Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | May 4, 2008

Canadians are going organic

Eating organic has a range of environmental benefits, including the fact that chemicals used in conventional farming techniques can leave the soil and groundwater contaminated.

“Over the years, these chemicals have leeched down into the groundwater tables, and it’s starting to affect other places,” says Brett Hawes, registered nutritional consultant practitioner and teacher at Toronto’s Institute of Holistic Nutrition.

Hawes says DDT, a pesticide banned in the 1970s, is turning up in the ice at the North Pole, home to killer whales and polar bears.

“It gives you an indication of how long the chemicals stick around,” says Hawes. “Once they start getting into the water tables and getting into the ocean currents, the stuff can be transported anywhere in the world.”

PCB, another chemical found in pesticides, is showing up in the Great Lakes and affecting mothers worldwide. Studies are showing that pregnant women who have been eating fish from the lakes are having children with lower birth weights and smaller head circumferences.

But organic food can exact a toll on our pocketbooks, as it’s often priced substantially higher than conventional, non-organic equivalents.

That’s why both Hawes and Pawlick advocate hitting up local farmers’ markets for fresh, less-expensive organically produced food.

“You can actually meet and talk to the person, or buy the food at the farm gate from somebody who has an organic certification,” says Pawlick.

Joining a consumer-supported agriculture group — wherein people contract with a local farmer and buy that farmer’s produce — is also a great way to buy organic food for less.

And for those who want farm-fresh produce year-round, Pawlick advises hitting the farmers’ markets at the end of the season when everything is coming in on bumper crops. Then buy in bulk, and take home and freeze or can the produce so you can eat healthy all year-round.

For those who don’t have access to farmers’ markets, growing your own organic garden is a cost-effective way to eat healthily — no matter where you live.

Hawes, who lives in downtown Toronto, grows about 10 different veggies in his backyard garden.

“It gives me food throughout the summer,” says Hawes.

And for city-dwellers living in condos and apartment buildings, organic gardening is still an option.

“I used to live in an apartment building in Toronto that had a balcony, and I would grow beans and tomatoes in my flower pots instead of flowers,” says Pawlick.

In fact, he says, city gardens have taken on an entire new life in urban locales such as Vancouver, sprouting a new idea called City Farm Movement, in which people use city land to grow vegetables and fruit.

“This has taken the form of penthouse gardening, where on the rooftops of buildings, people have planted huge gardens and erected plastic coverings over it, so essentially what you have is greenhouses on the top floor of apartment buildings, allowing people to grow fresh vegetables of wonderful quality,” says Pawlick. “So you don’t have to be in the country to have a garden.”

Eating organic has a range of environmental benefits, including the fact that chemicals used in conventional farming techniques can leave the soil and groundwater contaminated.

“Over the years, these chemicals have leeched down into the groundwater tables, and it’s starting to affect other places,” says Brett Hawes, registered nutritional consultant practitioner and teacher at Toronto’s Institute of Holistic Nutrition.

Hawes says DDT, a pesticide banned in the 1970s, is turning up in the ice at the North Pole, home to killer whales and polar bears.

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“It gives you an indication of how long the chemicals stick around,” says Hawes. “Once they start getting into the water tables and getting into the ocean currents, the stuff can be transported anywhere in the world.”

PCB, another chemical found in pesticides, is showing up in the Great Lakes and affecting mothers worldwide. Studies are showing that pregnant women who have been eating fish from the lakes are having children with lower birth weights and smaller head circumferences.

But organic food can exact a toll on our pocketbooks, as it’s often priced substantially higher than conventional, non-organic equivalents.

That’s why both Hawes and Pawlick advocate hitting up local farmers’ markets for fresh, less-expensive organically produced food.

“You can actually meet and talk to the person, or buy the food at the farm gate from somebody who has an organic certification,” says Pawlick.

Joining a consumer-supported agriculture group — wherein people contract with a local farmer and buy that farmer’s produce — is also a great way to buy organic food for less.

And for those who want farm-fresh produce year-round, Pawlick advises hitting the farmers’ markets at the end of the season when everything is coming in on bumper crops. Then buy in bulk, and take home and freeze or can the produce so you can eat healthy all year-round.

For those who don’t have access to farmers’ markets, growing your own organic garden is a cost-effective way to eat healthily — no matter where you live.

Hawes, who lives in downtown Toronto, grows about 10 different veggies in his backyard garden.

“It gives me food throughout the summer,” says Hawes.

And for city-dwellers living in condos and apartment buildings, organic gardening is still an option.

“I used to live in an apartment building in Toronto that had a balcony, and I would grow beans and tomatoes in my flower pots instead of flowers,” says Pawlick.

In fact, he says, city gardens have taken on an entire new life in urban locales such as Vancouver, sprouting a new idea called City Farm Movement, in which people use city land to grow vegetables and fruit.

“This has taken the form of penthouse gardening, where on the rooftops of buildings, people have planted huge gardens and erected plastic coverings over it, so essentially what you have is greenhouses on the top floor of apartment buildings, allowing people to grow fresh vegetables of wonderful quality,” says Pawlick. “So you don’t have to be in the country to have a garden.”

source: www.canada.com


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