Organic Matters Blog rests at the intersection of organic food and culture, taste and travel. Take the journey and subscribe to a blog that explores how food shapes our world. Source Organic helps businesses build a better future for the planet through education and advocacy of organic food and farming.
My profession and personal life have been interwoven and influenced by Albert Lusk over the decades. He was driven by his passion for organic agriculture and founded Albert’s Organics in 1980 when Whole Foods had one location.
I was working at Community Foods, a Natural Food Store in Santa Cruz, in the early 1980s. When Albert began delivering organic produce from Southern CA, our store expanded its organic offerings.
He came to be a friend and a mentor, sometimes a competitor, and he married my good friend, Claris Ritter.
Over time his company became the largest certified organic wholesale distributor of organically grown fresh produce in the United States. It was purchased by United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) in 1998. A few years later, UNFI purchased my company, Source Organic. I became part of the Albert’s Organic family and carried on his legacy there.
Albert retired and moved to Costa Rica. He was fond of hiking to a wild waterfall in Braulio Carillo National Park.
In late September, he went missing with his car as the only clue to his whereabouts near this densely forested region.
While the search is not over, the story of this organic pioneer can be heard from the many produce veterans who helped him build a nationwide organic produce network.
My eyes water from the smoke and the displaced people—the lost wildlife and ecosystems. Zombie fires are erupting in the Arctic regions.
Sea levels are rising, and some believe that the dramatic changes in the Arctic suggest climate change could return Earth to Pliocene conditions of 3 million years ago. They say Florida and California’s Central Valley would be underwater, and it would be too hot to grow corn and wheat in the Midwest and Great Plains.
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is on a record pace with 23 named storms through September. With two more months of hurricane season ahead, I fear we will suffer more flooding and damage.
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has laid it out pretty clearly: “The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.”
With a world gone mad with political and social upheaval, what can a person do to engage in mitigating the cause of these extreme events?
As I write, the entire west is burning up in historic conflagrations. According to Meteorologist Daniel Swain, “Around 3.5 million acres have burned so far in California in 2020. That’s around 3.5% of the entire land area of the state and is approaching *double* the previous record for the greatest acreage burned during a single year.”
The air is laced with smoke and ash; the orange sun some days does not come forth. The darkness shrouds me, and the air places a heavy weight on my chest.
The earth is sending us a message in this holy darkness—flames sown by our sturdy two-legged species; we have ingenious brains but hold no reverence for the future.
We act like animals in fights for survival as we subjugate her with overconsumption. Burning fossil fuels, destroying ancient forests for cheap hamburgers, farming with chemicals that add to global emissions.
I believe it need not be so and that we can begin to make a difference.