“organic” – the new label

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It is funny how FOOD is labelled ORGANIC nowadays. What is meant by organic is nothing but what once used to be known as just FOOD. Real food. Today, we have the label “organic” which makes our natural food sophisticated and pricey. When do our organic shopping, it feels like our apples and pears are wearing Gucci.
Today only few people can afford to eat well. Organic food (or FOOD for me) is part of the life style of an upper social class only. The rest is compelled to eat conventionally produced food from the super market – the one that is far away from being considered food because filled with pesticides, fertilizers and other horrible and damaging chemicals.
Moreover, not everyone is aware of the fact that the food from the supermarket is actually not food.
In certain countries, for example, people do not know about organic food. They believe that it is very healthy to eat fruit (from the super market) and they are not aware of the fact that fruit is actually not fruit but poison. It is like the apple swallowed by snow white. It’s the illusion of an apple! You are holding an apple, but it is not actually an apple even though it looks like one. It is full of pesticides and fertilizers and what you are putting into your body is nothing but chemicals.
As a result, as soon as the label says “organic” it is overpriced both because it is not subsidised by the government and because it has become “a fashion” to eat real food. That’s really insane!

Despite the price, I highly recommend going organic because of infinite reasons.
The main reason is: Food ought to be food and is only food when it is natural, the way it is, and not modified. Other wise it is not food anymore. We need to nourish our body with the right food. It is like filling your car with the right petrol or the engine will break down. The same applies to the relationship between your body and the food. However, even organic food today is not what food used to be in the past because the soil our organic vegetables and fruit grow is polluted.

The food you put into your body determines the state of your well being.
Select it wisely and with awareness (see where it comes form, who produces it and how it is made) and when savouring it be united with it with your whole self: mind, body and spirit.

I am studying development and I always ask myself this question: What is there to develop if Mother Nature has already provided for everything? The system is destroying our natural development and “underdeveloping” it for then promoting a policy focused on development and sustainability.
Are we really that numb to get away with all of that?
This is the time of revolution. We need to obtain and get back what is our NATURAL RIGHT of BEING HUMAN on this love planet.

As Michael Jackson says in his song “Man in the mirror”: If you wanna make the world a better place, have a look at yourself and MAKE THE CHANGE!”

Here are the TOP 10 REASONS TO CHOOSE ORGANIC inspired by Kris Abbey

1. To protect future generations
The incidence of childhood brain cancer has increased 30 % in the last 20 years. these children with brain cancer are twice as likely as healthy children to have been exposed to pesticides exposure and childhood leukemia, brain tumours, Wilm’s tumours, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sarcomas and other cancers.

2. To keep chemicals off your plate
Many toxic pesticides ad herbicides are designed to kill living organisms, so their toxicity also has the potential to harm humans. Common sense dictates that these chemicals can t be good for us. Over 170 pesticides are sprayed on the food we eat or on our gardens and these have been linked to major diseases such as cancer, allergies, infertility and birth defects.

3. To prevent soil erosion
The smell of freshly turned soil is intoxicating.
In one handful of healthy soil, there are over 10,000 species of living organisms, or microbes. These microbes (mostly bacteria and fungi) break down nutrients in the soil so they can be readily available to plants, thus improving crop vitality, soil structure and resistance to disease and pests. Beneficial micro-organisms and worms are the main ingredients for healthy, vital soil. The ecosystem made up by the soil, its microbes and the plants, is easily damaged by the use of artificial pesticides and fertilizers. The more the ecosystem is damaged by these chemicals, the more chemicals our farmers must use to compensate for the depleted soil quality – a very vicious and costly cycle.
Worldwide, 75 billion tonnes of soil are lost each year due to soil erosion. The rate of loss is unsustainable in the long-term as it takes nearly 500 years to develop a topsoil depth of 2.5 cm.

4. To protect the water quality
Water is the drop of life.
One tablespoon of herbicide can pollute the drinking water of 200,000 people. Choosing chemical-free food and products will lead to less chemicals being used and, ultimately, less chemicals infiltrating our waterways.
5. To save energy
More energy is used in making synthetic fertilisers than in cultivating and harvesting crops.

6. To support our farmers
By supporting organic farmers and being prepared to pay more food, we are supporting our farming industry as a whole, an industry that has a limited future unless something changes.

7. To support a true economy
As I mentioned before, organic food is generally more expensive that conventionally grown food. But it’s about time we open our eyes to look at the real cost of food production and, as they say, compared apples with apples. When you buy a non-organic apple, the price tag does not include the health cost or the environmental cost (incl. taxes spent cleaning up water and land pollution). If those costs were included, you may find you are really paying close to double that of an organic apple. Cheap food always comes at a very high price! If more of us supported the organic industry, more farmers would convert to organic farming, the supply for organic would increase and ultimately the price of good quality, sustainable food would come down.

8. To nurture nature
Organic farms work in harmony with nature.
Organic farms have five times more wild plants, including rare and threatened species, than conventional farms. When you visit an organic farm you will notice the harmony. The noise. A constant hirp and tweet of wildlife. The stillness and quietness of most farms is tranquil, but the buzzing of natural life on an organic farm is surreal.

9. To promote biodiversity
Biodiversity is under real threat, with many plant and animal species facing extinction. Different from conventional farmers who promote monoculture (rotation of one crop), organic farmers promote biodiversity by growing and rotating a large variety of crops and by rearing a selection of livestock. Organic farmers plant indigenous flora to attract native animals and encourage continuing diversity. The natural predators of pests are able to flourish in the absence of artificial pesticides, so pests and diseases are generally less of a problem on organic farms.

10. For a better taste
Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, followed by the growing of the plant and finally arriving at a taste you can’t beat. Of course the tomatoes you buy from the supermarkets do not taste the same they once used to. Since when has Mother Nature allowed you to grow tomatoes all year around?

Reference

Kris Abbey (2002), Going Organic, Holland Publishers, Australia, pp.12-18.

Poetic Lyric

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la dolce vita

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Eating in Sicily does not just mean eating. It means everything else. The way you eat in Italy, especially Sicily is more of an experience rather than the act of filling up your tummy or nourishing you.
I get asked lots of times: ‘How come you guys eat so much but you do not put any weight on?’
Well, it is because eating for us is like going to the gym for others and it is a time during which we totally let go of everything and relax. Note: This period of time is very very very long…It usually takes the whole day.
This means that what Sicilians do every day is EATING.
Eating with love, with passion, with taste, with awareness and in communion with others.
It is a beautiful sharing.

In Sicily people usually take an ice cream cake, cannoli siciliani or cassata or bigne’ when they are invited for lunch or dinner somewhere. It has slowly become a common thing to do. More than anything it is a habit. Sicilians just want to make sure that the meal is complete and that they are really full so that they can enjoy a very long siesta during which all the sugar and carbs get positioned well in their tummy without needing to leave that area. See, Sicilians really love food. They love it so much that even though they eat it, they still wanna keep it inside. That’s why they have siesta: because in that way the food will remain stuck in their tummy. For ever. Sicilians and food are inseparable. Everything is about food and the wine of course.
The first question they ask when they see a foreigner is: What do you eat in your country? Then their questions start getting a bit racist: Are you telling me, you guys DON’T eat pasta??? See, for them it is unbelievable not to eat pasta. The third question is more of a reaction to the last answer: So, WHAT THE HELL do you eat (if not pasta)? For them it is impossible to imagine a meal without pasta and tomato sauce. And if you are invited and you don’t eat one of their thousand meals, then you’d better be strategic about it, because if they see it, they will put minimum the double of what you refused to eat on your plate.
That’s when you say you don’t want that particular dish. Imagine when you say you love that dish!!! That’s when they will fill you up til you feel like falling from the chair, they give it to you for home and they will cook it every time you come for a visit. Yes, cuz a visit is not just a visit. It means you go to visit people for a coffee (that’s what North European would call it) in the morning…say before lunch (that’s called aperitivo in Sicily/Italy) and you stay for lunch and dinner. You basically pass all day together, sitting around the table and eating til God knows when.

The aperitivo is a complete different chapter in this culture. We usually have two aperitivi a day, one before lunch and one before dinner. Going out for an aperitivo means going out for a coffee. What is so different is the experience of it. First of all, the aperitivo is a drink (usually Aperol, Martini Bianco or Rosso, Crodino, Prosecco or any other sophisticated drink) accompanied by ‘snacks’. Second, those snacks are not actual snacks. Or would you call pizza, arancine ( huge balls filled with rice, saffron and bolognese sauce), panelle and olive ascolane a snack??? In other countries this food is considered a whole meal. But remember that in Sicily it is just a snack. The real meal comes after the super long aperitivo during which you are usually filled up til your throat. Siclians, however, have got plenty of space after the aperitivo.
The main point of the aperitivo, however, is gathering and socializing with people.

So, the reason behind being and looking so healthy is:
We just eat with passion. We enjoy every bite, every sip of wine or whatever we are drinking and we enjoy the company while savouring our divine food.
Eating in Sicily is more like a style, a way of life…rather than a need.
It is expressive art. If you look at the picture I posted above, you get a feeling of what I mean.
We put our focus on food and quality.
La vita e’ bella….la dolce vita.

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Poetic Lyric