Monday, October 27, 2008

FTC - Leave Whole Foods alone

For those that don't know, last year the FTC tried to stop the merger of WF and Wild Oats citing anti-trust rules. It was ridiculous. Natural Food stores are such a small part of grocery it's amazing they even took notice. Well, the courts wouldn't cooperate and the merger went through.

Now, a year later, merger almost done, an appeals court reversed the decision and the case has been reopened. John Stossel did a great story on it recently:

Yes, Whole Foods is big if you compare it to only Natural Food stores. But that's not their only competition. All grocers, including Wal-Mart are carrying natural and Organic foods. Whole Foods is much more worried about the big-box stores than other Natural Food stores. The best way for them to compete is to consolidate Natural Food stores to gain more size and purchasing power.

Now, on a fundamental level, any of this large-scale growth seems to complicate the all-important mission of supporting Local food. Local food, from small farmers, hardly fits into mega-distribution systems. A different system needs to be created to handle and support them. It's a very difficult proposition. Here at Greenling we think we have part of the answer. To best support small, local farms we as consumers cannot just expect them to grow their food and put it on a shelf in the hopes that we buy it. There are all sorts of problems with this I won't get into. We, as consumers, need to commit to these farms and trust them. Well over 1000 people do that through Greenling's Local Box.

Working directly with farmers and directly with consumers shortens the supply chain and allows us to better support the farms while bringing you fresher, healthier Local food.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Ok, so I finally jumped on the Twitter bandwagon and have already learned more in a day than I usually do in a week. I'm really digging all the awesome links people post. And of course it makes me want to share cool links I find. Anyways, you can follow me @masonarnold, but the most important feed to follow is @greenling_com. We're trying to figure out if we created @greenling and just never finished setting it up or if someone else took it...I'll let you know.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Don't sacrifice your health!

Remember that cutting out Local and Organic, nutritious food is going to cost you more in the long-run. These are uncertain times for a lot of people. But eating well should always be a priority. Do you take supplements? Vitamins? If you eat Local, Organic food, grass-fed meats as accents to vegetables as main courses you won't need vitamins or supplements! You'll get your vitamins and minerals from your food.

So cut out restaurant food or movies if you have to, but eat your vegetables! Thanks.

Voted Best of Austin AGAIN!

Best Local Food Company!
Austin Chronicle Reader's Poll

Thanks to everyone who voted for us! 2nd year in a row. We are so honored with this award again. The last company to win this award was Whole Foods....well, Mr. Mackey, maybe we should talk. I got some ideas on how you can support local producers better.

Renewable Round-Up Notes

Here are the materials I passed out at my speech at the Renewable Round-up in Fredericksburg:

Here are some tips compiled by our Fearless Forager, Elizabeth, on eating for sustainability:
10 Ways to Eat for Sustainability

• Eat real food, mostly plants, with a small amount of meat as an accent rather than the main ingredient (Michael Pollan)
• Cheap processed food doesn’t reflect its true cost. Plan ahead to avoid them
• Re-define the way food is valued and fit into the household economy
• Spend money on wholesome foods, not supplements
• Cook from ingredients rather than recipes (See recipe section of
• Read blogs and the internet for ideas to use what you have and what’s in season
• Ask questions about where your food comes from, everywhere you eat
• Know the farmer who produced it or have a surrogate (like Greenling) to know the farmer for you
• Learn to stop thinking of out-of-season items as everyday necessities or staples
• Learn seasons ahead of time so you can plan for their bounty
• Learn to preserve and save leftovers to be incorporated into other dishes/meals to eliminate waste
• Can or freeze fruits and vegetables in season. Make your own stock and sauces
• The more diverse your diet is, the healthier and happier you will be
• Try new things rather than relying on a few standard ingredients
• Appreciate food for flavor and slow down to enjoy it
• Stop judging produce by its shape, size, and color (some delicious local produce wouldn't win a beauty contest)
• Learn to cook, appreciate, and enjoy lesser-known foods that are in season
• Don’t be afraid to make stuff up! If it tastes good, you just discovered a new recipe.
• Cook and eat with friends and family. We all know that food can sometimes be a great pleasure…why shouldn’t it always?
• Join discussion groups and list-serves to collaborate on ideas

Here are some links to stories I mentioned during my speech:

Cuba’s advanced food infrastructure -
Vancouver, BC model of sustainability -
California building solar fields -
Entire Oregon community off the grid -
Eco-rig to provide power & food to Japan -
Development of kerosene-based aviation fuel derived from algae -
Thin-film Solar energy information -
Solar cells produced in pizza oven -
No remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on climate change (the debate is over) –

Sustainable Agriculture
USDA info on the Economics of food -
Brazil’s Food Security Program
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs –

Benefits of Organics
USDA National Organic Program –
Federal Organic Research funding increased in Farm Bill –
Organic Farm Research Foundation –
Organic Research Center news links – - Everything environment - Pesticide news & research
Kids affected the most by pesticides –
Environmental Working Group produce study (origin of “The Dirty Dozen”) –
Study linking pesticides to autism –
Organic farming builds soil health –
Organic farming produces equivalent crop yields with less energy & no pesticides –
Organic milk and meat enhance breast milk nutrition –
Organic fruits & vegetables have higher nutrition –
Myers, A. Organic Futures. 2005
Schuphan, W., “Nutritional Value of Crops as Influenced by Organic and Inorganic Fertilizer Treatments: Results of 12 Years’ Experiments with Vegetables (1960-1972)” – Qualitas Pantarum – Plant Foods for Human Nutrition
Meadows, Donella. “Our Food, Our Future.” – Organic Gardening, September/October 2000

Benefits of Local
Locavore the word of the year –
Oil consumption of conventional agriculture –
Kinsolver, B. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Harper. 2007.
1800 Food-mile average for produce in store –
Organic food can still be junk when processed –
Benefits of grass-fed meat –
Success of urban farms –
Organic meat regulations still have loopholes – know your producer –
Some Benefits and Drawbacks of Local Food Systems –

How to Eat and Shop Local and Organic
People spending more money on wholesome food –
Cheap food isn’t really cheap –
Missouri parents push for organic school lunches –
Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch Project –
Texas Farm to School Program –
Greenling Organic Delivery –
LocalHarvest –
AcresUSA –
Edible Austin –

Thursday, October 02, 2008

VP Debate

This is not leaning in either direction...a pretty funny fact check on their claims during the debate:,0,6731961.story
Remember to register to vote by Monday!