Healthy soil, full of billions of beneficial microorganisms, is a major byproduct of regenerative organic farming. Organic farming creates diverse, healthy ecosystems that protect wildlife. However, any agricultural model that’s fixated on yields at the expense of soil health will incur a steep price as those farms won’t remain productive for future generations.
After World War II, cotton, wool and linen fell out of favor as wash and wear, stain-resistant, permanent-press polyester arrived. Annual production of the synthetic fiber, consuming petroleum, coal, air and water resources, today exceeds 22 billion tons. Americans alone discard 14 million tons of clothing each year—80 pounds per person—with 80 percent going to landfills, where polyester takes 20 to 200 years to biodegrade.
Seed libraries and banks are critically important because the seeds are adapted to the local environment. Seed libraries have multiplied from only a handful a few years ago to as many as 300 located in towns across America today. Public libraries check out seeds to plant in your garden, asking only that you return harvested seeds for others to enjoy. Farmers can now “back up” their seeds in local seed banks, which are also becoming important educational resources to teach students about these issues.
“Regular exercise brings more energy, better sleep, reduced stress, higher spirits, better odds of an easy labor, faster post-delivery recovery and reduced risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy,” Bregman finds. She recommends a prenatal yoga practice that includes breathing and visualizations. This restorative form of yoga offers gentle stretching, promotes good circulation and naturally supports relief or healing of many possible pregnancy ailments.
Deciphering the language on an egg carton is a first step. Diet affects flavor. “Eggs from pasture-raised chickens allowed to roam—eating grass, worms and bugs in the backyard or a pasture—will look and taste better than eggs from chickens limited to an inside space eating chicken feed,” says Cole. “Pasture-raised eggs will have a fresh herbaceous, or grassy, flavor with an ‘egg-ier’ essence.”
Many experts agree on at least one underlying cause behind the trend—a widely studied condition called leaky gut, characterized by intestinal permeability. Microscopic pinholes in an unhealthy small intestine can allow undigested nutrients to pass through intestinal walls, triggering mild immune responses, inflammation and, potentially, the onset of some diseases.
Today’s mass-produced furniture may contain hidden chemicals such as formaldehyde-based adhesives, flame retardants and other volatile organic compounds (VOC) linked to serious health issues. Researchers from the Natural Resources Defense Council found 45 toxic chemicals in indoor dust, 10 of which were present in at least 90 percent of households sampled. “These chemicals enter the air as materials in the furnishings break down,” explains healthy home expert Lisa Beres. “Because we spend an average of 90 percent of our lives indoors, the exposure to harmful chemicals is troubling.”
Microgreens grow so fast that there’s little time for them to run into trouble. Commercial growers use large trays, but home gardeners can also use pretty coffee mugs or tofu boxes rescued from the recycling bin. Drainage holes in the container bottoms work well when growing beets or other slow-sprouting seeds, but are less important for fastgrowing sunflowers or wheat.
The Kroger grocery chain, with nearly 2,500 U.S. stores, including subsidiaries Ralphs, Fry’s, King Soopers and Food 4 Less, has decided to go all in on the organic food market as a follow-up to the 2012 release of its Simple Truth brand of organic foods.
Sikkim, the northeastern Indian state located between Bhutan and Nepal, has rid its agricultural land of pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified crops and other artificial inputs on around 75,000 hectares, or about 300 square miles, of agricultural land, making it its country’s first organic state. Instead, farmers use natural alternatives such as green manure and compost.