Sunday, January 30, 2011

Don’t Let An Organic Egg Fool You

We all know about the egg industry’s appalling record in terms of environmental and animal welfare management. Now, let’s not kid ourselves: overcooking eggs does not address the risk of salmonella infections. Neither does buying “organic” eggs. Salmonella is but the tip of the iceberg. Our responsibility, as consumers, is to pay close attention to the origin of the eggs we buy and to educate ourselves about the producer’s operations.

First off, don’t let an organic egg fool you: “organic” refers to the quality of the feed given to the hens but says nothing about their condition of living.

Which leads us to the second essential point: a battery-cage egg is not a cage-free egg is not a free-range egg is not a pasture-raised egg. These classifications have real implications for our health and the environment. To find out why, check out Rodale.com editor Leah Zerbe’s cue cards.

The great news is that the consumer is not alone anymore when having to choose between egg crates with various cryptic labels and statements: after a year of research, the Cornucopia Institute published its Organic Egg Report and Scorecard in the wake of last summer’s egg recall. Close to 70 brands are listed and ranked.

Another good news for the consumer: the new egg safety rule implemented by the FDA last July “requires the egg industry to take specific preventive measures to keep eggs safe during their production, storage and transport. Egg producers will also be required to register with FDA and to maintain a prevention plan and records to show they are following the regulation.”

The rule does not apply to egg producers who manage a flock of fewer than 3,000 hens or who sell their eggs directly to consumers.

This is good news long-term, one hopes, AND it should not give us an excuse to forfeit our responsibility in the kind of egg industry we choose to support with our money. Our health is at stake, as is the health of our planet. And not just our physical health, by the way: I would assert that supporting corporations that exploit workers and animals has a subtle, yet real impact on our overall well-being.

Finally, I don’t mean to ignore the fact that the most wholesome, nutritious, delicious eggs available command a steep price premium. My personal choice is to eat eggs only occasionally as a treat, and to favor healthy, protein-rich alternatives like sprouted lentils and quinoa.

These are among hundreds of tips you can adopt to “green” your lifestyle and contribute to a healthier planet. Take your free assessment on GoingGreenToday and receive your customized plan of action tailored to your household, with tips, links and easy access to a wealth of resources.

Going Green Today

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Fiji Organic Project

The mission of The Fiji Organic Project is to promote sustainable agriculture, particularly in the sugar cane industry, to strengthen the Fiji economy, while at the same time preserving Fiji’s unique natural environment and ensuring the health of Fiji’s farmers and citizens.

The Need:

Map of Fiji

While the impending expiration of the Lomé Convention (a preferential trading agreement between the EU and ACP countries) currently poses a great risk to Fiji’s economy, the drastic changes that the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) must undergo to maintain viability also present great opportunities. Soon Fiji will be competing on the world market for sugar trade, unless it is able to secure a niche market in which it could gain a comparative advantage.

Of equal importance is the pressure that Europe’s strong environmental lobby could place on the EU to force cane lands, where unsustainable agriculture is practiced, out of production. The sugar industry in Fiji has no option but to comply with the standards set in Europe, because the economy of the country depends so heavily on the sugar industry, and in turn, on the demand from foreign markets.

While Fiji’s economy is dependent on the sugar cane industry, there is a pressing need to create the most sustainable option within this industry. Organic production, renewable energy generation, and recycling of waste material can forge an alternative path for the developing nation comprised of over 300 islands. Surrounded by some of the most spectacular coral reef ecosystems in the world, Fiji’s unique natural environment will be destroyed if the harmful agricultural practices are not changed. A transition to organic is necessary to create a healthy future for the people of the Fiji Islands. The time is ripe for Fiji organic sugar.

Sugar Cane Field - West Part of Fiji

Goals:

  • To assist Fijian sugar cane farmers in the transition to organic production methods
  • To make Fiji a leading global competitor in the burgeoning organic foods market
  • To build capacity amongst Fijian students, farmers, educators, and professionals, and promote self-reliance in development projects
  • To create a productive and self-sustaining business venture with the Fiji Sugar Corporation

The Fiji Organic Project sets out to accomplish its goals in 3 phases:

  • Phase I – Research & Planning
  • Phase II – Training & Implementation
  • Phase III – Certification & Market Entry, with ongoing training

For the Research & Planning Phase, we are creating an interdisciplinary research team composed of 15 Fijian graduate students from the University of the South Pacific and 15 local professionals who will produce a multi-pronged feasibility study for the sugar cane industry in Fiji to transition to organic production methods. Each student will be paired with and collaborate with a local professional in their specific field to ground the student’s research in real experience while also informing the professional’s work. The culmination of this study will be a two-day conference presenting its findings to Fiji government officials and a diverse group of stakeholders in the sugar industry.

The Fiji Organic Project needs your support!

We are currently seeking funding from foundations, businesses, organizations, and individuals, so that we can begin Phase I of the project by offering scholarships to Fijian university students and begin to build our research team.

Do you know of a foundation or organization who may be interested in our project? Have fundraising ideas for us? We’d love to hear from you!

For more information, please contact:
Molly Rockamann
Founding Director, The Fiji Organic Project
fijiorganic(at)yahoo(dot)com

The Fiji Organic Project

Eco

organic apparel