Regenerative Agriculture

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Farmer on Tractor Regenerative Agriculture 640x640Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming that works to progressively improve the soil, water and the environment. These farming methods can help take CO2, a powerful greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere and put it back where it can do the most good—under our feet—and that’s where this story begins, with soil.

Carbon Sequestration

Green plants naturally take carbon out of the air as part of photosynthesis and turn it into simple sugars. The sugars are exuded from the plant’s roots into the ground, where it feeds microorganisms that live around the root base. Those microorganisms use the carbon-based sugars to build topsoil—capturing, or sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. When a thin layer of compost is added to this system, it sets up a cycle where the plants are able to capture more and more carbon each year.

Cover Crops

Thoughtfully planted between other crops, cover crops can help to remedy soil shortcomings, keep weeds down, retain water and enrich the soil. This means the next crop will require less fertilizer, have a greater tolerance to drought and yield more. Another big plus to cover crops is they help to manage soil erosion.

No Till

Tilling the soil can lead to soil erosion, kill off the microorganisms necessary for healthy soil, encourage weed growth and can pack the soil making it harder for a crop to grow. Not tilling helps to create long-term soil fertility—organic soil that’s not tilled holds nutrients like a sponge, helping to create nutrient-rich food.

Regenerative Organic Certified logoComing soon …

Be prepared to start seeing more of this logo in the future. This certification will be used in tandem with the USDA Organic seal. The pilot program companies already produce USDA Certified Organic goods. Working towards Regenerative Organic Certification, they will be utilizing the additional regenerative agriculture practices of soil health and land management, as well as animal welfare, and farmer and worker fairness practices.

At-Home Food Rescue

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There are lots of ways waste less food. Composting is perfect for inedible food scraps like potato peels, or for those things that are beyond reviving. Both meal planning and meal prep can help you make sure you use the groceries you’ve purchased. Here are some more tidbits to tuck under your chef’s hat to help you maximize food use and minimize food waste.

Day-old bread?

No problem! Over a shallow pan, break your leftover bread into crumbs and allow to dry further. Mix in savory herbs and use in fish or crab cakes, or on top of baked mac and cheese. You can easily make homemade croutons too. Cut bread into chunks, mix melted butter with garlic (fresh or dried), parmesan, salt and pepper (or whatever your favorite spices are), pour over the bread, and bake at 350°F until they’re golden and crunchy. Allow to cool and freeze or store in an airtight container. A French toast bake is another great way to use leftover bread.

Culinary Crisis

Before you relegate some of those kitchen mishaps into the trash, try some of these handy tips. Burned the dinner? Remove the beans or stew from the heat, scoop the uncharred part of the meal into a new container and cover with a damp cloth for 10 minutes. This will help remove most of the burnt flavor. Over salted the soup? Try plopping a whole, raw, peeled potato in the pot of soup to absorb some of the salt. (Remove the potato before serving the soup.) Overcooked the veggies? Try puréeing the overdone veggies, adding some broth and turning the disappointment into delightful soup!

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Revive

Floppy carrots, bendy broccoli or limp celery? You can revive many vegetables by soaking them in ice water for 5–10 minutes. Still lifeless? Go ahead and use them in a cooked dish—they’re still delish! Wrinkly tomatoes can be roughly chopped, sautéed in olive oil with salt, pepper and garlic, then served on pasta for a great meal in minutes!

Your Kitchen Time Machine

Your freezer is the perfect time machine for food, especially when you freeze in portions. Just remember to leave room for expansion on the more liquid foods like soups. Keep in mind too, that less air in the container or bag means less oxidation which will help you avoid freezer burn. Heading out of town? Try freezing anything you can and give what you can’t freeze to a neighbor or friend. And here is a really surprising tip, you can freeze eggs (though not in the shell)!

Check out our Waste Less Tips for eight more great ways to rescue food in your own kitchen.

Did you know? Food rescue is the practice of taking edible food, that might otherwise go to waste, from places like grocery stores and distributing it to local hunger relief agencies. We do this at all our stores and have donated more than 43 million pounds of food to local agencies since 2013. What can’t go to our food rescue partners gets diverted to feed cattle—25 million pounds of it! And, we’ve composted 5 million pounds of food scraps to help enrich the soil.

Beyond Pie Filling

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Whether you make your own or use a can, it seems you’re almost guaranteed to always have just a little bit left over. And, nobody likes to waste precious pumpkin purée. A little pumpkin goes a long way in making your favorite dishes tastier and more nutritious. Here are some easy recipes that go well beyond pie filling.Bowl of pumpkin soup

Pumpkin Soup

The main ingredients in vegetarian pumpkin soup are pumpkin purée and vegetable broth. Variations are endless, but some of our favorites include the addition of caramelized onions, low-fat milk, cinnamon and nutmeg. Another option is to create a traditional potato soup using canned pumpkin instead; season with cumin and a pinch of curry. Pumpkin soup makes a great first course for a holiday dinner.

Pumpkin Hummus

Pumpkin adds a touch of color and light earthiness to the flavor of hummus. Stir 1/4 cup of pumpkin purée into 1 cup (about 7 oz. container) of your favorite hummus. You can find a variety of brands and flavors in the Deli Department.

Pumpkin Chili

Adding a can of pumpkin to your pot of chili provides a good dose of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Whether your favorite chili recipe involves beans, tofu or ground beef, the addition of pumpkin purée gives the chili a nice substance, flavor and texture.

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

Give your favorite tomato sauce a little extra body and festive flavor. Simply stir 1 cup of pumpkin purée into 3 cups (about 26 oz.) of your favorite jarred or homemade pasta sauce. You can also sweeten up your favorite lasagna recipe by spreading pumpkin purée between the layers.

Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

Cream two sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature, 1/2 cup of pumpkin purée, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Slowly add two pounds of confectioner’s sugar (more or less) until the buttercream is no longer separated by the pumpkin.

Need more pumpkin inspiration? Try these recipes below!

Mindful Consumption: Recycling

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Recycling seems pretty simple. But did you know things like cleanliness and contamination play into the whole system? To help you become a model recycler, we’ll be answering questions like, how clean is clean? And, can those plastic windows in envelopes be included with the paper?


Does recycling really matter? Yes! Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for two hours, or a laptop for three hours or light a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours.


Containers

Is it really true that if you don’t clean your plastic, glass or can you ruin it for all the other recycles? Yes and no. If there are still a few schmears of mayo in the jar after you’ve rinsed it out, no harm done. But if the container has not been rinsed at all and/or contains leftover food or liquids, yes, it could contaminate other materials, especially in places that have a single-stream system.

Consider this: An unrinsed food jar could come open or break somewhere in the process. If it gets on paper and cardboard recyclables, they’ll be ruined. You don’t have to spotlessly clean plastics and glass with soap and water, just rinse them so little to no food is left in them. And let them dry too. Wet containers with paper and cardboard aren’t a good combo—soggy items can contaminate a whole bundle of paper products.

Paper

Crumpled paper, newspaper and cardboard are a-okay. Shredded however, in most cases, is not. You can use it in your compost pile as a brown/carbon. As for those pesky plastic windows in paper envelopes? It’s best to remove them before adding the envelope to the recycle bin. (Don’t worry if there is a little sliver of plastic that hangs on.) And unless you can completely separate the paper part of a bubble-wrap mailer from the plastic, those shipping envelopes will need to be reused or thrown in the garbage.

Mindful Consumption: recycling

Wishcycling

When you toss something in the recycling bin that you hope is recyclable, but aren’t sure, you’re wishcycling. The trouble with this practice is, if what you’re adding to the recycles truly isn’t recyclable, you run the risk turning vast amounts of potentially recyclable material into trash or at the very least, bringing the process to a halt at the recycling center. Keep in mind, just because something has the chasing arrows symbol on it does not mean it can go in the bin with everything else. Boost your eco-savvy by checking with your local municipality for the rules as to what can be collected in your area.

Plastic Bags

Most recycling programs will not take plastic bags, even if it has the recycling logo on it. At Sprouts, we have containers at the front of every store where plastic bags can be recycled. Last year, our customers returned 22 million plastic bags to us, so we could recycle them for you. We also recycled 850,000 pounds of our own mixed recyclables including paper, plastic, aluminum and glass, as well as 80 million pounds of cardboard—that’s equivalent to 450,000 trees!


Did you know? It’s possible to turn an aluminum can into another aluminum product in as little as 60 days!


New Ways to Enjoy Yerba Mate

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Whether you want to need an afternoon pick-me-up or simply want to sip on something flavorful and nutritious, Jason Sani, from Active Mind & Body, is showing us fun new ways to enjoy yerba mate.

Mate Bolt Upgrade

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients together with an option of using a muddle for the blueberries. The blended option with ice is highly recommended!

    * Try Lemon Elation and EnlightenMint with fresh mint as another alternative

Golden Mate Latte

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. Brewed yerba mate
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1 squirt Vanilla Stevia

Directions:

  1. Prepare mate in french press and pour together in small blender to mix. If you prefer a creamy consistency, use more concentrated liquid and add extra coconut butter.

    Extra add-ins: collagen, lions mane, chaga, cordyceps, maca

Superfood Mate Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. Brewed yerba mate (chilled)
  • 1 Tbsp. Greens powder (with a spirulina base)
  • 1 serving Collagen powder
  • 1 cup Frozen blueberries
  • 1 squirt Vanilla Stevia, or monk fruit
  • 1 Tbsp. Avocado or coconut butter to thicken
  • 1 cup Ice

Directions:

  1. Prepare mate in french press and set aside in ice or fridge to chill. Pour together in small blender to mix.

Video Description: Yerba Mate with Guayakí

Mindful Consumption: Supporting Sustainability

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Sunrise viewed from the wind turbine complex on the mountain

Thinking about the environment and sustainability? Here are a couple of logos to look out for if you’re looking to up your green-consumer game.

B Corp logos

Certified B Corps

The B in B Corp stands for B the Change, inspired by Gandhi’s call to be the change we seek in the world. Taking the next step in the evolution of capitalism, B Corps work towards using their companies as a force for good in the world. The idea behind this is that business cannot prosper unless the world as a whole prospers. It sounds idyllic, and yet that’s just what B Corps are doing.

Created with a Declaration of Interdependence on July 5, 2006, the B Corp movement has been gaining momentum ever since. There are 2,500 corporations in 50 countries across the globe in 130 different industries. By creating a way to measure social and environmental performance, a B Corp Certified company’s overall positive impact is assessed. When you buy a B Corp Certified product, you’re supporting a company that uses its profits to create a richer climate for all involved. Employees, communities and the environment are treated with respect, and the company holds itself accountable to a higher standard—one that’s Best for the worldTM.


Did you know? Americans comprise 5% of the world’s population and consume 30% of the resources. You can reduce your impact by being a responsible steward! Turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save up to 200 gallons a month!


FSC logo

Forest Stewardship Council

After the 1992 Earth Summit failed to create an agreement to stop deforestation, a group of businesses, environmentalists and community leaders got together to set standards for responsible forest management and create the gold standard. This was the beginning of the Forest Stewardship Council.

Now there are over 35 million acres of FSC-certified forests in the U.S. with 3,954 Chain-of-Custody-certified companies. Through a series of ten principles and 57 criteria, the FSC is able to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. Their vision is to meet the current need for forest products without compromising the health of the world’s woodlands for future generations. You become a part of an ecologically minded global movement for healthy tree farming when you buy products with this logo on it.


Fun Forest Facts: Forests cover 30% of global land area with 70% of terrestrial animals and plants living in them. And, the world’s forests store 283 billion tons of carbon in their biomass.


The Science of Serenity

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Relaxing and restorative, did you know a bath can have many health benefits? From brain chemistry to blood vessels, a soothing soak can be time well-spent for your heart, mind and body.
Serenity spa features

What Your Heart Hearts

Taking a warm bath can make your heart beat faster, helping to give it a healthy work out. Even though taking a bath is not the same as taking a walk, activities that raise your heartrate help maintain your heart’s health. Give your entire body a boost with this simple soak for a relaxing addition to your healthy routine.

Breathe Easier

One of the benefits of increasing your heart rate is its ability to potentially improve your oxygen intake. All that steam can also help to clear your sinuses. And, the gentle pressure the water places on your chest and lungs requires you to take deeper breaths—which may help improve the strength and capacity of your lungs. Those are some great reasons to breathe easier!

Way to Flow!

High blood pressure is linked to many serious health threats, but a bath may help lower your blood pressure. The increase in your body temperature from a warm soak can raise your body’s levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels, and can help to lower blood pressure. That’s more good news for your heart and your circulatory system as a whole!

Your Goodnight Just Got Better

A bath before bed could help you to sleep better. At nighttime, a drop in your body’s temperature triggers melatonin, the brain chemical that induces sleep. This happens naturally, but a bath about two hours before bedtime can help to jumpstart this process. It’s as simple as this: the bath warms you up, getting out cools you off, and your body and brain do the rest to create melatonin—potentially giving you a head start to a night of peaceful slumber.

Curating Contentment

That relaxing feeling you get when you’re soaking in the tub is not necessarily your imagination. It turns out, the body associates lying down with relaxation and vulnerability, two things that may improve your mood. Here’s another happy thought: Warm-water baths can also increase our level of serotonin—the brain chemical that’s associated with feelings of contentment and well-being.

Tip on Temp

Bath water should be hot but not too hot—somewhere between 98°F and 112°F. As a point of reference, most hot tubs are kept around 104°F. Whatever you choose, it should be comfortable for you. Keep in mind, even if the bath isn’t too hot, it can raise your body’s temperature enough that it will do what comes naturally—sweat. So remember to stay hydrated before, during and after your soak.