Organic Matters – A Plateful of News

Organic FruitWhen it comes right down to it, I can’t think of anything more important than the food we eat, the food that nourishes our children. Food is the sustenance which forms the very essence of our mortal coil.

What long term health benefits can we achieve by paying attention to what’s on our plate?  What environmental progress can we make through our food and agriculture choices? Staying abreast of Food and Ag news is vital to understanding the most basic way we interact with the planet – our diet.

In the news this week, a study reveals that Organic Practices can better feed the world. It’s worth considering how the upcoming election will affect our future food policies. Find out what’s behind the slender young asparagus on your plate. Finally, as New England states clamor to make a GMO labeling coalition, emerging GM technologies are lauded as possible weapons of mass destruction!

 How’s that for a plateful of mindful reading?


“Organic farming could provide ample food for the whole human population, while causing less pollution and fewer health problems than conventional agriculture, according to a team of American scientists.”. (Reported by Romain Loury and translated by Samuel White for EurActiv)

Food Politics

“10 Food Policy Questions We Want Answered From the 2016 Presidential Candidates” (Food Tank)

True Cost of Food

“The Surprisingly Big Carbon Shadow Cast by Slender Asparagus” by Tamar Haspel: “…conscientious eaters are looking at the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with all sorts of food production, and scientists are coming up with a few big carbon footprints that might surprise you.” (National Geographic)


“GMO labeling gets another look in two New England states”: Rhode Island and New Hampshire are both considering bills (Food Safety News) Visit for more information on the RI bill (RT News).

Emerging Technologies

“Top U.S. intelligence official calls gene editing a WMD threat” by Antonio Regalado (MIT Technology Review)


A Passionate and Seedy Weekend in Oregon

Indigenous SeedsI spent my weekend traveling north across the 45th latitude into the wet and foggy Oregon night. Half way between the equator and the North Pole, I was on my way to the Organic Seed Alliance’s 8th annual conference. I didn’t know quite what to expect. How could an entire conference be held on seeds? I consider myself a seeds activist and care passionately about protecting the biodiversity and availability of seeds, but were there many others such as me? I was in for a big surprise.  Continue reading

Organic Matters – Tantalizing tidbits from this week’s food news

NewsIt’s Friday and I am writing to you from beautiful Corvallis, Oregon where I’m attending the 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference. If you aren’t able to be here, remember that the Organic Seed Alliance and eOrganic will be live streaming the sessions. Register here for the live broadcast on Feb 5th and 6th.

I’ve uncovered a plethora of good material this week during my digital treks and nocturnal analyses. It’s a conundrum how Organic continues to flourish while, at the same time, pesticide use is on the rise. The true cost of conventional food production is considered and a look at how climate change is being tackled through agricultural practices in California. Not to be overlooked are GMO labeling initiatives and emerging technologies, both forces changing our food system.

Here are some of the juiciest tidbits from the week: Continue reading

Spinning the Web of Organic Food Systems

farm-bbIt was a fine rainy winter afternoon in January when I set off to visit UCSC’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Affectionately shortened to “CASFS,” this is a 33-acre paradise of organic farmland and gardens where undergraduates from the University go through an apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. Since its inception over 50 years ago, over 1500 young, ardent souls have ploughed the soil, mulched the compost, and sown the seeds of agroecology in order to make a difference in the world. These seeds have sprouted into an organic food nexus that encompasses the central coast where I live, improving lives here and throughout the good food movement across the country. Continue reading

Organic Matters – Tantalizing tidbits from this week’s food news

NewsThroughout each week I trundle through a lot of reading material. I read during my morning jaunt. I peruse articles before the lights go out at night.  I no doubt subscribe to far too many newsletters and blogs. I diligently perform this ritual in order to stay up to date on food and agriculture news and trends.

It suddenly dawned on me that many of you simply don’t have as much time to study and ingest the same mountain of material.  While facts continue to be unturned, and ideas are being offered up on the plate of newsfeeds and blogospheres, these tidbits can subtlety change our food system. Here are some of my favorites from the week:

 Pesticides Pesticide Spray

A new study could shed light on whether an organic diet helps to decrease pesticide exposure among young children. Civil Eats asks   Is Feeding Your Child Organic Food Enough to Reduce the Pesticides in Her Body?

Watch Hawaii Center for Food Safety’s newest animated video which details the pesticide-seed industry’s practices in Hawaii; Paradise is in Peril! Watch and share:

GMO’s GMO Safety

The New Hampshire House Environment and Agriculture committee is debating a bill that would require GM foods to be labelled. My Champlain Valley New Hampshire lawmakers considering bill to require GMO labelling


Seeds African gold

Can’t join the 8th Organic Seed Growers Conference in person next week? Organic Seed Alliance and eOrganic will be live streaming a selection of sessions directly from the event. Register Here for the live Broadcast Feb 5-6th.


Consumer Trends Grocery cart full of organic produce

Such traditional factors as price, taste and convenience hold less sway over consumer purchasing decisions, according to a food industry report. New purchasing influences, such as health and wellness, safety, social impact, experience and transparency, are motivating consumers and forcing food and beverage manufacturers and marketers to adapt. From Food Business News “The US consumer has changed”

Good Eating delicious organic produce

Stop worrying so much about not getting enough protein, and remember that plant-based protein is a lot easier on the planet than animal protein. Buy organic food whenever you can. Source your food as locally as possible, and eat seasonally to avoid racking up major food miles. Eat less and waste less. Be open-minded and creative about new cuisines. Relax. Have fun. Sustainable eating isn’t synonymous with masochism. Read this opinion piece from Outside Online on how: Eating Right Can Save the World