We aren’t all fig leaves and loin cloths anymore (Part 1)

Staggering fact: the clothes we wear have become so disposable, that textiles are one of the leading causes of pollution in the world today. So qualified for these reasons:

  1. The shear volume of textiles being disposed of has more than quadrupled
  2.  More and more fabrics are made from synthetic materials that aren’t biodegradable
  3. Harmful toxic chemicals are used in textile production
  4. Production, distribution, and disposal negatively impact all three elements vital for life on earth – land, water, air

Vintage clothes for sale inside a shop

I know you read your food labels, but do you read your clothing labels? Clothes are made from some funky textiles these days, divided into two categories: natural, and man-made.

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Here is a list of the most toxic textiles, and why:

  1. Polyester is the worst fabric you can buy. It is made from synthetic polymers that are made from esters of dihydric alcohol and terpthalic acid.
  2. Acrylic fabrics are polycrylonitriles and may cause cancer, according to the EPA.
  3. Rayon is recycled wood pulp that must be treated with chemicals like caustic soda, ammonia, acetone and sulfuric acid to survive regular washing and wearing.
  4. Acetate and Triacetate are made from wood fibers called cellulose and undergo extensive chemical processing to produce the finished product.
  5. Nylon is made from petroleum and is often given a permanent chemical finish that can be harmful.
  6. Anything static resistant, stain resistant, permanent press, wrinkle-free, stain proof or moth repellent. Many of the stain resistant and wrinkle-free fabrics are treated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), like Teflon.

All textiles undergo significant processing (even in natural fibers), here are some of the problematic chemicals used:

  • Detergents – to clean
  • Petrochemical dyes
  • Formaldehyde to prevent shrinkage
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Dioxin-producing bleach
  • Chemical fabric softeners to make fabric pliable

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Some of the chemicals used in production contain heavy metals, like mercury, or lead. Although this is a large scale, global problem, it is an easy one to tackle. Just start here:

  1. From now on, try to buy only biodegradable fabrics, i.e. made from natural materials. Avoid buying synthetic fabrics that don’t breakdown (this is easier for the kids than it is for us, cotton denims or jeans, cotton t-shirts and hoodies, animal fiber jerseys, hats and scarves and you are all set!)
  2. Buy classics. Follow the 80/20 rule. Strive to have 80% of your wardrobe made up of ‘classics’ that don’t age or go out of style as quickly, and accessorize with the latest seasonal trend rather than buying whole outfits that will be outdated in three months
  3. Don’t forget your linens – sheets, bath towels, table linen

I’m always very inspired by anybody who takes the time, trouble, and care, to go at something like this 100% and replaces all textiles in their home with 100% organic chemical-free options. But every little bit helps, and if we all start with one little change, we will have a massive impact, it’s not an all or nothing solution.

Here are some other interesting facts:

  1. did you know that Americans now buy five times as much clothing as we did in 1980?
  2. the volume of textile trash rose 40% between 1999 and 2009 and it is directly related to the production of cheap, disposable clothing
  3. 20% of fish brought from supermarkets contain synthetic microfibers that have been washed into our waterways with our laundry water

In our next newsletter, we will be talking about easy things we can do to reduce, re-purpose and recycle our clothing to keep it out of landfills.

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Letter From the Daily Table

To: South Shore Organics

Dear Pam,

daily-table-2Thank you for your generous donations to Daily Table in 2016! Through those donations, we were able to continue offering affordable and nutritious food to our community. In recognition of your support, we are pleased to award  you a key supplier certificate.

2016 was a big year here at Daily Tbale. Last June, during our one-year anniversary celebration, hundreds of customers shared with us how the food they bought at Daily Table had positively affected their lives. Over and over again we heard how delicious the food was and how our shoppers appreciated our healthy products at affordable prices. One customer said:

“I shop at Daily Table because there is always a different selection. Daily Table takes all the stress out of shopping because I don’t have to compare prices or make sacrifices–and I know its always healthy!”

Her observations are reflected in the numbers. We are now averaging 300 different items in the store (as compared to only 100 when we first opened). Our average daily customer count is up by 100 over the previous year. We have rescued almost one million pounds of food, to date, selling more than 15,000 servings of healthy and affordable food every day this year in our upbeat, clean, and friendly retail store in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. Together, we are providing a meaningful, and dignified, solution to food insecurity.

2017 promises to be an even bigger year. We recently signed the lease for our second location, in the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury, expected to open early summer. We are excited through our continued partnership to bring nutritious products at truly affordable prices to a new community.

Your donations make all the difference. Thank you again for being a key supplier for Daily Table.

With gratitude and wishes for a happy and successful New Year,

Doug Rauch, Founder and President

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About Daily Table:

Daily Table is a not-for-profit retail store that offers tasty, convenient, and affordable “grab-n-go” ready to eat meals, and a selection of produce, bread, dairy and grocery items all at prices designed to fit within every budget.  The store is clean and friendly, and open to everyone in the community.  We can offer these daily values by working with a large network of growers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and other suppliers who donate their excess, healthy food to us, or provide us with special buying opportunities. In this way, Daily Table keeps prices affordable for all our customers.  Our meals are priced to compete with fast food options, making it easier for families to eat healthier within their means.

About Our Donations:

We made weekly donations of fresh fruit and veggies from local farms all year long in 2016. Daily Table is essentially an oasis in what is considered a food desert, we love their mission, and are delighted that on behalf of our customers, we could support their mission to improve access to healthy food. We made a difference.

Staff Review: Smoothie Mix Micro Greens

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Reviewer:  Pamela Denholm

Micro greens have the reputation of being a wonder  food. They are potent, offer as much as 100 times more beneficial enzymes in than in regular veggies, contain 10 times the anti-oxidants, and are rich in minerals and vitamins that are easy for us to absorb. Essentially, sprouts and shoots contain everything needed for (new) life.

Micro greens from 2 Friends Farm look so fresh and green and vibrant, I was dying to try them and eventually settled on the Smoothie Mix to bring home last week. The same last week of Friday the 13th, and a full moon.

I have to say, right off the bat, that the smoothie portion is generous. If you are adding a handful of micro greens to your smoothie each morning, the clam shell they offer will last about a week. And although it is the ‘smoothie mix’ – it looked like such a nice blend of different micro greens I decided to try a couple different things with it:

  1. Sandwich – I put the micro greens  on a wrap, with cucumber, cottage cheese, grated carrot, and green beans.
  2. Salad – I didn’t have salad greens so added grape tomatoes, cucumber, left over roast chicken, and a drizzle of olive oil to a handful of micro greens for lunch
  3. Smoothie – an orange (peeled), frozen banana, micro greens, and 1 inch peeled ginger

Of course, as I eluded, it was Friday the 13th, the moon was a full, brightly lit round orb. ‘The Wolf Moon’ no less. And guess what? My Vitamix gave up the ghost. That is, it kicked the bucket and went to blender heaven. What the heck!?!  I was committed (to doing this, not to an institution) so after a couple minutes of mild panic and dismay at my recent loss, I threw all the ingredients in my regular blender which made it a little lumpier than usual, but still very enjoyable.

img_4457I really enjoy smoothies, but I am fussy about the flavors. I don’t like it when they taste too ‘grassy’, which can sometimes happen with greens. And I don’t love it when they taste like peas either, which is why I tend not to use pea shoots in smoothies – it is a difficult flavor to mask. But these micro greens which are a blend of pea shoots, baby kale, and other micro greens, were just perfect and not at all overpowering. My smoothie may not have been very ‘smooth’ (RIP Vitamix), but it did go down well and I am eager to make it a morning ritual because it is a no fuss way to get those nutrient dense greens in! They were equally enjoyable in the salad and on the wrap – no need to limit yourself just because the label says ‘smoothie’.

Now I’m off to get on to Vitamix to see if we can do an emergency air-lift. Cross fingers that a full recovery is possible, otherwise I’ll be back on Craigslist hoping somebody’s  New Year’s resolutions dissolved into a ‘Vitamix for sale’ post.

About 2 Friends Farm:

Two friends, who share passion for fresh young greens, sprouted the seed of an idea into a busy, indoor farm growing organic microgreens and wheatgrass  in rich, fertile soil year-round!

“We are organic farmers, consciously growing fresh, beautiful microgreens and wheatgrass, promoting a lifetime of health for your family and ours,” say Ashley and John, Founding Friends.

About Pam:

I believe the healthiest thing for you, is a healthy relationship with food. I enjoy cooking and trying all sorts of things, and have a kitchen full of life that needs sustaining from scoby’s to yeasty bread starters. It is a real treat to have good quality micro greens in my kitchen too, without having to add a tray of young sprouts that would also require maintenance and care.

The Meaning of Life

By Pamela Denholm

I just finished a book by Catherine Goldhammer, who lives here  on the South Shore, titled ‘Still Life With Chickens’ (see, even my authors are local). I enjoyed the book very much, it was a quick, light, relatable read, and the perfect thing to pick up at this time of year. For me anyway.

The business climate during the last quarter was one of the most challenging I have experienced, ever. It felt like the elections consumed every airwave and soundwave, it was saturating to the point where we had no choice but to be submersed until the the tide receded allowing us all to breathe again. Speaking about it to a long-time farmer, he nodded sagely, confessing that in his 30 years of growing, election years were always his worst business years. So I was very happy to welcome 2017, not an election year.

It did make me think, however, about what a wonderful gift a New Year is. It is a clean slate. A reset button. An opportunity to open the door. And in the Northern Hemisphere, it coincides with the very beginning planning stages of the growing season. Another reset button. Farmers are amazingly resilient, optimistic creatures. Despite last years late frost, severe drought, winter moth infestation, seeds that failed to germinate, aphids that dined on Brussels sprouts, borers that attacked roots, farmers eagerly await seed catalogs and thumb through packets of saved seeds dreaming of possibility.

The very act of planting a seed, is one of hope.

On hope, Catherine Goldhammer writes, “…maybe that’s all there is. Maybe that’s what Yo-Yo Ma gives us, and Bach, and Puccini, and the faces of our children, our friends, our families, good work, the ocean, the moon rising over the pond, the havens of our homes.”

And seeds. And a new year.

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About Pamela

From the highveld of southern Africa to the low lying marshes of the South Shore, Pam has learned that regardless of what lies before you or behind you, if you have a seed to plant, the face of a child to gaze upon, or a rising moon, you have tomorrow.