Catch waves, not mice! We first met Nicolasa about a week ago riding her longboard with her human companion off Lima's San Bartolo beach. In fact, we made a joke about her hanging ten, but check out those paws -- she's really doing it! Go Nicolasa!
GMO-free and organic produce isn't available everywhere, but this trick helps you know what's what when navigating the veggie aisle. Since some people find produce stickers annoying, distributors are experimenting with dyes that permanently tattoo barcodes on fruit. What's the probability your supermarket plums are genetically modified? Plum dandy (um, pretty high). But we'll help you crunch the numbers: the little stickers on fruits and veggies have digits that let you know whether they're conventionally grown or organic, and if they're genetically modified (GM).
The Benefits Better odds for your body. GM foods have been in stores only since the 1990s, so we don't know the long-term health risks, and in a 1998 EPA sampling, 29% of the foods tested contained detectable pesticides.
Less of an eco-gamble. Scientists are concerned that GMOs will reduce biodiversity.
Winning the taste-bud lottery. Foodies all over the world agree that the range of possible flavors is greater when we just let Mother Nature do her thing.
Look for the labels stuck on your fruits and veggies: A four-digit number means it's conventionally grown. A five-digit number beginning with 9 means it's organic. A five-digit number beginning with 8 means it's GM.
Turn to Choice Organic Teas, and let the plot unfold in your teacup. Choose from 70 organic and mostly fair-trade varieties of black, green, oolong, white, and herbal teas in bags, loose, or iced - and make your way to a happy ending. Choice is not only the biggest exclusively organic tea brand in the country, but also the first U.S. tea maker to go organic and fair-trade. But beyond all that, the tea's seriously some of the best we've ever sipped. "Our head of R&D hated tea as a child because she'd only ever tasted low-quality grocery-store brands," says Autumn White, marketing coordinator. A desire to create delicious tea led to weekly, all-staff tea tastings, where Choice's employees (and their diverse tastes) assess the latest flavors. If you've never tried it before, pick up a Gourmet Sampler for three bucks, which includes 13 varieties.
Choice imported 200,000 lbs of organic tea in 2006. Through its fair-trade tea purchases, it has contributed nearly $44,000 to projects such as micro-lending programs and scholarship funds. The company kept 400 mi of staple wire out of landfills by investing almost $1 million in a tea-bagging machine that eliminates staple-use in its Original tea line. Its factory is powered by 100% renewable wind energy, reaping air-quality benefits equivalent to planting 66 acres of trees. The company's HQ recycles all paper, plastic, and aluminum, and composts leftovers from tea production. Employees get green benefits, including a rewards program for staff members who use alternative transportation to get to work. Choice still uses nonrecycled wrapping for its Gourmet foodservice line, and not all of Choice's teas are certified as fair-trade, including its oolong teas, which are currently undergoing the certification process.
On Saturday, January 19 Pacifica's Environmental Family conducted its 11th Annual Beach Planting. Over 30 volunteers donated their time and effort to this event. The number of volunteers was a little less than in previous years, but the volunteers worked extra hard and accomplished a great deal during their two hours on the beach. Also, in previous years, Go Native Nursery and the City of Pacifica provided native plants for the beach planting. This year plants from those sources were not available.
The leader of the beach planting for all 11 years has been Mary Petrilli. Through all these years, Mary's expertise and experience in native plant botany and ecology has been brought to bear on this project. Mary has been very careful to use only native plants that are suited to Pacifica State Beach. This year, Mary selected native dune grass from areas on the beach where the dune grass had become very thick. By doing this Mary was able to locate 300 dune grass plants which volunteers removed from the areas where dune grass was thriving and installed it on bare areas of sand. The same strategy was applied to native beach strawberry.
Additionally, volunteers removed non native ice plant, an exotic pest plant which blankets some of the beach areas creating a monoculture which prevents native plants from growing. A second exotic pest plant which volunteers removed was Caltrans buckwheat. This non native pest plant is now growing and proliferating on many areas on the beach. Some of the Caltrans buckwheat is growing right next to the highway. This growth should be removed by the city because seeds from these plants blow onto the beach and grow new bushes. This is a serious problem which needs abatement as soon as possible. The invasive, yellow flowered oxalis is also active on the beach at this time. Some of the oxalis was removed.
I wish to give special thanks to Mr. Ray Biagini, who provided shovels, bags and a table for our project. Thanks also to Debbie Gehret and Lizzie Claycomb who also provided guidance and encouragment.
I hope you will have an opportunity soon to survey the work that has been done by Pacifica's Environmental Family. In 11 years, close to 15,000 native plants have been installed on Pacifica State Beach. These plants beautify and stabilize the beach and provide areas that are hospitable to shore birds and fauna and other native plants. The value of these contributions is probably at least $100,000. The good will that the volunteers have created is priceless.
Pacifica Riptide by publicizing the beach planting was an important partner in the beach planting.
Thank you very much for your help.
In addition to this annual planting, Pacifica's Environmental Family also conducts a monthly beach restoration.