HEADER

Archive | Uncategorized

June is Pollination Month!

Source: Pollination Fast Facts :  http://pollinator.org/PDFs/NPW/Pollination%20Fast%20Facts%20(3).pdf

What is pollination?

Pollination is a vital stage in the life cycle of all flowering plants. When pollen is moved within a flower or carried from one flower to another of the same species it leads to fertilization. This transfer of pollen is necessary for healthy and productive native and agricultural ecosystems.

  • About 75% of all flowering plant species need the help of animals to move their heavy pollen grains from plant to plant for fertilization.
  • About 1,000 of all pollinators are vertebrates such as birds, bats, and small mammals.
  • Most pollinators (about 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.

 

Why are pollinators important?

Pollinators are often keystone species, meaning that they are critical to an ecosystem. The work of pollinators ensures full harvests of crops and contributes to healthy plants everywhere.

  • An estimated 1/3 of all foods and beverages is delivered by pollinators.
  • In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $20 billion worth of products annually.                                                                                                How can we help pollinators?
  • Reduce your impact. Reduce or eliminate your pesticide use, increase green spaces, and minimize urbanization. Pollution and climate change affect pollinators, too!
  • Plant for pollinators. Create pollinator-friendly habitat with native flowering plants that supply pollinators with nectar, pollen, and homes. For information on what to plant in your area, download a free ecoregional guide online at www.pollinator.org.
  • Tell a friend. Educate your neighbors, schools, and community groups about the importance of pollinators. Host a dinner, a pollinated food cook-off or other event and invite your friends.
  • Join the Pollinator Partnership Go to www.pollinator.org and click on “Get Involved.”
  • Be part of a growing community of pollinator supporters like Bee City USA Asheville. There are dozens of local events throughout June, check out the schedule here: http://www.ashevillegreenworks.org/pollination-celebration.html
0

Top 10 Reasons to Support Organic

Article Source Link: http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-206

Source: Alan Greene, MD (Organic Trade Association), Bob Scowcroft (Organic Farming Research Foundation), Sylvia Tawse (Fresh Ideas Group)

Top 10 Reasons to Support Organic

1. Reduce The Toxic Load: Keep Chemicals Out of the Air, Water, Soil and our Bodies
Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. With only 0.5 percent of crop and pasture land in organic, according to USDA that leaves 99.5 percent of farm acres in the U.S. at risk of exposure to noxious agricultural chemicals.

Our bodies are the environment so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live less toxically.

2. Reduce if Not Eliminate Off Farm Pollution
Industrial agriculture doesn’t singularly pollute farmland and farm workers; it also wreaks havoc on the environment downstream. Pesticide drift affects non-farm communities with odorless and invisible poisons. Synthetic fertilizer drifting downstream is the main culprit for dead zones in delicate ocean environments, such as the Gulf of Mexico, where its dead zone is now larger than 22,000 square kilometers, an area larger than New Jersey, according to Science magazine, August, 2002.

3. Protect Future Generations
Before a mother first nurses her newborn, the toxic risk from pesticides has already begun. Studies show that infants are exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals in utero. In fact, our nation is now reaping the results of four generations of exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals, whose safety was deemed on adult tolerance levels, not on children’s. According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancer, and decrease fertility.

4. Build Healthy Soil
Mono-cropping and chemical fertilizer dependency has taken a toll with a loss of top soil estimated at a cost of $40 billion per year in the U.S., according to David Pimental of Cornell University. Add to this an equally disturbing loss of micro nutrients and minerals in fruits and vegetables. Feeding the soil with organic matter instead of ammonia and other synthetic fertilizers has proven to increase nutrients in produce, with higher levels of vitamins and minerals found in organic food, according to the 2005 study, “Elevating Antioxidant levels in food through organic farming and food processing,” Organic Center State of Science Review (1.05)

5. Taste Better and Truer Flavor
Scientists now know what we eaters have known all along: organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. Plus, new research verifies that some organic produce is often lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food. Let the organic feasting begin!

6. Assist Family Farmers of all Sizes
According to Organic Farming Research Foundation, as of 2006 there are approximately 10,000 certified organic producers in the U.S. compared to 2500 to 3,000 tracked in 1994. Measured against the two million farms estimated in the U.S. today, organic is still tiny. Family farms that are certified organic farms have a double economic benefit: they are profitable and they farm in harmony with their surrounding environment. Whether the farm is a 4-acre orchard or a 4,000-acre wheat farm, organic is a beneficial practice that is genuinely family-friendly.

7. Avoid Hasty and Poor Science in Your Food
Cloned food. GMOs and rBGH. Oh my! Interesting how swiftly these food technologies were rushed to market, when organic fought for 13 years to become federal law. Eleven years ago, genetically modified food was not part of our food supply; today an astounding 30 percent of our cropland is planted in GMOs. Organic is the only de facto seal of reassurance against these and other modern, lab-produced additions to our food supply, and the only food term with built in inspections and federal regulatory teeth.

8. Eating with a Sense of Place
Whether it is local fruit, imported coffee or artisan cheese, organic can demonstrate a reverence for the land and its people. No matter the zip code, organic has proven to use less energy (on average, about 30 percent less), is beneficial to soil, water and local habitat, and is safer for the people who harvest our food. Eat more seasonably by supporting your local farmers market while also supporting a global organic economy year round. It will make your taste buds happy.

9. Promote Biodiversity
Visit an organic farm and you’ll notice something: a buzz of animal, bird and insect activity. These organic oases are thriving, diverse habitats. Native plants, birds and hawks return usually after the first season of organic practices; beneficial insects allow for a greater balance, and indigenous animals find these farms a safe haven. As best said by Aldo Leopold, “A good farm must be one where the native flora and fauna have lost acreage without losing their existence.” An organic farm is the equivalent of reforestation. Industrial farms are the equivalent of clear cutting of native habitat with a focus on high farm yields.

10. Celebrate the Culture of Agriculture
Food is a ‘language’ spoken in every culture. Making this language organic allows for an important cultural revolution whereby diversity and biodiversity are embraced and chemical toxins and environmental harm are radically reduced, if not eliminated. The simple act of saving one heirloom seed from extinction, for example, is an act of biological and cultural conservation. Organic is not necessarily the most efficient farming system in the short run. It is slower, harder, more complex and more labor-intensive. But for the sake of culture everywhere, from permaculture to human culture, organic should be celebrated at every table.

Choose to support something worth believing in for your health and the health of the planet.

0

What is BPA & Why Should We Care?

BPA is short for Bisphenol A.
Amid overwhelming agreement across the political spectrum that the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 does not adequately protect Americans from toxic chemicals, Congress passed legislation to address TSCA’s many shortcomings. We believe that, to be effective, the new legislation must rapidly reduce or eliminate human exposure to the most harmful chemicals—particularly those linked to causing cancer, damaging developing fetuses, or harming the reproductive or nervous system.

We want the federal government to take action on chemicals already known to cause harm, like bisphenol A (BPA)[1].

Chemical summary: BPA at a glance

BPA is a very common chemical found in plastics, food and beverage can linings, and other consumer products. BPA is known to mimic estrogen and, in animal studies, researchers have linked developmental exposure to BPA to reproductive harm, increased cancer susceptibility, and abnomalities in brain development and fat metabolism. There are alternatives to BPA, but manufacturers are not required to use them. In fact, current law does not require manufacturers to disclose whether or not their product contains BPA—leaving consumers in the dark. Dozens of states and municipalities have already passed or are considering legislation to ban BPA from certain products, yet TSCA severely limits federal action. The time has come for Congress to expand public protection from BPA ad other dangerous chemicals by passing strong new legislation to overhaul TSCA.

BPA is used in many consumer products

The U.S. produced more than two billion pounds of BPA in 2004. BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastics, which are commonly used in consumer products including baby bottles, sippy cups, and reusable water bottles. Epoxy resins used to coat metal food and beverage cans, including beer and soda cans, are another major use of BPA. BPA also is used in the production of other plastics, including those used for medical devices, for industrial applications (such as adhesives and paints), and in the production of flame retardants and thermal paper (such as those used in cash register receipts). Some polymers used in dental sealants and tooth coatings also contain BPA.

BPA exposure is common.

The FDA and the National Institutes of Health state that the primary exposure source for most people is food and beverages contaminated with BPA. BPA has been detected in infant formula, canned food, and canned beverages. Over 90 percent of people in the United States carry BPA residues in their bodies. The human body breaks down and excretes BPA within a few days, so these consistent measurements in humans mean that we are taking in BPA as fast as our bodies can get rid of it. BPA also has been measured in breast milk, amniotic fluid, and follicular fluid; providing evidence that the developing fetus and infant also are exposed. Premature infants in neonatal intensive care units undergoing treatments were found to have 10 times higher BPA levels than seen in the general public, presumably as a result of BPA leaching from plastic components of medical care devices.

BPA is associated with harmful health effects.

BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that mimics estrogen, the female sex hormone essential for the development and function of reproductive organs. BPA may also interfere with thyroid hormone, which is important for development of the brain and nervous system. Researchers have linked interference with the action of natural hormones to harmful health effects.

Laboratory animal experiments find that for doses within the range of human exposures, fetal exposure to BPA is linked to developmental and reproductive harm including earlier onset of puberty, increased susceptibility to breast and prostate cancer, and changes in gender-specific behavior caused by altered brain development.

BPA also has been associated with miscarriages and infertility, abnormal chromosomes, abnormalities in fat metabolism, and the development of insulin resistance. In humans, BPA exposure has been linked to miscarriage, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, heart disease, and alterations in toddler behavior.

Evaluations by federal agencies

The U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) has expressed “some concern” that BPA exposure in fetuses, infants, and children may increase the risk for neurodevelopmental harm and prostate cancer. NTP noted that “the possibility that Bisphenol A may alter human development cannot be dismissed.”

BPA has been approved as a food additive by the FDA since the 1950s. The most recent FDA re-evaluation concluded that current levels of exposure are “safe,” but relied on studies funded by the cheical industry and was sharply criticized by the FDA’s own scientific board of advisors for being inconsistent with the available scientific evidence. After a lengthy delay, FDA announced in January 2010 that it agreed with NTP’s scientific assessment of BPA, but stopped short of regulating the chemical in our food supply.

In 2010, EPA issued an “action plan” to address BPA under its existing limited authority under TSCA, which also does not call for any immediate regulation of the chemical.

Other countries, some states and regions have taken action

The Canadian Ministry of Health has determined BPA is a “chemical of concern” and has banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and is restricting use in formula cans. Norway, Denmark, and France have taken measures to limit the use of BPA, especially in children’s products.

Several counties in New York, the city of Chicago, Illinois, and the states of Connecticut, Minnesota, Maryland, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin have banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. In addition to banning BPA from these products, Connecticut and Vermont have banned BPA from infant formula and baby food jars, as well as reusable food and beverage containers. Several other states are considering similar bans. In all, over 30 states and municipalities intrduced legislation in 2009 to ban or limit exposure to BPA. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has issued a public health advisory on BPA which advises pregnant women, nursing mothers and parents of children under the age of two to avoid the use of products that contain BPA.

Maine has listed BPA as a “chemical of high concern” for being an endocrine disruptor and developmental toxicant under its law on Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products.

 

This fact sheet was prepared by Dr. Sarah Janssen, M.D., Ph.D, MPH in March of 2010. The following people reviewed it: Janet Nudelman and Nancy Evans, Breast Cancer Fund; Dr. Caroline Baier-Anderson, formerly of the Environmental Defense Fund, Dr. Tracey Woodruff, University of California, San Francisco.

Source: http://saferchemicals.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/congressional-action-needed-on-a-chemical-of-high-concern-bisphenol-a-bpa/

0

Treat Your Mother to Something Special this Year!

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14!

It is time to celebrate the woman who brought you into this world, as well as the other special mamas in your life. Show them some love by giving them something special! We have dozens of unique items perfect for gifting, many of them made locally.

ALL ORGANIC LOUNGEWEAR IS 20% OFF until Mother’s Day!!! 

Super soft robes & nightgowns are perfect for lounging in day or night.

We have cards, handmade soaps, beauty products, jewelry, tea towels, leather bags, wallets, journals, aprons, pottery, gift cards, housewares & more to choose from!

 

0

5 Ways to Reduce Toxic Exposures in Your Home

By Jane Tavyev Asher, M.D., Child Neurologist, Guest Blogger

MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2017
If you have small children in the house, are pregnant or are trying to conceive – or simply want to stay healthy – you are probably looking for ways to avoid toxic chemicals at home and outdoors. Harmful pollutants that can increase the risk of cancer and damage your developing child’s IQ can lurk in household dust, leach out of plastic containers and even contaminate tap water.

Here are five top tips to reduce toxic exposures and protect your family’s health.

1) Filter your water

The number one way to reduce toxic exposures in your home is to have a good water filter.

From washing kale, to cooking quinoa, to basic hydration, water is everywhere!

With the recent lead contamination crisis in Flint, Mich., and other communities, as well as the relaxing of regulations on pesticides and industrial toxins that run off into our water supplies, we can predict a huge rise in exposure to all kinds of toxic chemicals.

EWG has a great water filter guide so you can find the right one to fit your budget.

2) Stop using plastic bottles

Plastic bottles are really the ultimate lose-lose situation. Bad for you, bad for the environment.

First there was bisphenol A, or BPA. It’s an endocrine disruptor extraordinaire. Leaching of the chemical is worse when heated – whether that is in the microwave or your car in the Texas heat.

Then came BPA-free. So full of promise. But soon we learned BPA-free plastics contain other additives that are as bad as BPA!

I could go on about the evils of the plastic bottle and talk forever about its enormous carbon footprint, which hurts the environment and increases our dependence on fossil fuels.

There are rare exceptions when you can’t avoid plastic containers, most ironically for breast pumps. But for daily use, tote your own filtered water around in a glass or stainless steel bottle.

EWG has tips for finding safer, non-plastic alternatives.

3) Get a vacuum with a HEPA filter

Sofas are loaded with flame retardants, household items such as shower curtains emit VOCs, and plastics leach phthalates. Replacing everything immediately might not go with the decor or your budget.

As an immediate solution, you can vacuum with a HEPA filter to get contaminants out of your house, while avoiding inhaling toxic chemicals.

4) Wash your hands before eating

It’s not just about the germs!

There are many chemicals that don’t belong in your body, such as heavy metals that damage the brain and phthalates added to plastics to keep them soft.

You can’t avoid touching everything, but you sure can try to keep it from getting into your mouth.

No sink nearby? The Neurotic Neurologist suggests pouring some water from your water bottle onto your hands, and rubbing vigorously with a napkin.

Avoid hand sanitizer before meals, since it can leave your hands coated with something you don’t necessarily want to be eating.

5) Take shoes off in the house

Your shoes bring in contaminated dust from nearby construction, pesticides recently sprayed near public parks, and bacteria and viruses. In the house, babies may lick the floor, crawl on the floor and put their fingers into their mouths, while older kids find floor-blueberries to be the most delicious of all.

Thankfully, you are not left alone to figure all of this out. Environmental Working Group is ramping up its work just as the federal government is backing off from protecting children’s health. Click link below to read more:

Source: http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2017/04/5-ways-reduce-toxic-exposures-your-home

0

TEETHERS EXPOSE BABIES TO BPA AND OTHER ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS

Source: http://www.healthychild.org/teethers-expose-babies-to-bpa-and-other-endocrine-disruptors/

December 9, 2016 By: Monica Amarelo, Director of Communications, and Sonya Lunder, Senior Analyst

A new study suggests that bisphenol-A and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals at low levels leach from plastic teethers that many babies gnaw throughout the day.

The researchers, whose report was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, analyzed 59 baby teethers commonly sold in the United States, and found that all of them contained BPA, or its replacement chemicals, bisphenol-S or bisephenol-F. The teethers – which were manufactured by 23 brands and included solid, gel-filled and water-filled models – also contained various parabens, as well as antimicrobials like triclosan and triclocarban.

Each teether was immersed in 200 milliliters of water for an hour to mimic a child’s saliva and daily use. And although almost 90 percent of the teethers were labeled as BPA-free or nontoxic, the researchers found more than 15 to 20 toxic chemicals in all of them.

Parents often turn to the colorful baby teethers to soothe infants’ gums when their teeth start coming in between 3 and 7 months of age. Unlike plastic toys, this product is made for babies to continually suck.

Based on estimates of the body weight of a 12-month-old baby, the levels of BPA and other endocrine disruptors measured were lower than current regulatory limits set for other products. But those limits don’t take into account the accumulation of chemicals to which a baby might be exposed over time.

The presence of potentially harmful chemicals in teethers is of great concern. Exposure to endocrine disruptors during infancy could have detrimental health effects that include asthma, diabetes, obesity and reproductive disorders.

Studies have shown that in animals, endocrine-disrupting compounds like BPA, parabens and antimicrobials can interfere with hormones, and cause harmful developmental and neurological harm. As a result, in 2012 the Food and Drug Administration announced that BPA could no longer be used in baby bottles and sippy cups.

More research is needed to better understand the impact of these chemicals on children. The researchers hope their findings will help regulators develop stricter regulatory guidelines to protect babies from exposure to potentially toxic chemicals in teethers and other baby products.

Regarding Phthalates:

Question: I’m concerned about my 8-month-old daughter coming into contact with phthalates. Should I throw out any plastic toys, or are there some companies that don’t use phthalates? Toy companies I’ve contacted have told me phthalates are harmless. Is this true?

Answer: Phthalates (pronounced tha-lates) are used in soft plastic teethers and toys, and should be avoided to protect a baby’s health. These chemicals are considered a hazardous waste and regulated as pollutants in air and water, but are essentially unregulated in children’s toys, cosmetics, and many other consumer products. Although some types of phthalates have been shown to be toxic to developmental, reproductive, and other organ systems and phased out by companies due to health concerns, alarmingly they are still are used for teethers and other toys. Avoid all soft plastic teethers and food containers until manufacturers prove they are safe.

So, what IS Safe?

Harder plastic toys are now often phthalate-free, but wooden, organic cotton, or Silicone teethers and toys are the best alternative. We currently carry several safe teethers, many of which are locally made and organic.

0

March Madness Organic Bedding Sale! Save up to $750

During the month of March, you can save up to $750 on organic bedding!
With every Savvy Rest mattress purchase get a FREE complete organic bedding set w/ 2 shredded latex pillows, 1 cotton mattress pad & 1 set of cotton sheets!

Now is the time to invest in some really good rest, you don’t want to miss this great opportunity to save up to $750!

We are happy to help you select your perfect mattress today. Savvy Rest mattresses are fully customizable which means that you can find exactly what you are looking for. With the option of customizing the firmness of each side of the bed, you can build your dream bed without comprising!

Give us a call at (828) 258-1901 or stop by our store today!

0

Baby Carriers for Syrian Refugees

011small

As you likely know, right now there are thousands of families and children fleeing terrorism and the war in Syria and the middle east.  Currently 9,000 Syrian refugees are arriving to Greece DAILY, and 30% out of them are CHILDREN.

Between December 1st and 14th, Nest Organics will be a drop-off point for gently used (or new!) soft structured baby carriers that will be sent to refugees in Syria. Soft structured baby and child carriers only. No car seats, no metal frames, no strollers, no wraps, no slings. Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs) are basically any carrier that has clasps or harnesses, and Mei Teis.

 

Donation FAQs

Q: What sort of baby carriers can I donate?

A: Please send us your new or gently used Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs). These are basically any carrier that has clasps or harnesses, and Mei Tais (square cloth with four ties). A few examples are Baby Bjorn, Kolcraft, MobyGo and Ergo.

Q: Why don’t you accept wraps, slings, pouches or other non-structured carriers?

A: At our current distribution points, we have to fit refugees in about 2 minutes flat, usually in very chaotic and crowded harbors, and without any spoken instructions (given that most don’t speak English). Because of that, wraps and slings are not a safe or efficient option. Structured carriers on the other hand are considerably more user friendly and have a much shorter learning curve.

Q: My carrier is broken/very stained/recalled. Should I send it?

A: No. We cannot repair carriers and we have to discard recalled ones. Please only send us a carrier you would also give to a close friend! Old carriers, worn carriers, faded carriers are perfectly ok to send, but please no broken or recalled ones!

Q: Can I include anything along with my carrier?

A: If you like, pin a note to the refugee who will be receiving your carrier by using a paper clip! Don’t worry about translating to Arabic or Farsi. Some refugees speak English, and even if they don’t, it’s clear that a handwritten note is extended love and best wishes for their journey. If your carrier has a pocket, you can also stuff it with items such as: small plush toy, baby/toddler socks/hat/mittens, high protein snacks and/or electrolyte or vitamin packets.

Q: Can I donate other items like toys or clothing to Carry the Future?

A: No. At this time we are only accepting soft structured baby carriers and monetary donations. We are a very new organization, so we have to be very cost effective. Sending clothing and toys by plane with our volunteers is very costly, and we would rather spend our limited funds on carriers! You can, however, put small items (listed above) in the pocket of the baby carrier.

 

If you have a carrier you’d like to donate, please bring it to 51 N. Lexington Ave in downtown Asheville. If you have any questions, give us a call at 828.258.1901.

If you don’t already have a carrier to donate, you can purchase one of our soft structured carriers at 40% off to donate.

Help us make this drive a great success!!

0

Pollination Celebration!

unnamed-6

We are about to enter a week devoted to bees! Asheville is the original Bee City, USA, and from the 13th to the 21st of June there will be daily events around town to celebrate our vital pollinators and to educate people on ways to provide a more attractive habitat for bees in their own yards!

We are a proud supporter of the Pollination Celebration and encourage you to take a look at the full schedule, attend an event and add bee-friendly plants to your landscape!

0

We only ship to continental U.S. locations! Shipping rates are approximated and subject to change. If you select flat rate shipping we will need to collect your payment after your order has been placed. Dismiss