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Molokai Mom on a Mission: Eating Organic

Community Contributed

 Opinion by Mercy Ritte

What does “organic” mean?
There are basically three ways that crops are produced: using agro-biotechnology, conventional techniques and organic methods. Comparing the three will give us a better sense of what “organic” means.

1. Agro-biotechnology involves genetically engineering or modifying a living organism (GMO) by inserting it with a new gene from another species. This method of farming also uses chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides to produce crops.

2. Conventional farming may not use GMO seeds. However chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are used to manage plant growth, pests and weeds.

3. Organic farming uses manure and compost to fertilize the soil, beneficial insects, birds and traps to manage pests, rotate crops, hand weed or mulch.

The U.C. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program defines organic as, “Food produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.”

Is organic food healthy for my family?
Yes! Eating organic food is the best option for your family. Not only is it more nutritious and sprayed with less or no chemicals, but it will also eliminate having to question what’s in your food.

Why is organic food so expensive?
The main reason organic food costs more is because organic farmers do not receive subsidies from the government to grow their crops, whereas agro-biotechnology farmers are greatly subsidized. This means that agro-biotechnology farmers get paid taxpayer dollars to produce food cheaply with little or no testing for environmental safety and human consumption.

How can I eat organic food?
If eating organic food on a daily basis is just not in your budget, start small. Try committing to purchasing one item a week that’s organic, like a bag of organic apples or pears from Outpost Natural Foods. Replace an ingredient or two in a recipe with a healthier, organic one. Maybe grow a pot of organic lettuce or tomatoes in your yard. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Seasoned Popcorn (Shared by Julie Turner)

Organic Popcorn (Outpost)
Nutritional Yeast Seasoning (Outpost, FMC)
Garlic Powder
Real Salt (Outpost)
Coconut Oil (Outpost, FMC)

First, follow the instructions included in your popcorn maker. I purchased a Presto Poplite hot air popper from Takes Variety Store.

After filling a 4-quart size bowl of air popped popcorn, lightly mist it with any preferred cooking oil, except for GMO canola or cottonseed oil. Personally, I like the flavor of olive or coconut oil. Mix it thoroughly with your hands or a spoon. Next, sprinkle on the nutritional yeast seasoning, garlic powder and salt to your liking. Enjoy!

For a free sample of this scrumptious snack and a refreshing fruit smoothie (bananas donated by Kualapu`u Market and papayas donated by Kumu Farms), please come by Kualapu`u Market on Friday, June 22 at 5 p.m.