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stop battery farming for laying hens

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2009-03-25 10:08

If you're not already aware of Activist's newest campaign, then now is the time to sign the petition pressuring Pick n Pay, Shoprite Checkers and Spar to follow Woolworths' lead and immediately stop selling battery eggs.

Debeaking, where a beak is melted away by being pressed against a red hot blade, is inflicted on 22.8 million chicks in South Africa every year – just one of the attrocities battery hens undergo in order to lay eggs in a battery cage. Only a ban on battery farming for laying hens can stop this mutilation.

Compassion in World Farming (read about 'kind food' in our green your diet guide) have provided an interview with Mike Bosch that is well worth reading.

Zimbabwian born farmer Mike Bosch has a free range chicken farm near Bela-Bela in the Limpopo province of South Africa that is green...

which fruit & veg make the 'dirty dozen'

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2009-03-12 14:13

Peaches are still the worst offenders when it comes to the amount of pesticide and chemical residue left on the fruit by the time it makes its way to the supermarket shelf, whilst onions remain at the bottom of the most recent 'dirty dozen' list, just released by the Environmental Working Group to replace last year's version.

The shopper's guide to pesticides is a handy list that helps you know which fresh produce to buy organic, and which conventionally-grown fruits and veg are still okay, if you can't buy get them organically grown. The guide, which is based on American government test data, lists the produce most likely to have pesticide residue.

The worst offenders (dirty dozen with the most pesticide residue) are:

fourways green market opens

Submitted by girlsprout on Mon, 2009-02-02 14:19

fourways garden pavillion green marketfourways garden pavillion green marketSaturday proved to be the perfect day for the launch of the Fourways Garden Pavilion Green Market in Johannesburg, as a week of torrential rain finally gave way to some sunshine.

After struggling to find parking in the busy Leaping Frog Centre, I was greeted by a wonderful, bustling little produce market in the nursery, with stalls selling all sorts of delicious goodies. This was the first market of its kind that I’ve been to in Jo’burg, and I found it to be an incredibly relaxing little slice of all things natural in the middle of the busy city.

The organisers wanted to keep things simple for the launch, but the variety of things on sale was very effective. There was a stall selling a wide variety of organic veggies grown on a nearby farm in Fourways, and a baked goods stall providing a host of delicious breads, croissants, brownies and other treats, which I’m told can be ordered in wheat- and gluten-free varieties.

the world according to monsanto documentary review

Submitted by Dax on Mon, 2008-11-24 11:28

World according to MonsantoWorld according to MonsantoI have watched a lot of documentaries on GM foods and Monsanto and although they each have their own style and there is always some new information, they generally cover a lot of the same material. This recently released documentary is not like that. It takes a very different angle, looking at the history of Monsanto and the way it operates, rather than focusing specifically on GM foods.

Proponents of GM foods are always suggesting that GM foods are rigorously tested. In fact, an article in the September 2008 issue of Shape magazine said exactly that (read my thoughts here). The testing that they are referring to is done by the Biotech companies themselves. This documentary tries to establish whether we can trust the Biotech companies or not. It looks mainly at Monsanto, which is the biggest Biotech company of them all...

superfoods raw food course review

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2008-11-10 13:25

I recently attended the Superfoods Elements of Health Raw Food Course after wanting to do it for some time. We've been juicing, sprouting, and making smoothies, on and off for a while now, but I was interested in taking it to a new level, and to see whether we can add more variety and interest to what we eat. There is after all only so much one can do with muesli, surely...

The course is not a cooking course, but rather an introduction to a whole new approach to doing food. If you have an interest in nutrition, want to improve your health, and still eat delicious food then this is the course for you. In short it is a mind expanding, consciousness altering kind of course - it will change the way you think about food. Peter and Beryn's positivity and passion for their subject is infectious, and because everyone attending the course has a shared interest, it makes for a great weekend of learning and interaction.

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sprout with it

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2008-11-07 10:12

It's not common knowledge yet, but the sprouts do, well, um, grow their own sprouts. We've also (occasionally) been known to wear tie-dye, but don't knit our own clothes yet. I guess calling ourselves urban sprout would have alluded to this, but no doubt it will shock some distant relatives: yes we grow and love sprouts. I think this is our first post about sprouts and when you think about it, it's quite strange that it took us so long to broach the topic.

Sprouting is the easiest form of "growing your own" that you can do and incurs the lowest number of "food miles" to get your food from where it's grown to your plate. We're talking food centimetres here. Also anyone without green fingers can easily make a success of growing sprouts in the kitchen.

Sprouting Equipment
Equipment needn't cost a fortune. You can start with an old glass jar (around 500ml or greater), a piece of muslin or cheese cloth (or nylon mesh) and an elastic band. Or you can go to the other end of the scale and buy an automated self watering sprouter (probably overkill for home use!)

After getting fair mileage out of our little plastic Italian sprouter, acquired a few years ago, and looking slightly worse for wear, we recently upgraded to

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earthlings documentary review

Submitted by Dax on Sun, 2008-10-26 23:46

This documentary has affected me. I am torn between telling people to watch Earthlings because it's important for them to know this stuff, and telling people not to watch it because it is genuinely disturbing. I closed my eyes during many scenes in the movies and I wish I had closed them more because I am haunted by the images I saw.

This movie looks at the five things we use animals for: Pets, food, clothes, medical reseach and entertainment. It then goes on to show how each of these aspects causes massive amounts of suffering for the animals which have done nothing to deserve being treated like that.

We think that keeping animals as pets is good because the animals have a good life, but for every pet that has a good life, there are many more that suffer tremendously. The conditions which puppies, etc are 'manufactured' for pet shops are appalling. Many pets are badly treated by their owners, others are abandoned. The lucky ones are euthanised, the rest are killed in less humane ways or suffer along until they die from exposure, accident or illness.

gm foods labelled soon

Submitted by sproutingforth on Fri, 2008-09-19 13:06

The Department of Trade and Industry has handed down a ruling for mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods in South Africa.

From now on, you have a choice as to whether or not you want to buy GM, but better still, you will actually know which foods contain GM.

The ruling came after a clause about labelling, which had been removed from the draft Consumer Protection bill last year, was reinstated. SAFeAGE has been lobbying for two years to have this clause reinstated; one that gives shoppers the right to choose once the Bill is implemented.

At the moment no GM foods on the market are labelled as such. The Bill will mean that GM food can be tracked from farm to fork, linking any long term issues with GM food directly to the parties responsible.

The only downside to the exciting ruling, is that “our multinational-friendly, people-unfriendly department of Agriculture” (to quote the ethical blog) remains responsible for determining the thresholds and technical requirements of the new regulations. We need to remain vigilant, in other words...

For more about GM foods on urban sprout

Visit the SAFeAGE website

seven deadly myths of industrial agriculture

Submitted by turbosprout on Mon, 2008-09-15 11:01

We regularly trawl second-hand bookshops for bargains and recently we picked up this gem of a book: Fatal Harvest - The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture. It is quite a tome, but a very interesting and alarming read. I'm slowly making my way through it, dipping in to it now and then, but it will probably take a few months to complete. The book details the destruction of eco-systems and biodiversity by the global industrial farming complex and also presents a new vision for 21st century food systems. The contributing authors include a healthy dose of journalists, professors, legal experts, directors of NGO's and food activists, Vandana Shiva amongst them. Here are some pearls of wisdom from a section called Corporate Lies: Busting the Myths of Industrial Agriculture.

Myth One: Industrial Agriculture Will Feed the World
World hunger is not created by a lack of food but by poverty and landlessness, which deny people access to food. Industrial agriculture actually increases hunger by raising the cost of farming, by forcing tens of millions of farmers off the land, and by growing primarily high-profit export and luxury crops.

green your diet

Submitted by sproutingforth on Thu, 2008-08-21 08:38

Eating for the sake of your body and the planet doesn’t mean giving up on the foods you love. It does mean becoming more actively aware of where your food comes from, how it’s produced and how its production affects the Earth.

Fundamental to greening your diet is eating ‘real’ food. Processed and refined foods are, let’s face it, not good for you. Most of them are produced as part of the push by marketers to ‘make your life easier’ but they’re usually laden with chemicals, additives, pesticides, and barely disguised GM derivatives.

Eat organic
We’re not banging on about anything new, but it really pays to buy

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