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Organic Flowers: An Essential Part of Valentine's Day

Organic Flowers: An Essential Part of Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this is the time of year when we cannot forget to incorporate organic into our plans. And for sure, this includes flowers. Why? Ginger Thompson, a great journalist for the New York Times, wrote a fantastic piece several years ago on the flower industry in Ecuador. The local […]

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this is the time of year when we cannot forget to incorporate organic into our plans. And for sure, this includes flowers. Why?

Ginger Thompson, a great journalist for the New York Times, wrote a fantastic piece several years ago on the flower industry in Ecuador. The local workers, who are in desperate need of money, have little choice but to work for these companies and suffer the dire consequences of being exposed to the poisonous chemicals used on the flowers. They are getting sick but it is a question of illness or hunger.

Furthermore, the chemicals inevitably get into the soil and pollute the water supply.

It is a very, very sad situation, and there are no easy answers.

What we can do, however, is increase our consumption of organic flowers. If consumers demand organic, chemical-free flowers, growers around the world will change their ways or suffer economically. We need to create change with our wallets.

Valentine’s Day is a huge day for the flower industry, and for those of us concerned about the environment and the well-being of our fellow citizens, organic flowers need to be just as important as organic apples or grapes.

Here are two flower companies, both of which are well-respected in the organic community, that can do next-day delivery for Valentine’s Day

* California Organic Flowers

* Diamond Organic Flowers


Whole Foods Launches "Health Starts Here" Campaign: Pushes Plant-Based Diet, Says to Reduce or Eliminate Consumption of Animal Products

Whole Foods Launches "Health Starts Here" Campaign: Pushes Plant-Based Diet, Says to Reduce or Elimi

I almost fell over yesterday when I was at the Whole Foods Market (Fresh Pond Store) in Cambridge, MA. Let me explain… Before entering the check-out line, I was looking at the marketing materials related to Whole Foods’ new Health Starts Here campaign — an initiative based on a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet. The first thing […]

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LivingMaxwell.com

I almost fell over yesterday when I was at the Whole Foods Market (Fresh Pond Store) in Cambridge, MA. Let me explain…

Before entering the check-out line, I was looking at the marketing materials related to Whole Foods’ new Health Starts Here campaign — an initiative based on a plant-based, nutrient-dense diet.

The first thing I saw was the big poster that ranked foods based on an index called the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI).  ANDI was created by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., the chief medical officer of an organization called Eat Right America.

Foods are ranked from 1 to 1000, with the most nutrient-dense foods having the highest scores.  Collards and kale have scores of 1000 while soda has a score of 1.  What was displayed at the store today was an abbreviated list and did not contain all the scores that are available on the ANDI website link above.

The second thing I saw was the display of about seven books where magazines are normally stacked.  This is where I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

There was a copy of The China Study by Colin Campbell, PhD.

For those unfamiliar with this book, it is the culmination of 20 years of research into the lifestyle habits of people in rural China and Taiwan.

Dr. Campbell said that “People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored.”

I had heard about The China Study a few years ago through some of my raw food friends.  Given that raw foodists eat an organic/vegan diet, Dr. Campbell is a household name within this community for obvious reasons.

The fact that a supermarket, which sells a ton of animal products, would sell The China Study is nothing less than completely and utterly shocking.

The third thing I saw was a marketing brochure (see below) about the Health Starts Here campaign.  It listed four healthy eating principles: Plant Based, Whole Foods, Low Fat and Nutrient Dense.

The first row in the third bullet point under the Low Fat criteria said “Reduce or eliminate consumption of animal products”.  I had to stare at the paper for about 10 seconds in order to believe what was actually written there.

Not only does Whole Foods have The China Study sitting by its cash registers, some of the most valuable real estate in the entire store, but the the market is now telling consumers not to buy the animal products that it is selling!

Inconsistent Marketing Messages

Another interesting point here is that there has been a lack of consistency in the messages that Whole Foods has been delivering to the public in regards to this program. Read more »


Black Currant Juice: The Little-Known, Great Antioxidant Beverage

Black Currant Juice: The Little-Known, Great Antioxidant Beverage

In the world of high antioxidant fruit juice, pomegranate, acai, grape and blueberry seem to get all of the attention.  Black currants, however, need to be in the discussion. A few weeks ago when I went to the Northeast Organic Farmers Association winter conference in Worcester, MA, I had an interesting conversation with Kate Kerivan, […]

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In the world of high antioxidant fruit juice, pomegranate, acai, grape and blueberry seem to get all of the attention.  Black currants, however, need to be in the discussion.

A few weeks ago when I went to the Northeast Organic Farmers Association winter conference in Worcester, MA, I had an interesting conversation with Kate Kerivan, the owner of Bug Hill Farm in Western Massachusetts. Bug Hill is a very small farm that organically grows black currants and bottles the juice.

I have seen currant juice in the supermarket from time-to-time but there are very few brands that offer it.  And, the ones that I have tasted before either weren’t organic or just didn’t make much of an impression.

So, when I spoke with Kate and tasted her product, my interest was piqued again.

The nutritional benefits of black currants never escaped me.  According to the research that I’ve seen, they have significantly higher levels of antioxidants than blueberries and have three times the amount of Vitamin C than oranges.

Furthermore, they are rich in a phytochemical called anthocyanidin, which has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Read more »


My Afternoon at the Northeast Organic Farmers Association Winter Conference

My Afternoon at the Northeast Organic Farmers Association Winter Conference

On Saturday, the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) held its winter conference in Worcester, Massachusetts, and I was able to spend the afternoon at the event. With so many great speakers and vendors, I didn’t have time to see everything.  These were my personal highlights. * Interview with Joel Salatin The keynote speaker and celebrity […]

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NOFA LOGOOn Saturday, the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA) held its winter conference in Worcester, Massachusetts, and I was able to spend the afternoon at the event.

With so many great speakers and vendors, I didn’t have time to see everything.  These were my personal highlights.

* Interview with Joel Salatin The keynote speaker and celebrity of the conference was Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia.  If you saw Food, Inc., Joel was one of the stars and the organic farmer featured in the movie.  Over the past 25 years or so, he has authored six books and has been featured in nearly every major television and print media outlet.

I had the good fortune to interview Joel, and the video will be uploaded shortly.  As a huge fan of all things organic, getting a one-on-one with Joel was a big thrill. Read more »


Organic Trade Association Launches Organic Contest at Schools: Let's Spread the Word

Organic Trade Association Launches Organic Contest at Schools: Let's Spread the Word

While there are many great organizations in the country that promote organic food and work to protect organic food regulations in Washington D.C., the two most prominent ones are the Organic Consumers Association and the Organic Trade Association. As you can tell from their names, one focuses on consumers and the other focuses on the […]

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LivingMaxwell.com

OTA_halfPage_adWhile there are many great organizations in the country that promote organic food and work to protect organic food regulations in Washington D.C., the two most prominent ones are the Organic Consumers Association and the Organic Trade Association.

As you can tell from their names, one focuses on consumers and the other focuses on the trade.

Last year, however, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) embarked on its first nationwide consumer awareness and education campaign.  As part of this outreach, the OTA just launched a program called “Organic. It’s Worth it in Schools.”

This initiative is calling on teachers, parents, students, educators and others to vote for their favorite school to win an organic garden complete with seeds, soil and expert gardening support; or a fully stocked vending machine, which can feature organic items like milk, fruit, cheese, yogurt and snacks. Read more »


Want to Know Where Your Food Comes From? Dole Organic Can Tell You

Want to Know Where Your Food Comes From? Dole Organic Can Tell You

Even though my website has been up for only a very short period of time, several people have left comments on the blog that they like to look their local farmer in the eye before they purchase their food. Why is this?  Well, they want some reassurance that the food they are buying is truly […]

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Dole Organic Label

Even though my website has been up for only a very short period of time, several people have left comments on the blog that they like to look their local farmer in the eye before they purchase their food.

Why is this?  Well, they want some reassurance that the food they are buying is truly organic and free of pesticides.

In essence, they want to know where their food is coming from.

Dole Organic has recognized this desire of many consumers and has actually done something about it.

At the top of the label, you will see a farm number.  If you go to doleorganic.com and search for the corresponding number, in this case #633, you will be able to get information about and pictures of the farm where the bananas were produced, including PDFs of the organic certification papers.  The content and pictures may vary slightly from farm to farm.

According to Frans Wielemaker, Director of Sourcing and Development of the Organic and Exotics Program at Dole, “this program was started two years ago.  It was initially something that our organic certifier wanted us to have but once all the hard work and logistics were implemented, we decided to use the system as a way to connect with the consumer.” Read more »


Top 5 Organic Food Trends for 2010

Top 5 Organic Food Trends for 2010

I just knew that the hundreds and hundreds of hours I have spent roaming the aisles of supermarkets and studying menus at organic restaurants would come in handy one day. But, I had no idea that it would lead to me writing this post.  So, here it goes…. 1) More and More Coconuts Coconuts have […]

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edible flower photo

I just knew that the hundreds and hundreds of hours I have spent roaming the aisles of supermarkets and studying menus at organic restaurants would come in handy one day.

But, I had no idea that it would lead to me writing this post.  So, here it goes….

1) More and More Coconuts

Coconuts have taken on much more prominence as of late.  A bunch of ice creams, including Luna and Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss and Purely Decadent, have coconuts as their central ingredient.  Energy bars, such as those from Raw Revolution, have used them in their products for a while.

In terms of organic coconuts, this is what I foresee.

Organic coconut water: Coconut water is a hot trend in the beverage world right now.  Some people consider coconut water to be the ultimate post-workout drink because it contains electrolytes.

However, nearly all of those boxes of coconut water that are flying off the shelves in the supermarkets are not organic.  It is only a matter of time before we see a shift to organic. Read more »