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

Dominican Republic Repose with the Storm

House2My newest wanderlust leads to a volunteer mission in the Dominican Republic. Ever since my tour in Tunisia, International Executive Service Corps (IESC), has coaxed, cajoled and finally secured another foreign assignment. My past efforts made an impact on organic producers with intentions to enter the international market. So as I fly south over the Bermuda Triangle, I admire the magnificent Cumulonimbus clouds over the wide expanse of blue and I ruminate how I can make a worthwhile impact. Continue reading

The Evolution of Agriculture – The Case against Cheap Food

Corn FieldThe 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