Why I went to Washington

OTA in WashingtonI was barely off the plane from Bolivia, and the ink was barely dry on my “high altitude” diaries when the call came in. The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, backed primarily by the Grocery Manufactures Association and other biotech companies, was up to its old tricks again. Despite the cheery name the folks behind this coalition want to introduce a bill that would look like a solution to federal GMO labeling but in fact weaken and dilute any meaningful labeling protocol in the US. I went to Washington with a pressed suit and business cards to represent the 93% of consumers who want the Right to Know: label GMO. It was an auspicious time to show up! Continue reading

Bolivian Diaries – Part 2 – Going deeper, delivering gifts

This is part 2 of a three part series. You can read Bolivian Diaries – Part 1 here. 
Quinoa ComesI fall deeply asleep in the mining town of Oruro, which, at 14,350 feet, is one of the highest places we will visit. The town is relatively wealthy thanks to the copious amounts of silver, tin and lead extracted from the nearby mountain. The streets are newly paved and lined with parks festooned with magical playgrounds of dinosaur and giant turtle-inspired plays-capes. Sculptures made from discarded metals are a common decorative element and reminiscent of Burning Man art. Continue reading

Climate Change deserves a declaration!

The worldJust a few weeks ago the United Nations group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, concluded that things are worse than anyone predicted. This is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change and the report held some dire warnings. The ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, and water supplies are under extreme pressure. As heat waves, heavy rains and hundred year droughts become the norm, our precious coral reefs are disappearing and many species are moving towards extinction. You can view the slide presentation of the report here. The New York Times piece titled “Old Forecast of Famine May Yet Come True” elaborates on the impact climate change will have on the world’s food supplies. With this ominous news and dire forecasts, do we just get used to it and get ready? Or do we get going and demand change? Continue reading

Bolivian Diaries – Part 1 – Getting high

High QuinoaThe airplane from Lima soars over the majestic Andes. As we begin our decent, expansive Lake Titicaca is glimmering in the late summer sun. The city of El Alto comes into view with its masses of adobe structures perched on the flat plan called the “Alti-Plano”.  Below El Alto is the city of La Paz, nestled in a precipitous round basin where the high plane ends. This vast basin is filled with over two million people and adobe structures line the urban landscape like cornflakes in a bowl. The airplane lands, the doors open and all the air rushes out of my lungs, making me feel light headed and giddy. I have arrived at 13,500 feet, and the air is rarified and thin.

My journey begins with an intoxicating rush. Continue reading

The true cost of conventional food means organic is worth every penny!

What is the true cost of foodWhile traveling with a friend a few weeks ago, I bemoaned the lack of good organic food in airports and restaurants in many areas of the US. I wasn’t happy that my travel schedule took me away from my diet of fresh organic vegetables, grains and proteins. Even while I work for more organic food consumption, I can’t always achieve it in my work schedule. My travel companion questioned my approach to food and challenged me that I might be an elitist, because some mothers and families just can’t “afford” to buy organic food. This led me to ask what the real costs of food are and to discover the hidden costs concealed in non-organic foods. Continue reading