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Wanderlust Yoga Festival Offers Yoga, Music, Wine and Gourmet Organics

It is no wonder some yogis these days have acquired rock star status. There are places where yoga enthusiasts eager to deepen their practice can not only take a class from their most praised yoga teacher, they can do it along a backdrop of musical talents such as Ani Difranco, Ziggy Marley, and the Thievery Corporation. As modern yoga teachers join forces with hip and groovy musicians, the old days of dry, serious, and esoteric yoga gatherings make way for the new age, trendy yoga festivals where everyone can feel like a rock star.

Wanderlust, a mind-blowing music and yoga extravaganza, began as a reason to throw a really fun party and invite people who share like-minded ideals such as yoga, the arts, spirituality, environmentalism and sustainability, and organic farming. Husband and wife duo Jeff Krasno and Schuyler Grant put their heads together with their good friend from college, Sean Hoess, and the dream of creating something profound and enlightening became a reality.

Taking place in the gorgeous settings of Vermont, Colorado, California, and Canada, Wanderlust not only combines yoga with music, it also brings in top chefs and wine makers. A typical day might include taking power yoga with Baron Baptiste and then dancing to the trance-like sounds of the Thievery Corporation. Or perhaps you gain motivation from the brilliant karma yogi activist Seane Corn while she shares the stage with poet, composer, and musician Michael Franti. However you choose to spend your day, know that you can also be sipping organic wine and tasting professionally prepared gourmet food whenever the mood strikes.


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8 Reasons For Eating Local

Broad Ripple Farmers Market, IndianapolisSometimes as bloggers, we write things that we want other people to read, and sometimes we write things that we need to remember ourselves. Sometimes when you are making a change, it helps to say it out loud to someone else to make it more real for yourself. Today, I need to say out loud that I am re-committing to eating local food (Everyone falls off the wagon at some point.) These are eight reasons why you might always want to eat local.

1. Allergies Eating locally made honey is supposed to be good for your allergies because the bees are using the local pollen, what is likely causing your allergic reactions. It is the same theory as a vaccine – if you are given a little, your body learns how to fight it, so you develop an immunity. Plus, you’re much more likely to get actual honey than at a store.

2. The real scoop Often when shopping at farmers markets, you get to talk to the actual farmers to get the real scoop on the types of chemicals were used, where animals reside, and what they are fed. Just because something is labeled organic does not mean that chemicals have not been used.


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Kallari Chocolate Company Goes Beyond Fair Trade

Millions of people are planning on buying, giving and eating chocolate in celebration of love on Valentine’s Day. This time of year means big sales for chocolate companies. If you are interested in buying chocolate that supports fair labor standards, as well as those that do not harm the environment or your body, make sure you are well educated as to where your chocolate comes from and how it was harvested.

Of the many types and varieties of chocolate on the market, not all adhere to certifiable fair trade standards, which means there is little concern about the environment or the people who work hard to bring your sweet treat to a store near you. Those that do however will display the words Fair Trade on their labeling, making it easy for the consumer to be aware that they have kept up with the requirements necessary to be certified fair trade.

One notable chocolate manufacturing company that does not flaunt a fair trade certification, however surpassed fair trade standards and brought their harvesting and processing techniques to a remarkably high level of ideals. Kallari, the only line of world-class, certified organic dark chocolate is operated by an indigenous cooperative of organic cocoa growers who gain 100% of the profits for which they work so hard.


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Certified Naturally Grown Offers Alternative to USDA Organic

round certified naturally grown sealIn 2002, a federal law passed that only allows products to be labeled “organic” if they have gone through the USDA certification process, but not every farmer who uses organic practices has the certification. The process is time consuming and also comes with a thousand dollar fee, and some small farmers simply find that the USDA’s program is a bad fit for the scale of their operations.

However, Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) offers farmers and beekeepers a way to assure consumers about their practices. We are frequently warned that the word “natural” is a marketing term used in greenwashing, but the farmers who participate in this program are committed to healthy and sustainable agriculture. “The O-word is forbidden unless you get special permission to use it, so we’re the alternative way to describe what they do,” explains Alice Varon, the executive director of Certified Naturally Grown. “It can be a very convenient short-hand way of communicating about their growing practices.”

There are 800 farms and apiaries located in 47 states that have the grassroots certification. From a consumer’s perspective, produce that carries the Certified Naturally Grown seal is equivalent to that which carries the USDA certification. It’s grown without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic herbicides or fungicides. Certified Naturally Grown’s standards are based on internally recognized standards. “We’re not trying to define anything radically different,” says Varon.


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5 New Members Appointed to the National Organic Standards Board

Five new members of the National Orround USDA Certified Organic logoganic Standards Board (NOSB) will be taking office this January, having won approval from the USDA earlier this month. The 15-member board is responsible for setting and upholding the national organic standards, in addition to determining what substances may be used in USDA-certified organic products.

The NOSB is comprised of four farmers, three environmentalists, three consumer interest advocates, two handlers, one retailer, one scientist and one USDA certifying agent, in order to properly represent the different interests of the organic farming community.

The new members will be:

Harold V. Austin (Handler)
Austin current is the director of Orchard Administration at Zirkle Fruit Company, an organic fruit tree grower and shipper. He is also a board member of two organic advisories, the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Organic Advisory Board and the Northwest Horticultural Council’s Science Advisory Board.

Carmela Beck (Farmer)
Beck is the National Organic Program Supervisor and Organic Certification Grower Liaison for Driscoll’s, one of the largest organic berry producers in the country. She previously worked for a an organic certification agency, and for the American Indian Resource Center.


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