GreenMoney June14_Seeds, Soil and Sustainability

Jay Owen Green Prosperity, SRI/ESG News, Sustainability News


Good farming, Good food, Good health 

by Cliff Feigenbaum,
Founder, GreenMoney

I especially enjoy our Sustainable Agriculture and Organics issues because they always break new ground (pun intended) and I always learn something new.

In this edition,
Laura Batcha of Organic Trade Association looks at the $35 billion marketplace of Organics; Vicki Pozzenbon of Delicious New Mexico tells how to localize our food systems to help more farmers grow more food for our schools, institutions, restaurants, and retail outlets; John Roulac of Nutiva asks how can we grow our food in a more sustainable way, and who decides? And we begin with, Theo Ferguson of Vital Systems writing about the importance of investing in food and farming communities for optimal systemic health.  

Over the years people have asked me where they can begin to make a positive difference with their money. For many of us it starts with shopping. According to The Organic Center, if you and other American shoppers choose to buy at least one organic product out of every 10 items purchased…

  • 98 million servings of drinking water would be free of toxic pesticides each day 
  • 53 million servings of produce would be produced without toxic pesticides each day
  • 20 million servings of milk would be produced without rBGH or antibiotics each day
  • 2.9 billion barrels of imported oil would be eliminated each year  
  • 25,800 square miles of degraded soils would be converted to rich, highly productive cropland and it would capture 6.5 billion pounds of carbon in the soil 
  • 915 million animals would be treated more humanely and it would eliminate 2.5 million pounds of antibiotics used in livestock each year

Along with shopping for more local and organic products I have also invested in companies such as Whole Foods Market, United Natural Foods, Hain Celestial, and Reeds because the natural food industry is vital on so many levels. Today, natural and organic food touches a broad spectrum of our economy from farmers to consumers, from seeds to soil, from water issues to environmental sustainability, and from farm workers to animal welfare.

whats-at-stakeWhat’s at Stake?

Investing in food and farming communities for optimal systemic health       

by Theo Ferguson,
Vital Systems

As food writer Michael Pollen says, “We are what we eat.” And the way our food is grown becomes both our bodies and the living land we eat. In the gastrological cycle, we eat and we uptake nutrients from our food which gives us our health and vitality. Vintner Paul Dolan says, “Plants fully express themselves-fruit fully expresses itself by bringing health and vitality into the space. If the space is healthy, the yield is a healthy regenerative system.” Now that we know we are all one intricately connected entity, let us begin to include our new sense of who we are-who sees, who speaks? Let’s look at food through our natural systems lenses. Further, we could begin to realize in a very deep, visceral way that all living systems are imbued with spirit.   


Our current industrial, corporate food system produces frozen pizza with preservatives for long shelf lives, corn-syrupy Frosted Flakes©, and other “fast” or industrial processed “foods.” System fundamentals include high fat, high sugar, and high salt items that crowd the center shelves and freezer space in our grocery stores with long stale dates and have serious impacts on our personal health. By consuming these “foods,” we have created a system of “indentured eaters” — in which industrially processed food becomes the more readily accessible and affordable choice in comparison to the time-of-purchase “costs” of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.   


However, industrialized “food”

leaves families, neighborhoods, and communities with medical bills for Type 2 Diabetes, obesity complications, heart disease, and strokes. The nation’s Farm Bill becomes a medical bill, turning federal subsidies into corn surpluses and then converting corn surpluses into industrial “food” and finally into consumer health care expenses. These health conditions, in addition to starvation and foodborne illnesses, are global pandemics.     

On the other hand, being able to eat beautiful organic food other than what is in season requires different infrastructure, for example facilities that freeze Pink Lady apple pie, preserve Kabocha pumpkin, or make jam from Le Grand Nectarine between seasons. These are family or locally processed, value-added foods.

Our current “feed the world” practices put the health of daily food in jeopardy. Yet a new future could be created if we – as people with assets – began to look at food and farming as all-inclusive, and we each in our regions grew a healthy community-based food supply. Many healthy food advocates, myself included, posit that we would save enormous amounts of money and taxes if we were to forestall the deluge of corporate industrial food and facilitate access to healthy food.   

  Read Complete Article


On Topic Articles     


laura-batchaThe Organic Trade Association and the World of Organic

By Laura Batcha, Organic Trade Association 

As more and more world attention focuses on threats from global warming and its impact on agriculture, organic production practices and principles are providing hope to an environmentally challenged planet. Studies continue to mount showing that organic farms are able to support more species biodiversity than their conventional counterparts. 


vicki-pozzenbonGrowing Local Food Businesses by Leaps and Pounds 

By Vicki Pozzebon, Prospera Partners and Delicious NM  

Many years ago, over a locally sourced meal of free range chicken and roasted root veggies, while sampling new mexico wines, a group of food activists and nonprofit leaders came together in my kitchen to discuss how we might further move our food system in new mexico to self- sustainability. At the time, in 2008, less than 3 percent of the food New Mexico produced stayed in the state. 


By John Roulac, Nutiva

The issue of how we grow and process our food, while it’s always been important, is now a hot topic both at the kitchen table and on Wall Street. From the recent scandal about a chemical used in yoga mats being found in Subway bread to the rising awareness of GMOs and demands to label their presence in foods, the public is fast awakening to the need for safe, whole, natural nourishment.

As always, you will find more articles, including a new report from Rodale on Organic Agriculture and Climate Change, on

In closing, I should mention that my interest in sustainable agriculture probably derives from spending part of my youth on a farm in Washington State. Ask me to share some stories about it sometime.

Cliff Feigenbaum, Founder, GreenMoney                          email Cliff  




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