Fair & real organic food

Food gives us life, but only if it is life-giving food… Mislabeling, weaponizing, doing harm by overwriting nature are sad realities of chemical and synthetic food industries. Chemicals such as artificial addictive sweeteners, stabilisers, rising agents (bread), preservatives, flavours, colours, fertilisers, insecticides, pharmaceuticals, metals & nanotechnology are ingredients of most foods available through corporate food chains. This trend has increased dramatically over the last few years. Many food plant and animal products are genetically or otherwise modified, and processed to the point of lacking any nutritional value, or being outright harmful. Many of the peoples and societies which grow much of the world’s foods are exploited, coerced and driven away from their lands. Whole ecosystems and much of the world’s soils have been destroyed by food corporations which disregard human and environmental rights. Food labels such as organic, clean or halal address a small fraction of these issues while creating new ones. I have seen chocolates labelled as organic when the ingredient list reads palm oil, artificial flavours & emulsifiers (e.g. E442 & E476), or is labelled as fairtrade but research leads to no traces regarding who is actually involved in its production. Packaging made from aluminum. Obviously this is neither organic, nor fairtrade.

All of this is leaving, and nature is so abundant that this planet will regenerate in no time when given the chance. More and more real organic farms, local food projects and honest fairtrade collaborations enter our food markets from grassroots levels, eradicating modern slavery and bringing transparency, true equity and real nutrients back into the food chain. According to We Feed the World – a global collaboration of photographers, the food sovereignty movement, NGO’s, charitable organisations & ethical businesses – small-scale farmers and fishers already produce > 70% of the food we eat globally on less than a quarter of the world’s farmland, using regenerative techniques that protect bio-cultural diversity (https://www.wefeedtheworld.org). Below are some examples of truly inspiring initiatives. There are many more. All we need to do is create, chose and support what we know is right and keeps us and the planet healthy and nourished. Our young people will thank us for it.

Organic food businesses

Soul Fire Farm

New York, USA

Afro-indigenous agroforestry, silvopasture, wildcrafting, polyculture with no till technology & heritage crops. Regenerating 80 acres of mountainside land, producing fruits, plant medicine, pasture-raised livestock, honey, mushrooms, vegetables & preserves for surrounding communities. Majority of harvest supplies people living under food apartheid or impacted by state violence and is available on sliding scale pricing. Farm buildings are hand-constructed from local wood, adobe, straw bales & recycled materials. Solar heat. Participation in Real Organics Project. Racial equity activism.

Pipers Farm

England, UK

Network of 40 ethical, organic small-scale family mixed farms growing various types of vegetables & pasture-raising chicken, sheep, pigs, cows (Red Rubies) which live on local, natural grassland. Special focus on regenerative farming methods & native animal breeds naturally adapted to local, rugged conditions. Network rooted in strong, long-term relationships of mutual trust. Fair prices based on mutual agreement, not top-down hierarchies. Part of Slow Food movement & zero to landfill business.

Organic food farming

Real Organic Project

USA

Securing real organic farming, the foundation of which are healthy, fertile soils in which food plants are grown, and natural pastures on which farm animals are raised. The USDA organic label does not account for such standards. Instead plants are grown hydroponically (in water only) and animals are kept in confinement under questionable conditions and without living food. Both diminish nutritional value and disregard the natural needs of healthy plant and animal life, doing harm to the planet. The Real Organic Project is a grassroots farmers initiative and has created its own label which can be found on real organic foods in the USA.

The Lucy Foundation

Mexico & New Zealand

Creating a culture of inclusivity of people with disabilities through organic coffee. Coffee grown by indigenous coffee-farming families and disabled people in Pluma Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Mexico. Then shipped to New Zealand by John Burton Ltd & roasted by Able Coffee Collaborative – both supporting disability rights, inclusion and diversity. Coffee which is good for the environment, the community and the economy.

Ivanhoe Community Grocers

Victoria, Australia

Organic fruit & vegetables grown by community for community. Also organic sourdough & eggs from pasture-raised chicken. Acknowledgment of the Wurundjeri indigenous people as the traditional custodians of the land. Support of community groups, kinders, preschools and charities, always giving back to the community.

Chickadee Farm Herbs

Alberta, Canada

High-quality handcrafted organic herbs & pasture. Family farm. Off-grid with rain water collection system. Land stewardship in alignment with surrounding forests & waters. Truly local. Reuse & repair. 100% recycled cardboard packaging (FSC-certified).

High quality organic flour

Speerville Flour Mill

New Brunswick, Canada

High quality organic & non-genetically altered seed & foods including many grains, legumes & seeds. Stone-ground flours. Collaboration with other truly local & organic companies, providing nuts & nut butters, dried fruit, coffee, cheese, honey, oils, natural household supplies and more. Foods grown in high quality soil. 100% local to Canadian Maritimes. True customer care.

The Little Milk Company

Ireland

Collaboration of 10 Irish organic dairy farmers. Valuing animal husbandry, soil preservation, clean water. Milk derived from animals which graze on natural, pesticide & GMO-free pastures. Cheese made from raw, unpasteurized, organic milk, no chemicals added. Multi-award-winning cheeses, exported globally. All farms are family owned & run. Animals are free of antibiotics.

Riverford Organic Farmers

UK

Organic produce, dairy, eggs, baked products, grown or made by small-scale farmers & artisans. Everything sold is 100% organic. Healthy work conditions & fair wages. Certified B Corp. Employee ownership of company. Gender equity. Compostable bags, reusable boxes & other pioneering packaging. Investment in sustainability projects.

Fairafric chocolate

Ghana & Germany

Truly fair, vegan, organic chocolate. Made in Africa from cocoa bean to chocolate bar. 70% of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa but < 1% of chocolate is produced there. This is changing, truly & fairly making Africa part of the chocolate business rather then just using it as a provider of raw products. Truly fairtrade.

Wild Alaskan Company

Alaska, USA

Truly wild-caught & sustainably fished salmon, halibut, rockfish, cod. Caught & packaged in Alaska. Reconnecting with nature – ourselves. Connecting food & community. Owned by Alaskan fishing family which decisively left behind the commercial fishing industry. Transparency & traceability of food. No antibiotics or colours added. 100% compostable or recyclable packaging. Sharing recipes.

Midori Farm

Kyoto, Japan

Restoring Japan’s traditional food system & health through organic farming, food education & community involvement, leaving behind the country’s deep food dependencies. Workshops, volunteer programs, tours, consultations – connecting city & country. Cofounder of Seeds of Sustainability in Kyoto city.

Equal Exchange

USA & worldwide

Organic groceries, coffee, tea, chocolate. Authentic fairtrade. Building a cooperative trade model that connects all parts of the supply chain. Partners with many amazing farming & trading businesses & organisations, all introduced on their website, creating long-term trading relationships. Supporting small-scale, natural farming across the planet. Collaborates with grocery stores, food co-ops, cafes, restaurants, universities, offices. Supply chain transparency & equity. Co-op owned. Shared decision-making.

Canaan

Palestine

Organic farm producing heirloom organic vegetables, grains, beans, herbs, fruit. Merging historic Palestinian agriculture knowledge & modern organic practices. Long term partnerships with fair trade principles. Works with > 2000 artisan family farms from 52 different villages. Practices rooted in soil health. Reciprocity between people, plants, animals, insects and microorganisms. Supporting ancient olive orchards. Regenerative agricultural practices & permaculture.

Buddy System

Florida, USA

10 community fridges across Miami-Dade County to provide access to fresh, healthy food to those in need on a ‘take what you need, leave what you can’ basis of trust. Also volunteer distribution system for those who cannot get to the fridges. Changing the landscape of food injustice by encouraging neighbors to support neighbors. Community-owned initiative founded by a group of Miami artists & community organizers – merging creativity & social service.

Nasivanky

Ukraine

Multigenerational organic permaculture seed farm, flower & greenhouse farm, lavender field & asparagus plantation. Vegetable, legume & flower seeds, pumpkin, squash, melon, salad greens, lavender products, saplings. Also offering permaculture certification courses & phone/online consultation. Many tips & info on website. Reusable & biodegradable paper, hemp & wood packaging. Website in Ukrainian language.

Greenway Farm

England, UK

Family farm for 100% grass fed, biodiverse pasture-raised, organic beef, lamb, chicken, turkey & goose. Animals live in groups & roam freely except hens & turkey. Hen & turkey pens/roosts moved along pastures every 24hours. Non-GMO. Mimicking the natural life of animals. Transparency about farming & slaughter practices. Humane slaughter principles. Maremma Livestock Guardian dogs keep animals safe.

Farms to Grow, Inc.

California, USA

Increasing access to urban food markets for black & marginalised sustainable farmers, their communities, schools & restaurants. Free farming workshops rooted in connectedness to land; skill’s training, access to speciality crops & machinery etc. Farmer’s market program, community nutritious cooking programs, building of school gardens. De-colonising farming & reviving ancestral knowledge. Documenting farming history. Empowering black, hispanic & other marginalised farmers.

Sonnentor Kräuterhandels GMBH

Austria

Organic hand-picked, locally processed herbs, spices & herbal products sourced via direct, fair trade with farmers in Czech Republic, Albania, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Nicaragua & Tanzania etc. Value transparency & independence from agricultural subsidies. Support biodiverse farming incl. permaculture. Palm oil-free. Minimised packaging with mainly compostable/recyclable materials.

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Food

Look at all the food
but I am not hungry.
I am not in the mood
to fill my stomach for life.

What do I need,
solid on my feet?
Life is abundant.
With fear and greed?

Where is the meaning?
Is it in the food?
Numbing indulgence,
for comfort, to soothe.

I am afraid I need more,
need to live deeper amore.
Be the sun, feel the water,
take your power per favore.

Always hungry, but hungry for what?
What are you, what am I?
Dead beings in my gut.

Life is light, life is easy.
Drop the load and eat meaning.
Stop hardship and start dreaming.
Its everywhere: inside and out.
Be yourself – just clarity, no doubt.

Poem by Carina Ramm

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