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July 10, 2006

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suzannes

Thank you Mindful Momma!
I appreciate Micaela starting the Mindful Momma blog - there is so much information out there on organics and sustainable living and new information coming out all the time. It's hard to keep up. One organization I highly recommend for information on organic and sustainable living is the Organic Consumers Association www.organicconsumers.org. Organics have become big business, as a result, all organic products are not necessarily the best choice due to questionable organic practices and lack of sustainabililty.

A recent example of this is my co-op's boycott of Horizon Dairy products, like Minneapolis' Wedge co-op, The Willy St. co-op in Madison, WI was not happy with the lack of transparency in Horizon's organic practices and the company could not satisfy the co-op's concerns so our co-op stopped purchasing their products. Concerns included purchasing calfs for milk production that had been weened on cow's blood and raised in conventional confinement.

I first learned about the milk boycott which was started by the Wedge and followed by Willy St. from the OCA. The Organic Consumers Association stays on top of these issues and sends out e-news letters and snail mail news letters with a wealth of information and alerts. I have found this association to be a great resource as my family moves towards more sustainable way of life.

Thanks again Micaela! I look forward to reading future postings and connecting with the community on this website!

Micaela

Thanks Suzanne - I'm glad ya like it! And thanks for the tip on the Organic Consumers Association! Your point about it being hard to keep up with all the information is so true! Coop newsletters are another excellent resourse. I read ours from cover to cover!

suzannes

I have found when wanting to purchase organic or natural products that bulk purchases can stretch a dollar a long way. At the Willy St. Co-op in Madison Wisconsin, they have many bulk products available including, cheese, cleaning and laundry products, in addition to the usual bulk pasta, beans and granola. Purchasing bulk is not always the most convenient when you have bottles and containers to refill, however, if you can manage a little extra time to do so, the savings can be extensive - especially for spices, which are a total rip off if you buy them in the shaker bottles in the store. Americans pay a lot for packaging, much of which cannot be recycled and ends up in the landfill. I would encourage even the busiest families to find at least one or two products that they can purchase in bulk and compare prices to it's packaged counterpart. If purchased in bulk regularly, the savings are gauranteed!

A great resource for cheaper organic local fresh fruits and vegetables is to buy a share from a CSA. CSA is community supported agriculture. Small local farms grow a huge variety of fruits and vegetables and have them at a central location for their customers to pick up. Because they have many customers, it helps keep the price per share reasonable. Produce from CSAs and local farmer's markets can provide a bounty of organic fresh fruits and veggies at a fraction of the cost. Part of the cost savings is in less shipping costs as the produce was grown locally rather than in another state or country and shipped to your location.

Another thing to remember when shopping for organics at your local farmer's market, is that many farmers use organic practices but have not been certified organic due to the cost of certification. I have found that many of my favorite farmer's market vendors use the same organic practices of their certified neighbors but because they do not carry the expensive lable, they are able to pass the cost savings along to their customers. Most farmer's market vendors are happy to talk about their growing practices or animal care and feeding practices in the case of meat, cheese and eggs, just ask.

Robbie

I just finished Small Wonders by Barbara Kingsolver. She is so careful to grow and buy organic products. She uses only what is locally in season. That helps with the cost. It also saves hugh quantities of fuel used to transport food from miles away. She is an inspiration.

You are an inspiration. I am trying to buy organic, locally grown food like my daughters.

Julie S.

Thanks for the rousing discourse in this blog. I too am always worrying about doing enough for the planet, but at the same time, want to feed my body good food that I can afford. My sister told me that in her town, Olympia, Wa., there is a co-op that sells organic, local food and purposefully keeps the prices down so they can pass the benefits on to more consumers. Short of moving there (because I might miss sunny Colorado) I am trying to visit farmers markets this summer. I also look on labels for where food is grown. The Barbara Kingsolver book-Small Wonders- makes a great case for buying local, and for growing our own food. I can do that, even in a small suburban back-yard!
Here in the West, we also worry about the impact that the water consumption in our homes has on limited water supplies. If you care too, try scraping the food off plates after dinner, instead of letting the tap run and run while you rinse and rinse. Also, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth!
Finally--Target has a new brand of cleaning products called 'Method' that is not tested on animals and says it is biodegradeable. It's not too pricey.
Toodles-and thanks for the chat.

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