Can We Really Afford to Pay For Cheap Food Any Longer?

Boycott?

I found myself on a plane this week to mingle and speak at the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association  (INFFRA) conference in Minnesota. As the great desert gave way to the patchwork of midwestern fields, I was awed by the amount of food being produced beneath me.

The vast quantity of land and resources we have concentrated in this central breadbasket provides an abundance of inexpensive food.

In some ways, our food has never been so cheap, and in other ways, it has never been so expensive. Continue reading

A Tale of Ten Acres – UNFI’s Agrarian Journey of Soil health

Rain on plantThey say a journey begins with just one single step. UNFI has taken a ten-acre step in Sturtevant , Wisconsin to further a vision for increasing access to fresh local organic food. Our CEO, Steven Spinner, has long held an agrarian dream of preserving farmland near our distribution facilities. This dream grew into a vision in which UNFI would engage the communities where we have facilities not only through employment, but also with access to well-priced organic food.  Continue reading

The Dirty Dialogue in Organic: Where Do “Ponics” Belong?

shutterstock_283999568A few weeks ago I trundled off to yet another National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in DC. This is a place where a dedicated assortment of organic disciples (and hooligans) spends countless hours deliberating and commentating on the intricacies of organic production. How to balance the needs of the farmer and manufacturer with the expectations of the consumer and be true to the spirit of the organic regulations? The discussion is sometimes laborious and often pointedly impassioned. The latest feverish dialogue spurred on by a cavalcade of differing views is: where if any do new ways of producing food fit into the organic world? Does Hydroponics, Aquaponics or Bioponics belong?   Continue reading

Why Getting Dirty Can Help Save the World

I owe soil an apology.2015 Year of Soil 2

For many years I only considered soil as dirt, mud, insignificant, yuck! If you were like me, the only time you thought about soil was when you were washing it off your boots after a hike in the woods or perhaps you cursed it as you removed weeds from your garden. I have walked all over soil, literally and philosophically. Now I know better, and I want to share why. Continue reading