Stonyfield’s Organic Video

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The CE-Yo of Stonyfield, Gary Hirshberg, stars in this informative video promoting eating organic. In an email promoting the new video, he states,

"I'm no professional singer, but I just had to sing about all the good organic can do for our health, the planet, animals and small family farms."

I was blown away at how well this video was done. It has excellent footage and highlights pretty much all the reasons you should know where your food comes from. My only gripe with it is that it is pushing buying only organic branded food products. While organic food is great, many of you have pointed out in the Local Food Survey that "organic" is just a marketing term. On survey respondent sums it up well,

"*Everyone* should know who grows their food and how it's grown and raised. Organic certification doesn't stop anyone from dumping Miracle or anything else on their crops. One inspection a year doesn't cover the other 365 1/2 days of the year. There is no testing of residue or soil. The gov't owns the word but they've made it meaningless. Find a farmer you can trust in person."

I find the major problem with "organic" is when people start growing monoculture organic crops. Carlo Petrini, the Italian founder of the Slow Food movement, writes about a time he visited an upscale organic food market in California in his book Slow Food Nation. He met a farmer who made a living selling organic squash, and another who made a living selling organic olive oil. The squash and oils were lovely,  the problem was that was all these farmers were growing. The oil producer had hundreds of hectares of olive tress, and Petrini wondered what he had to clear away to grow all these trees. The squash presumably don't need as much acreage as the olive trees, but I wonder how the squash farmer is able to continue to grow the same crop in the same area year after year. Sustainability depends on the biodiversity of crops. Sustainable farmers understand soil, and understand the need to rotate diverse crops and animals to keep their soil naturally fertilized. The healthier your soil, the more nutrients available to the food you are growing.

So keep these things in mind when watching the video. Organically produced food is still far superior to non-organically produced food, but sustainably produced food tops the charts in my book.

3 Responses to “Stonyfield’s Organic Video”

  1. Tom Roberts Says:

    Except, of course, that “sustainably” has no legal definition at all. It means something to you, and something entirely different to someone else.
    Don’t disparage all organic growers simply because the mega-corps are jumping on the bandwagon to profit from the groundwork of others. Judge whether the production scale is appropriate, think about the carbon cost between your food and it’s source, and, yes, where possible, get to know your farmers.

  2. Diana Prizio Says:

    Agree w/Tom on the vagueness of “sustainable”, though now with National Organic Standards and the big guys as card-carrying members, we small producers really have no say about any standards, anymore. Would like to hear about Stonyfield’s reasons for voting to allow GM Alfalfa in the “organic” arena!

  3. Jenny Says:

    Hi Diana – if you read this blog post from FastCompany, http://www.fastcompany.com/1723722/stonyfield-farm-organic-valley-lose-struggle-against-ge-alfalfa, it explains what happened in Washington. The earlier blog post they reference at the beginning is also helpful in understanding what happened. Stonyfield has never supported GMOs and are putting up a good fight. Here is an especially great exerpt from the post,

    “The arguments on strategy became moot points when the USDA decided to completely deregulate GE alfalfa last week, but the organic organizations involved in the Alfalfa Production Co-Existence Forum did score one small victory. Vilsack authorized the establishment of a seed germination laboratory in Washington state for non-GE seeds that could, according to Hirshberg, “prove to be extremely important when the real truth comes out about the dangers of GE crops.”

    Stonyfield’s CE-Yo Gary Hirshberg knows the risks of GE. I still have faith in this company, and am proud of them for using their profits to educate the public about the evils of big agriculture. I’m hoping through the NurtureME brand we can promote similar values here in Maine, including coming up with a definition of sustainability that can compete with organic.

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