At Blue Tree Café we believe that the food you nourish your body with should provide you energy, NOT make you sleepy! We strive to find the best possible ingredients in order to provide our clients with the highest quality nutrition possible. This often time means looking “right in our backyard” and using our local farmers and producers for most of our ingredients and using organic products whenever possible. We hope to enlighten you on your journey to nutrition!
What Does “Organic” Mean?
Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. Organic food products are produced using:
- Agricultural management practices that promote healthy eco-systems and prohibit the use of genetically engineered seeds or crops, sewage sludge, long-lasting pesticides, herbicides or fungicides.
- Livestock management practices that promote healthy, humanely treated animals by providing organically-grown feed, fresh air and outdoor access while using no antibiotics or added growth hormones.
- Food processing practices that protect the integrity of the organic product and disallow irradiation, genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) or synthetic preservatives.
Top 10 Reasons To Go Organic
(Courtesy of The Organic Trade Association)
- Organic products meet stringent standards
Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.
- Organic food tastes great!
It’s common sense — well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become nourishing food for people and animals.
- Organic production reduces health risks
Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.
- Organic farms respect our water resources
The elimination of polluting chemicals and nitrogen leaching, done in combination with soil building, protects and conserves water resources.
- Organic farmers build healthy soil
Soil is the foundation of the food chain. The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils
- Organic farmers work in harmony with nature
Organic agricultural respects the balance demanded of a healthy ecosystem: wildlife is encouraged by including forage crops in rotation and by retaining fencerows, wetlands, and other natural areas.
- Organic producers are leaders in innovative research
Organic farmers have led the way, largely at their own expense, with innovative on-farm research aimed at reducing pesticide use and minimizing agriculture’s impact on the environment.
- Organic producers strive to preserve diversity
The loss of a large variety of species (biodiversity) is one of the most pressing environmental concerns. The good news is that many organic farmers and gardeners have been collecting and preserving seeds, and growing unusual varieties for decades.
- Organic farming helps keep rural communities healthy
Organic agriculture can be a lifeline for small farms because it offers an alternative market where sellers can command fair prices for crops.
- Organic abundance — foods and non-foods alike
Now every food category has an organic alternative. And non-food agricultural products are being grown organically — even cotton, which most experts felt could not be grown this way.
What are GMOs?
Genetic Modification is a technique that changes the genetic makeup of cells, including alteration of genetic materials and other biologically important chemicals, and allows genes to move across species. It produces new combinations of genes and traits that do not occur in nature. Plants that have been altered in this way are called GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, or GE, genetically engineered. GMO plants are modified to include genes allowing them to survive the application of chemical herbicides, or cause the plants to produce pesticides.
What foods are most likely to contain GMOs?
With regard to our North American food supply, approximately 93% of soy, 88% of field corn, 94% cotton, and over 90% of canola seed and sugar beets planted in the U.S. (2012 data) are genetically engineered. According to the Non-GMO Project, the following are considered High-Risk Crops (in commercial production; ingredients derived from these must be tested every time prior to use in Non-GMO Project Verified products (as of December 2011):
- Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
- Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
- Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
- Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
- Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
- Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)
More information on other high-risk foods, monitored crops and common ingredients derived from GMO risk crops can be found on their website, nongmoproject.org.
What can I do to avoid GMOs in the grocery store?
- Choose organic products. All organic foods sold in the U.S. must be certified to the USDA National Organic Standards, which prohibit the use of GMOs.
- Look for the Non-GMO Project Verified seal on products.