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Navitas Organics Blog

Hemp: The Eco-Friendly Superfood

Posted by Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN on Apr 19, 2019 8:25:55 AM

With the recent signing of the 2018 Farm Bill comes the legalization of industrialized Hemp production, which many farmers, environmental scientists and sustainability advocates are celebrating as an eco-friendly win for the health of our planet. This means that you will most likely see a lot more Hemp this year and beyond – in the form of clothing, food products and even plastic alternatives that make Hemp one of the most popular plants of the year.

But, what is the hype really all about when it comes to Hemp, and more importantly, is it warranted? Let’s dive in by starting with the basics.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is an incredibly versatile plant fiber that has been used for thousands of years and can be grown in a wide variety of climates and soils. In fact, Hemp is grown on almost every continent and has historically been used for paper, textiles and as an excellent source of plant protein. 

Due to the resilient versatility of Hemp, it requires no pesticides or herbicides, as it is naturally pest resistant and can even improve the health of the soil in which it’s planted. This is a huge win for our food system as so much of our soil today continues to be degraded and eroded from years of conventional crops and farming practices. Since Hemp can be planted in many areas where other food crops are not capable of growing, it supports the soil’s health and suppresses weeds, which makes it an excellent rotation crop for organic farmers. 

A Plant-Based Superfood Hero

While there are many environmental benefits to Hemp, it’s also an incredibly nutrient-dense superfood that is full of antioxidants, protein and essential minerals. Hemp contains all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a complete plant-based protein and an excellent source for vegans and vegetarians. It’s also an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids (something we often don’t get enough of here in the states), which are essential for healthy cell maintenance and development. For these reasons and more, Hemp is the nutrition powerhouse that you’ll want to add into your diet if you aren’t already. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to easily incorporate it into your everyday – through the full range of Navitas Organics products, including Hemp SeedsHemp Powder and a number of balanced superfood snacks.

An Eco-Friendly Plastic Replacement

Plastic is a HUGE problem facing our world today and the need for biodegradable, non-petroleum based plastic products has never been more pressing. Our environment simply cannot sustain the demand and rate at which we are using plastic, which means that we need an eco-friendly alternative. Luckily for us, Hemp serves as part of the solution. 

Because Hemp is such a fibrous plant and is roughly made up of 80 percent cellulose fiber, it makes for a perfect alternative to petroleum-based plastic products (which also require cellulose). While Hemp-based plastic products have been around for decades, the technology surrounding these biodegradable plastic alternatives has greatly improved and is picking up momentum in industries looking to move away from petroleum-based plastics altogether.

A Sustainable Clothing Solution

While you may feel like you’re just starting to hear more about Hemp-based clothing, this amazing plant has actually been used around the world for thousands of years to produce textiles – from bed linens and clothing to rope and canvas. Today, Hemp-based clothing is a great option for those looking to avoid synthetic fabrics and the harmful chemicals that are widely used throughout the conventional cotton industry. You may even find that Hemp is being used in combination with other natural fibers to create a durable piece of clothing that also has the soft texture commonly associated with cotton or bamboo. 

So, whether you’re adding Hemp Seeds to your daily smoothie, wearing Hemp clothing or reducing your plastic use with some biodegradable Hemp products, you will definitely see a whole lot of Hemp this year. But, it's no secret that here at Navitas, we're no strangers to Hemp. It's been one of our staple superfoods in the form of seeds and powder for more than 10 years! And we're especially excited about the next evolution of Hemp in both the health and wellness world as well as here at Navitas: Superfood Shots with 20mg hemp CBD. 

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Topics: wellness, nutrition, blog, health, superfoods, sustainability, plant based, healthy living, Navitas Organics, CBD, hemp CBD

4 Ways to Identify Food That’s Good for You AND the Planet

Posted by Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN on Mar 13, 2019 8:10:00 AM

In celebration of National Nutrition Month, we’re taking a closer look at all the amazing ways that our food can be an incredible tool for both supporting our health and the health of the planet. Thanks to our global food system, we have access to some of the most nutrient-dense and traditional foods grown around the world. Just take a look at the labels of your favorite foods the next time you’re shopping! You can travel around the world just by wandering the produce section, yet when was the last time you really took a moment to think about not only where your food was coming from, but how it was grown?

In today’s modern world, we also have access to a wide variety of food cultures, which has opened our eyes to so many wonderful possibilities when it comes to our food. This enables someone living in the United States to experience a small part of the culture of another country halfway around the world. This connection is what makes our food such a powerful unifier, but this access also comes with great responsibility.

While it’s a unique privilege to experience superfoods like Cacao, Matcha, Turmeric and Maca easily and at low cost, this privilege shouldn’t come at the expense of the local communities where they’re grown — something that is very important to us here at Navitas Organics. This is where the sustainable food movement comes in and why it is so important to support sustainable practices that back the social, environmental and economic wellness of the communities where these traditional foods are grown and sourced.

But, how do you know what to look for? Luckily today, there are a number of ways that you can determine if a company is using sustainable sourcing practices. Keep reading to learn some of ways that we choose to support a sustainable food system and what you can look for the next time you’re wandering the aisles of your local market, wondering how to make the best choices for your health and the planet.

1. Look for The Fair Trade Label
Fair Trade is a label that represents the fair and equitable treatment and wages of farmers and workers that produce many of our favorite foods — like Cacao! In order for a product to be Fairtrade Certified, producers must have met the global minimum prices and wages for fair trade products.

2. Choose Organic
The USDA Organic label makes it possible for consumers to tell the difference between products that were grown with pesticides and those grown without. Choosing organic is an excellent choice both for your health and the health of farmers and communities where your food is grown. Pesticides can contaminate ground water, negatively impact soil health and often impact the health of the farmers and workers growing your food. So, when you choose organic, you’re not only thinking about your health, you’re thinking about the health of communities and people you may never meet.

3. Opt For B-Corporations
B-Corporations are an incredible network of socially responsible and sustainability minded companies of which Navitas Organics is proud to be a part. In order to be certified as a B-Corp, companies must go through a rigorous multi-step process and meet a set of social, environmental and economic standards that prove the company is balancing profit with purpose. So, if you’re looking for companies to trust when making your purchases, then B-Corps are a great place to start.

4. Know Your Foods Carbon Footprint
Our agricultural industry has a significant impact on our climate, but it can also be a large part of the solution to stop and reverse climate change. Sustainable food systems using traditional and regenerative growing practices can actually sequester carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, which is an incredible means of combating climate change. When it comes to your food choices, look for companies that choose to support traditional farming practices and that make a commitment to further reduce their carbon footprint with carbon neutral-focused programs and policies.

With these few things in mind, you’re well on your way to supporting a more sustainable food system and can be a part of changing the way your food impacts not only your health, but the world around you.

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Topics: nutrition, blog, superfoods, sustainability

How We Use Business as a Force for Good and What it Means for You

As B Corp Month and the start of February kick off, we at Navitas thought this would be a great opportunity to discuss our commitment to a movement we wholeheartedly believe in and are proud to be a part of. In the words of Ghandi, we must all seek to “Be the Change that we wish to see in the world” – for if not, what hope is there for future generations? This is the inspiration to our commitment to B Corp.

Conventional business wisdom is often narrow in its focus on profit-driven outcomes, frequently leaving commitments to sustainability and longevity behind. But we believe that considering a long-term, sustainability-based vision of a company can create resiliency and loyalty, while also securing profits for the lifetime of the brand. Being a B Corp certified company is part of how we do this. Our hope is to change that short-sighted mentality by showing firsthand that strong values and a commitment to our stakeholders; customers, employees, partners, environment and society can be profitable and reformative.

So, what does B Corp mean? It means we’re held to standards by an unbiased, third-party entity (B Corp) that holds us accountable for our impacts on social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance our profit with our purpose. At Navitas Organics, that means our commitment to Fairtrade, our commitment to organic and non-GMO products, our partnerships with environmental organizations such as A Growing Culture, our commitments to healthy living and non-profits like Ceres Project and Conscious Kitchen, and last but not least, our amazing Wellness Program for our employees.

We’re in the midst of a cultural change that’s using business as a way to transform the economic engine. Consumers are the ones that play the most important role, as they hold the power to tip the scale and demand business and government accountability. Labels certifications like B Corp and so many others help consumers make the right decisions. “The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities and the environment.” As leaders in the superfood category, we want to make sure we’re using our business as a beacon for positive change and showing that corporate social responsibility can be achieved while making profits.

We were thrilled when we became B Corp certified two and a half years ago, but it was no easy walk in the park to get there. There were many challenges and lessons learned along the way to getting our assessment completed and approved, but looking back now, we can truly appreciate the level of detail and scrutiny involved in this process, because it helps create a level of transparency and authenticity that consumers and all shareholders can trust.
There’s so much energy out there surrounding this new model of business thinking and we’re inspired by the growing numbers of companies joining the movement. The future is bright and we’re so proud that we can take a hand in shaping a brighter tomorrow.

Not sure if your favorite brand is B Corp Certified? Click here to search the directory.

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Topics: agriculture, blog, health, superfoods, sustainability, healthy living, healthy choices, Navitas Organics, research, B Corp, economy, business

Why Every Day Is World Fair Trade Day at Navitas Organics

Posted by Megan Faletra on May 11, 2018 4:12:00 AM

World Fair Trade Day is an initiative that the World Fair Trade Organization created to help celebrate fair trade practices around the world. Here at Navitas Organics, we are excited to celebrate World Fair Trade Day today and every day, as we continuously work to change the status quo of our global food system by being a part of giving small-scale farmers and workers in developing countries access to safe working conditions and fair wages. We want to be leading voices in supporting a sustainable global food system that supports the health of both people and planet.

What Does Fair Trade Mean?
Fair trade, as the name suggests, is working to make global trade fairer for all people involved. It focuses on improving working conditions, increasing wages for farmers and workers, and making the process of global trade more transparent. Overall, fair trade is working to eliminate child labor and unsafe/unethical working conditions, while improving environmentally friendly production practices.

How Is Fair Trade Different from Organic?
While fair trade and organic have some overlapping values, fair trade focuses more on the ethical treatment, labor, safety and wages of the people creating or growing our consumer goods. Organic, on the other hand, focuses more on the environmental and safety standards surrounding farming practices and the use of potentially harmful chemicals like pesticides.

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Topics: education, farmers, information, agriculture, blog, fairtrade, food, foods, health, healthy, sustainability, trade

Why Farmer Autonomy Matters: Part Two

In part one, I introduced Loren Cardelli, president and co-founder of A Growing Culture (AGC), to provide some background and education on what his amazing organization does to support our farmers. In the conclusion of this interview, I ask some hard-hitting questions about what potential their work has for our food system and how we can make a difference as consumers.

MD: Given that a majority of your work is in rural areas internationally, what challenges do you face in spreading the knowledge about effective farming techniques? How does a farmer in Kenya learn from a farmer in Peru when they’re so disconnected from any form of technology?

LC: That’s one of the reasons why we share information both digitally and analogue. We are building one of the largest networks of participatory agricultural organizations that put farmers first. By doing this, we can reach out to these organizations and they become the arms that extend out of the digital community to the analogue. So, there is a digital connection there, but there’s also face-to-face knowledge sharing that we organize and support. This project isn’t just digitally focused – it’s not a technical solution for low tech, it’s a network and community that uses digital connection as just one of their tools. So, when a farmer in Kenya wants to share a technique with a farmer in Vietnam or Bolivia, that technique is not exactly replicated, but rather, it’s adapted, modified and built upon by the farmers in these other countries. This is the constant evolution of ideas and innovation that we’re trying to create.

MD: Do you see changes, systems or procedures internationally that you think could work for the United States’ food system?

LC: Absolutely. We received funding this past Fall for a project in Vietnam regarding pig farming. It’s an innovation in which the pig farmer creates a living, fermented bedding for the hogs (“living” means that it’s populated by indigenous microorganisms and bacteria that are thriving). It’s not a sterile, bleached environment, but rather a bedding material of carbon materials including rice, husks, wood chips and straw, which is then inoculated and alive. The urine and feces of the pigs are immediately broken down and digested by this community, so there’s no runoff or waste. This technique can be adapted and used even in industrial systems in North Carolina, Iowa, Canada, Switzerland or China, as well as by smallholder systems in Vietnam and other countries worldwide. We’re so excited about the scalability of this specific technique and its application in other areas.

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Topics: education, farmers, information, agriculture, blog, food, foods, health, healthy, sustainability

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