Category Archives: Environment

The Ever Present Threat of GMOs and the Future of Clean Food

At Native Sun we wholeheartedly believe in the importance of clean, pure food. We strive to provide our customers with the highest quality organic and natural products free of the unwanted additives, chemicals, and fillers that contaminate the products lining the shelves of mainstream American supermarkets. While we believe in the importance of eating organic and avoiding ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners/colors, nitrates, and antibiotics, one of the most important issues facing the organic and natural foods industry remains the prevalence and continued risk of contamination from Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs.

At Native Sun we support the efforts of the Non-GMO project and will soon add their “Non-GMO Project Verified” seal to the products on our shelves. For Native Sun, our support of the Non-GMO project only reinforces our commitment to clean food while providing our customers with additional assurance. We pride ourselves on setting the industry standard, not adopting the industry standard, and for the last decade Native Sun has rigorously researched and scrutinized each and every product on our store shelves. In order for their products to end up in our stores, companies must respond and verify that they operate in accordance with our “GMO letter” which openly questions the quality of the raw materials involved in production as well as each company’s stance on GMOs in general.

We refuse to compromise our standards in an effort to capitalize on industry trends or appease the mass market. If you shop our stores, do so with confidence, understanding that we are continually working to bring you the cleanest products available. GMOs represent the fundamental antagonist to pure foods, jeopardizing the integrity of the food we eat as well as the natural food industry itself. Genetic drift, poorly regulated industry standards, and dishonest manufacturers dirty the lens that magnifies the natural food industry’s every move. Biotech companies anxiously await a fatal misstep that will reveal the supposed hypocrisy of the health food industry that seeks to remedy the ills threatening the future of clean food, not deceive its customer base. Those who manufacture, purchase, and plant GMO seed and produce GMO products fail to understand that they are ruining the food supply we work so diligently to protect.

Ultimately, we are fighting against GMOs to maintain the future integrity of our food supply. If we don’t make an effort to combat GMOs, clean food will become a thing of the past.

Chemical Bug Spray Repels More Than Just Bugs!

As summer approaches, we venture outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather. Along with the lazy, sun drenched afternoons spent lounging on deserted beaches (hey, we can pretend, right?), comes a swarm of insects and other pests ready to turn your summer dreams into a bug-bitten nightmare. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbeque or settling in around a smoldering campfire, selecting a bug repellent to ward off mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, and other pests remains an important part of enjoying outdoor activities.

However, as we coat ourselves in glossy layers of foul-smelling repellants formulated to protect us from unwanted pests, we must consider the equally harmful ingredients found in many insect repellent products. Dripping with DEET and other chemicals, mainstream bug sprays may actually be as damaging to our bodies and the environment as they are to insects.

We don’t want to make this post any longer than it has to be, but Let’s take a look at DEET, one of the more nefarious ingredients found in many insect repellants:

DEET:

Known offenses:

Registered pesticide (US EPA 2007).

Often used in rubber and plastic cements as well as paint removers (EHANS 2003).

Caused the impairment of Central Nervous system function in rats given normal human dosage as documented by a Duke University Study (EHANS 2003).

Possible Offenses:

Memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors, and shortness of breath in humans after heavy exposure or prolonged use (Quantum Health).

Increases in toxicity when used in conjunction with other chemicals often found in bug repellents (EHANS 2003).

Native Sun Verdict: Regardless of the arguments for or against DEET, I would prefer to enjoy my outdoor endeavors without the possibility of losing basic motor functions controlled by my central nervous system after coating myself in bug spray (Canoeing is hard enough without battling pesticide induced memory loss or shortness of breath. Who knew paddling was so hard? And why can’t I remember where our campsite was?). When there are plenty of natural bug repellents available, not using DEET seems like a no-brainer.

So you’ve decided to go natural. Now what?

At Native Sun we have several ready-made bug repellants free of DEET, Parabins, GMOs, synthetic chemicals and fragrance oils:

All Terrain Herbal Armor Spray $9.49 (4oz)

Badger Anti-Bug Spray $11.39 (4oz)

Botanical Solutions Biteguard Jr. $11.89 (4oz)

Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent $6.89 (4oz)

Jade & Pearl Beat It Spray $11.39 (4oz) / $14.99 (8oz)

Jason Quit Buggin Me Lotion $3.79 (3oz)

Quantum Health Buzz Away Extreme $8.39 (4oz)

Still not satisfied? We have a great selection of essential oils that can turn the tide in the fight against biting insects! The following oils are recognized for their natural bug repelling abilities:

Note: Some essential oils can irritate the skin. Make sure to follow label precautions and dilute oils accordingly.

Citronella $3.89 (.5oz)

Eucalyptus $5.39 (.5oz)

Lavender $9.97 (.5oz)

Lemon $5.39 (.5oz)

Peppermint  $7.79 (.5oz)

Rosemary $5.49 (.5oz)

Directions: Add 1 ounce of essential oil to 10 ounces of witch hazel, vodka, or a carrier oil (Example: olive oil). Shake. Repel Bugs!

May GreenApples Charity of the Month: First Coast No More Homeless Pets

A local non-profit determined to eliminate the killing of dogs and cats in our community through free and low-cost spay and neuter programs, First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP) works diligently to control pet overpopulation and reach those in need of assistance and care. As spay/neuter surgeries increase, the shelter and euthanasia rates decrease dramatically, helping to stabilize pet overpopulation problems. Since 2002, FCNMHP has “facilitated over 90,000 pet sterilizations in the First Coast area,” reporting an “overall reduction in pet intake of approximately 34% and a 58% decrease in the number of animals” euthanized (“About Us” 2009).

Click here to learn how you can further support First Coast No More Homeless Pets! Donations will also be accepted at our registers throughout the entire month of May.

“About Us.” First Coast No More Homeless Pets. iDrive, 2009. Web. 03 May 2011. <http://www.fcnmhp.org/index.html&gt;.

Photos taken from FCNMHP

Don’t Miss Our Grass-fed BBQ!

Saunter on over to either Native Sun location tomorrow, April 30th, between 11AM and 3PM for a local, grass-fed BBQ with Cowboy Meats of Glen St. Mary, Florida. We’re looking forward to a great turnout and even better food!

In addition, from 2PM to 5PM at the Baymeadows store, we invite you to kick up your boots and relax as we provide free beer samples from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company*!

*Must be 21 or older to participate in beer tasting portion of event.

Almonds Take a Hike!

In the ever-changing landscape of agriculture and food production, price fluctuations are a seemingly daily occurrence. Recently, bulk almonds and almond butter products, which often travel across country to reach store shelves, experienced price increases directly related to spiking fuel costs. Seeking to provide you with delicious, money saving alternatives, we invite you to explore any (or all) of the following delicious nut butter options Native Sun currently stocks:

Peanut Butter:

Maranatha No Stir Crunchy Peanut Butter $4.39 (16oz)

Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter $4.94 (16oz)

Woodstock Farms (Crunchy or Smooth, Salted or Unsalted) $5.84 (16oz)

Justin’s Organic Honey Peanut Butter $7.29 (16oz) – Author’s Note: While it might be a little more expensive than the other peanut butters on this list, Justin’s is by far my favorite peanut butter! To me, this peanut butter is the perfect blend of sweet and salty with great texture and no unnecessary sugar. The chocolate flavors are equally delicious and make a great dessert!

Allergic to peanuts or just looking for great alternative nut butters?

Check out these excellent products!

Soy Nut Butter:

I.M. Healthy Soynut Butter (Unsweetened, Chunky, Honey, Creamy) $5.19 (15oz)

Sunflower Seed Butter:

Maranatha Sunflower Seed Butter $4.95 (12oz)

Sunflower Naturals Sunflower Seed Butter (Crunchy, Natural) $5.84 (16oz)

What works for you?

When Native Sun opened in 1996, owners Aaron and Erica envisioned themselves as “health educators,” determined to improve their own lives as well as the lives of their customers. For Aaron and Erica, improving their quality of life meant taking control of their food supply, demanding the highest quality organic foods free of GMOs and other harmful additives. Building a reputation based on their thorough research and uncompromising standards, Native Sun grew, becoming a trusted purveyor of both organic foods and knowledge. In response to customer concerns about the considerable environmental impact of running a business, Native Sun embraced opportunities to reduce waste and become more environmentally friendly. With the introduction of plant-sourced, biodegradable plastic bags, the development of a ride share program, and numerous expansions and constructions according to stringent environmentalist guidelines, Native Sun as a whole reduced its ecological footprint.

However, there are flaws in trying to do everything, and while we strive to implement progressive, environmentally friendly methods and materials into our business, we recognize that our strength remains our ability to select the finest organic products without jeopardizing our standards or the health of our customers. Even as we work diligently to ensure the quality of the products on our store shelves, legislation passes through our Nation’s governing bodies that endangers not only organics, but also the entirety of our food supply. With the failure to pass the “Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act,” which would require that all products containing genetically engineered materials be labeled accordingly, GMOs continue to run rampant, polluting the food found in mainstream groceries across the country (Crenshaw 2011). Unfortunately, those with the power to enact change in legislation concerning the integrity of our food supply eat blindly from the hands of the FDA, believing, like Congressman Ander Crenshaw, thatGenetically engineered foods, as well as traditional hybrid foods, must meet the rigorous provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,” and “that the genetically engineered foods that have been introduced thus far are as safe as other traditional foods” while providing canned responses to legitimate inquiries (Crenshaw 2011).

Powerless against the forces of nature that will spread GMO seed and contaminate crops, organic foods are at once vulnerable and unprotected. We want our customers to stand beside us in the fight for clean food. We should not expect everyone on the planet to purchase a hybrid car or abstain from indulging in the electronic euphoria of the latest and greatest cell phones, televisions, and other gadgets. Nor can we expect that everyone will turn off the lights when they leave a room or only shop organic. Nonetheless, our own awareness might be the only universal solution capable of solving the environmental problems threatening our planet.

Thus, on Earth Day, Native Sun asks that you recognize what works for you and build off of your drive and enthusiasm for that particular activity or habit. Forget trying to do it all. Recycle, ride your bike to work, buy a reusable water bottle or grocery bag, but recognize the importance even these seemingly small changes can have in terms of reducing stress on the environment and your body. Let others learn from the choices you make. Let them ask questions and formulate their own opinions. Generate the awareness that can change the planet. Forcing sustainable practices and environmentalism on others only invites trouble and frustration. If we truly seek to address the ills of our planet, we must accept and appreciate the contributions that each of us make regardless of their scope. While it may sound overly simple and naïve, if we make a conscious effort to implement a feasible change in our own lives, the outcome could transform the world we live in.

Again, at Native Sun we understand that our strength lies in our ability, and continued desire, to provide our customers with the highest quality organic products available. This desire fuels our Earth Day “Give Me Organic” campaign in which we will be offering a storewide discount to all of our customers*. If we fail to deliver the best available organic goods, does it really matter how environmentally friendly our stores are?

*Some restrictions apply. See store for details.

Reference:

Crenshaw, Ander. “Response to GMO Concern.” Letter to Aaron Gottlieb. 15 Apr. 2011. Jacksonville, Florida.

Got the Post-Earth Day Blues?

Before we know it, Earth Day will have come and gone. Avoid the post-Earth Day blues and take comfort in remembering that at Native Sun, everyday is Earth Day. We expect our customers to demand the highest quality organic foods at the best possible prices, which is why this month GMO stands for “Give Me Organic!” That being said, we invite you to join us this Saturday (The day after Earth Day), April 23rd 2011 for 10% Off Day! Stop by either location to enjoy 10% OFF all regular priced items*!

Please Note: In order to participate in 10% Off Day, you must be a registered My Card user.

No My Card?

No problem! Just hurry over to customer service; registration is fast, free, and easy, plus, your new My Card can be used the same day as the event!

*Some Restrictions Do Apply: Additional 10% will not be applied to items already discounted on “My Card” and Monthly Sale. As a result of Native Sun’s Everyday Low Pricing, the following items will be excluded from any additional discounts:

All Beer and Wine

Eden Organics: All Canned Bean Products

Food For Life: Ezekiel Bread: Sesame and Plain

Organic Valley: Milk, Eggs, & Orange Juice

Penta: Water 16.9oz

Rudi’s Bread: Country White, Honey Wheat, 100% Whole Wheat, Cracked Wheat, & MultiGrain Oat

Silk: Soy Milk: Plain & Vanilla (32 & 64 oz sizes)

Zephyrhills: Water (Gallon size)

 

Eden Foods Addresses Nuclear Radiation Concerns

With Japan recognized by many as the leader in the production and supply of macrobiotic products, the recent threat of nuclear contamination has left manufacturers and retailers concerned about the long term effects of the earthquakes and tsunami. In response to the growing concern, Michael J. Potter, President of Eden Organic, purveyor of traditional Japanese foods, released a statement emphasizing the steps the company has taken to prevent possible radioactive contamination as they work diligently to ensure their products remain of the highest quality.

Eden Organic’s integrity and initiative have made them a trusted brand on Native Sun’s shelves for years and we continue to stand behind them as they labor through the aftermath of the disaster in Japan. We also ask that you keep Japan in your thoughts as the country struggles to recover from the devastation of the earthquakes and tsunami.

Below you will find an excerpt from the Eden statement. Follow this link to read the entire statement.

Eden Traditional Japanese Foods
Nuclear Radiation Food Safety and Related Concerns

13 April 2011

To all concerned,

Eden has been supplying traditional Japanese foods for forty-three years. We eat them, and feed them to children and grandchildren. We share concern about ongoing nuclear meltdowns, how they impact Japanese foods, and the wellbeing of all of us.

The situation is fluid and earthquakes continue. Radiation from Japan spread around the entire northern hemisphere in the first two weeks of the nuclear crisis, according to the Vienna-based Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

One of the first things we did was acquire two radionuclide detectors and training in their use. We have recorded baseline numbers at Michigan and California Eden facilities for Japanese items that we received prior to the March 11 event. We are updating SOPs and continuing training.

Click here to continue reading

April Events: Celebrate Earth Day the Native Way!

At Native Sun we celebrate Earth Day (April 22) everyday but we’ve planned a fun-filled April to showcase local products and companies that we love. Check out our calendar of events at both locations and come in to enjoy!

BAYMEADOWS CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Saturday, April 9 • 11AM – 3PM
Enjoy delicious, local raw food samples from Shakti Life Kitchen!

Saturday, April 16 • 11AM – 3PM
Enjoy a free cup of jo from local Bold Bean Coffee Roasters & Stock up on a variety of local plants from Native & Uncommon Plants, a local company that specializes in Florida plants to help gardeners restore local habitats. They can help you find the right plant for the right place!

Saturday, April 23 • ALL DAY & 5 – 7PM
Today GMO stands for “Give Me Organic!” Take 10% OFF Grocery Items* & Enjoy free local beer samples from Bold City Brewery from 5 – 7PM!**

Saturday, April 30 • 11AM – 3PM & 2 – 5PM
Saddle up for a local, grass-fed BBQ by Cowboy Meats of Glen St. Mary, Florida from 11AM – 3PM & Sip on free beer samples from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company from 2 – 5PM**

MANDARIN CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Saturday, April 9 • 11AM – 3PM
Enjoy delicious, local raw food samples from The Present Moment Café!

Saturday April 16 • 11AM – 3PM
Enjoy a free cup of jo from local Bold Bean Coffee Roasters. Their small-batch, artisanal approach to roasting brings out the best flavor and aroma in every batch of whole, organic beans.

Saturday, April 23 • ALL DAY!
Today GMO stands for “Give Me Organic!” Take 10% OFF Grocery Items*

Saturday, April 30 • 11AM – 3PM
Saddle up for a local, grass-fed BBQ provided by Cowboy Meats of Glen St. Mary, Florida

*Rules Apply. See Store for Details.
**Must be 21 or older to participate.

Native Sun @ Baymeadows & 9A Closed March 21

Our Baymeadows location is closed today (Monday, March 21) due to technical difficulties, but will re-open tomorrow at 8am. Please note that our Deli, Dairy, Produce, Meat and Seafood Departments may be out of a handful of items due to lack of availability or short notice. We apologize for the inconvenience. For any immediate needs, please visit our Mandarin location at 10000 San Jose Blvd., or call (904) 260-6950.

The Cost of Being Green
As a “green” company we do things differently than most. Sometimes that means doing something that no one has ever done before – and with that, dealing with problems that no one has ever dealt with before. Native Sun was the first in the US to install a Gravity Feed Glycol Refrigeration System instead of pumping harmful refrigerants into the environment. Unfortunately, this unique system went down on Sunday, March 20 and affected products in our Deli, Dairy, Produce, Meat & Seafood coolers. 

Please rest assured that we have multiple safe guards in place and are taking extra measures as we speak to guarantee this incident does not happen again.

As part of our commitment to food safety and quality, we are following a very strict protocol for identifying, disposing of and documenting any and all spoiled product. When we re-open tomorrow, all of the affected departments will have been cleared out, cleaned and re-stocked with fresh, new product.

Huge thanks to all of our vendors for preparing special orders for us in this time of need and to our customers for your patience & support. We really appreciate it!