Posts Tagged "organic"

Coffee, kickstarting rural economies in Nepal

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 | 0 comments

At the moment I’m in Nepal, investigating the burgeoning coffee industry. I was involved with a Nepali coffee program 4-5 years back, helping with the country’s first shipments of coffee to the U.S. market (thanks to a generous buyer who was as interested in helping farmers here as he was in getting good coffee and developing a nascent export market). Now after helping out another high-end coffee company in the U.S. as they sought to learn about Nepali coffee, I’m back to see what has changed in the past few years. In between trekking in the Himalayas and riding elephants...

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Happy birthday, WWOOF!

Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 | 0 comments

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably dreamed at some point of traveling to a remote location to learn about local food and agriculture first-hand. If you really want to get your hands dirty, you might take a look at WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary of connecting volunteers to organic farms around the world. It had its origin in a weekend event at Tablehurst Farms in Sussex, England; Sue Coppard, a London office worker, wanted to support the organic movement and create an opportunity for people like herself to...

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Why certify?

Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 | 0 comments

Yesterday I gave a talk at NYU about sustainability certification–organic, fair trade, and others. Some of the questions students had were really solid and thoughtful, which made me think it might be useful to post some responses and thoughts on the subject. Any stamp on a label is put there to tell you, the customer, something about the product. The price tag tells you how much someone wants you to pay. The ingredients list tells you what’s inside. The name “Chianti” tells you that the wine came from a certain part of Italy and contains certain grapes. “Fair...

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Move over, Juan Valdez…

Posted by on Dec 1, 2011 | 0 comments

I was invited to attend a coffee summit in Haiti last week, where people from all over the country and every part of the sector came together—from farmers and coops to speculators and processors to buyers and roasters—to see if we could figure out how to restore Haitian coffee exports to the levels they were before the 1980s. To make it clear what this was all about, I should give a brief history lesson. Coffee arrived in Haiti in 1727, planted by French colonists, and within 50 years the country was producing 77 million pounds of it a year–or 40% of the world’s supply. Soon...

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Milk 101

Posted by on Sep 2, 2011 | 0 comments

Am I the only one, or does anyone else find the task of choosing your milk from the infinite number of products out there these days–all boasting different qualities and health benefits–to be a daunting task? Sometimes I would catch myself standing in front of the dairy case motionless, for minutes at a time, contemplating whether or not it is more environmentally correct to buy the organic milk from California or the local generic milk, whether is healthier to buy the skim or the whole milk. Do I want my milk fortified with vitamins and fiber? What product is actually the most...

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No regulation for biotech grass

Posted by on Jul 6, 2011 | 0 comments

In policy news: the Department of Agriculture decided this week that it doesn’t need to regulate a new, genetically modified Kentucky bluegrass. The grass is resistant to glyphosphate, so it will be a boon to homeowners who will be able to spray their yards with Round-Up to get rid of pesky dandelions. USDA didn’t say that this grass poses no risks–it only said that this isn’t under their jurisdiction. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) only regulates GM crops with genetic code from microbes or potential pests. What does this mean for...

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