GROW by Organics Unlimited Supports Project Amigo Through $150,000 Grant

Organics Unlimited l February 5, 2016
As most Organics Unlimited retailers and distributors know, a percentage derived from the purchase of each box of GROW organic bananas is earmarked for the GROW Fund. The GROW Fund was created in 2005 to allow Organics Unlimited and its customers to give back to the communities near Organics Unlimited's banana farms. Over the past decade, through retailer and distributor support, GROW organic banana purchases have provided over $2 million in aid for these communities in Mexico and Ecuador.

Organics Unlimited and GROW have been longtime supporters of Project Amigo, a nonprofit that helps provide access to education for youth in the state of Colima, Mexico. We are pleased to announce that Organics Unlimited has approved a grant of $150,000 to Project Amigo for 2016 program support.

This grant will provide much-needed funding for many of Project Amigo's programs. It will give educational scholarships to 27 children within the Colima area as well as provide leadership and personal development training to poor rural youth to prepare them for occupational success. There are 119 students in Project Amigo's scholarship program in 2016, including the 27 students sponsored by the GROW Fund.

Find the rest of the article here
Produce Report

Asparagus already got some press last week in this space as an early sign of spring, and volume has come on even stronger this week with the market diving down to more promotable levels. As more of these springtime crops come on, it can behoove a produce department to set the tone with large enough displays for eaters to take note and partake, but perhaps not with the splash that will be expected when the time comes for the regional harvest here in the NW.

On the fruit side, it may be time to clear some space for a solid mound of Honeygold grapefruit. This much anticipated heirloom variety will be with us for at least the next three or four weeks and makes for a fantastic department highlight during that stretch. Heirloom navels, laden with both complexity and sweetness, also continue to flow north from our friends at Buck Brand in Terra Bella. Even though as a collective produce trade, we've been hammering on a citrus focus for months now, it's key to recall that springtime brings some of the finest eating experiences, particularly with navels. So, before we turn the dial to berries and other spring highlights, there's plenty of mileage to go in the citrus category, including some mandarin varieties that have yet to even start up.

Find the rest of the Produce Report here.

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup, has become the most used agricultural chemical of all time. Photo by Charles Platiau/Reuters.
Glyphosate Now The Most-Used Agricultural Chemical Ever

Newsweek l by Douglas Main l February 2, 2016

The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become the most heavily-used agricultural chemical in the history of the world, and many argue that's a problem, since the substance comes with concerning albeit incompletely-determined health effects.

A study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe reveals that Americans have applied 1.8 million tons of glyphosate since its introduction in 1974. Worldwide, 9.4 million tons of the chemical have been sprayed onto fields. For comparison, that's equivalent to the weight of water in more than 2,300 Olympic-size swimming pools. It's also enough to spray nearly half a pound of Roundup on every cultivated acre of land in the world.

Anyway you look at it, this is a staggering amount, says study author Charles Benbrook. And it's troubling, considering that in March 2015 the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer unanimously determined that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans," says Bill Freese, a science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety, who wasn't involved in the work. A carcinogen is a substance known to cause cancer.

Find the rest of the Newsweek article here.

Click here to read about the FDA's plan to start testing for glyphosate reside in food. 
Photo by Dave Young.
New Studies Show Dietary Benefits of Organic Dairy and Meats

The Organic Center l February 16, 2016

Two new studies out of Newcastle University have confirmed several benefits of consuming organic dairy and meat. The papers, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, show that organic milk and meat contain about 50% higher levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products. They also show that organic meat had lower concentrations of two saturated fats, and that organic milk and dairy products contain 40% more of the heart-healthy conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than their conventional counterparts. Despite marginally lower iodine levels, organic milk had several beneficial increases in nutritional minerals and antioxidants, such as higher concentrations of iron, vitamin E, selenium, and carotenoids.

While several other studies have supported the benefits of consuming organic milk and meat, these publications are ground-breaking. They are the first to utilize state-of-the-art meta-analysis techniques. Plus, these are the most comprehensive reviews ever conducted on these topics, and drew upon findings from 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat from around the world.

Find the rest of the article here  
Organic Agriculture is Key to Helping Feed the World Sustainably

UCS Science Network l by John Reganold l February 3, 2016

An assessment of organic farming relative to conventional farming illustrates that organic systems better balance the four areas of sustainability: production (orange), environment (blue), economics (red), and social wellbeing (green).
Source: Nature Plants 

Organic agriculture is a relatively untapped resource for feeding the Earth's population, especially in the face of climate change and other global challenges. That's the conclusion my doctoral candidate Jonathan Wachter and I reached in reviewing 40 years of science comparing the long-term prospects of organic and conventional farming.

Hundreds of scientific studies now show that organic agriculture can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment, and be safer for farm workers. Thirty years ago, there were just a couple handfuls of studies comparing organic with conventional agriculture. In the last 15 years, the number of these kinds of studies has skyrocketed.

The review study, "Organic Agriculture in the 21st Century," is featured as the cover story for the February issue of the journal Nature Plants. It is the first to compare organic and conventional agriculture across the four goals of sustainability identified by the National Academy of Sciences: productivity, economics, environment, and social wellbeing.

Find the rest of the article here.

We've Merged!

The Tilth Digest l February 17, 2016

Tilth Producers has merged with Seattle Tilth and Cascade Harvest Coalition! By coming together, we have a better chance of realizing our shared goals in creating a sustainable and equitable food system. Going forward, the Tilth Digest will continue to bring you the latest organic agriculture news, events and educational opportunities from across the state.

Find the article here.


Keep playing for a chance to win! 

From Last Week:
This citrus fruit contains a pigment called anthocyanin, which is not typically found in citrus but is more common in other red fruits and flowers, blackberries, blueberries, etc. Not only does anthocyanin provide fun coloring, but it has strong antioxidant properties. What is the citrus fruit?

Blood orange

How does trivia work? 
Each week we tuck a juicy bit of organic knowledge into our produce report. Everyone who answers will be entered into our monthly drawing. Then, the first week of every month we'll pick a winner and contact them to choose between an OGC t-shirt, apron or hat. Reply with your answer by Wednesday after receiving your Market Report to be entered in the drawing.

Send your answers to:

We encourage everyone to join in the fun--the more the merrier!