Unbuckling the Corn-Belt – One Drop at a Time

There is an African proverb that speaks to our modern agricultural dilemma. It is said that “dirty water cannot be washed.” Yet we continue to pollute our waters with our agricultural practices in the heartland of the continent. Corn and soy are planted in vast expanses, modified to withstand extreme applications of pesticides and herbicides. They are also reliant on vast devotions of synthetic fertilizers.

All these agricultural inputs end up in our waterways and drinking water, harming our health and the environment. There is no easy method to “wash away” these pollutants so pervasive in our waters.   Continue reading

Food and the Gulf of Mexico – All Rivers Flow into the Sea

I was in New Orleans recently with the intention of savoring the food as much as to partake of friends and family. I set about on a culinary expedition of the Cajun-bayou kind mixed up with great helpings of French influence. The food was rich and plentiful, southern soul steeped in Louis X1V sauces. Fried chicken, okra, sausage and crawfish all graced my palate and plate.

Thus I debauched at the bottom of the mighty Mississippi, a land of plenty where the nation’s corn-basket spills out upon an ancient delta rife with issues. So I pondered… How is it that my food and the Gulf of Mexico are intrinsically connected? Continue reading

Regenerative Agriculture: How does it intersect With Organic?

The term Regenerative Agriculture has generated quite a buzz in the last several months. Farmers, ranchers and many companies across the U.S. are embracing the term as a way to heal the planet and combat climate change. Some promote it as the next big stage for food and farming calling it “Beyond Organic.” What exactly is this new farming philosophy and will it take root to become the next big food movement? What does it mean for organic?  Continue reading

A Few Bad Actors are Ushering in a new Organic Scene

It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Organic corn and soybean growers across the Midwest have been kvetching about cheap imports fouling up their markets for years. USDA import data showed an enormous rise of organic soy and corn from Eastern European markets, quickly surpassing the traditional countries of origin like Argentina and Canada. When the Washington Post story on organic fraud hit, organic advocates winced, and the farmers uttered “I told you so.”  But the actions of a few unscrupulous performers may provide an opportunity for organic in the long run. Continue reading

Denver Urban Gardens – A Bright Light in the Mile High City

This past spring I took some time away from the rigors of the NOSB meeting in Denver to visit one of the UNFI Foundation’s grant recipients. For over 32 years Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) has facilitated community access to unique growing spaces in neighborhoods throughout the area. The gardens empower people to have increased food security and better nutrition, improving economic security. Their hyper-local approach is creating shimmering urban vitality with organically grown food. Continue reading