Fair Trade and The True Cost of Food


My father grew up in Iowa during the depression. Times were dire, and he witnessed much hardship and suffering. Getting enough to eat was never an issue for his family but seeing others go hungry left its psychological mark. After returning from WWII, he witnessed the Industrial Agricultural Complex taking hold in earnest, and the availability of cheap food became a patriotic goal. Generations were raised thinking cheap food was a bonus. It is proving difficult to shake that philosophy out of our food values. Continue reading

The Bioponic Debate – Are There Bigger Fish to Fry?

I can smell it; spring is just around the corner. While some areas of the country are still under winter’s frigid grip, elongated English cucumbers are flourishing in shade houses near the Mexican border. Tantalizing heirloom tomatoes, curvaceous eggplant and thick zucchini are growing in various mediums of soil and soil-less technologies. They fill our winter plate. Innovative farmers have figured out how to maintain vigorous populations of microbes using natural fertilizers to cultivate food in containers and other soil-less conditions (sweepingly named Bioponics). For the time being, they can market their produce as certified organic if they follow the organic regulations. All this could change in 2017.

While the “to soil or not to soil” debate rages on, does the organic community not have bigger fish to fry? Continue reading

New Zealand Holiday: A Sovereign Food Journey

abaconda-new-zealand-fernI travel to NZ on holiday, the first time in my career when I haven’t come to this island nation to work. Many times I have traversed the Pacific to represent organic apple growers in Hawkes Bay, the planetary inverse of the Monterey Bay. This time I come to take in hot springs, catch trout in monumental Lake Taupo, and tramp through thousand-year-old kauri forests. I come to eat and relax which affords me time to reflect on this place where people treat agriculture and food in a fair and sovereign manner. Continue reading