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Archive for the ‘Organic Food’ Category

Vertical Farming: The answer to global food security? – hortidaily.com

Posted: June 16, 2020 at 7:51 am


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It is no secret that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has brought widespread disruption to the global supply chain stemming disastrous food shortages and rising prices. In the aftershock of the pandemic, it is clear to see that the global economy and infrastructure is more fragile than we realise. Evidently necessary measures need to be put into place to help strengthen the food supply chain in preparation for any future crises.

Since the dawning of COVID-19 many UK fruit and vegetable growers are investigating new growing methods to increase outputs and ensure supermarkets and grocery stores have a consistent accessibility to important resources to provide the population.

National Statistics (2018) show the UK relies on receiving almost half (47%) of the national food supply from overseas nations, with the highest value of imports (11.1B) arriving in the form of fruit and vegetables. Originally, the theory behind such a diverse network was to enhance food security through trading with stable nations thus allowing for a constant source of provisions. However, the sudden impacts of global lockdown have proven otherwise.

The overbearing dependence on imports paired with a surge in demand for fresh produce has proved the importance of local farming. With a lack of labour in the UK, the automation of farming and harvesting seems to be an inevitable and welcome solution.

Brits have always cautiously questioned the sources of supermarket produce, and even more so since the arrival of the pandemic. With the newfound need for contactless delivery and harvesting, Vertical Farming systems seem to be the answer to the issue.

The UK relies on the global food network due to the seasonal temperate climate, counting on nations with optimal growing conditions to keep staple fruit and vegetables on supermarket shelves, however climate is not a problem in the realm of indoor farming.

Vertical farming systems allow growers to produce in a fully controllable climate, safe from the natural elements such as wind rain and frost, meaning the variety of crops now able to be grown in the UK is increased significantly. Additionally, the secure environment results in zero pests and invasive bacteria, which allows the grower to provide organic pesticide free produce, which paired with an automated growth and harvesting system will allow for minimal human contact, something heading the agenda in the current crisis.

Indoor farming systems also address another key UK issue: a dwindling availability in useable farmland. Vertical farming systems can be implemented into disused buildings or on barren land such as barns, car parks and warehouses, provided there is a steady power and water supply. Although it may look smaller than your average outdoor farm, a vertical system can equate to 4-6 X more growth surface than your standard glasshouse or polytunnel area. 1 acre of vertical farm on average produces 4-6 acres depending on the crop density and cycle duration.

Since the arrival of the virus, major cities across the planet have experienced less smog and a reduction in pollution levels. Growing vertically can act as a major contributor too: Although many media outlets have written of indoor farming negatively due to its energy usage, the reduction in other aspects of pollution and waste conservation have not been as widely reported. Its local production and harvesting of crops reduce the amount of food miles, meaning a decrease in the growers contribution to the global carbon footprint. Research has found that vertical farms lower overall CO2emissions by 67-92% when compared with greenhouses.

Vertical Farming systems allow produce to grow with 70-95% less water required for normal plant cultivation. Taking lettuce as an example: open-field production requires 250L/kg of lettuce and greenhouse systems consume 20L/kg. However, vertical systems come in at a minimal 1L/kg of lettuce, with the only water extracted during the growth cycle being that of the plants consumption. Any leftover water is recycled back through the filtering system and re-introduced to the irrigation.

In response to the pandemic thriving nations are realising the benefits of urbanised farming, identifying Vertical Farming technology as a response to the widespread food shortages. Singapore, one of the most affluent Asian countries, have been quick to adopt indoor and rooftop farms with aims to locally produce 30% of the nations food by 2030. Singapore law official Ang Wei Neng has recently stated that during the coronavirus outbreak, "it would be wise for us to think of how to invest in homegrown food" realising that Vertical Farming can act as a safety net in times of drought and crisis.

In a recent study, the University of Sheffield expressed that despite the pressure on land to build homes and roads, there is more than enough urban land available within UK cities to produce an ample, and more importantly, sustainable quota of fresh produce.

Although the world has been slow off the mark to implement an effective amount of Vertical Farming systems, large-scale UK distributors such as Ocado are already including indoor farming into their business models, sharing the feeling that their hyper-automation and promise of diverse locality will soon see the technology embedded into the global food supply chain.

Bridge Vertical Farming partners with Urban Crop Solutions to provide hi-tech automated solutions which include the likes of container farms, research facilities and bespoke vertical farming structures to cater for individual needs.

For more information: Bridge Vertical Farming Keynor Lane Chalk Lane Chichester PO20 7LL 01243 641789 bridge@urbancropsolutions.co.uk http://www.bridgeverticalfarming.co.uk

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Vertical Farming: The answer to global food security? - hortidaily.com

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June 16th, 2020 at 7:51 am

Posted in Organic Food

National Trust report sheds light on merits of organic farming | News – Speciality Food

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The organic sector has voiced concerns over the Governments public money for public goods farming strategy, fearing it is ignoring the value of organic options. The English Organic Forum (EOF), which represents organic farming organisations and businesses, is concerned that whilst the governments proposal has many valid points, it hasnt yet specifically recognised the important role that organic farming can play in delivering public goods or the vital importance of whole farming systems.

It comes as National Trust highlighted the success of organic farming in its recently published Farm Health Check report. The study offered a full health check into the biodiversity, carbon levels and levels of public accessibility at Wimpole Estate Home Farm, the only farm the National Trust manages directly.

The farm, which has been organic for 12 years, has seen a number of achievements, including a doubling in the number of breeding pairs of skylarks and linnets in the last six years, a 150 percent increase in hymenoptera (wasps, bees and ants), and the recording to over 1,100 invertebrate species, including 95 rare and protected species that are vital to pollinating crops and preying on pests. The report also showed a total carbon balance of -2,260 tonnes of CO2 per year achieved through the amount of organic matter in the soil which soaks up carbon, the number of trees and grown out hedges.

The report provides further evidence to support the merits of organic farming, according to Mark Harold, National Trust director of land and nature. This is a story of hope and optimism and the Governments forthcoming environmental land management scheme will be crucial to replicating this across the farming industry, as will the new Agriculture Bill in prioritising government support for this scheme.

Speaking about the importance of the report and the need for the Government to take note, EOF co-chairman Christopher Stopes added: We are delighted with the National Trust results. We can see that the Trust is supportive of sustainable approaches across all farming practices and the results from the farm at Wimpole clearly show that organic fits into that very well. And their publication is timely because the whole farm system approach demonstrated so well at Wimpole has not yet been recognised in the governments proposals.

The Trusts Wimpole estate is a mixed farm with a predominantly arable system that integrates cereals with fertility building clover leys, green manures and livestock. The team, led by farm manager Callum Weir, believes the recent results offer a good indicator of a healthy ecosystem thats a direct result of their holistic approach, proving that nature-friendly farming and a profitable farm business can go hand-in-hand.

It is this whole system approach that brings production, ecology and environment together in a way which optimises food production alongside the delivery of public goods, Stopes said.

Providing a menu of techniques which farmers can choose to take up has merit. However, as Wimpole Farm demonstrates, the whole farm system approach is critical and we are deeply concerned that this is being overlooked by Defra.

Stopes comments are supported by John Pawsey, chair of the NFU Organic Forum, who farms 1,500 hectares in Suffolk: This is an exciting time for all farmers but especially for anyone considering organic farming. The National Trust has shown at Wimpole how organic farming makes commercial and environmental sense. I hope the Government will take note of these impressive results and put in place a framework which allows organic farming to flourish in this country as it has elsewhere in the world.

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National Trust report sheds light on merits of organic farming | News - Speciality Food

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June 16th, 2020 at 7:51 am

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Global Free From Food Market (2019 to 2026) – by Type and Distribution Channel – GlobeNewswire

Posted: May 5, 2020 at 5:42 pm


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May 05, 2020 06:33 ET | Source: Research and Markets

Dublin, May 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "Free from Food Market by Type and Distribution Channel: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast 2019-2026" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.

Free from food products are known as the products in which certain ingredients are removed to make them healthier and safer for consumption. They may be dairy-free, sugar-free, carb-free, lactose-free, artificial ingredient-free food, or egg-free depending upon the purpose for which they are being produced. The consumption of free from dairy and free from gluten foods is not only limited to nutritional needs but is also gaining importance, owing to issues related to intolerance or allergies.

Dairy-free products can be referred to the milk products produced by vegan alternatives. Soy, rice, almond, coconut, and even hemp seed milks are the popular dairy-free products that are dominating the dairy-free segment. Sugar-free products are made without the addition of actual sugar. Sugar substitutes such as aspartame, cyclamate, mogrosides, saccharin, and stevia are used in sugar-free products.

These products provide a sweet taste, while at the same time containing less calories as compared to sugar-based sweeteners, thus making it a zero-calorie or low-calorie product. Consumption of carbohydrates beyond the prescribed level has a negative impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. Thus, restricting carbohydrates in food items controls sugar levels and insulin needs. Increase in prevalence of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases is a key factor that augments the demand for low-carb food products

Lactose is a sugar majorly found in milk products. Increased consumption of lactose may cause gas, bloating, cramping, or diarrhea, in case it is not broken down or is undigested. Alternatives for lactose containing milk can be soy milk, almond milk, and other plant-based milks. Artificial ingredient free food are natural and organic foods.

The consumer preference toward organic, natural, and healthy food is on a constant rise, owing to increase in health consciousness among consumers. Furthermore, surge in disposable income, improvement in living standard, rise in health expenditure, and large-scale promotion of organic foods owing to their benefit, such as their chemical-free nature, drive the growth of free from food market.

Increase in adverse health effects due to use of artificial ingredients, additives, or colorants such as E133 and the adoption of controversial food technologies such as GMOs have in the preparation of free from food products have limited their adoption among consumers. Moreover, these products are significantly expensive, and have a potentially shorter shelf life, thereby limiting their adoption. Furthermore, additional ingredients are added in free from food products to meet the needs of prescribed regulations, which incurs extra production cost of free from food products. Thus, high cost of these products poses a potential threat for the growth of the global market. Rise in concern about the origin of ingredients among consumers has influenced new product purchases. This trend is expected to generate lucrative opportunities in the clean label ingredients market.

In addition, the food industry is responding to an increase in demand by consumers of clean label products by supplying the food products, which are perceived as cleaner. For instance, Nestl USA removed all of artificial colors from their chocolate candy products, and removed artificial flavors from the entire line of snacks and frozen pizzas. Furthermore, in the announcement made in February 2016, Mars pledged to remove artificial colors from human food products. Most recently, Red Bulllaunched a new line of organic soda products, which are only available in two regions of the U.S.This organic soda line is another example of how companies are embracing the artificial ingredients free concept.

The global free from food market is segmented into type, distribution channel, and region. Deepening on type, the market is categorized into dairy-free, sugar-free, carb-free, lactose-free, artificial ingredient-free food, and others. On the basis of distribution channel, the market is divided into supermarket &hypermarket, specialty stores, online retail stores, and others. On the regional basis, the market is studied across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.

Some of the key companies profiled in the report include The Kraft Heinz Company, The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., Cargill Inc., Corbion Inc., Kerry Group PLC, Ingredion Incorporated, Chr. Hasen A/S, Dupont, Kellogg Company, and General Mills, Inc.

Key Benefits

Key Findings of the Study

Key Topics Covered:

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1. Report description 1.2. Key benefits for stakeholders 1.3. Key market segments 1.4. Research methodology 1.4.1. Primary research 1.4.2. Secondary research 1.4.3. Analyst tools and models

CHAPTER 2: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2.1.1. Top impacting factor 2.1.2. Top investment pockets 2.2. CXO perspective

CHAPTER 3: MARKET OVERVIEW 3.1. Market definition and scope 3.2. Parent/Peer Market Overview 3.3. INDUSTRY ROADMAP 3.4. Key Forces Shaping free from food market 3.4.1. High bargaining power of suppliers 3.4.2. Low threat of new entrants 3.4.3. Moderate threat of substitutes 3.4.4. High intensity of rivalry 3.4.5. Moderate bargaining power of buyers 3.5. INDUSTRY PAIN POINT ANALYSIS 3.6. CONSUMER ANALYSIS 3.7. Pricing Analysis 3.7.1. Pricing Analysis of Product A, By Region, 2018 & 2025 3.8. Value Chain Analysis 3.9. IMPACT OF GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS ON MARKET 3.10. Market dynamics 3.10.1. Drivers 3.10.1.1. Increasing Consumer Demand for free from food Products 3.10.1.2. Increasing incidences of celiac disease and gluten intolerance 3.10.2. Restraints 3.10.2.1. High cost of Free from products 3.10.3. Opportunities 3.10.3.1. Increasing investments by small and midsized food product manufacturing companies 3.10.3.2. Shift of consumer preference towards ready-to-eat food products

CHAPTER 4: FREE FROM FOOD MARKET, BY TYPE 4.1. Overview 4.2. Dairy free 4.2.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 4.2.2. Market size and forecast, by region 4.2.3. Market analysis by country 4.3. Sugar free 4.3.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 4.3.2. Market size and forecast, by region 4.3.3. Market analysis by country 4.4. Carb free 4.4.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 4.4.2. Market size and forecast, by region 4.4.3. Market analysis by country 4.5. Lactose free 4.5.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 4.5.2. Market size and forecast, by region 4.5.3. Market analysis by country 4.6. Artificial ingredient free food 4.6.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 4.6.2. Market size and forecast, by region 4.6.3. Market analysis by country 4.7. Others 4.7.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 4.7.2. Market size and forecast, by region 4.7.3. Market analysis by country

CHAPTER 5: FREE FROM FOOD MARKET, BY DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL 5.1. Overview 5.2. Supermarket and Hypermarket 5.2.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 5.2.2. Market size and forecast, by region 5.2.3. Market analysis by country 5.3. Specialty Store 5.3.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 5.3.2. Market size and forecast, by region 5.3.3. Market analysis by country 5.4. Online retail stores 5.4.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 5.4.2. Market size and forecast, by region 5.4.3. Market analysis by country 5.5. Others 5.5.1. Key market trends, growth factors and opportunities 5.5.2. Market size and forecast, by region 5.5.3. Market analysis by country

CHAPTER 6: FREE FROM FOOD MARKET, BY REGION 6.1. Overview 6.2. North America 6.3. Europe 6.4. Asia-Pacific 6.5. LAMEA

CHAPTER 7: COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE 7.1. INTRODUCTION 7.1.1. MARKET PLAYER POSITIONING, 2018 7.2. TOP WINNING STRATEGIES 7.3. Product Mapping 7.4. Competitive Dashboard 7.5. Competitive Heatmap 7.6. Key developments 7.6.1. Acquisition 7.6.2. Product Launch 7.6.3. Business Expansion

CHAPTER 8: COMPANY PROFILES 8.1. Archer Daniels Midland Company 8.1.1. Company overview 8.1.2. Key Executive 8.1.3. Company snapshot 8.1.4. Operating business segments 8.1.5. Product portfolio 8.1.6. R&D Expenditure 8.1.7. Business performance 8.2. Chr. Hansen Holding A/S 8.3. CONAGRA BRANDS, INC. 8.4. GENERAL MILLS, INC. 8.5. HAIN CELESTIAL GROUP, INC. 8.6. Nestle S A 8.7. The Coca-Cola Company 8.8. The Kraft Heinz Company (Heinz) 8.9. Unilever Group 8.10. WHITEWAVE FOODS COMPANY INC. (DANONE)

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/giry4r

Research and Markets also offers Custom Research services providing focused, comprehensive and tailored research.

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Global Free From Food Market (2019 to 2026) - by Type and Distribution Channel - GlobeNewswire

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May 5th, 2020 at 5:42 pm

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Natural and Organic Food Market Future Growth by In Depth Industry Analysis, Size, Trends and Forecast to 2026 – Cole of Duty

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Quaker Oats

The scope of the Report:

The report analyzes the key opportunities, CAGR, and Y-o-Y growth rates to allow readers to understand all the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the Natural and Organic Food market. A competition analysis is imperative in the Natural and Organic Food market and the competition landscape serves this objective. A wide company overview, financials, recent developments, and long and short-term strategies adopted are par for the course. Various parameters have been taken into account while estimating market size. The revenue generated by the leading industry participants in the sales of Natural and Organic Food across the world has been calculated through primary and secondary research. The Natural and Organic Food Market analysis is provided for the international markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, and key regions development status.

By Regions:

* North America (The US, Canada, and Mexico)

* Europe (Germany, France, the UK, and Rest of the World)

* Asia Pacific (China, Japan, India, and Rest of Asia Pacific)

* Latin America (Brazil and Rest of Latin America.)

* Middle East & Africa (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, , South Africa, and Rest of Middle East & Africa)

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Highlights of the Natural and Organic Food market study:

Speculations for sales:

The report contains historical revenue and volume that backing information about the market capacity, and it helps to evaluate conjecture numbers for key areas in the Natural and Organic Food market. Additionally, it includes a share of every segment of the Natural and Organic Food market, giving methodical information about types and applications of the market.

Key point summary of the Natural and Organic Food market report:

This report gives a forward-looking prospect of various factors driving or restraining market growth.

It presents an in-depth analysis of changing competition dynamics and puts you ahead of competitors.

It gives a six-year forecast evaluated on the basis of how the market is predicted to grow.

It assists in making informed business decisions by creating a pin-point analysis of market segments and by having complete insights of the Natural and Organic Food market.

This report helps users in comprehending the key product segments and their future.

Strategic Points Covered in TOC:

Chapter 1: Introduction, market driving force product scope, market risk, market overview, and market opportunities of the global Natural and Organic Food market

Chapter 2: Evaluating the leading manufacturers of the global Natural and Organic Food market which consists of its revenue, sales, and price of the products

Chapter 3: Displaying the competitive nature among key manufacturers, with market share, revenue, and sales

Chapter 4: Presenting global Natural and Organic Food market by regions, market share and with revenue and sales for the projected period

Chapter 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9: To evaluate the market by segments, by countries and by manufacturers with revenue share and sales by key countries in these various regions

Finally, the report global Natural and Organic Food market describes Natural and Organic Food industry expansion game plan, the Natural and Organic Food industry knowledge supply, appendix, analysis findings and the conclusion. It includes a through explanation of the cutting-edging technologies and investments being made to upgrade the existing ones.

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Natural and Organic Food Market Future Growth by In Depth Industry Analysis, Size, Trends and Forecast to 2026 - Cole of Duty

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May 5th, 2020 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Organic Food

61st Street Farm to Provide Woodlawn with Free Produce – The Real Chi

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A new initiative by 61st Street Farmers Market and Build Coffee seeks to provide free locally sourced foods for low-income Woodlawn residents during the COVID-19 pandemic with their Market Box initiative.

Build Coffee and 61st Street Farmers Market announced the new initiative in late April and asked for donations to fund the boxes. The original goal was to purchase 100 food boxes; however, after surpassing that goal, a new goal was set to secure funding for 200 food boxes. Each Market Box contains food items such as bread, eggs, carrots, asparagus that have been sourced from local farmers. 61st Street Farmers Market and Build Coffee are both part of Experimental Station, an organization that seeks to reshape Chicagos South Side through independent business and educational programming.

We were frustrated by the disparities in access highlighted by COVID-19, and wanted to act quickly to ensure that our neighbors were able to obtain good local food, said Wendy Zeldin of 61st Street Farmers Market about the need for the resource.

The new initiative is also choosing to prioritize Market Boxes to black low-income residents in the Woodlawn neighborhood due to the high impact of COVID-19 among black Chicagoans. According to The Chicago Reporter COVID-19 Map, there are 758 confirmed COVID-19 cases from 3,491 tests in the two zip codes encompassing the Woodlawn area. Of which 565 out the 758 confirmed cases are among black residents, which amounts to 74 percent of all cases in the two zip codes.

We are prioritizing black and low-income residents in the Woodlawn area, as these folks have been disproportionately disadvantaged and harmed by the pandemic, said Zeldin. Additionally, it is, now and always, the market's mission to feed good food to our neighbors.

Woodlawn is also considered a food desert due to 33 percent of the population living more than one mile away from a supermarket or large grocery store, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

According to Zeldin, besides benefiting Woodlawn residents, the Market Box also aids local farmers who have had trouble selling produce during the pandemic. The Market Box initiative allows those folks to eat local, organic produce for free, while still paying our farmers, said Zeldin.

If you are interested in helping 61st Street Farmers Market distribute more food, you can buy a Market Box for a Woodlawn resident on their website, and if you live in Woodlawn and need assistance, you can request a Market Box here.

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61st Street Farm to Provide Woodlawn with Free Produce - The Real Chi

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May 5th, 2020 at 5:42 pm

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People of Color are at Greater Risk of COVID-19. Systemic Racism in the Food System Plays a Role. – Civil Eats

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More than two weeks before Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a March 24 stay-at-home order to stop the spread of coronavirus, Paige Jackson got sick.

I was having a really bad migraineto the point where it was hard to keep my eyes open, Jackson, who lives in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, recalled.

An employee of an Amazon store and a restaurant, Jackson initially shrugged off her symptoms. But the headache, which lasted days, turned into body aches. When she developed a cough and a 101-degree fever, Jackson went to urgent care, where the staff prescribed medications to treat the flu and sent her home. Her symptoms, however, worsened, and the 26-year-old spent several days in the hospital, ultimately receiving a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Today, Jackson is feeling 100 percent better. But as an African American, a frontline worker, and a resident of a state hit hard by coronavirus, Jackson knows that shes one of the lucky ones. According to a Johns Hopkins University analysis of 26 states that have provided racial data about the virus, Black people make up 34 percent of COVID deaths, despite comprising just 13.4 percent of the U.S. population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that African Americans account for 33 percent of COVID hospitalizations, largely because Black people have high rates of chronic health conditionscalled comorbiditiesthat weaken the immune system and make them more vulnerable to the virus. But much less discussed is how food, class, and race have intersected in ways that perpetuate the health disparities and social inequities unfolding today.

Outside of being Black, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension have been identified as the comorbidities that make coronavirus more deadly amongst anyone worldwide, said Daphene Altema-Johnson, the food communities and public health program officer at John Hopkins Universitys Center for a Livable Future. When you look at the United States, Blacks have higher rates of these chronic conditions and the reasons they have those comorbidities are driven by poverty and by food insecurity.

Communities of color have long struggled to access fresh and unprocessed food, and minority workers make up a disproportionate percentage of the food industry, often working for low wages and without medical benefits. All the while, traditional cuisines, such as soul food, have taken blame for the health problems African Americans facea critique that overlooks how obesity and Type 2 diabetes werent widespread in the Black community until after makers of processed and fast foods established a foothold in minority neighborhoods in the late 20th century. Moreover, stress from racial discrimination and other sources has been tied to heart disease, hypertension, and obesity.

Theres also the psychological aspects of being Black in America and the environments of communities of color, where you have lack of access to care and disparities that exist in the healthcare system, including unconscious racial bias as it relates to COVID-19, since Blacks are less likely to be referred for testing in the healthcare system, Altema-Johnson said.

It all boils down to a simple fact: structural racism in the U.S, and particularly in the food system, has left people of color more susceptible to the health and economic crises of the coronavirus pandemic.

Social Determinants of Health: Food Swamps and ZIP Codes

Although the social determinants of healththe conditions in ones workplace, neighborhood, home, or schoolhave a significant impact on well-being, the perception persists that African American lifestyle and cultural influences are to blame for the racial disparity in coronavirus casualties.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams faced widespread criticism in April for specifically urging the Black and Latinx communities to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs during the coronavirus pandemic, even though these groups dont abuse substances at higher rates than others. And speaking during CNNs April 18 town hall about coronaviruss disproportionate impact on people of color, retired NBA star Charles Barkley said, There is systematic racism, but that does not give you a reason to go out and be overweight.

These remarks discount how the nations food system uniquely makes people of color prone to COVID complications. Kristen Cooksey-Stowers, an assistant professor in the University of Connecticuts Department of Allied Health Sciences, has researched the link between food access and health problems in Black neighborhoods. She co-authored a 2017 study that concluded food swampsareas with a high-density of establishments selling high-calorie fast food and junk food, relative to healthier food optionsbetter predicted obesity rates in a community than food deserts, a term describing the absence of a full-service grocery store.

Its more important than ever to have food thats good for our immune system but its easier to get the high-fat, high-salt, and high-sugar foods that compromise it.

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed how imperative it is for cities and counties to limit the number of unhealthy food retailers in neighborhoods, Cooksey-Stowers told Civil Eats.

When we get into this sort of crisis, its more important than ever to have food thats good for our immune system, she said. But its easier to get to the food that actually compromises our immune systemthe high-fat, high-salt, and high-sugar foods. Its awful. Now is the time for food equity.

Her research demonstrates that where a person lives has a direct impact on ones well-being, with white neighborhoods offering more health and nutrition benefits than communities of color. Accordingly, the African-American obesity rate is 49.6 percent, the Hispanic obesity rate is 44.8 percent, and the white obesity rate is 42.2 percent, the CDC reports.

Studies that look at health disparities in the Black and Hispanic community are consistently finding these patterns, Cooksey-Stowers said. Its about a lot more than whether theres a grocery store or not. Its about the brown bag, fast-food greasy carryout place and the stores with the blue juice and 25-cent chips. Its a manifestation of structural inequality.

Three years before Cooksey-Stowers published her study on food swamps, Reginald Tucker-Seeley, a University of Southern California assistant professor of gerontology, coauthored a study concluding that Black neighborhoods had higher access to fast-food restaurants, a circumstance associated with obesity.

We have been discussing these kinds of disparities for decades, Tucker-Seeley said. But he wants these conversations to also examine the societal forces that led communities of color to house so many harmful food retailers.

The decisions around retail in these neighborhoods are not random, he said. They are the result of municipal policy. The conversation is incomplete if it just places the responsibility on the individual consumer but not on the choices people have.

His research has found that the zoning policies allowing unhealthy food retailers to accumulate in certain neighborhoods may be more motivated by race than income. Tucker-Seeley compared economically disadvantaged areas across the country and found that fast-food retailers were more common in Black neighborhoods of all incomes than in low-income non-black neighborhoods. (Cooksey-Stowers made a similar finding about food swamps.) And the legacy of redlining and racial segregation means that middle-class African Americans frequently live in neighborhoods without the resources and protections found in even poor white ones.

We cant underestimate the power of neighborhood segregation, Tucker-Seeley said. Which homes do individuals get to live in? What kind of lending is available? What is the power of racism throughout the process, and how can it potentially sort people into neighborhoods with fewer resources and more health risks?

Changing the retail composition of a neighborhood is difficultbut not impossible, according to Tucker-Seeley. It requires residents who are aware that their community perpetuates food inequity and, from there, addressing municipal-level zoning policies, he said. Less clear is the ideal retail mix for good health.

Thats going to require collaboration with health and housing and economic development officials, he said. Until zoning policies limit the amount of fast food and replace it with healthier food, its going to be challenging.

Abandoned by Grocery Stores, Many Communities of Color Are Food Insecure

The pandemic has made these zoning policies and their present-day consequences clearer than ever. Take South Los Angeles, where a 2008 ordinance limited the opening of new fast-food restaurants but did not stop more convenience stores from opening or increase the number of grocery stores in the area. When Californias March 19 stay-at-home order took effect, people flocked to the few supermarkets there.

There was already not enough food access [in South L.A.], and the stores that do exist have lines around the block, activist Olympia Auset recalled. People were letting us know there was no rice and beans.

In response, Auset stepped up the work she began in 2016 as the founder of Sprmarkt, an organic grocery that aims to bring more low-cost organic food to communities like South L.A. The organization estimates that area has roughly 60 grocery stores for 1.3 million people.

To meet the demands for food in South L.A. during the pandemic, Sprmarkt has grown its operational capacity, picking up and delivering 96 boxes of food weekly rather than the typical 20. It has also donated groceries to the needy and amassed dried goods, such as quinoa, beans, rice sunflower seeds, and cranberries, that families can use for the long haul.

Sprmarkt is not alone in its efforts. YMCAs throughout the country, including in Massachusetts, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia, have served tens of thousands of meals during the pandemic. And the COVID-19 Fresh Food Fund has announced plans to provide communities in need with hundreds of thousands of servings of fresh produce. Additionally, the animal rights group Mercy for Animals (MFA) recently partnered with community advocacy organization I Grow Chicago to deliver 250 meals from five local vegan restaurants and food trucks to residents of Chicagos West Englewood community, which is predominantly low-income and African American.

Without access to affordable, healthy foods, it is extremely difficult to maintain a strong immune system, Erin Kwiatkowski, MFAs corporate partnerships manager, who believes the food system sees some communities as worthy of having nutritious food and others as not.

The Problem With Blaming Soul Food

The mountain of research showing the correlation between environment, racial segregation, and health disparities hasnt stopped some people from blaming Black culture for the chronic health conditions that can lead to COVID complications.

The American Conservative recently suggested that soul food, and more specifically, a greens-cornbread-and-pork-chops culture, bore responsibility for the high rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension in the African American community and, thus, the high rate of Black people dying from COVID-19. Its not the first time soul food has been blamed for these conditions; research studies, the 2012 documentary Soul Food Junkies, and even the 1997 theatrical release Soul Food have all linked the cuisine to chronic health conditions.

This argument overlooks that soul food can be prepared without pork fat, salt, or sugar, says Adrian Miller, author of Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine One Plate at a Time, winner of the 2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award. Pathologizing African-American cuisine also ignores that soul food predates the nations obesity crisis, which grew as the number of fast-food restaurants in the U.S. doubled between 1972 and 1997. It disregards the rising popularity of vegan soul food as well.

If you look at soul foodthe dark leafy greens are a superfood, Miller said. Okra is a superfood. Hibiscus is a superfood. Fishall these things are the building blocks of soul food.

Black dietitians are teaching African Americans how to prepare healthful soul food, but just 3 percent of dietitians are Black.

Miller added that the term vegan soul food isnt an oxymoron, as the traditional soul food diet contained more vegetables than meats; enslaved people had more access to the former than the latter. It was celebration food, he explained of soul food. It was the food you got on weekends when the work day slowed down enough. It was seasoned vegetables, maybe a little bit of meat and cornbread.

Black dietitians like Fabiola Gaines, coauthor of The New Soul Food Cookbook for People With Diabetes, have been teaching African Americans how to prepare healthful soul food by relying more on seasoning than animal fat for flavor. Shes been a dietitian for more than 40 years, but points out that fewjust 3 percent of dietitian and nutrition professionalsare Black.

If you have diabetes, we wanted to show you that you can still have the same food but lower in fat and sugar, Gaines said. Healthy soul food can taste good.

Today, soul food remains celebration food, meaning that its typically not eaten on a daily basis. And, increasingly, African Americans arent making it at home but patronizing restaurants that do, Miller posits. Given this, he questions why soul food, eaten only once in a while, could singlehandedly be responsible for the obesity, hypertension, and diabetes epidemics in the Black community.

Lytisha Wyatt, an assistant grower at Soul Fire Farm, a community farm in Petersburg, New York, focused on ending injustice in the food system, questions why diet has become the focus of the racial disparities in COVID-19 deaths.

Its been really frustrating the ways in which people are trying to distract from the systemic factors that are playing a role in the disproportionate amount of Black deaths from coronavirus, she said. There wasnt that much talk about peoples diets, and all of sudden, diet has come up. Its another way of avoiding talking about the societal conditions that make it so Black people are less likely to thrive.

Miller suspects the culprits for the chronic health problems among African Americans are fast food and other highly processed foods, convenient and plentiful in communities of color. A CDC study found that almost 40 percent of Americans ate fast food on any given day from 2013 to 2016, and doctors have blamed processed foods for the rise in chronic medical conditions that make COVID-19 deadly.

For racial reasons, for class reasons, our food has long been stigmatized, Miller said. Its been reduced to either slave food or poverty food, which ignores its rich history as a fusion of food from West Africa, Western Europe, and the Americas.

Food Workers Will be More Vulnerable After the Pandemic

Those suggesting that cultural and lifestyle factors make people of color more vulnerable to COVID-19 havent been as outspoken about how the workplace contributes to racial disparities in coronavirus cases. Black and Latinx people are more likely to work in occupations, including food service, that require them to interact closely with others. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, African Americans make up 12.3 percent of the workforce but comprise 21.9 percent of animal slaughterhouse and processing workers, 14.2 percent of grocery workers, and 13.4 percent of restaurant workers. They also account for 26.5 percent of employees at Amazon and 21 percent of the staff at Walmart, the nations largest grocer.

Paige Jackson isnt sure where she contracted coronavirus, but she acknowledges that being a frontline worker and interacting with lots of people at two jobs has made her vulnerable. There is a possibility that somebody I came into contact with at work was sick, she said.

While Jackson has recovered from coronavirus, she now has no job to return to, since both of hers closed during the pandemic. She is among the estimated two-thirds of restaurant workers who have lost their jobs since the pandemic led to statewide lockdowns across the nation.

I hope this leads to an evolution in the ways in which we get our food.

The economic impact of COVID-19 will have long-lasting consequences for restaurant workers, who are now facing Great Depression-era levels of poverty and merging households just to survive, according to Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage, an advocacy group for the nations restaurant workforce. For food workers of color, she noted, the financial instability is even more serious, since they typically earn less than their white counterparts.

Workers of color are often segregated into lower-paying positions and segments of the [restaurant] industry, Jayaraman said. They work as kitchen staff or as bussers and runners rather than as waiters, so they really might have nothing to fall back on. They may not be eligible to qualify for unemployment because their wages are so low. They dont have a way to take care of their basic needs. Not only are they at high risk of getting coronavirus, theyre much less able to take care of themselves if they do get it.

Soul Fire Farms Lytisha Wyatt said the pandemic has revealed how broken the food system isand hopes that lawmakers can improve it for workers and consumers alike.

Im hoping this leads to an evolution in the ways in which we get our food, she said. Hopefully, the disproportionate number of [people of color] dying will help expose the role the food system plays in health outcomes and usher in more protections for grocery store workers, people in meat-packing facilities, people making food deliveries. Its clear theyre essential, and if theyre essential, this pandemic needs to generate momentum for them to be protected.

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People of Color are at Greater Risk of COVID-19. Systemic Racism in the Food System Plays a Role. - Civil Eats

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Ooooby Organic Food Delivery: part of The Happy Pack – Happy Mag

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Ooooby is an organic food delivery service based in Sydney, launched in 2013 from a backyard in Newtown. Since then theyve delivered to over 3,000 residents thats 70,000 boxes and counting. All their food is locally sourced, certified organic, and supports local farmers.

They already help a ton of Aussies get their weekly fruit and veggie fix, but soon theyll be reaching a few more homes thanks to The Happy Pack.

The Happy Pack is an initiative involving organisations such as Panhead Custom Ales, Fender, RDE, Thrills, Happy Mag, and more, aimed at offering a helping hand to creatives in this unexpected and altogether not so chill situation. Its a box of gifts valued at almost $800, delivered to the front doors of artists in isolation.

On the Ooooby front, each recipient of The Happy Pack will find a voucher valued at $69 each.

Any creative who has lost work during the COVID-19 pandemic is eligible to receive a package, from musicians to photographers to illustrators. Initially deliveries will only be available to Sydney residents, with the mind to expand elsewhere in Australia during the coming months.

The Happy Pack doesnt pretend to make up for any lost income, but it will give you something to look forward to, something to pass the time, and engage you with a community of like-minded creatives united by this crazy world order.

Check out what you could score in a Happy Pack below, and register your interest to receive one righthere.

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Ooooby Organic Food Delivery: part of The Happy Pack - Happy Mag

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SweetLeaf Expands Its Product Line to Include a Greater Selection of Organic Products – Benzinga

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GILBERT, Ariz., May 4, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ --For several years, people around the world have been moving toward an organic lifestyle in the way they live, the products they buy, and the foods they eat. Eating organically grown food has become the preference of a growing number of consumers around the world.

More than a decade ago, Wisdom Natural Brands, maker of SweetLeaf Sweeteners, released its first organic products, SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener in packets and shaker jar. Since then, the company has added more organic products to its family of sweeteners, all certified by Quality Assurance International (QAI).

The stevia used in SweetLeaf products is USDA Organic Certified. To be certified organic, 95% of all the product's ingredients must be organic. SweetLeaf products use certified organic stevia in all products whether completely organic or not. The company's products are of the highest quality, taking care to make sure its stevia is grown and processed to the world's highest standards.

According to QAI, organic products must be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation. The World Counts says foods that are grown organically reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Because no pesticides or chemicals of any kind are used in the farming of organic food, they're a healthier choice for people and for the planet.

"We've listened to our consumers and are pleased to be able to deliver what they are asking for," said Carol May, CEO of Wisdom Natural Brands, parent company of SweetLeaf Sweeteners. "Our products are a better-for-you sweetener alternative, gluten free, and non-GMO, with no sugars, zero calories, no artificial sweeteners, and they are absolutely delicious," May said.

SweetLeaf's organic products currently include:

The company's water-based extraction process yields a product free of solvent artifacts, so there is no aftertaste, making it perfect for sweetening hot or cold beverages, cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, entrees, desserts, appetizers, recipes and more. SweetLeaf's Conversion Chart and Conversion Calculator make replacing sugar with SweetLeaf in recipes even easier.

Wisdom Natural Brands is planning to release more organic products in the near future.

SweetLeaf Sweeteners are available at: Shop.SweetLeaf.com, health food stores, natural groceries, supermarkets, and online retailers.

For more information about SweetLeaf, visit SweetLeaf.com. For interviews with company leadership, please contact the name listed at the bottom of the release.

About WISDOM NATURAL BRANDS, maker of SweetLeaf Sweeteners Wisdom Natural Brands, based in Gilbert, Ariz., has been the leading stevia expert and industry pioneer with its plant-based SweetLeaf Sweeteners brand for more than 35 years. SweetLeaf is the only stevia brand winning 36 awards for taste and innovation. SweetLeaf Organic Monk Fruit is a 1:1 sugar replacement and available in granular, squeezable, and liquid drops, totalling 18 products. SweetLeaf Sweeteners have zero calories, no sugars, a non-glycemic response, and no artificial ingredients. SweetLeaf Stevia is sold in boxes containing 35 or 70 packets and shaker jars (organic or natural) for easy home use. SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops add flavor without calories, no sugars, or artificial sweeteners to foods, beverages, and recipes. Organic Sweet Drops are available in three popular flavors: English Toffee, Vanilla Crme, and SteviaClear. SweetLeaf Stevia Water Drops add delicious flavor to still or sparkling water. New Better than Sugar! powdered and granular, natural and organic, is a sugar replacement measuring cup-for-cup like sugarwithout any of the calories or carbs and no sugar. SweetLeaf Sugar-Free Stevia Syrup, in three popular flavors, brings the incredible sweetness of stevia and monk fruit, with only 70 calories per serving. Wisdom introduced herbal blends made from Yerba Mat through its Wisdom of the Ancients brand, one of the most respected herbal lines in the natural industry. Wisdom of the Ancients herbal blends are available in bags and loose leaves and come in a variety of beneficial flavors. And new no-sugar, zero-calorie Yerba Mat Energy Shots, available in regular and orange flavors, provide energy with 200 nutrients and 100% naturally occurring caffeine. SweetLeaf Sweeteners and Wisdom of the Ancients' products are available at: Shop.SweetLeaf.com, health food stores, natural groceries, supermarkets, and online retailers.

MEDIA CONTACT: Barbara McFadden McFadden/Gavender O: (520) 882-6262 M: (520) 990-6040 barbara@mcfaddengavender.com Website: SweetLeaf.com WisdomNaturalBrands.com

SOURCE SweetLeaf Sweetener

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SweetLeaf Expands Its Product Line to Include a Greater Selection of Organic Products - Benzinga

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Organic Snacks Market to Surge at a Robust Pace in Terms of Revenue Over 2028 – Cole of Duty

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Organic Snacks Market: Snapshot

A great number of people world over are turning toward consuming diets that contain decent dose of vegetables and fruits to keep themselves healthy. This aside, people are preferring food products bereft of too many additives, preservatives, and dyes and artificial sweeteners. The drive for organic snacks in the snacking world has been fueled by these trends gaining strength over the years. Strides made in the snacking industry, coupled with rising cohort of millennials attracted toward healthy snacking, are notably driving the evolution of the organic snacks market. The organic food labeling has been bolstering the demand for organic snacks. Over the years, food companies and manufacturers have made organic snacks more delicious and nutritious. Moreover, they are making substantial efforts to market the products wisely, mostly in developing countries. These factors have been essentially behind the growing popularity of organic snacks.

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Increasing awareness about organic methods of food sourcing and recycling, and focus toward preserving biodiversity have continually added momentum to the market. The increasing preference of adolescents toward snacking, in part to changing lifestyles, in developing countries has increasingly influenced the entire dynamics in the global organic snacks market over recent years. However, despite the enormous potential organic snacks have in the snacking industry, there are multiple concerns whether they have really worth the hype. Food manufacturers are hence trying to stay true to the organic labelling and promote this in attracting customers. Moreover, it might be difficult or infeasible to attract new taste buds without using additives to enhance the flavor. Whether these additives really meet the expectations of consumers seeking organic ingredients needs to be relooked closely.

Global Organic Snacks Market: Overview

Urban populations are observing a restless lifestyle owing to work pressure as a profession and expanding landscapes of metropolitan area that has significantly incremented daily travel by the means of personal vehicles or public transport. As urbanization engulfs heavily populated emerging economies, the common opportunities that are emerging are in the food and beverage industry. Food habits are radically changing from full course three meals to incremented inclination on snacks.

However, the snacks market that has been flourishing in the past decade is now getting restructured as a result of growing awareness among the intended customers regarding the ill-effects of snacks if consumed regularly in substantiality. Thankfully, awareness has also multiplied in terms of the availability of organic snacks, which are wholly made from natural ingredients and have the potential to not only cause no-harm to the consumers but also serve with health benefits. According to the findings of this business intelligence study, the global organic snacks market is poised for a fruitful future with the demand multiplying at a profitable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the forecast period of 2018 to 2028.

Global Organic Snacks Market: Trends and Opportunities

A number of chronic diseases including obesity and diabetes have gained strong prevalence in the recent past and consumers are now aware of the fact that they stroke their chances of falling prey to the bodily disorders by eating unhealthy snacks. However, since the addiction has now significantly sunk in, alternative of organic snacks is serving the changing demands. Apart from awareness, aggressive marketing and promotional activities by the leading vendors including television commercials and branding is further augmenting the awareness, and hence the demand. A number of governments are giving away incentives to organic farmers and farms are mushrooming across outskirts of metropolitan cities across the world, catering to localized demands. With improved availability of these products, the adoption is anticipated to multiply in the near future.

On the other hand, organic snacks are significantly costlier than the alternatives as they are produced without the usage of yield-incrementing chemical fertilizers as well as in a confined environment. This factor is challenging the organic snacks market from serving greater pool of customers.

Global Organic Snacks Market: Market Potential

Deepening penetration of social media is emerging as an option that has potential to radically increment the awareness. Consumers are sharing their own experiences with general snacks and the benefits of organic ones and enticing newer customers. In addition to that, producers of organic snacks are also resorting to social media to promote their products, highlighting the health benefits while serving the appetite and taste buds.

Global Organic Snacks Market: Regional Analysis

North America, driving by the U.S. wherein obesity is a severe concern, is currently the region with the greatest demand potential for organic snacks. Substantial disposable income of the citizens, greater levels of awareness, and high adoption rate of new products are some of the other factors driving the demand in the North America organic snacks market. That being said, Asia Pacific and Europe are two regions that must be concentrated on.

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Global Organic Snacks Market: Competitive Landscape

General Mills, Conagra Brands, Newmans Own, Hormel Foods, THE WHITEWAVE FOODS COMPANY, Amys Kitchen, AMCON Distributing Company, Dean Foods, Clif Bar & Company, Frito-Lay, Organic Valley, and Hain Celestial Group are some of the most prominent companies currently holding a position of strength in the global organic snacks market. Most of these players are currently confined within the North American and European region but in the near future, they are expected to make forays into the emerging economies in APAC for greater shares.

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Organic Snacks Market to Surge at a Robust Pace in Terms of Revenue Over 2028 - Cole of Duty

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Cooped Up Indoors? Theres a Reason You Dont Feel Well – The New York Times

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If you cant go outside, you can reduce stress by bringing the natural world inside even if you have a history of killing houseplants.

When you spend a lot of time indoors, as many of us are doing now, its easy to succumb to a sense of malaise.

Scientists, architects and others who study the concept of biophilic design creating buildings and interiors with cues from the natural world say theres a reason for that.

Humans have an affinity toward nature thats biologically embedded, said Bethany Borel, a senior associate at CookFox Architects, which has designed numerous offices with biophilic elements, including its own studio in Manhattan. If you dont have enough contact with the natural world, Ms. Borel said, there can be emotional and physical costs.

Biophilic design attempts to counter this by connecting people with nature, which can help reduce stress, improve cognitive performance, elevate our mood and have various physiological benefits, said Bill Browning, a founder of Terrapin Bright Green, a New York-based sustainability consulting firm established in 2006 with the founders of CookFox.

A recent study by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, published in the journal Environment International, supported that claim, concluding that biophilic interiors helped inhabitants recover from stress and reduce anxiety more quickly than interiors without natural elements, and documented a notable reduction in blood pressure.

So how can this help you survive an extended lockdown? We asked architects and designers for tips on how to incorporate biophilic design at home.

One of the most straightforward ways to add nature to a space is with houseplants. But dont just put a single orchid in the corner. Instead, try a little grouping of plants.

We respond differently to a group of plants together, Mr. Browning said. Environmental psychologists are theorizing that when we see a cluster of plants together, the brain says, Oh, look, theres a habitat, so this must be a good place for me to be.

It doesnt have to take up a lot of space: A few types of plants could be installed together in a terrarium.

Or, if youve got one big potted plant, create an understory, he suggested, with a small plant spilling over the side of the pot. That way it becomes a miniature landscape.

Those of us who have a checkered history with houseplants should start slowly and choose plants that are easy to maintain.

Sometimes, having a lot of houseplants around can actually make you feel anxious about taking care of them, said Rebecca Bullene, a partner at the biophilic design firm Greenery NYC, which operates Greenery Unlimited, a plant store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. If youre killing plants all the time, it can make you feel really sad.

But no worries: There are a handful of plants that are relatively foolproof, said Adam Besheer, Ms. Bullenes partner at Greenery NYC. That includes ZZ plants (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), snake plants, pothos, Philodendron cordatum and aglaonema.

Clodagh, a New York-based interior designer who employs biophilic design principles in her projects, often uses jade plants for their simplicity. In our own office, we have about 60 feet of window boxes filled with jade plants, she said. Its very, very easy and helps clean the air.

To increase your chances of success, Mr. Besheer said, make sure you know how much water your chosen plants require over time, and that your planters have proper drainage holes. If your home doesnt get a lot of sunlight, buy a simple full-spectrum LED retrofit light bulb for a lamp, to serve as a grow light.

Indoor plants arent the only way to create a visual connection to nature. If you have a terrace or balcony, greenery outside the window works well. Or, you may be able to capture views of a park or tree down the street.

Well use mirrors to bring positive views inside, said Clodagh. If theres a tree, well use a mirror to bring a view of that tree inside.

Dried flowers are another option. Michael Hsu, an architect in Texas, commissioned a ceiling-mounted installation of dried flowers from the floral design studio Davy Gray when he recently opened an office in Houston.

I call it a flower cloud, Mr. Hsu said. You see a lot of green walls in offices right now, but they have their own challenges with lighting and water. This is easier to maintain, but still changes the mood of the conference room.

Photographs of natural scenes can also do the trick, Ms. Borel said: Even if its not an actual beach that you see out your window, it has a calming effect and helps to drop your cortisol levels down a little bit.

Adding finishes, furniture and accessories made from natural materials wood with an appealing grain pattern, for example, or natural stone can evoke nature, too.

We try to use natural materials with the least amount of processing possible, Mr. Hsu said. Its the architectural equivalent of eating organic food. With wood, we want to celebrate the grain and character of each species. It does so much for us, emotionally.

Part of the appeal is the tactile nature of those materials.

When Im sitting at a table that has a live edge, or some kind of articulation to the wood grain, I end up running my fingers over the edge of the table, Ms. Borel said. That subconscious connection with the natural helps us calm down a little.

Manufactured products like carpets, wallcoverings and fabrics that mimic patterns found in nature can have a similar effect.

Think of the honey locusts in Paley Park that create the amazing dappled light in that space, or the pattern of the water on the waterfall, Mr. Browning said of the Manhattan green space. Those are statistical fractals.

When fractals like those are used as decorative patterns on the things that surround us, he said, the immediate response you see is a reduction in stress.

If your home doesnt get a lot of natural light, consider adding lamps and light bulbs that provide various color temperatures and intensities over the course of the day to help keep your bodys circadian system in check.

People tend to gravitate to windows because you see the light change throughout the day, Ms. Borel said.

As humans, we have a cycle that is dependent on the natural lighting in our environment: Blue morning light helps us wake up and feel energized, she said, while the gentle, warm light of the setting sun helps prepare us for sleep.

If your home has a lot of static artificial light, it may be worth investing in adjustable bulbs, Ms. Borel said, from companies like Ikea and Philips, which make affordable options. At CookFoxs office, she said, the architects use Koncept Lady7 task lamps to change between cool and warm white light at their desks.

Water in the form of an aquarium or a small fountain can be another powerful reminder of nature.

The sound of water is clinically proven to help you relax, said Clodagh, who often includes water features in her projects, from private residences to apartment lobbies. Any kind of moving water is terrific.

The sound may also help block out distracting noises, like traffic or screaming children.

A small fountain, little waterfall or small, gurgling stream is by far the most effective acoustic masking sound, Mr. Browning said. The brain will focus on that and filter out most of the conversations or other noise in a space.

And it doesnt have to be complicated or elaborate, Clodagh noted: You can put a bubbler in a big steel dog bowl, with some pots of greens around it, and have your indoor garden.

Even with a wide array of natural elements, you may still feel the need to retreat from roommates or family members, like an ancient hunter-gatherer returning to a cave. If so, try to identify a cozy place where your back is protected, preferably somewhere with a low ceiling, Mr. Browning said.

In most homes, he noted, thats the window seat, the wingback chair or the four-poster bed its just that little space where you can tuck in for a break.

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Cooped Up Indoors? Theres a Reason You Dont Feel Well - The New York Times

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