By Sara Lindberg
There have never been more choices when it comes to organic, natural, or eco-friendly cleaning products. Knowing which products are certified organic and which ones are just a safer alternative to traditional cleaners is often confusing. And how do you know which ones can really get the job done?
How We Chose<p>To curate our list of top-rated cleaning products, we considered many criteria. Some key elements include:</p><ul><li><strong>The types of ingredients in a product. </strong>We took a careful look at the ingredients used in each product to make sure they were safe, nontoxic, and naturally derived. We avoided products with ingredients that have the potential to negatively impact the health of your family or the environment.</li><li><strong>Top choices from reputable environmental organizations.</strong> Groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publish annual reports on organic and natural cleaning products with rankings from best to worst. We also considered cleaners certified with the Green Seal, which are greener and healthier products.</li><li><strong>A product's cleaning ability.</strong> The best organic cleaning products don't only need to be safer and less toxic to use. They also need to do a great job at cleaning. We considered how effectively different products cut through dirt, grease, soap scum, or grime.</li><li><strong>The opinion of cleaning experts.</strong> We spoke to cleaning experts who regularly use organic and all-natural products. We asked for their input on what ingredients to look for — and avoid — and which products they recommend.</li><li><strong>Awards, user reviews, and customer feedback.</strong> We considered feedback from websites that sell organic products and only considered products that had significantly more raves than complaints.</li></ul>
About Organic Products<p>"There are many cleaning products on the market that claim to be organic, but very few have the USDA certified organic label," says James Scott, co- founder of Dappir, a commercial and residential cleaning company.</p><p>"Usually, you'll see [labels] like natural, all-natural, or plant-based, but these do not necessarily mean organic," he explains.</p><p>While many of these cleaners are excellent options and are a lot safer than chemical-laden cleaning products, if they don't carry the USDA organic label, they can't be considered a certified organic cleaner.</p><p>If a product isn't USDA certified organic, we have called that out in our list.</p><h3>A Word About Price</h3><p>Organic cleaners often cost more than nonorganic products. Also, within the organic cleaning category, it's not uncommon to see a wide range of prices. With that in mind, here's how we indicate cost:</p><ul><li><strong>$</strong> = under $10</li><li><strong>$$</strong> = $10–$20</li><li><strong>$$$</strong> = over $20</li></ul>
- How to Make Your Own Natural Cleaning Products - EcoWatch ›
- 10 Natural (And Vegan) Ways to Clean Your Home - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Green Cleaning Products for Tackling Messy Homes - EcoWatch ›
- How To Shop for Cleaning Products - While Avoiding Toxins - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Danielle Nierenberg and Gabby Lozano
Throughout the United States and around the world, millions of people gather in June for Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and honor their contributions to the world.
1. Chaseholm Farm, Pine Plains, New York<p>Located in New York's Hudson Valley, Chaseholm Farm is a third-generation operation run by siblings Rory and Sarah Chase. While Rory oversees the creamery and cheesemaking operations, Sarah manages the farm and livestock. With her wife, nutrition therapist Jordan Schmidt, Sarah achieved Organic certification for the farm and moved to holistic management practices, including 100 percent grass feeding.</p>
2. Cuir Kitchen Brigade, New York City<p>Launched after Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico in 2017, Cuir Kitchen Brigade is a collective that works in solidarity with people impacted by climate change, oppressed by governments, and marginalized due to sexuality and gender identity. Cuir Kitchen Brigade provides food relief on a mutual aid model, runs solidarity and ancestral learning trips to Latin America, and hosts workshops on canning and fermentation to help queer, transgender, Black people, Indigenous communities, and people of color be more resilient to climate disasters.</p>
3. Cultivating Change Foundation, San Francisco<p>Through relationship-building events, partnerships, and discussions, Cultivating Change Foundation seeks to create a global network of LGBTQ+ agriculturists and their allies. Using advocacy and education, the foundation provides resources and materials to help LGBTQ+ farmers feel empowered and elevated within their communities and professional fields. In June, the Foundation typically holds a three-day global agriculture conference in Des Moines, Iowa, to bring together LGBTQ+ agricultural workers, diversity professionals, and other experts working toward a more equitable food system.</p>
4. Diaspora Co., Oakland, California, and Mumbai, India<p>Owned and managed by self-identifying queer women of color, Diaspora Co. is an organic spice business working to decolonize commodity crops from India, while uplifting small farmers. Diaspora Co. reduces the spice supply chain to only involve itself, small farmers, and the consumer. Doing so allows small farmers to earn more money and maintain control over the crops they grow. The company also works with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research to identify additional ways they can support farmers working with Diaspora Co.</p>
5. Fierte Agricolé, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec<p>Fierte Agricolé is a nonprofit organization that works to unite LGBTQ+ people in agriculture. Through focus groups, the organization provides a safe space for individuals to discuss their experiences as LGBTQ+ farmers. The organization also works with stakeholders and other professionals to raise awareness on sexuality, gender identity diversity, and challenges that LGBTQ+ people in agriculture may face.</p>
6. Finca Morada, North Miami, Florida<p>Finca Morada is a cooperative ½-acre permaculture farm in North Miami, Florida, that is organized around the concept of "wild culture." They define "wild culture" in opposition to consumer culture, and in favor of interdependence with nature and traditional, Indigenous land management. "At our heart-center is environmental, racial, LGBTQ, gender, social, & food justice, inspired by nature's magic, radical interdependence & wild diversity," they write. Finca Morada means "purple farm" in Spanish, and the farm uses purple as a way to honor the land's previous owner and as a symbol of diversity, the royalty of nature, and the fluidity of binaries between red and blue.</p>
7. GayFarmer, Germany<p>GayFarmer is a professional association made up of over 500 individuals from the LGBTQ+ community who work in professions such as agriculture. The association is helping individuals in green sectors establish professional connections with corporations and other workers. GayFarmer also organizes specialized groups for people of specific LGBTQ+ identities to provide additional support for members. GayFarmer's website also promotes members' products to help them gain visibility in the marketplace.</p>
8. Homestead Ranch, Oskaloosa, Kansas<p>Courtney Skeeba and her partner, Denise Whitesides, operate Homestead Ranch, a small family farm located in Oskaloosa, Kansas, that specializes in sustainable goat farming. The farm strives to reduce waste, nurture the land, and educate consumers on the source of their food. The farm sells goat milk-based shampoo, soap, and other body products online, at local farmers markets, and boutiques.</p>
9. Hudson Valley Seed Company, Accord, New York<p>In 2004, Ken Greene was working as a librarian when he started the country's first seed library, as a way to support local food systems. A few years later, his seed library became the Hudson Valley Seed Company, which he launched with his partner, Doug Mueller. They focus on heirloom, local, and organic seeds, and were one of the first companies to sign the Open Source Seed Initiative. Every year, the Hudson Valley Seed Company also commissions contemporary artists to design storytelling-oriented "art packs" for their seed varieties.</p>
10. Humble Hands Harvest, Decorah, Iowa<p>Humble Hands Harvest operates a small organic farm in Iowa using regenerative practices to grow organic vegetables. To support the LGBTQ+ farming community, the farm holds the <a href="https://humblehandsharvest.com/queer-farmer-convergence/" target="_blank">Queer Farmer Convergence</a>, an annual event uniting LGBTQ+ farmers to reduce the isolation felt by LGBTQ+ farmers and to combat racist and capitalist practices in agriculture. Additionally, the farm created the <a href="https://www.instagram.com/queerdirt/" target="_blank">Queer Farmer Network</a> to revolutionize the agriculture industry and rural community.</p>
11. Interlocking Roots, United States<p>Interlocking Roots is a network of self-identifying queer and transgender Black and Indigenous people of color (QT*BIPoC) who work as chefs, educators, farmers, and food justice advocates. The network organizes gatherings and uses digital platforms, like <a href="https://www.instagram.com/interlockingroots/" target="_blank">Instagram</a>, to create safe spaces for QT*BIPoC people to connect. Interlocking Roots is currently working on a podcast to share stories about QT*BIPoC folks who are using food and agriculture to decolonize the agri-food industry.</p>
12. Lesbian Natural Resources, Minneapolis, Minnesota<p>Established in 1991, Lesbian Natural Resources (LNR) assists lesbians interested in maintaining community land and preserving rural ecosystems. LNR offers a variety of programs to combat food insecurity and racism and help members of their community access land. They also connect members to grants to help them sustain their work.</p>
13. Mill Creek Farm, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania<p>Johanna Rosen and her partner, Jade Walker, run Mill Creek Farm. This educational farm and environmental center provides low-cost, chemical-free produce to local communities and people of color in need of assistance. Mill Creek Farm integrates sustainable practices, like crop rotation and companion planting. The farm also engages with the local community by hosting after-school gardening and cooking clubs, field trips, and internships and fellowships to help local youth.</p>
14. Moxie Ridge, Fort Edward, New York<p>Moxie Ridge is a farm and creamery in northeast New York State that specializes in pork, fully free-range chicken and eggs, and a selection of fresh and ripened goat cheeses from goats milked by hand. Moxie Ridge is run by Lee Hennessy, who came out as transgender last year and is committed to respecting land by using traditional management practices. On the farm, he accomplishes brush clearing with the help of the goats, pastures are "mowed" by grazing horses and sheep, and pigs act as tillers and root removers.</p>
15. The Okra Project, United States<p>The Okra Project is a collective addressing food insecurity within the Black transgender community. The collective delivers healthy and culturally appropriate meals prepared by Black transgender chefs to Black transgender people experiencing food insecurity. To lend support globally, the Okra Project developed the International Grocery Fund, which provides US$40 grants to Black transgender people around the world who are food insecure. The Okra Project also established the Byokra series, monthly wellness sessions for Black transgender people.</p>
16. Queer Farmer Collective, Denver, Colorado<p>Queer Farmer Collective is a community organization working to engage the LGBTQ+ community in agriculture, while removing barriers that prevent LBGTQ+ people from participating. Using organized events, the organization hopes to inspire its network to grow their own food and uses donations to provide financial support to various farmers. Queer Farmer Collective also shares resources and advice for their farmers on its <a href="https://www.facebook.com/queerfarmercollective/" target="_blank">Facebook page</a>.</p>
17. Rainbow Chard Collective, Canada<p>The Rainbow Chard Collective is an organization made up of farmers, food activists, and students working to create awareness for LGBTQ+ farmers and promote sustainable agriculture. The Rainbow Chard Collective holds events and workshops, conducts research on sustainable living, and mentors youth individuals by leading workshops at camps. The Collective also advocates for increased government support for small farmers.</p>
18. Rise and Root Farm, Chester, New York<p>Karen Washington, a Black farmer and community activist, wants to build a different agricultural narrative, inclusive of all races, genders, and sexualities. Her farm, Rise and Root Farm, is ¾-owned by people in the LGBTQ+ community. Washington created Rise and Root Farm to be a place of healing for diverse and marginalized communities — particularly important today, as black farmers work to call attention to not only their own contributions to the modern food system but also the impact of the slave trade on the development of global food chains.</p>
19. Rock and Steady Farm and Flowers, Millerton, New York<p>The self-identifying queer- and women-owned cooperative Rock Steady Farm & Flowers uses sustainable agricultural practices and community partnerships to advocate for marginalized communities in the food system. The farm provides food to food pantries, social justice nonprofits, and local businesses, like florists and restaurants. The organization also <a href="https://gaycenter.org/" target="_blank">partners</a> <a href="https://callen-lorde.org/" target="_blank">with</a> LGBTQ+ resource centers to increase healthy food access for and educate youth about agriculture.</p>
20. Sweet Digz Farm, Richmond, British Columbia<p>Kareno Hawbolt and her partner, Kimi Hendess, founded and operate Sweet Digz Farm in Richmond, Canada, where they strive to implement sustainable farming methods to grow vegetables and herbs. Sweet Digz partners with other local farms to expand their market and operates a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Sweet Digz also manages the SHAREit Forward Fund, an initiative which provides fresh produce to local neighbors in need.</p>
21. TransGenerational Farm, New York City area<p>Founded and operated by Jayne Henson, a transgender woman, the TransGenerational Farm near New York City is using agriculture to connect the LGBTQ+ community and educate them on the agri-food industry. The farm employs regenerative practices, like reusable landscape fabric, and operates a CSA program. TransGenerational Farm is currently in the process of establishing a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/queer-csa-scholarship?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf%20share-flow-1&fbclid=IwAR1jX92SLO0HGUMZlVETAHKYK-XBytGy7_I9q0fOkOJD5N4rK6AljTmzJR8" target="_blank">CSA scholarship program</a> for individuals who want to join the CSA program, but are financially unable to do so.</p>
22. Truelove Seeds, Philadelphia<p>Truelove Seeds is a Philadelphia-based seed company that partners with over 20 urban and small-scale rural farms to produce rare, open pollinated, and culturally important seeds. Several staff members and growers Truelove works with identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. Truelove Seeds aims to support community food sovereignty, Indigenous cultures, and regenerative agriculture by including growers as integral decision-makers for seed-keeping.</p>
23. Urban Oasis Project, Miami<p>The Urban Oasis Project works to increase access to local, fresh food in South Florida. The organization runs farmers markets, provides free Food Justice Veggie Boxes to families in need, plants gardens, and more. President Art Friedrich, who identifies as a queer man, told Food Tank that LGBTQ+ identity is important to his work; at times 40 percent of the stalls at their main farmers market are run by LGBTQ+ vendors, many of whom are also people of color.</p>
24. Westside Urban Gardens, Los Angeles, CaliforniaNate Looney, a Black transgender farmer and veteran, is the founder and CEO of Westside Urban Gardens, an urban agricultural start-up farm located in Los Angeles, California. Westside Urban Gardens helps members of the LGBTQ+ community by hiring them and teaching viable skills for future employment. Through the use of hydroponic cultivation and aquaponics, the farm uses approximately 90 percent less water than soil-based outdoor farms.
The best probiotics for a healthy digestive system, immune system, and overall health. Plus, how to choose the right supplement for you.
When it comes to gut health, there's a lot of information out there to...digest. It's hard to discuss the secrets to a healthy microbiome without mentioning probiotic supplements. But with so many options on the market, and words like "Bifidobacterium flying around," how do you know which probiotic is right for you?
We're breaking down the best probiotic supplements available and what to look for in a high-quality probiotic, including the different strains, number of CFUs, and the benefits that these dietary supplements may have on your overall health.
Physician's Choice<p>We like that the Physician's Choice product is shelf-stable and includes an organic probiotic blend in addition to 60 billion CFUs and 10 probiotic strains. The prebiotics contains gut-healthy fiber that works in tandem with the microbes to foster a healthy microbiome.<br></p><p>Shelf-stability is another important benefit as many of the best probiotics require refrigeration. This makes Physician's Choice great for frequent travelers or anyone who prefers to keep their supplements somewhere other than the kitchen. </p><p>In addition, Physician's Choice makes vegan capsules that are soy-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, and preservative-free. Their supplements are also third-party lab-tested and made in the USA. <span></span></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;"><strong>Unique features: </strong></span>Organic prebiotic blend, shelf-stable, third-party lab tested, vegan<br></p><p><strong>Strength:</strong> 60 billion CFU and 10 probiotic strains</p><p><span></span><strong>Price: </strong>$21.74 for 30 capsules</p>
Amazon<p>Like Physician's Choice, Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics for Women are also shelf-stable and contain an organic prebiotic fiber blend. We like that this product boasts a whopping 16 probiotic strains, including lactobacillus rhamnosus. </p><p>This product is specifically made for women to support immune and vaginal health, and provide relief from gastrointestinal issues like constipation, bloating, and IBS. Plus, their once-daily capsules are free of dairy, gluten, and soy. The blend was formulated by microbiome expert Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and Fellow at the American College of Nutrition.</p><p><strong>Unique features:</strong> Organic prebiotic fiber blend; specially formulated for women's health, shelf-stable, gluten-, soy- and dairy-free</p><p><strong>Strength:</strong> 50 billion CFU and 16 probiotic strains</p><p><span></span><strong>Price:</strong> $27.94 for 30 capsules </p>
Amazon<p>Culturelle Daily Probiotics are great for the budget-conscious or new probiotic user. This more affordable option offers 10 billion CFUs of a single strain: Lactobacillus rhamnosus. L. rhamnousus is the most-studied probiotic strain and is clinically proven to aid digestion. This lower-dose probiotic supplement is great for kids and can help settle short-term digestive issues, especially related to travel.</p><p>If you're concerned about potential side effects like gas and bloating, this Culturelle product is an excellent place to start. </p><p><strong>Unique features:</strong> Free of gluten, milk, soy, wheat, and preservatives </p><p><strong>Strength:</strong> 10 billion CFUs and 1 probiotic strain (Lactobacillus rhamnosus) </p><p><strong>Price:</strong> $16.88 for 30 capsules</p>
Amazon<p>The time-release feature in NewRhythm Probiotics ensures that the vegetarian capsules make it all the way to your digestive tract before releasing the live microorganisms. In addition, this shelf-stable product is made in the USA in a GMP-Certified facility and tested by third-party labs for quality and effectiveness.</p><p>While the price seems like an absolute steal compared to the other probiotics in our list, it's important to note that one dose is two capsules. Nevertheless, NewRhythm probiotics are a fantastic affordable option that still packs a serious punch with 50 billion CFUs and 20 probiotic strains.</p><p><strong>Unique features: </strong>Shelf-stable; non-GMO; third-party lab-tested and made in the USA; free of gluten, sugar, soy, preservatives, and peanuts; 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee within 30 days</p><p><span></span><strong>Strength: </strong>50 billion CFUs and 20 probiotic strains </p><p><span></span><strong>Price:</strong> $14.44 for 60 capsules</p>
Amazon<p>The Nutrition Essentials probiotic offers the most CFUs per dose, at a staggering 900 billion. But what really sets this brand apart is the company's commitment to satisfaction. They offer a full money-back guarantee if you don't see results. Nutrition Essentials also guarantees that their tablets contain potent probiotic strains until expiration. While it can be hard to know what to believe in probiotic product labels, guarantees like this help give some peace of mind.</p><p><strong>Unique features: </strong>Made in the USA; gluten-, dairy-, and preservative-free; strains are guaranteed potent until the expiration date</p><p><span></span><strong>Strength:</strong> 900 billion CFUs and 1 strain (lactobacillus acidophilus)</p><p><span></span><strong>Price:</strong> $17.99 for 60 tablets</p>
- The 19 Best Foods to Improve Digestion - EcoWatch ›
- Probiotics 101: Everything You Need to Know - EcoWatch ›
- When's the Best Time to Consume Probiotics? - EcoWatch ›
By Rachel Ramirez
"I can't breathe." These were among the final words that George Floyd and Eric Garner gasped before their deaths at the hands of white police officers. That plea has become part of the current rallying cry for racial justice and an end to police brutality in the U.S. But for black people living near industrial facilities, the phrase has an additional layer of meaning: a reminder of their disproportionate pollution burden.
- Hurricane Katrina Proved That If Black Lives Matter, Climate Justice ... ›
- As Protests Rage, Climate Activists Embrace Racial Justice ... ›
- Black Women Shark Scientists Create Network to Encourage People of Color - EcoWatch ›
Meal kit services offer pre-portioned recipes and a fun cooking experience. But what options are best for the earth-conscious family?
For those looking for a quick and convenient way to eat delicious, hearty meals with little to no hassle, there are plenty of meal delivery services to choose from. We've all seen the overwhelming number of meal kits promoted via Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms, but many consumers are left wondering if these delivery services are really worth the purchase. Despite all the hype, these programs can be beneficial for a number of reasons, including their environmental impact.
Purple Carrot<p>According to researchers, you could cut the <a href="https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/11/15/how-much-would-giving-up-meat-help-the-environment" target="_blank">carbon footprint of your diet by 60%</a> by eating plant-based meals for two-thirds of your diet.</p><p>Now, if sustainability is about achieving a balance between human consumption and the environments we impact, plant-based is the way to go. Purple Carrot offers all plant-based meal kits in a variety of tasty menu items. There's even a black bean burger if you want to prepare the vegan-skeptic member of your family a familiar plate. </p><p>Purple Carrot meal kits, in many ways, support the idea that many small, smart choices can add up to a big impact. </p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Purple Carrot costs $11.99 price per serving for two people and $9.99 per serving for the four-plate plan. With introductory discounts the first week costs $50 to $60. </p>
Sun Basket<p>Sun Basket is our favorite organic meal kit brand. Sun Basket delivers a box of 100% organic produce, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat, and farm fresh eggs. Their approach to sourcing wild seafood was named Best Choice or Good Alternative by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® Program.</p><p>Sun Basket aims to support farmers who push for sustainable water management and crop rotations, as well as ranchers and fisherman who treat the planet with respect. </p><strong>Cost</strong>: Three meals each week for two people costs $71.94 plus $7.99 shipping. That's $11.99 per serving.
Green Chef<p>Green Chef is a certified organic company with meal kit plans that include keto, paleo, and plant-based options. You can schedule a weekly delivery or stagger deliveries during the month, depending on your personal needs or how often you choose to cook. Green Chef has a wide variety of recipe options, and according to its website, <span style="background-color: initial;">"offsets 100% of its direct carbon emissions and plastic packaging" through its sustainability efforts.</span></p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Price is based on the plan chosen, but costs are generally $11.49 per meal for the Keto + Paleo option, $10.49 per meal for the Balanced Living option, and $10.49 per meal for the Plant-powered option. Shipping and handling costs are additional.</p>
Freshly<p>Freshly is the only service we came across that offered corporate options. We liked the idea of a cost-efficient way to serve a large group a healthy meal. Freshly boxes in the office fridge would be a nice reprieve from the typical mid-day exodus to the nearest quick food option. All Freshly meals come in recyclable packaging and the single portions mean less food going to waste during preparation, which makes this a more sustainable option than many single-serving meal packages available in the freezer section of your local grocery store. </p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Individual meals are $8.99 to $12.50 per serving with free shipping.</p>
Every Plate<p>If you're looking for organic ingredients, simple recipe cards, and a highly affordable option, Every Plate is for you. Every Plate uses less packaging than most other delivery services due to their simpler packages that contain fewer spice and sauce packets. Most Every Plate meals can be made in under 30 minutes, which makes this as close as you can come to fast and "cheap" meals with clean ingredients. </p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Weekly boxes of two or four servings for as little as $4.99 per serving.</p>
- 6 Easy Steps to Go Vegan - EcoWatch ›
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- Beyoncé Launches Vegan Meal Delivery Service - EcoWatch ›
By Danielle Nierenberg
Following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, people around the United States are protesting racism, police brutality, inequality, and violence in their own communities. No matter your political affiliation, the violence by multiple police departments in this country is unacceptable.
By Jon Queally
President Donald Trump at a White House press conference on Friday announced he was "terminating" ties to the World Health Organization, even as the global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic nears 363,000 — including the more than 100,000 dead from the virus in the U.S., many attributed to his own mismanagement of the crisis.
- Trump Halts WHO Funding Amidst Criticism of His Own Coronavirus ... ›
- Fauci Warns Pre-Pandemic Normalcy Not Likely Until Late 2021 - EcoWatch ›
By Linda Lacina
World Health Organization officials today announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that will help expand the agency's donor base and allow it to take donations from the general public.
<div id="3caa0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="16f209220db97fa1572877a1700956f5"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1265660879669886976" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Media briefing on #COVID19 with @DrTedros https://t.co/j5ZoeBdBvO</div> — World Health Organization (WHO) (@World Health Organization (WHO))<a href="https://twitter.com/WHO/statuses/1265660879669886976">1590592043.0</a></blockquote></div>
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
By Aaron Mok
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has upended nearly every aspect of modern society, but especially the food system. Farmers are being forced to discard unprecedented amounts of food surplus because of the closure of schools, restaurants, and hotels. And, because of the complex logistics of the food supply chain, diverting food supply away from wholesalers directly into the hands of consumers can be costly. Experts like Dana Gunders from ReFED are concerned that more food waste will be produced in 2020 than in previous years.
Despite these challenges, organizations around the world are working to reduce food waste. In honor of Stop Food Waste Day on the 29th of April, Food Tank is highlighting 23 organizations and companies trying to eliminate pandemic-fueled food waste.
- Reducing Food Waste Is Good for Economy and Climate, Report Says ›
- 20 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste - EcoWatch ›
- How to Make a Change for Stop Food Waste Day - EcoWatch ›
- COVID-19 Creates Food Waste Mountains That Harm the Environment - EcoWatch ›
- Harnessing Food Waste to Empower Communities in Brazil - EcoWatch ›
Organic farmers in Africa face an arduous journey getting cropland certified, limiting exports and frustrating farmers who say ecological practices could increase food security while protecting the land.
Fighting Hunger<p>Conventional farming uses artificial fertilizers and pesticides, some of which kill wildlife and may damage human health, particularly in countries where they are poorly regulated or overused.</p><p><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/why-biodiversity-loss-hurts-humans-as-much-as-climate-change/a-48579014" target="_blank">A landmark report on biodiversity</a> published by UN-backed scientists last year found that converting land for intensive agriculture is one of the biggest drivers of wildlife loss and degradation of nature — and that this, in turn, endangers the global food system through the less of healthy soil, clean waterways and <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/insect-apocalypse-dying-ecosystem-species-loss-a-52160360/a-52160360" target="_blank">insects that pollinate plants</a>.</p>
Access to Finance<p>The area of organic farmland in Africa has doubled in the last decade to 2.1 million hectares, FiBL data shows, with the biggest organic centers in North and <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/feeding-east-africa-locals-skeptical-of-gm-crops/a-42385062" target="_blank">East Africa</a> and the crops they grow enjoyed the world over. In Kenya, nuts and coconuts dominate organic output. In Tunisia it is olives. Ethiopia and Tanzania are big coffee-growers, while in Uganda, home to the most organic producers in Africa, the crop of choice is cacao.</p><p>Despite some successes, farmers such as Nashera and Koleta, in Kenya, are caught in a bind between domestic markets not willing to pay a premium for organic food and wealthier regions to which they cannot export without expensive certification. A survey of African farmers by UNCTAD in 2016 found that a quarter of stakeholders thought access to finance had gotten more restrictive in the last five years. Only 13 percent said it had become more efficient.</p><p>But the industry is held back by more than just money, said Okisegere Ojepat, CEO of trade association Fresh Produce Kenya. A lack of crop-specific research and equipment, including understanding of weather patterns and pest control, is keeping farmers from innovating. Pushing for more organic farming without building technical capacity would not be sustainable in the long run, said Ojepat. "It is a double-edged sword."</p><p>Organic farmers looking to reach markets abroad are trying short-term fixes. To reduce the cost of certification — which requires paying auditors from Europe and North America to fly in and inspect farms — organic farmers could apply to be certified together, said Claire Nasike, founder of environmental educational charity the Hummingbird Foundation and an agroecologist at Greenpeace Africa, which has trained a network of farmers who are now applying to be certified as a group.</p><p>"The farmers are able to hold each other accountable," said Nasike. "If one person messes it up, the entire group's certification is cancelled."</p>
- 17 Food Heroes Who Are Making the World a Better Place - EcoWatch ›
- COVID-19 Is Hurting Kenyan Horticulture Exports ›
Farmworkers feed the world. This is the rallying cry of the Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), an organization that works with students, advocates, and farmworkers across the United States to create a more just agricultural system. The crucial contribution that farmworkers make to the food system has only heightened amid the C0VID-19 pandemic, as farmworkers are among the list of critical positions that the United States Department of Homeland Security encouraged to continue a normal working schedule.
1. American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)<p>The AFL-CIO is the largest U.S. based federation of unions that protects the rights of workers in a variety of industries, including food and agriculture. They take action to prevent child labor in agriculture, support diversity in farming and land access, improve farm and food worker wages, ensure overtime pay, and fight for immigration policies that help agricultural workers attain employment security.</p>
2. Center for Good Food Purchasing<p>The Center for Good Food Purchasing encourages large institutions to adopt the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) – an initiative that facilitates shifts in institutional food purchasing toward local food economies, environmental sustainability, valued workforce, animal welfare, and nutrition. Implementation of the GFPP is currently being carried out in multiple cities and school districts across the U.S.</p>
3. Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)<p>The CIW is a worker rights organization that exemplifies the power of farmworker community organizing. Their internationally recognized Worker-driven Social Responsibility paradigm led to significant advances in human rights within corporate supply chains. Through this approach, the CIW successfully negotiated agreements that improved worker labor standards and wages with Whole Foods, McDonald's, Subway, and Walmart through its Fair Food Program focused on Florida tomato growers.</p>
4. Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ)<p>CAGJ is a grassroots organization based in Seattle, WA that aims to strengthen local economies by transforming unjust trade and agricultural policies. Through community education, grassroots organizing, research and analysis, and media outreach they support healthy local food economies in which optimal labor rights are achieved.</p>
5. Fairfood International<p>Fairfood international works to create a food system in which value is distributed along the supply chain proportionally and food is produced with the wellbeing of people, animals, and the planet in mind. By advancing supply chain transparency they help the agri-food sector identify improvements in sustainability and solutions for the payment of a living wage in supply chains.</p>
6. Fair World Project (FWP)<p>FWP is a global organization devoted to promoting fair trade for small producers and labor justice for workers. They emphasize that unfair trade policies and corporate-friendly business practices continue to harm people and the planet. Their solution is to educate and advocate for a just global economy that respects the environment and they have <a href="https://fairworldproject.org/take-action/fair-food/" target="_blank">active campaigns</a> supporting coffee, melon, and cocoa farmers and farmworkers.</p>
7. Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)<p>FLOC is a labor union affiliated with the AFL-CIO that aims to give farmworkers a voice in the decisions that affect their economic security and wellbeing. Baldemar Velasquez founded the organization in 1967 and built it into a more than 20,000-member strong organization that mobilizes, educates, and trains farmworkers to advocate for their labor rights.</p>
8. Farmworker Justice<p>Farmworker Justice seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to achieve fair wages, occupational safety, immigration status, and improved overall living and working conditions. They frequently engage with government officials and administrative agencies to advocate for improvements in U.S. labor laws, guest worker programs, and clearer paths to U.S. citizenship for the <a href="https://www.farmworkerjustice.org/advocacy-and-programs/agjobs" target="_blank">approximately 1.25 million seasonal workers</a> on U.S. farms and ranches that lack authorized immigration status.</p>
9. Food Chain Workers Alliance (FCWA)<p>The Food Chain Workers Alliance is a Los Angeles, California based coalition of worker rights organizations. They advocate for improved wages and working conditions for the people who plant, harvest, process, pack, transport, prepare, serve, and sell food. The FCWA also leverages the Good Food Purchasing Program as a tool to win fair wages and improve working conditions within institutional supply chains.</p>
10. International Labor Organization (ILO)<p>The ILO is a United Nations agency devoted to promoting social justice and ensuring that internationally recognized human and labor rights are upheld. Their <a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/decent-work/lang--en/index.htm" target="_blank">Decent Work Agenda</a> focuses on working with stakeholders in their 187 member states to set labor standards and develop policies and programs that support decent work, fair globalization, and poverty reduction.</p>
11. La Via Campesina<p>La Via Campesina is an international coalition of organizations that defend food sovereignty as a way to promote social justice and worker dignity. They built a movement that amplifies the voices of smallholder peasant farmers and aims to decentralize the power of corporate driven agriculture, which they argue is destructive to the environment and social relations.</p>
12. Migrant Justice<p>The mission of Migrant Justice is to strengthen the capacity and power of the farmworker community to collectively organize for economic justice and human rights. By investing in leadership development, Migrant Justice enhances farmworker community members' skills in community organizing and capacity to produce systemic change. Among their accomplishments is the <a href="https://migrantjustice.net/victory" target="_blank">Milk with Dignity</a> agreement with Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, an industry contract to implement a worker-driven social responsibility program.</p>
13. Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA)<p>As an organization led by fisherfolk, NAMA was founded to promote healthy and economically secure fisheries and fishing communities. Their organizing efforts extend beyond human rights to include sustainability efforts that ensure the long-term resilience of marine food systems and the promotion of equitable access to fair markets for small and medium-scale community-based fisherfolk.</p>
14. Oxfam International<p>Oxfam international operates in more than 90 countries and is centrally focused on ending the injustice of global poverty. They place a large emphasis on food and farming in their work because they <a href="https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/issues/food-farming-and-hunger/" target="_blank">note</a> that three-fourths of the world's hungry people live in rural areas, many of whom are farmers, fishers, herders, and laborers. Through Oxfam's <a href="https://www.behindthebrands.org/" target="_blank">Behind the Brands Campaign</a>, consumers can track major food brand's progress in supporting farmworkers and the planet.</p>
15. Solidarity Center<p>The Washington, D.C. based Solidarity Center is an international organization partnering with over 400 labor unions and human rights organizations in 60 countries to support workers' rights. Seafood, agriculture, and food processing are among the many industries that they aim to effect change in by providing technical and legal expertise, bolstering union's advocacy efforts, connecting workers to protective networks, and more.</p>
16. Teamsters<p>Teamsters is one of North America's most diverse labor unions, representing workers in a wide range of industries from sanitation workers in New York to vegetable growers in California. The organization supports workers in advocating for contracts that ensure fair wages, health coverage, job security, paid time-off and retirement income. Once these contracts are negotiated, Teamsters works to hold companies accountable by invoking contract grievance procedures if necessary.</p>
17. United Farmworkers of America (UFW)<p>National Farmworker Awareness week ends on a day commemorating the founder of UFW, Cesar Chavez, because the organization is the nation's first union explicitly for farmworkers. Their work to protect labor rights in the agricultural sector continues today as they have facilitated dozens of UFW union contract victories that secured farmworkers' rights including fair wages, overtime pay, protections from occupational health hazards, and more.</p>
18. Walk Free<p>Walk free tackles one of the world's most complex and prevalent human rights issues—modern slavery. They devote resources and collaborative organizing efforts to drive behavior and legislative changes that liberate people trapped in slavery. They also conduct research to build a comprehensive database of the estimated <a href="https://www.minderoo.org/walk-free/#overview" target="_blank">44 million people</a> living in modern slavery and have campaigned to protect children working in the chocolate industry as well as farmworkers in the palm oil industry.</p><p>Farmworkers truly are the backbone of our food system and these 18 organizations work to ensure that their rights are being adequately met or exceeded. By continuing to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, farmworkers are risking their health to prevent disruptions in the food supply. National Farmworker Awareness Week provides a time to reflect on the contributions farmworkers make to society and raise awareness about the issues they continue to grapple with, especially in the face of global pandemic.</p><p>Student Action with Farmworkers has a number of <a href="https://saf-unite.org/content/national-farmworker-awareness-week" target="_blank">resources</a> and to help individuals and organizations engage in the 21st Annual National Farmworker Awareness week from March 25-31, 2020.</p>
The UN World Food Program (WFP) said on Tuesday that will need to raise $6.8 billion over the next six months to avert famine triggered by the coronavirus pandemic crisis.
Over 1 Billion Raised<p>The UN food agency is the world's largest humanitarian organization and it is entirely funded by donations. In 2019, the money it raised funded school meals for 17.3 million children globally and delivered 4.2 million tonnes of food to regions or countries.</p><p>Beasley is now urging donors, including governments and institutions, but also the more than 2,000 billionaires in the world - who hold a combined net worth of $8 trillion - to donate to the WFP.</p><p>The organization has so far raised $1.6 billion, far below the target needed this year. </p>
- UN: Acute Food Shortages Worldwide May Double Due to COVID-19 ›
- UN's World Food Programme Wins Nobel Peace Prize - EcoWatch ›
Efforts to contain the Wuhan coronavirus and fears that it can spread and form a global pandemic have slowed industries around the world.
Shipping is delayed, cars and electronics are stalled on the assembly line, and commodity markets around the world are predicting losses because of the virus. Fears around the virus even have Olympic officials worried that it could impact Tokyo's planning for the summer games scheduled for the end of July, according to CNN.
- Is the 2020 Olympics an Opportunity for Japan to Tackle Seafood ... ›
- Fukushima Radiation and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics - EcoWatch ›