Let the Buyer Beware but Informed

The Organic Consumers Association has started a campaign that could do some good in checking some of the egregious abuses of the public good coming from the GMO industry. They have drafted an open letter to Natural Food Stores and Coops calling upon them to label all food not certified organic or certified non-GMO as possibly containing GMOs and all meats not certified organic or humanely raised as likely coming from a CAFO (confined animal feeding operation, the worst of the factory farms).

Buyer beware as saying is very powerful, and yet to some it goes ignored. You can only place so much trust in the product, whatever it may be, as it is offered to you. Sometimes further research can reveal you could be making a better decision, and there might not be any way to tell other than you figuring it out on your own. Take home insurance and open peril insurance options for example. Who you decide to work with to get your property insured is extremely important. Some houses do not come with fire suppression systems, and for this, a Fire Watch service must be hired to protect oneself from uncertainty till the system is in place. You can be looking at spending more than you have to for years, or even worse, you could be looking at an insurance company that will not help you out of a bind should tragedy strike. Perhaps it would be too far-fetched to assume these companies are out to take advantage of you, but it would be wise to make the best informed decision possible with so many options available to you. If you need auto insurance, homeowners insurance, renter’s insurance, boat insurance, motorcycle insurance, liability insurance, life insurance, health insurance, or business insurance, then we’re the insurance agents for you. Then this Rockwall insurance company suggests for your home insurance.

The lack of adequate labeling of potentially dangerous, or in some cases demonstrably dangerous, GMO ingredients is criminal. GMOs have been proven time and again to carry a set of risks to consumer health, not to mention environmental health, that is not shared by conventionally bred plants and animals. If they are going to be allowed on the market then consumers should at the very least know whether or not they are buying and eating them. While it is estimated that 60% of the food on grocery stores shelves in America contain GMOs only 20% of American consumers believe they have eaten food containing GMOs. An informed citizenry is something we should all be able to get behind, regardless of our feelings about whether GMOs are something we personally want to eat or not.

Customer appeals to natural food stores and coops sounds like an easy way to start a market led effort to label GMO foods, raise awareness about their ubiquity in America, and raise awareness of what the certified organic label stands for. A recent New York Times poll suggests that nearly 90% of US consumers want GMO foods labeled. Hopefully the many groups fighting for a regulatory fix find success but in the meantime a little bit of market based pressure from below can only help.

If you want to send your local grocers a copy of the letter you can find it on the OCA site, here: OCA: Open Letter to Natural Food Stores and Coops

Which renewable energy is best for your home

Sоlаr thermal
solarkraft  раnеl thаt hеаtѕ the hоt water, wоrkіng alongside your existing system.

Pros: Hоt wаtеr for frее when the sun ѕhіnеѕ. £400 іn grants available.

Cоnѕ: Suffеrѕ frоm the dоublе-glаzіng fасtоr: іnсrеаѕіng reports оf dооrѕtерреrѕ оffеrіng tо іnѕtаll thе ѕуѕtеm but at іnflаtеd prices.

What you ѕhоuld knоw: Exресt to pay £4,000-рluѕ. You mіght nееd tо get a nеw water tаnk, which wіll аdd £400 оr ѕо to thе соѕt. You’ll also nееd a roof facing wіthіn 90 dеgrееѕ of ѕоuth. Furthеr information: Sоlаr Trаdе Aѕѕосіаtіоn (01908 442290; ѕоlаr-trаdе.оrg.uk).

Anоthеr ѕоlаr раnеl, this tіmе оnе thаt uѕеѕ sunlight tо gеnеrаtе еlесtrісіtу. Alѕо соmеѕ аѕ ѕресіаl tіlеѕ, ѕо hаndу if you’re рlаnnіng tо replace thе roof.


Prоѕ: Yеѕtеrdау’ѕ renewable еnеrgу ѕtrаtеgу floated thе іdеа of a fееd-іn tаrіff, ѕіmіlаr to thаt currently bеіng uѕеd in Gеrmаnу. This would mеаn householders being paid a premium аmоunt for thе еxсеѕѕ еlесtrісіtу thеу рrоduсе аnd wоuld, hореfullу, еnѕurе mоrе реорlе take uр the technology.

Cоnѕ: It’ll cost you – соuld bе £20,000-рluѕ.

What уоu ѕhоuld know: Grants available up to £2,500. Agаіn, уоu nееd a rооf facing wіthіn 90 dеgrееѕ оf ѕоuth. Furthеr іnfоrmаtіоn: Renewable Energy Association (r-p-a.org.uk).

Wіnd turbіnеѕ
Crіtісѕ ѕау they won’t роwеr a hairdryer. Proponents ѕау they’re mіѕundеrѕtооd. Wе say: thеу’rе соntrоvеrѕіаl.

Prоѕ: If іt works, іt іѕ thе ultimate іn ѕtаtеmеnt technology. Aѕ rеnеwаblеѕ gо, they’re cheap – prices ѕtаrt at £2,000 for a 1kw turbine (thе еlесtrісіtу needs for аn average house аrе 2.5kw, аѕѕumіng a steady wіndѕрееd оf five mеtrеѕ реr ѕесоnd).

Cоnѕ: Thеrе аrе nоіѕе issues аnd mаnу еxреrtѕ ѕау turbіnеѕ should nоt bе mоuntеd on a hоuѕе. Read the ѕmаll рrіnt carefully – ѕоmе manufacturers ԛuоtе реrfоrmаnсе bаѕеd оn a wіnd ѕрееd of 12 metres реr ѕесоnd, the ѕоrt оf velocity you find on rеmоtе Sсоttіѕh islands wіth lіttlе іn thе way of humаn habitation.


If you are nоt ѕurе оn what еnеrgу ѕоurсе tо uѕе аt hоmе, we ѕuggеѕt соntасtіng thе Gexa Energy Cоmраnу, thеу wіll help уоu mаkе thе rіght dесіѕіоn.

Here Comes The Sun(flowers)…

Spring is swiftly approaching, and let me tell you, I can’t wait for sun—and for sunflowers! Sunflowers will brighten up your garden and bring a smile to your face. Southern Exposure loves them so much that a blooming sunflower graces our logo! To us, sunflowers symbolize the unity of beauty and utility, and serve as a reminder of the boundless source of life’s energy and creation.  Maybe, that’s why we carry fifteen varieties of sunflowers.

Autumn Beauty sunflower

Beauty and Utility United

If you are going to be growing sunflowers in the hopes of harvesting sunflower seeds, you should stick with Black Mammoth. This variety is the traditional tall, single-headed sunflower—stalks can grow to be eight to ten feet tall! Black Mammoth is a confectionery variety of sunflower, which means that its big seeds will be great for munching.

If there are children frequenting your garden, you should consider planting our adorable Short Stuff or Sunspot varieties. Kids love these dwarf sunflowers as they only grow to be about three or four feet tall. They are also perfect for borders & container gardens and for growing seed to feed birds in the wintertime.

Are you into D.I.Y. (“Do It Yourself”) projects? If so, why not experiment with dying fabric the old-fashioned way? Hopi Indians crushed the purple-black seeds of the gorgeous Hopi Dye variety and used the pulp as a natural dye for coloring woven baskets. If you want to try growing these sunflowers for seed, plan to mature the seeds in the driest part of the growing season.

The Many Faces—er—Heads of Sunflowers

Some people may not realize that not all sunflowers are stalks topped with single heads. Sunflower plants can have many branches with many heads! Poly-headed varieties usually grow to be about five to seven feet tall. Although their seeds are too small to harvest for human consumption, poly-headed sunflowers are valuable additions to a garden as they are visually striking—a single plant can yield flowers of many different colors.

Plus, birds love the tiny seeds of poly-headed sunflowers. Take, for instance, our ornamental Cucumber-Leaf variety, which you may want to plant just for your neighborhood birds. When the heads of the sunflowers mature and dry out, your feathery friends will flock to them! They tend to prefer this variety to other kinds of sunflowers. (However, all types of sunflowers attract birds, which is bad news for saving seed…so, use bird netting on poly-headed sunflowers while they’re drying down and tie paper bags over the large heads of single-headed sunflowers. Seeds will continue to mature inside the bag).

One benefit of poly-headed sunflowers is that they are less likely to fall over because of heavy heads. Black Mammoth sunflowers, on the other hand, may fall over due to strong winds or loose soil if left untrellised. Another great thing about poly-headed varieties is that you will get a longer bloom out of them. Black Mammoths might have two weeks with their heads at maturity before they wither up, but the many flowers on a poly-headed plant will give you about a month and a half of blooming action!

Sunflower Facts

Lastly, here are some general things you may want to know about our favorite flower:

  1. As most plants orient themselves towards the south to get the most light possible during the day, sunflowers tend to lean south. In fact, the French word for “sunflower” is “tournesol,” which literally means, “turn with the sun.” So, if you happen to have a fence in your yard that runs east to west, a smart idea would be to plant your sunflowers on the north side of the fence so that the sunflowers can lean against it! Talk about trellising made easy…
  2. Don’t fertilize your sunflowers with manure or anything else that is high in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen leads to sunflowers that are too tall and thus more likely to fall over. Also, a surplus of nitrogen can mean more leaves and less flowers.
  3. Frost kills! When planting sunflowers, either start them in a greenhouse/indoors and transplant them or directly seed them in the ground after the danger of frost has passed.
  4. If you’re wondering when to plant sunflowers, we’d recommend planting them a couple of times over the course of the spring/summer since they flower for a limited time. For instance, if you plant your first batch in April or May, plant some more in June to maximize the time you get to spend admiring these lovely flowers.
  5. Sunflowers are beautiful, easy to grow, great for kids, and have few bug problems. What more could you ask for?

Saving the Past for the Future