Industrial agriculture has made it possible to produce large amounts of food efficiently, but comes with problems, including pollution, reduced biodiversity, pesticide resistance and consequent increased chemical use, destruction of forests and wetlands, and human health issues such as antibiotic resistance.
Over the past few years, the terms 'organic' and 'sustainable' have become buzzwords for health. But these words go beyond a person's health. Supporting local organic food and farming can help revitalize the economy. Community-based agriculture has the potential to create jobs and develop small businesses. Encouraging locals to stay healthy is the side job.
If you've purchased any local Ontario food before, it probably came from this region you've likely never heard of. In fact, it is the number one producer of tomatoes, carrots, seed corn, cucumbers, pumpkins, sugar beets and brussels sprouts in all of Canada. However, none of it is being consumed by its community members.
Attend an all candidate's meeting in your area, and ask what his or her stance is on GMOs. If enough people ask, they'll know that this is important to Canadians, and that their chances of getting elected will depend on where they stand on this issue! Together, we can make GMO labelling an election issue.
We Canadians are writing to you, the Socialists, New European Left, and Greens, because you have the power to stop these dangerous trade deals. With this type of trade agreement, we have a choice: Do we accept rising inequality, unchecked corporate power, and lowered social and environmental standards, allowing the one per cent to become richer at our expense, or do we draw a line in the sand?
Candy can also have a darker side for parents who are trying to keep their kids as healthy as possible, or protect them from allergic reactions by restricting what candy their kids can have. Imagine how the kid feels when they have a food allergy and can't have candy -- seeing other kids reaping the benefits of their trick-or-treating, dumping out their huge bags of candy and sorting through what they got -- it's both sad and frustrating.
In reality, Halloween produces more boos, eeks, screeches and ding dongs than we should tolerate. From the toxic candy, to the phthalate-laced costumes and the insane amount of waste generated, it's challenging to consider it good, clean fun. Thankfully there are a few things we can do to make sure our kids don't hate us, and our neighbours, family and friends don't ridicule us.
It is not too late to exercise your democratic rights and voice your opinions. I may not be old enough to vote in the polls yet, but I am definitely old enough to vote at the cash register. I have also had the honour and privilege to speak with thousands and thousands of people across Canada about GMOs, and it's pretty clear.
The value of good germs has been known for decades. This was epitomized last month when an international group of researchers illustrated how the use of genetically modified probiotics could prevent chronic disease. Using only a specifically designed bacterium, they could prevent obesity in mice giving them a healthier life.
There's nothing better than shopping at a farmers' market. The benefits are endless. But, as anywhere, buyers beware! Take the opportunity to buy the freshest, most local organic goods, and make sure you know what you are buying, who your money is going to, and what you are supporting. Just a few questions we all need to be asking our farmers (before we say "thank you").
Of course, the reasonable side of me remains a bit conflicted, because the price of buying organic food for 5 people is extraordinary (organic foods cost around 20 per cent more than conventional). So I buy organic when I can, and when I think it's worthwhile. Organic grain products, and most fruits and vegetables: good. Organic milk? Not necessary, because in Canada, there are no hormones or antibiotics in the milk.
I avoid GMOs and those who promote and serve GMOs. There is no way that I knowingly want to put those ingredients into my body, my friends or family's bodies, and I certainly do not want to support Monsanto. I trace my food back to where it came from. This makes me feel good, and also makes me feel confident in all other principles I have listed as above.
Ah, organic foods. Mysterious and pretentious. Some people swear by organic foods to avoid the "hidden dangers" of conventional products, whereas others completely ignore anything organic, equating the term organic with expensive. But what does "organic" even mean, and is eating organic better for you?
Hi, my name is Rachel Parent. I'm 14 years old and just started high school in Toronto. People ask me all the time, "What's it like to be a child activist?" Well, it definitely keeps you busy. Insanely busy! But I love it! It's so much fun and you feel so good because you're doing good for the world.