“Organic Marketing Report” a campaign of deception or a vision for the future?

Grocery cart full of organic produceA recent, little publicized report, commissioned by Academics Review, came out recently that had some erroneous and quirky conclusions. The researchers were commissioned to review over one hundred published academic and market research studies on organic. The conclusions were that the organic industry has engaged in years of fear-based marketing campaigns as a way to achieve greater sales. It claims that this multi-decade public disinformation campaign has been conducted with the use and approval of the USDA Organic Seal. Does organic seek to cast fear and loathing or do we instead work to spread the good food choice in order to change the way people eat and farm? Continue reading

It’s spring and time to nurture young organic sprouts!

Young SproutsSpring is finally here and the sap is flowing freely. Native wildflowers are just beginning to blossom along my wooded roadside, mingled with virile sprouts of green. I can smell the earth driving its fertility forth as we tilt towards the sun. This time of renewal and fecundity calls out to all things emerging to push forward and grow. How appropriate that our Future Farmers Grant Fund is now open to youth of all age groups who yearn to learn more about organic production. These young organic sprouts need a place to grow and an association of organic funders along with UNFI Foundation is providing that opportunity. Continue reading

Farmers in Drought – Help is on the way!

Farmers in DroughtIt has been several months since I published my blog post “The year the rain stopped” describing the effect of the most recent California drought. It only rains in California during the winter months, typically from November through May. Since January, when I penned that blog, we have received a series of modest storms bringing much needed precipitation to the parched fields and rolling hills of my fair state. But it isn’t enough; the humble rainfall we have received is less than half of our average year to date, and the prognosis doesn’t look very moist for the balance of the season. Continue reading

Bolivian Diaries – Part 3 – Quinoa Rules: meeting the producers in an untamed land

Harvesting QuinoaIt was early fall in Bolivia and the countryside was a riot of flaming Quinoa hues. The fall harvest was in full throttle and as we drove on unruly roads; the landscape was painted with red, gold purple and rust. The intense Andean sun at 14,000 feet struck amazing pinpoints of color under a mighty volcano that’s ancient name is Thunupa.  Amidst this colorful pageant were family members working to harvest their long stalks of Quinoa and complete the first step in the process that ultimately brings it to our tables. Continue reading

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