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We are very selective about what we sell at The Green Edge store. As our mission states, we consider the origin and impact of the products we sell and will never knowingly sell anything that is the result or cause of suffering or exploitation of people or animals. We are serious about sourcing and selling products that are animal-friendly, human-friendly and planet-friendly.
Low Resource Use Products
As explained in the section Why Plant Foods an important reason that we sell plant-derived foods rather than animal-derived foods is that plant-derived foods are a much more eco-friendly option. Producing plant foods requires much less use of water, land, energy and other resources than producing animal-based foods.
At The Green Edge we favour products that are organically-produced, as we believe that organic farming methods are more sustainable than non-organic methods. Organic products are produced without the use of artificial fertilisers, pesticides, growth hormones or routine antibiotics. Organic farming relies on crop rotation, improving soils by adding animal and plant manures, hand weeding, and organic pest control. Organic food is grown slowly, as nature intended, resulting in more vitamins and minerals and more flavour.
Although the quantity of pesticides absorbed from eating non-organic food is very small, they do accumulate over time. Pesticides absorbed from food are linked to many health problems including cancer, birth defects, genetic mutation, asthma, and nerve damage.
What are the benefits?
What are the benefits of purchasing organic over non-organic?
- Cleaner Air: Conventional farming requires chemicals to be sprayed, left to linger in the air for people and animals to be breathe.
- Cleaner Water: With organic farming, there are no pesticides to leak into the water, potentially contaminating our drinking water.
- Soil Erosion Prevention: In organic farming, the soil is built up with organic material, such as compost, which helps to enrich the ground and prevent erosion. Enriched soil also means more nutrient rich foods
Reduce Pesticide Reliance: Pesticides may kill off some pests, but, just as with antibiotics in people, pests can develop a resistance towards pesticides. This makes the use of increasingly stronger pesticides necessary to continuously kill off the pests. With stronger and stronger pesticides, the risk to the humans and animals becomes increasingly greater. Organic farming can help put a stop to the vicious cycle.
What is the difference between "Certified Organic" and "Organic Ingredients"?
Products that are certified as organic are produced fully under organic conditions, with organic ingredients. Some products contain SOME organic ingredients, but are not certified as organic as not all ingredients are organic, or for some reason they have not gone through the certification process.. Ideally, look for products that are certified as organic. Our shelf talkers make it easy to differentiate between products that are certified organic and those which have organic ingredients but are not certified.
Other environmental considerations
In addition to favouring organically-produced products, we also favour products that are produced locally and packaged minimally, as both excess packaging and long-distance transport add to the negative environmental impact of a product.
No Animal Products
We do not sell meat or any other animal products or anything containing animal-derived ingredients. As slaughtering and exploiting animals is completely unnecessary in order for humans to have healthy, happy lives (and contributes to ill-health and environmental destruction) we want no part in it. See our page on Nutrition & Health for information on plant-based nutrition and health.
No Animal Testing
It is the policy of The Green Edge to never stock products that have been tested on animals. We believe it is unnecessary and cruel, as well as being scientifically flawed. Animal testing of cosmetics is being phased out in the European Union but sadly, it still continues in Australia.
Common testing procedures include force-feeding animals the test substance until half of the subjects die (the "LD50 test") and testing for irritancy by placing substances on the eyes of rabbits ("Draize" test). Apart from the cruelty involved, testing of products on animals has been found to be quite ineffective as a measure of the effect on humans, as different species react differently to different substances. Alternatives are available which have been found to be more accurate predictors, but the scientific community has been slow to change.
For more information on this, see the Choose Cruelty Free website. When you shop at The Green Edge you can be assured that no animal has suffered in the creation of the products we sell.
No Child Labour or other Human Exploitation
Here at The Green Edge we believe that people should be paid fairly for their work, and have safe, decent working and living conditions, and that exploitation of people is unacceptable. That is why we support "fair trade" and why we favour products that are certified as Fair Trade.
The concept of Fair Trade arose when it was revealed that many workers in developing countries were living in abject poverty, often working in unacceptable working conditions, producing products such as the coffee enjoyed daily by those in developed countries. While the "middle-men" were making good profits the workers were scarcely surviving.
The following is from the Fair Trade Foundation website.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
What are Fairtrade standards?
Fairtrade standards comprise both minimum social, economic and environmental requirements, which producers must meet to be certified, plus progress requirements that encourage continuous improvement to develop farmers' organisations or the situation of estate workers.
Better For Human Health
At The Green Edge we believe that lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity are the biggest determinants of human health. We encourage people to conusme a diet based on whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit, and to avoid excess amounts of fat, salt and sugar. We acknowledge that people need treats and convenience foods occasionally, so we sell these also. Many of the foods we sell are very useful in helping people to make the transition from a typical modern diet to a healthier plant-based diet. Changing eating habits can seem daunting for some, and we want to show people that they can still enjoy treats and comfort foods on a planet-friendly, animal-friendly and human-friendly diet.
Why Plant Foods?
There are several compelling reasons why eating plants rather than animals makes good sense for humans. These include:
1. It's more sustainable 2. It's healthier 3. It's more ethical
There is no doubt that the consumption of meat is ecologically unsustainable. This is because the production of meat and other animal products requires a much greater use of resources than the production of plant foods. In addition to this, meat production contributes significantly to global warming and pollution.
When ruminants such as cattle and sheep eat, they produce large amounts of methane. Methane is 21 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. In addition to the emissions associated with the burping of 28 million cattle and 100 million sheep in Australia, there are also the emissions associated with the transport and refrigeration of carcasses. Changing from an omnivorous diet to a plant food diet is the most effective action that individuals can take to reduce their impact on global warming.
- The waste products of raising animals for food (including factory farms, abattoirs, meat processing plants) are a major source of pollution.
- According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, livestock waste has polluted more than 27,000 miles of rivers and contaminated groundwater in dozens of states. Natural Resources Defense Council
It takes, on average, 28 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of meat protein for human consumption, whereas it takes only 3.3 calories of fossil- fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of protein from grain for human consumption.
David Pimentel, Cornell University
Although rice is often considered a high water usage crop, the production of meat in Australia uses twice as much water as rice, but the amount of rice we grow has more calories than the 2 million tonnes of beef produced annually in Australia. Whereas the production of a kilo of beef costs 15,500 litres of water, the production of a kilo of wheat uses 1,300 litres of water. The amount of water used to support an individual's lifestyle is determined primarily by their dietary choices.
- In Australia, some 65% of the land is listed as agricultural land and 95% of that is devoted to meat production. 800.000 hectares of land in Australia is used to grow grain to feed to animals in feedlots.
- While 56 million acres of U.S. land are producing hay for livestock, only 4 million acres are producing vegetables for human consumption.
U.S. Department of Commerce, Census of Agriculture
- Producing food from animal products is wasteful of food itself, as far larger amounts of food need to be fed to animals that produce meat, eggs or milk than the amount of food produced. Approximately half of the world's wheat harvest is fed to animals that are later eaten, and a feedlot cow that will end up as 200 kg of meat will have consumed (by the time it is slaughtered) approximately 1300 kilos of wheat in addition to forage and hay. And aquaculture is also far from sustainable, as fish farming is actually a net consumer rather than producer of fish. It takes between 8 and 11 kg of fish used as feed to produce one kilo of southern blue fin tuna.
- While so many of the world's population in developing nations are afflicted with malnutrition and hunger it seems staggering that such wasteful methods of food production are so widespread in developed countries.
The transition of world agriculture from food grain to feed grain represents a new form of human evil, with consequences possibly far greater and longer lasting than any past wrongdoing inflicted by men against their fellow human beings. Today, more than 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States is fed to livestock, much of it to cattle.
Jeremy Rifkin, Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2002
The irony of the food production system is that millions of wealthy consumers in developed countries are dying from diseases of affluence (heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancer) brought on by gorging on fatty grain-fed beef and other meats, while the poor in the Third World are dying of diseases of poverty brought on by being denied access to land to grow food grain for their families.
Jeremy Rifkin, Los Angeles Times
Numerous scientific studies on the relationship between diet and health have found that people on plant-based diets (vegetarians and vegans) enjoy better health and longevity than people on omnivorous diets. This is hardly surprising, given that animal products are rich in cholesterol, saturated fats and carcinogens and are devoid of fibre, whereas plant foods are devoid of cholesterol, generally low in saturated fats and rich in fibre, antioxidants and other health-enhancing components.
Not only is mortality from coronary heart disease lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians, but vegetarian diets have also been successful in arresting coronary heart disease. Scientific data suggest positive relationships between a vegetarian diet and reduced risk for obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and some types of cancer.
American Dietetic Association
An analysis of the health care costs associated with eating meat was published in Preventive Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to research on preventive health measures. The researchers, Dr. Neal D. Barnard, Dr. Andrew Nicholson and Jo Lil Howard, estimated the health costs of the nation's current omnivorous diet at $28.6 billion to $61.4 billion a year. They linked regular consumption of red meat and poultry, in particular, to significant increases in the risks of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, gallbladder disease, overweight and resulting osteoarthritis, food poisoning and cancers of the colon, lung, ovary and prostate.
In addition to the high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat, other unhealthy components of animal products add to the health risks associated with eating these foods.
A report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 89 percent of U.S. beef ground into patties contains traces of the deadly E. coli strain.
Reuters News Service
Animal waste contains disease-causing pathogens, such as Salmonella, E. coli, Cryptosporidium, and fecal coliform, which can be 10 to 100 times more concentrated than in human waste. More than 40 diseases can be transferred to humans through manure.
Natural Resources Defense Council
Many argue that the inherent cruelty and suffering involved in the production of food from animals is ethically unjustifiable, especially considering that it is completely unnecessary in order for humans to live happy, healthy lives. Click here to make up your own mind.
CSIRO & Sydney University: Balancing Act report, 2005
Australian Greeenhouse Office: Australian Greenhouse Inventory, 2003
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Yearbook 1999 & 2004