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GREEN TIP: Eating organic produce, meat and dairy is healthier for your family and the environment (and it tastes better). Products with a USDA Organic label were grown and processed without toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.  

Here are some money saving tips to help you eat healthier and stay within your budget:

Comparison Shop. You may be able to find less-expensive alternatives at different stores. Many major chains are coming out with their own organic brands but make sure it’s certified organic. According to Mark Kastel, the senior farm policy analyst at The Cornucopia Institute, ”Major food processors have recognized the meteoric rise of the organic industry, and profit potential, and want to create what is in essence ‘organic light,’ taking advantage of the market cachet but not being willing to do the heavy lifting required to earn the valuable USDA organic seal”.

Products with a USDA Organic label were grown and processed without toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Certified organic production also prohibits sewage sludge, antibiotics, ionizing radiation, synthetic growth hormones and genetically modified organisms.

Grow One Thing. Unless you have a lot of land, you’re probably not going to feed your family only from your home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can be incredibly inspiring. And it’s not as intimidating as it seems. So pick one thing to grow – you can do it.

Cook More. The more convenient the food is, the more expensive it is. For example, buying an organic frozen dinner may save you time in the same way a conventional frozen dinner would, but it costs quite a bit more than its non-organic counterpart and much more than a homemade meal. Buy organic items that are lower in price (such as produce), and make your own dishes from scratch.

Stock Up. Stock up on your favorite items when they go on sale. Or try something new that is on sale or is priced well, and you may find a new favorite.

Buy in Bulk. Buying in bulk will keep costs down. Look for many pantry staples often available in bulk, such as beans, legumes, rice, flour, nuts, chocolate chips and so on.

Organic Coupons. Keep an eye out in the Sunday paper and grocery circulars for coupons and, again, stock up to take best advantage of the savings. Organic bargains are everywhere so click on’s Frugal Living page where you will find All Organic Links.

Shop in Season and Buy Local. Shop farm stands and farmers’ markets for the freshest produce and support local farmers at the same time. Purchasing in season produce from your grocer may also keep costs down. And you can also save money by becoming a member of a local farm by joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

In the Fargo/Moorhead and surrounding areas:

  • Red Goose Gardens is a CSA in Shelly, MN. They offer locally and sustainably grown produce to communities in the Red River Valley. By purchasing a share, you become a member and receive a weekly box of our fresh, hand harvested produce. Boxes are delivered to several drop sites in Fargo/ Moorhead, Grand Forks and surrounding communities. We encourage members to connect with farm and farmer. Members are welcome to visit and we host several farm events each season. Their goal is to nurture the soil, to grow flavorful and nutrient-rich vegetables, herbs and fruits that are healthy for our bodies and our environment. They believe that the best food is whole and fresh and they grow sustainably and organically – no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or GMOs .
  • Sydney’s Health Market boasts the areas only all organic farmer’s market. Available Fridays during the growing season. They have organic produce available in the store, delivered fresh every Tuesday and Friday for Fresh Market Friday. And, if you haven’t been there recently, they are expanding their store and their selections. Visit or call 218-233-3310 for more information.

Be Selective. Decide to only purchase organic milk and produce. See the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” for the most-contaminated produce and make your shopping list based on that information: EWG Shoppers Guide

Source: and Healthy Child Healthy World

Upcoming event in the Fargo/Moorhead area:

Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society is having their 9th Annual Botanic Garden Spring Luncheon and Silent Auction.

When: May 5, 2012 (11:30 a.m.–2:00 p.m.)

Where: Holiday Inn, 3803 13th Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103

Their guest speaker will be entomologist Maurice Degrugillier Ph.D who will be giving a presentation on Butterflies in the Garden. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser and will entice many into creating their own butterfly gardens for years of enjoyment. Along with this presentation, there will be numerous silent auction items that will include many container gardens and other botanic-themed items. Place a bid throughout the event while enjoying an amazing lunch of chicken salad, desserts, and champagne and listening to music from the Borderline Strings. If you place the winning bid on your auction item, you will also take home a wonderful gift for yourself or a special friend. This is an elegant event for all to enjoy, so plan ahead and contact us with any questions you may have.

For more information about the event and tickets, visit

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

eat the seasons
eat the seasons aims to promote an understanding of food seasons. Each week they list the seasonal foods that are at their peak, and share enlightening facts, useful tips and enticing recipe ideas picked from the web and their favorite books.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Growing crops in healthy organic soil results in food products that offer healthy nutrients. Organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains may offer more of some nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and less exposure to nitrates and pesticide residues than their counterparts grown using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
Source: Nutritional Considerations, Organic Trade Association


1.  Organic products meet stringent standards

Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.

2.  Organic food tastes great!

It’s common sense – well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become nourishing food for people and animals.

3.  Organic production reduces health risks

Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.

4.  Organic farms respect our water resources

The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources.

5.  Organic farmers build healthy soil

Soil is the foundation of the food chain. The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils.

6.  Organic farmers work in harmony with nature

Organic agricultural respects the balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem: wildlife is encouraged by including forage crops in rotation and by retaining fence rows, wetlands, and other natural areas.

7.  Organic producers are leaders in innovative research

Organic farmers have led the way, largely at their own expense, with innovative on-farm research aimed at reducing pesticide use and minimizing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

8.  Organic producers strive to preserve diversity

The loss of a large variety of species (biodiversity) is one of the most pressing environmental concerns. The good news is that many organic farmers and gardeners have been collecting and preserving seeds, and growing unusual varieties for decades.

9.  Organic farming helps keep rural communities healthy

USDA reported that in 1997, half of U.S. farm production came from only 2% of farms. Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can command fair prices for crops.

10. Organic abundance – Foods and non-foods alike!

Now every food category has an organic alternative. And non-food agricultural products are being grown organically – even cotton, which most experts felt could not be grown this way.

Source: Organic Trade Association

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

How to Go
A collection of resources for organic transitioning, certification, production, marketing and more.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

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GREEN TIP: Pack a zero waste lunch. You’ll save money and help the 

environment. The best way to reduce garbage is not to create it in the first place.

We’ve talked before about using reusable products, Green Tip – Think Reusable NOT Disposable, let’s take it a step further and make our packed lunches both nutritious and environmentally friendly.

A zero waste lunch means that you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done – nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits. The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it.

Source: Environmental Forum of Marin

Tips for a zero waste lunch:

  • Use a REUSABLE carrier (cloth bag, lunchbox). DON’T use  throw-away bags.
  • Use REUSABLE containers (preferably ceramic or glass). DON’T use plastic wrap, foil or styrofoam.
  • Use a stainless steel bottle for drinks. DON’T use single-use cartons or cans.
  • Use a CLOTH NAPKIN to wash and re-use. DON’T use paper napkins.
  • Use SILVERWARE to wash and re-use. DON’T use plastic forks and spoons.
  • Only pack the amount of food you’ll eat.

Source: Global Stewards

Lunch Waste Facts

  • FOOD WASTE: A 2004 University of Arizona study reported that Americans throw away almost 50 percent of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption. In round numbers that’s $43 billion annually on wasted food.
  • FOOD WASTE: Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) concluded in a 2009 study that each year a quarter of U.S. water consumption and over 300 million barrels of oil (four percent of U.S. oil consumption) go into producing and distributing food that ultimately ends up in landfills.
  • ALUMINUM FOIL: More than 20 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.
  • ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS: In the time it takes you to read this sentence, more than 50,000 12-oz. aluminum cans were made.
  • FOOD WASTE: Food debris in a landfill decomposes only 25% in the first 15 years (try composting!).
  • JUICE BOXES: Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades.
  • PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS: It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
  • PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP: U.S. citizens discard 2-1/2 million plastic bottles EVERY HOUR.
  • STYROFOAM: U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups EVERY YEAR.

Source: Scientific America and Global Stewards

We must shift our way of thinking, from what is the most “convenient” way to do something to how can we do something more sustainably. If we don’t, we are leaving a mess for our children and their children to clean up. Let’s leave our world better than we found it!

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

My Zero Waste
My Zero Waste is dedicated to making the world a cleaner place. The overall purpose of the site is to help households reduce the amount of rubbish sent to the landfill. We show on a daily basis HOW we are reducing our own landfill waste by highlighting the pitfalls and sharing their mistakes and successes.

Read wonderful articles like How To Reduce Food Waste and find out about the third annual National Zero Waste Week, September 6th – 12th 2010.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at

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by Wendy Gabriel

Cookies are made of butter and love. ~Norwegian Proverb

Chocolate Chip Cookie Snowman

Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two 4 oz. sticks of butter
3/4 cup organic brown sugar
3/4 cup organic sugar
2 organic eggs
1 T organic vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups organic white or all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Organic chocolate baking chips
1 cup organic chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix ingredients. Smooth dough into a greased snowman pan (or a round pizza pan). Decorate as desired. Bake 9 to 12 minutes, until edges are nicely browned.

Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Mother Nature Sunday Gallery: Beaming Flowers from Love Earth Always
Photo Terri

Sam Can Shoot

Twin Cities Photo Blog


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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Buy organic, buy local, read labels . . . get to know the origin of your food.

A recent study published March 30, 2009 about irradiation sent me for a loop. Not just the study’s findings but how they were being disseminated.

The headline from IHealth Bulletin: Irradiated Food Causes Demyelinating Neurological Disorder.

First paragraph: “Scientists studying a mysterious neurological affliction in pregnant cats that have been fed irradiated food have discovered a surprising ability of the central nervous system to repair itself and restore function when placed back on a normal diet.”

The article goes on to discuss the “surprising ability of the central nervous system to repair itself.”

The summation: “We think it is extremely unlikely that [irradiated food] could become a human health problem,” Duncan explains. “We think it is species specific. It’s important to note these cats were fed a diet of irradiated food for a period of time” (Courtesy of Eurekalert).”

Seriously? Doesn’t anyone find it a little troubling that feeding the cats irradiated food caused a neurological disorder? Shouldn’t that be what is being discussed? For Duncan to off-handedly say “we think it is species specific.” We think? Not good enough. When it comes to feeding our children a healthy diet, “thinking” food won’t cause a neurological disorder is unbelievably negligent.

As I mentioned in Irradiation: part I, I am not a scientist. That said, I will do everything in my power to prevent my children from eating food that has been irradiated. Period.

How to Avoid Irradiated Food from Dr. Joseph Mercola

1. Fortunately, the FDA currently requires that irradiated foods include labeling with the statement “treated with radiation” or “treated by irradiation” and the international symbol for irradiation, the radura. That might change in the future, but for now avoid all foods that contain these labels.

2. You can also avoid irradiation by choosing locally grown, organic foods as much as possible. Certified organic foods may not be irradiated, and foods from a small, local farm are unlikely to be either.

3. Getting to know a farmer near you (or joining a food co-op with access to one) is one of the simplest ways to know how your food is grown and whether or not it’s irradiated.

And, I would add, growing your own food is the ultimate in trusting its origins. Another great resource is Sustainable Table. They have a lot of information about our food sources and a link to find sustainable food in your area.

I will leave you with the following quote:

The five animal studies on which the FDA based approval of irradiation in 1983 “do not document the safety of food irradiation, and why the FDA relied on them is mystifying.” Donald Louria, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine, New Jersey School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Louria: “Zapping the Food Supply.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 1990

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