Be the Change – B Corporations

B Corp 2In the old paradigm, companies just sought to make a profit, plain and simple. This all-for-profit mentality often came at great expense to workers, the community, and the environment. As we enter the first decades of the 21st century, we are reaching a tipping point in many areas. The climate is changing, populations are growing, and people are increasingly disenfranchised from wealth and social services. Governments just aren’t keeping pace with the changes that are desperately needed to solve today’s issues. That’s where a new type of business model can become an incredibly powerful tool. Certified B Corporations aim to redefine what true success means in business by making the world a more sustainable place – through business! Continue reading

My Israeli Interlude: Peace Schnitzel

Bread and FalafelMy Israeli pilgrimage of flavors has been delicious. From the first day I arrive in Tel Aviv the aromas and flavors are as seductive as the sun at this Mediterranean latitude. My taxi driver is typically brusque, yet he weaves in and out or traffic with a certain grace and finesse. We pass street vendors offering freshly squeezed orange and pomegranate juice. I spot large steaming pots of fava beans, pita bread, and falafel amidst creamy mounds of hummus. Israel is one of the healthiest countries in the world according to rankings compiled by Bloomberg, and it’s clear that the fresh whole cuisine has a lot to do with it. Continue reading

It’s a critical week for our Right to Know – call your Senator today!

Capitol HillThere is a dangerous bill that will be marked up and voted on in the Senate tomorrow. Introduced by Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, it’s truly Monsanto’s dream bill.  It’s unofficially called Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, and would take away the rights of states to pass GMO labeling laws. It would overturn the existing labeling laws in Vermont, Connecticut and Maine and make it harder for companies to label voluntarily.

It is indeed a dangerous bill and Big Food companies are spending millions right now to get it passed. That’s why your voice is urgently needed today. Make a call to your Senators and let them know how you feel. If you believe consumers have the right to know what’s in our food, like 64 other countries, then make that call.

This is our LAST CHANCE to stop the bill before it reaches the Senate floor and EWG makes it very easy: 

Click here to contact your senators and urge them to support GMO labeling and oppose the DARK Act!

I urge you to support GMO labeling. The script is below:

“The DARK Act, recently introduced in the Senate by Senator Pat Roberts, would pre-empt GMO labeling laws already passed in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut.

Like most Americans, I simply want to know what’s in my food and how it was produced. I strongly oppose legislation that would deny me this right, and I urge you to voice your opposition in order to protect our right to know what’s in our food.

Studies consistently show that the vast majority of Americans support GMO labeling. Some 64 nations around the world already have laws supporting this right.

The DARK Act keeps consumers in the dark. I urge you to do everything in your power to stop the DARK Act and instead support the consumer’s right to know what’s in our food.”
This is the most important thing you have to do today. Thanks for joining me!

My Organic Israeli Interlude: A Pilgrimage of Flavors

Israeli PearsI am embarking on a week in Israel, delicious ancient land of vigor, ingenuity and flavor. A good friend has graciously invited me to the wedding festivities of her sister. Because I want the cultural experience, have the miles and certain wanderlust, I cannot decline. It’s been several years since I last visited this enchanting and primal place and the previous expedition was all business. Now the circumstances are different. I take this Israeli interlude to revel in the unique cuisine and the people who have shaped it over thousands of years and several continents. I want to partake of its many flavors.

Israeli cuisine is a delectable melting pot wrought from the traditions of Asia, Africa and Europe, then mixed with several dashes of religion and a sprinkle of ethnic influences. Biblical and archeological records provide mouthwatering insight into the culinary life of this area as far back as 968 BCE… back to the days of the kings of ancient Israel.

Israeli FishBut I digress; my first memories are of the tempting ingredients grown throughout the Mediterranean region in Israel. Sweet diamond-red pomegranates, crisp green vegetables, creamy brined cheeses and gentle flapping fresh fish. I can smell the challah, delight in the bulbous avocados and savor the creamy hummus with crisp falafel balls. I order Israeli salad with every meal, even at breakfast! It’s all very fresh and mouthwatering, these memories… I can barely contain my yearning to be there.

Why do all my memories of Israel conjure up unabashed hedonistic culinary indulgence? Most likely it’s because agriculture is a highly-developed endeavor. Israel is a major agricultural producer and exporter of fresh produce despite the fact that the geography of Israel isn’t exactly conducive to cultivation. More than half of the land area is desert, hilly and sometimes barren.

Israeli FruitYet the Israelis grow an amazing array of aromatic oranges, avocados, juicy kiwifruit, guavas, mangoes and grapes all from orchards located on the azure Mediterranean coast. Hot house tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and zucchini are nurtured in the desert. Sweet melons flourish during winter months in the valleys. Subtropical regions put forth bananas and dates. In the north, apples, pears and cherries propagate and mature. It is indeed a small but mighty land of culinary plenty across many latitudes.

My first excursion was to visit organic producers expanding their markets through export opportunities. The colored peppers were blocky, sturdy and certainly perfect specimens with shoulders of red, yellow and gold. We drank mint tea in the Negev desert under a hot sun. Peppers flew to North America.

What then does organic agriculture look like in Israel? According to the Israel Bio-Organic Agriculture Association, there are about 500 growers across the country and about 100 organizations that work in the organic industry in marketing, manufacturing materials, training and conducting research.

Similar to the US, organic agriculture is only 1.5% of the agricultural land, but its rewards are great as organic represents 13% of the fresh products in Israel.

Israeli VegetablesLocal efforts are growing, but most of the organic market in Israel still exists for export. Israel has been involved in the organic market for nearly two decades and the Israeli organic market has enjoyed 5% to 6% growth annually, much of which is the fresh amazing produce.

Needless to say, interest in organic and sustainable agriculture is growing. Increased commercial interest in organic products has already bolstered farmers’ appreciation for sustainability in their beloved land and their communities. The use of biological methods will certainly result in healthier, sustainable agricultural systems throughout Israel and can make a real long-term difference in the viability of Israeli agriculture. It’s just a matter of time.

So I travel there to eat and discover how organic agriculture can transom rivers, valleys, cultures and peoples.

And I yearn for my first taste of Israeli salad.

Israeli salad is typically found at the many falafel street stands all over Israel. It is served on its own as a side dish or inside a pita sandwich wrap. This fresh, light, and colorful salad is sure to become a favorite once you try it!

It is simply: chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and parsley combined with a drizzled dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and mint leaves. It is awesome on a pita with falafel, hummus, and tahini.

A basic recipe can be found here

Stay tuned for more of my Israeli Interlude.

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

“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) http://bit.ly/20MiOVf

Food Politics

“10 Food Policy Questions We Want Answered From the 2016 Presidential Candidates” (Food Tank) http://bit.ly/1nZHfNl

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) http://bit.ly/1ShkEZm

GMO’s

“GMO labeling gets another look in two New England states”: Rhode Island and New Hampshire are both considering bills (Food Safety News) http://bit.ly/1KGeAY3. Visit http://bit.ly/1ShsyC4 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) http://bit.ly/1o4bqnd