Natural Foods Merchandiser

Back to School For Organic Farming
Interested in learning the dirt on organic gardening and farming? The University of California, Santa Cruz, is offering a six-month training course that will expose participants to horticultural requirements for vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits. Specific topics to be addressed include soil preparation, composting, sowing, cultivation, propagation, irrigation, pest and disease control, and marketing. The program, offered through the university?s Center for Agroecology, will accept 35 to 40 students and will begin in April 2005. The deadline for applications is Nov. 1. For a full description of the program and an application, go to or call 831.459.3695.

Eating Real Food Delivers More Nutrients
Luddites, take heart. It seems a Jetsons-like future where people can meet all their nutritional needs with a pill isn?t likely to happen. Three recent reports have confirmed the necessity of eating actual food. In June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a review of research and found that numerous studies support the role of fruits and vegetables in promoting heart and eye health and preventing cancer. But studies evaluating the use of supplements have yielded inconclusive results. Similarly, a meta-analysis conducted by researchers at Northwestern University found that people who ate fish at least once a week lowered their risk of stroke by 13 percent; those who ate it five or more times per week lessened their risk by 30 percent. But researchers were unconvinced that taking fish oil supplements was equally beneficial. ?It is not clear how much intake of long-chain omega-3 [polyunsaturated fatty acids] may be required to significantly reduce risk of stroke,? the researchers wrote in their report in the journal Stroke. ?In addition, whether fish consumption provides other beneficial nutrients not present in pure fish oil remains uncertain.? The researchers added, ?One should be cautious when advising people to use fish oil supplements instead of eating whole fish.?

Meanwhile, a study at the University of Illinois at Urbana found that people gain the most health benefits when they eat a combination of foods rather than focusing on one food for its nutritional niceties. Notably, eating broccoli and tomatoes together yields a more powerful anti-cancer effect than either food alone. ?People don?t eat nutrients, they eat food,? said John Erdman, the lead researcher on the study. ?And they don?t eat one food, they eat many foods in combination.?

Overseas Producers Accused of Shrimp Dumping
As the Bush administration and retailers battle over a proposed tariff on shrimp imported from China, Vietnam, Brazil, Ecuador, India and Thailand, one domestic company is making waves in the industry.

In July the Commerce Department proposed tariffs to counter massive ?dumping? of frozen and canned shrimp on the American market by these countries at rock-bottom prices. Retailers have expressed concern that a tariff might increase the prices they have to charge consumers. Domestic shrimpers and processors have said the exporters could absorb the tariffs without passing the cost on to consumers. Just days after the Commerce Department?s proposal, OceanBoy Farms Inc., based in Clewiston, Fla., received USDA organic certification for its shrimp products, making it the largest organic producer of shrimp in the United States.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 9/p. 32, 37

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