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Entries in organic (2)

Monday
Oct242011

Urban Farming: It Makes Sense!

By Angela Price

It makes sense.

When I can’t seem to escape the constant barrage of global and domestic turmoil that’s in the media, all I want to do is be Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House on the Prairie series (my favorite books growing up). Maybe it’s my coping mechanism – If I can’t control the chaos that seems to be perpetuated on the news every two minutes, it makes sense to me to try to control what I can.  Maybe that’s why there is this emphasis on getting back to a simpler life of home grown produce, home baked bread, a house sized right and sharing that with one’s community of friends and neighbors and family.  Not that I want to give up all my creature comforts…you know, like Little House on the Prairie, but with an iPad and Facebook.

I recently came across a quote from a 17th Century poet that really sums it up for me:

“May I a small house and a large garden
have;
And a few friends,
and many books,
Both true,
Both wise and both
Delightful too!”

~ Abraham Cowley
1618-1667

I love the whole concept of creating one’s very own urban farmhouse.  I think we city dwellers have this romantic notion of farm life.  Unfortunately, gardens don’t really look like they do in magazines and gardening books (that doesn’t stop me from buying them and dreaming, though). Plants are eaten by bugs and critters. The dog digs up the flowerbed.  The chickens poop on everything!  This morning, I pick a fig off my tree and hand it to my cousin who is visiting. She exclaims, “I love figs!” and her face lights up.  This makes it all worthwhile, even the chicken poop on the bottom of my shoe.  I can still dream of perfect rows of lettuce and carrots.  The lettuce and carrots and all the other veggies I grow will be perfect enough because I grew them.  I will cook with them and share those meals with my family and friends in our small house, and for a few moments, or until my husband starts talking politics at the dinner table, there will be no chaos or turmoil.

 

I hold out hope that fall is upon us in Southern California (yes we do have fall).  The mornings are cool and damp and the afternoon air has a subtle crispness to it.  It is the perfect time to plant here.  While much of the rest of the country is sweeping up fallen leaves, quickly picking the last produce before the first frost and putting gardens to bed, I am planting salad gardens galore and popping daffodil bulbs into pots that will bloom by January.  The ground is still warm, but the air is cooler, so the soil won’t dry out so quickly.  In the cooler temperatures of fall and early winter, besides lettuces, I grow root vegetables and broccoli and peas.  I am going to try garlic this fall and maybe sweet potatoes. The aforementioned chicken poop makes wonderful compost, so that will go into the beds to nourish the tiny plants as they grow.

And I will reach out through my ‘growing’ business to create for others their very own urban farms, so that the bounty can be shared.

It makes sense…and maybe Laura Ingalls Wilder’s spirit is smiling down at me and all the other urban farmers out there for trying to bring the world back to a simple place.

 

Angela Price is a recovering human resources executive, urban farmer, hen keeper and owner of Eden Condensed, small space garden design.  She lives in Valley Village, CA with her (very) tolerant husband, two amazing boys, four cats and 5 chickens.  Angela can be reached at angela@edencondensed.com

Check out Eden Condensed at Unique LA at the California Mart in Downtown LA on December 3-4.

 

Monday
Jul042011

The Case for Organic Baby Clothes

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”~ Gandhi

The question this week is one you may have heard before (I did):

“You’ve registered for organic baby clothes… Does it matter? Is this really necessary?”

I will skip my opinionated commentary and just give you the facts, so you have an answer to this question if it ever gets asked of you.

Your Baby. A baby's skin is very delicate. It is three times thinner and more porous than adults, meaning their skin absorbs things very easily. It is more susceptible to harmful irritants and bacteria that can lead to infection and possible long-term ailments. This puts children at a greater risk for pesticide-related health problems than adults.

Chemicals. Traditional cotton crops account for $2.6 billion in pesticides used each year, and are the definition of chemically dependent agriculture. They are guilty of using 10 percent of all agricultural chemicals and 25 percent of the world's consumption of insecticides. Because it is not a food crop, pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals used on it are not regulated. In fact, the EPA has labeled 7 of the 15 pesticides that are regularly used, as “potential or known” carcinogens.

Over a third of a pound of pesticides are used to produce the average cotton t-shirt!

These highly toxic chemicals poison farm workers, wildlife, contaminate air and water, and cause major eco-system imbalances. According to the World Health Organization, cotton farming causes many of the 20,000 deaths that occur each year from pesticide poisoning.

And it doesn’t stop there. Chlorine bleach is used to whiten fabrics and formaldehyde is applied to finished garments. Yes, the same gross chemical that was used to preserve things in your science class is often used as a finish on baby and adult clothes alike, as a preservative before shipping.  Um, Eww. No amount of washing gets all of that out.

Cost. Organic baby clothes are more expensive, true. Often times, that is the reason that many parents and gift givers do not purchase them. But thankfully, as more people become educated about the facts, and more stores offer organic baby clothes and options, the price is coming down. Additionally, conventionally grown cotton breaks down much sooner than organically grown cotton, so in the long run; organic is the more financially sound choice.

The cost of a product isn't only what is on its price tag. Isn’t it worth remembering where that extra cost is going, and how it will benefit us, our babies, and our planet?

When you choose organic cotton baby clothes, blankets, bedding, etc., you’re not only protecting your child, but you also have a hand in making the whole world a little safer place to live.

So your answer to the question: Yes, it matters! Be the change!

 

xoxo Melanie

www.ecobabyplanning.com
www.ecobabyplanning.blogspot.com