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GILLIARD FARMS: ORGANIC FARMING IS THE KEY TO SUSTAINABILITY

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Gilliard Farms is probably the oldest farm that still very much active in producing fresh goods in this side of Georgia. Farming has been our family’s vocation across all generations that is why we have been in this business for more than a century. The secret to our success? Sustainable farming. We have always ensured that the farming techniques that we use are environment-friendly. And we are living proof that sustainable farming is the key to a stable and successful farming business.

Our longevity is an achievement and we are determined to continue doing sustainable means of farming for the protection of our environment, ecosystem, communities, and the people around us. Our commitment stems from our belief that only sustainable and organic farming will bring about the most nutritious and best-tasting food – true to the core and promises only wholesome organic goodness for everyone who gets the chance to eat our produce. We want to help keep our environment green and safe. We want to offer nutritious foods to the people. And most of all, we want to make organic food affordable for everyone so that we can have a healthier population.

variety of plants and crops

Gilliard Farms only employs sustainable farming techniques to ensure the protection of our environment and community. We do not use toxic and harmful chemicals in our plants and animals. We make sure that there is a balance between our farming activities and the ecosystem around us. We support biological diversity in our estate. All our farming techniques and practices are duly recorded so that officials, researchers, and the public can verify them at any time. We believe in transparency. When we say that we bring you wholesome organic goodness, you can be assured that our products are safe, clean, green, and healthy for your body.

Gilliard Farms is a vast estate. We grow different kinds of plants and crops using our tested farming techniques. Our animal agriculture conforms to the highest standards of the animal production system. For those who are interested, Gilliard Farms offers farm tours, lectures, and cooking lessons. We have educational farm tours wherein we educate our guests about the different kinds of plants and animals in our farm, what we grow, and when it is in season. We also offer lectures on organic farming and the techniques to produce the freshest products. We also have cooking demonstrations for organic foods wherein our guests can learn about the recipes for the wholesome organic goodness that our farm offers and taste the finished products.

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For those who are interested to grow their own organic plants in their backyards, we have seedlings and crops for sale. We will teach you how to start your organic garden. Of course, our farm guests can buy the greenest and crispest produce for the day at affordable prices. You can even be the one to harvest them from our farm to guarantee their freshness. So, there is more reason for you to go out and visit us. Gilliard Farms will take you to a whole new level of farming experience.

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Hybrid Fruits & Vegetables: Are They Good Or Bad?

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fresh green vegetables

The term hybrid has grown popular when it comes to food production. Scientists and experts are pushing for these foods since they offer better yields for the farmers. That’s why you find most of the vegetables and fruits in your local store are likely to be hybrid. But what are hybrid foods, and are they good or not?  

In this guide, we are going to dig deeper into this topic and address most of the fears that people have over hybrid foods. We are going demystify myths about hybrids and show you why you shouldn’t get scared. But we will start with understanding what hybrid foods are. 

What are Hybrid Fruits and Vegetables? 

If you ask random people on the street what hybrid fruits and vegetables are, you will be surprised by the kind answers you will get. You will come across people who believe that hybrid foods are the same as GMOs, which is not true. It is because of such reasons that most people fear buying fruits and vegetable labelled ‘hybrid.’ Contrary to popular belief, hybrid fruits and vegetables are naturally made. Although they may be referred to as man made vegetables and fruits, the process of hybridisation is 100% natural. 

Hybridisation simply happens when two closely related plants are cross-pollinated. So, hybrid foods are a result of cross-pollination and nothing else. A good example is cross-pollinating two different species of oranges. The produced orange will be different from the two original plants. In most cases, the produced hybrid orange will be larger, sweeter, and probably seedless.  

Although the process of hybridisation could be man-made by the use of pollinators, it happens all the time in our farms. For example, bees are some of the most active natural pollinators that collect pollen from one plant to the other in such of nectar. That’s how cross-pollination occurs naturally. 

So Are Hybrid Foods Bad? 

The safety of hybrid fruits and vegetables is guaranteed. So, you can buy and eat these foods without any fear of harmful side effects on your health. The idea that hybrid fruits and vegetables are not good for your health is just a myth. The combination of different genetic materials from different plants have been happening on the planet for thousands of years. In fact, we cannot stop hybridisation as longs as there are natural pollinators such as bees, birds, wind, and even humans. 

two women eating watermelon

If anyone tells that they are not selling hybrid fruits and vegetables, they are lying to you. That’s because scientists and experts believe that everything on the planet, including us humans, are hybrids. Natural cross-pollination has been happening for years, and it’s not going to stop. Therefore, there is no plant on the planet today that is not a hybrid.  

The bottom line is that hybrid fruits and vegetables are good for your health. In fact, experts believe that hybrids are more nutritious than the originals. Therefore, you are likely to get a higher concentration of nutrients if you choose to go hybrid.  

Difference Between Hybrids And GMO 

One of the biggest myths surrounding hybrids is the association with the GMO. Most people confuse hybrid foods with GMOs, which is wrong. There is a huge difference between the two. In fact, they are not even close in any way. The biggest difference between hybrids and GMOs is the process. For hybrid fruits and vegetables, the process happens naturally. Whether it is sped up by the farmer, they act as a mere agent in pollination. So, the whole process of hybridisation is 100% natural. 

On the other hand, GMO (genetically modified organisms) are created in the lab by combining the DNA molecules from multiple species. Some of the foods’ genetic makeup may be embedded with pesticide DNA molecules to make them pest resistant. Therefore, GMO involves the alteration of the genetic makeup of the plant to achieve desired results. Some of the added DNAs could cause severe side effects, and that’s why GMO food is deemed unsafe for human consumption. 

Advantages of Hybrid Fruits and Vegetables 

Hybrid Food Production Is Safe 

One of the biggest benefits of hybrid fruits and vegetables is safe production. The process of hybridisation artificial because there are no chemicals involved. In addition, there are no foreign DNA introduced into the crop’s genetic makeup. This is how the safety of the food is guaranteed. That’s not the same with GMOs, which uses chemicals and could introduce even animal genes. The process is also safe for the farmers who specialise in producing these crops. 

Loaded with More Nutrients 

woman eating fresh grapes

Studies have shown that hybrid fruits and vegetables are loaded more nutrients than the original plant. Scientists and experts who do hybridisation look at improving the quality of the fruits and vegetables. A good example is hybrid oranges. They have a higher concentration of vitamin C compared to the original oranges. Therefore, if you are looking for healthier fruits and vegetables, then you need to consider hybrids.   

Fast Growth 

Another benefit of hybrid fruits and vegetables is fast growth. Unlike the original fruits, hybrids plants take a shorter period to mature. Therefore, you can expect to get a sufficient supply of fruits and vegetables year-round and at a relatively lower price.  

Longer Shelf Life 

If you are looking to buy fruits and vegetables that can last for a longer time, then you need to consider hybrids. For those planning to stock up, you need to buy hybrids because they offer a longer shelf life. Therefore, you can expect them to last longer without going bad. 

In conclusion, hybrid fruits and vegetables are not a threat to your health. In fact, they will make you healthier because of their higher concentration of nutrients. It is also important to note that hybrid foods are not GMOs. So, they could be said to man made vegetables and fruits, but they are actually 100% natural. 

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Pros And Cons Of GMO Labeling

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gmo labeling effects

The issue of GMO has continued to be a controversial topic in the food market. With the proponents saying it’s the best technology in the food industry, opponents believe that GMO food could cause serious health complications to the consumers. It’s because of these extreme opinions that GMO labeling had been made mandatory in most jurisdictions, including Australia.  

But what are the main fears and the goodness that comes with GMO labeling? Well, there are many advantages and disadvantages that come with food labeling food GMO. It helps consumers to control what they eat, but it could also hurt food producers. Here are some of the major GMO labeling pros and cons

Pros Of GMO Labeling 

1. Increases Ingredient Awareness 

One of the major benefits of GMO food labeling is ingredient awareness. The biggest challenge in the food supply is a lack of information. There is a huge number of consumers that do not know what is in the food they buy from stores. Unless there is an ingredients list, then it becomes very difficult to know what the food on our supermarket shelves contains. For jurisdictions that do not require GMO labeling, then it is possible to consume genetically engineered food without knowing. But with strict food labeling regulations, consumers are aware of the ingredients used. 

2. Right-To-Know What You Are Eating 

It is the right of every consumer to know what they are eating. But that will not be possible if the food producer is not compelled to put up a list of the ingredients used. With GMO labeling, consumers are provided with all the information about what they are eating. The most important is the amount of GMO ingredients in the food – in most jurisdiction, 0.09% GMO content is allowed. Therefore, as a consumer, you will be in a position to know what is in the food you are eating. 

3. Ability To Choose What You Eat 

man dealing with food options

The other benefit that comes with GMO labeling is choosing what you eat. Every consumer has the right to choose the product they feel is best for their lifestyle. But without proper food labeling, it will be very difficult to tell what is good and what is bad for your lifestyle. But when you have food labelled, it becomes easy for the consumers to make a choice between the available options. For those who would like non-GMOs food only, they have a clear choice to select from.   

4. Transparency  

The other advantage of food labeling is improved transparency. Consumers should know everything about the food they are buying from supermarkets and other places. With the labelled food, it is very easy for the buyer to know about the ingredients used for its processing. They will also be able to know which food is genetically modified and which one is not. With this kind of transparency, customers will be safe from any perceived harmful components in the food. 

5. Tool Track Problems 

The other benefit of GMO labeling ease of tracking problems. With the food labelled, it is very easy to track the movement of food within the supply chain back the manufacturer. That is something that you can never get from food that is not labelled. Therefore, no company would dare to sell GMO-food and label it as non-GMO knowing that the food could be traced back to them. So, labeling is one of the best methods used to discourage unethical practices in food processing and supply chain. 

6. Reduced GMOs In Food Supply 

The number of people consuming GMO food knowingly is very small. But a majority of the people consuming genetically engineered food unknowingly is very huge. What attracts them could be the appealing look of GMO foods such as fruits and vegetables. But if they knew the food has GMO components, then they would avoid it. That means that the demand for the GMO food would go down, and this would significantly reduce it in the supply chain.  

6. Consistent Global Standards Regarding Food Labeling 

Multiple countries across the world are implementing strict rules and regulations on GMO labeling. That includes countries in the EU, US as well as Australia. Therefore, it is considered a global standard to have the food in the supply chain labelled. 

Cons Of GMO Labeling 

7. Lack Of Consumer Understanding 

lack of consumers understanding

One of the biggest disadvantages with GMO labeling is a lack of understanding. Most consumers do not have a proper understanding of what genetically modification means. There is a lot of misinformation about this technology. What most people don’t know is that there are various forms of GM foods, some of which may not be harmful to consumer health. However, customers will dismiss any food with a GMO tag. This is likely to hurt most of the food producers. 

8. Product Stigmatisation 

Product stigmatization is another disadvantage associated with GMO labeling. Many benefits come with genetic modification, including improved quality seeds that enable farmers to increase their production even in changing conditions. However, with the stigma created about the GMO tag, any product that is labelled GM tag would immediately get stigmatised. 

9. Expensive Food 

The cost of food labeling is passed to consumers. For the food to meet the required standards, it means an alteration in the packaging product, and that means extra cost. Therefore, implement rules requiring mandatory labeling of GMO food means an increase in the price of the products. 

10. GMO Label Create Confusion 

GMO labeling was expected to get rid of confusion, but it ends up creating more confusion, which was not the intention. That’s why people can pay even thrice for the same quantity of food labelled non-GMO, which is not necessary. 

These are the main pros and cons of GMO labeling. Whereas consumers get to know what they are eating, it has also created a lot of confusion which have left many companies hurting. However, there is a lot of benefits that consumers get from GMO labeling. We recommend that you don’t buy food without knowing whether if GM ingredients in it to keep safe. 

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Ways Organic Food Help To Lose Weight

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One of the biggest debates in the food industry is the organic foods and its said benefits to consumers. In fact, a visit to your supermarket’s food section, you will find food labelled organic. Studies have shown that organic food provides numerous health benefits. That’s why they attract higher prices due to the rising demand in the market.

One of the biggest health benefits that this food provides is weight loss. From various studies conducted on organic food, there is prove that switching to this food can help you lose weight naturally. But how does that work? Well, we are going to explore how eating organic can help you shed off extra pounds and some of the organic foods you should have in your diet.

How Organic Food Help You Lose Weight

Various studies have shown that organic food is more nutritious compared to conventional food, which is grown with chemical inputs. For instance, it has been proven that organic food has lower levels of cadmium and a higher levels of antioxidants. What chemicals in farming input do is killing some of the natural nutrients in the food; hence, making them less nutritious. Here are Ways organic food helps lose weight:

Rich In Antioxidants

According to various studies, it has been proven that organic food has a high concentration of antioxidants. Organic vegetable and fruits have been found to contain 20 to 40 per cent more antioxidants than conventional varieties. We all know the numerous benefits that these nutrients have to the body. One of the biggest reasons why most people are coming obese or add unnecessary weight is because of the high toxin levels. Most of these toxins comes from the food that is conventionally grown.

Toxins make the body add weight in a number of ways. First, they tamper with the normal hormone functioning. For you to lose weight, your hormones must work efficiently. So when hormones hinder the normal functioning of your homes, then you will have a problem with weight gain. Second, toxins trigger the body to create fat cells. The fat cells movers the toxins away from vital organs. That’s how you end up adding weight.

Lastly, toxins affect the efficiency of thyroid. It is the thyroid that regulates metabolism, which is crucial for weight regulation. So, if the thyroid is not working correctly, then your metabolism is affected. That’s how you end up gaining unnecessary weight.

So, with foods high in antioxidants concentration, they help the body to flush out toxins. Properly functioning thyroid also improves metabolism hence increasing fat burn. Lastly, your body stops creating fat cells. That’s how you end up losing weight naturally by eating organic food.

Reduce Craving

Most people are not able to relate their craving to the chemicals in the food. It has been proven by various studies that chemicals in conventional farming are the most significant contributor to cravings. This kind of addiction is what keeps people eating more of the chemical-laced food, which ends up adding more toxin in the body. That is how a majority of people ends up adding weight due to addiction to bad food.

Organic food has no craving or any form of addiction. So, you will not have a problem of overeating a particular food, especially wheat products, potato chips, which are known for adding weight. That is another way that switching to organic food would help you lose weight in the long run. However, it will take a few days or weeks to adapt to this food and kill the craving.

They Have Less Sugar

Another way that organic foods can help in weight loss is by reducing the amount of sugar the consumer is exposed to. A good example is a varying amount to simple sugar and starch between the organic and conventional fruits. Have you ever wondered why conventional fruits are sweeter and bigger, yet they have a low concentration of vitamins and antioxidants? Well, that’s because of the sugar content.

The extra size of conventional fruits such as apples and oranges are filled with sugar and starches. That is the reason why they are sweeter compared to the organic option. Eating such fruits means you will consume more calories. That’s how people end up adding weight with these foods. But with organic foods, the amount of sugar is lower, and that’s one way that you end up losing weight naturally.

Best Organic Foods You Should Add To Your Organic Diet

Organic food can indeed help you lose weight in the long run. However, you need to consider a number of factors to make this a reality. There are some foods that you must have in your organic diet to achieve weight loss. These are foods that have been found to deliver excellent results in a relatively short time.

You should include free-range eggs in your organic diet. These types of eggs contain good fat like omega-3 fatty acids which are good for a healthy body. Organic apples and blueberries are two must-have fruits in your diet. They are rich in fibre content and antioxidants hence making them ideal for weight loss. The other food that you must add is yoghurt. Its good carbs, fats and proteins are the reasons why it is one of the recommended foods by dieticians. Last is the green tea because of its high antioxidant properties.

Final Thought

Switching to organic foods is good not only for slimming but has other numerous health benefits. However, you shouldn’t expect to lose weight immediately. It will take some time to start seeing the results. Choose organic food correctly and eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, you must change your lifestyle and incorporate workouts for a long-lasting solution to your weight issues. It is also good to see a dietician to guide you on how to pick the right food and the right servings.

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THE GMO CONTROVERSY

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genetically modified tomatoes

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the result of genetic engineering wherein the genetic codes of animals, plants, and microorganisms are changed with the use of technology. The most common species that are genetically modified are plants or crops. Producers cite improvement of crop protection which will result in higher yields of these crops as the main objective for modifying their genes. They introduce the development of resistance to certain viruses and diseases in plants in the hope of producing healthier and bountiful crops. There are certain foods that are produced from GMOs. As such, systems and policies are in place to ensure the safety and security of food production. Authorities are watchful on the possible effects of GMOs on the health of the people and the safety of the environment. The World Health Organization adheres to the principles and standards of Codex Alimentarius Commission in conducting safety assessments in the use of GMOs. This also serves as a guide for countries in evaluating and labeling GMOs used in food production.

genetic modification

There is much controversy in the use of GMOs. Supporters of the use of GMOs, particularly in crops, maintain that the public does not have access to the information that they need for them to understand GMOs and the benefits that they bring. Some people believe that using GMOs on their food will give them illness. However, government agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture, and Environmental Agency have tested GMOs that are used in foods before they are allowed to be sold for public consumption to ensure their safety. Supporters cite the benefits of GMOs such as an increase in crop yield and decrease costs and lose in production. Meanwhile, critics believe that GMOs pose risks to the health of the people, environment, food security, and threaten the sovereignty of the farmers. They support the traditional method of seed breeding and organic agriculture for the public to have food choices that are healthy and safe. Critics contest the possible toxic effects on people’s health, allergic effects, nutritional properties, the constancy of the selected gene, and other unintentional effects of the genetic modification. In the meantime, the public is left to weigh the benefits and risks of this new technology that is available to us.

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ANTIBIOTIC USE AND RESISTANCE IN ANIMALS

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sick pig in a pigpen

The use of antibiotics in animals affects the risk of development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among humans and animals. The study on cross-contamination in the pigs’ gastrointestinal tracts shows that using antibiotics resulted in the development of resistance to certain bacteria and also affected the metabolism of the animals. Another research project that focused on the implication of using pig manure as fertilizers shows that these excretions contained antibiotic residues and bacteria.

The fertilizers cause the development of resistance to certain kinds of bacteria in the soil that they nourish and these antibiotic-resistant bacteria can also be transferred to other species when the manure gets into the water and plants which are then consumed by animals and humans. The researchers are also looking into the possible effect of the use of biocides on pig and poultry farms on the development of resistance but it still has to be studied further before the scientific community makes a conclusion.

poultry hens

The scientists must consider the application and concentration of the biocides and how these factors affect the development of resistance to bacteria among poultry and pigs. Researchers also cited the important role of Antimicrobial Consumption and Resistance in Animals (AMCRA) in recommending guidelines for the reduced and responsible use of antibiotics in animals to limit the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among humans and animals.

AMCRA uses a multi-stakeholder approach to meet their goals of reducing antibiotic consumption on farm animals, decrease the use of critically important antibiotics in all species, and reduce the use of antibiotics in animal feeds. AMCRA was able to involve private companies to help government officials in monitoring the use of antibiotics in the industry. The center recommended creating an electronic database on the consumption of antibiotics in different sectors and age categories of animals. Officials also conducted awareness campaigns to keep farmers and veterinarians informed regarding the policies to ensure that the initiatives would be supported by all stakeholders. AMCRA paved the way for the formation of strategies in ensuring the proper use of antibiotics, good health management among farm animals, and giving recommendations on alternative treatment of diseases depending on the animal species.

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USE OF ANTIBIOTICS ON FARM ANIMALS

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cow in a farm

The news article from the Health section of the New York Times shows us the seemingly indiscriminate use of antibiotics on farm animals such as chickens, turkeys, cows, and pigs. Incidentally, these animals are raised for human consumption. Meat and poultry producers are the biggest market for antibiotics in America. The producers can easily purchase these drugs over the counter. These individuals use antibiotics to treat animal infections or enhance their growth.

However, the producers are not required to give a report regarding their use of antibiotics on the animals. This is a cause of concern among scientists because there is a lack of information about the relationship on the use of antibiotics on animals and how it possibly affects antibiotic-resistant diseases among the people. This is a public health concern that should be given due attention.

There are infections that could previously be treated simply with the use of penicillin tablets but now require those infected to be hospitalized and be given antibiotics through intravenous treatment. These infections could even cause death. People are showing resistance to antibiotics which reduces the effectiveness of these drugs to treat certain diseases. It is possible that these antibiotics are overused by the producers which in turn affects the people who consume the meat of those animals.

turkeys

Scientists are adamant to give a conclusion about how the use of antibiotics on animals affects infectious diseases among humans because of the lack of detailed information from meat and poultry producers regarding their use of the drugs. It is a call for government officials to regulate the use of antibiotics on farm animals and identify agencies who should really be accountable and responsible in ensuring that meat and poultry producers are abiding by the laws. This is to safeguard the health of the public and preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating infections both among humans and animals.