Part 5: The antagonistic shopper society

Is it REALLY Real in the Whole Foods parking lot?  Who am I in this debate on sustainable foods?  I am far removed from the ground.  Continue reading

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Part 1: Eve, God, Biodynamics

Persimmon tree

One early autumn evening in Durham, NC…  I’d stopped by the SEEDS community garden just as it was closing.  The last remaining staff member, locking up shop at the storehouse, gave me the nod to walk through.  She paced impatiently, busily complaining about whatever to whomever on her cell phone, in evident desire to move on with the rest of her modern life. Continue reading

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Part 4: The seeds of market failure

Admittedly, I sometimes lapse into bourgeois revere the agriculturalist’s life, like a groupie.  Continue reading

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Part 3: Digging the subtleties

A couple of weeks later, I returned to the SEEDS garden and started digging. Hillary the expert gardener directed me to help level ground for new beds.  The work was not intuitive to me.  Continue reading

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Part 2: Outhouse to Hotseat to Hothouse

The second time in October visiting the SEEDS community garden in Durham, I met Mr. Duprey.  The first thing he asked was my name; the second was, “You ever get your hands dirty?”  He could smell the city on me. Continue reading

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Happy Food Day! Video Greeting Card to Spread the Love

Huge thanks to all the video contributors’ time and thoughtful lessons that we can all celebrate, acknowledge and honor on Food Day!  Oct. 24, 2012.

ALSO:  Join this call!  Bridging Communities (a Duke Univ. grad student group engaging in social justice discussions) will host a “Food Day: Fair Labor” conference call on Wed. Oct. 24, with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Event in Spanish & English Continue reading

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Another Win for Fair Farming! Chipotle sidles up to the Coalition for Immokalee Workers!

Photo by Scott Robertson, 2007, Immokalee area farm

While Chipotle deserves recognition for their continued commitment to sustainable food sourcing practices, the real champions here are the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (with farm-working stakeholders based in Florida’s tomato fields) and their broader Campaign for Fair Food.  The news comes on the eve of a labor rights demonstration that was to take place this weekend in Denver & Chicago, to contrast Chipotle’s sponsored “Cultivate” Festivals, purportedly celebrating food,  farmers, chefs, artisans, thought leaders, and musicians. But CIW rightfully asked, what is sustainability without justice for workers?

“Ninety percent of the tomatoes we eat between November and May come from Florida, and workers who pick them have long faced extremely difficult conditions,” says Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Toster, writing on Chipotle’s hypocrisy in the Huffington Post.

Despite being approached by CIW multiple times over the last few years, Chipotle has been a laggard in the Fair Food campaign–behind Taco Bell, of all chains, which signed the fair wage agreement with CIW in 2005!  Chipotle’s sourcing techniques (and its lesser known waste management efforts) has given it a marketing carte blanche to position its chains as sustainable.  Under scrutiny, Chipotle’s major claims relate to meat sourcing (avoidance of hormones, antibiotics, humanely raised, etc.), but not to its produce.  Now, more of your feel-good take-out bill goes to the people who we rely on most–farm-workers!  Full press release below.


DENVER, October 4, 2012 – Chipotle Mexican Grill and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a farmworker-based human rights organization, have reached an agreement that brings Chipotle’s commitment to sustainable food to the CIW’s Fair Food Program.  The agreement, which will improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers in Florida who pick tomatoes for Chipotle, comes in advance of the winter tomato-growing season, when most of the nation’s tomatoes come from growers in Florida. Continue reading

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