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The Affordability of Organic

It has been reported that a single person will spend on average about $30 more a month buying organic. How much could one spend a month on one medication? How much more a month could one spend on one dietary supplement? Not all farmers agree that the USDA standards are strict enough. Some farmers argue that the standards have been eroding to compensate for corporate industrial farmers who want to use the organic label. But, we know, as informed consumers who read Shidonna Raven Garden & Cook regularly, that not all ingredients have to be organic just because the label says organic. Some of the ingredients can be non organic. The next time you go to the grocery store read the label of 3 items you buy carefully. What did you learn about the food you buy? Is the label transparent enough about the production of the food you buy?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Where to Buy Organic Seeds

seeds shidonna raven garden and cook

To truly grow organically one must first start with a seed that is organic. There are several other standards that the USDA require. True organic growers go even further than the USDA. These growers believe the USDA has relaxed its standards below what is truly organic in favor of corporate industrial farmers rather than true family farms. One will not always find organic seeds at their local garden center or nursery. When one does find organic seeds, the selection can be limited. Consequently here are a few sources for obtaining organic seeds:

  1. True Leaf Market
  2. Seed Savers Exchange
  3. Grow Green Space

Below is the book we read when we began our garden. Learn more about gardening and growing with Eliot Coleman’s book “The New Organic Grower”

Try these sources out and leave a comment for the community on what you thought. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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USDA Organic & True Organic

USDA Organic Standard & Honey
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Many farmers, some apart of the real organic project, and organic growers such as Eliot Coleman have been sounding the alarm, that the USDA standards are not true to organic growing. They allow for some and certain pesticides and include hydroponic foods, which true organic farmers reject because they believe food must be grown in soil to be considered organic. So, while the USDA Organic label provides some standards and guidelines, true organic growers do not believe these standards go far enough and have been broaden to allow corporate industrial complexes to slide in under the label. Do you know what hydroponic growing involves? What do you think of the farmers and growers comments on the USDA standards? As a consumer, what do you think the standards should be? Share your comments with the community by posting your comments below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

Scroll up and down…learn more about Eliot Coleman and what true organic means.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Organic Soil Fertilizers

By: Anne Baley

Organic materials in the garden are more environmentally friendly than traditional chemical fertilizers. What are organic fertilizers, and how you can use them to improve your garden? What are Organic Fertilizers? Unlike commercial chemical fertilizers, organic fertilizer for gardens is typically made up of single ingredients, and can be matched to your garden’s particular nutritional needs. The various types of organic fertilizer can come from plant, animal or mineral sources, depending on what chemicals your garden requires. In order to qualify as an organic fertilizer, the materials must naturally occur in nature. Fertilizer for organic gardening isn’t the quick and instant fix that chemical fertilizers can be. With organics, you have to let moisture and beneficial organisms break down the content of the fertilizer material in order for the plants to get to the nutrients inside. In general, half of the nutrients in an organic fertilizer ingredient can be used the first year it is applied, and the rest of it is slowly released in the years to come, feeding and conditioning the soil. Different Types of Organic Fertilizer for the Garden .

What is the best organic fertilizer to use?

There are a number of organic fertilizers from which to choose. There may be all-purpose chemical fertilizers, but this doesn’t exist in the organic side of gardening. Different organic fertilizers add different nutrients and ingredients to the soil. The materials you need depend completely on your soil and the plants you are growing in the garden.

Plant-based fertilizers

Plant-based fertilizers break down quicker than other organics, but they generally offer more in the way of soil conditioning than actual nutrients. These materials, such as alfalfa meal or compost, help to add drainage and moisture retention to poor soils. Other plant-based fertilizers include: Cottonseed meal Molasses Legume cover crops Green manure cover crops Kelp seaweed Compost tea.

Animal-based fertilizers

Animal-based fertilizers, such as manure, bone meal or blood meal, add lots of nitrogen to the soil. They’re great for leafy plants and strong growth in the early weeks of gardening. Additional animal-based fertilizers for the garden include: Fish emulsion Milk Urea (urine) Manure tea Mineral-based fertilizers.

Mineral-based fertilizers

Mineral-based fertilizers can add nutrients to the soil, as well as raising or lowering the pH level when needed for healthy plant growth. Some of these types of organic fertilizer are: Calcium Epsom salt (magnesium and sulfur).

Source: Gardening Know How  

What types of plants are you growing indoors and outdoors including house plants? What are there fertilizing needs? What fertilizer best meets this need? Did you know you feed the soil to feed the plant including water? Feeding the soil is essential to keeping your plant healthy and growing as soil nutrients are depleted as they feed this is particularly true for indoor plants that may not be exposed to things like natural rain.

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Real Organic: Project Organic

The Real Organic Project
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Do you think the USDA should allow corporate industrial farming to diminish the definition and standards of the USDA Organic label? Do you think there should be different labels for different types of food production? How do you make an educated decision about what is organic and what is not organic if they lower the standards are not transparent? Do you think corporate industrial farms should be able to hide behind true organic farmers? As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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The Organic Consumer

Organic Consumer
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

For one, Organic Consumers are health conscious. The Pew Research Center (Science & Society) reported that “Americans’ appetite for organic foods has grown steadily over the past few decades. According to the Economic Research Service, retail sales of organic foods more than doubled from 1994 to 2014 with a steady uptick of about 10% annual growth in retail sales over the past several years. Almost surely, a driver of this trend is people’s health concerns. Most Americans believe organic produce is better for one’s health than conventionally grown produce. Whether the science lines up behind this belief is less clear. Organic farming typically eliminates the use of conventional pesticides and fertilizers and, as a result, organic fruits, vegetables and grains have substantially lower levels of pesticides. At least one recent meta-analysis, reviewing the results of more than 340 studies, found that on average, organic foods also have higher levels of antioxidants. But having more antioxidants is not sufficient for foods to be more nutritious and there is considerable scientific debate over whether organic foods provide a nutritional boost when compared with eating conventionally grown foods.”

Organic Consumers are also very passionate and purposeful. Just visit the Organic Consumers Association and you will find a host of resources and information about being active, organized and engaged regarding your food production and food offerings. A view of this site will reveal that Organic Consumers are not only organized, the statistics that state Organic Consumers are growing in numbers are substantiated by the existence of organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association.

Why buy organic?

Most Organic Consumers have a list, short or long, of why they buy organic and the benefits of consuming organic. Share your list with us! The Balance compiled a list of their own as well:

  • Organic food is healthy and safe
  • Organic food builds strong future generations
  • Organic food keeps our water clean
  • Organic food help protect animals
  • Organic food results in less soil erosion
  • Organic food conserves fossil fuels
  • Organic food taste good
  • Organic food is becoming more affordable

Go to The Balance to learn more about their list and why these 8 reasons made their list

How to buy Organic?

Read our article “Certified Organic” to learn more about how organic food is labeled and produced. Essentially there are 2 categories of organic. Those who are exempt from being certified and those who must be certified in order to bear the USDA Certified label. The USDA has a strict certification process, which oversees the certification of the products that carry its seal. How you feel about these standards is another thing. We have found them to be fairly sound thus far. The labels that make organic clams can do so, but are also regulated by the USDA and can be fined for not following Organic Regulations. These labels cannot carry the USDA seal but can label their products as organic and must follow the USDA regulations to do so.

Fore more facts about Organic Consumers visit the Provisioner Online. How has this helped you as an Organic Consumer? How will you shop differently now? What did you learn about your food labels? Why do you buy organic? What did you learn about other Organic Consumers? As always you are the best part of what we do. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. Thank you for taking this journey with us.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Certified Organic

USDA – what does Organic mean

As we continue our organic journey perhaps what is most important is to understand what does organic mean. The USDA National Organic Program – Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Marketing Service 7CPR Part 205 National Organic Program Final Rule defines Organic Production as a system that is managed to respond to site specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological and mechanical process that fosters cycling of resources that promotes ecological balance and conserves biodiversity. The Oxford Dictionary defines Organic as “(of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizer, pesticides or other artificial agents.  

Now that we have a better understanding of what Organic really is, how does one become certified organic? First and foremost the USDA is the go to source in the U.S. for organic certifications and perhaps even organic standards. They have a plethora of information and resources for becoming certified and organic resources in general. So we went to the USDA website for more information and clarity about the topic.

There are essentially 2 types of organic producers: the one that must be certified in order to make organic claims and the producer that is exempt from having to be certified in order to make certification claims. Both must follow regulations and standards in order to make claims of being organic and both can be fined for not following the standards and regulations set forth by the USDA. The distinction between the 2 organic producers is that those producers grossing over $5,000 in annual sales from organic products are required to be certified and once certified can use the USDA certification seal. On the other hand, those producers grossing less than $5,000 in annual sales from organic products are exempt from being certified and may not use the USDA certification seal. However, they may elect to become certified if they choose. Exempt companies can make organic claims but should detail in the ingredients which ingredients are organic and which are not.

How to Become Certified Organic

Certifiers are responsible for making sure that USDA organic products meet all organic standards. There are five basic steps to organic certification:

  1. The farm or business adopts organic practices, selects a USDA-accredited certifying agent, and submits an application and fees to the certifying agent.
  2. The certifying agent reviews the application to verify that practices comply with USDA organic regulations.
  3. An inspector conducts an on-site inspection of the applicant’s operation.
  4. The certifying agent reviews the application and the inspector’s report to determine if the applicant complies with the USDA organic regulations.
  5. The certifying agent issues organic certificate.

To maintain organic certification, your certified organic farm or business will go through an annual review and inspection process.

Is There a Transition Period?

Yes. Any land used to produce raw organic commodities must not have had prohibited substances applied to it for the past three years. Until the full 36-month transition period is met, you may not:

  • Sell, label, or represent the product as “organic”
  • Use the USDA organic or certifying agent’s seal

USDA provides technical and financial assistance during the transition period through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Or, access a variety of funding options, conservation programs, and other programs and services for the organic sector on the USDA Organic Portal.

Again the USDA website is rich with resources and information about Organic Production. Here are a few resources that stood out to us if you are interested in becoming certified organic or interested in how your food is certified and labeled Organic:

  1. The Road to Organic Certification
  2. What is Organic Certification
  3. Organic System Plan
  4. Organic System Plan Template

What did you learn about your food labels? How does this change what you know about Organic products? How does this change how you consume products? What does this information mean to your health and the health of your family? What are 3 things you can begin to do this week to change your diet and consequently improve your health? How will this change your relationship with your doctors and the medicine you consume? How are we connected to nature at large? Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Stay healthy!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.