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

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

Honoring Those Who Serve It Forth – Our Agricultural Workers

credit Richard Thornton ShutterstockI live and work in California, the farming capitol of the world; hub of agriculture, intersecting food, chefs and farmers. It is the state which produces the most food in the country, home to the world’s smallest and largest organic farms, and boasts the greatest diversity in farming systems and farm workers. Yet the lack of food and agricultural literacy is tremendous, and the bond between the farm worker and the eater is ill understood. Continue reading

If Eating Organic Was a Color – It Would Be Shades of Grey

shutterstock_262694438For a colorful world of grocery – from bright red raspberries to deep blue corn chips –  it is remarkable how the organic food industry has various shades of grey. While this blog post is no “50 Shades of Grey” novel, it is a hot topic with no perfect answers!

Some of the big “grey dilemmas” I personally struggle with include: Continue reading

Dominican Republic – Women Matter!

Follow the yellow Brick roadIt is the last day of my work on this island of Hispaniola and I am a speaker at a celebrated conference for Women in Trade Leadership. A bevy of dignitaries, ambassadors and ministers circle the event with television camerawomen documenting the festivities. A diverse group of strong women business leaders engaged in cacao, pineapple, and avocado and greenhouse vegetable production are in attendance. They have taken time from their busy day to listen and learn about sustainable business practices, international marketing and trade as well as the benefits of organic. Continue reading