Archive for September, 2010

The Next Food Revolution

We have a terrific guest post today, from my friend Joanie.  Thanks Joanie!


The Next Food Revolution 

By Joanie Blaxter

“A farmer friend of mine says ‘I don’t raise hogs any more. I manufacture pork. That’s my business and my buildings are like an assembly line at an automobile factory.  And out of the end of those buildings actually come animals, but I’m not really interested in the animals.  I’m interested in the attributes those animals have.  I’m interested in the chop.  I’m interested in the ham.  The animals are just carriers of attributes the consumer wants.’ ”

Dr. Michael Boehlje, PhD, Professor

Center for Food and Agricultural Business

Purdue University

When you go to the supermarket and pick up those colorful boxes or bags marked “organic,” what images are evoked in your mind?  A family farm with healthy vegetables and happy cows in the pasture lovingly guided by Mr & Mrs Farmer…?  Well, to be honest, even if I don’t consciously believe that image, I still do feel good knowing there are no petrochemicals used in the growing of my food.  What could be better?

Well, unfortunately, a lot…

Supermarkets excel at one thing: moving stuff long distances extremely cheaply.  And supermarkets do this at a profit, a much better profit by the way, than the margin made by the small farmer at your local Farmers’ Market.  Supermarkets can sell the same thing cheaper than a family farmer and still make money solely because their agri-business suppliers are gigantic producers of one single thing: beef, corn, oranges, etc.

Organic or not, by definition every time we purchase from a supermarket chain we have personally lined the pockets of Big Ag.  Along with that organic but cheaper  tomato comes all the problems inherent in a factory food system: increased risk of contamination (sewage sludge on the fields, mechanical harvesting and handling, etc), inhuman labor practices, a much larger carbon footprint due to being transported long distances, and most important, absolutely no sense of land stewardship.  Monoculture, factory farms owned by agri-business have a single bottom line: profit.  And none of this information is included in the lovely graphics on the package. 

Have you purchased eggs at Trader Joe’s recently?  Better check to see if they’ve been recalled due to salmonella contamination.  TJ’s mega-supplier of Sunshine (like those hens ever see the light of day!) eggs is well known in the industry for repeated contamination violations and yet this company has never been shut down.  Meanwhile the FDA is spending enormous amounts of their budget putting small farms out of business for selling clean, safe, raw milk with no record of any problems for their customers.  Have you ever read that the FDA closed a restaurant for serving sushi that made customers ill?  So why focus on one kind of producer and not the other?  Sorry, that’s another story for another time (hint: follow the money…).

Joel Salatin is a farmer, author and leader in the eco-agriculture movement.  And yet his farm is not certified organic simply because he refuses to go through the paperwork.  Furthermore, he will not transport his product more than a 4 hours’ drive, so you’ll never see his superior, grass-fed beef carried in Whole Foods.  Or any supermarket for that matter.  Why?  Salatin refuses to participate in a food system that he thinks is inherently structured incorrectly.  He believes people should personally know who produces their food.  The greatest guarantee of quality is relationship.  If you can visit the farm where your food is grown, what better guarantee is there?

In his book Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, Salatin says ““Supermarkets, organic or otherwise, do not do a good job of creating food connections, maintaining integrity, or especially insuring that farmers get a living wage.  Supermarkets are predicated on pitting all their suppliers against each other on price, paying their vendors up to 90 days after product delivery (this finances the store on the vendors’ money), and carrying no loyalty to local producers who must deal with seasonality and cash flow…  Except for a few notable locally controlled exceptions, supermarkets cater to the empire builders.  And any producer who aspires to sell there is starstuck, not customer struck.”

I think we in the Green movement have been somewhat lulled to sleep by the label “organic.”  Back in the 70’s, all organic product came from small, diversified farms and was therefore synonymous with “locally and sustainably grown.”  But for better or worse, that is no longer true.  And just as we began the process forty years ago of educating consumers concerning the health benefits of eating organic, these times now require a new wave of consciousness about the critical importance of sustainable land stewardship designed to support local economies.

As Michael Pollan says, Vote with your fork!  “Cheap” food is not cheap because what’s rung up at the cash register is not the true cost.  The hidden bill is paid by bankrupt family farmers, by migrant farm workers, by our children and our children’s children.  It’s paid by the earth.  Can’t afford to buy direct from the farmer?  Or can’t afford not to?

Read more, great Fight Back Friday posts here:

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Read more, great Real Food Wednesday posts here:

The Tipping Point

I just finished taking a fabulous 5 session GMO activist training with Jeffrey Smith. He’s so knowledgeable about GMO’s and about how to pass along the information about them in an empowering way.  This year the focus is to reach the tipping point where consumers outright reject GMO’s.  Monsanto would like us to just eat organic foods to avoid GMO’s but what will really make an impact is when we are telling the processed food companies that we will not eat there products until they are GMO free.  See our ‘What You Can Do’ page for the phone numbers of the Frankenfood Fifteen,

They can make their same products, in exactly the same way but without the GMO ingredients. Since I don’t what my kids to be the lab rats for the untested GMO food, I am boycotting any processed foods until they no longer use any GMO ingredients. If we hit them in their profit margin, they will pay attention!

Here’s an article from Jeffrey Smith, posted with permission.


It’s time to reclaim a food supply without dangerous genetically modified organisms (GMOs). And we can do it—together.

When European consumers said no to GMOs, the food companies kicked them out. As more and more US consumers rejected GM bovine growth hormone, most dairies and brands, including Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Kroger, Dannon, and Yoplait, responded.

No we are joining forces nationwide in the Campaign for Healthier Eating in America—designed to achieve the tipping point of consumer rejection of GMO to force them out of the market.

October is Non-GMO Month and 10-10-10 is Non-GMO Day. Between now and then, we will send out a series of articles you won’t want to miss.

Find out:

•About the serious documented health risks of genetically modified (GM) foods.

•Why children and pregnant mothers are most at risk.

•How scientists who uncovered these findings were threatened, vilified, and fired.

•About the sneaky ways the industry scientists rig their research to avoid problems.

•The way the biotech industry hijacked the FDA and regulators worldwide, and ignored the warnings of their own scientists about GMO health risks.

•Which brands are non-GMO, so you can protect yourself and your family.

•What you can do to make this campaign go viral.

•Why even 5% of US consumers choosing healthier non-GMO brands could achieve a tipping point, eliminating GMOs for the rest of the nation.

After you read these articles, please pass them onto your entire network, and encourage them to do the same.

It is past time for us to look to the government to bail us out of this mess. We are on the top of the food chain, and we can make things happen—together.

Safe eating.

Jeffrey M. Smith

To learn more about the health dangers of GMOs, and what you can do to help end the genetic engineering of our food supply, visit

To learn how to choose healthier non-GMO brands, visit

International bestselling author and filmmaker Jeffrey Smith is the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of genetically modified (GM) foods. His first book, Seeds of Deception, is the world’s bestselling and #1 rated book on the topic. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, provides overwhelming evidence that GMOs are unsafe and should never have been introduced. Mr. Smith is the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, whose Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to create the tipping point of consumer rejection of GMOs, forcing them out of our food supply. Watch the free online video today, for the big picture.

Read more great, Fight Back Friday posts here:

Read more great, Pennywise Platter Thursday posts here:

Read more great, Real Food Wednesday posts here:

You can buy Genetic Roulette by Jeffrey Smith, at Amazon, link below. Highly Recommended!

Fresh Tomato Sauce

We’ve had a great bumper crop of tomato’s this year, so I pulled this recipe out of my files.  We’ve made it every summer for a number of years now and it’s always a treat.


• 6 tlbs. Organic Olive Oil

• 1 medium organic Onion cut into 1/4-inch slices

• 1 medium organic carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

• Celtic salt or sea salt and fresh cracked organic pepper to taste

• Hot Pepper flakes to taste (optional)

• 5 cloves organic garlic, chopped

• 4 pounds ripe, fragrant organic heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

• 1/4 C chopped organic Basil


Heat large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat.

Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the onion, and carrot and season with a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes. Cover and gently cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Cover again and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are very juicy, 10-15 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

Add the basil and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in remaining Olive Oil. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. If it’s too acidic, you can add a pinch of rapadura, if it’s too sweet a drop of red wine vinegar.

If you would like a thicker sauce cook down until it reaches the desired consistency.

Serve over any type of pasta – we use organic whole wheat or organic rice pasta –  and enjoy!

Read more, great Fight Back Friday posts here:

Read more, great, Pennywise Platter Thursday posts here:

Read more great, Real Food Wednesday posts here: