Papa John’s Pizza Makes the Decision to Go Organic — Why This is So Important

In what is just more confirmation that the world is moving towards organic food, Papa John’s, the third-largest pizza delivery company, announced that it has launched an organic pilot program in its locations in Lexington, Kentucky.

Customers in this market are now able to order pizzas that feature four freshly-sliced, organic toppings: Roma tomatoes, green peppers, yellow onions, and mushrooms.

While major restaurant chains, including Papa John’s have made serious efforts to clean up their menu by removing artificial colors and flavors, the decision to offer organic ingredients has not been widely embraced just yet.

That is why this announcement by Papa John’s is so significant. Read more »

IMPORTANT AND URGENT: Help Save Ron Finley’s ‘Gangsta Garden’ in South Central LA

If you are a frequent or new reader of my blog, I ask you to please do two things:

1) Watch the video above about Ron Finley, the ‘gangsta gardener’ in South Central LA.

2) Read the below and help save his operation in Los Angeles. He is under a very serious threat of eviction, and we must do whatever we can to help save him. Ron is one of our own, and it is imperative that he continue with his very important work.

Over the past week or so, there have been emails circulating throughout the organic industry from John Foraker, President of Annie’s, about Ron Finley. Read more »

The Importance and Influence of Annie’s and Its President John Foraker Cannot Be Overstated


(John Foraker, President of Annie’s)

At the 2015 Natural Products Expo East trade show in Baltimore, I was invited to a private dinner with a handful of other journalists, hosted by Annie’s and General Mills.

At the time, there was an incredible amount of acrimony between Big Food and the organic community, primarily over GMO-labeling. Most, if not all, of the major food companies had contributed hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to defeat GMO-labeling campaigns in various states throughout the country, and organic consumers were furious. Read more »

AccelFoods is a Tremendous Addition to the Organic Food Industry


I deal with organic food entrepreneurs all of the time, and one thing that I can say for certain is that building and managing these start-up businesses is no easy task.

Aside from the fact that it may take several years to reach profitability (it took Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg 9 years to get there!), you have to deal with rising food costs, a distribution system largely controlled by one major player, and the constant worry of food safety. And, of course, that doesn’t mention all of the other things like sales, marketing, public relations, legal, recruiting, and accounting,

Most entrepreneurs are tackling this industry for the very first time and have to figure out the nuances and complexity of the food business as they go. Invariably, many mistakes are made.

Understanding the challenges that these start-ups face, a company called AccelFoods has just launched to solve these exact problems. Read more »

Organic Avenue’s New Quinoa Bowls are Outstanding

Last year, I met with Jonathan Grayer, the new controlling shareholder of Organic Avenue, and one of the things that we discussed was the quality of food at his company. Much to my surprise, he was incredibly forthcoming and acknowledged that several of Organic Avenue’s items were not up to par.

He told me that his goal was to offer raw and cooked vegan food that would appeal to a mainstream audience and that also tasted really, really good.

Aside from already having revamped the salads, which are now excellent, Organic Avenue recently launched its first line of quinoa bowls, and I have been beyond impressed.

The three red quinoa bowls are the following:



Very hearty and filling. The sweetness of the yams ties everything together really well. When I am hungry, this is what I go for. Read more »

Exclusive Interview with Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb, President A.C. Gallo: “All GMOs will be Labeled in Our Stores by 2018”

Yesterday at Natural Products Expo West, the biggest organic trade show of the year, Whole Foods made a HUGE announcement.

The company said that by 2018, all products in its U.S. and Canadian stores must be labeled to indicate whether they contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

The importance of this announcement cannot be underestimated. Why? Read more »

CircleUp Raises Millions of Dollars for Organic Food Companies



I interact with a countless number of early-stage, organic food companies and I can tell you one thing – running these businesses is not an easy task.

Aside from the tight profit margins, increasing food costs, and extensive paperwork dealing with organic certification, raising investment dollars is a very challenging endeavor.

These are not high-flying technology companies, which attract the lion’s share of angel investment money. Furthermore, most investors don’t understand the intricacies of consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies.

Fortunately, a San Francisco-based start-up called CircleUp is helping to address this fundraising problem. Read more »