Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Demand for Organic Food Items Rising

Demand for organic food items is on the rise during the last few years. According to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), production of certified organic agri-products for the last 3 years is as under:

(Million tonnes)
(Million tonnes)
(Million tonnes)

Government is providing incentives to cultivators of organic food products under the "National Horticulture Mission" (NHM) @ Rs 10,000/- per ha for maximum area of 4 ha per beneficiary, setting up of vermi-compost units, @50% of the cost, subject to a maximum of Rs 30,000/- per beneficiary and organic farming certification @ Rs. 5.00 lakh for a group of farmers covering an area of 50 ha.

            This information was given by Shri Harish Rawat, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=80840

Go Organic and stay healthy ---- Organic Sansar

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bollywood Plays Organic Holi

Actors feel the need not to waste natural resources and to be kind to the environment.
Bollywood has been actively celebrating Holi for years now. With being a celebrity comes responsibility, and a few actors have become really responsible - they urge you to have a dry Holi. Do we really need to waste water, when Indian cities not only have a shortage of the natural resource, but the fact that the resource can be used for other things like electricity for example?

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and director Vipul Shah, during the shooting of Action Replayy, preferred that Holi sequence be shot without water. " Mumbai was facing a huge water shortage at that time, and it didn't make sense to make matters worse. I think we got a lovely shot. The song looks so colourful, and the spirit of the festival of colours loomed all over," said director Vipul Shah.

Actor Ronit Roy is another one who spells the need for organic colour. "Holi has changed these days. People need to become more social conscience. The kind of colour being used is so bad that you can hardly get it out with water. It pollutes the air, too. We need natural, organic colour. Who says we can't have a good time with those?" he said perturbed.

Vivek Oberoi likes celebrating this festival in a slightly different way that would bring colour and a smile on the faces of the underprivileged. The actor celebrated Holi for the first time with ever only last year. "I spent it with underprivileged kids. We had a good time. It was simple. Just some little gulal," he said.

Actress Anushka Sharma and Actor Rahul Bose urge all to use organic colour. "It's better for your skin," says Anushka, "And good for the environment," adds Rahul Bose.
Organic and Herbal Holi Gulal: Organic Sansar

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Organic farming in Haryana Chandigarh

Hafed to boost organic farming in Haryana Chandigarh, Mar 4

Chandigarh, Mar 4 : As a result of the constant efforts of Haryana State Cooperative Supplies and Marketing Federation , an area of 295.5 acres in Kaithal, Karnal and Kurukshetra districts has achieved the status of 100 per cent organic certification.
Organic Products in Madhya Pradesh:  Organic Sansar : www.organicsansar.com

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Green Gifting Ideas

Green Gifting is an emerging trend that results in a lower environmental impact as well as a lower impact on personal budgets from the gift giving process. It began with the idea of recycling the packaging around a gift and has expanded into the mindset that presents themselves can be chosen or created for the purpose of recycling or lowering their environmental and budgetary impact. (Source: Wikipedia)
The concept of re-gifting is not uncommon and has traditionally been followed upon. Some of the Green Gifting ideas are as follows:
  1. Gift something which is based on green or eco-friendly concept like Organic Food and Cosmetics, Solar Products etc.
  2. Use recycled wrapping paper, bows, or gift bags.
  3. Substitute newspaper or cloth for wrapping paper. 
  4. Create a present by hand.
  5. Give a pass or tickets of local zoo, museum, or state and national park.
  6. Search online for additional creative ideas.

Take steps to be in the "Green Bandwagon".

Contact Organic Sansar (www.organicsansar.com) for more on Green Gifting options. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Walnut Oil

Walnut oil is oil extracted from English walnuts (also known as Persian walnuts). It is about 50% linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid. Walnut oil is also a good source ofomega-3 fatty acids which are also essential to human nutrition.
Culinary Use
Walnut oil is edible and is generally used less than other oils in food preparation, often due to high pricing. It is light-coloured and delicate in flavour and scent, with a nutty quality. Although sometimes used for pan frying, most chefs do not use walnut oil for high temperature cooking, as heating can remove some of the oil's flavour & nutrition and produce a slight bitterness; instead it is used primarily as an ingredient in cold dishes such as salad dressings, where its flavour more easily comes through. In addition, the antioxidants present in the oil are easily destroyed in cooking.
Walnut Oil Health Benefits
The health benefits of walnut oil are becoming more readily apparent with each passing year. Several medical studies have conducted research that indicates that walnut oil offers a rich source for antioxidants, specifically ellagic acid. This antioxidant has been found to detoxify several substances linked to the development of certain cancers. In addition, ellagic acid also helps to obstruct these cancer cells from replicating themselves. Walnut oil is also rich in manganese and copper, as well as melatonin, a hormone that aids in regulation of the body’s internal clock. As if this weren’t enough, studies have revealed that walnut oil helps in lowering endothelin levels. Endothelin is a chemical that assists in inflaming the arteries. By lowering the levels of endothelin, plaque cannot accumulate in the blood vessels as efficiently. In other words, consumption of walnut oil may help prevent the chances of developing heart disease. In addition to these benefits, the high content of omega-3 oils provides heart-protecting effects, as well as anti-cancer and weight-reducing properties
The cost of walnut oil is higher than that of most other oils, but the payoff is worth it. In addition to providing a delicate flavor that enhances many foods, walnut oil also has therapeutic properties when applied to the skin, and may even act to ward off both cancer and heart disease.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Schools must Go Organic !!!

Thinking outside of the lunchbox

We’ve all heard the frightening statistics on the current state of public school lunches. Most school lunch programs use food that is processed, genetically modified, and contains high-starch ingredients. Rarely are organic options available.

However, with child obesity on the rise and pressure to make our school lunch programs healthier, organic school lunches are beginning to gain momentum. First, there are many avenues you can take to help make your child’s school lunch healthier on the home front while working to incorporate organic into your local school district.

School Lunches

Encouraging schools to partner with area farmers and organic community gardens is a great way to introduce organic foods. It can also become a hands-on way for students to learn more about organic farming and gardening practices while gaining an understanding of where their food comes from and what happens to it before arriving on their plates.
There's hope, however - but only if you're willing to actively join the fight. The Organic Consumers Association has launched the Appetite for a Change campaign, which is gathering support to:
  • Eliminate junk food from school campuses
  • Replace nutritionally bankrupt food choices with more healthful whole foods, vegetarian fare and organic food (no pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiation or genetically engineered ingredients)
  • Offer solid nutrition education in classrooms
  • Ban pesticides from school grounds
"We truly can change the paradigm by making nutritious, delicious food and nutrition education a priority in our schools,"

Alfalfa - "Father of all foods"

What is Alfalfa?

Alfalfa is a plant which sends its roots down twenty to thirty feet into the ground and brings up the minerals that are not available on the surface. For this reason, the Arabic word Alfalfa means "father of plants". Alfalfa is rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that play a vital role in the strength and growth of our bones and in the maintenance of a healthy body. It contains protein and vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. It also contains calcium, potassium, carotene, iron, and zinc. It can be taken in the form of seeds, leaves or tablets.

What are the Benefits of Alfalfa?

Alfalfa has been used by the Chinese since the sixth century to treat several health conditions. It is considered the richest land source of trace minerals. Rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients Alfalfa makes an amazing herbal remedy. Its specific benefits include:
  • Curing kidney problems, and relieving fluid retention and swelling.
  • Curing auto-immune disorder.
  • Healing arthritis.
  • Nourishing the digestive, skeletal, glandular and urinary system.
  • Cleansing the blood, liver and bowel.
  • Lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Preventing strokes.
  • Healing whooping cough.

Uses of Alfalfa

Home Remedy for Arthritis

Since alfalfa is very rich in minerals needed for the formation and strengthening of bones, a tea made from alfalfa (especially from its seeds) has shown beneficial results in the treatment of arthritis

Home Remedy for Diabetes

Alfalfa is known to reduce blood sugar levels, and is therefore considered a natural treatment for diabetes

Remedy for Kidney Stones

Vitamins A, C, E and Zinc are proven to help dissolve kidney stones. You can find these vitamins and minerals in Alfalfa powder and Alfalfa sprouts. 

Natural Treatment for Hair Loss and Balding

The juice of alfalfa, in combination with equal amounts of carrot and lettuce juice, taken daily, assists in the growth of hair to an amazing extent. The combination of these juices is rich in elements which are especially helpful for the growth of hair and the prevention of hair loss.

Alfalfa also works as a detoxifier, infection fighter and cleanser, and is particularly noted for its diuretic effect, helping to expel retained fluid from the body. It is good for colon disorders and helps detoxify the liver. Chinese healers in the 6th Century used Alfalfa to treat kidney stones and to relieve fluid retention and swelling.

How to consume Alfalfa ?

Alfalfa can be consumed in the form of powder or tablets which are available at Organic Sansar.

Organic Holi Green Holi - Choose purity over toxicity

The colorful festival of Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renews sweet relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other 'Happy Holi'.
But unfortunately, in modern times Holi does not stand for all things beautiful. Like various other festivals, Holi too has become ruthlessly commercialized, boisterous and yet another source of environmental degradation. To de-pollute Holi and make it in sync with nature, as it is supposed to be, several social and environmental groups are proposing a return to more organic ways of celebrating Holi.

The aim of this articles is to generate awareness amongst people about the various harmful effects around Holi celebrations and encourage people to celebrate an eco friendly Holi Organically!  

Please read on to know about the three main environmental concerns around Holi –

A.    Harmful Effects of Chemical Colours
B.    The Holi Bonfire
C.   Watery Holi

A. Harmful Effects of Chemical Colours: In earlier times when festival celebrations were not so much commercialized Holi colors were prepared from the flowers of trees that blossomed during spring, such as the Indian Coral Tree (parijat) and the Flame of the Forest (Tesu), both of which have bright red flowers. These and several other blossoms provided the raw material from which the brilliant shades of Holi colours were made. Most of these trees also had medicinal properties and Holi colors prepared from them were actually beneficial to the skin.
Over the years, with the disappearance of trees in urban areas and greater stress for higher profits these organic colours came to be replaced by industrial dyes manufactured through chemical processes.

Around in 2001, two Delhi based environmental groups called Toxics Link and Vatavaran, did a study on all the three available categories of colours available in the market - pastes, dry colours and water colours. The study revealed that all of these three forms of chemical Holi colors are hazardous.

a) Harmful Chemicals in Holi Paste type colors
According to their researched fact sheet on Holi, the pastes contain very toxic chemicals that can have severe health effects. Please check the table below to know about the chemical used in various Holi colors and their harmful effects on human body.

Health Effects
Lead oxide
Renal Failure
Copper Sulphate
Eye Allergy, Puffiness and temporary blindness
Aluminium Bromide
Prussian Blue
Contract Dermatitis
Mercury Sulphite
Highly toxic can cause skin cancer
(Source: Vatavaran)

b) Harmful Chemicals in Gulal
The dry colours, commonly known as gulals, have two components – a colourant that is toxic and a base which could be either asbestos or silica, both of which cause health problems. Heavy metals contained in the colourants can cause asthma, skin diseases and adversely affect the eyes. Chemical based colors can not only harm your skin,eyes,hair but can also be carcinogenic and cause permanent disorder to your precious organs.

c) Harms of Wet Holi Colors
Wet colours, mostly use Gentian violet as a colour concentrate which can cause skin dis-colouration and dermatitis.

These days, Holi colours are sold loosely, on the roads, by small traders who often do not know the source. Sometimes, the colours come in boxes that specifically say ‘For industrial use only’. These colours can have an adverse effect and can cause several skin related problems.

Ways to Combat harmful effects Make your own Holi colours

i) Make Organic Colours in our Homes:
With a little bit of imagination, exciting, natural and eco-friendly colours can be made at home too. Feel free to experiment textures and strength of colours to your taste.

For dry powders you may use these:

  • GREEN: Mehandi or henna powder or powder from dried tulsi.
  • RED: Grind dried petals of hibiscus or rose flowers.
  • YELLOW: Grind dried petals of marigold or chrysanthemum flowers, or use turmeric powder.
  • BLUE: Grind dried petals of jacaranda or blue hibiscus flowers.

To increase the bulk to the above, you can add any flour such as chickpea flour(besan), wheat flour(atta or maida) or rice flour:

For wet colours, you can derive them in the following manner:

  • GREEN: Grind into a fine paste spinach, mint, coriander and dilute with water.
  • RED: Soak pomegranate peels or red hibiscus petals in water overnight. Juice of tomatoes and carrots give an orange-red colour though they need to be strained and diluted.
  • YELLOW: Boil turmeric in water to get a concentrate. Allow to cool and dilute as required. Alternatively, boil marigold or chrysanthemum petals in water, and leave overnight to cool.
  • MAGENTA: Grate beetroot and soak in water. To get a stronger colour, boil and allow to cool.
  • BROWN: Boil tea and/or coffee in water and strain.
  • BLACK: Boil dried Amla(Indian Gooseberry) in an iron pot (kadai) and cool overnight. Dilute as necessary. Alternatively, grind black grapes, dilute and strain.

(preparation ideas condensed from www.holi.org)

All these home made preparations are totally harmless, and can be quite therapeutic. You could use the dry powders, along with multi-coloured lentils for making a chemical-free rangoli for your Holi decorations.
Wish you a really fun and “green” Holi!

ii) Purchase Organic Holi Colors
For those who do not have the time to make their own colours, there is the choice of buying organic Holi colours. Several groups are now producing and promoting such colours, although it is important to verify the ingredients of the colours and ensure you know enough about the source.
In Indore Organic Sansar, M.S.B. IIB, 105, New Siyaganj, Ph. No. 0731-2530220 is promoting such colours.

B. The Holi Bonfire: The burning of fuel wood to create the bonfire for Holika Dahan presents another serious environmental problem. According to the facts of various studies done reveal that each bonfire uses around 100 kg of wood, and considering that approximately 30,000 bonfires are lit in the state just for one season, this leads to wastage of a staggering amount of wood.

Various Groups are now advocating one symbolic community fire, rather than several smaller bonfires across the city as a way to reduce wood consumption. Others are also suggesting that these fires be lit using waste material rather than wood.

C. Watery Holi: In the current situation, when most cities in India are facing acute water scarcity, the wasteful use of water during Holi, is also being questioned. It is common for people to douse each other with buckets of water during Holi, and children often resort to throwing water balloons at each other. The idea of a dry Holi seems alien at first, especially as the climate becomes warmer around Holi, and the water provides welcome relief from the heat. However, considering that in some urban areas, citizens can go without water for several days, it seems wasteful to use so much water simply for a celebration.

Environmental Consciousness amongst People

Stop abusing chemicals and start respecting nature. This Holi, become one with nature by using colors made from leaves, fruits, roots, barks & flowers of plants, and packaged in Eco-friendly materials. The awareness about the environmental impacts of celebrating Holi is being brought to light by various NGOs. And gradually, more and more Indians are choosing to turn to a more organic and less wasteful way of playing Holi.