Organic Link Love for Memorial Day Weekend

Written by Max Goldberg on May 26, 2013. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

There is no more appropriate way to start off this Organic Link Love column than by introducing Debbie Stabenow, the esteemed Democratic Senator from Michigan and chair of the Agriculture Committee.

During the recent vote for GMO-labeling in the Senate Farm Bill, The Huffington Post quoted her as saying that “labels run counter to science and the public interest in healthy food.”

If you’re shaking your head after reading that one, you’re not alone.

It is one of the most absurd statements that I have ever heard…… but par for the course for politicians who are influenced by Monsanto’s lobbying machine.

In other GMO-related news, the Senate also refused to overturn the Monsanto Protection Act, and Connecticut passed a watered down GMO-labeling bill with so many provisions that it is essentially meaningless.

Interestingly, New York, my home state, is making real progress in its effort to push through a GMO-labeling bill.

Articles keep popping up about how the organic industry’s clout is growing in Washington, D.C., but it is clear that we still have a long way to go. 

USDA Secretary Vilsack recognizes distinct needs of organic yet has said nothing about how to protect or compensate organic farmers from GMO-contamination.

Lots of acquisitions have taken place lately as major corporations continue to see organic as the future, particularly in the baby food segment. Campbell Soup acquired Plum Organics, Hain Celestial bought Ella’s Kitchen, an organic baby food company in the UK, and Danone purchased Happy Family.

Organic salad producer Earthbound Farm is being prepped for sale in the $600-700M range, and Dean Foods’ WhiteWave spinoff is seen as clearing the way for a takeover.

There were a bunch of really inspirational stories including a couple in San Diego who is training U.S. Veterans for careers in organic farming, a charter school in California will be serving organic food, and people with special needs are growing organic vegetables on a 35-acre farm in Abu Dhabi.

And, Hungary, a country where genetically-modified crops are completely banned, found that some of Monsanto’s GMO-corn had been planted and quickly destroyed them all. (Yes, I found that to be inspirational.)

On the crowdfunding front….a woman in Canada has started an organic farm via crowdfunding, there is a campaign on IndieGoGo to shoot a documentary about a woman who was poisoned by pesticides and is now an organic farmer in Virginia, and there’s a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a documentary about small, organic suppliers.

Ironically, crowdfunding platform CircleUp raised its own $7.5M Series A, which is fantastic news for emerging organic food companies.

Horizon Organic plans to expand beyond the dairy aisle, into cookies and crackers. An anonymous investor put $3 million into a Maine organic dairy company called MOOMilk, and an organic dairy farm in New Zealand is pioneering a high-tech, voluntary milking system.

Organic food sales in the UK have increased since the horse meat scandal there, organic farms are a growth area in Russia, an organic co-op proves that agriculture can prosper in Cuba, and young people in India are increasingly turning to organic farming.

There’s an interesting profile of Planet Organic, England’s largest organic supermarket chain, and the Rodale Institute and Lehigh University have partnered on a new organic gardening project.

As I wrote about the other day, Oprah Winfrey revealed her first move into the organic food business.

In the juicing world……Organic Avenue named Martin Bates as its new CEO, an American takes on the pressed organic juice scene in London with Plenish Cleanse, and here’s a cool profile of the founders of BluePrint Cleanse.

To wrap things up, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said this of Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods: “He is one of the great CEOs of our era.”

I know Walter Robb, have interviewed him, and agree 1,000%. Aside from being a phenomenal CEO, he is an even better person.

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10 Comments

  1. Thank you, Max, for the important, very informative, well-written and succinct update on the Organic Foods and Farming scene.

    Knowledge is Power and by staying informed on the vital issues, we can all work together to first label, and then ban all GMO’s, pesticides, and unhealthy ingredients and practices in farming and manufacturing to regain transparency in our food supply chain and healthy, nutritious food on our plates.

    Your efforts towards these issues have been outstanding, and progress is being made through awareness brought into the public consciousness…thank you again and keep up the wonderful work!

    I already follow you on FB and would advise everyone to do the same–your posts very informative and I love the food and juice recipes.

    Written by Mary H Anderson on May 27, 2013 @ 11:28 am
  2. Fantastic column! I loved this!
    Thanks,
    Heather

    Written by Heather on May 27, 2013 @ 7:29 pm
  3. Hi Mary,

    Thank you so much for these words, I greatly appreciate them!!!!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on May 27, 2013 @ 10:23 pm
  4. Thank you Heather, so glad that you enjoyed it!!!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on May 27, 2013 @ 10:24 pm
  5. Loved the links to some of organics best articles. Many I hadn’t heard about, but some (like Oprah) I had. I know it’s a lot of work to compile all of those links, but it was worth it. I had a great time reading through all of them. Thank you!

    Written by Traci on May 28, 2013 @ 9:13 am
  6. Hi Traci,

    So glad that you enjoyed reading them! I do them about every two weeks or so.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on May 28, 2013 @ 9:29 am
  7. Thank you, Max. Great collection of stories. Shared it on my business FB page with your link. One person at a time!

    Written by Sharon R. Flores on May 29, 2013 @ 3:46 pm
  8. Thank you so much Sharon!!

    Written by Max Goldberg on May 30, 2013 @ 9:04 am
  9. great links, Max!
    thank you!
    love Gary’s work!
    all the best,
    stephanie

    Written by stephanie haughey on May 31, 2013 @ 12:28 pm
  10. Thanks so much Stephanie!!

    Written by Max Goldberg on June 4, 2013 @ 9:37 am

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