Cricket Flour Power

By: Melissa Baird

I recently attended the Pioneers 18 conference in Vienna, Austria. This slickly produced, high tech conference won the event of the year last year and they sure put on a show. The co-host was a humanoid robot called Pepper that had the audience break out in to fits of applause and more than one smile.

On the main stage a variety of speakers posed unanswerable questions about the future of humanity since Artificial Intelligence (AI) is developing at such a rapid rate no-one can really predict the impact on our development other than to say that we are in for the ride of our lives.

But it was not just robotics and the technological revolution that was of interest. There are remarkable developments in food technology and some rather curious innovations that could positively impact how the world is fed. Cue Daniel Vach who originates from Prague and has the largest cricket farm in Thailand that is producing high protein flour made from crickets.

SENS foods had a huge PR boost in early June with the launch of their high protein SENS bars and new product, SENS bread, to the Rewe group, a retail chain in the Czech Republic. It appears the European market is on the verge of accepting cricket and other insect-based products as “completely okay”.  This is going to give impetus to the emerging insect industry and 2018 is becoming the year of the cricket all around Europe.

The protein bars are already in many shops, gyms around Europe. As Daniel explained: “By 2050, we need to double our production of food. There is a shortage of protein and farming more cattle or catching more fish is not a solution. Even now, we simply overstretch our natural resources. That cannot last long. We need to look into alternative sources of protein, or there will not be enough food to feed everyone.”

I had these thoughts in my mind when I facilitated the seminar on Food Security and Agriculture at Sustainability Week in Tshwane just two weeks after meeting Daniel and the figures on South African food ‘insecurity’ are staggering. According to Mandla Nkomo – the managing director of Solidaridad, the number of people in South Africa who are food insecure equals the entire population of Zimbabwe (13.6 million). Solidaridad is a global organisation that provides solutions for agricultural sustainability and was responsible for the development of Fairtrade and other certification labels that were created to eradicate poverty in the lives of farm workers. But as he later said, “you cannot certify workers out of poverty”. What will bring change and set to balance the lives of the hungry with what the earth can provide? It is not the lack of science or technology that is holding true change back but the fact that people are not connecting the ‘dots’ in agriculture and food supply. Could the cricket be that dot? If the United Nations is already promoting eating insects as a solution to the coming food crisis (insects are already eaten regularly by 2 billion people all over the world). The figures add up; to produce the same amount of protein, crickets require 12x less feed, 2000x less water and produce 100x less greenhouse gases than cattle. The whole cricket farming industry is at its beginning, and SENS bars taste great, are highly nutritious and an example of insect-based food products that can’t be overlooked.

Of course, I had to try one but was warned that if I had a shellfish allergy (I don’t) I would not be able to eat cricket. On my best days I am a vegan, on a few days in the year I eat wild meat prepared by friends, but on none of them have I ever (knowingly) eaten an insect.

The surprising thing about it was it tasted just like any other protein bar I have eaten, only it had less sugar. If the European market is waking up to the unique aspects of this product, could that happen in South Africa? Once upon a time the South African mass market did not eat pilchards, but clever marketing soon made canned fish a meal served up on more than three million South African plates a day.

SENS gives the figures: 11 crickets = 1 gram of flour. I protein bar uses 55 crickets and the super high protein bar uses 132 crickets.  The flour has a shelf life of two years and does not need to be refrigerated. This means it can be distributed with less impacts on GHG emissions and higher quantities can be produced for longer shelf life without the need for preservatives. Could cricket flour become the staple flour of SA?

I asked Daniel why he had become interested in this endeavour and what was his inspiration. He said he “hated wasteful consumption patterns” and wanted to come up with a solution that would change that and solve the food crises. Cricket farming is a true example of a circular approach to agriculture. The crickets are fed on organic waste streams from rice husks and the cricket’s excrement – called “frass’ – is an excellent fertiliser; one waste stream that is useless transforms in to two products that are useful, and by farming crickets the reduction in GHG emissions is measurable as is the use of water which in meat production is a serious cause for concern.

My vegan heart was confused: crickets, they sing don’t they which prompted me to ask what his cricket farm sounds like. He looked at me rather perplexed and then laughed and said, “Well actually they are quite quiet.” Ja, probably because they know they are going to be eaten I thought but who knows. Being a cold-blooded creature, the cricket is literally frozen to its end before being processed, unlike what happens to cattle, chickens etc.

I finished the cricket protein bar and enthusiastically discussed it with the head of the Bayer Foundation, Thimo Valentin Schmitt-Lord who is searching the world for mass produced solutions to end hunger. I said to him I have seen the future of food. Lab grown meat may be a part of it but to think that conventional animal production can do the job based on water usage, deforestation and GHG emissions is not it given the planet’s current environmental crises.

The Urban Hunter Gatherer

Charles Standing is a multi-faceted man, a modern day Renaissance guy if you like. He chops wood with an axe, has been mountaineering in the Andes, was a school teacher and even portrayed Father Christmas at a children’s party…….and he can cook. But this story isn’t about any of those things, it’s about Charlie, The Urban Hunter Gatherer as he is otherwise known. As an urban forager, Charlie likes to do his grocery shopping off the city, as in public parks and off pavements. He doesn’t rifle through dirt bins and such, looking for expired Woolies yoghurt and ready-made pasta, but rather, forages within the city limits and surrounding public spaces in Cape Town for items like Natal plums, mushrooms, sorrel and gooseberries. I can even testify to the fact that his neighbour’s fig trees produce fresh ingredients for his delicious Fennel & Fig Preserve ice-cream. (the Fennel also probably foraged along a highway or an empty plot somewhere in District 6). Charlie’s foraging is by no means restricted to land based ingredients either. Besides diving for

Straightmops

crayfish and picking mussels, Charlie has learned a thing or two about the magic of seaweed. On his surf menu are Straightmops – Harders pickled with foraged agave, Peruvian peppercorns, fennel florets and lemon leaves for starters. Main course is seaweed lasagne with minced limpets using kelp instead of wheat pasta, followed by pelargonium infused seaweed jelly – both of them great banting options. All ingredients are seasonal of course.

So when did the interest in foraging start? A memory that sticks out, Charlie says, was around 5 years old when he ate guinea fowl for the first time. He remembers the wild flavour distinctly because it was so unfamiliar. My mind immediately conjured up images of Charles hopping around the city hunting squawking Guinea Fowl with a bow and arrow. He has assured me he does not do this……yet.

Other memories of foraging are of collecting mussels and octopus in rock pools as a child with his dad and fishing in gullies with makeshift bamboo rods catching rockfish.

Smoked snoek with foraged Loquats

‘I used to entertain myself by experimenting on friends with all the ‘culinary inventions’ I’d created and cooked. Things really got going when I, very very briefly, got hooked up to DSTV and had access to all those cooking legends, like Jamie Oliver, Nigel Slater and Rick Stein on the Food Channel.’ That’s when I got the delusion in my head, maybe I should become a famous chef? Maybe even write a book?’ He knew he needed an original angle, what with the likes of Nigel and Nigella around and decided foraging adventures would be it.

I wanted to offer a ‘total’ food experience and started taking people on foraging tours, in and around the incredible City of Cape Town.

Our foraged bounty often reflects the history of humans on the southern tip of Africa; from the tasty

Seaweed for Lasagne

indigenous plants and coastal delights that indigenous man would have survived on, to the more recognizable edibles brought from the colonies.

Another passion of Charlie’s is sustainability, particularly in the kitchen. His aim is to cook healthy food in a way that has a low impact on our environment. From time to time, Charlie and his mates host pop-up dinners in unique locations with daring and exciting menus. Again the focus is on anything foraged and demonstrates an environmentally conscious approach to food.

Charles still salivates everytime he says one of those confused birds flapping around the streets of Cape Town and he continues to dream about writing a book and becoming famous.

For more information about The Urban Hunter Gatherer please visit: http://theurbanhuntergatherer.blogspot.co.za/

And for a delicious foraged Spanakopita (Spinach and Feta) pie recipe go to: http://lifeinbalance.co.za/the-urban-hunter-gatherer-spanakopita/

Keep an eye out for more of The Urban Hunter Gatherer’s recipes in the future.

The Urban Hunter Gatherer – Spanakopita

Charles Standing’s Dune Spinach Spanakopita puts a lovely local twist on that Greek favourite we all struggle to pronounce.  Instead of English spinach, opt for a foraged dune spinach, failing that, store bought will work just as well.

INGREDIENTS (4 servings)

2 double handfuls of spinach leaves (in this case dune spinach)

1 onion chopped

1 egg

1 grating of nutmeg

1 sprig of chopped herbs (in this case wild sage, oregano is good too)

200g of ricotta or feta (in this case ‘fake feta’)

4 sheets of phyllo pastry cut in half

50g melted butter or 50ml of olive oil

A glug of olive oil for frying

1 salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

In a large frying pan on medium heat, fry the onions until soft. Add the herbs, nutmeg and spinach. Place a lid on the mix, while turning occasionally until the spinach is wilted and dramatically reduced in size. Allow to cool.

Once cooled, squeeze out excess fluids (I do this in the pan angled over the sink by pressing the spinach with the back of a large serving spoon). Now thoroughly mix in the cheese and egg. Season with salt and pepper (if you are using feta, be careful with the salt, because dune spinach is salty too). Your filling is now done… scoop it into an appropriate sized baking dish and lightly flatten.

Cut four sheets of phyllo pastry in half and brush with melted butter/olive oil. Loosely crunch each greased pastry sheet and place on top of the spinach mix in the baking dish… repeat until the dish is covered in phyllo pastry. Pop into the oven and bake until the pastry is golden, about half an hour.

Chomp and enjoy.

SUPA Wraps – Reusable Food Wraps

A colourful and longer-lasting, zero-waste solution for covering leftovers and dishes, wrapping sandwiches in lunchboxes or covering cheese and butter – just like cling film. Except SUPA Wraps (Single Use Plastic Alternative) are vibrantly printed fabrics infused with locally harvested beeswax.

SUPA was launched after founder, Karoline Hanks, visited Maputaland at the beginning of 2017. She was horrified to find one of the more remote stretches of beach (far from any community or river) strewn with bottle tops and other plastic debris, all of it so evidently from the ocean.

She described a profound and moving close encounter with a Leatherback female turtle laying her eggs. ‘Watching her return to the ocean, I had my heart in mouth, knowing the perils she faced in what is rather quickly becoming a plastic soup – all thanks to us. So what can I do? What can we all do? I asked myself.’

Start at an individual level? Karoline started making her own fresh produce fabric bags at home. ‘I marketed them and the demand grew. I soon realised that I needed to increase production and find others to make them for me!’ Karoline explains. Masiphumelele’s “Work for Love” sewing trainees took up the challenge and have produced well over 2000 bags since they started a few months ago, taking 10% on every bag. The fresh produce bags provide an excellent alternative to the single-use plastic barrier bags provided at fresh produce counters and till points.

The SUPA range will be extending its fresh produce fabric bags and shweshwe fabric wraps, to the “forget-me-not” SUPA pouch, which clips onto a handbag. This is stuffed with three collapsible shoppers and three fresh produce bags. The pouch is permanently clipped to one’s bag, so there is no longer the risk of leaving your reusables at home and finding yourself stranded at the till and obliged to take plastic shopping bags!

SUPA Wraps can purchased at Organic Zone, Faithful to Nature and Sustainable.co.za.  Find out more about SUPA Wraps and Fresh Produce Bags at www.facebook.com/SUPAlternatives.com/

 

Addicted to Sugar

By Melissa Baird

In the last issue of Green Home magazine I ran a review on the book that offers an 8 week programme to kick the sugar and carb habit. I never believed I would write about this issue as if I was writing about the highest form of drug addiction (pun intended) however the more I research the more it points to the road that high intakes of sugar will lead to severe health impacts further down the line.

As I watch friends feed their children endless amounts of sugar and watch their children turn into little monsters as a result I predict that in less than five years time sugar will be as demonised as the tobacco industry. But like all smokers can testify – knowing the health risks does not necessarily enable giving up the habit with any form of ease because addiction is addiction and unless one has a steely resolve and is able to change one’s mind about an entrenched habit, sugar will remain on the ‘fix’ list.

Sugar is in pretty much every prepared food, certain health products, fruit juices and sauces and if you don’t read the labels you will be unaware of just how much sugar dominates the ingredient list.

The South African sugar industry is responsible for many jobs and the viewpoint held by this country’s largest sugar producer is somewhat guarded with reference to sugar use as part of a ‘balanced diet’. However due to the amounts of sugar hidden in food products that are ‘healthy’ options like snack bars, cereals and yoghurt it is certainly up to the consumer to work out just how much sugar they are consuming per day. The main ingredient in a product appears first on a food label and I have been surprised to note how often sugar leads on the label above that of what I would term ‘real food’.

According to this leading sugar producer even though there is a growing body of evidence proving the links between sugar and diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity; dementia and Alzheimer’s disease they are still saying that these reports are “unbalanced and scientifically inaccurate” and that “eminent bodies such as the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agricultural Organisation agree that sugar, like other carbohydrate-containing foods, has an indispensable role to play in balanced diets.”

There is a growing body of evidence that proves the very opposite of this claim and as in the days when doctors were paid to say smoking was good for you I would view these blanket statements with a degree of skepticism. The most sensible thing to do is educate yourself about what the sugar content is of the foods you choose.

Did you know:

Excessive sugar intake leads to type two diabetes which is linked to being obese. If you are diagnosed with type two diabetes you can look forward to a lifespan that is shorter by 6 years. And it is avoidable.

High levels of blood sugar are linked to dementia the fastest growing mental illness in the developed world.

Source: Agnes Flöel, a neurologist at Charité

Sugar rush: There are 108 grams of sugar in a litre of coke (around 26 teaspoons of sugar). According to a 2011 study by Euromonitor International, on average South African’s purchased 66 litres of carbonated soft drinks per person in 2011 ranking it as 27th in the world. The United States is ranked first; the average American bought 170 litres of soda in 2011.  (http://slate.me/1EwTW49)

Germany is the second-most sugar-loving nation in the world; people eat roughly 103 grams on average per day. The average South African consumes 41.5 grams and the average Indian consumes just 5.1 grams of sugar per day. (http://wapo.st/1LmbMhU)

Sweet tooth: 44% of South Africans surveyed said they used between three and five teaspoons of sugar and 29% used 6 or more teaspoons of sugar. (AMPS2014B)

Safe estimates no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar per day for women and for men 7

Not sure about this?

Watch more:

THAT SUGAR FILM is one man’s journey to discover the truth about sugar and documents the effects of excessive sugar intake on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as ‘healthy’.

You can also download a free ebook with amazing sugar and carb free recipes to help get off the white stuff.

www.thatsugarfilm.com

The truth about Sugar – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dqKmOLpofo

That Sugar Film – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vntLlBjOEAU&spfreload=10

BBC production – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONXNKacNU_4

The Darker Side of Chocolate

By Amy-Lee Williams

It is incomprehensible to imagine that there could be anything wrong with chocolate. Chocolate has perfection lovingly mixed into its ingredients; it is there to comfort all sorrows, inspire new love, mend broken hearts and bring the sweet flavour of hope into our daily lives. However, a bitter taste is starting to develop as exposure into the unethical farming practices in the production of cocoa of Western African countries is being revealed to the everyday consumer.

The chocolate industry has grown over the years resulting in further demands for cheap cocoa. This has caused increased pressure on cocoa farmers to maintain competitive prices. Cocoa farmers have therefore resorted to the use of child labour as a cheap solution to their financial pressures, who currently survive on around $2 a day. This dark side of chocolate has been going on for a number of years; however this knowledge has shockingly taken a while to trickle down to the consumer who continues to blissfully munch on the tasty treat. Years have gone by with Governments and Institutions trying to solve the problem, without being able to successfully do so. A new voice needs to be heard, and that is one of the educated consumers.

The Tragedy

Western African countries supply more than 70% of the world’s cocoa, predominantly being Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire. The cocoa they grow and harvest is sold to some of the largest chocolate companies, including international companies such as Hershey’s, Mars and Nestle. It is estimated that there are over 1.2million children working on cocoa farms across Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire. Most children are between the ages of 12 and 16, but children as young as 5 have been seen working by reporters. Children come to work on these farms through various ways, one being on their own accord to help their families struggle against intense poverty. Other children are forced into this modern day slavery by being sold by their families or are abducted by traffickers in neighbouring countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso.

These children are expected to perform dangerous tasks on a daily basis including the use of hazardous tools such as a breaking open the pods with machetes, carrying heavy loads, working long hours with little or no water and applying harmful pesticide without wearing protective clothing. The use of these dangerous tools is a direct violation against International Labour Laws and a UN convention on eliminating the worst forms of child labour. Not only are these children’s lives daily at risk, but their futures are also compromised due to the lack of education. 10% of child labourers in Ghana and 40% in the Ivory Coast do not attend school; and those that do manage to attend school have to do so after working long hours on the farms. This violates the International Labour Organisation (IOL) Child Labour Standards.

What is the solution?

Organisations such as the Global March against Child Labour, have been prominent forces of change in solving the use of child labour on cocoa farms, however, they are merely treating the symptoms. The root cause needs to be dealt with and that lies in the $60 billion chocolate industry that needs to realise their role in contributing to child labour, slavery and human trafficking. Change needs to begin with companies such as Nestle, who have the power to end these social injustices to children by simply paying cocoa farmers a living wage for their produce. However, these companies are not taking responsibility for their direct influence in fuelling the situation. For example, Hershey’s reportedly refused to share details pertaining to their supply chain when questioned. Therefore, it comes down to consumers taking a meaningful stand by refusing to purchase their products and thereby threatening to take these chocolate giants out of business. There are certifications that are printed onto some chocolates, such as the Fairtrade Labour Association, where qualifying to have the label requires a critical analysis into the supply chain of the product; certifying the product as one that supports sustainability and therefore confirming that no child labour was used in its production.

How can you make a difference?

Consumers need to take an extra moment in the chocolate aisle and search for those chocolates with labels that certify sustainable practices such as the Fairtrade Label. If none of the chocolates on sale have the label, then be conscious enough to not buy the chocolate at all. That is the surest way to not support child labour on cocoa farms. If a chocolate is given as a gift, make a stand and ask if you could exchange it for a “child labour free” chocolate. This may seem insensitive to a friend; however it can start a conversation that creates further awareness. A simple explanation of insensitivity will only take a moment when the insensitivity to the children labouring on the farms is brought to life, which would be sufficient to place everything into perspective. Recently, Cadburys launched a new chocolate, “Silk”, with the Fairtrade label clearly printed on the front. This is encouraging to see as it shows that companies are starting to understand the importance in developing a triple bottom line, and if consumers support these chocolates over others, surely other chocolate companies will soon be bullied into incorporating the same principles. Other chocolate brands that are Fairtrade certified are Marks and Spencer chocolate from Woolworths, Green and Blacks chocolate from the Wellness Warehouse and specific Pick n Pay stores as well as the classic Cadburys Dairy milk which can be found nationwide. Another company that is supporting ethical cocoa farming practices is Nomu; one of the first South African companies to have their product UTZ certified. UTZ is a program that helps create better opportunities for farmers, workers and their families as well as prioritising farming practices that are healthy for the environment. Frey chocolates, produced by a Swiss chocolate company, are another chocolate that can be purchased in South Africa that is UTZ certified and can be found in Pick n Pay. The Rain Forest Alliance certification is another label that can be found on various chocolates that can be trusted as a reliable certification against child labour. The organisation sets controls in terms of environmental, social and economic criteria, therefore aims to improve the lives of those in the farming of cocoa. Chocolates that can be found with this label in South Africa are Cote d’Or as well as Mars.

Former cocoa slave Drissa was asked what he would tell people who eat chocolate, and he replied “When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh”. Chocolate is a luxury that can be done away with, and yet our consumeristic lifestyle continues to numb our senses to the pain of children such as Drissa. We need to realise that every purchase decision has the ability to either positively or negatively affect someone, and in the case of chocolate, it could be the life of a child. Instead of adding to the problem, rather start rallying for change in the areas where a difference can be made and be a conscious consumer.

References

(Anon., 2015)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1497785/

(Anon., n.d.)http://www.cocoainitiative.org/en/news-media/285-despite-signs-of-progress-much-more-needs-to-be-done-to-protect-children-in-west-african-cocoa

(Erasmus, n.d.)http://www.nestle.com/csv/human-rights-compliance/child-labour

(Nomu, 2015)http://www.foodispower.org/slavery-chocolate/

(Anon., n.d.)http://www.globalmarch.org/content/child-labour-cocoa-farms-ivory-coast-and-ghana-0

(Anon., n.d.)http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/about/marks/rainforest-alliance-certified-seal

Curried Spinach, Fennel and Coriander Soup

By Melissa Baird

Recipe – Curried spinach, fennel and coriander soup

With thanks to Harvest of Hope

I have been enjoying my box of locally grown produce that Harvest of Hope delivers on a weekly basis and have been super impressed by the quality of the vegetables as well as the abundance of the harvest. Fennel has not been on my menu for an age so when the huge fresh bulbs of fennel started arriving with the weekly delivery I decided to try out this recipe that was also sent with my last order. I tried it and it is a sensational dish if you like spicy flavours and lots of texture and want to make a soup in under 30 minutes. I decided not to blend the soup because my blender is broken but I found that having it unblended gave more flavour to the individual ingredients.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs butter or ghee

2 onions sliced ( I used spring onions and they were yummy)

1 large fennel bulb

2 cloves garlic ( I didn’t use garlic in my version of the soup)

15 cm ginger root – grated or chopped

2 Tbs good quality curry powder (choose non –irradiated spices)

2 Tbs garam masala

250 g spinach (wash all your veges thoroughly)

15 grams coriander (freshly chopped for the garnish)

3 cups vegetable stock (make sure yours is free from MSG)

Half 250 ml can of coconut milk

Himalayan salt – to taste

Method

Wash all veges and chop the onion and fennel, crush the garlic and grate the ginger. Saute’ all these ingredients in the butter or ghee and once the onion and fennel are almost translucent – add the curry powder and garam masala and saute’ for a further minute or so. Add spinach leave and cook until they just wilt Add vegetable stock and coconut milk and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

That’s it – serve up and enjoy.

www.harvestofhope.co.za

Flavourful Kitchari Paired with Earthbound Chenin Blanc

By Melissa Baird

We are giving away bottles of Earthbound Chenin Blanc wine – a delicious organic wine goes jolly marvellously with this recipe I tried out the other day.

Recipe: Kitchari

Ingredients: ( Serves 4)

Earthbound - Chenin NV

115 g yellow split dahl or green lentils (I used yellow dahl – very nutty in flavour and texty)

1 onion – chopped

1 garlic clove – crushed

50 grams butter or ghee

30 ml coconut oil

225 grams easy cook Basmati rice (rinsed and kept aside)

1 ml ground coriander

10 ml cumin seeds

2 cloves

3 cardamom pods

2 bay leaves

1 stick cinnamon (I used more as I like cinnamon)

1 litre vegetable stock

30 ml tomato puree (choose puree from a carton box not a can)

Himalayan salt and ground black pepper – to taste

Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Method

Cover dahl with hot water and let stand for about 10 minutes. Fry onion and garlic till soft in the butter and oil, add rice and coat all grains in the mixture. Stir in all spices. Then add rinsed lentils, stock, tomato puree and seasoning. Bring to the boil and then let simmer for about 20 minutes – or until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Stir in the coriander or parsley and remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick before serving.

Enjoy with a chilled glass of Earthbound Chenin Blanc and you will be feasting on nature’s bounty.

Recipe adapted from Inspired Vegetarian by Christine Ingram – Hermes House ISBN 1-84309-582-3

Earthbound Wine Giveaway: Cheers to a Sustainable Future!

Two lucky readers each have a chance to win a mixed case of Earthbound organic wines. That’s a great way to start the holiday season!

Earthbound wines are organically grown with Fairtrade principles out in the Papkuilsfontein Vineyards in Darling. The brand is transforming the current methods of wine farming, farm management, winemaking, and wine marketing, in order to promote sustainable practices and be mindful of what we produce and put back into the earth. So you can pour yourself a glass, and feel good doing it! Visit their website for more information about their practices and their delicious range of wines.

Earthbound Pinotage 2013

 

Earthbound - Chenin NV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For your chance to win, please send an email to melissa@lifeinbalance.co.za with the email header: Earthbound Wine Giveaway. Please note only one entry per email address. Winners are selected via a lucky draw and your names are not shared other than to award the prize winner(s) their prize. Entries close on the 15th November 2015 and winners will be contacted via email. Good luck!

Organic food: reasons why it’s better for you

Organic food isn’t only pesticide and herbicide free; it’s non-GM, contains no hormones and antibiotics, preserves the ecosystem, sustains livelihoods and even improves your mood and sex life.

You are what you eat. So said French lawyer and politician Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1826, who, in an article written for Physiologie du Gout, declaimed that the food you eat influences your state of mind and health. One hundred and eighty nine years later, nutritional scientist Heidi du Preez agrees. “Your mood, weight, overall health and even sex drive is significantly affected by what you eat. And the more nutrient dense your food is, the better all the metabolic reactions in your body work.” Yet good, nutritious food is not as abundant as we would like. “A non-organic diet doesn’t supply all the nutrients that our body needs to function optimally and in fact places more stress on our detoxification pathways, further depleting our nutrient reserves,” says du Preez.

Fewer nutrients lower our resistance to disease, making us more susceptible to cancers, diabetes, mood disorders and even obesity. It also means we’re less likely to be able to deal with the excess of toxins that we are exposed to in day-to-day urban living.

Myriad benefits of organic

To help guard against illness and sustain overall health and longevity the ideal route is to choose organic produce wherever possible so doing, you’ll also avoid GM (genetically modified) foods, growth hormones, antibiotics and drugs found in the fat and tissue of meat and dairy products. Organic farming methods also preserve our ecosystems by reducing the use of pesticides and protect water and soil biodiversity.

“Organic is generally understood as being free of pesticides and herbicides,” says du Preez. “But in fact it means so much more, and is something about which consumers are largely ignorant. It is a holistic way of farming that considers the sustainability of peoples’ health as well as that of the environment.”

Working with nature

Fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy and wine can be produced organically. But while this means farmers work with an area’s climate and use only certified organic control measures that protect and build the soil, it is not ‘Mother Nature’ farming, emphasises Samuel Viljoen, Winemaker for Earthbound Wines, which is certified both 100% organic and Fairtrade.

The quality wine is lower in added sulphites and has limited its impact on the environment during its production. This is good news if you enjoy a fruity Pinotage or a crisp Sauvignon with your meal.

“Organic produce is becoming more readily available in South Africa, although it is still a relatively niche product,” says consumer activist and food researcher Sonia Mountford. So while organic products can be found in select national supermarkets, she suggests that the best way to source truly organic foods is to buy directly from a trusted and transparent small retailer, organic market or producer.

“There is no organic legislation in South Africa and we rely on third party certification based on other countries’ legislation, which may not be 100% relevant to us. As a consequence of an unregulated organic market there is confusion about what organic produce actually is, she explains. Adding to this challenge is the fact that organic agriculture is not well enough supported in South Africa, making it harder for organic farmers to survive.

Where to buy organic?

To overcome this you could grow your own, says Mountford, or buy from PGS-certified (Organic Participatory Guarantee System) producers such as Green Road in Stellenbosch in Cape Town or Bryanston Organic Market in Johannesburg. PGS is a voluntary group of growers, retailers and consumers who support organic agriculture and local food production. “The best advice I can offer conscious consumers is to know their farmer. Find out how they produce their food, visit the farm, ask questions and choose your produce with the peace of mind that it is properly certified and truly good for you.” Such relationships between producers and consumers make consumers more confident about the product because they know where and how it was produced.

In the case of wine, organic certification is strictly regulated globally, and there are stringent rules that must be complied with. If wines carry an organic certification, they can be bought and consumed with confidence. Viljoen encourages consumers to choose labels that bear an organically certified stamp or the words ‘certified organic’ on the back label. “Organic wines are becoming more popular as consumers become increasingly more aware of what they put in their bodies, and also discover that they taste as good, if not better than non-organic wine.” They are also readily available in supermarkets and specialist liquor merchants.

The full range of Earthbound organic wines can be foraged from TOPS @ SPAR, Liquor City, CyberCellar.com and Darling Wine Shop, and Makro, Wellness Warehouse Cavendish and Kloof street, Pick n Pay and wine.co.za for between R45.00 (white) and R55.00 (red) RSP.

For more information about #EarthboundWines visit www.earthboundwines.co.za and join them on Facebook at EarthboundWines and Twitter @EarthboundWines.