I 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
For 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
It 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
At the turn of the century, I used to traverse the globe in search of organic producers. I gallivanted off to Ecuador and Peru customarily accompanied by Fair Trade USA. I traipsed and traversed continents to develop direct relationships with banana growers: important because bananas were our biggest single selling item in terms of volume. I remember long dusty drives on bumpy roads through poor villages only to arrive at some overheated office to meet a group of hardworking Spanish-speaking farmers. I often sat a bit dumbfounded, understanding about half of the conversation, I would ask myself “Why am I here, why me?” Continue reading
The agricultural revolution began some 10,000 years ago when one of our ancestors planted a seed, watched it grow and ate its fruit. It was time to stop wandering and plant more seeds. This ancestor, let’s call her Neolithia, was the grandmother of agriculture, from her labor sprung not only farming but civilization and industry. From that first seed to the cheap offerings of today, we are in dire need of an evolution of how we produce food. Continue reading