Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tell Food Companies--Its Time

The film, Food, Inc. is a must see event. From the website you read: Food, Inc. exposes America's industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health, economy and workers' rights.

Many solutions are being discussed and there are hundreds of groups and organizations doing wonderful work. The organic foods movement has significantly helped by increasing the availability and awareness of healthy and safe foods.

Gary Hirshberg, founder and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, insists that business has the power to heal the planet in time to prevent catastrophe. And his company is doing its share to provide healthy and safe food choices, while they simultaneously address environmental issues. Gary points out that if just one hundred large companies lowered their emissions by 5 percent, it would be equivalent to taking 25 million cars off the road for a year. Now imagine if those one hundred companies were food companies, also devoted to producing "Ecological Foods," which are good for the consumer and good for the planet.

Over one-half of our healthcare costs are related to treating preventable illness and diseases related to diet, such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Marion Nestle, noted author, nutritionist and professor at NYU points out in her book, Food Politics, that "Food companies will make and market any product that sells, regardless of its nutritional value or its effect on health." Does that sound like another industry which has been implicated for lung cancer? Yes indeed. In fact many food companies have a direct link to the tobacco industry because the food companies themselves are part of the same corporations which sell cigarettes!

So the cumulative effect to the environment and to consumer health of one hundred food companies joining the movement to produce Ecological Foods would be astounding! And guess what? The food companies will do what you tell them. That's right. The food companies will respond to consumer demand for healthy, wholesome foods, produced by sound ecological practices. If our grandparents could produce foods for the winter without one harmful chemical and without any advanced technology, I'm quite certain our food suppliers can learn to do the same.

Michael Pollan, author of Omnivore's Dilemma suggests that we consumers "vote with our forks." Here's our chance to enjoy more healthy foods and for the planet to heal in the process. Send a letter or email to the food companies and tell them that you are Raising Your Fork for Reform. The Ecological Food Manufacturers Association (EFMA) has been created to help food companies learn to produce foods which are healthy for the planet, and healthy for the customer. Tell the food companies that they should become a member of EFMA today and start healing the planet. Tell them your children will thank them, the planet will thank them and their stockholders will thank them!


  1. Wonderful article, thank you Winston.

  2. I think you have captured the challenge quite accurately. I see somewhat of a parallel between what you're all about from a food perspective with the challenges we've seen recently in dealing with the U.S. automaker crisis. The automakers failed to look at their extended value chain - mainly the fact that their biggest issue wasn't in manufacturing operations (although that was a huge issue in and of itself), but that they really weren't addressing the needs of their customers by producing the right mix of products. Your mission is all about getting 'the right products' to the consumers, you just have to get the manufacturers to see how that is their real business driver, and voice of the consumer is going to be key. I'm curious, how closely have you looked at the overall business model of United Natural Foods? I'm certain there must be some major 'ah ha' lessons from their business that would help connect the dots for some of the manufacturers you're working with. Keep me posted on your progress and let me know if I can be of any help!