lifestyle

Spot the GMO!

gmo1

Choosing between natural and genetically modified products is not always an easy task at your local supermarket. Fear not! Most produce are actually non-GMO, but we’re not here to talk about those. When choosing dairy, check for sources and look for tags that certifies non-GMO. Here are the 10 most common items that are grown or contain GMOs:

  1. Corn. 88% of corn grown in the US are from GMO seeds.
  2. Soy. 90% of all soy products are derived from GMO sources. Soy products include tofu, soy sauce, and edamame (soy beans).
  3. Sugar. Majority of strains is modified by tech giant Mosanto to resist herbicides
  4. Papayas. GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii since 1999
  5. Zucchini. Modified to resist viruses
  6. Yellow Summer Squash. Similar situation as zucchini
  7. Aspatame. Toxic additive used in a variety of food products derived from genetically modified bacteria
  8. Cotton. Cotton oil originating from India and China are at most risk
  9. Canola. One of the most chemically altered foods in the U.S. diet, canola oil is obtained from rapeseed through a series of chemical actions.
  10. Dairy. One fifth of all dairy cows in the America are pumped with growth hormones. These hormones are banned in 27 countries, but are still in U.S. cows.

 

To avoid GMOs, look for these labels:

usda organic Organic means no GMOs

  The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit the use of GMOs.

 

 

nongmoproject

Non-GMO Project Seal

Choose products that have been verified non-GMO by a 3rd-party

 

 

 

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lifestyle

7 Creative DIY Indoor Gardens

Here at Droponic we are all about indoor gardens. We love that plants have the power to liven up a room and instantly boost your mood. These indoor gardens can be decorative, functional, or, better yet, both and fit snugly anywhere inside the home from the kitchen to the bedroom. Some plants, like basil, can even emit sweet fragrances that will transport you to a whole new world. So today we’re taking a look at 7 creative DIY indoor gardens that you can make at home.

1. This herbalicious indoor garden makes cooking a fun thyme (see what I did there?). Plant your most frequently used herbs in small mason jars in the kitchen and label them for future use. Simply grab some oregano or bay leaf as you embark on your next culinary adventure! (Source)

Herb wall

2. Have a lot of plastic soda bottles at home? What better way to upcycle them than to create your own hydroponic indoor garden with plastic bottles! A beautiful setup and a great way to reuse those plastic bottles. (Source)

Recycle bottles

3. For a more rustic look inside the home, try out this DIY vertical planter made from a recycle shipping pallet. Click here to find the tools, elements, and useful tutorial needed to recreate this beautiful planter in your own home. (Source)

Pallet planter

4. Did you inherit a lot of gorgeous teacups from a grandparent? Found many beautiful vintage teacups on your last stroll through a yard sale? Bring them to life by using them in your next DIY indoor gardening project to grow delicious microgreens, herbs, or vegetables. (Source)

Teacup

5. One of the simplest ways to start your own indoor garden is with these cute little eggshell planters. The materials are extremely easy to get a hold of and you can quickly do this in a few hours over the weekend to get ready for some beautiful greens to sprout from your eggshells! (Source)

Eggs

6. For a vintage indoor garden look, try making this mini herb dresser with a recycled library card holder. Herbs can be popping out from different compartments to create a fun and whimsical look for your indoor garden. (Source)

Library card

7. Grow an eclectic mix of plants inside light bulbs for another cool indoor garden to brighten up your living space. You can even hang up these bulbs on different levels to create a beautiful jungle look next to your window. (Source)

Lightbulb plant

So there it is, 7 creative DIY indoor garden ideas we’ve sourced from around the web. We’d love to see what other indoor gardens are out there so let us know what your indoor garden looks like by posting a picture in the comments below!

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health

A Brief History of GMOs

GMO history

Most of you probably think genetic engineering is a byproduct of the modern era, as an attempt for mankind to conquer nature. On the contrary, they have been around for thousands of years. However, it is not until recently that GMOs have proliferated and became an integral part of modern agriculture. 

Recent History and Proliferation

corn fieldSince the discovery of the DNA, scientists have conducted extensive studies and attempts at genetic modifications of living organism. The first patent was issued to General Electric some 35 years ago in 1980 for a modified bacterium that transformed spill cleanup efforts by gobbling up crude oil. Pretty neat stuff right? A couple years later, Genentech successfully produced human insulin by inserting human genome into E.Coli. It was considered a monumental breakthrough at the time.

Tomatoes were the first crops to be tested commercially. In 1994, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the first ever grown genetically modified crop to the market: Calgene’s Flavr Savr tomatoes. Designed to ripen slower and remain firm for longer periods than it’s competition, it became an overnight sensation. By 1995, a staggering 67% of cheese produced in the U.S. was being made from cows treated with some form of growth hormones.

Experts say that 60-70% of all produce in your local grocery store contains some form of genetic modification. “In 2014, GMO crops made up 94 percent of US soybean acreage, 93 percent of all corn planted, and 96 percent of all cotton.” The FDA stands firm on its decision allowing GMO products to remain unlabeled while the European Union imposed a complete ban for such products.

Now What?

vegetablesFor the average consumer, there are few resources that provide unbiased opinions on the subject matter. Long-term effects of GMOs are still unknown to the human body. With little to no regulation, it is nearly impossible for consumers to differentiate natural and modified products. For those who have space, a growing number of people opted to grow and harvest their own food as a method of monitoring exactly what goes into their body. Luckily, there is now a market for indoor gardens, like Droponic, that allows anyone to grow their own indoor garden and be confident about what they’re consuming.

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hydroponics

3 Organizations Sprouting the Urban Food Revolution

The face of agriculture is rapidly changing around the world as urban spaces are being transformed to grow greens. It’s true that there are economic benefits associated with urban farming as dollars circulate through the local community, but the true value in urban farming centers on food quality and health. The existence of farms in urban spaces will mean greater access to fresh and local foods as produce will not have to travel far distances to get from farm to plate. Let’s take a look at organizations in 3 cities across the world that are transforming urban spaces and bringing on the food revolution.

 

Zero Carbon Food in London, United Kingdom

The tunnels under London that served as safe havens during World War II are now being repurposed into underground farms. Zero Carbon Food has descended 100ft underground to develop an expansive system for growing salad leaves and herbs. The two founders, Steven Dring and Richard Ballard, have opted for a hydroponic growing system in their underground farm and keep a keen eye on the temperature, light, and nutrition – all equally important parts of growing healthy and delicious hydroponic greens. Dring and Ballard are set on creating a hi-tech farm that cuts down on the food miles bringing food from harvest to plate and improve freshness. Chefs are taking notice as restaurants are eagerly waiting for fresh local produce to populate their menus. They’re currently serving up eight different microgreens including celery, mustard, radish, and coriander. 

Zero Carbon Food is growing leafy greens, herbs and microgreens in a World War II bomb shelter in London.

Tokyo Salad in Tokyo, Japan

You will find more under Tokyo than an intricate conglomeration of subway lines. Tokyo Salad is the underground farm operated by Tokyo Metro after an employee suggested underground farming as a way to repurpose the space underneath the train tracks. This subterranean urban garden currently grows six kinds of lettuce and four kinds of baby leaf. Without the traditional methods of growing that uses soil or sunlight, these greens are grown with artificial sunlight and employ hydroponic technology by having plants float in nutrient-rich water. These plants are pesticide-free and Tokyo Metro even reports that “You can eat the vegetables without rinsing them, and they will keep for an extended period.”

Tokyo Salad

Edenworks in New York, United States

Edenworks brings hi-tech to urban growing in their rooftop farm in Brooklyn. Located on top of a metalworking shop, the team works tirelessly to bring fresh and locally grown greens to restaurants in the area. The entire ecosystem uses the concept of vertical farming so plants are stacked high on inclined surfaces throughout the space. By using an aquaponic system for greens and herbs, Edenworks remains soil-free and plants take their nutrients from fish manure. Wastewater from the fish travels through a system where bacteria are allowed to convert it into plant food for the farm. Along with their aquaponic system, the rooftop garden uses sensors to capture environmental conditions and water chemistry and uploads it to a large database of information about gardening. The “Farm Management System”, as they like to call it, learns from human farming data and runs algorithms to present the farmer with a daily task list in order to predict and suggest the best growing practices.

Edenworks

Be a part of this food revolution by attending the next community garden event in your area or learning more about one of the many indoor gardens to grow your own fresh greens.

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health

Herb Spotlight: Mint

 Mint is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years because of its remarkable medicinal properties. In modern times, science has discovered that mint has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food, but this herb is still most well-known through its applications as a mouth and breath freshener. We look deeper to find that mint has far more to offer than meets the eye.Mint-leaves-2007Health Benefits

Originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach aches, we now know that mint is an extremely versatile and antioxidant-packed herb when it comes to its health benefits. Along with its ability to sooth cases of indigestion or inflammation, the refreshing aroma of mint is a quick and effective remedy for nausea. As a natural stimulant, the strong smell from mint has the ability to encourage increase in brain function. Moreover, research has shown that extracts from mint leaves function as natural anti-histamines when seasonal allergies and hay fever come into play. There are a myriad of other health benefits to using mint and more can be found here.

Growing and Cultivation

Mint is an herb that makes few demands and can tolerate a wide range of conditions. This perennial herb thrives in partial shade, but can also be grown in full sun. As a fast-growing herb that only requires a small space to grow, even only one plant will provide more than enough mint for home use. According to Medical News Today,

When preparing mint, use a sharp knife and cut gently. Using a dull knife or over-chopping will bruise the herb and much of the flavor will be misplaced onto the cutting board surface.

Although mint can be frozen in batches for use at a later time, fresh mint is usually preferred over dried mint for the highest nutrient factor and the freshest taste.

Let’s Eat More Mint

mintAdding mint is a great way to add flavor to a dish or beverage without adding extra calories, fat or sodium. Mint leaves are tender and have gentle stems, so it is best to add them raw or near the end of cooking in order to maintain their delicate flavor and texture.

Chop fresh mint leaves and scatter them over a tossed green or grilled chicken salad. Incorporate mint into a fresh fruit salsa with chopped apples, pear, lemon or lime juice, jalapeno and honey. In these mixtures, the mint leaves will add trace amounts of nutrients as well as a bold flavor. Add chopped or muddled mint leaves to brewed iced tea or lemonade for a refreshing treat.

Check out our Facebook page for more ways to incorporate mint into your diet!

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