Monday, December 31, 2007

Simple way to help clean Texas' air , or 1-800-453-SMOG

TCEQ website where you can report vehicles that are not functioning properly and are smoking either from the engine or tailpipe.

All they really do is send a letter to the vehicle owner asking them to fix it, but often that's all that's needed. A little peer pressure.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Senate Passes Farm Bill

Some good news for Organics. This is not real support for the industry, but considering some of the roadblocks we've been facing, it's a huge win and a small step towards equality for organics in the USDA:
Legislative Update
Senate today passes its version of the Farm Bill

In a major milestone, the U.S. Senate today approved its version of the Farm Bill in a 79 to 14 vote. Included are funding and direction for key organic priorities, including a sense that organic research be funded at a level commensurate with organic agriculture's share of teh market. Some of the other provisions allot funds for organic data collection and certification cost share; would bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from charging a premium surcharge on organic crop insurance; and would add organic production as an eligible activity in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The Senate version and the version approved this summer by the U.S. House of Representatives must go to conference to settle any differences before a final bill is voted on by Congress.

I hear not much headway has been made on eliminating govt. farm subsidies for corn and other commodities, but at least they're making concessions for Organics.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cool Links

Here's a site that uses actual driving data from its members to arrive at average MPG estimates for hybrid cars:
Very interesting stuff. I also saw some calculations a guy did on the break-even point for buying the prius over a corolla. He thinks a corolla can achieve 35mpg without hybrid technology and compared the base sticker price with that of the hybrid ($15.5k for corolla and $21k for prius). He assumes 45mpg for the prius and $3/gallon gas. Here's his formula: (x/35-x/45) = (21000-15500)/3. This resulted in around a 280,000 mile pay-off for buying the hybrid not taking into consideration differences in maintenance.
Doesn't seem to be compelling, but buying a hybrid is just so cool.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More Proof

I can't wait for organic pudding so I can start saying "The proof is in the pudding". What does that mean anyways?
Here's some more proof for ya that organics is more nutritious:
It might be the same study as the EU one....honestly, I wanted to post it, but don't have time right now to read the whole thing.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Meeting with Kirk Watson

Senator Watson carried the Organic Advisory Board bill for me in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. After we successfully passed the bill, a couple of months ago we sat down to talk about the future. He is excited to continue working for the Organic and Sustainability movement and we are working on a strategic plan for future legislation. He is really a great guy and doesn't fit the mold at all of a politician. I asked him how often he gets frustrated with the political process - "Every day!" He says at least once a week he really hates it. I really admire him sticking it out. I'm not sure I could have that kind of patience.....but you never know until you try.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

EU spends $25 million in research to confirm organic food better

a 4 year study has just been completed confirming what many of us already know - Organic food is better and more nutritious than conventional food! Check it out:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Save Some Trees, Will Ya!

Stop annoying junk mail here -

And even better (I guess it gets worse the better your credit is) stop those annoying credit card offers -

Americans get up to 1.5 trees' (think huge pine tree) worth of junk mail each year.

Congratulations to Greenling on More Awards!!

Greenling has won 2 awards in the last 2 weeks!

The first award comes from PC Magazine and recognizes our innovative use of technology to run our business! See the story here -,1895,2190139,00.asp

The second award is one I have always admired and never expected to win. The Austin Chronicle has their yearly Best Of reader's poll awards. Winning this award takes more than just recognition from some judges, it comes straight from the mouths of Central Texas people. So, you voted, and we won "Best Local Food Company!!" We're so honored and excited about this award. You can read about it here -

Thanks for all of your support and we hope to be a long-term institution here in Central Texas.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Plastic Bag Ban in Austin

There's a group organizing with the goal of banning plastic bags in Austin. Here's their website:
I think it's awesome! There's really no need for the conventional plastic bags anymore. Yes, they are cheaper than their biodegradable alternatives, but their impact on the environment is significant. Many cities and countries have successfully banned them.

We here at Greenling looked for alternatives for our produce bags (what you put lettuce, etc. in to keep it from drying out) since we started. We finally found an alternative in oxy-biodegradable bags. From that point on we haven't used any non-recyclable packaging materials for anything we sell (well, unless it came in non-recyclable packaging - which we frown upon but will put up with for certain products). We also sell the bio-bags they recommend people using for their trash bags. They're so cool! Just don't leave organic waste in them for too long, cause just your kitchen scraps will eat the bag up. So we're ready for a ban and we'd love for the rest of Central Texas grocery to follow suit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dell Asset Recovery

We were recently featured in a short video about Dell's new asset recovery program. It's a good upgrade from their old system and really makes recycling technology equipment easy. Greenling is the feature of the video.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Texas Association of Organics & Sustainability

or The TAOS Group, is in the works. I'm very excited to be creating this association as an extension of the Organic Advisory board to the TDA that I had legislation drafted for and recently was signed into law. The Organic Advisory board's main role is to monitor the Organic food industry and recommend to the TDA activities and opportunities for the state to support the Organic industry in Texas. The TAOS Group will soon be the first legislative advocacy group for the Organic and Sustainability industry in Texas. My hope is that the group will help educate legislators on the industry and how the State can better develop public policy to support sustainable growth and organic agriculture.

Aurora Dairy finally penalized

This is great news for Organic Dairy consumers and valid producers. The USDA has stepped down and penalized the largest organic dairy farm in the US for its not-so-organic practices. See more here:

This story first made the news almost 2 years ago when a consumer watchdog group investigated the dairy and broke the news. Hopefully in the future the USDA investigation process will not take so long. One problem, though, is that the USDA organic enforcement staff is all of 6 people for the entire $17 billion dollar industry. More support is needed to properly regulate the industry and ensure continued consumer confidence in Organic products.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Spider Plugs

So, by now you know that I am a founder of Greenling Organic Delivery.
What I just learned is that blogs like this can be a good tool for Search Engine Optimization. Inbound links are a fairly important part of a healthy google ranking for a website like
Obviously I don't want to overdo it, but please excuse this rant aimed at primarily being a vehicle for creating inbound links to Greenling. Some of you may also know that you can go to and get to our website too. We don't advertise that anymore, but it's amazing how many times we still find references to instead of We thought would be easy for people to remember, but it turns out we were wrong. People much more appreciated as our website.

I hope that wasn't too dense, but it's actually a valid topic. I should also mention that aside from your favorite local and/or organic fruits and vegetables, we also carry dairy, bread, meats, and many, many grocery items too. They all adhere to our strict standards for not just organic certification, but corporate principles as well. We investigate every item we sell and ensure that the company behind it is as committed to organic leadership as we are.

So, again, sorry for the plugs.

Mason Arnold

Monday, August 27, 2007

Google Alerts

I have set up google alerts to send me any new info published to the web for certain key words. I of course have my name set up and I also have alerts for several company-related topics - "organic food" "organic delivery" "greenling" and "terminator technology." The last one I follow primarily because I think it's just so scary. Anyways, I learn some very interesting things reading all the new articles on these topics. One hilarious website informed us that there's going to be a movie out next year with some little green men called Greenlings. Here's that link -
Luckily we have trademark on "Greenling" so I don't have to worry about a movie studio coming after me.....also being in completely different industries helps. Another interesting link is a fairly new website - Seems to have some good tips and articles on organics.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It Appears a Federal Judge Agrees with Me


Competition from conventional supermarkets would prevent Whole Foods Market Inc. from significant price hikes if it acquires rival organic grocer Wild Oats Markets Inc., a federal judge's ruling said. --Forbes Magazine

Monday, August 20, 2007

Whole Foods and Wild Oats

It has been a very interesting story to follow. Both sides have good arguments. The FTC is pretty adamant that Whole Foods' purchase would create a monopoly on the natural foods movement. #1 buying #2 with #3 far, far behind is pretty big. But it's all about how you define the market. If you think natural foods stores primarily compete against each other than the FTC's argument is very valid. And, in fact, when you hear people in Austin talk about grocery shopping they either talk about HEB/Randalls/Albertsons OR they talk about Whole Foods/Central Market/Sun Harvest. Not many people consider them to be very comparable to the mainstream grocery stores.

But if you dig down further and look at what they're selling....I think it tips the other way in favor of Mackey's argument. Did you know that only 45% of organic foods last year were bought in natural food stores (Sundale Research, 2007)? Did you also know that this # is expected to decline steadily as organic foods become more available? From this perspective, Whole Foods AND Wild Oats should be much more worried about competition from mainstream markets than from each other. A merger would help them stay competitive and WF would gain presence in many markets it doesn't currently serve, making it a real, nationally recognized brand that hopefully people would trust their organic and natural shopping with.

It currently looks like the merger will go through.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New research studies out

The list keeps piling up. Just a few studies can be refuted as being interpreted wrong or biased, but as more and more research piles up showing pesticides as being dangerous, organics as having more nutrition, etc. it will get harder and harder to ignore or dismiss. Check out the latest wave of studies here:
Breaking News!
New Studies Broaden Scientific Support for Five Dimensions of the Organic Benefit

I. Linkage Established Between Pesticides and Autism

For years epidemiologists have seen hints of a link between pesticide exposure and autism. As of July 30, 2007, these days are over. Scientists working for the California Department of Health Services have found that pregnant women living near fields sprayed with the common insecticides dicofol and endosulfan were six-times more likely to give birth to children with "Autism Spectrum Disorders" (ASD) than women living many miles from treated fields.

Six-times higher risk - it is very rare for such a large and statistically significant difference to be found in a study of this kind. Plus, the authors report that the closer a mother lived to treated fields, and/or the more pounds of pesticides applied, the greater the risk.

These two insecticides are the last widely used organochlorines - the family of insecticides including DDT, chlordane, aldrin, and toxaphene, among others. Both are known endocrine disruptors, they are persistent in the environment, and bioaccumulate up food chains. Residues of these insecticides, in particular endosulfan, are common in conventional fruits and vegetables, especially imports. This study should compel the EPA to finally take decisive action to end exposures to these two insecticides.

The full study appeared in the online version of Environmental Health Perspectives and is available free of charge.

II. Organic Milk and Meat Dramatically Enhances the Nutritional Quality of Mom's Breast Milk

Mothers consuming mostly organic milk and meat products were found to have about 50 percent higher levels of rumenic acid in their breast milk. This Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is responsible for most of the health benefits of CLAs in milk and meat. The authors of this European study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in June 2007 report that the greater reliance of organic beef and dairy farmers on pasture and forage grasses increases the levels of CLAs in milk and beef, and in turn in the breast milk of women eating organic animal products.

Details on the study are on the Center's website.

III. Organic Farming Practices Improve Water Quality in Minnesota

A team of University of Minnesota scientists studied the impact of organic and sustainable agricultural practices over three years on subsurface drainage and water quality in southwestern Minnesota. Their focus was on corn-soybean farms.

They found that organic and sustainable systems reduced the volume of subsurface drainage water discharges by 41 percent – a major benefit for the farmer, especially in dry years when lack of soil moisture cuts back yields. Organic and sustainable systems also reduced the loss of nitrate nitrogen by about 60 percent, allowing farmers to reduce fertilization rates by nearly half without sacrificing yields in most years. The improved soil quality on the organic/sustainable plots, coupled with more diverse land use patterns, were credited by the team with improving the efficiency of nutrient uptake and water infiltration and use, especially in average to wet years.

The full text of the University of Minnesota study is available free of charge.

IV. Organically Grown Melons Deliver More Vitamin C and Polyphenols

During the 2007 annual meeting of the American Society for Horticultural Science, a team from Colorado State University reported encouraging results from a two-year comparison of organic and conventional melon production systems. The team highlighted the impact of crop genetics on total antioxidant activity, which varied over ten-fold across varieties. Crop genotype accounted for 65 percent of this variation, with production system accounting for most of the rest. Organic management was found to increase both vitamin C and polyphenol.

The team's work is ongoing, and has expanded to include some key Colorado vegetable crops.

V. Pesticide Exposures Increase Risk of Gestational Diabetes

The Agricultural Health Study, underway for over a decade, has produced valuable data on the impacts of pesticides on human health. In an important March 2007 paper in "Diabetes Care," a team of government scientists found that pregnant women exposed to pesticides occupationally (i.e., spraying, mixing pesticides) had more than double the risk of developing gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy). Four herbicides, including two in the phenoxy herbicide class that also includes 2,4-D (see the item on pesticide use and biotech crops below), plus three insecticides were found to be associated with elevated risk of gestational diabetes.

Additional information on this study is on the Center's website.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

San Antonio Expansion

Got to meet some great guys in SA today, Dean McCall and Miguel Olivo. They strongly suggested I pick blogging back up. Thanks, guys, I think I will (I'm guessing they both have google alerts on their names and will find this). So, we're planning on opening up parts of San Antonio to receive our yummy organic goodies starting some time in October. Fairly certain that part of this launch will be a give-away of a week-long vacation for 2 at an amazing eco-resort on the beach of Mexico. Stay Tuned!

The skinny on food miles

This was a very interesting article that asks we look at not just how many miles an item has traveled to get to us, but the full carbon footprint of that item:

It cites some interesting studies that have found food miles are not the whole story. So, just like I say in my speeches about organics, local food is not the end-all answer, and neither is organic. They are both important components of Sustainability, but unfortunately very few things are all that simple about Sustainability. An important part is to do business with companies that share your vision and values. They will do research about how they can affect Sustainability and conservation. If you do business with companies that share your values in all parts of your life then each one will do their part and you come out looking like a sustainability guru!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Whew, it's been a while

Greenling is doing great. We've received a lot of great press and have grown so fast. Stay tuned for more Greenling updates. I want to share some creative writing I've done over the last couple of years:

burning fire inside

ahhh, yes, it's not the destination, but the journey
the wise men say
the journey to nowhere
from day one neurons firing
everything converted into patterns
and logged. everything. repeating patterns
emerge and are strengthened until they are learned

the great battle of resources. with abundant
resources not only the strong survive
but all resources are finite and
thus the battle begins. it
makes sense, but it
seems so dull

meanwhile, the fire burns brighter
the faint breeze of time constantly fanning.
occasionally smothered perhaps, but just one extinguisher
hidden in the depths of the ego.
nature overrides nuture
most of the time

flame and ego collide
both undiscerning of
motives for the other
both looking for fuel.
consuming resources
enjoying the journey.


chaste ramble

As I slide past the closing door a loosely hanging skirt caresses my thigh, furtively flooding my thoughts with images of hoarded sunsets, mini umbrellas shading fruity concoctions that do their best to drown the sexual tension between us. Or maybe provoking it while slyly chipping at the walls of inhibition.

I enter the sterile office, light-years away from those moments lit by firery cravings and olive-toned longings. The drywall and concrete drain energy and leave nothing but will to drag the thick, heavy clothes back out the door.....into steel and neutral seatbelts. Catch a glimpse of that sangria red chasing the sun over the hills and I'm taken back to the loosely hanging skirt. The freshly woven cotton accentuates her sand-dune curves. Something as simple as a light breath across her hip might awaken a million folicles and warm the ground beneath the forest. Bring the Wild out of hibernation. Or so I imagine.


Current mood: tired

Avocadoes, Mangos...or is it Mangoes.
Must sell Green Bell Peppers before they wilt
How little time my brain has to be creative
Cilantro is looking pretty tired
Who will take those?
Broccoli people infect my dreams
Yes, Mr. Zucchini, I will find a home for you soon
I know you're ripe and ready to be eaten
No, no, would never let you go to waste
Not you, Mr. Zucchini, you're way too special for that
More milk. Looking at me with puppy-dog....lids
knowing that if no one wants them they're destined for the sink
Please sell me....I want to build strong bones in Timmy or Valerie
I'm sorry, pulp-added OJ, your non-pulp brothers are just selling faster than you. I know you have more fiber, you know it, but the people want what the people want.
During the whirlwind of the day, they all know the next pass might be a hand reaching for them. Will they be picked, or passed up for the prettier tomato next to them. They lean over the edge of the shelves in anticipation and put on their best skin. The whirlwind slows to a buzz, the odds growing larger against them. Finally the light goes out. They let out a melancholy sigh. Settle into their cool, moist boxes, snuggle up to each other for the night and wait for another chance. Hopefully they wil still be pretty enough tomorrow they tell themselves, knowing that every moment is working against them.

some of them awaken still full of life and nutrients. Others are weary from their long journey. In the soil is where they're happiest, nurtured. But they are aware of their fate. They fulfill their life's work when the fork pierces their thick skin. Providing us energy ensures their genetic survival, too. They become a part of us, re-assembled, assimilated into our biology. No, we are not that different than Mr. Zucchini......then again, maybe I'm delirious.


Gone are the days

For the last time, no, I said.
We can't go whiskey and pillage and sharpen the night
We work and count and fill up the tank
Do I want fajitas or flautas
So many delightful choices
As my belly presses against the belt
and I placate the urges with sugar and confection
We're civilized and must act accordingly
lest we risk old age with dust and 60-watt soft-glows
instead of polished and halogens
this battle of hormone and logic
instinct and institution
the red light frays against the wall
the sonance ratatat tats inside my head
open, shut, open, shut
open and late
small victories part the waves, but cannot weather the storm
sometimes sun, sometimes not.
No matter.
Self-awareness drives
So I sink in my plush, leather seat
And find a false pretense to fan the squelching ardor
Until another day.
Careless utterances, idle moments
penetrate fresh wounds
healed with nothing more than a blind eye
Today we shall pillage
Because we can.