17 July 2008

cool use for old books

It can be hard to get rid of old paperback books. Second hand bookshops often won't take your unwanted titles. You can try to sell them at your stoop sale. But how about this fun way to repurpose those pages -- a chair. [Rag and Bone Bindery via Make]

shifting values in the produce department

With soaring fuel prices comes the increase in the price of, well, everything else. For many people, this is a time to make some sacrifices. One of the most obvious places to cut back on spending is at the supermarket. Do I really need that $6 bag of Terra Chips? Hmmm, a $7 fifth of Popov or $30 Grey Goose (just kidding... bourbon is my poison).

But seriously, many compromises will be made in the produce aisle -- where organic will lose to conventional. And while I understand that everyone has their budget in mind, there are some guidelines when it comes to choosing one farming method over the other. Conventional bananas, for instance, have less pesticide residue than other conventionally grown fruit. But softer, more permeable fruits -- like peaches and berries -- of the conventional variety are more likely to have chemicals clinging to them.

So if you need to sacrifice organic to save your wallet, here's where you shouldn't skimp in order to avoid the nasties (adapted from The Organic Center):


  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries


  • Green beans
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Carrots
You can also save money by heading over to the frozen food aisle where there are a growing number of organic options. Cascadian Farm (parent company: General Mills) seems to have cornered the frozen produce market.

Also, if you're an omnivore like I am, stick with organically raised meats and dairy products. These have the biggest impact on your health and the planet. Better yet, find some alternatives to meat to add to your diet -- this should save money, your heart, and the earth. Get some ideas for a less-meat diet from the Mayo Clinic. Find vegetarian recipes here and here.

Related posts
dairy-air: milk production sources exposed
pesticides are not so peachy
living off the health of the land

another reason to choose organic

Choosing organic isn't just about not consuming pesticides. It's also a choice that affects the ecosystem, big time. I've mentioned the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico before. Well, I hate to be all doom-and-gloomy, but it's getting bigger -- it'll be about the size of New Jersey this summer, according to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Runoff of agricultural chemicals is doing the trick. From the New York Times :

The scientists said high nutrient levels in the water stimulate the growth of algae whose eventual decomposition depletes oxygen to the point that most marine life cannot survive.