At Urban Ground we believe in offering our community the freshest in Local Organically Grown Produce. We strive to be a bridge between our Farming community and the Foodies of View Royal and Greater Victoria. This season we have over 15 local farms working hard to provide us with a diversity of abundance. Local to us at Urban Ground is from North Cowichan all the way south to Metchosin about a 60 km area. Our department has a full offering including some of the harder to find items including fresh Turmeric and Lemongrass. During the summer and fall we are aiming to offer as many locally grown items as we can get our hands on, Hopefully over 90%.
Fairtrade premiums help to build schools and dig wells in indigenous communities that often struggle to provide these amenities.
As the local season wanes in the winter we work with our wholesalers to bring the best quality of ethically sourced produce available around the globe. Most of our suppliers outside of the U.S. and Canada are Fairtrade certified or Grower Co-operatives, this helps us to ensure that our impact on these distant farming communities is a positive one. Fairtrade premiums help to build schools and dig wells in indigenous communities that often struggle to provide these amenities. We work closely with Discovery Organics (http://www.discoveryorganics.ca) to offer the best to our own community here in View Royal.
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Organically grown foods have more nutrients—vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and micronutrients—than commercially grown foods because the soil is managed and nourished with sustainable practices by responsible standards.
– Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
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Why choose organic?
The benefits of Organically grown food are myriad:
- Organically produced fruit and vegetables are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
- Organic farmers can only irrigate using clean water on their crops unlike their conventional counterparts.
- Organic food has not been irradiated at any point in its journey to your plate.
- Organically grown crops are not genetically engineered in any way. Organic farmers practicing seed saving will slowly alter their crops over time through careful selection and husbandry thus creating new varieties of our favourite crops.
- Ecological stewardship is key to organic farming practices. Farmers use wildflower corridors to create habitat for pollinators and biological controls (Predatory insects). They also steadfastly protect clean water sources for future generations. Local wildlife has no risk of contamination from industrially produced chemicals.
- Soil amendments in organic farming are key to nutrient density and overall health of the crops.
- Organic farmers often employ living mulches, cover crops, and growing green manures for protecting and enhancing their soil. This way we get food with more micro nutrients and the soil is enriched every year it is farmed. The soil microbes, worms and mycelium all benefit as well.
- Organic food is healthier and more nutritious: A 2007 study (http://tinyurl.com/hr9zoyl/) by Newcastle University in the United Kingdom found organic produce has 40 percent higher levels of some nutrients (including vitamin C, zinc and iron) and a 2003 study (http://tinyurl.com/gksq9lb) in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that organically grown berries and corn have 58 percent more polyphenols—antioxidants that help prevent cardiovascular disease—and up to 52 percent higher levels of vitamin C than those conventionally grown.
- Sustainability for the farmers and our environment. Conventional chemical and GMO farmers are finding it harder to make ends meet. They are experiencing the rising costs of production, including patented seeds and chemicals, herbicide resistant weeds, pesticide resistant pests, and the need for increased land to make a profit. The increased mechanization of farming has reduced the numbers of farm jobs. There is a decrease in the long-term natural capital and viability of farms to produce food, in terms of soil depletion and erosion.
- Reducing pesticide and herbicide exposure: Increases in the incidence of rural health disorders such as cancers and Alzheimer’s are likely due to agro-chemical exposure, which also carries with it the risk of birth defects. Glyphosate-based herbicides, which are specifically designed to be paired with genetically modified seeds but are also used domestically, have been shown to cause DNA damage, infertility, low sperm count and prostrate or testicular cancer in rats. Further, pesticides are now so pervasive in our environment that they are found in human breast milk and umbilical cord blood. Atrazine, another commonly used agro-chemical, turns male frogs into females at 1 part per billion. Current water safety requirements are set at 3 parts per billion. Organic farmers do not use these chemicals.
- Organic crops tend to perform equal to or better than those produced with chemicals or GMO varieties during good weather years. Significantly, organically stewarded soils result in crops that out-perform chemical and GMO production in years of high stress such as drought and flood. It is naive to think that we can “feed the world” forever using fossil fuel dependent means and increasingly toxic fossil fuel-based chemicals.
- Carbon sequestration: There’s a thick blanket of greenhouse gases around the planet. Some argue this is causing global climate change, others that the carbon dioxide levels of our air are rising to life-destroying levels. Global oxygen levels are vastly reduced, while C02 levels have exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm), with safe levels being 350 ppm. Wherever one is on the political spectrum, we all need to breathe and to find a way to put what is “up here” back “down there. “While there may be some very high-tech, capital-intensive ways of sequestering carbon, the easiest, cheapest and most beneficial method is enrolling the help of plants. Carbon is a building block of all life. Plants absorb atmospheric carbon into leaves and stems and roots and flowers, through photosynthesis. These plants may be food for us to eat, or food for the soil. Regenerative organic agriculture methods optimize a farmer’s ability to sequester carbon back into the soil. While rising C02 levels challenge our globe, as we transition to earth- regenerating, soil-building organic agricultural practices, carbon becomes a resource. Through its capture in plants, we increase the nutrient levels of our food, improve the resilience of our farms and assure long-term health of our soils, so we can feed the world.