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Final Reflections on Costa Rica, What the Heck is a Biodigester, What Noni Looks Like

Before heading down to Costa Rica, I had no idea that it would be one of the best trips that I would ever take and that it would impact me so greatly.

Now back in New York City, I have been trying to wrap my arms around why I loved it so much. Three main things come to mind:

1) First and foremost, it was a phenomenal group of people on the trip. Despite the fact that almost none of us had ever met before, we all got along really, really well. No drama, very easy, and everyone was extremely likeable.

Additionally, the individuals from EARTH University who hosted and took us around Costa Rica were beyond gracious. Their warmth and concern for our well-being was just truly amazing.

On my flight back home from San Jose to Miami, I happened to sit next to someone who graduated from EARTH University in 1999. One of the things I told him was that I couldn’t get over how great the service was in Costa Rica, and he totally agreed. It’s a commitment to service that we just don’t have in the U.S., and the people from EARTH University certainly went above and beyond anything that we could have imagined.

2) The trip to Costa Rica was incredibly educational and inspirational. As I mentioned in my video, visiting EARTH University is probably the highlight of my two years doing livingmaxwell. This is an institution that is really changing the world and doing it with impoverished youth in developing countries.

I loved going onto the banana plantation and learning about all aspects of sustainable banana production.

Meeting the women entrepreneurs who receive microloans from the Whole Planet Foundation really moved me.

And it was fascinating to see how EARTH University is deploying biodigesters into poor, local farming communities. Since most farms have animals, the waste ends up in rivers and gets into the water supply.

The biodigester (see video below) is an inexpensive way to convert the waste to methane, which can be used as electricity. In the process, money is saved, less global warming will occur, the water supply won’t be polluted, and trees won’t have to be cut down (as a source of heat).

When we were installing a biodigester on a farmer’s property, he showed us a noni tree. I’ve seen noni juice many, many times before in health food stores but never knew what the actual fruit looked like.

3) Lastly, I loved being back in Latin America. Speaking Spanish is a huge passion of mine, and I am fascinated by all things Latin – the food, the people, the music, the language, the outlook on life, the history.

Despite having spent a lot of time throughout the region, mostly in Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico, this was my first time back in more than a decade. And I guess I realized just how much I missed it.

I hope you enjoyed all of my posts and videos from Costa Rica. It was a very special week.

A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

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Organic Insider

Company Stories

President Obama Signs the Disastrous Federal GMO-Labeling Bill, Putting the Future of Organic in Danger

On late Friday afternoon, President Obama signed the sham Stabenow-Roberts GMO-Labeling bill (S. 764) which will allow, among many other things, companies to use QR codes instead of clear GMO labels on a food product’s packaging.

This bill is so discriminatory and so poorly written that it potentially violates several amendments of the Constitution. Additionally, it puts the integrity of the organic seal in real jeopardy.

What is arguably the most troubling aspect of this bill is that while almost every single organic consumer organization fought this bill, the organic industry’s leading trade organization praised the bill and lobbied for it to pass.

Here are the key points to understand, in terms of analyzing the bill, what this means for the organic industry, and where we go from here.

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A message from E3Live

"My Everyday, Must-Have Green Organic Aquabotanical"

The best testimonial that I can give is that I drink this every single day, as it impacts my mood in an incredibly positive way.

E3Live + BrainON is certified organic, fresh-frozen AFA (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) with a concentrated, aqueous, organic extract of Phenylethylamine and Phycocyanin.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Company Stories

Exclusive Interview with Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb, President A.C. Gallo: “All GMOs will be Labeled in Our Stores by 2018”

Yesterday at Natural Products Expo West, the biggest organic trade show of the year, Whole Foods made a HUGE announcement.

The company said that by 2018, all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores must be labeled to indicate whether they contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

The importance of this announcement cannot be underestimated. Why?

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Living Maxwell

Company Stories

Food Chains is a MUST-SEE Movie

When people talk about why they eat organic food, the most common answer is that they don’t want to ingest food that has been sprayed with toxic pesticides. The focus is generally on “me” or “we”.

An answer that does not come up nearly as much as it should is “I don’t want to expose farmers to these toxic pesticides.”

The truth is that most of us are completely in the dark about what takes place on farms, in terms of what kind of chemicals farmers are exposed to and also how farm workers are treated.

A brand new documentary called Food Chains sheds light on this very serious problem and what we see is not pretty.

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