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article imageThe organic food scene in Halifax, Nova Scotia Special

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By Sara Star     Mar 24, 2011 in Food
Halifax - "Good food - Good for you - Good for the earth." That is the motto at Planet Organic, a Canadian store that supplies organic food and household supplies.
Though one can write many books on this subject, here is a brief overview of some of the organic food options offered in Halifax Nova Scotia.
Planet Organic is Canada's largest natural food retailer with eight stores coast to coast.
Visiting the Halifax store on Quinpol Road, one can find fresh healthy vegetables and fruits, dairy product and meats. They also offer wild salmon, which is rare to find. The store, though small in size, supplies most everything one may need - natural products such as vitamins, along with cleaning agents, toilet paper, bulk food section and much more.
There are several health food stores in the area, including Nature's Cove, which opened one year ago. Manager Jennifer Todd dispells the belief that organic is always more expensive. "Our goal is to provide affordable healthy products," she continued, "The price of our organic turkey is cheaper than the chain grocery stores."
There are some concerns toward the possible health implications associated with the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. More recently, these chemicals are being labelled "obesogens" or Endocrine Distruptors. Besides targeting the brain and liver, they have been found to promote weight gain - hence the name obesogens.
For example: Strawberries can be covered in pesticides and the chemicals can go into your body and irritate your liver and cause you to grow more fat cells. This is yet another reason to buy organic produce!
Another local alternative is to get home grown organic fruits and vegetable delivered directly to your home, on a weekly basis along with other options. Home Grown Organic Foods advocates the growing demand for healthy, locally grown, affordable and ecologically sustainable organic food.
HGOF is dedicated towards providing health conscious consumers with a sustainable alternative to conglomerate, profit-driven supermarkets In Nova Scotia the two large grocers are Superstore and Sobeys. They are starting to offer more organic choice because consumers are demanding it. But unlike European practise, the grocers lump the organic food with the regular food, sitting beside pesticide full fruits and vegetables.
The Atlantic voices of organics has been an organization called Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network since 2000. Known as ACORN, it is a hub of information on local organic agriculture, bringing retailers and consumers together. On their site, you will find a link to at least 26 organic farms in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, one can live and work on the farms, through SOIL, an apprenticeship program, started in 1989.
GMO labelling
Mandatory labelling of GE products is already enforced in at least 40 countries such as China, Germany, France, Russia and the UK, but Canada has yet to follow suit.
According to The Sun, Canada and the United States -- the world's main producers of GE crops -- do not require labelling of genetically engineered foods. Canada instead allows the industry to voluntarily label GE foods. Hence, in 2008, the Non-GMO Project started to offer the only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO food and products in Canada and the USA. Their seal means that a product has been produced according to rigorous best practices for GMO avoidance.
This weekend, citizens will have a chance to speak out against Monsanto, when Millions Against Monsanto plan to rally on March 26, 2011. There are no scheduled marches in Canada.
GE Free BC
Four years ago, GE Free BC was established in BC and the now-resigned premier Campbell was declared a biohazard. Areas such as Cowichan and the Kootenays (and the Yukon) are forming communities on their own to live more organically.
GE Free BC became a society in 2007, but for five years prior to this had been organizing resistance to GE crops and foods. We have lobbied politicians and decision-makers, held numerous public events and showings of the 'Future of Food', supported Percy Schmeiser in his court cases against Monsanto, and worked on the Ban Terminator and BC mandatory labeling campaigns.
The GMO food may not rot so fast, but recent studies show that GMO crop production incorporates just as many toxic pesticides and herbicides as conventional farming, according to Planet Organic.
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