Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

As New Year’s Eve descends upon us, and we give serious thought to resolutions, we should try hard to commit to live green.  The best reason to resolve to live green is that by doing this, so many of the other items on our “usual” lists will happen as an offshoot.  Considering that most people’s list of resolutions include exercising, losing weight, eating healthy, reducing clutter, reducing stress, being more spiritual, and spending wisely, you will find that with the adoption of green initiatives, all or most of these goals will be accomplished in the process without the anxiety and trepidation often felt when focusing on these goals directly.

To get you started, we here at LGBG would like to offer some tips on green living.

Buy local to eat greener.

Buying local is important because it gives consumers more immediate access to fresher food, particularly fruits and vegetables.  Additionally, local farms often are governed by very restrictive ordinances in terms of fertilization to prevent runoff of chemicals into rivers and streams.  These farmers are members of the communities that they serve and are expected to endorse sustainable practices.  On the other hand, large corporate factory farms are invisible to communities and often can obtain favorable legislation for their practices through lobbying efforts.

It also is important to note that locally grown food reduces the need for extended transportation to markets, thereby reducing the carbon footprint.  You also will find fewer additives to maintain color or prolong freshness of the food products.  Finally, buying from local businesses promotes reinvestment in the community.  The big payoff here is that the consumer gets healthier, less expensive food and his/her purchases benefit the community.  So for the New Year, make sure your green resolution starts with your diet.

English: Healthy Food For Life logo

English: Healthy Food For Life logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Resolve to clean green in 2014.

Now is a great time to switch from toxic cleaning chemicals to eco-friendly products.  There are so many green cleaning products on the market that will help you make your house spotless without contaminating the air in your house.  Also, try stocking up on baking soda, vinegar and even castile soap for daily cleaning, along with reusable cleaning cloths.  You can breathe easier and reduce spending on cleaning products.  Simultaneously, you can apply some elbow grease and burn extra calories.

English: The carbon footprint as it is underst...

English: The carbon footprint as it is understood by people. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walk, run, bike, play– Resolve to get moving.

Make this the year that you get off the couch and get moving to burn calories.  Exercise, along with a healthy diet, will aid in weight reduction, healthier joints, lower blood pressure, improved heart rate, improved food digestion and improved sleep.  This is a great chance to use the features of a smartphone.  Download your favorite songs and create a playlist for exercise routines, reduce stress with motivational music and audiobooks or engage exercise apps to track your dietary record or exercise progress.  Join a bowling league, softball team, tennis club, etc.  Physical exercise is great for family time or to engage socially and make new friends.  Make 2014 the year that you get moving.

English: Exercising outdoors is healthier than...

English: Exercising outdoors is healthier than working out indoors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make green living a habit.

Unlike past years, this time around plan to make healthy green living a habit.  Do not overload yourself or set a specific date to achieve a goal.  Plan a lifestyle change.  Be creative and involve the entire or family in green initiatives.  Have fun, save money, and enjoy the health benefits that follow.

From all of us here at LGBG, we wish all of our readers a healthy, happy and green New Year!




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Cranberry Apple Stuffed Pork Chops

In the northeast we have had some spectacular weather over the past few weeks. I decided to take the opportunity and barbeque pork chops on the grill, with a slight twist using fresh locally sourced, and seasonal ingredients such as apples and cranberries.

Pork chops and applesauce are a well documented partnership like Bonnie and Clyde, Sonnie and Cher, and more recently the New York football Giants and losing. Yet by adding tangy cranberries and crunchy almonds to the already great flavor profiles of pork with apples, my interpretation of the dish adds some complexity but maintains the overall idea of the partnership. The dish’s reduced carbon footprint is not only good for the environment, but will also be a sure hit  as a main dish at your next dinner party.

If you enjoy this recipe or have any ideas for any future recipes, please email me at


4 bone-out pork chops

1 organic apple

1/4 cup fresh cranberries

Handful of unsalted almonds

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/16 cup flour

1/4 cup cognac

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

A dash of nutmeg

Salt and Pepper

Makes 4 servings


Step 1:

Slice, peel, and cut apple into small pieces.

Step 2:

Add cranberries and apples to a saute pan and cook on high heat. Juice will begin to come out of the fruit as you cook them. Once this happens, add the remaining ingredients and continue to cook on high heat for three to five minutes or until the apple gain a slightly brown coating.

Step 3:

Turn off heat, add unsalted almonds to cooked stuffing mixture, and let cool.

Step 4:

Create pocket for stuffing in pork chop by taking a butterfly approach, with the only difference being not cutting into the meat as deep, and leave about half an inch thickness of connective tissue to ensure the pocket does not collapse and maintains rigid enough to enclose the stuffing in the rear.

Step 5:

Season pork chop with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders on both sides.

Step 6:

Add stuffing to to pork chops, and close with toothpicks towards the edge of the chop where the stuffing is inserted. Grill on barbeque by setting grill to high heat and grill on each side for a minute or until a nice char is achieved. Then reduce heat to medium and cook for about ten minutes on each side. *(The added thickness of the chop as a result of the stuffing will dictate a longer cooking time).*

Step 7:

Let cool, serve, and enjoy!

The return of football season is, as President Calvin Coolidge put it, a return to normalcy for many of us: the fantasy football leagues, the trash-talking amongst friends, the stats, and of course, what football discussion would be complete without discussing a factor that on occasion eclipses the importance of the game (especially if you are a Jets fan like myself), the tailgate. Even if you are not at the game, though, Sunday football is always an occasion to treat yourself and continue in many ways that great summer barbecue-potluck tradition.   We here at LGBG feel exactly the same way. However, despite popular belief, just because we are going big, we do not have to go against the environment. It is actually incredibly easy to make great food for Sunday football and still be eco-friendly. The eco-friendliness of one’s food depends merely on how it is prepared and how it is served. Today I am going to help walk you through making a great recipe, while still doing our duty as citizens committed to a greener world. With that said, let us get down to business so we may move  on to the more important part, eating.

Some may call me a heretic, but a great place to start to ensure an eco-friendly recipe is not to bring the grill with you to the parking lot or to turn it on at home. Simply put, burning charcoal is terrible for the environment and for those around you. A natural gas grill would be a better option for those who are environmentally conscious, but the best option is to skip it altogether. This, however, as my recipe will show, does not mean we will not have a mouth-watering dish that will be the talk of the crew (also a great release for your passive-aggressiveness against your neighbor, Steve). Everyone loves his potato salad with bacon in it; however, you know he buys it from that gourmet deli two towns over, but you are too much the man to be petty about these things. You have to beat him with your own two hands. Maybe that way your wife will stop talking about how many more vacations Steve and his family get to take. I don’t know, this is how the suburbs work right: mellow drama, hidden rivalries, and “friendships” based on convenience).

Now that we’ve eliminated the grill, we still need to figure out the specifics of serving our mouth-watering dish. The simple and common answer is to go out and buy a large number of plastic utensils and paper plates.  It may be the easy option but the momentary convenience of this option results in both wasted money, as well as a contribution to waste in our landfills (if they even reach them). The eco-friendlier, as well as cheaper option, is to merely bring your own plates and utensils. While it may mean more cleanup at the end of the day, you are doing yourself and the environment a favor.

Now we are getting to the recipe itself, but before we start cooking, we need our ingredients and if we want to eco-friendly we want them local.

In the process of buying local for Sunday football, you can benefit yourself, your community, and the environment: locally grown food tastes better, has a greater and more beneficial impact on your local economy, and reduces your carbon footprint. The longer it takes for food to reach your plate, the less nutritional value it holds for you. Food purchased at big box stores, unless noted as being locally grown, has usually been in cold storage for days.  The food you purchase at a local farmers market has typically been picked in the last twenty-four hours, and as such, has a greater nutritional value than food that has been in cold storage. This ties in with the taste factor; locally grown food tastes better. It is picked at the peak of ripeness, and you have it on your plate within a day of that. With regards to produce that has been put in cold-storage, it has most likely been picked while still green and gassed in order to make it ripe. Simply put, fresher is always better.  Another great benefit of buying local is the benefit to your local community. By buying local, you are pumping more money into your local economy which will have a greater multiplier effect than if you were to buy from a big chain store. You are supporting a local business whose entire infrastructure is based in your area, and as such, all of their expenditures take place in your local economy; this is as opposed to a big chain store whose produce comes from all over the country and through overhead sends a great deal of the money spent in these stores to areas other than the local economy.

It is also important to recognize the beneficial environmental impact that buying local provides. The ingredients of the average American meal travel 1,500 miles to reach your plate.  By switching to one locally grown meal a week, Americans could save 1.1 million barrels of oil. Overall organic local systems leave a carbon footprint equivalent to 40% of that of non-locally grown food through cutting out long transportation, as well as utilizing organic methods.  Furthermore, when you buy local, you are promoting more open space in your area. You are giving a viable economic reason to have more space, which is carbon absorbing as opposed to carbon producing high rises or commercial/industrial districts. If you don’t know where to start when looking for locally grown food or farmers markets, is here to help you.

Lastly, we come to the recipe, which I freely admit is not my own. You can ask the editor (my former roommate), I am the farthest thing on the spectrum from a Chef so I have turned to more capable hands.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Nachos


  • 2 chicken breasts, about 3/4 lbs.
  • 2-3 tbs chipotle sauce (found in the Hispanic food aisle near the adobo pepper in chipotle sauce – otherwise, just pulse some of those with the sauce and use as a substitute)
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed (I store my extra in the fridge in an airtight container to throw onto salads and in other things throughout the week)
  • Tortilla chips
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheese of choice (just discovered a chipotle Cheddar that I’m kind of obsessed with)
  • 4 scallions, chopped, green part only
  • 1 jalapeno
  • Sour cream, guacamole, salsa


Place the chicken in a slow cooker with chipotle sauce and barbecue sauce. Cover and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours, or until easily shred with a fork. Reduce heat to warm setting, shred chicken, add additional barbecue sauce if desired. Stir in the black beans.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In an oven proof skillet, or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange a single layer of chips. Top with 1/2 of the pulled chicken, peppers, onions and cheese making sure to go from edge to edge. Cover with another layer of chips and repeat with the top layer. Cover everything with cheese.

Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with scallions and jalapenos. If using a skillet, place a hot mat on the table and serve right from the skillet and serve with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa for dipping.

Enjoy, and remember it is you who makes this eco-friendly and you who empowers the sustainability movement through your wallet! Also, I hope the Jets beat the Bills in Week 3, and I hope the editor allows this through.


Percentage of national population suffering fr...

Percentage of national population suffering from malnutrition, according to United Nations statistics. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new book by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Edible Insects, proposes the consideration of insects, particularly beetles, wasps and caterpillars as a source of nutrition to address problems of food insecurity.  The FAO notes that many insects, including worms, grasshoppers and cicadas are high in “protein, fat and mineral content” and can be eaten whole or ground into a powder or paste, and incorporated into other foods. [1]  In many countries, insects are considered delicacies, principally because of their nutritious value.

It seems reasonable that insect farming could become a very relevant industry for human and animal feeding in this time in which we are confronted with  overwhelming problems of global population explosions and urbanization.  We struggle to find adequate solutions to an ever-increasing demand for food and the persistent  negative environmental impact created by its production and delivery.  The challenges arising from livestock production in terms of land and water pollution and over-grazing, along with its adverse effect on climate change due to increased carbon footprint, is well documented, as is the adverse impact of crop production, including, but not limited to, the introduction of harmful pesticides into the air, soil and water and industrial agricultural, which leads to loss of genetic diversity and extinction of some plant species.  The opportunity to explore insect farming as a possible solution to food insecurity is exciting and should not be ignored.

A key factor to successfully introduce edible insects as an integral component of the food supply would involve addressing the perception of insects in western cultures.  To date, insects are considered “disgusting” despite the acknowledgement that as environmentalists, we should feel a kinship to all creatures.  We find that there are so many insects that we would rather do without.  Also, although it is generally known that in the process of industrial food production, it is impossible to totally alleviate bug parts from the food that we eat, citizens in western cultures have not accepted the idea of eating whole insects. [2]

Interestingly, the subject of edible insects is being raised at the same time as the 17-year cicada is making its clamorous ascent to the east coast.  As these insects bore their way to the earth’s surface, excitement and curiosity about them abound.  Discussions include their nutritional value.  Local newspapers carry articles about them,including recipes.  They have been dubbed “the shrimp of the land“.

It is inevitable that we find long-term and ethical solutions to food insecurity, and the consideration of edible insects definitely deserves our attention.  With the concomitant ascent of the 17-year cicada, we have a unique opportunity to try entomophagy (name given to insect eating) and to test the possibility of utilizing insects as a dietary staple.  As a plus, cicadas are natural, unlike GMOs, and they are in abundance. [3]

We here at LGBG invite you, our readers, to send us feedback about your experiences with cicadas, including comments, pictures and even recipes.  We will post as many as we can.  As always, live green, be green!


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Seed-of-Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each year the arrival of spring brings with it an increased interest in gardening and “growing things”– whether it is flowers, vegetables or fruits,  and this presents a great opportunity to discuss seed conservation and its role in sustaining life.  A seed is defined in several ways, including (1)  the grains or ripened ovules of plants used for sowing; (2)a propagative animal structure (milt, semen), and (3) a source of development or growth. [1]  Any discussion of a seed generally acknowledges its connection to a germ, origin, root or creation.  The conclusion here is that life as we know it is not sustainable without seeds.

Despite the reality that seeds are the root of life, statistics by the USDA indicate that over the past 30 years, industrial agriculture practices have resulted in a huge loss of biodiversity and the extinction of over 80,000 plant varieties.[2]  The reason for this is that industrial agriculture relies on large homogenous crop production, with the primary crops being corn, soy, wheat or potatoes.  Under this scenario, mass production of single crops affords farmers easier cultivation and harvest, and is deemed to culminate in a guaranteed food source for a greater percentage of the world population.

The truth is that industrial agriculture takes a heavy toll on the world’s plant supply.  First of all, the industrial agriculture movement has resulted in the creation of seed monopolies, with a few companies owning patents to the majority of seeds available to farmers, including GMOs and hybrids.  The farmers are prohibited from reusing new seeds from the previous year’s crop production because of patent violations.  Secondly, from a botanical standpoint, crop homogenization strips the ability of plants to adapt to climate change, pests and diseases.  Thirdly, the presumption that large homogenous crops will provide an adequate food supply for the world is erroneous because food availability does not necessarily translate to access to food.  Finally, we must not ignore the potential danger of the reliance on a single or a few large crops to feed a population.  We only need to look to the well documented devastating famine to the Irish population during the potato blight in the mid-1800s to observe the results of such misconceptions.[3]

The good news on seed conservation is that many individuals and businesses globally are dedicated to the protection of the world’s seed supply from extinction and from the control of corporate monopolies.  Many of these efforts stem from smallholder farms and peasant bred food growers.  Interestingly, the majority of these farmers are women, who understand that the story of seeds is “the story of  us”.[2]  Their work involves not only the cataloguing and use of a variety of seeds, but also records of recipes for delicious meals from their bounty.

It is important that proponents of the green movement recognize the urgent need to support seed conservation and biodiversity.  To that end, we urge you to support independent seed companies when you make your seed purchases.  Also, consider donating to programs that support smallholder farms.  Educate yourself on the large corporate monopolies, who are buying up many of the seed companies and inhibiting biodiversity.  The fact is that “farmers will stop growing food that we refuse to eat”. [4]

In conclusion, seeds are the major thread in the fabric of our lives.  They are a food source, as well as key players in the manufacturing industry and environmental protection.  To fight for seeds is to fight for sustainability.  To do this is to live green, be green.


Sources for this Article:



Hollywood, FL, March 26, 2011, Rally for the R...

Hollywood, FL, March 26, 2011, Rally for the Right to Know (Photo credit: MillionsAgainstMonsanto)

In reviewing the many battles raging on the food we eat and products we use, it appears that the right to know laws [1] are the sticking points in these controversies.  The current right to know laws are weak and effective in terms of addressing food and product ingredients. [2]   While the majority of consumers presume that consumer protection laws are designed to guard individual rights, the reality is that the purpose of most consumer protection laws is to promote the well-being of the population.  This renders their focus to social concerns, as opposed to legal protection.  This often is in direct conflict with the green movement, which acknowledges the damages to the environment by human action and proposes changes in past behaviors to alter the course of destruction.  The green movement seeks to adopt long-term effective solutions to problems of global warming and climate change and their impact on people and specifically on the food supply, while many other concerns seek immediate and often questionable solutions to problems such as world hunger.

This issue clearly can be seen in the debate over genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  In an effort to ensure an adequate food supply, large companies, such as Monsanto and DuPont, design seeds that are resistant to drought, disease and other adverse weather conditions that lead to soil erosion and depletion of nutrients.  The general perception is that research on these projects is undertaken with such a sense of urgency that caution generally is  thrown to the wind, and the quality of food and potentially harmful effects of GMOs have been considered less important than the quantity of food produced.  The consumers’ right to know the hazards of GMOs has been ignored largely through the refusal to even note on packaging that products contain genetically modified ingredients.  The outcry of environmentalists and supporters of the green movement is often criticized, based on the notion that GMOs represent the quickest solution to address the issue of crop failures and the resulting threat to the food supply.  The alternative of organic farming is considered  too costly, unpredictable and incapable of producing enough food to feed large populations.

A second area of concern over the ingredients in food can be found in numerous articles on the Internet denoting the “horrible” ingredients contained in food products.  The bad contents in food run the gamut from insect parts to carcinogens and unlisted animal byproducts.  Many of these ingredients are harmful to the body while others simply represent a violation of choices we are free to make, i.e., vegans and vegetarians have the right to not eat animal byproducts.  Refusal to label the contents of food ingredients violates the public’s right to know the contents of these foods.

The course of action needed to address the issue of labeling is twofold–legal and economic.  The legal solution is to revise the consumers’ right to know the contents contained in food.  Currently, food labeling laws address nutritional content, particularly in terms of calories, fat, cholesterol and other substances, such as sodium and percent of daily requirement of certain predetermined nutrients and vitamins.  The law in this regard desperately needs to be expanded to include other ingredients, which are unproven as to their safety, such as GMOs, or those that may be distasteful to certain people or deemed not in accordance with certain lifestyles.  This really is no different from stating that products contain ingredients that are known allergens, such as milk or peanuts.  The second course of action involves consumers using their buying power to speak for them.  This process starts with each of us educating ourselves on the reputable businesses that insist on selling products that label ingredients.  While these products may be more expensive now, that will change when they become the norm, rather than the exception.

Browsing the Web is a good place to start to learn about unacceptable ingredients in food.   Whole Foods has a great site with a list of unacceptable foods. [3]  Also, contact your legislators and voice your concern over the issue of food labeling and its importance to your family’s health.  We have to fight for our right to know the ingredients in our food and other products of daily living.  To do so is to live green, be green.



Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whole Foods has stepped into the ring in the fight between consumers and the government over food labeling of GMOs.  The company recently announced that by 2018, “all products in U.S. and Canada stores must be labeled if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)”.

This announcement to require labeling of GMOs speaks loudly to the food industry and the government on industry practices.  A clear message is being sent that people have the right to know the contents of their food they purchase and that a company which markets food as being certified organic has a duty to assure the truth of any such statements to that extent.  Without mandatory labeling, it is impossible for stores such as Whole Foods to guarantee non-GMO products to their customers; however, forging business relationships with companies who are willing to truthfully disclose the contents of food products will go a long way to identify and support worthy businesses.  This is not to say that a product cannot contain GMOs.  Rather, they will not be sold at Whole Foods.  There are some people who do not even read food labels or show concern for such issues, and there still will be places for them to shop.

Recent efforts to require GMO labeling in California was defeated, largely as a result of millions of dollars in advertising against the ballot measure by corporate proponents of GMOs, namely Monsanto and PepsiCo.  It is difficult to understand the controversy over food labeling and the government’s failure to require labeling on foods containing GMOs.  Additionally, it is puzzling that the government opts to block the consumers’ right to know what is contained in the food they purchase.  To this end, Gary Hirshberg, the CEO of Stonyfield Yogurt and chairman of the Just Label It campaign noted that “there are . . . lots of reasons to label these foods:  health and environmental concerns, ethical/religious views or just people want to know”.  Statistics on the need to know whether or not foods contain GMOs indicate that an overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) want food labeling.

The decision by Whole Foods to require labeling foods if they contain GMOs is a major step forward for the green movement and for people who insist on making informed choices on food purchases.    This decision also reinforces the commitment of stores such as Whole Foods to sell food that is organically grown.  This plan offers much-needed support to the suppliers of certified organic products.  It is a clear indication that the proponents of healthy living will not be dominated or defeated by big corporations on the issue of right to know and to choose the food they want to eat.  Hopefully, many more companies will join Whole Foods and manufacturers, such as Stonyfield, in supporting consumers’ right to know whether or not their food contains GMOs.  To do so is to live green, be green.


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For all of our readers out there who are serious fans of granola, like I am, here’s a LiveGreen article for you! This week’s spotlight comes on the heels of a trip to my local grocery store, Wegmans. While there, shopping like I would on any other Saturday morning, I came across something that was not the norm for me and my Wegmans — there was a promotional stand set up in near the grains section. Immediately sparking my interest, I rode my curiosity on over to the stand to see what was up.  I met a great guy who offered me samples of and explained the mission of Michele’s Granola, a small Maryland company who is vegan, organic, and most inspiringly, GREEN. Needless to say, between the small talk and the tastings, I fell in love and walked away with two bags myself. But now, I’d like to delve a bit deeper into who Michele’s is…

Michele's Granola

Photo Credit:

Born from the experimentation sessions of a granola-crazed, self-taught baker, Michele’s Granola has grown from a one-woman stand at local farmer’s markets, to an operation which now produces about 5,000 pounds of product to serve its nearly 200 community retail outlets (markets, grocers, & other food service facilities).  Michele’s is dedicated to using 100% organic whole grains in its homemade style processes of production, guaranteeing the best tasting and most healthy granola possible.  But the brand’s mission does not end there.

Its baking facility currently runs 100% on wind power!  Amazing right? Yes. But what is even more amazing is that Michele’s also uses delivery vehicles that run on re-used vegetable oil from the deep fryers of local eateries.  Outstanding!  And as if this all weren’t enough already, Michele’s estimates that not only does 40% of its waste get recycled by traditional methods, but another 40% is sent to a local composting center to be used in the production of fertile soils (that are then used in Baltimore’s urban farming projects).

It is amazing that a young company like Michele’s Granola can be so committed to making a difference in the ways of green, especially within their local ecological and business environments.  They are a testament to the notion that the triple bottom line business methodology — Profit, People, and Planet — can prove successful beyond measure.  Here at LiveGreenBeGreen, we would like to firstly acknowledge the company’s great work and great product, and secondly, we want to extend the utmost respect and gratitude to Michele’s Granola for its initiatives and actions to do greener business.  Good luck, and God speed!

To read more about Michele’s Granola, or to enquire about how to get your hands on this scrumptious and socially-evolved health snack, visit the company’s official site at:

Food and Drug Administration logo

Food and Drug Administration logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As evidenced by the frequent news reports on outbreaks of food-borne illnesses and now hospitalizations and deaths from contaminated medical products, it is apparent that there are major problems within the ranks of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Some policy analysts attribute the FDA’s deficiencies to “the haphazard manner in which it has grown”.  The agency began operations in 1852 with a single chemist working within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and operated without regulatory duties until 1906 when news stories about horrible conditions at food-processing plants became the rage.  The public uproar from these graphic stories culminated in the passage of the Federal Food and Drug Act.  Future instances of health disasters in 1937 and again in the 1950s and 1960s heightened awareness of the need for the FDA to have greater oversight of the food supply and led to the passage of laws regarding pesticides and food and color additives.  It is important to note that the FDA still shares the responsibility for the nation’s food supply with the USDA, with the latter agency overseeing the safety of meat and poultry, and the former assuming control of the rest of the food supply.

Repeatedly in reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the FDA has been noted to have “systemic problems . . . that threaten the health of anyone who consumes food in the U.S.”  These problems include, but are not limited to:

  • An ineffective and confusing inspection process.
  • Poor performance in addressing overuse of antibiotics in livestock feed.
  • Lack of scientific capacity for the agency to do its job.
  • Failure to take enforcement action in more than half of its uncovered violations.

A review of articles and news stories regarding the activities of the FDA reveals that the agency’s inspection and investigation work is severely flawed.  Routine inspections are limited and audits sometimes are performed by third-party auditors who advertise work at an”unbelievable price” and give out “superior ratings”.

One major area of concern with the FDA is oversight of seafood sold in the United States.  More than 84% of our seafood is imported, with 50% of it coming from Asia.  These fish farmers produce large volumes of seafood, including shrimp, catfish and tilapia in polluted and overcrowded ponds and then use antibiotics and fungicides to sterilize the seafood to pass inspection in this country.  Amazingly, the FDA is charged with keeping these very same ‘drug-tainted fish” out of the food supply, but as the GAO reports, the agency is failing to do this and really is not even trying.   In 2009, the FDA tested only one out of every 1000 imported seafood products for 16 different chemicals.  Reports indicate that Canada tested 50 of every 1000 products for more than 40 different chemicals, and Japan tested 110 of every 1000 products for more than 57 chemicals.  In addition to posing a health threat to people who eat seafood, the actions of the FDA threaten the very existence of domestic seafood farmers, who must compete with foreign counterparts, who employ cheap labor and who get away with using chemicals that are banned for use by seafood farmers here.

The failure of the FDA to do its job puts the life of every American at stake.  For those of us trying to live a green life and eat healthy, this news is particularly unsettling.  Every citizen has the right to a safe and healthy food supply.  The federal government is obligated to perform dutifully regarding this.  We must stand together and demand effective oversight of the nation’s food supply so that we can live green, be green.

Hurricane Sandy successfully blew away large remnants of fall and has ushered in cooler temperature, which ultimately will signal the season’s end for local farm stands, especially in the mid-Atlantic region.  Although we welcome the change of seasons, we will miss the local fresh vegetables and fruits  supplied by local farmers.  I would like to say a special thank you to Patrick Padilla of Home Grown Produce on Patuxent Road in Odenton, Maryland. for making this summer and fall special with such a bounty of produce.

This farm stand just opened this summer, and owner, Patrick Padilla, has done a wonderful job of stocking the best corn, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, etc., that can be found in the area.  With the support of the local community and the press (, Padilla has maintained a steady business throughout the summer and fall.  In addition to receiving excellent service, it was great to be able to get produce that was literally “just picked,” with freshness and taste that cannot be found in any grocery store.  Also, this farm stand served as a place to meet people interested in fresh vegetable and fruit products, who often were eager and willing to share recipes and stories about cooking.  Patrick even posted recipes on a dry erase board at the stand.

Home Grown Produce will be closing for the season on November 4th, and you can bet there will be a lot of people counting the days until it reopens next year.  After researching and learning so much about the benefits of purchasing local produce, Homegrown Produce has provided me with the perfect “laboratory” to test my research findings and to experience these benefits firsthand.  This indeed is a great way to live green, be green.

Home Grown Produce’s fall bounty.