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Archive for the ‘Organic Food’ Category

Organic farm advantages in biodiversity and profits depend on location – WSU News

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By Sara Zaske, WSU News

PULLMAN, Wash. For organic farms, size matters: not so much the size of the farm itself, but the size of the neighboring fields.

A large-scale analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Jan. 27 found that organic agriculture sites had 34% more biodiversity and 50% more profits than conventional agriculture sites, even though the organic sites had 18% lower crop yields.

Yet the study, produced by a Washington State University student journal club, also found that as the size of the fields surrounding the organic farms increased, those values shifted: the organic farms advantage in biodiversity increased, but they lost some of their edge in profitability in comparison to conventional farms in similar areas.

A landscape with large field sizes might be an indicator of agricultural intensification in general, with many fields with only one crop and heavier pesticide and herbicide use, said Olivia Smith, a recent WSU Ph.D. graduate and the lead author on the study. Thats a place where theres not a lot of natural habitat animals can use. An organic farm on that kind of landscape becomes a refuge for species.

The study also revealed that price premiums for organic food played a big role in profitability, according to Associate Professor Dave Crowder, an author on the paper and the journal clubs faculty advisor.

The areas that get the greatest price premium for organic food are those that have small field sizes, which are often located in more urban areas that are more connected to large consumer bases, said Crowder. For example, all else being equal, an organic farmer who is in the middle of Iowa may not do nearly as well as an organic farmer near Seattle where there are more consumers willing to pay higher prices for organic food.

The WSU journal club is a group of graduate students who meet to discuss research papers and look for gaps in the scientific literature. Finding that other analyses had overlooked the impacts of landscape context on organic yield and profitability margins, the students pooled their efforts to conduct a large meta-analysis, synthesizing the data from 148 studies around the world spanning 60 different types of crops.

The resulting paper is the first of its kind to take landscape context into account while looking at the three factors of biodiversity, crop yields and profitability. The WSU study suggests that these three factors are separate: that what makes one increase or decrease has less to do with the others than with the landscape context, farming practices or socioeconomic issues.

While this was a large-scale analysis, the authors noted limitations in available data as most studies were focused on developed countries, and the only available studies on profitability with location information were in the U.S. Smith said more research is needed from less developed parts of the world, particularly in the tropics.

The WSU journal club is two years old and has published a paper each year.

This study received support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch project.

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Organic farm advantages in biodiversity and profits depend on location - WSU News

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Learn from organic experts at 18th annual Winter Conference – Concord Monitor

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Published: 1/27/2020 2:21:57 PM

Modified: 1/27/2020 2:21:40 PM

Join the Northeast Organic Farming Association of N.H. for its 18th annual Winter Conference on Feb. 8 at Kearsarge Regional High School in North Sutton. This celebration of organic food and farming has something for everyone. Workshops throughout the day on a variety of topics, a keynote address by Steve Gabriel, co-author of Farming the Woods and author of Silvopasture, delicious organic food, exhibitor fair, book signings, networking opportunities and more.

NOFA-NH is thrilled to be hosting Steve Gabriel as this years keynote speaker. Gabriel is an ecologist, forest farmer, and educator. He has taught thousands of farmers and land managers about the ways farming and forestry can be combined to both benefit the ecology and the bottom line of the farm. His keynote address, Silvopasture in a Changing Climate, will include historical narratives, case studies, and the latest research outlining how we can rapidly establish silvopasture for a livable future.

Learn from Gabriel and the many other excellent speakers we have lined up in over 45 workshops covering topics ranging from Advanced Growers to Agricultural Business, Beginning Farmers, Carbon, Soils, Gardening, Homesteading, Health, Nutrition, Livestock, Animals, Permaculture, Policy, Advocacy, Social Justice, School Gardens, Herbalism and more. Join nearly 500 supporters of the local, organic movement as we learn from the experts and we all look toward celebrating the arrival of spring and our next growing season.

Conference registration includes organic and locally-sourced meals and snacks catered by The Crust and Crumb Baking Company.

For more details, cost and registration, visit

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Learn from organic experts at 18th annual Winter Conference - Concord Monitor

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January 30th, 2020 at 9:46 pm

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UC launches first-ever organic research institute, with a hand from Clif Bar – University of California

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The University of California system's first-ever institute for organic research and education will be established in the UC's Agriculture and Natural Resources division (UC ANR) with a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company and $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano.

The California Organic Institute will accelerate the development and adoption of effective tools and practices for organic farmers and those transitioning to organic by building on the capabilities of UC ANR's Cooperative Extension and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. Although organic is the fastest growing sector of the food economy, funding for research has lagged far behind support for conventional agriculture. Farmers interested in transitioning to organic or improving performance of their organic systems often lack the guidance they need to succeed.

California's organic farmers already benefit from UC ANR's pest management, irrigation and crop production research, and this partnership with Clif Bar will give UC more capacity to focus on challenges specific to organic farming, said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president of agriculture and natural resources. UC Cooperative Extension advisors work directly with farmers throughout the state so new organic farming techniques can be applied quickly.

The California Organic Institute is Clif Bar's third organic research endowment and the first in its home state of California, where the company sources several key organic ingredients. Clif Bar is not alone in sourcing from the state, which has the most organic farms in the U.S.: California's nearly 3,000 certified organic farms grow crops on land that represents 21 percent of all U.S. certified organic land.

The California Organic Institute will serve many of the organic producers we depend on for ingredients like almonds and figs, as well as farmers outside our supply chain, said Lynn Ineson, vice president of Sustainable Sourcing for Clif Bar. We recognize that the future of our food company depends on the ecological and economic success of organic and transitioning farmers.

Recruitment for an institute director will begin in early 2020, with a search committee including industry representatives and partners. The director will work with a permanent advisory committee, Clif Bar, and UC ANR to launch the institute and recruit additional like-minded partners to support its long-term success.

Ultimately, with the support of UC ANR and a constellation of partners, the California Organic Institute will be in a strong position to increase the performance of organic farming for improved stewardship of natural resources, the economic well-being of rural communities, and greater stability for the next generation of California farmers.

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UC launches first-ever organic research institute, with a hand from Clif Bar - University of California

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January 30th, 2020 at 9:46 pm

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Organic is the Future – Inter Press Service

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Asia-Pacific, Biodiversity, Development & Aid, Editors' Choice, Environment, Featured, Food & Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition, Food Sustainability, Green Economy, Headlines, Population, Poverty & SDGs, Sustainability, TerraViva United Nations

Food Security and Nutrition

The seed bank at Navdanya, and (right) Vandana Shiva at the organic farm. Courtesy: Sapna Gopal

HIMALAYAS, India, Jan 30 2020 (IPS) - Vandana Shiva, a pioneer of organic farming in India, is incensed by the 2019 draft law to compulsorily register all seeds used by farmers. On a wintry afternoon, at her farm Navdanya in the Himalayan foothills, the noted ecologist spoke on the future of the organic farming movement in India. Excerpts:

Q: What is your view on the Himalayas? How different from the plains is it as a terrain?

A: Agriculture in the Himalayas is diverse because every valley is different, every slope is different, every altitude is different the North and South faces are different. So, biodiversity is even more important for mountainous regions and for the Himalayas in particular. This is because the difference between Himalayas and other mountains is, for instance in the Alps, there is snow in the winter and there is no agriculture during that time our peak agriculture season is the monsoon and we get it in four months. So, to not consider biodiversity while planning agriculture is a recipe for ecological disaster as it was for forestry which is why the Chipko movement started which is how I started my ecological life, 45 years ago.

Q: Do you think there is a revolution in organic farming in India? Do you think the demand for organic produce is much more now and theres heightened awareness in this regard? If yes, is this good news for the Indian market and the overseas market?

A: There are three levels on which the awareness on organic is growing we have all worked for 35 years to build this movement. Beginning with a network of people concerned, we startedSamvardhan, from Gandhis ashram in the early 80s. Then, my book,Violence of the green revolution, is the work that made me realise that we had to give up chemicals and move to organic. So, in a lot of places, it is a revolution happening because the green revolution has destroyed water (since it uses ten times the water). As a result, people are shifting, because theres no way we can continue to deplete the last drop of water. Farmers are also shifting because the cost of chemical agriculture is so high that it is trapping farmers in debt 77% of them are in debt. This is for input purchase, not for marriages or wastage of money, but for input of agriculture thats based on chemicals. Also, it is capital intensive and the fact is that there are 400,000 suicides among indebted peasants in India [over the last few decades]. All these are helping farmers wake up to the fact that this kind of agriculture is not for them.

Then, there are people in the cities who are realising that most of their health problems are related to food and we know that chronic diseases are food related. This being the case, its better to shift to organic since it is the best medicine. As Ayurveda says,annam sarvodayi[food as universal upliftement], so that is the shift.

Over the years, I have worked with many states and we have helped around seven of them make a shift towards organic policies. They include Uttarakhand, Kerala (where the movement is very strong and is spreading very fast), Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim (the first 100% organic state in the world), Bihar and Odisha. Now, the government in Odisha has declared an organic policy and our colleagues in Odisha are on the board of the organic policy team. Ladakh as a region (before all the political changes), declared itself organic.

Outside India, the government of Bhutan is totally committed to moving towards organic, and we have helped give advice. So, it is a movement that must grow because there is no other way to farm. In any case, the big companies that draw the chemicals are saying, we dont need farmers now. We will do farming without farmers. And worse, they are also saying, we dont need food either we will just cook together constituents in the lab so between no farmer and no food, the alternative that will work, for the farmer, for the earth, for the people who have to eat, will be organic. So, no matter how much of a denial takes place, this is the future.

Q: Do you think there is a problem in terms of certification for organic farmers? Are there some policies which could help address this issue?

A: In the first instance, I remember going into the commerce ministry and saying, why on earth are organic standards being set by the commerce ministry? Our certification is too heavily driven by European standards. I was on the National Organic Board and we said that farmers cant afford this so, what was done was that we created group certification. In fact, Navdanya works through group certification 100 farmers get together and then the overheads come down. In 2018, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) tried to take over the organic standards and were going to make it impossible for any farmer to distribute food, even locally, without certification cost. I recollect fighting it out and saying, No, where farmers are growing food either for themselves or those they know and directly selling it, the state will not enter in that domain, you dont need certification, you need relationship, and we managed to get that exclusion in the national law.

However, its a permanent fight because there are those who do want to destroy the small farmer. Which is why for us in Navdanya, from the time I founded it, it isbeejswaraj (seed sefl-rule) andannswaraj (food self-rule) so, we have to haveswaraj(self-rule, freedom) in our seed and in our food.

We wrote the laws on seed, we got rid of patenting in our laws, we wrote the farmers rights law. I have been part of drafting these laws, 10 to 15 years ago, and we did asatyagrahaagainst seed law that would have made compulsory registration of seed, like compulsory certification of food. However, they have come back with a worse draft in 2019, something that was defeated in 2004. So, you can see that the powers of the industry are strong.

Q: We have witnessed a lot of suicides by farmers in India. Where does the solution lie?

A: The solution comes from understanding the cause, which is debt. Due to debt, there is loss of the land of the farmer. Of all the suicides that I have studied, if I have been in a region where the farmer has committed suicide, the story always goes that the latter went to his field to take one last look, bought pesticide, and drank it in his field.

Why doesnt a farmer commit suicide in his home and why the field? That is because in India, most smallholder farmers have received that land through generations of farming and the day the creditors, who are agents of the corporations, come to say that now your land is ours because you did not pay the debt if he says he never mortgaged his land, he is told that he signed a paper the shock of being cheated, the disaster of feeling he has betrayed mother earth, all his ancestors who had this land, is what leads to these suicides.

So, why does the farmer get into debt? I watched this in the area of BT Cotton they are told to sign a piece of paper. The seeds are given for free, but the farmer does not realise he is being piled under debt. Worse, the seeds keep failing, because they are not designed for a drought prone area and are hybrids. They cant be saved, they cant control pests therefore, all these false promises that are made, compel the farmer to constantly go back to the market and take more and more seed, not realising that it is all on credit.

I think it is wrong for a government to say replace your seed and take bad seeds what kind of government is this? Forcing bad seeds in the name of seed replacement for farmers it is really anti-national, which is why I do satyagraha against all this. The governments public breeding has stopped I filed an RTI (Right to Information petition) and wanted to know how many seeds the Cotton Research Institute had released and why farmers are not buying it. It was found that there wasnt a single release in Vidarbha.

When I did a study and did not see an alternative, I decided we would bring back the old cotton seed. In villages where we work in, 60% of the (genetically modified) BT cotton has gone.

**This story was first published You can read ithere.

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Organic is the Future - Inter Press Service

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Tyrone Hayes to Keynote The Organic Center’s Annual Benefit – And Now U Know

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WASHINGTON, DC - We often tend to forget that healthy soil leads to healthy produce. Dr. Tyrone Hayes, Professor of Integrative Biology at University of California, Berkeley, wants us to remember that fact and know that we can do so much by doing less. On March 4 in Anaheim, California, Dr. Hayes will be discussing his research and findings at The Organic Centers 17th Annual Benefit Dinner as the keynote speaker.

It is my honor to be a part of such an important event, and I am happy that my work may make a difference, said Dr. Hayes. I am proud that I am not just another academic scientist whose work just sits in a book somewhere on a library shelf.

Dr. Hayes is known for his groundbreaking work on the impacts of the herbicide atrazine on amphibians, and his advocacy for transparency about the use of environmental chemicals and the effects they have on our health. According to the press release, his work has been foundational in looking at the environmental impacts of pesticide runoff.

We are thrilled to have Dr. Hayes as our keynote speaker, said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs at The Organic Center. His work has been critical in understanding the negative impacts of pesticides on our environment. His courage in speaking out for transparency on the chemicals that are allowed to be used and his willingness to bring to the forefront important issues like environmental justice are an inspiration to all.

Atrazine is the second-most widely used chemical herbicide in the U.S., second only after glyphosate. The press release states that an estimated 80 million pounds of atrazine are applied to U.S. soils every year. Atrazine degrades slowly in soil, often washes into streams and lakes, and is one of the most common contaminants of drinking water.

Dr. Hayes journey into pesticides started when he was growing up admiring frogs and tadpoles in South Carolina. That curiosity led him to the field of biology and ultimately to the study of the impacts of atrazine on amphibians.

We now know that your children will be exposed to over 300 synthetic chemicals before they leave the womb and most of them we have no idea of what the biological impact is, Hayes said in a recent TED talk. For atrazine, we do know from rats, which are a proxy for us, that if you give rats atrazine, an EPA lab showed those rats are more likely to have an abortion. Of those rats that dont abort, the sons are born with prostate disease. Of those rats that dont abort, the daughters are born with impaired mammary development such that when they grow up, their offspring experience retarded growth and development. These studies made me realize that I cant just be a little boy who likes frogs.

The annual event is the single biggest fundraising event for The Organic Center. Attendees will not only get to hear about Dr. Hayes invaluable research into soil health and environmental impacts, but also get to network and enjoy one of the biggest organic dinner parties at the Natural Products Expo West trade show. Guest celebrity chef Megan Mitchell will be creating an all-organic menu to highlight the best nature has to offer. The Benefit Dinner will also showcase the latest science on the environmental and health benefits of organic food and farming.

A guest raffle will be held again this year, thanks to the generous contributions of the events sponsors. The Organic Center prize giveaway kicks off with a chance to win roundtrip airfare to Australia! More information can be found here.

For more innovative and inspiring news from the industry, keep reading AndNowUKnow.

The Organic Center

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This grocery store wanted to compete with Whole Foods. Now it’s going bankrupt – CNN

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The grocer said it agreed to sell six stores to discount grocer Aldi and five to Publix. Lucky's said it will continue operating seven stores through bankruptcy. Last week, it announced plans to shutter more than 30 stores around the country. The bankruptcy is a sign of mounting pressure on small and regional grocers in an industry with wafer-thin margins. Grocery stores are trying to make costly investments to expand online, while also facing pressure from specialty and discount grocers. Founded in 2003 in Boulder, Colorado, by former chefs with farmers market-style stores and gourmet food, Lucky's attracted the interest of large grocery chains as it grew, including Kroger. In 2016, Kroger (KR) invested in Lucky's, which at the time had 17 stores.

"Lucky's approach is very much aligned with our efforts to provide affordable, fresh, organic and natural foods as part of our customer-first strategy. We expect to learn a lot from each other," Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said at the time.

With Kroger's backing, Lucky's expanded in Florida. But that expansion, and increased competition from chains like Sprouts, Fresh Thyme and Earth Fare, proved to be untenable.

"The portfolio of company stores was unable to achieve sustainable four-wall profitability," Lucky's said in its bankruptcy filing.

In its latest fiscal year ending in early January, the company had an approximately $100 million net loss and a 10.6% drop in sales at stores open for at least year.

In December, Kroger announced it would divest from the chain.

"The amount of investment that it would take for Lucky's to be a meaningful contributor to Kroger overall and the efforts that it would take, we just didn't think it created a good return for the investments that were needed to be made," CEO McMullen told analysts.

Lucky's has around 3,100 employees, most of whom are hourly workers.

Scott Mushkin, chief executive of R5 Capital, said that Whole Foods' moves to drive down produce prices was pressuring rival organic chains. Lucky's has also increased its food service offering, which involves a costlier labor model.

CNN Business' Alicia Wallace contributed to this article.


This grocery store wanted to compete with Whole Foods. Now it's going bankrupt - CNN

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How Regions Rate Fast-Food Quality, and Why it Matters – QSR magazine

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Some larger national chains buck the home-turf trend. New Englanders are more likely to rate KFC high for quality, while those in East North Central are more likely to give the nod to Atlanta-based Arbys, which has some 3,300 locations around the globe. Qdoba Mexican Eats, which opened its first location in Denver in 1995, scores highly on Quality scores in the West North Central, next door to Colorado.

Nashville-headquartered Captain D's sees higher-than-average quality scores in South Atlantic and East South Atlantic. Surprise, surprise, Texas-bred Whataburger does well in the West South Central area.

A majority stake in Whataburger was sold to BDT Capital Partners this year, a move that could spark expansion into new territory. Tiffany Hagge, managing director of BDT, said in a statement that the company would pursue accelerated growth in existing and new markets.

Predictably, California favorite In-N-Out does well in the Pacific region, but also in the Mountain region, an area of expansion for the chain.

In a rare public interview with Forbes in 2018, Lynsi Snyder said the company doesnt have dreams of spawning locations across the U.S. map. I dont see us stretched across the whole U.S. I dont see us in every state. Take Texasdraw a line up and just stick to the left. Thats in my lifetime, she said.

Overall, Chick-fil-A has the highest Quality score among Americans, according to BrandIndex data, followed by Subway, Wendys, Arbys, and In-N-Out.

Meanwhile, YouGov Profiles data can show us how regions think differently about food in general. Those in Middle Atlantic and Pacific region are more likely than the rest of the U.S. to believe they dont have enough time to prepare and cook food. Americans in those regions are also fine with paying more for organic food.

Those in the Mountain region are more likely than the rest of the country to regularly sit down for a family meal. And if Americans in the South Atlantic, West South Central or Pacific regions need a pick-me-up, theyre more likely to reach for tea rather than coffee.

Ted Marzilliis CEO of YouGov Direct, and previously led YouGov's Data Product's division. Prior to joining YouGov, Marzilli was Senior Vice President,Corporate Development at The Nielsen Company where he developed global strategy and launched innovative services related to loyalty marketing, in-store media and the financial services industry.

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Dallas health officials identified five zip codes as the most unhealthy. Here’s how they plan to fix it. – The Dallas Morning News

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Laura Montoya, left, and Veronica Ocana, center, receive dental information from Jefferson Dental community manager Dely Acosta, right, during a health and safety fair at Pleasant Grove Christian Church in Dallas, Jan. 25, 2020. The fair hosted a variety of health and safety information, as well as free flu shots by the Dallas County Health Department, and free lab tests checking cholesterol, STDs, thyroid, diabetes and glucose levels. Ben Torres/Special Contributor

Three months ago, health officials diagnosed five zip codes in southern Dallas as the most unhealthy in the county. Today, the public gets its first look at treatment options.

Health leaders are set to brief more than 300 health care professionals, elected officials and community activists on their plan that they hope will reverse historic inequities and improve the countys overall well-being.

The presentation from Parkland Health & Hospital System and the Dallas County health department is a response to a tome of data the two groups published in October that put a heavy emphasis on five zip codes 75210, 75215, 75216, 75217 and 75241.

The response, however, focuses less on neighborhoods and more on specific chronic illnesses and other ailments such as pediatric asthma, breast cancer and mental health.

The plan builds on a shift at Parkland in recent years to provide more services away from its main campus in northwest Dallas, said Frederick Cerise, the hospitals president and CEO. And while there isnt a detailed list of interventions for each zip code, the strategies the hospital plans to put in place will have a strong and early focus on south and southeast Dallas.

We have to do more upstream, he said. Dallas is a big city. There are inequities that are pretty broad. And so the approach that were taking is: Where can we make an impact? Were gonna have to take this thing in bite-size pieces.

The plan, which is federally mandated by the Affordable Care Act and often referred to as a community health needs assessment, is still being fine-tuned. The hospital plans to include specific measurable goals next month and will regularly brief the Parkland board and county commissioners.

I hope everyone does hold us all accountable for this, said Dr. Philip Huang, director of the countys health department, which will play a critical role in data collection and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Some of the strategies Parkland and the health department plan to adopt as part of their plan:

In an interview previewing the plan, Parkland officials suggested the work theyre about to do exceeds the federal mandate.

But that isnt hard to do, said Kevin Barnett, a researcher at the Public Health Institute who has studied hundreds of community health needs assessments.

Federal standards for these surveys and plans are lax and hospitals usually spend too much time on data collection something he suggested can be accomplished more easily than in the past and not on solutions.

Barnett suggested that if Parkland and the health department are serious about ending inequities in specific zip codes, a goal he applauded, they would provide as much real-time data as possible and work to drive down the number of preventable emergency room visits for chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

"If your focus is on compliance, you're not being serious, he said. We have to go far beyond that. Your commitment ought to be about improving equality.

Since October, health officials have stressed both a commitment to reversing stubborn inequities and the need for a countywide response that goes beyond what any hospital can do.

Community members and leaders echoed that call for partnership and holistic change.

Dorothy Hopkins, president and CEO of Frazier Revitalization, a nonprofit that is working to improve the neighborhood southeast of Fair Park, said Parkland and other elected officials must find the political will to improve the citys forgotten neighborhoods.

Of course every child over here has asthma because they all live in houses built in the 1920s, said Hopkins, who plans to attend Thursdays event. And while treatment is welcomed, addressing the underlying causes of asthma is paramount, she said.

Further south in Pleasant Grove, residents who attended a health fair on Saturday said they need better access to healthy food, safe transportation and a better understanding of what services are available to them.

Organic food doesnt exist in Pleasant Grove, said Chris Acosta, a father of four. Theres a vegan restaurant that most people cant afford.

Several other residents said they cant even begin to think about their health until they feel safe in their neighborhood.

Its not safe, said college student Alilisa Nelson. You cant go outside without worrying about what you might face and come up against. You have to worry about your safety.

Kurt Johanson, minister at Pleasant Grove Christian Church, which co-hosted the health fair, said the communitys No. 1 health issue is fear.

Fear of losing a job, fear of not being able to put food on the table," he said. "I dont know a single family that hasnt had some sort of crime against them.

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Dallas health officials identified five zip codes as the most unhealthy. Here's how they plan to fix it. - The Dallas Morning News

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Longevity expert says these are the foods you must eat to add years to your life – Ladders

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We all need more vegetables in our life, but including them in our core three meals is easier said than done. As it turns out plant-based diets actually work the best when an individual drafts their own guidelines around unique health needs and objectives.

A plan that encourages plant-based meals while allowing room for animal products on occasion is alternatively known as the Flexitarian diet.

Helping Ladders navigate the specifics of an optimal Flexitarian diet is the expertise ofSergeyYoung, founder of the Longevity Vision Fund.

For years Young has dedicated his assets, network connections and global research community toward developing affordable and scientifically proven wellness habits. His self-professed mission is to fund the next phase in the longevity revolution.

In Youngs estimation, the first step begins with debunking the falsehoods keeping too many people from breaking away from their toxic dietary habits.

Young explains to Ladders, You dont need to stick to a vegan or vegetarian diet to reap the health benefits. Focusing on getting the majority of your calories from plant foods without excluding animal products completely will have a positive impact on your health. Some nutrients like EPA and DHA are best obtained from fish, seafood, and eggs.

According to the latest U.S. News & World Report Best Diet Rankings, the regimen Young intimates above is one of the healthiest and easiest to follow of all the many plans currently circulating the diet sphere.

Lowering your intake of processed meats will dramatically improve cognition, reduce your risk for developingType 2 diabetesandheart disease, help regulate weight gain and boost longevity as a consequence of the previously mentioned attributes.

More than the rich sources of energy and protein provided by lean meats like chicken and omega-3 rich sources like fish, allowing room in any regimen for foods you enjoy makes any plan that much more sustainable over time.

With a Flexitarian diet youre getting the macro-nutrients you need from organic sources most of the time but when you want to have maybe a piece of grass-fed steak or even just a piece of steak at a restaurant, or you want to have eggs, you can. It allows room for these other kinds of food without being so hardcore, dietitian Keri Glassman recently told Ladders.

One of the critiques lobed at plant-based diets the most often claims that it isnt plausible to get the majority of the daily calories needed from plants. While its true that even the most balanced plant-based regimens are not as calorically dense as other plans, this isnt necessarily a bad thing.

Young continues, Habits common among areas where people live the longest include a reduced calorie intake and fasting and a25-year study in monkeysfound that eating 30% fewer calories than normal led to a significantly longer life and less age-related diseases. Even if your calorie requirements are higher, youre still able to get enough from other calorie-dense foods like sweet potatoes, nuts, and oils.

Of course, calorie intake is much more about where youre getting your calories than it is about how many calories youre consuming day to day. Protein is the nutrient most often lamented by those skeptical of taking on a plant based diet.

Although not as packed with amino acids, proteins obtained from plants actually contain more nutrients and fiber than protein derived from animal sources.

Tofu (contains about 10 g of protein per cup), lentils (cooked contains 8.84 g of protein per cup) and chickpeas(7.25 g per cup) all on their own sufficiently fuel vegan bodybuildersa group with a protein demand significantly higher than yours and mine.

Make no mistake, its not enough to limit meat intake and increase plant consumption in order to boost longevity. the source matters a great deal. Variety is key to any diet plan.

Local, farm-grown and organic produce nurtured without the use of pesticides, manmade fertilizers or genetic modifications is more nutritious than non-organic commercial foods, Young informed Ladders. Superfoods like maca, spirulina, goji berry, etc. might be marketed as nutritional powerhouses but food variety is even more important than its nutritional density. Its important to make sure you eat a full rainbow of fruits and vegetables for a balanced and varied diet.

Longevity is bolstered by a panoply of physiological factors: optimal brain health, metabolicregulation, weight management, cellular vascular health, cardiovascularhealth, and emotional stability. Every one of these requires balance, especially when it comes to our diet.

Although there arent many studies that have been done on this topic,there appears to be a link showingthat plant-based diets can influence brain function positivity through altered microbial status and systematic metabolic alterations. However, despite the positive effect of plant-based diets on brain health, there is a risk of these diets creating a deficiency in the essential brain nutrient cholinewhich is why some proportion of eggs and other animal-based products must still be kept in your diet, said Young.

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Longevity expert says these are the foods you must eat to add years to your life - Ladders

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Laurie Jervis: Dare 2 Dream Farms Rooted in Success of Organic Crops and Chickens – Noozhawk

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What started as a dozen backyard chickens kept to occupy Jeremy Raffs elderly grandfather has evolved into a statewide chicken, egg and farm enterprise with deep roots in the Lompoc Valley.

Raff and his wife, Megan, own and run Dare 2 Dream Farms off La Salle Canyon Road, west of Lompoc.

The multifaceted, organic operation has many moving partsa majority of them with two or four legs. Among the residents are goats, ducks, wild turkeys and dairy cows. And chickens. Many, many chickens.

Both husband and wife lead by-appointment tours of the farm for area students and the public in general. Theres an on-site farm stand with produce, eggs, honey and baked goods, a Dare 2 Dream weekly CSA, and a booth at the Route One Farmers Market on Sundays in Vandenberg Village.

With the assistance of local chefs and winemakers, the Raffs host true farm-to-table dinners that feature wines paired with outdoor meals that celebrate just-picked produce and a protein source, usually poultry or seafood.

On Oct. 12 of last year, I attended one such event. Kyle and Savanna Knapp poured their Press Gang Cellars wines, and chef Augusto Caudillo of Lompocs former Scratch Kitchen whipped up a feast of farm-fresh kale, roasted butternut squash, tomatoes and bell peppers alongside potato and acorn squash gnocchi; wild turkey (slaughtered that morning); and a dessert of chocolate brittle, farm preserves and honey.

Before we ate, Jeremy Raff led guests on a tour of the farm, past leafy green crops, a cow being milked, and pens with fowl of all shapes and sizes. Against one hillside are homes available for farm stays: So kids can see stars at night and learn about nature, he said.

Four such dinners will take place this year, Megan Raff said. The dates are May 23, Aug. 1, Sept. 12 and Oct. 24.

But lets go back to the chickens, because chickens are the soul of Dare 2 Dream Farms.

Jeremy Raff grew up with his late grandfather, Mike Raff, on the property at 890 La Salle Canyon Road. While the parcel is 42 acres, according to Jeremy Raff, only six are suitable for farming or flocks; the rest are steep old-growth hillsides covered with chaparral.

He met Los Angeles-native Megan while both were students in San Luis Obispo (he at Cuesta College and she at Cal Poly). At that time, the family ranch was overgrown, and Mike Raffs health was failing. On weekends at the ranch, Megan and Jeremy began to overhaul the property, and started a flock of chickens to accompany the elder Raff and keep his attention focused on the farm.

In 2008, two things happened: Jeremy returned to live on the ranch and care for his grandfather, and a big movement toward raising backyard chickens for pets and eggs took hold in California, according to Megan. In 2009, the two founded Dare 2 Dream Farms. Their CSA is six years old, and the farm stand opened four years back.

We experienced organic growth of our site via word of mouth and great customers, she said.

In 2012, the two married. They now have three children: Wyatt, 5, Zoe, 3, and Wade, 9 months.

The farms hands-on growth got a boost when Dare 2 Dream Farms welcomed volunteers who were members of World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF. Some stayed for a few days, and others camped and stayed for months, planting, tending fowl or lending a hand wherever a need arose.

The people come from all walks of life, from students taking a gap year to the simply curious, to Italian doctors to couples traveling, Megan Raff said. And they all leave knowing more about farming and with an appreciation for how food is grown.

While the Raffs might chuckle at that riddle about what came first the chicken or the egg in their case, chickens funded the couples dream to live sustainably on land owned by generations of the Raff family.

Having hundreds of chickens meant pounds and pounds of manure, which helped create healthy compost. In turn, that compost helped grow healthy vegetables, which then nourished another generation of chickens, Megan Raff said.

Word about healthy farm-raised chickens for sale spread north and south from the Lompoc Valley. A Meetup group, Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts, contacted Dare 2 Dream, and soon the farm was supplying the entire California coast with backyard chickens, Megan Raff said.

While an employee now is the dedicated Dare 2 Dream chicken delivery person, the Raffs were the initial contacts for backyard enthusiasts. Conversations would segue toward how best to house chickens, and from the couple's advice hatched a steady side business for Jeremy Raff. He builds custom-crafted chicken coops that are delivered to backyards and farms.

The Dare 2 Dream Farms website specifies various categories of chickens for sale, from baby chicks to point of lay hens, ready to produce, as well as roosters. Popular breeds are barred rocks, Easter eggers and Rhode Island reds, and the couple buy chicks from certified hatcheries that guarantee healthy, disease-tested birds, according to Megan Raff.

The average size of a backyard flock is four to eight chickens, and if they are good layers, theyll provide between two and six dozen eggs per week," she said.

The six acres that comprise Dare 2 Dreams level land form a north-south facing canyon. Steep hillsides on three sides mean limited daylight; the crops that thrive there are the brassica vegetable family, she said among them broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts and cabbage. The existing trees are mostly those that produce stone fruits, but the couple will plant red and black raspberries and fig trees this year, she added.

Click here for more information. The farm stand,890 La Salle Canyon Road, is open from 10 a.m. to dusk Tuesday through Sunday. Route One Farmers Market,3745 Constellation Road, is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

Laurie Jervis blogs about wine at, tweets at @lauriejervis and can be reached via [emailprotected]. The opinions expressed are her own.

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Laurie Jervis: Dare 2 Dream Farms Rooted in Success of Organic Crops and Chickens - Noozhawk

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January 30th, 2020 at 9:46 pm

Posted in Organic Food

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