Tag Archives: farming

Know Where Your Health Products Come From – The Beauty of Wakaya Island

Fiji Island daytrip on the SeasprayAt Intent we believe very firmly in knowing the source of the food you eat and the products you use in your wellness regimen. It’s almost impossible to avoid GMOs in the United States or to know exactly where your health products are coming from so it’s a relief when a health company is upfront with the process and source of their products.

We’ve talked a lot about the benefits and tips of Wakayan Perfection ginger, but what is so “perfect” about this particular brand of ginger? It’s the island it comes from, and how the ginger is cultivated from the soil.

If you’ve never heard of Wakaya Island, you’re probably not alone – it’s a 2,200 acre privately owned island in Fiji that I’m almost positive your World Geography professor never mentioned (there are 333 islands in Fiji, so you can let your professor slide on that). The island’s exclusivity, seclusion, and eco-friendly focus make it a rising luxury vacation destination and home to a new line of organic health products.

Fiji water founder, David Gilmour, purchased Wakaya in 1973 after he found the island uninhibited and envisioned a unique slice of island paradise that connected nature, luxury, and eco-wellness (is it just me or does this island sound beyond heavenly?). A health buff and entrepreneur, David recognized an opportunity to create a luxurious getaway location and develop a never-before-seen level of natural health and wellness products grown in the rich, untouched Wakaya soil.

After investing in some developmental needs such as paved roads, an airport, and fresh water, David and his wife, Jill, opened the Wakaya Club Resort in 1990 (designed and decorated by Jill). The resort merges luxury, nature, leisure, international cuisine, and seclusion – my idea of the perfect vacation.

In addition to the resort, David recently launched Wakaya Perfection, a line of organic ginger and dilo plant products (a unique Fijan plant and the next new super plant) grown in the virgin (uncontaminated by pesticides and GMOs) soil of Wakaya. Both the organic ginger roots and dilo plants are cultivated by hand (no machinery allowed) and only receive water from natural rainfall (no man-made irrigation system here). This takes organic to a whole new level!

While not all of us will be able to take our next vacation in Wakaya (although that would be pretty awesome – please send me pics if you go!), we can all benefit from the rich soil of the island when using Wakaya Perfection ginger products and dilo cream. Yeah, it’s not a private island getaway, but you’ll get a slice of the Wakaya island paradise while taking care of your health and wellness too!

3 Things to Restore Your Faith in Humanity After the “Breaking Bad” Finale

You Deserve All Good Things... it's true!Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock you know that last night was the series finale of AMC’s mega-Emmy-winning meth lab hit “Breaking Bad.” Most likely you fit into one of two groups – the millions who have waited with baited breath in hopes that Walter White (Bryan Cranston) would redeem himself or the fewer of us who had to scroll past all the moaning in our Facebook and Twitter feeds that he never did.

Either way, the finale has been rough on all of us. But just because Walter never saw the light doesn’t mean that we should give up hope. Check out these awesome do-gooders and humanitarians that will help you remember there’s still people out there fighting the good fight, and why we should join them.

  • Though he plays a “hapless meth addict” on Breaking Bad, actor Aaron Paul (Jesse) used his notoriety and the show’s popularity to raise $1.8 million for his wife’s anti-bullying charity The Kind Campaign. Paul helped raise awareness for the charity by flying out two lucky winners to Los Angeles for last night’s finale, where they hung out with the entire cast and had a “cooking” session with Aaron himself. You can read more about it here and take it as proof that good can come out on top.
  • After years of trying different trades, a farmer’s son travels to Cambodia to see their rice farms and realizes his destiny in life. He finds peace in himself working his family’s farm, and that acceptance moves him to tears. Watch this touching video as he explains the transformation and how working the land is contributing to the larger circle of existence.

  • What would the world be like if we were all just a little bit kinder? That’s the question posed at the beginning of this video montage of random acts of kindness in 2012. It’s a few minutes long, but everything is there – from strangers buying other people’s groceries to people lending a hand during natural disasters. It’s sure to warm your heart over from all those devastated Walter feelings.

Even if you aren’t a fan of “Breaking Bad” we hope these videos help lift your mood today! If you have any videos or stories of people being good to each other share them in the comments below! 

Is Test-Tube Meat the Way of the Future?

burgerAccording to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the world’s demand for meat is expected to increase by more than two-thirds in the near future. With the human population ever-increasing and farmland continually decreasing, this demand is becoming a nearly impossible task.

What creative solutions can you think of for this dilemma? Encourage people to eat less meat? Institute measures to slow population growth? Explore new, untapped meat sources (ever tried pigeon or squirrel?)?

These humble suggestions are much too simplistic for researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Their solution? Test-tube meat! By harvesting muscle cells from a cow and combining it with a solution of sugars, fats, minerals, and proteins, Professor Mark Post and his team have created the first test-tube hamburger. Two brave volunteers tried the hamburger this morning at a private gathering in London, reporting not surprisingly that the meat lacked flavor.

The cultured meat of course lacks real fat, which is where much of the flavor comes from, as well as blood cells which leaves it an unappetizing gray color. But not to worry, the researchers added red beet juice to the mix to make it look more realistic:


This honestly seems like a bizarre path to go down to solve the growing global food crisis. Obviously we can no longer maintain the status quo, but might there not be simpler, more natural solutions?

In this video, the researchers and other science and technology leaders discuss the viability of the cultured meat option. In a direct counter to what our initial reaction might be, Google founder Sergey Brin states: “If what you’re doing is not seen by some people as science fiction, it’s probably not transformative enough.”

What do you think? Would you eat a test-tube hamburger? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images via Cultured Beef Project

Finding Neutrality in the Genetically Modified Food Debate

GMO debate IntentI’ve been heavily involved in understanding and tracking the GMO debate for many years.  As an expert for the natural products industry, the issue of genetic modification and the role it should or should not play in natural products is a heavily debated (and litigated) topic. You need look no further than the New York Times, the Dr. Oz show, or your Facebook feed to get a dose of the emotion and polarized positions on both sides of this subject.

Over the course of these years I have come to a couple conclusions that I believe heavily influence our ability to productively communicate about this issue: 1) Despite the rapidly growing debate on this subject, there is still an incredible lack of awareness about GMO and an even bigger level of ignorance about the various topics at play under the “GMO” label, and 2) the emotional intensity this topic carries with it makes improved education, understanding and rational dialog a seemly impossible task at times.

I confess that I also feel a lot of emotion about this subject and wish for more information and understanding. I am troubled by conventional farming practices, the petro-chemical use required to keep it going and the seeming disregard for the natural wisdom of nature. I worry about the global impact the spread of these farming practices into developing countries will have not only to the health of the soil and people but to the traditional farming wisdom that will no longer be passed from generation to generation.

On the flip side, I believe that as humans we are hard-wired to experiment, research and evolve our understanding of the world. Given what I know of evolution and farming, biotechnology seems like a logical place for exploration in science. It’s in the application of this science that things start to get complicated to me. My sense is that, like most things, the best scenario for people and the planet as it relates to GMO is toward the center from either side of the extreme.

Last week I came across a series of articles that are currently posting on Grist.org attempting to do the thing I’ve been hoping I would have the ability to do myself someday – investigate and dissect this issue without emotion and understand the impact of biotechnology in food crops on human and planet health.

Like me, the reporter, Nathanael Johnson, has been wishing for a rational dissection of this issue for many years. I’ve spoken to some of the same people he’s interviewed for this series and am impressed by the depth of his research. I’ve been reading and note taking as each of his articles are published and hope that if you’re also seeking to understand this complex issue, you will take the time to read his pieces as well.

You can find a link to the first article in his series here and can find links to subsequent articles in the series at the bottom of the piece.

Like this post?

Image by Steve Rhodes

How Many Insects Do We Eat Everyday Without Knowing It?

It’s kind of hard to practice mindful living and healthy eating when you discover that even seemingly benign products like canned mushrooms and chocolate contain…wait for it…certain accepted levels of insects! Gross, right?

BuzzFeedFood released this video which gives us some perspective on just how many creepy crawlies we may be ingesting everyday without even knowing it:

Pretty distressing, indeed. But according to Food Service Warehouse, it may behoove us to eat more insects, anyways. It takes 2,850 grams of carbon dioxide (measured in grams per kilogram of mass gain) to produce beef, compared with 1.57 grams to harvest crickets. Teriyaki crickets for lunch, anyone? This is no laughing matter, though, and some current research is seriously looking into harvesting insects as a sustainable alternative to animal meat as a protein source. Here is a portion of an infographic published by Food Service Warehouse that goes into further depth on this topic. Click the image for the full graphic:

Would you be willing to switch out hamburgers and club sandwiches for locust kabobs and grilled crickets? And what about those trace amounts of maggots and other insect fragments in our chocolate, spices, apple butter, and other food products? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

photo by: CoCreatr

Real Food: Why Biodiversity Can Save Our Bodies and Our Planet

Have we declared war on the Earth?

According to Vandana Shiva, a renowned physicist, philosopher, and eco feminist, this is indeed the path we are treading. It’s a bold statement, but one that might not be foreign to you, especially in the midst of a growing environmental movement. Most of us nowadays have heard about climate change. We’ve heard about the melting ice caps and the rise of greenhouse gases. We’ve seen pictures of activists hanging off oil rigs and polar bears floating on diminished chunks of glaciers. The environment is in a state of crisis, we are well aware. And yet what does it all mean? How did we get here?

In the latest episodes of SAGES & SCIENTISTS on The Chopra Well, Vandana Shiva discusses agriculture, biodiversity, sustainability, and the importance of making peace with the Earth. For Shiva, this is a systemic issue, intrinsic in the very ways we think about nature. To address this, we must first turn to the food on our plates.

Shiva emphasizes that industrial farming is at the core of environmental degradation. This long-outdated form of agriculture, to which we have ascribed for roughly 200 years, wreaks havoc on the environment. Shiva refers to the overuse of pesticides and herbicides, as well as genetic modification of crops, as forms of violence against the Earth. This in turn translates to violence against people, against all species, against democracy, and against science itself. Reconstituted soy flour will never replace lentils, no matter how cheap or easy to produce. Chemical pesticides derived from war technology will never make our crops more abundant nor our bodies more hearty.

And yet, as Shiva relays, companies like Monsanto increasingly overpower rural farming efforts around the world and impose a framework of thinking rooted in industrial agriculture. According to Shiva, 95% of the cotton in India is owned by Monsanto. It is little wonder the country has witnessed an increase in suicides by cotton farmers who are quickly falling into debt, unable to compete with the industrial giants. These are some of the issues that inspire Shiva to put her scientific training to use as an environmental activist.

In 1984, Shiva founded Navdanya, a non-governmental organization dedicated to conserving biodiversity, organic farming, and the rights of farmers. She went on to establish Bija Vidyapeeth, or Earth University, where people gather on a property in Northern India to learn organic farming and sustainable practices. But for Shiva, organic farming is just the tip of a long, complicated struggle for cultural and economic freedom. We can begin making peace with the Earth, she says, by shifting our current framework of thinking toward one that recognizes and appreciates the diversity on our planet. Varieties of plants, landscapes, climates, animals, and cultures…this is the real tapestry of which we are a part.

The future may depend on this shift toward biodiversity, and our bodies certainly won’t complain. Think of it this way: Would you rather sit down to a bowl of wholesome lentil dal or a serving of reconstituted soy flour mush?

Let us know in the comments below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more SAGES & SCIENTISTS, and let’s keep these critical discussions going!

photo by: Peter Blanchard

Make a Difference Mondays: Organic Consumers Association

Organic Consumers Association

Website: http://organicconsumers.org/

Who They’re Serving: Everyone concerned with GE foods, truth in labeling, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability, and corporate accountability in the food and farming industries.

Mission: The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children’s health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. They are the only organization in the US focused on promoting the views and interests of the nation’s estimated 76 million organic and socially responsible consumers.

Why We Chose Them: The recent uprising against Monsanto genetically engineered and modified foods (see Millions Against Monsanto for more info) the current California GMO Labeling Ballot Initiative (the first of its kind in America) and Whole Food bowing to USDA pressure to accept the mass commercialization of GE crops have highlighted the upcoming need for grassroots and citizen led protest against these types of changes to the food industry and the need for truth in labeling regarding all GE products.

How You Can Make a Difference:

  • Visit the Take Action tab on the Organic Consumers Association Website to quickly fill out online petitions you would like to support.Volunteer to help collect signatures in the State of California for the California GMO Labeling Ballot Initiative. Over 80,000 signatures are needed to get the CA Food Labeling Act of 2012 on the Ballot. Simply linking you Facebook, blog, or website to this online petition can help get this act on the ballot.
  • Donate online to the Organic Consumers Association to help support this type of grassroots lobbying and legislative action to support organic and sustainable food and farming.
  • Subscribe to Organic Bytes the OCA’s weekly email publication.

Make a Difference Mondays is a series here at IntentBlog to spotlight individuals, organizations, and causes making a positive difference in our global community. We’ll also be sharing opportunities for engagement and suggesting tangible actions you can take to make the world a better place. 

Gone Gardening!

All pics copyright of Meady’s Musings Production.

I’ve been talking about it for sometime and today I’ve finally Gone Gardening! It wasn’t like how I all had it planned out. Yep! I got my seeds in courtesy Amazon…I was planting things originally from Italy and India right in my Trini backyard soil with my hands that were a genetic expression of genes cooked up somewhere in the North of India in the 19th century. To try to put it simpler I was planting the seeds of plants whose origin were from Italy and India and I myself am of India origin. And all these seeds like me are going to be grown up on Trini sunshine, water and soil so all are going to be Trini in the end just like me! However my plans didn’t unfold exactly as I had planned. I figured my mum would help…

…but didn’t realize I’d have this many helpers! Why it could have been called a community garden project in the end really! So I didn’t get to plant exactly what I had planned or to even label where I put everything but I feel in the end it was best for the plants cause like with prayers it is always better when done together and more souls gather pouring their energies into these plants. And I will let the pictures tell the story but you will see I got more than just human help! 🙂 So truly universal energy flowing in those plants you see! 🙂 I also said the Gayatri Mantra just before I planted the first set of seeds and you know that’s all about soaking in the Morning’s Energy! And my plants were planted in a spot such that they will catch the morning sunrise full blast yet be able to catch the bask of the sunset too!

In the end I got to plant not all of my cadre of seeds so there are plenty more stock in my fridge to deal with after these lives unfold…but here is what I’ve planted so far again no real controls so these are approximate numbers:

I kicked things off by throwing in these 50 seeds or so of a variety of hot peppers that at the bottom of my mum’s already flourishing habanero pepper batch (a very hot pepper of South American origin)and it is then I said the Gayatri mantra so I figure these peppers will turn out extra hot!

-About 50 seeds of tomatoes25 gold currant cherry and 25 costoluto genovese (not sure if I got the Italian right by the way!)
About 70 seeds of eggplant or baigan as we call it here in Trini- 35 seeds of (Italian)Aubergine Viserba and 35 seeds of an (Indian) Eggplant Ratna.
-30 seeds of CalWonder Bell Sweet Pepper (Heirloom)

They were all put into these little seedling pots my uncle showed up with! One of the helpers that showed up to make the project grander. Along with my nieces and nephew who wanted to each be part of planting the Ratna seeds! Everyone was so excited to do it my aunt’s German Shepherd even sniffed a seed or two!Here the pics to prove it!:

Then I finished off mostly on my own planting two sets of herbs in a long tray pot 3 pots in all six variety of herbs last I counted and the last pack of herbs- coriander/cilantro I threw in with them hot peppers so I tell you one hot bed that is gonna be! But although I cannot tell you which pot has which I ended up planting these herbs:

-Basil (Genovese Italian)
-French Rosemary
-True Greek Oregano
-Common English Thyme
-Parsley (Italian Dark Green Flat)
-Sage (Garden Broadleaf)
-Cilantro/Coriander (Slow Bolting)

Hmmm….so some other Europeans jumping up in my Trini hot bed I see! 🙂 I also planted those Sunflowers!-Titans, Mongolian, Earthwalkers and a blend set

But what’s in a name I say as I learnt from the teachings of J.Krishnamurti when I was about 14 when we humans name plants and trees and things we fail to see the beauty inherent in them! So what does it matter where the seeds come from…What my hope for my little ones are is that they will grow well and bear as best they can and nourish the bodies of those who grew them! I hope that they will also be a springboard for me to consider the road raw again! 🙂

So I hope all my readers on Blogger, Intent, Copperstrings and Maythil will all good tidings bring and my little kitchen garden will bear many a wondrous and nourishing thing!

And I say this mantra to my little seeds as published by DK Matai on the Intent community!

‘This feeling is reflected in the Gayatri chant in Sanskrit from The Rig Veda, 1500 BCE:

Om bhur bhuvah suvah
Pronunciation: Om boor boo-vah-ha soo-vah-ha
Translation: Truth, earth, atmosphere, heaven

Tat savitur varenyam
Pronunciation: Tut sah-vee-toor vah-rain-yum
Translation: May we meditate on the radiant light

Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Pronunciation: Bar-go day-vass-yuh dee-ma-hee
Translation: Of that brilliant creator

Dhiyo yo nah pracodayat
Pronunciation: Dee-yo yo na-ha prah-cho-die-yot
Translation: Who may guide our thoughts

Called the Gayatri Mantra (gayatri comes from the root "sing"), it’s considered among the most powerful of the yogic incantations. In the yogic tradition, light equals knowledge. This particular chant is about linking the sun with our thoughts and enlightening ourselves by means of higher knowledge.

First recorded in the Rig-Veda, the ancient Hindu scripture dating back more than 3,500 years.’
And here is a YouTube clip of the chant so that my seeds might hear it on the blogosphere in the Universal vibes that makes all things in this Universe one! 🙂

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