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Canadian food banks and volunteers are invited to participate in a sprouting program supported by Mumm's Sprouting Seeds Ltd, a large Canadian supplier of organic sprouting seeds.

Sprout Probram Needs Support

Canadian food banks and volunteers are invited to participate in a sprouting program supported by Mumm's Sprouting Seeds Ltd, a large Canadian supplier of organic sprouting seeds. The idea of teaching food bank users to grow their own nutritious food was germinated by Andy Shaw, a British Columbia resident with sprouting experience who thought others might be interested, too. He set up information tables at two Greater Vancouver food bank locations to give away free starter sprouting kits. The public response was excellent. Now Mumm's Sprouting Seeds is willing to donate one kilogram of seed to any food bank implementing Shaw's idea. Only 20 volunteer hours and $40 worth of material are all that's needed to show 100 people how to grow their own sprouts. Interested parties can e-mail mumms@sprouting.com. Phone: 306-747-2935. Snail mail: Box 80, Parkside, SK, S0J 2A0.

Click to Show You Care

How many plant and animal species are wiped out each year by rainforest destruction? About 50,000. How much of our earth's oxygen does rainforest cover provide? Twenty per cent. Concerned Web users can help save the rainforest--for free! A single click of your browser can preserve 21 square feet of rainforest daily at care2.com, an environmental portal site offering several "click-to-donate" corporate-sponsored programs.

A Bit of Dirt a Good Thing

Today's hygiene standards are so high that children's immune systems aren't developed enough to fight off common childhood diseases. Stephen Strauss, former Globe and Mail science writer and author of an upcoming book on the problems of living in a food-rich world, told the Crop Protection Institute last September that a growing amount of scientific literature has attributed soaring domestic rates of allergies and asthma to a lack of natural immunity. In contrast, children in developing countries who are exposed to lower hygienic conditions and more germs can fend off the diseases.

A similar vein of research is finding that farm kids suffer less from asthma, hay fever and allergies than city dwellers. The reason isn't better rural air quality; it's the farm environment itself. Studies conducted in Switzerland, Germany and Canada show that exposure to common farm pathogens is helping the children develop stronger immune systems. Dr Allan Becker, who specializes in pediatric asthma and allergy development at the Children's Hospital in Winnipeg, explains that infants and young children need small amounts of exposure to educate their immune response. If that doesn't happen, then there's an increased risk of their developing allergy and asthma.
The Western Producer, Sept. 27, 2001;
Manitoba Co-operator, July 19, 2001


Electronic Pasteurization?

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that the food irradiation company SureBeam Corp can't claim that its process is similar to pasteurization. Irradiation involves exposing foods to ionizing radiation in order to kill pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella. In contrast, pasteurization relies on heat exposure to kill micro-organisms. Yet SureBeam describes its process as "electronic pasteurization." When a US consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, complained to the Federal Trade Commission that the label was false and misleading, a USDA representative confirmed that the irradiation company had not provided the federal agency with "data proving that its irradiated meat and poultry products are, in fact, 'pasteurized.'"
Reuters, Oct. 8, 2001

Closest Vote Yet on GM Labelling

A federal private member's bill calling for the labelling of all genetically modified materials was struck down in a vote on Oct. 17, 2001. But pro-labelling activists say the 126-91 defeat can be seen as a good thing because that figure represents the largest number of MPs ever in favour of such a bill. Between a pre-election vote in October 2002 and the newer vote one year later over the same issue, another 30 MPs joined the side of mandatory labelling. "I think it buys them some time to sort out how they want to deal with this issue," Winnipeg New Democrat and GMO skeptic Judy Wasylycia-Leis told the press. "But clearly, more and more of them are recognizing that there is a public demand for this."
The Western Producer, Oct. 25, 2001

Pure Water on the Go

The Aquasmart Sport Bottle is a great gift for the active people in your life. Drinking tap water is risky: cryptosporidium and giardia parasites survive chlorination and cause stomach discomfort, diarrhea, aching muscles and headaches. The Aquasmart Sport Bottle provides water that's 99.9 per cent free of cryptosporidium and giardia cysts, without chemicals or a bad taste. The new filtration system in the grab-and-go bottle ensures safe hydration, so athletes get the most out of work-outs, hiking and biking. 888-294-3636.

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