Fall 2015 Student Practicum Project by: Maggie Aurelio
What is a GREEN Guide? This guide is designed to be a Resource. That’s right a resource! A place where students and residents of Statesboro can learn more about living sustainable within the area. There are several topics below that contain resourceful information about how to live “green”. Please feel free to click on each topic. Under each topic will be my narrative/opinion on the subject.Below that, you will find the official definition of the subject and a direct link to the that specific website. Also if you have any questions about the photos, some will directly take you to the website if you click on them. I do hope this is helpful to you! Enjoy! 🙂
Why is reducing your amount of waste important when it comes to living more sustainable? Think about it, we throw away and toss out items all the time without even thinking twice about it. Before you toss something out, try to think if that particular item can be reused or recycled…. and when it comes to reducing… buy less!
- Donate any unwanted/items that are still in good condition
- Check in your community for any places that take donated items
- Buy in bulk – purchase items with the least amount of packaging
- Speaking of less packaging, have you ever considered how much your cereal is packaged? Think about it, if you purchase one box of cereal, you have the cardboard box and also the plastic inside. Next time you purchase something, think about an alternative to that product with less packaging or go for the bulk item to reduce your overall purchase of unnecessary packaging.
- Avoid purchasing individually wrapped items
- Print double-sided
- Reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive
- You know all that money you spend each year on new school supplies?
- Take good care of your binders and folders throughout the year then reuse them next year! – your bank account will thank you!
- Invest in cloth/canvas grocery bags and keep them in you car for your next grocery trip
- Invest in a refillable coffee Mug (we all need plenty of caffeine for student life)
- Carry a reusable water bottle (campus events usually give these away for free!)
- Check out Goodwill and Retails Thrift Shop here in statesboro and shop/donate used clothing and other items
- Address: 812 Northside Dr E, Statesboro, GA 30458
- Retails Thrift shop – all profits go to the Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County
- Address: 105 North College Street, Statesboro, GA 30458
- Purchase items made out of recycled content
- Donate/purchase used books for school
- Bring your lunch in a reusable container
- Reuse scrap paper
- On Georgia Southern University Campus
- What can be recycled on campus:
- Plastic – Georgia Southern University recycles type 1 (PET) and type 2 (HDPE) plastic. Examples of type 1 (PET) plastic include: soft drink bottles, mouthwash bottles, detergent and cleaners. Examples of type 2 (HDPE) plastic include: milk and juice jugs, shampoo bottles, bleach, and detergent contaners.
- Paper – Georgia Southern recycles all paper types, which include: office paper, colored paper, newspaper, magazines, brochures/flyers, catalogs and junk mail/envelopes/folders.
- Cardboard – flatten all cardboard material before disposing of it, remove all material inside of the box, and place it behind the recycling bin.
- Aluminum – if you have any used aluminum products, you can recycle them at any gray labeled bin located on campus.
- Other Recyclables – batteries, cell phones, inkjet/laser jet cartridges, paint, light bulbs, scrap metal/metal furnishings, and motor oil. A work request must be submitted for these special items (with the exception of cell phones and ink cartridges) to be picked up by a staff member.
- To submit a work order click here
- Where to recycle:
- 600+ recycling bins located all across campus (including inside and outside)!
- These bins are checked daily by the Environmental Safety Services staff members. Our current bin system includes one (1) blue bin for all paper types and (1) gray bin are for plastics and aluminum. All cardboard must be flattened and placed behind recycling bins. Ink cartridges, batteries, or cell phones can be placed in a separate container next to a recycling bin for pickup.
- Click here for the Center of Sustainability page on recycling
- In the Statesboro Community
- Click here to visit the Keep Bulloch Beautiful website!
- What is composting?
- According to the University of Florida, “Composting is controlled decomposition of organic materials by microorganisms.”
- Click here to learn how to start composting and learn more about its benefits!
- The following lists can be found here on the Organiclifestyle PDF.
- Why should you compost?
- Decrease the amount of waste in landfills
- Saves you money!
- Healthier for you plants
- More fertile soil – more nutrients
- It’s educational
- What CAN you compost?
- Shredded grass clippings
- Fruits (including rinds)
- Veggies (including peels)
- shredded paper
- Corn stalks
- Manure from livestock
- Stale bread
- Egg shells
- Coffee grounds and also filters!
- Tea bags
- What should be AVOIDED when composting?
- Any meat products
- Dairy products
- Pet waste
- Pesticides (or any chemicals, really)
- Wood ash
Why should we conserve energy? Well considering that our nonrenewable resources (fossil fuels = resources that cannot be readily made my nature) are quickly diminishing, it is important to conserve as much of the nonrenewable resources as possible and also to rely more heavily on renewable resources. The Department of Energy states, “Fossil energy sources, including oil, coal, and natural gas, are non-renewable resources that formed when prehistoric plants and animals died and were gradually buried by layers of rock.
Alternative Renewable Sources of Energy
The following resources and information came from the Alternative Energy website
Click here to learn more about RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES from the Department of Energy
- “The term “biomass” refers to organic matter that has stored energy through the process of photosynthesis. Many of the biomass fuels used today come in the form of wood products, dried vegetation, crop residues, and aquatic plants.”
- Solar energy is when heat from the sun is transformed into usable energy through solar converting panels.
- “An average home has more than enough roof area to produce enough solar electricity to supply all of its power needs.”
- Process of converting wind energy into usable energy can be done through windmills.
- “With today’s technology, wind energy could provide 20% of America’s electricity (or about the amount nuclear power provides) with turbines installed on less than 1% of its land area. And within that area, less than 5% of the land would be occupied by wind equipment-the remaining 95% could continue to be used for farming or ranching.”
- Geothermal sourced energy is energy straight from the earth.
- The most common form is hydrothermal energy, which is the use of naturally heated water below the earth’s surface to produce energy.
- Energy generated by moving water.
- “A hydropower facility consists of a water reservoir enclosed by a dam whose gates can open or close depending on how much water is needed to produce a particular amount of electricity. Once electricity is produced it is transported along huge transmission lines to an electric utility company.”
Tips to Conserve Energy
- Keep an eye out for: Energy Star Appliances
- The Energy Star Label guarantees:
- Lower utility bills
- Improved quality and durability
- Enhanced Performance
- For the Home
- Always turn off lights in a room that you are not occupying
- Plug electronics into a power strip then turn off the power strip when the electronics are not in use
- Copper bottom pots – use more heat efficiently
- Change filters in your heating system
- Lower your thermostat when you leave the house
- Close unused air vents
- Make sure your dishwasher and clothes washer is full when you run them
- Purchase LED lightbulbs (lasts up to 4 times longer than standard bulb)
- Plant shade trees
- Update your windows
- Check windows and door for any signs of air leaks
- Switch your ceiling fan to turn in a counter-clockwise direction In the summer; in the winter, run it at low speed, but clockwise.
- Click here to learn about more helpful ways to conserve energy at home
Why is it important to conserve water? Water is crucial to every living thing. You have probably heard the statistic of how “less than 1% of the earth’s fresh water can be used for direct human use” well have you ever stopped to think about how little that really is? It is best to try to conserve water in every way possible!
Water Conservation for the Home
- Purchase appliances with the EPA’s Water Sense label. The label, “tells the consumer that products and programs that carry the label meet water efficiency and performance criteria, maintain high environmental standards, and will help save water, money, and energy.
- Fewer/shorter showers
- Stated by the EPA “Showering accounts for approximately 17 percent of residential indoor water use in the United States-more than 1.2 trillion gallons of water consumed each year.”
- Invest in a low flow shower head
- Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth
- Water plants with cooking/rinsing water
- Poor out old water into the grass or a potted plant
- Try to run your clothes washer with a full load of clothes to use water and energy in the most efficient way
- Wash veggies and fruit in a bowl, not under the tap – then use the leftover water to water houseplants
- Keep a bottle of water in the fridge so you don’t have to run taps until the water is cold
- Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks
- Avoid using the toilet as a trashcan
- Do not use water to defrost frozen foods; thaw foods in the refrigerator overnight
- Compost food waste instead of using the garbage disposal and running the faucet
- Wash your car on your lawn
Water Conservation for the Yard/GardenPut a layer of mulch around trees and plants
- Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants – this helps slow the process of water evaporation and allows the plant to soak up the water
- Water during the early parts of the day; avoid watering when it’s windy
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks
- Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, or faucets
- Be choosy when you are picking out your plants. Choose plants that best match with your climate
- Make sure your irrigation system is only watering your lawn, not the street
- Reduce fertilizer and pesticide use
- Capture Rainwater!
- According to Healthy Landscaping, “Rain barrels are a cost-effective way to collect and store water for garden and lawn irrigation and other purposes. Check to see if rain barrels are permitted in your area. “
Being mindful about how we use transportation and other alternatives can make a huge difference in reducing our carbon footprint! Have you ever thought about how much emissions your car releases on a daily basis? Have you ever considered riding a bike or walking to your destination if it is in reasonable distance? Jumping in the car and going is often an act of habit and yes it is very convenient. How about considering your other options next time you need to travel somewhere within your community?
So…What are some examples of alternative transportation that can be utilized here on campus and in the Statesboro community?
On Georgia Southern University Campus
- Ride a bike!
- Ever running late for class and see people fly past you on a bike while you are well.. basically running? I’m sure you were wishing you had a bike or could rent one. Not only is riding a bike a cool and fast way to get around campus, it also an environmentally friendly alternative to driving. No greenhouse gas emissions and no gas! Pretty great right?
- Don’t have a bike? No problem, you can rent a bike (includes: a U-Lock and any parts or labor associated with any normal wear and tear) from CRI at the RAC for $30.00 per semester!
- Click here for more details about renting.
- Sometimes walking is just the right way to go.
- This absolutely decreases the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and is environmentally friendly.
- Take the bus!
- By taking the bus, you reduce the amount emissions into the atmosphere, save money, and you can meet new people.
- Here at Georgia Southern University we have 2 (Blue and Gold) separate bus routes.
- Buses begin at 7 am – 4 pm on weekdays. After 4 pm, a reduced number of buses will run the route until 9 pm, Monday – Thursday. Estimated time between buses on the reduced schedule is 15 minutes. Friday’s bus service ends at 6 pm.
- Click here to find out more information and view a map of both the Blue and Gold Route.
- Click here to view map both the Blue and Gold bus routes
- Carpool with friends!
- Isn’t this a lot more fun anyway?
- Georgia Southern University even has a carpool program. “Students will be able to share the cost of the permit and the expense of driving to campus. Students enrolled in a Car Pool are not eligible for any other permit.”
- Click here to learn more!
In the Statesboro Community
- Check to see if Apartment complexes have buses
- Ride your bike!
- Make sure to be safe and look for designated bike lanes! Utilize the S.S. Greeway Trail that runs from Gentilly Rd. to Burkhalter Rd.
- Carpool with friends or Coworkers!
- Get to know new people and the people you work with by sharing a ride to school or work 🙂
How can you reduce your emissions and use transportation in a GREENER way?
- Check the air in your tires and be sure that they are within the specific range for your car. Having the proper amount of air in your tires can increase your gas mileage.
- Accelerate slowly and smoothly
- Ease into the breaks within a reasonable distance
- Try to maintain a steady speed- fluctuations can cause your gas mileage to decrease
- Maintenance: Make sure your car is up to date and running efficiently
“Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time” – John Muir
Let’s respect and allow our biodiversity to flourish on campus!
Well you might ask “What is BIODIVERSITY anyway?
- The National Wildlife Federation states “Biodiversity is the variety of life. It can be studied on many levels. At the highest level, you can look at all the different species on the entire Earth. On a much smaller scale, you can study biodiversity within a pond ecosystem or a neighborhood park. Identifying and understanding the relationships between all the life on Earth are some of the greatest challenges in science. “
So…Where are some resources and places in and near Statesboro that support biodiversity?
Center for Wildlife Education
- Have you ever been to the Wildlife Center here on campus? If not, I highly suggest going. It is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.
- Here is their mission statement:”The Center for Wildlife Education and The Lamar Q Ball, Jr. Raptor Center strives to provide quality environmental education for visitors of all ages. The Center exists to support Georgia Southern University in its environmental education programs, as well as to provide wildlife encounters for the school children and citizens of this region. All species of native Georgia fauna are within the scope of the Center’s endeavors. The critical role of humans in the environment is the unifying theme for its programs.”
- Click here to go to Wildlife Center Website
- Address: 1461 Forest Drive, Building 240 Statesboro, GA 30460
- Do you ever need to escape and go somewhere to relax and also to learn more about the environment around you?It is good for one’s soul to be out in nature. Richard Louv, our sustainability speaker in Fall 2013, stated, “What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?” That truly gets you thinking doesn’t it?
- Their Mission:
- Promotes knowledge and appreciation of the native plants and animals of the southeastern coastal plain.
- Enhances the quality of life through the region by presenting classes, events, concerts, festivals, and other cultural and historically driven opportunities that connect learners of all ages with the rich, natural, and cultural heritage of the region.
- Inspires environmentally responsible behavior by providing a sound scientific context and demonstrating sustainable practices while perusing scientific, cultural, and creative solutions to environmental challenges
- Click here to learn more about the Botanic Gardens and check the calendar for events!
- Address: 1505 Bland Avenue, PO Box 8039 Statesboro, GA 30460
Georgia Southern University Sea Turtle Program at St. Catherine’s Island
- Did you know that here at Georgia Southern University’s Department of Geology and Geography students get the opportunity to work with sea turtles on Georgia’s coast?! From my own personal experience this class was a chance of a lifetime and really gets you thinking about the local biodiversity.
- Here are the three major components of this program from their website:
- Conservation of nesting sea turtles on the Georgia coast
- Research into the nesting ecology of Georgia’s sea turtles
- Education of both students and teachers in science content and science process skills
- Click here to learn more about the program!!!
Georgia Southern University Center for Sustainability
- This center is a wonderful place to learn about the actions that are making Georgia Southern University more “GREEN.”
- Add a interdisciplinary concentration in Environmental Sustainability to any major!
- Click here to learn more about the concentration
- Learn about events and programs on and off campus such as Green Fest, No Impact Week, campus garden, operation move in, and the sustainability seminar series.
- I encourage you to check out the website and get involved!
Georgia Southern University Department of Biology
- Feel free to head on over to the Biological Sciences building or the Natural Sciences building to learn more about the biology major/minor.
- Visit the biology website to find out what projects are going on and for volunteer opportunities.
Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
- About the Institute “The University of Georgia’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (SkIO) is a multidisciplinary research institution located on a 700 acre campus on Skidaway Island, 16 miles southeast of Savannah. The Institute sits on the banks of the Skidaway River, with access to a diverse range of estuarine and coastal habitats. Its remote pristine location, convenient to coastal and ocean waters, guarantees a constant influx of visiting scientists and students seeking access to state-of-the-art research facilities, accessible research locations, and opportunities for collaboration with Skidaway Institute’s interdisciplinary and internationally-recognized research faculty.”
- Visit their website for more information!
- Address: 10 Ocean Science Cir, Savannah, GA 31411
Burton 4H Center
- This center is apart of University of Georgia
- Their Mission : “Our Environmental Education Program provides biological and environmental education opportunities for school groups, while Summer Camp provides Georgia 4-H agents and campers an unforgettable 5-day learning adventure.”
- Visit their website for more information!
- Address: 9 Lewis Ave, Tybee Island, GA 31328
- About them: ” Our mission is to protect, preserve and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin. In pursuit of these goals, we strive to amplify the voices of concerned citizens and to strengthen their efforts to protect their rivers and their communities. By raising awareness and aggressively responding to critical issues with the commitment and support of this dedicated citizen network, Ogeechee Riverkeeeper is an advocate for the Ogeechee River basin and its people.”
- Click here for more information!
- Address: 785 King George Blvd #103, Savannah, GA 31419
- About them: “The Altamaha Riverkeeper is a grassroots organization dedicated to the protection, defense and restoration of Georgia’s biggest river—the Altamaha— including its tributaries the Ocmulgee, the Oconee and the Ohoopee.
- Click here to learn more!
- Address: Address: Suite D5, 1135 North Way, Darien, GA 31305
Beautiful Eagle Creek
- It’a part of tradition!
- “When Georgia Southern resurrected the football program in 1981, traditions and spirit needed resurrection as well. So legendary Head Football Coach Erk Russell created his own. But inspiration came to him in the most unusual of places. Inspired by the gnat-infested drainage ditch that cut across the field between the team’s locker room and practice fields, Russell convinced his players that its stagnant water was actually “Beautiful Eagle Creek,” a source of “magical” waters.”
- Check out the Biology Department’s website!
S&S Greenway Trail
- Looking for a place with beautiful scenery to walk your dog, run, or ride your bike? Visit the Greenway Trail!
- About the trail: ” It traces the route of the former Savannah & Statesboro Railway, which first began in 1897. The trail is currently open for more than 2 miles, offering an interesting mix of dense woodlands with busy shopping and dining areas at both ends. The newer, southern end of the trail parallels the newly-constructed S.S. Railroad Bed Road. A tunnel takes trail users under busy Veterans Memorial Parkway.”
- Click here to find out more!
Mill Creek Regional Park
- Mill Creek is the closest park to Georgia Southern University and the community of Statesboro. It is wonderful place for the whole family.
- Click here to learn more about the park and to look at the map!
George L. Smith State Park
- This park is perfect if you are looking for spot to escape to and enjoy what nature has to offer!
- About the park: “With natural beauty, lakeside camping and cozy cottages, this secluded park is the perfect south Georgia retreat. It is best known for the refurbished Parrish Mill and Pond, a combination gristmill, saw mill, covered bridge and dam built in 1880.”
- Click here to book a campsite or lean more!
- Address: 371 George L Smith State Park Rd, Twin City, GA 30471
Magnolia Springs State Park
- This park is also a great resource to remind you of how nice it is to spend time in nature!
- About the park: “Beautiful Magnolia Springs State Park is known for its crystal clear springs flowing 7 million gallons per day. A boardwalk spans the cool water, allowing visitors to look for alligators, turtles and other wildlife near the springs.”
- Click here for more information!
- Address: 1053 Magnolia Springs Rd, Millen, GA 30442
Gordonia-Altamaha State Park
- Looking for a spot go kayaking and take a small break from classes?
- About the Park: “This southeast Georgia park is a favorite for picnicking, family reunions and golf. Picnic tables and shelters surround a small lake where visitors can rent pedal boats and fishing boats during warmer months. Docks are available for anglers, and children will enjoy looking for beaver dams from the observation deck. Five rental cottages face the golf course, all with screened porches, fireplaces and televisions.”
- Click here for more information or about booking a campsite!
- Address: 162 Park Lane, Hwy. 280 West Reidsville, GA 30453
Oatland Island Wildlife Center
- This wildlife center is such an exciting place for kids and adults. It is great spot to spend the day with unique wildlife. Oatland Island always has events going on for the whole family to enjoy!
- The mission of the Oatland Island Wildlife Center of Savannah, ” is to provide our guests with memorable experiences to help them make stronger connections to the natural world.”
- The following points are the many ways that Oatland Island achieves their mission:
- providing a quality learning experience with a dedicated and knowledgeable staf
- following the highest standards in animal care
- modeling good conservation-minded better behaviors and practices
- maintaining a safe, fun, and engaging environments for our guests
- Click here to check out their event calendar and learn more!
- Address: 711 Sandtown Rd, Savannah, GA 31410
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
- This refuge is a part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and is located on the Savannah River.
- More on the refuge “The Savannah River is the lifeblood of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge which provides rich habitats that support a diverse array of migratory and resident wildlife.The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is an important link in the chain of wildlife refuges along the Atlantic Flyway, attracting thousands of migratory birds annually. The refuge also provides nesting habitat for wood ducks, purple gallinules, bald eagles, anhingas, and swallow-tailed kites, among others.”
- Click here to plan your visit or learn more!
- Address: 694 Beech Hill Ln, Hardeeville, SC 29927
Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge
- This refuge is located in a beautiful area in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
- More on the refuge “Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is an important link in the chain of wildlife refuges along the Atlantic Flyway, attracting thousands of migratory birds annually. The refuge also provides nesting habitat, called a rookery, for colonial wading birds such as ibis, egrets, and herons.”
- Click here to learn more!
- Address: Bluffton, SC 29910
Imagine if each item of food you purchased from the grocery store came with a story. A story that would explain the entire lifespan of that particular item from “harvest” to your canvas grocery bag. What would this story entail? Perhaps transportation of the item, where it was grown/harvested, whether it was packaged, received any preservatives, the condition of the factory where it was produced, or the well being of the livestock on the farm. All of these factors in one way or another have to do with each food item that you consume.
According to Cultivating a Healthy Food System (CUESA), “It is estimated that the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from farm to plate.”
What are sustainable foods?
- Sustainabletable.org gives the definition, “Sustainable agriculture is a way of growing or raising food, including animals, in an ecologically and ethically responsible manner using practices that protect the environment, safeguard human health, are humane to farm animals, and provide fair treatment to workers. Eating “sustainable” means eating food that is grown or raised according to these principles.”
What impact does eating local have on the community and what does it have to do with sustainability?
- By eating and purchasing local goods, you are contributing to your surrounding community by supporting local farmers and businesses. This is considered to be more sustainable because you have the ability to ask the farmer/producer how the item was made/grown. Buying local also makes a huge difference in the local economy.
So…What do the all of the different “labels” on items mean and why should you care?!
- Products at the grocery store are covered in labels. They catch your eye and sure you may have heard of them, but what do they really stand for?
- This is definitely the label I strive to find at the grocery store. To me, when I think of the word organic, I think of something that is healthy and at the same time safe for body to consume.
- Stated by USDA organic products must meet the following requirements
- Produced without excluded methods (e.g., genetic engineering), ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge.
- Produced per the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).
- Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations
- Click here (PDF) to view the USDA Organic Practice Fact Sheet!
- Hmm natural huh? It must be healthy and made without any artificial preservatives right? Well at least that is what I used to think when I saw it written on a product in the grocery store. After doing some research I have found that there are no actual restrictions on products bearing the word “natural.” Here is what the FDA has to say about it.
- Here is what the FDA has to say about it. “From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances”.
- I have recently learned about this great certifying agency. This label guarantees that the employees and staff on the farm where these products come from and being taken care and paid justly.
- So what is Fair Trade? “Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities. We’re a nonprofit, but we don’t do charity. Instead, we teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage. With Fair Trade USA, the money you spend on day-to-day goods can improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.”
- “To earn a license from Fair Trade USA to use the Fair Trade Certified™ label on their products, companies must buy from certified farms and organizations, pay Fair Trade prices and premiums and submit to a rigorous supply chain audits. This process entails a high level of transparency and traceability in their global supply chains.”
- Click here to find a list of products that are guaranteed Fair Trade
Certified Naturally Grown
- Although these products are not inspected by the USDA or FDA, they are however, inspected by local farmers and peers.
- According to them, “Certified Naturally Grown is a “Participatory Guarantee System”. PGS have existed for decades, but in recent years they have gained recognition for their valuable role in the organic movement by including small-scale farmers in organic guarantee systems”.
- Their certification types include: produce, apiary, livestock, aquaponics, and mushrooms
- Click here to see an interactive map that shows the locations of Certified Naturally Grown farms in each state!
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
- Lately there has been a lot of talk about GMOs. Its typically just opinions. We need the facts! A large number of countries around the world have passed a vote that allows citizens to be informed if the food they are consuming, purchasing, or cooking contain GMOs. However, in the U.S. we do not have the right to know.
- Here is the strict definition “Genetically Modified Organisms are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.”
- We all want to know if there are safe to consume. Below is an answer from the NON GMO Project website
- “Are they safe? Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.”
- Click here to learn more about GMOs and the studies that are being performed
- Although there has been quite a bit of negative talk concerning GMOs, there is another side of the story.
- Here is a response from a company called Monsanto that incorporates GMOs into their crops.
- When asked, “Are foods containing GMOs safe to eat?”- The reply from Monsanto was,” Yes. Plants and crops with GM traits have been tested more than any other crops—with no credible evidence of harm to humans or animals.”
- Click here to read more about GMOs from Monsanto perspective
Food Alliance Certified
- This label is very new to me. So I’m excited to learn about it with you!
- “Certifying Sustainable Agriculture Since 1998”
- Here is their statement :”Food Alliance is the most experienced sustainable agriculture certifier in the United States. We have over a decade of experience developing and maintaining comprehensive sustainability standards and criteria for a wide range of agricultural products, including fruits, vegetables, grains, livestock, eggs, dairy, shellfish, mushrooms, grains, legumes, horticultural products, and prepared food products made with Food Alliance Certified ingredients.”
- Click here to view a list of certified products, producers, and handlers
- Click here to see the process of certification and standards
- Rain forest Deforestation! Ever heard of it? Well, if you have then you know that it is a huge problem. This organization is all about preserving our natural forests and protecting biodiversity.
- Here is a statement from the Rainforest Alliance: “The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and improve livelihoods by promoting and evaluating the implementation of the most globally respected sustainability standards in a variety of fields. Through RA-Cert, the Rainforest Alliance’s auditing division, we provide our forestry, agriculture and carbon/climate clients with independent and transparent verification, validation and certification services based on these standards, which are designed to generate ecological, social and economic benefits.”
- Feel free to visit their website to find a list of products that are certified or even get involved with what they are doing!
- So this label is specific to coffee,cocoa, and tea. These are great commodities and are used on a daily bases.
- Their Statement: “UTZ Certified stands for sustainable farming and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet. The UTZ program enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of their children and the environment.”
- The following factors are the main goals the UTZ strives for straight from the source. Each topic has a video that caters to that specific subject.
- UTZ Requires:
- Better farming methods
- Better working conditions
- Better care for nature
- Better care for next generations
- UTZ Contributes to:
- Better life
- Better environment
- Better income
- Better crop
- Click here to learn more about the certification process
Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)
- Where does our food come from? This label is here to help! The USDA created Country of Origin Labeling label to guarantee that consumers know the origin of certain foods.
- Although there is not always a label on these certain foods, just look for the COOL or USDA logo.
- Their statement: “Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a labeling law that requires retailers, such as full-line grocery stores, supermarkets and club warehouse stores, to notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain foods. Food products covered by the law include muscle cut and ground meats: beef, veal, pork, lamb, goat, and chicken; wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts; and ginseng.”
- Click here to learn more!
- Certified Humane — that’s exactly what it means— HUMANE. To me, treating animals in a humane way is a BIG deal! This label guarantees that the livestock were raised in harmless environment and are… well.. basically loved! Isn’t that what we all want! This label is not one to take lightly. I would highly suggest keeping an eye out for this one while grocery shopping.
- Nonprofit organization
- Their Statement: “The goal of the program is to improve the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for kinder and more responsible farm animal practices.”
- “When you see the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label on a product you can be assured that the food products have come from facilities that meet precise, objective standards for farm animal treatment”
American Grassfed Association
- This association also strives to take care of the animals.
- So what is the big deal about being being grassfed? Well as humans we cannot break down grasses due to physical constraints on our stomach. Cows on the other hand have 4 stomachs that can break down grass. Research shows that it would be a better option for the cows and humans if the cows were fed grass like they used to naturally eat rather than corn or grains which are harder for them to break down. Typically, cows that are grassed are able roam the farm for grass. This is better than being fed in warehouse under poor conditions.
- ” AGA defines grassfed animals as those that have eaten nothing but grass and forage from weaning to harvest, have not been raised in confinement, and have never been fed antibiotics or growth hormones. In addition, all AGA-Certified Producers are American family farms and their livestock is born and raised in the U.S.”
- Healthy for people
- Healthy for animals
- Healthy for the planet
- Healthy for communities
- Click here to learn even more!
- Click here to read even more about why grassfed matters!
Animal Welfare Approved
- This is another big one that supports the well being of animals. Many livestock are often mistreated, live in warehouse or factory, are not raised outside in their natural habitat, and are fed the right types of food. This label assures you that the animals were raised in a clean and healthy environment!
- Their statement: “Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) is a food label for meat and dairy products that come from farm animals raised to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards.”
- “The AWA program operates on the simple understanding that the way we raise our animals, the nutritional quality of the meat, milk and eggs they produce, and the impact of farming systems on the environment, are all intrinsically linked. We know that if we manage our animals properly and according to their needs, we don’t have to rely on things like routine antibiotics and other chemical inputs to farm. We know that healthy, content animals produce better tasting, healthier meat, milk and eggs. And we know that pasture-based farming livestock systems can actually have a positive impact on the environment, too.”
Last updated: 9/22/2021