A Tale of Ten Acres Continues – UNFI’s Agrarian Path to Local Organic Food

It’s springtime in Racine, Wisconsin and the ten acres adjacent to our distribution facility lay ready for cultivation. The cover crop planted last fall had worked its subterranean magic, suppressing thistles and weeds, building topsoil, micronutrients and loam. The prolific rains had rendered the land moist and open, ready for planting. Steve Spinner’s vision for creating a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program near a UNFI facility was as close as placing a seed in the soil. The only hitch in this idyllic giddy-up was finding a suitable farmer willing to undertake the organic dream. 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

Seven Reasons to Make The Holiday Organic

Holiday BaubleThe tilt of our magnificent globe has brought us round leaning towards the darkness. Thus we seek out colored lights, baubles, tinsel and song. This whirl of the winter solstice means the light will once again be born, and so we celebrate. You may lavish gifts, or sing choruses of carols. The glow of the menorah may light up your latkes. Or perhaps you are one who with great humbuggery rejects the entire pageant and go on a tropical vacation. However you celebrate this winter holy darkness, be you Christian, Jewish or Pagan, there are several ways you can add an organic twist to your holiday jig. Continue reading

The Rich History & Bright Future of Biodynamic

demeter-green-125x200Last July I had the great pleasure of visiting Germany and Austria as an organic ambassador with the Foreign Ag Service. As I interloped between embassies and ministries, I was able to savor the hearty cuisine and imbibe the most precious wines and beers. What I came to discover during my culinary indulgences was that almost all of the organic faire was Biodynamic. I soon learned that this wasn’t just another organic certification but an entire philosophy, one that beholds the farm as a healthy, living, breathing organism. The very nugget of Biodynamic is that the farm can be a self-contained and self-sustaining entity, responsible for creating and maintaining its own individual health and vitality. Continue reading

A Dirty Organic Thanks

thanksgiving abundanceWe have almost survived our four-year electoral margination. The beaver moon has eclipsed its emboldened shine. Now we must think of the good meal we will celebrate with friends and family to give thanks. As we consider this gourmands holiday with big birds and fluffy stuffing, it’s not too much of a stretch to consider giving thanks for the soil from whenst it all springs forth. Let’s raise a toast to dirt, humus, and compost and yes to manure itself. For in that microbial dirty brew life is sustained. Continue reading