Tag Archive: organic



A chard leaf surrounded by text,

A chard leaf with the caption, “Local and Organic Chard Can Be Delivered using a Smartphone or Tablet…But was it made possible through gentrification, farm-worker exploitation, or racial injustice?”

Dr. Amie “Breeze” Harper, a senior research analyst/strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions (CDS) and intersectional food justice theorist, writes about the gap between tech innovation, venture capital funding, foodie culture, and labor/human rights:

Most people who are into mainstream ‘foodie’ culture care more about their food being ‘local’, ‘fresh’, and ‘organic’ than if the food came to them through the abuse and exploitation of farm workers and other marginalized human workers in the food system.

Many foodies actually think organic and sustainable mean the treatment of human beings and non-human animals is ‘humane,’ which is false. What would be great to have from Blue Apron is a statement that acknowledges the need to be more critical about horrible treatment of human workers.

So far, such statements are no where on their site, however, once
again, it could very well be that investors do not want to appear to be ‘too political’ and prefer to be ‘post-racial’ and ‘post-class’. Yes,
their focus is not farm-workers or other food industry worker rights.

However, the silence around this is quite compelling because the fact is, foodie-tech start-ups could not exist without the human laborers in the food system.

However, I’m still always fascinated by the fact that millions of dollars can be poured into foodie-tech apps by venture
capitalists when food justice activists working in/for the poor and
communities of color, with hardly any resources, struggle like hell to create food security and/or sovereignty for themselves.

Read her full post over at her website, The Sistah Vegan Project.

7/30 UPDATE: Check out her update here, where Dr. Harper announces her theme for next year’s food justice conference.

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Black "Eat Your Ethics" tote bag from Food Empowerment Project

Black “Eat Your Ethics” tote bag from Food Empowerment Project

Water privatization, overgrazing, pesticides, food security. These are clearly issues of sustainability with regards to our food systems. Yet, the term “sustainability” doesn’t quite adequately address related issues of labor rights, food access, and environmental racism that are also part of the path that our food takes to get to our plate.

This is where food justice comes in. Food justice is a holistic, equitable, and intersectional approach to food systems and a welcome alternative to the growing food movement that led by some of the most privileged individuals around.

There are many great organizations working on food justice issues. I’m particularly impressed with Food Empowerment Project and had been meaning to write about the organization for a while. Founded by activist lauren Ornelas in 2006, F.E.P. seeks to promote a more just and sustainable world by informing consumers of the impact their food choices have on other people, animals, and the environment. One of my earliest exposures to F.E.P.’s work came when I was first seeking ethical alternatives to conventional slave-made chocolate.

F.E.P. is perhaps best known for its Chocolate List, a resource that many chocolate-lovers have come to rely on for ethical sources for chocolate. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know lauren and even help represent F.E.P. at community outreach events. She is what I wish I could be, and F.E.P. the organization I wish I had founded. F.E.P.’s approach to food justice addresses all the issues that are impacted by our current food systems: animals, the environment, human labor and slavery, and our food choices. Not only does F.E.P. take an intersectional approach to food justice, but the information material is very accessible and informative.

Check out the F.E.P. website FoodIsPower.org

 


Golden flax seeds

One of my favorite handcrafted, organic hair and body product businesses (Brendita’s BodyWorks) seems to have gone under. She used to make hair gel that I really liked and I recently needed more of. I like supporting small businesses like Brendita’s, but so often their products contain ingredients from animals or leave lots of buildup in my locs (despite smelling delicious), so I tend to make my own stuff.

I’ve heard great things about flax seed as a hair gel, and found this recipe from Crunchy Betty: Homemade Hair Care: Flax Seed Hair Gel . This particular recipe suggests adding aloe vera gel, which I have growing in abundance, so I’ll have to try blending that in. Commenters suggested using brown flax seed for a larger gel yield, and cooking the seeds until they form a thick, but not (yet) gel consistency: it thickens as it cools.


A set of various artisan soaps, lotions, and other body care products

All natural does not equate to safe, ecologically sound and healthy.  Bacteria, salmonella, cocaine, and staph germs are natural but I dont want to put them on my skin. Chemicals are not bad. Everything is a chemical. Water is a chemical, oxygen is a chemical, we are chemicals.  Synthetic products are not necessarily evil. I do understand customers concerns about being as close to nature as possible so I offer a range of products fit those needs. I always label my products truthfully, please buy from a soapmaker that is honest.

via Preservatives vs all natural.


german protest against Monsato

Following dismissal on Monday of a federal class-action lawsuit brought by a group of farmers against Monsanto, protesters in Washington D.C. showed up on Wednesday at the biotech giant’s doorstep.

[…]The farmers’ consortium, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, was seeking to have the company’s agricultural patents invalidated, saying they feared the appearance of Monsanto seeds in their fields, Farmers Weekly reports. Monsanto is the world’s biggest producer of genetically modified seed. U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald, however, said the farmers had no standing because they had not been harmed by the company, calling their suit “a transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists.”

Continue reading at: Monsanto protested after class-action lawsuit is dismissed – BlogPost – The Washington Post.


Clarisse Kambire, 13, a child laborer, begins her daily task of picking the crop from her farmer's field of fair trade organic cotton near Benvar, Burkina Faso, on Nov. 10, 2011.

Since I’m on winter break, I’ve been on a roll with writing! Just came across an article on the child labor used pick cottonthat makes Victoria Secret’s products. Yep, slavery 2.0 in 2011—but on the “dark continent” since we outlawed it in the States.

Not only are African children being beaten into picking cotton, but that cotton is supposed to be certified fair trade. One top exec at Victoria Secret’s chain of command said “Our standards specifically prohibit child labor…We are vigorously engaging with stakeholders to fully investigate this matter.” For those of you who aren’t used to political/PR non-speak, that basically means, “I know…we’re supposed to do something about this, right?” Vigorous sounds like a really active verb, like we’re really going to do something to stop this, but at the same time not making any promises that will hold us accountable.

Read the details here and the full story of one girl’s plight on a cotton farm in Burkina Faso.

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