Jennifer Copley

Sustainable Wine

Vineyard, Jennifer Copley

Sustainable and organic are not necessarily the same thing. A wine that is made using organic methods may not meet sustainability requirements. Organic vineyards must be managed without using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. However, sustainability requires a systemic approach that goes beyond simply eliminating toxic chemicals. Sustainable wines are developed so that the vineyards can continue producing the same product for generations to come. Therefore, sustainable growing must take into account the environmental, social, and economic impacts of viticulture and favor approaches that do no harm not only in the present but also in the future. This means that sustainable… read more

More Than a Health Choice

Apple, Jennifer Copley

Although many people argue that organic foods are the best choice for health and environmental friendliness, for some, the most compelling reason to favor organic agriculture is the protection of human rights. Organic farming is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as “A production system that is managed … to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.” This definition encompasses not only environmental friendliness and sustainability, but also the cultural practices of a particular region. Organic food is better for public health… read more

Walnuts: A Healthy Choice

Walnuts

Walnuts are nutritional powerhouses, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, antioxidants, and other beneficial ingredients. Nutrients found in walnuts help to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, gallstones, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. Although all nuts provide health benefits, a recent study found that walnuts are the richest in antioxidants (American Chemical Society, 2011). According to the George Mateljan Foundation (2012), nearly 95% of people don’t eat any tree nuts at all, which is unfortunate because those who do eat nuts consume significantly more fiber, potassium, calcium, and magnesium than their nut-avoiding counterparts. Research indicates that… read more

Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable plastics

Biodegradable plastics have been promoted as revolutionary environmental products, but some have questioned whether the hype is nothing more than greenwashing. Biodegradable plastics, made primarily of pesticide-laden corn, are used in a variety of products ranging from bags to bottles to gift cards to cell phone casings. Biodegradable does not necessarily mean compostable, though many people assume that they are the same, and a number of biodegradable plastics claim to be compostable as well. The trouble with claims of compostability is that they may refer only to large-scale industrial composting whereby materials are shredded and composted at 140 degrees Fahrenheit,… read more

Organic Agriculture

grapes

Current industrial farming methods are responsible for mass deforestations; reduction of biodiversity; mining of non-renewable groundwater; and pollution in the form of pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and greenhouse gas emissions. Many critics of the organic movement argue that while organic farming is nice in theory because it’s so much better for the environment, it’s not a feasible method for feeding the world. A recent United Nations (2008) agricultural study found that although organic growing methods produce lower yields under some conditions, when best management practices are applied, they actually produce significantly better yields. Furthermore, such methods produce more healthy and… read more

The Recommended Intake

Fruit and vegetables

Nutritionists recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but most people fall far short of this goal. A serving is: One medium-sized whole fruit One cup of raw leafy vegetables Three-quarters of a cup of vegetable or fruit juice (100% juice) Half a cup of cooked, canned, or frozen produce One-quarter of a cup of dried fruit Eating five fruits or vegetables per day significantly reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, cataracts, osteoporosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and obesity, so it’s worth getting into this habit. Here are some easy ways to… read more

Kids, Fruits and Vegetables

Healthy eating

Most people know that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is critical for good health, but getting kids to consume them can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to make produce more appealing. Serve fruits and vegetables fresh, with dip: Fresh, crunchy produce usually tastes better to kids, and providing delicious dips increases their appeal. Let kids choose their produce: Instead of forcing kids to eat particular vegetables (and possibly creating a lifelong aversion), encourage them to choose their own when shopping. Ask them to select a variety colors and shapes, and… read more

The Sustainable Garden

Chives, Jennifer Copley

Here are five tips for those who care about the environment and would like to develop their gardens with sustainability in mind. 1. Compost: Instead of throwing away food scraps and plant trimmings and buying plastic bags filled with compost, make your own. There are a number of methods, the simplest of which is to bury kitchen scraps, leaves, and trimmings from healthy plants in the garden and let the process occur naturally. You can also use a compost bin or tumbler, a worm composting system, or a bokashi composting system to speed up the process. Don’t add meat, dairy… read more

Growing Your Own

Cherry Tomatoes

Most people know that driving generates carbon emissions, which contribute to global warming. However, not everyone is aware of the impact that our current food system has on the environment. A UK study conducted in 2001 found that while a typical family’s year of driving generates around 4.4 tons of CO2, producing, processing, packaging, and distributing that family’s food generates 8 tons of CO2. Our current food system is unsustainable. While traditional agricultural methods require the equivalent of half a calorie of energy to produce a calorie of food, the modern system typically requires around 10 fossil fuel energy calories… read more

Salt – Friend or Foe?

Salt - friend or foe?

For many years people have been advised to avoid salt or risk driving their blood pressure skyward, but new research suggests that salt has been unfairly maligned. A number of recent studies, including a meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Hypertension and a large-scale European study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found no evidence that reducing salt intake significantly decreases the likelihood of suffering from heart attacks or strokes. In fact, the latter study found that those with lower sodium levels were actually more likely to die of heart disease than their salt-loving counterparts. A… read more