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Enjoying Ecological Food & Agriculture (including Organics & GMOs)

For your convenience, I've gathered my Ask EcoGirl print columns into themes, often with additional information.


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Savoring the Gift of Local Organic (November 2013)
As the winter holidays come around again, I encourage you to include the bountiful and nourishing Mother Earth in your seasonal embrace. Among the items on my eco-gratitude list are the gift of local organic foods. I love how they fill my body with health and aliveness! Plus I'm thrilled to support local eco-farmers and ecosystems. Even better, I'm grateful that this simple (and delicious!) act helps us address the serious problems in our current food system that are harming our health, communities, and planet. Learn more about this easy way you can be part of the solution, why it matters so much -- and why it's vital to buy both local and organic!
Standing Up to Stop Fluoridation (April 2013)
Unfortunately, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recently took another step towards fluoridating our precious local water supply, even after many community members waited hours on a workday to speak against it. Certainly, the proponent claims for community water fluoridation (CWF) seem appealing, and I think many folks wish that it actually were an easy remedy for community dental health. However, that's not what the science shows, and it's vital that we be willing to look beneath the PR claims. And if we want CWF stopped, we're going to need to build a much larger public outcry against it, and within the next few months. Otherwise, we'll be the ones paying the price -- in our health, environment, and pocketbooks. Learn more of the key facts, with citations, in this column.
Should We Fluoridate Our Water? (February 2013)
Over the past few years, a controversy has been brewing in Sonoma County over the proposed addition of fluoride to the water supply for most of our homes, schools, businesses, and restaurants. This issue is coming before the Board of Supervisors again in the next month or two. But isn't fluoride a good thing? The well-meaning proponents do make appealing claims of public dental health benefits, especially for lower-income people. Unfortunately, though, these claims don't match the facts. This isn't the quick fix some want it to be! In this article, EcoGirl outlines what she sees as the core problems with fluoridation, and hopes that this helps Sonoma County reject it and pursue more sensible solutions. (This online version also includes additional supporting data and source links.)
What Do We Do Now About GMOs? (December 2012)
Unfortunately, California Proposition 37 (GMO labeling) didn't win this election -- largely because of well-funded opposition ads full of GMO manufacturer lies. However, Prop. 37 did succeed in getting over six million votes and alerted many more people to the experimental and hazardous GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) that are increasingly being put into our mainstream food supply. It's exciting to see how many people want to keep taking action against these largely-untested "novel" materials that are putting at risk our food, health, farms, communities, and environment. In this key column, EcoGirl suggests the key priority actions we can take to stand up for our well-being -- plus a few suggested actions that she advises we skip. Please share this with your friends and allies!
August 2009: Being a Smart Organic Consumer
Despite areas of controversy, organics are still a convenient way for consumers to choose food and agriculture that's healthier for themselves, their families, and the planet. But how do you know if something is really organic? And how do you sort out the organic issues and labels? Find out more in this column!
May 2008: Affording Organic
With today's economic uncertainties, a reader wonders, how can I still include organic in my budget? EcoGirl offers tips for saving money, and a reminder that our true survival depends on our health and the well-being of the earth.
September 2012: Stand Up for GMO Labeling
Coming soon, Californians will have a unique and precious opportunity to stand up for our right to know when our foods contain experimental and hazardous GMOs (aka Genetically Modified Organisms). These hidden materials are shown to harm our health, environment, farms, and communities. Over 40 other countries have GMO labeling. So why don't we? Plus labeling in California will likely open the door to better protections across the U.S. But standing in the way of labeling is expected to be a serious GMO manufacturer propaganda onslaught. To keep this from working, we all need to educate/innoculate ourselves and others on this essential topic! To learn what you can do, read this handy summary and share it with others -- especially in California. This is a key moment on a vital issue!
October 2012: Vote Yes on Prop. 37 for Labeling of GMO Foods
As expected, the GMO manufacturers have been spending millions of advertising dollars to try to talk voters out of our right to know if GMOs are in our foods. Don't be distracted by their deceptions! The truth is that California Proposition 37 is not complicated or expensive. It will just offer consumers the same right to choose that's enjoyed by people in nearly 50 countries around the world -- 40% of the world's population. People have worked for years to finally give us this opportunity in the U.S. Let's make sure it succeeds. Read this column for the key information to know -- and share it with your friends!
March 2011: Detoxing Cookware
A reader asks how to avoid the toxic PFCs used to make nonstick pans and other consumer products. "What are our options?", she wonders. "Those nonstick pans are so useful!" This month's column describes the issues with PFCs, what products they're in, and how to help reduce our exposure by buying healthier cookware and more.
 November 2010: Sipping Earth-Friendly Holiday Cheer
Does it really make a difference if we serve and bring eco-wines to our holiday events? Yes! Here are the reasons they're indeed better for both your health and the planet. And they're tasty too! EcoGirl also gives you tips for sorting through the eco-labels to find ones you like -- and even lets you in on her local favorites!
February 2010: Sharing Your Eco-Love
This Valentine's Day, you can express your love for both your sweetie and the planet. Here are some easy ways to eco-upgrade your amorous expressions, thus embodying your values while revealing that oh-so-attractive eco-awareness that so many beloveds admire. This column includes specific tips about buying chocolates, roses, and more, including some lovely local options!
March 2008: Creating a Healthy Garden from the Start
Here in one place are the easy steps to creating a good foundation for your garden so that toxic pesticides and fertilizers just aren't necessary. Your harvest will be healthier food and flowers, a nurturing place to hang out, and a healthier world for all.
August 2010: Reaping the Rewards of the Bulk Bin
Hiding in plain sight, the bulk bin aisles at the grocery store offer many benefits to both us and the planet. This includes saving us money, offering us freshness and variety, and greatly reducing the packaging waste that fills our trash cans, landfills, and waterways. EcoGirl offers tips for making it fun and easy to forage in the bulk bins! (Note: The website version of this article offers lots of additional tips and information.)
May 2010: Organizing for Eco-Success
A reader wants to know how she can get better at actually following through on her intentions to be more green. EcoGirl empathetically offers three easy steps for turning her eco-ideas into actions and everyday habits. She illustrates with two easy examples: setting up your home recycling setup and fully using your printer paper.

* THEME: Greening Your Holidays, All Year Round


Return to EcoGirl's Theme Page Index.


* "Delighting in Our Delicious Local Farms," (PDF) West County Gazette, May 2008. Cover story. This piece savors the delights of buying in season from local farmers -- and the benefits to community, earth, health, and wallet.Then it shows you how to do it, with a schedule of local farmers markets and links to directories of local farms and CSAs. There's even a table showing what's in season when. How fun! (Note: This link has the article as it appeared in the periodical, in PDF format.)

* "Connecting the Dots: Marin Organic nurtures synergistic creativity for people and the planet" North Bay Bohemian, Dec. 10, 2008

* "Fields of Gold: In search of the great (organic) pumpkin," North Bay Bohemian, Oct. 22, 2008. (My web page here also includes web bonus info!)

* "Taking Wise Action to Help Protect Organic," West County Gazette, July 2007. Scary headlines and inaccurate articles are clouding consumers' ability to understand what the latest news on organics really means. Click here to get the straight facts.

* "Laguna Farms: Sowing Seeds of Sustainability," Common Ground, August 2004. "A family farmer and a talented herbalist joined forces in marriage and mission to create the North Bay's largest Community Supported Agriculture farm."

* Series on Genetically-Engineered Food and Agriculture

* "Vote Yes on Measure M," West County Gazette, Oct. 2005, p. 1.

* "GE Crops: Who Profits, Who Pays the Price?," West County Gazette, Sept. 2005

* "Should Sonoma County Be GE-Free?," West County Gazette, Aug. 2005, Page 1

* "Halting the GMO Invaders," West County Gazette, July 2004, Page 7

* "Tinkering with Life's Sacred Genetic Code," Awakened Woman e-zine, Aug. 1999. This is also at www.awakenedwoman.com/ge.htm

* "Is Your Food Genetically Engineered?", Living Nutrition, Vol. 6/1999, pp. 17, 22-23.

* "Reducing Pesticides on Local Apple Orchards -- The Necessity, The Challenges, The Successes," Sonoma County Environmental Impact Reporter, Oct. 1993, pp. 6-7, 26-27. (Full newspaper size pages.)


I'm delighted to offer you my Ask EcoGirl booklets, "Healthier Housecleaning" and "Detoxing Your Life." These unique, handy, and cheerful resources bring together key information you need to create a healthier home for your family and the planet. They make a great gift, and quantity discounts and wholesale prices are available. Plus all sales support my eco-healing community work. Tell a friend! Find out more at www.askecogirl.info/booklets.html.


* My Next STEP newsletter, which has lots of information on toxics and alternatives, plus government and community-level actions. "It's your handy guide to less-toxic living." Look up topics of interest in the The Next STEP index of articles.
* North Bay Bohemian. I also wrote several articles on these topics for the Bohemian's Green Zone column. 

* I also cover these topics on my Facebook page and blog.


Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The Next STEP newsletter, which gently educates readers about toxics and alternatives. For more information about my work for the planet, see www.patriciadines.info

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I hope that you find this information useful. I welcome your throughts and feedback! (You can email me at info [at] askecogirl.info.)
Editors: Please contact me if you'd like to publish any of these articles in your periodical, or discuss an article that I might write for you.

This entire website is (c) Patricia Dines, 1998-2013. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 11/1/13