organic farmers vs. gmo farmers
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are one of the best ways to get vegetables and other produce straight from local sources.

Whether you’re consciously trying to remove some of the steps it takes for your organic food to get to your plate, or just want all the convenience that a basket of fresh, seasonal veggies gives you, CSA programs are a great way to eat like you live on the farm. And since there are so many CSA groups popping up these days, chances are there’s one near you. If you’re not sure, you can search this database of CSA farms from LocalHarvest to check.

To the uninitiated, CSA programs work like this: A (hopefully organic) farmer decides they’d like to sell some of their produce directly to the public. For a weekly or monthly fee you buy “shares” of the farmer’s produce, usually in the form of a basket of vegetables/fruits.

Most farms let you pick up the produce from them directly every week, but some ship the harvest to your door or a specific collection point. Certain CSA programs will even let you pick the food that goes into your basket yourself while others decide for you, but whatever you get usually depends on the produce that’s currently in season. For this reason, most CSA programs operate during the summer, but it varies by region, farm and season.

Here in the midwest, there are a lot of farms with CSA programs. But we didn’t like the idea of driving to one every week and using up the time and gas. We also didn’t want the produce shipped to our house because of all the fuel that uses, especially when you factor in the other homes getting shipments.

Instead, we were very excited to sign up for a weekly “Fresh For You” CSA-like program that ships pre-filled baskets of fresh fruits and vegetables to our favorite local organic market, Nourish, which is only a 5 minute’s stroll away. Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan– we are pretty lucky to have an awesome local food movement happening right around us.

There are plenty of farm stands, a couple of farmer’s markets, organic markets, and an awesome new downtown market with dozens of different local vendors. We’d definitely like to see even more organic farmers, but we’re happy with the progress GR is making and thankful for the opportunity to buy local & organic to support the people who work so hard to give us this opportunity.

We know these CSA programs aren’t something that’s possible for everyone to afford or participate in because of where they live, but it’s SO worth it if you can! We got our 2nd shipment of veggies and fruits this week, and this is what we got:

organic fruits and veggies

Organic bok choy, garlic scapes, strawberries, parsley, asparagus, spicy microgreens, kale, rainbow chard, hydroponic lettuce, spinach, and chives

The 5 reasons YOU should join an organic CSA group are below. Small disclaimer: These programs are usually pretty affordable when you figure in the cost of driving to the store every week for your organic produce, and/or the long-term health costs of not eating organic.

5 Reasons YOU Should Join a CSA

1) It Supports Your Local Economy
Local farmers, and especially organic farmers, work their tails off. Many work under the threats of plant contamination and competition from conventionally grown vegetables. These “conventional” veggies are often grown from GMO seeds that tend to find ways to propogate in neighboring fields where they aren’t wanted.

By choosing their produce over the big-box grocery store’s, you support the organic farmer, the businesses that farmer chooses to support, and economic democracy as a whole. Besides keeping that dollar bill in your community, it just feels good to know you chose an organic vegetable from a farm in visiting distance from your house.

2) CSA Produce Is Simply Better
As long as the produce is organic, you’re pretty much guaranteed MUCH fresher and more delicious food with a greater concentration of nutrients. Would you rather have food that’s grown for shipping and lasting on the shelf, or food grown for nutrition and flavor?

This is why it doesn’t matter that CSA vegetables don’t last as long. Since many CSA programs provide you with shares weekly, whichever vegetables are at their peak ripeness are the vegetables that get picked and put into your basket. You were planning on cooking them within the week anyway, right?

3) Wider Variety
One of the major flaws of our food system is that we rely on single species of crops due to consumer demand (Think: russet potato. Why does it always have to be russet when there are so many varieties of potatoes?). This causes a range of problems from crop failure to reliance upon damaging fertilizers and pesticides.

The natural way to farm incorporates biodiversity, and that translates into varieties of crops you wouldn’t easily find at the grocery store. Not only that, but multi-crop farming, especially with field rotation, is the natural way for farmers to obtain higher yields. The soil simply holds more nutrients and doesn’t require as many chemicals and fertilizers. Diversity wins!

4) Less Environmental Damage
Go to the store and you’ll see bell peppers from Holland, blueberries from California, and lots of stuff from Mexico. Imagine all the carbon that goes into the air from shipping all these plants thousands of miles. The food is cheap, but the tax on our environment is not. By supporting your local farm you are decreasing you carbon footprint on the world which is more needed than ever–more sustainable food communities, less environmental impact.

The United States food system is responsible for around 10% of total U.S. energy consumption. But more surprising is that agricultural production accounts for 21% of this figure while transporting, processing, and packaging the food accounts for around 37% of food energy consumption. We know you can do math, but this means that more energy is used for getting the food to our plates than to produce it.

5) Support Organic Agriculture
The ideological statement you make by buying organic food may be the most important reason to join a CSA program. For one thing, you send the farmer, the people you feed the food to (including yourself!, and companies like Monsanto that grow crops in unsustainable and inorganic ways a message: You want organic food because food that isn’t organic is harmful to the body and the environment, and you support your local economy.

The best way to encourage the change that our food system needs is by consciously choosing foods grown in healthy and sustainable ways. If enough people actively support things such as community supported agriculture, home or public food gardens, and organic growing, consumer demand will ultimately be the most powerful driving force against unsustainable and toxic methods of farming.


The ULTIMATE Essanté Organics Review

Essante logo

If you came across this blog post, you’re probably a fan of our page on Facebook, “I Eat Organic,” an Essanté distributor, or someone who has been referred to Essanté Organics from a friend or family member. Although I do promote Essanté’s products, I did my best to make this review as unbiased as possible: these are the facts from my understanding and I hope they will be helpful in answering your questions and/or clarifying your doubts.

What is Essanté?

Essanté is a direct sales company in the health and wellness industry. It was founded in 2009 by Michael Wenniger, who now has over 20 years of experience in the wellness industry. Essanté specializes in products that are 100% organic and toxin-free.

Can they back up their organic claims?

Essanté does have certifications  for all of their claims including certifications from the Toxic Free Foundation, the National Organic Program, and the National Science Foundation—they are also 100% Eco-certified for their sustainable development. Essanté is just 1 of only 6 companies in the world that is certified by the Toxic-Free Foundation.

Who belongs to the corporate staff?

The corporate staff positions are held by Michael Wenniger (CEO- Chief Executive Officer), Dr. Jonathan James Levine (President),  and Angie Levine (CMO- Chief Marketing Officer).

Michael Wenniger, JJ Levine, and Angie Levine of Essanté Organics

Michael Wenniger (left), JJ Levine (center), Angie Levine (right)

How is this company different than any other MLM company?

Essanté is unique in the fact that they are the only direct sales company that produces a line of 100% certified organic and toxic-free “all-natural” or “organic.” 

I say that because if it’s not 100% organic, it can be difficult to tell whether or not it contains harmful ingredients. Tom’s of Maine, for example, boasts their brand as a healthy alternative to some of their more chemical-laden counterparts, yet many of their products still contain dangerous chemicals.

Not only that, but once a small owned and operated company, Tom’s of Maine is now owned by the major corporation Colgate-Palmolive. Fluoride in toothpaste is a definite no-no in my book (Tom’s has toothpaste with and without it), but some of their toothpastes (especially the kids’s toothpaste–our most vulnerable humans) still contain SLS (sodium-lauryl sulfate), a chemical linked to irritation of the skin and eyes, organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, possible mutations, and cancer.

“Putting chemicals on your skin or scalp may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body. However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs.” -Joseph Mercola, M.D.

Sadly enough, many of the companies that do boast the terms “all-natural” are actually the ones who have dangerous chemicals in their products that they try to cover up with clever marketing terms.  Unfortunately that’s the reality of countless companies and businesses today, which is why we have to become more informed, educated consumers.

safe products

You can check out the “threat level” of your personal care products by visiting the Environmental Working Group’s website here. All you have to do is enter the brand names of the products that you’re using and the site will show you what toxic threat level your product has and any harmful side effects that have been linked to that product’s ingredients.

What kind of products does Essanté have?

Essanté has a full catalog of over 75 different products that range a wide variety of categories including but not limited to: personal care products (organic shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash & moisturizer, as well as a full anti-aging skincare line), baby care products (baby body wash and lotion–great for eczema!), weight-loss products (meal-replacement shake, alkalizing fruit and veggie powders with 5.5 lbs of fruits or veggies in every scoop), health and wellness products (allergy fighting and immune-boosting bee tabs, vitamins and more), cleaning/household products (organic sanitizer, certified free chemical-free laundry detergent), as well as a full line of food-grade and certified organic essential oils.

The corporate staff has also made it known that they have several hundred more products formulated and ready to roll out as the company continues growing.

How can I purchase the products?

You can purchase products from Essanté two ways. One way you can order is through their website to be delivered to your door for retail price. You can also order the products at their wholesale price if you become a member–it costs $30/year to become a wholesale member.

essanté organic products

That’s cheaper than a Sam’s Club or Costco membership, AND it gives you wholesale prices on safe, organic products that you’re ALREADY using. If you want to become a wholesale customer, just visit this link to sign up and see the full catalog.

How can I make money with Essanté? What is the Essanté compensation plan like?

Good question.  :)  If you realize what an amazing opportunity, market, company and line of products this is, you may be asking yourself how you can get involved and how you can earn an extra income by sharing these products with others.

Just like there are two ways to buy the products, there are also two ways to earn money by referring the products.

1). Sign up as a wholesale customer and website owner for $30/year, maintain a 40pt monthly autoship, refer others to buy products through your unique site, and earn commissions off your customers’ retail and wholesale purchases.

2). Sign up as a representative by purchasing a fast-start package (products are even cheaper than wholesale with these packages), maintain a 100pt monthly autoship, and be qualified to earn 6 different paychecks (including matching bonuses on the commission checks earned by teammates you’ve personally enrolled).

This compensation plan is a binary compensation plan, which means you just have to find two other people to join your team and maintain an automatic shipment of products. Once you start building a team, you can yield a side income for part-time work or a full income for part-time work (depending on how quickly you grow your team!) You can build down to unlimited levels and get paid on every one of them, there are no caps to what you can earn, and there is absolutely no flushing.

If you want to watch an in-depth video that explains the compensation plan, you can check this one out, as it goes into the details much further!

Why are organic products so important?

Between the environmental toxins we’re constantly exposed to, trace toxins in our water supply,  overly processed junk food we eat that has no certified organic labelnutritional value, the “fresh” produce we eat that travels hundreds (or thousands) of miles to your grocery store after being covered in toxic pesticides to preserve it, and the dozens upon dozens of carcinogenic chemicals that are found in most personal care products today, eating and consuming ORGANIC products is more important than it has ever been.

The rates of diseases like autism, ADHD, cancer, diabetes and more continue to grow at “unexplainable” rates every year, yet we are supposed to have the most advanced healthcare in the world.  There are two major problems that are contributing to this growing epidemic: poor diet and toxic exposure.

Humans were not meant to ingest and use the countless man-made chemicals that we do today.  The result is that millions of Americans suffer from a myriad of health problems (yet they don’t know why), so they pop prescription pill after pill, hoping to mask the symptoms that plague them. It’s no wonder why our nation is in such poor health today.

Do yourself and your loved ones a favor–do your research on this topic and make the educated, informed decision to switch to organic. It’s crucial to our health!

What is the organic market like right now?

As consumers are becoming more and more educated about the dangers of our food supply, demand for safer, organic products continues to grow.

A total of 96% of American mothers plan to make changes to their food-buying habits in 2013.

Many high-profile investors are bullish on Whole Foods because they believe the younger millennial generation want their food “vetted and verified,” as CNBC business broadcaster Jim Cramer put it Wednesday in a column.

“The organic industry has exploded in the last decade, with $35 billion in sales and 10 percent growth just last year. There are more than 17,000 certified organic businesses in the country.”

How do you promote the products?

Because Essanté’s products are consumable, everyday products that most people use anyway (shampoo, conditioner, skincare products, haircare products, laundry detergent, etc.), promoting the products is just a matter of showing people that by switching brands, they are not only becoming healthier, but they are saving on future healthcare costs and/or creating an extra income for themselves. The products you purchase through Essanté are also tax-deductible unlike the products you normally buy at the store. It’s a win, win, win.

You can share Essanté products with friends and family, of course, but there are also many others ways to promote this business. Finding natural health or  alternative health stores, alternative healthcare offices (chiropractors, holistic doctors, acupuncturists, etc.) and other pre-existing businesses can be a great way to expand your audience reach. You can also host home-parties that showcase the products live or promote the products online to a targeted audience. At the end of the day, Essanté is one of the few companies that offers a wide variety of 100% certified organic products and that is what a large percentage of consumers are looking for in today’s toxic age. It doesn’t matter so much where you’re promoting them, but how you’re promoting them. When most people learn the toxic truth, they are generally more than happy to switch brands.

If you want to know more about living organic, the company, or how to get involved with Essanté yourself, feel free to connect with me via email, comment, phone (phone number is in upper right corner of my Essanté website), or social media. I’d love to chat! If you’re already involved with Essanté, I’d love to hear what you think of the product and opportunity in the comments :)