recognized in the world, and place strict limits and prohibitions on the use of toxic and persistent pesticides; synthetic fertilizers; the routine use of drugs, antibiotics or synthetic hormones; animal cloning; genetic engineering (“GMOs”); sewage sludge (“biosolids”); and irradiation. Organic standards also forbid the use of artificial food colours, flavours, sweeteners, preservatives and many other processing aids and ingredients in processed foods. Guided by these and other standards, organic is now the most heavily regulated and scrutinized food system in Canada, letting you help our environment while also choosing great tasting, healthy food for you and your family.

Who grows organic in Canada?

Did you know there are 3,732 organic farms in Canada covering 825 thousand hectares of land? Each producing fresh, home-grown food that is nutritious, tastes great and is good for our environment and communities. These farms employ 11,167 agricultural workers, making Canada the fourth largest market for organics in the world. On average, the organics industry brings in $3.5 billion in sales annually and over 20 million Canadians choose organic options for their groceries each week. Organic farming is catching on fast in Canada. A recent survey found that 59 per cent of Canadians believe organic farming is better for a healthy environment. While total farms in Canada declined by 17 per cent since 2001, organic farms grew by 66.5 per cent. The industry is strongly attracting the next generation of farmers, too. While eight per cent of farmers in Canada are under 35, this percentage rises to 12 per cent among organic farmers.

Where can you find organic food?

Did you know that Canada has a wide variety of organic products, all to be found at a store near you? By simply visiting chfa.ca and typing your postal code into the “Find a Retailer” tool you can find the closest natural health food store to you that carries organic products (or just pop into the Organic Grocer!). Organic products are getting easier and easier to find. It is now easier than ever to find certified organic options at cafés and restaurants, farmers’ markets and through food-box delivery programs or community supported agriculture. And remember, always look for the “Canada Organic” logo—Organic products are always certified, so look for this symbol:

Canada Organic Symbol

How can you go organic at home?

It’s as easy as choosing certified organic foods! Certified organic products must pass stringent regulatory requirements, so look for a “Canada Organic” or “USDA Organic” logo on your foods to be confident they meet these criteria. Start small, and progress slowly. It’s never too late to “go organic”. Check out chfa.ca to learn about the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen. By following this simple guide, developed by the Environmental Working Group, you can minimize your consumption of pesticides by as much as 80 per cent leading to better health for your whole family. “The Dirty Dozen”; these foods showed the highest amount of pesticide residues, even after they were washed with high-power pressure water systems. Commonly consumed foods in this group include apples, potatoes, lettuce and grapes.  When you’re buying these pieces of produce – opt for the Organic Section.

“The Clean Fifteen” are good to grab and go wherever you are, from the grocery store or the famers market. They contain significantly less pesticide residue compared to the dirty dozen.

Once you have done your shopping you can share the love and prepare a special meal for your friends and family or host a dinner party showcasing some interesting organic ingredients.

 

This information was provided courtesy of Think Canada Organic in partnership with the Canada Organic Trade Association and with support from Agriculture and AgriFood Canada through Growing Forward 2.
For more reasons why to go organic visit thinkcanadaorganic.ca or chfa.ca.

Organic is Truly the Best Option

Organic is Truly the Best Option

Here are the top Ten Reasons to Go Organic in Canada

1. Organic products meet strict national standards — The “Canada Organic” logo is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures and rules.

2. Cut back on chemicals! — Many herbicides and insecticides commonly used in agriculture have been found to be carcinogenic, hormone disruptors, or have a negative impact on children’s development. Choosing certified organic products significantly reduces your exposure to chemical residues.

3. Organic farms take water seriously — Organic farmers are required to manage the land and life around water systems very carefully, and are inspected annually. By not using synthetic fertilizers and persistent toxic chemicals, organic farming is also easy on our precious water reserves.

4. Organic farmers work in harmony with nature — Organic agriculture builds healthy ecosystems, and organic farms have higher biodiversity on them and around them, which promotes sustainability and ecological balance.

5. Organic methods reduce pollution and wasted energy— More energy is used to produce synthetic fossil-fuel-based fertilizers than to cultivate and harvest crops or to transport food. Canadian studies have shown that organic farming practices can use as little as half the energy of other farming methods, and help to sequester carbon back into the soil.

6. Protect the health of farmers and children — Farmers exposed to pesticides can have a significantly higher risk of developing cancer compared to non-farmers. Children are relatively more exposed than adults when they ingest pesticide residues in food. Choosing organic products reduces the exposure for children and the farmers who grow their food.

7. Organic farmers build healthy soil — Soil is the foundation of the food chain. Organic farming is focused on using sustainable practices that build healthy soil microbiology and prevent erosion, leaving fertile land that will provide for future generations.

8. Organic farming is good for rural Canada — The Census of Agriculture has shown that, on average, organic farming families earn more from their farms than the typical Canadian farm does, and employ more people per farm too.

9. Organic producers strive to preserve genetic diversity — the loss of a large variety of species (biodiversity) is one of the most pressing environmental concerns of our day. The good news is that many organic farmers have been collecting and preserving seeds and growing heirloom varieties and rare breeds of livestock for decades.

10. Organic is the only non-GMO standard overseen by the Canadian government — organic standards forbid the use of GMOs in seeds, in animal feed, and in the ingredients of processed organic food and products. If you’re concerned about GMOs, think before you eat: think Canada Organic!

This information was provided courtesy of Think Canada Organic in partnership with the Canada Organic Trade Association and with support from Agriculture and AgriFood Canada through Growing Forward 2.
For more reasons why to go organic visit thinkcanadaorganic.ca or chfa.ca.

Imported products labeled as organic meet U.S. / Canadian standards:

All food labeled as “organic” sold in the United States, regardless of origin, must be certified to USDA organic certification standards, and USDA accredits all certifiers (both domestic and foreign) to the same requirements to uphold the integrity of the organic label.  USDA has revoked the accreditations of foreign certifiers who failed to demonstrate competency and quickly announces the discovery of fraudulent certificates. Despite the rare and isolated occurrences of fraud in the industry, the organic label remains the only regulated claim with federal oversight and enforcement.

The high organic standards set in place by USDA have also encouraged harmonizing organic standards across major markets.  The United States currently has organic equivalency agreements with Canada, the European Union, and Japan. Such agreements promote strong organic programs, protect organic standards, enhance cooperation, and facilitate trade in organic products across regions. This mutual oversight helps ensure the value of organic for consumers.

gleened from:  The Organic Center

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