Monday, December 31, 2007

All About Organic Beer

"If you're going to be celebrating, give an organic beer a try.

Here are two good reasons: It's good for the environment, and organic beer represents the latest wave of the craft brewery movement. In other words, beer lovers will love the taste. The national organic scene grew out of the microbrewery craze and has only picked up steam since its birth about a decade ago. From 2004 to 2005, sales increased 40 percent to $19 million, and by all appearances sales have continued to increase.

At least 40 brewers will participate in this year's North American Organic Brewers Festival, billed as the largest organic beer festival the world has ever seen. Several brands with certified organic labels are distributed nationally, including Wolaver's, Butte Creek Brewing Co., Eel River Brewing Co. and Goose Island Brewery."

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Soybeans in Your Organic Cosmetics

"CHEROKEE, Iowa — When Mark Schuett mentioned to his wife that Estee Lauder Cos. wanted to work with him to develop an ingredient for a new line of beauty products, she took him to the nearest mall — an hour’s drive away in Sioux City — to prove how important this potential new client was.

“I’d never heard of them before,” said Schuett. “I thought it was spelled ‘S. T. Lawder.’” A year later, Schuett, 50, has no problems spelling the Lauder name. His company, American Natural Soy Inc., a seed processor that makes ingredients for organic food, has become a key supplier for Estee Lauder’s Origins Organics line of beauty products."

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Better Testing for Organic

"An organic farmer and farm inspector is calling for better testing of food before it can be sold as organic.

Mischa Popoff of Osoyoos, B.C., said the government certification by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is not adequate.

Given that organic food has become a billion-dollar business, "somebody's cheating," he said, and the CFIA is just rubber stamping paperwork.

In a recent posting on the Consumer's Association of Canada website, Popoff said "organic food isn't tested." Instead, the CFIA relies on honour-based self-auditing, and checks receipts for approved inputs like manure, used by organic farmers rather than chemical fertilizers."

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

B Nature Organic Clothes in Israel

"Varda Halpert Messer is the first to admit she's not the type to go out and hug a tree. Nonetheless, the sleek dark haired, dark eyed no-nonsense Israeli "Veep" has eco-smarts and conscience. And she's applying her knowledge, background and contacts to break into the global market of organics to promote widespread wellbeing.

Messer's Tel Aviv based company, B nature, designs, manufactures and markets a line of organic baby and kids clothing made from 100% color grown (non-dyed) and natural dyed organic cotton. A family owned operation, B nature has been on Israel's clothing scene for a year and recently debuted in the US retail market."

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Workshop to Discuss Organic Cherry Production

"An annual review of the latest research for cherry farming will this year include an introductory workshop on organic production.

Organic fruits and vegetables, once the exclusive providence of small-scale, independent farmers, increasingly are in demand and drawing more attention from large-scale, conventional growers.

Consumers are buying more organic produce, noted Bill Thompson, an organic farmer and independent consultant who will participate in the Jan. 16 workshop in Lodi.

"It's been an increase of 20 percent per year across multiple crops," he said Monday. As a result, "There's a push or a movement, with the processors, to move into organic. So they need growers that are certified organic."

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It's Time To Switch

"Belgaum: “It’s time to switch over to organic farming practices, or it will be too late when we realise the total impact of chemical farming.” This is the message the Chikodi taluk unit of the Organic Farming Association of India sought to convey to farmers on the occasion of World Farmers’ Day at Kumar Gandharva Rangmandir here on Sunday.

Interestingly, even as a workshop on genetically modified seeds was going on at the venue, many farmers took time out to visit the stall put up by the OFAI member. Though they were aware of organic farming practices, the farmers wanted to reassure themselves on their feasibility and profitability."

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Kellogg Buys Bear Naked Granola

"A small town success story made it big in November, when Kellogg bought Bear Naked granola company, which was founded by Darienites Kelly Flatley and Brendan Synnott.

Terms of the individual sale were not disclosed, but the Kellogg paid $122 million for the combined purchase of Bear Naked and Gardenburger, a separate transaction.
The sale was finalized on Nov. 1. Bear Naked will be operated under Kellogg’s Kashi organic food brand.

In 2002, the founders of Bear Naked were recent college graduates selling out of the back of their cars the roughly 200 pounds of granola they made every night in the kitchen at the Rowayton Market. Within eight months, they moved operations to an old cookie store front in Stamford, where granola production increased to about 3,000 pounds per night."

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Czech Republic Sees Organic Growth in 07

"The number of organic farms in the Czech Republic rose by a third year-on-year to 1,249 at the end of October 2007 from 912 a year ago, data from the Agriculture Ministry showed.

The area of land on which organic farmers operate exceeded 7 % of the total area of agricultural land in the country, which is above the European Union average. The growth is fueled by rising demand for organic foodstuffs.

Czech organic farmers operate on almost 307,000 hectares of land, ten percent more against last year. Grasses account for more than 250,000 hectares, organic orchards for 1,500 hectares and vineyards for 215 hectares.

The state will provide Kc 500 m to organic farmers this year, up by Kc 200 m against 2006. Promotion of organic farming will cost the ministry Kc 6 m, 50 % more than last year.

The number of organic food producers in the Czech Republic rose by half to 223 in the monitored period. A shortage of processors of products coming from organic farming causes that most biofood sold in Czech shops is imported.

Czechs spent Kc 760 m on organic food last year, a growth of some 50 % against 2005. Experts say the sum would exceed Kc 3 bn in 2011."

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Organic Baby on the Go

"We’ve been getting some thought provoking e-mails lately. Sometimes we pick the questions to turn them into posts, and sometimes we just write back and forth with our readers. I recently got the following email about traveling with kids while still trying to maintain an organic diet. I immediately responded. When I got an email back, I felt this was definitely a topic to open up to a broader audience. The exchange follows. My final response is one I’m posting here instead of sending back to Penny in the hopes that other moms with situations similar to hers might weigh in. In fact, all organic moms who have ideas I haven’t considered, please post them in comments!

How can I travel without carrying all our food along? We have a 15-hour trip to take with an infant and a 2 year old ... We will be on turnpikes with few exits. HELP, our car will be packed with all the supplies necessary to survive. No room for real food except for snacks. How can you find organic food on the road?
Penny Austin"

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Do Your Cosmetics Cause Infertility?

"Carcinogens in cosmetics? Petrochemicals in perfume? If only this were an urban legend. Unfortunately, it's a toxic reality, and it's showing up in our bodies.

In 2004, scientists found pesticides in the blood of newborn babies. A year later, researchers discovered perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, in human breast milk. Today, people are testing positive for a litany of hazardous substances from flame retardants to phthalates to lead.

In her new book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, Stacy Malkan exposes the toxic chemicals that lurk, often unlabelled, in the personal care products millions of women, men and children use every day."

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Raw Milk Standards Take Effect Next Week in California

"BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Many raw milk consumers are opposing new dairy standards set to take effect next week in California, saying they could outlaw some of their preferred products.

The new law does not create an outright ban on raw milk, but producers believe it could dry up supplies by setting new bacteria limits they say are difficult to meet.

Mark McAfee is founder of Fresno-based Organic Pastures Dairy Company, the larger of two raw milk producers in California. He said consumers "are fed up with the government being in their kitchens, and they want to be able to make their independent choices about food they want to eat."

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Organic Foods Make Elegant Meals

"MCLEAN, Va. -- It might be a surprise to find an elegant holiday menu emerging from a corporate kitchen, much less one that emphasizes local, seasonal ingredients and organic poultry.

For executive chef Matthew Crudder, who oversees the cafe and dining rooms at Gannett Co. Inc.'s corporate headquarters in McLean, Va., it's a typical offering, though maybe one that's smaller in scale than usual. He works every day to provide dishes made with as many local, organic and sustainable ingredients as possible. His company, food service provider Sodexho, has been named a worldwide leader in those efforts.

Crudder gives turkey cutlets a twist on tradition and extra flavor with warm spices like cumin, coriander and cinnamon, then sautes them with apples, oyster mushrooms and sage. They're accompanied by stuffed acorn squash rings with a curry kick. "It mimics the traditional spices of the season but it has a nice new accent to it," Crudder says. Cranberry-pomegranate relish adds color and a sweet-tart contrast."

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Teacher to Be Honored By Organic Campaign

"KARNS CITY, Pa., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Go Organic! for Earth Day(TM) campaign, an award-winning project of MusicMatters, Earth Day Network and the Organic Trade Association (OTA) that educates and increases consumer awareness of the benefits of organic food and agriculture, announced the winner of its Organic Curriculum Contest for K-12 teachers. Nancy Lendyak of Karns City High School in Karns City, PA., entered the winning curriculum and will be honored today at 2 p.m. in a surprise ceremony.

The Organic Curriculum Contest, which kicked off in February, gave teachers nationwide an opportunity to submit curriculum with lesson plans focused on organic dairy, soy, whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Entries were judged on their ability to make a clear connection between organic farm practices and the benefit to human and environmental health."

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Phoenix Organics Wants You to Think About Aspartame

"Phoenix Organics has launched a campaign urging people to find out more about aspartame, the controversial artificial sweetener contained in many 'diet' drinks and foods and beverages marketed as containing zero calories.

The company has turned 20,000 bottles of Phoenix Organic Cola into mini-billboards carrying its 'Think Before You Drink' message, and highlighting the concerns that have been raised about aspartame. The bottles will be given away to consumers over the summer.

Company Directors Stefan Lepionka and Marc Ellis said that the Phoenix team had become aware of the controversy that has swirled around aspartame since it was approved for use in beverages in 1983, when they started doing research for a Phoenix Organics brand campaign."

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Kettle Foods Joins Forces with NWF While Launching New Flavor

"SALEM, Ore. – December 17, 2007 – Kettle Foods, a company that welcomes friends of the feathery sort into its own "backyard," is joining forces with National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to launch its newest flavor – Backyard Barbeque. Beginning this January, Kettle Foods is donating $1 to NWF for every backyard certified by August 31, 2008 through Consumers who earn Certified Wildlife Habitat™ recognition will also receive a coupon for a free bag of Kettle™ brand Potato Chips.

The partnership will be promoted on every bag of Backyard Barbeque, where Kettle Foods is encouraging snackers to create their own backyard habitat for local flora and fauna by following NWF's step by step guide on how to "garden for wildlife" at Kettle Foods' commitment to habitat restoration starts with its own two "backyards." It's restored a 2-acre wetland adjacent to its Oregon headquarters and is revitalizing a 5-acre prairie at its new LEED® Gold certified factory in Wisconsin."

Buying an Organic Mattress

"Dear Umbra,

I need a new mattress and really want to buy one that is not doused in chemicals -- in other words, an organic mattress. I've searched a number of sites online and have been horrified by the prices. They are really, really expensive! How bad is it if I buy a regular old affordable mattress? And if it's really that bad, where can I find an organic one that won't cost a small fortune?"

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Aveda Goes Organic with Cosmetics

"Horst Rechelbacher, a self-described "eco-preneur," wants to reinvent the beauty business.

Rechelbacher, the founder and creative mind behind Aveda Corp. and, more recently, Minneapolis-based Intelligent Nutrients, is putting the finishing touches on a line of more than 100 cosmetics products, all certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The line, which should hit the market in late spring or early summer, will start with hair-care products, lip balm and fragrances, then grow to include body and skin care, baby, maternity and pet products.

The products, whose ingredients are organic and are made at certified-organic facilities, will be sold at new Intelligent Nutrients stores and national retailers such as Regis Salons and Whole Foods."

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Sibby's Premium Organic Ice Cream Launches

"VIROQUA, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following the devastating Midwest floods of August 2007, recovers and is back at full production. The seven year old manufacturer also has announced the launch of new packaging and the debut of their first organic ice cream parlor in Viroqua, Wisconsin.

Sibby's Premium Organic Ice Cream, a 100% woman-owned, independent ice cream manufacturer was founded in 2001 by 'Sibby' or Sue Sebion who heads the company.

Sibby, whose business barely survived the catastrophic floods of August gleams, "After seven years of struggle and then enduring the flood disaster, I finally feel prepared for growth and success; my new packaging is incredible, I have the support of Whole Foods and coops like Outpost [in Milwaukee, WI], and we have national distribution... most importantly, I'm making some amazing ice cream! We also send a heart-felt thanks to the generous donors and especially who helped collect the disaster relief funds. And of course, I wouldn’t be here without my many loyal customers.”

She continues, “It’s wonderful how a big company like Whole Foods stood by me while we were down. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is genuinely committed to embracing their local suppliers… I am a living testament to that.”"

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Whole Foods Ditching Plastic Bags

"Paper or plastic? You won't hear those words any longer at the two Whole Food Markets in Austin.

The world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket is ditching plastic bags altogether in its hometown.

Groceries will now be bagged in 100 percent recycled paper bags or the so-called "better bag" made out of 80 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The "better bags" are reusable, cost 99 cents each and come with a refund when they're returned."

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Eco-Friendly Alcohol Continues to Catch On

"When sipping that beer or vodka tonic at the next holiday party, take heart: Your revelry may actually be good for the environment.

Or at least that’s the pitch coming from makers of organic tequila, gin, vodka, brandy, beer and wine that are finding their way onto store shelves and fine restaurant menus — all in the name of healthier socializing and being green."

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Organic Milk Leaves Footprint

"It amazes me to see the abundance of intellectual capital all around me, yet ignorance and emotion are allowed to rule and dictate. Without reason, reflection or rigor, consumers learn to demand products they never knew they wanted, let alone needed.

Example: Organic milk production. Without definition or description we talk about being "green" and "environmentally friendly." Food marketers continue to tell us that organic is better for the environment and safer and healthier for the consumer.

The USDA has made it clear that organic milk is neither safer nor healthier than conventional milk. And real world agriculture practices make it absolutely clear that organic agriculture is a burden on the environment and far worse than conventional agriculture and yet many will pay more money for a good feeling."

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Corn Chip Troubles in New Zealand

"Consumers may be getting more than they bargained for when buying corn chips this Christmas season.

A member of GE Free NZ found in the Woolworth’s Organic section, surrounded by certified organic produce, a line of Simba genetically modified “Frito’s” corn chips barbeque flavour from South Africa and imported by Zebra Zoo.

It is not known if the corn comes from an insecticide producing (Bt) and/or pesticide resistant (Busta, glufosinate or Round up Ready, glyphosate resistant) varieties of corn. GE Free was advised by the Woolworth’s product manager that South Africa has had no laws around segregation and so all their corn and soy products are GM-contaminated.

GE Free (NZ) wrote to the Simba Company who exported the product to New Zealand and they assured us that their product did not use genetically modified corn. (3)

So what GE constructs are in the Frito's corn chips? Do Zebra Zoo Ltd repackage them with new ingredients? Woolworth's do not appear to know, and even the manufacturer may not be sure if segregation of ingredients has failed."

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mechanical Weed Control

"Many organic growers say that mechanical weed control is more like an art than a science. Well, we are trying to find out what the science is behind the art." That is how Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) researcher Dr. Steve Shirtliffe sums up some new research into herbicide alternatives.

In 2004, Shirtliffe and co-researcher Eric Johnson with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada set out to explore the tolerance of oat, wheat and barley to mechanical weed control methods. Three years later, the research, funded in part by ADF, provided some interesting results.

Shirtliffe, an Associate Professor with the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Saskatchewan, said the research will benefit the growing organic sector.

"Weed control in organic crops is difficult. Mechanical techniques offer some options for farmers. When you use mechanical methods, they tend to be not nearly as selective as an herbicide would be. A lot of these mechanical methods cause crop damage as well as weed damage, so you have to balance it out to make sure that you are not making the matter worse," said Shirtliffe."

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Organic Christmas Will Cost You

"AN ORGANIC Christmas dinner will cost consumers around twice the price of a conventionally produced one.

But more people are buying organic products for their festive feast than ever before, figures suggest.

Bob Kennard of Graig Farm Organics, Dolau in Powys, said all his organic turkeys priced at £10.79 per kilo sold out 10 days ago.

A 1kg Basted Turkey Breast Joint from Iceland costs £5.

He said, “All of our organic turkeys come from within a 50-mile radius of the farm and most of our produce comes from Wales and the borders."

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MamboTrack Predicts Organic Growth in 2008

"(PRLEAP.COM) December 18, 2007 - Despite a tougher year ahead, consumers are willing to pay more for green environmentally friendly products in 2008. That’s according to a recent MamboTrack™ study by Mambo Sprouts Marketing, the leader in natural and organic product marketing and promotions, which surveyed the buying habits of 1,000 natural product consumers and forecasted their expected purchases for the coming year."

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Senate Passes Farm Bill

"The new farm bill passed the US Senate Friday on a vote of 79 to 14 but President Bush is threatening a veto. He said Congress should be cutting government payments at a time of record crop prices.

Both of Montana's US Senators say the $286-billion farm bill is good for Montana. Senator Max Baucus said Montana producers scored a big victory and Senator Jon Tester said the farm bill ensures America has safe, abundant, and affordable food.

As part of the Senate Agriculture committee, Senator Baucus helped with legislation to implement Country of Origin labeling, provide permanent drought assistance, and help wheat and barley farmers."

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Target Milk Troubles

"Target (NYSE: TGT) has a small thorn in its side due to a store brand it carries on its grocery shelves. Aurora Organic Dairy, which has been under fire this year for labeling milk products as "organic" when the cows providing that milk were treated in a commercial fashion. It supplies Target with its product under the 'Archer Farms' brand. Archer Farms, probably the most well-marketed store brand out of any major food retailer, is targeted to the upscale grocery shopper, which is smack dab in the middle of Target's intended demographic."

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The Growth of Endangered Species Chocolate Co.

"While Hershey, Pa., may be considered the chocolate capital of the United States, Indianapolis is home to one of the fastest - growing and most fascinating makers of the sweet treat.

Though it was founded in Oregon in 1993, Endangered Species Chocolate Co. has achieved most of its growth since being acquired and transplanted to Hoosier soil in 2005 by Wayne Zink and Randy Deer.

Curt VanderMeer joined the company shortly after it came to Indianapolis; he became the third co-owner in March.

Since moving from its cramped 5,000-square-foot Pacific Northwest facility to its 43,000-square-foot home in Park 100 business park on the northwest side of Indianapolis, Endangered Species Chocolate has grown annual sales from $3 million to $16 million and its work force from 18 to 60."

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Recall: 365 Swiss Milk Chocolate May Contain Nuts

"Austin, TX - infoZine - Whole Foods Market is recalling 365 Organic Everyday Value� Swiss Milk Chocolate Bars with Rice Crisps, 3-ounce size, with a Best If Used By date of 11/21/07, because products with that lot code may contain undeclared hazelnuts, walnuts and pecans. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to tree nuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products."

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Green Farming Catching on in Bangkok

"When Anothai Kongwattana decided to open a healthful vegetarian restaurant in Bangkok she ran into one minor problem; she couldn't find any organic vegetables on the market.

Her solution was to launch her own organic farm. With the help of her green-thumbed husband, Gaan Ritkhachorn, the couple launched the "Pluk Rak," or "Grow Love" Farm in Ratchaburi, a two hour drive from Bangkok, in June 1999.

By August 2000, it was supplying truck loads of organically grown vegetables to the Anothai Restaurant on Bangkok's Rama IX Road, now a well-established eatery among health-conscious gourmands."

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"Green the Capitol"

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have left her progressive instincts at the barn door when she drove a starch-, sugar- and fat-bloated bill that all but left out organic farmers through the House last summer, but when it comes to food for Congress, it's out with high-fructose corn syrup and in with uncaged hens and hormone-free milk.

Under Pelosi's signature "Green the Capitol" initiative, the House cafeterias will get a full-blown makeover Monday to the very latest in organic and locally grown cuisine under a new contract with Restaurant Associates, caterer to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The vast House food service operation that feeds the belly of the beast - more than 2.5 million meals a year for members, staff, tourists, lobbyists, lawyers, journalists and other highly regarded species that inhabit the Capitol - is switching to locally grown, organic, seasonal and generally healthy food. It will be served in compostable sugar cane and corn starch containers instead of petroleum-based plastics. Even the knives and forks will be biodegradable."

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Sweet Leaf Tea Introduces Pomegranate Green Tea

"14/12/07 Sweet Leaf Tea, one of the fastest-growing bottled teas in the U.S., is giving tea lovers exactly what they want – a healthy new fresh flavor: Pomegranate Green Tea. After receiving floods of emails from avid fans and retailers, Sweet Leaf Tea got to brewing.

“The green movement is here to stay. Our culture and our company thrive on bottling up the latest tastes and trends and people want pomegranate and green tea under the Sweet Leaf bottle cap,” says Clayton Christopher, co-founder of Sweet Leaf Tea. “We are excited offer this flavor, because we know consumers like it, plus the combination is healthy and it tastes great.”"

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Haryana Government May Promote Organic Farming

"CHANDIGARH: The Haryana Government has decided to promote the organic farming and Rs 50 lakh would be provided as an assistance to the farmers of the state for certification of organic produce during the current fiscal.

Stating this here today, Agriculture Minister Harmohinder Singh Chatha said that cost of certification of organic produce would be subsidised and financial assistance of Rs 1000 per acre would be provided to the farmers who get their organic produce certified from the accredited certification agency.

Chatha said that the four bio-fertilizers such as Rhizobium, Azotobacter, Azopirillum, Phosphate Solubilising Bacteria (PSB) and three organic manures such as City compost, Vermi compost and Press mud have been included in the Fertilizer (Control) Order, 1985 by Central Government."

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Organic Cotton Pyjamas

"If you have a tree-hugger on your gift list, finding a Tencel knit top or a bamboo dress may stress out even the savviest of shoppers, not to mention the strain on your bank account. From clothes to food, going green comes with a hefty price tag and anyone who's begrudgingly opted for a $12 salad over the daily $3.99 combo at McDonald's can attest to that.

Remember Cotton Ginny? The suburban shopping mall regular now carries eco-friendly products made with 100-per-cent certified organic cotton. This means the cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides, fertilizers or genetically modified seeds. Yes, we think underwear sans fertilizer is a good thing."

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Italian Schools Go Organic

"ROME (AFP) — Rome's school cafeterias are enjoying a nutrition revolution as tens of thousands of children sit down to healthy, eco-friendly meals under strict rules.

At the November 4 Elementary School in the Italian capital, for example, the menu includes rice and tomatoes, omelettes, boiled celery and oranges, served on biodegradable plates and cups.

For snacks, the children get fair trade cocoa-and-honey cookies and chocolate bars as well as bananas from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

The revolution was long in coming in the land of pasta, first initiated in 1999 by then mayor Francesco Rutelli, a former Green who is now culture minister."

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More on Organic Tomato Study

"A study of organic and conventionally grown processing tomatoes by a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis, indicated that, on the four participating commercial farms, organically produced tomatoes were higher in sugars and other soluble solids, consistency and acidity, all of which are desirable attributes in processing tomatoes. The organically grown tomatoes were lower, however, in red color, vitamin C and certain healthful compounds known as phenolics.

Results from the study, which appear in the November-December issue of the Journal of Food Science, varied significantly among the growers, perhaps due to differences in soil type, soil nutrients, tomato varieties, environmental conditions and production methods. "It is important to evaluate successful production systems in a realistic environment," said lead researcher Diane Barrett, a Cooperative Extension food scientist at UC Davis. "But it is often not possible to control all variables when a study is conducted as part of a commercial farming operation.

"Because there were only four growers involved in the study and because there were differences in growing practices between the four growers, we aren't able to make global statements about the comparative quality and nutritional value of organically grown and conventionally grown processing tomatoes", Barrett said. She noted, however, that the study did underscore how critically important the plant genetics, soil nutrients, irrigation system and production inputs are in determining the quality of the fruit produced."

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Organic Resolutions

"With the present wrapping recycled and the excess Christmas pudding composted, for the perfect eco-friendly end to your festive holiday why not see in the New Year with these top five revitalising and ethical ideas from the Soil Association

1] New Year organic smoothies to detox and revitalise your system

After champagne and chocolates galore why not try an organic smoothie recipe to blast those toxins and make a clean, energised start to the year. Choose organic fruit and veg to avoid pesticide residues and GM. Also studies have shown that organic fruit and veg have higher vitamin and mineral levels, and lower water content meaning you get more carrot for your carrot!"

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Who Stole Charles' Geese?

"LONDON (AP) - Hundreds of geese that were to be sold by Prince Charles' organic and natural food brand have been stolen from a farm in southwest England, police said Wednesday.

About 250 geese were taken from Higher Fingle Farm in Devonshire on Nov. 30, and others died in a fire that may have been
an arson attack, police said.

Charles launched his Duchy Originals food brand in 1992, and it includes a bakery that produces a range of organic pastries."

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

American Organic Beverage Market Grows 97%

"Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of Organic Beverages in the United States 2007 to their offering.

This report provides market data and trends, as well as the results of an exclusive consumer survey about organic beverages. The market has grown 97% between 2002 and 2007. Driven by concern for the integrity of the food supply, the organic beverage market has moved from a natural food store, counter-cultural setting to the mainstream. More than a quarter of respondents to the exclusive survey purchased organic beverages in the past year.

The report isolates trends in organic beverages, revealing consumer attitudes, concerns, and behavior that will help marketers find opportunities and maximize growth potential."

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Will Organic Foods Meet School Meal Budgets?

"ORGANIC fruit and vegetables could become a staple ingredient of children’s school meals following a pioneering West Wales project.

In a far cry from the days of turkey twizzlers, Carmarthenshire Council has recently piloted organic menus and is now investigating making them a permanent fixture of school meals.

This is believed to be the first scheme of its kind in Wales – other school meals services have previously only held one-off organic food events. But any extension of the trial will depend on whether the council can afford to buy organic produce within its existing £6.5m school meals budget."

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First Organic Omega-3 Powder from Innobio

"Innobioactives has launched an organic omega-3 powder, thereby marrying two very important trends in the food industry.

The Greensboro, North Carolina manufacturer's line of branded Duromega organic oil powders is now certified organic by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) to meet US Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements for organic foods.

The company says this gives organic food manufacturers access to the market for omega-3 fortification."

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Monday, December 10, 2007

2012 Olympics Will Promote Healthy Food

"The 2012 London Olympics must promote healthy food if it wants to be a "green" event, according to a new report.
The Soil Association said the Games could be used to showcase the benefits of local, seasonal and organic food. It could also help to promote sustainable fish consumption.

The report calls on 2012 sponsors Coca-Cola and McDonald's to serve 75% unprocessed, 50% locally sourced and 30% organic food and drink.

Soil Association spokesman Peter Melchett said: "If London is going to be the greenest Games ever, they have to tackle the 30% of our personal carbon footprint which comes from food.

"And if the Olympics want to avoid looking silly in the face of the obesity crisis now affecting most of the world, they must promote
healthy as well as sustainable food."

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Organic Demand in America

"All the attention on ethanol and $3.50 corn prices probably has slowed the move of acres into organic production, but it has not slowed the demand for organic goods or the prices paid to organic producers in the state.

"We're seeing record highs being paid for organic corn", says Kathleen Delate, who heads the organic program at Iowa State University. She says the price ratios between conventional corn or soybean prices and organic corn or soybean prices have stayed steady.

That translates into prices in the vicinity of $10 a bushel for organic corn and $17/bu. for organic soybeans. That's right, $10 corn and $17 beans. What's more, Delate says, yields for organic corn and beans are getting better. Test plots recorded 209-bu. organic corn and 65-bu. organic beans in Iowa in 2007.

All of that means farmers who are producing those organic crops, as well as organic fruits and vegetables, are doing well right now. But, the rising costs for land and other inputs, as well as the profits to be made producing non-organic crops, has kept organic acreage from rising much in the past two years."

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Farmers Won't Identify Livestock

"BARRE- A Massachusetts farmers group has asked the state Department of Agricultural Resources not to turn over data to the federal government identifying the location of poultry and livestock in the state.

The request is reflective of a division among farmers, some of whom, such as Richard W. Kimball, a veteran Spencer dairyman, believe the National Animal Identification System is a safeguard that protects their livelihood and investment.

The group opposing the system, the Northeast Organic Farming Association, has petitioned agricultural commissioner Douglas W. Petersen asking that he not provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture with data on the state's poultry and livestock."

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Here's a simple solution: go vegetarian and never worry about meat again :)

Edit: I know a lot of people don't bother clicking into the comment page, but Hen Whisperer filled me in on what this all even means:
"NAIS is a three pronged mandate, not a law, a mandate, but USDA that would have every piece of property that houses even one livestock animal, and that includes horses, potbellied pig pets, a grammy with a couple of laying hens, register their property and receive a number that takes away their full ownership rights. Secondly, every animal would have to receive an animal id number, for horses it would be an implanted rfid chip in the nucheal ligament. Third step is the reporting of every animal movement off the property. Again, if you think of horses and trail rides, you'd have 48 hours to tell the Feds or face a fine, a substantial fine. Who else has to register and report movements? No one, not even pedophiles.

Homesteaders, small/private farmers, hobbyists, none of them want this unconstitutional intrusion. In some places, even though NAIS is supposed to be voluntary, NAIS is mandatory and people have stopped keeping small flocks, herds, dumped their horses, got rid of their milking cows. Some people, myself included, take religious umbrage with having to Mark the Beast."

Visit Hen Whisperer's blog or No NAIS for more information.

The Push for Organic in Abu Dhabi

"ABU DHABI — General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, confirmed here yesterday his unconditional support to the overall agricultural progress in the UAE.

He attributed this success to the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision to keep agriculture in the UAE as organic and pure.

Shaikh Mohammed also referred to Shaikh Zayed’s repeated phrase “Give me agriculture and I shall give you civilisation”.

He also stressed the continuous support of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who leads the green agricultural organic movement nationwide.

He indicated that “the organic agriculture practices are on the rise in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. This confirms that farmers are willing to convert to organic practices to achieve self-sufficiency and food security in feeding the emirate of Abu Dhabi with healthy and chemical-free products”."

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Whole Foods Popularity Grows in London

"LONDON — Pop starlet Natalie Appleton. Comedian Ruby Wax. TV broadcaster Mariella Frostrup.

In London, these are famous faces, and they've all been spotted shopping recently at the Whole Foods Market on upscale Kensington High Street.

It's a small sign that, six months after opening its first store in Europe, the Austin, Texas-based natural foods grocery chain is making progress toward winning over British consumers.

After a summer in which the central London store sometimes seemed deserted, some analysts say the store is doing better.

"The store certainly seems to be steadily gathering momentum," said Bryan Roberts, a retail analyst at Planet Retail, a London consulting firm."

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Can't Feed the World with Organic

"10 December 2007, Rome – FAO has no reason to believe that organic agriculture can substitute for conventional farming systems in ensuring the world’s food security, Dr Jacques Diouf, FAO Director-General, said here today, Dr Diouf was commenting on recent press and media reports suggesting that FAO endorses organic agriculture (OA) as the solution to world hunger.

“We should use organic agriculture and promote it,” Dr. Diouf said. “It produces wholesome, nutritious food and represents a growing source of income for developed and developing countries. But you cannot feed six billion people today and nine billion in 2050 without judicious use of chemical fertilizers.”

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Friday, December 7, 2007

The Leader in Organic Cereal Manufacturing Is..

"(OPENPRESS) December 7, 2007 -- For over 40 years Organic Milling has been producing wholesome and delicious cereal, granola and snack products for health conscious consumers and retailers. Located in San Dimas, California, the firm produces a wide array of products with specific formulations that are unique to food process manufacturers. With more people aware of the health implications of eating quality food products, Organic Milling offers snack mixes, cereal bars, and other products that contain high fiber, high protein, low sugar, low glycemic index, as well as organic. These designations require rigorous tracking of all food content and ingredients; Escape Velocity Systems was the best manufacturing technology solution to meet these needs.

Evan Garber, President of Escape Velocity Systems ( recently announced that Organic Milling selected the firm’s process manufacturing software solution. Garber commented, “We are delighted to have a leader in the cereal, granola, and snack products sector recognize the unique merit and value in our technology solution and are confident Organic Milling will experience enormous value and benefit.”

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Lance Inc. Invests in Late July

"CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lance, Inc. (Nasdaq: LNCE) today announced that in an effort to increase its presence in the organic food sector, it has purchased a non-controlling minority equity interest in Late July Snacks LLC, a privately held organic snack food company.
"Entry into the organic food sector with our investment in Late July(R) is consistent with our strategy to increase our presence in the better-for-you products category, and will allow us to capitalize on growing consumer trends in the organic food space," said Dave Singer, President and CEO of Lance, Inc.
"We are excited about our investment in Late July(R), and look forward to pursuing opportunities to leverage our collective strengths to drive profitable growth in both of our businesses."

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Best Christmas Gift: Chocolate Covered Late July Cookies!

I know during the holiday season how difficult it is to find the perfect gifts for friends and family. I can't imagine how many hours people spend every year thinking "Will (insert name) like this? Or this? Or this?" Fortunately I have found a solution for this year's shopping woes: Hand Dipped cookies from Late July.

I posted this news release about the cookies not too long ago, and before I knew it, the kind folks from Late July shipped me a box to review.

The verdict? They are exquisite! Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they are also incredibly delicious and high in quality. Taking a bite, you can taste all of the work that went into them. The flavors of chocolate work perfectly with each cookie. (I also loved the sprinkles of peppermint bark!) Although it's hard to pick a favorite, the vanilla bean cookie covered in milk chocolate definitely stuck out the most to me.
To top that off, the cookies are wrapped in a charming little eco-friendly brown box, ready for someone to enjoy.

I can't imagine a gift better than this. No matter who you give them to, friends, family or co-workers, I have no doubt everyone will love them. Buy some for yourself or your loved ones and rest assure the holidays will truly be happy (and delicious!) this year.

Review of Organic Energy Drink Syzmo

"Try Szymo on for size

You could go it alone, i.e., do your holiday shopping with mere food as sustenance. But if you dislike shopping as much as I do, you may need a little help to get you through that marathon mall-sweep. I know I do. My plan this year is to put a little Syzmo in my step.

Since I don't usually guzzle energy out of a can, I'm not sure Syzmo will deliver. But the makers of the energy drink claim the carbonated contents of each can will provide the drinker with "sustained energy," thanks to loads of vitamins and lots of energy, courtesy of organic coffee, guarana, green tea and yerba mate.

I figure it's worth a shot — and the drink tastes a lot better than any other energy drink I've tried."

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Toxic Chemicals found in Similac

"It is being reported that a dangerous chemical has been found to be present in some types of baby formula.

The Environmental Working Group, the non-profit consumer group is reporting that a chemical called "bisphenol A", or BPA, is found in the lining of some baby formula jars, including those of some big brand name manufacturers. The group recently revealed a report stating that this same chemical is present in some types of baby bottles.

Bisphenol A is a chemical compound which contains 2 phenol functional groups, belonging to the phenol class of aromatic organic compounds. It is used in the production of plastic."

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Organic in the Desert

"The UAE, largely dependent on food supplies from overseas markets, can now breathe easy, courtesy of organic foods that may actually be grown in deserts! Indeed, the UAE’s abundant natural resource – the desert sands – can be turned into fertile cultivable beds for growing organic foods, without using any chemical fertiliser, herbicide or even pesticide, says a food educator.

"My research shows that desert sands can be converted into green beds. But, to grow food in deserts, we have to mix soil and gravel with sand," says Yorkshire-born Dave Friend, who is on a visit to the UAE to spread awareness on organic food as a healthier option."

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Raw Gaia Introduces U.K's First Raw Soap

"Organic skin care company Raw Gaia announces the launch of the UK’s first organic raw soap. It is gentle, truly delicious to use and one of the purest soaps available anywhere.

The vast majority of soaps are made through a high temperature process, which destroys most of the nutrients in the oils and creates toxic trans-fatty acids."

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Organic Shortages in Dutch Supermarkets

"Dutch supermarkets will be forced to import increasing amounts of organic food unless domestic production is increased, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday, quoting the national retail board CBL.

'We would rather not import organic food because bringing it from across the globe is not environment-friendly and is more expensive,' the CBL's Marc Jansen told the paper.

At the same time however, some 60% of Dutch production of organic food is exported abroad, mainly to Denmark, Germany and Britain."

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Fairtrade Organic Rich Dark Chocolate from Delvaux

"Delvaux, an English company with Belgian family roots is currently best known for its specialist and personalised luxury chocolate for the retail sector. The launch of its ‘Fairtrade Organic Rich Dark Chocolate’ and ‘Fairtrade Organic Smooth Milk Chocolate’ ranges targets two new markets for the Company – specialist retail food halls and high street coffee shops.

The gift pack, which holds twenty 5g, individually wrapped bars in a branded container is aimed to be sold in the gift sections of premium retail food halls. The 15g and 75g bars are held in a branded dispense box designed to sit on counters of high street coffee shops. Delvaux produces quality Belgian chocolates and each bar is individually foil wrapped for freshness, hygiene and perfect stock control."

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Farm Bill Dies

"WASHINGTON - A drive to revamp the nation’s costly farm subsidies died Friday in the Senate, leaving in place a system widely criticized for being out of step with the modern agriculture economy for favoring crops with minimal nutritional value and for funneling large federal payouts to wealthy investors.

The Senate’s failure to end debate and move to a vote dashed the hopes of a wide coalition of groups that had worked to make sure this farm bill would improve child nutrition, increase investments in food stamp programs and benefit taxpayers by trimming government subsidies to large corporate farms.

The farm bill also would have significantly invested in fruits, nuts and vegetable crops for the first time. It would have added more money for alternative energy sources, organic farming and conservation programs. And it would have launched a program to improve school lunch nutrition in all 50 states."

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GM Debate Continues Worldwide

"Cabinet wisely moved yesterday to postpone a decision on whether to allow open field trials for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Since ministers have just a short time left in office, they should let the next elected government make a decision on this emotionally charged issue, which has many facets to consider, from economics to environment to social justice. Any future decision must find a balance between all of these considerations. Economically, GM foods can increase crop yields. Indeed, papaya farmers in Ratchaburi have been outspoken proponents of GM food after persistent ringspot disease almost wiped out the famous Damnoen papaya, named after Damnoen Saduak district. Farmers have struggled to fill orders due to the depleted crops and Thailand has actually needed to import papayas from neighbouring countries. With GM foods, advocates say, farmers would have higher yields year-in and year-out, which would boost the rural economy and make Thailand more competitive in the world market."

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Would You Know if Products were Unsafe?

"Take a look at your shoes, your shampoo, your carpet.

Your baby's bottles, even the dental sealants in your mouth.

These products contain chemicals that disrupt the natural way hormones work inside of you.

The chemicals known as endocrine disruptors are all over your house, your clothing, your car.

The chemicals are even in you.

They promise to make skin softer, clothes smell fresher and food keep longer.

The problem is, neither the companies that make these products nor federal regulators are telling you that some of these substances may be dangerous. Many have been found to cause life-threatening illnesses in laboratory animals."

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Monday, December 3, 2007

Offered Organic? Then Take It!

"New Delhi, Dec 3 (PTI) Unavailability and a lack of clear picture about the value for money that health foods offer are major deterrents to the consumption of organic food despite a rapidly growing market, a new study has said.
An ageing global population, rising obesity levels and the occasional food scare have all served to heighten awareness among the worlds consumers about the importance of diet and staying healthy, leading to the rapid expansion of organic food and those promoting specific health benefits.

Yet, consumers, including in India, are still to be convinced by these "offers", the study, released by the Nielsen Company, a global information and media organisation, said."

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More on Montana Organic Conference

"New research shows that organic farming can produce enough food to feed the world. That finding was one of the research results that was presented over the weekend at the fifth annual conference of the Montana Organic Association.

The group met in Great Falls to work with farmers and ranchers who avoid chemical treatments to their livestock and crops.

Sunday's capstone session looked at federal agriculture policy and its possible effects on specialized, organic farming.

Jeff Schahczenski with the National Center for Appropriate Technology says they want to make sure that organic farmers get all of the help that they need."

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City in the Philippines Looks for 2-5% Organic Agriculture

"THE City Agriculture Office (CAO) is targeting to encourage at least two to five percent of the city's farmers to switch to organic farming next year.

City Agriculturist Rocelio Tabay announced the plan in organic forum held at the Green Room of the City Council building Monday as part of the celebration of the city's First Organic Agriculture Day.

Post your comments here on the Makati siege

The Davao City council last week through a resolution proposed by Councilor Conrado Baluran, chair of the council committee on agriculture, designated December 3 as organic agriculture day in Davao City."

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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Opinions on Burt's Bees and Clorox

"Organic beauty company Burt's Bees was recently sold to Clorox for $925 million. We asked some experts for insight on what being owned by a company best known for bleach might mean for the beauty brand with a grass-roots reputation.

Stacy Malkan, author of "Not Just a Pretty Face":

It's disturbing because there are toxic ingredients in [Clorox's] products. Major corporations see the consumer demand for safe natural products, and we need to hold them accountable to keep those products pure and not slip in the cheap synthetics. We'll be watching them closely."

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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Students Sell Organic in California

"The organic red Russian kale from Blue Heron Farm was selling for $1 a bunch. Cherry tomatoes from Full Belly were going for $2 a pint. And Kaki's satsuma tangerines could be had for $2.50 a pound.

If the prices seemed surprisingly low, the venue was even more startling: Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley.

"The Local" is a weekly produce stand run by people who go to Cal. It's one of the most visible manifestations of a budding campus movement that is trying to provide an alternative for students interested in sustainable, organic and local food production - but frustrated by how little they find at the university."

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How Does Organic Wine Taste?

"Dec. 1, 2007 | Ever since Wal-Mart began stocking organic food, it's clear a lot of consumers now believe that produce and milk produced without pesticides or hormones taste just as good as, if not better than, their conventional brethren. Logic would say that this also goes for "organic wine," which I see cropping up more and more often at health food stores and markets. But in this case the label doesn't tell the whole story.

Wine labeled organic means that at least 95 percent of the grapes used were never sprayed with pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Such chemical purity is ensured by 40-foot buffer zones from farms that spray specific chemicals, loads of paperwork and on-site visits from third-party certifiers. Organic grapes then go to a certified organic winery that doesn't use chemical cleansers or add any preservatives like sulfur dioxide, an antioxidant that gives wine a significant life span."

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Organic Program Stays in Montana

"GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - Organic foods will remain on an option for Montana women and children receiving food assistance through a federal program.

State managers of the Women, Infants and Children program - commonly known as WIC (wik) - say they're dropping plans to remove organic foods from those available at program expense.

Under a recent decision by state managers of WIC, yesterday was to have been the last day organic foods were on the approved list. The managers said those foods were too expensive.

Now the decision has been reversed."

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