The truth about Chipotle Restaurants & GMOs

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By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines proclaiming that Chipotle Restaurants have stopped serving food with genetically modified ingredients. What you likely haven’t seen is video of my temperature rising over the inaccuracies being reported.

It makes me ashamed, once again, of the media. Let’s try to get it right and also explain the situation in ways that take into account the bigger picture and whether or not the food being served at this chain is healthy.

I say it’s not where I want to eat.

Chipotle Restaurants website

For one thing, Chipotle admits on their website that they serve meat and dairy from animals likely given GMO feed. The restaurant chain also says nothing about hormone-free or antibiotic-free, so those are likely in there.

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Eating like a honeybee

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If we don’t feed the honeybees nourishing meals they won’t be around to help us eat the healthiest food we can. Honeybees are nature’s best pollinators and dandelions are among their first food in the spring. So, a good way to help our food system is to see this “weed” for the beneficial wildflower it is.

This month in our new moon April 2015 newsletter, you will learn about flowers you can plant to help feed honeybees and other ways that you can benefit this endangered helper.

In addition, you will discover how to feed yourself with dandelions. They are incredibly healthy for humans, too!

If you are already signed up, April’s newsletter will arrive to your in-box this Saturday, April 18. If you want to begin receiving it (and I promise, I only send the newsletter and one or two other messages each month) sign up now. It’s simple and free:

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Making fun of food!

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In much the same way that people vote based on personalities – rather than qualifications – for political offices these days, they are also buying “food” for entertainment value.

If you happen to mention to someone, oh, ya know those red cream cookies for Valentine’s Day aren’t particularly good for you – the response will likely be something like, “I’m not eating them for nutritional value. They’re just fun.”

Yeah. I get it.

I’m as guilty as anyone else for putting “food” in my body that wasn’t necessarily healthy for me. But, lately, I’m seeing that perhaps that wasn’t a very good idea.

We might not get validated by Madison Avenue for our choices if we eat well and not out of their boxes. We might miss out on those endorphins stimulated by the fun, comforting colorful containers they design to feed our senses while ignoring our bodies. And we overlook that too often the colors of the “food” they manufacture are found nowhere in nature as we open processed food boxes and mix the ingredients

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One topic GMO promoters don’t broach

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The other day, I was engaged in a discussion in an agriculture group on Facebook when what seemed like shills for biotech started spouting all their usual rhetoric. And then I noticed the one topic I brought up that they completely ignored.

And really they have no way to counter this issue with synthetically engineered claims.

The topic?

What about the impact that GMO crops have on biodiversity?

I feel this is one of the most under-discussed issues associated with GMOs – perhaps because the biotech industry has no retort – and they are really the ones controlling the discussion.

The discussion

No, you disagree, we are the ones having OUR say.

Think about it though. Follow the money trail. Where are they pouring resources? In coming up with claims that their products are harmless.

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My radio tried to talk me into poisoning our food supply!

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Maybe it’s a joke, I told myself. Perhaps the station is playing an early April Fools trick. I waited for a radio personality to come on and snark to another personality about how funny it is to imagine that they would even suggest such a thing.

It never happened.

I scratched my head.

The incident took place when I had the radio playing in my kitchen the other day. I heard a disturbing message. The station, WHUD 100.7, broadcast an advertisement suggesting I poison our food supply.

Well, technically they were running an ad saying we should all get a jump on spring lawn issues, like weeds, by scheduling service with a popular “lawn care” service.

Maybe they haven’t heard, I told myself. Maybe they are actually broadcasting from Mars.

No, I suggested to the other voice in my head. Impossible. If they were on Mars no way would they be able to sustain a signal. Where would they put the antennae?

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Taking the local food movement out of its box

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For years and years and years, being a part of the media as a writer meant having to wait in line for permission to get your work out there. The rule was you needed someone with a list of credentials to give you permission to be published. Someone with their own agenda had to deem you worthy.

The Internet has changed all that. Now, the general public has the power to act as the arbiters of your work without a middle man – and you can be the architect of your own communication directly to them.

It’s incredibly freeing. We can do things on our terms – blaze our own paths more than ever, find our own audience and grow in a way that stays in accordance with the vision we own.

It just took me a little while to catch on.

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“You are raising soil.”

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The biggest message I took home from CT NOFA’s 2015 winter conference March 7th was one I have grown to feel strongly about – Soil regeneration is vital for our future.

The 33rd annual event infused me with inspiration! Being there made me increasingly happy as the day progressed and I found myself surrounded by people who are as passionate as I am about healing our food system.

And there was so much knowledge to soak up.

It’s not just CT NOFA (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut) that thinks soil is important though.

Even the United Nations is getting in on the “secret” to the future of our ecosystem, declaring 2015 The International Year of Soils. And for good reason, according to Dr. Kristine Nichols, Rodale Institute Chief Scientist and keynote speaker at Saturday’s conference.

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Lessons from a labelholic

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The other day, I was standing in line at Trader Joes  checkout and absentmindedly picked up some candy. Not to eat. Really. I just wanted to see the ingredients.

And then it hit me.

For as long as I can remember, I have read ingredients for just about every piece of food with a label that I come in contact with – and I cannot stop.

I do crazy things like when I see ingredients I don’t recognize, I will Google them on my phone at the store.

At first, pre-smartphone – I would write down the name of the unknown ingredient (or if I was feeling like living dangerously – just buy it and take it home without knowing what I was getting) – and then I would Google it on my computer when I got home.

Some might say it’s a sickness, but I cannot imagine my life without label reading.

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Tell Costco to get rid of Roundup!

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Each time we see a store displaying products that we believe harm our food system is an opportunity to help change things. If you say something, that is. And I will show you just how easy it is to speak up.

Yesterday, I was at a Connecticut Costco warehouse and was feeling good noticing they have been increasing the number of organic selections.

Then, I saw it. A big display of Roundup. It hit me like a freight train. Practically knocked me off my feet.

My first thought was, I gotta take a photo of this – like a train wreck – and say something to Costco management.

Enter a warehouse worker. I told him how upset I was by the display of Roundup and that this chemical is responsible for destroying our food system.

He quickly spoke into his walkie-talkie summoning a manager, who came right away.

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Breaking up with your farmer

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Recently, two different friends of mine found themselves devastated to learn the farmer they trusted was not growing the way they were led to believe. Really, seriously devastated. They felt it was a huge betrayal of trust.

And much like a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or partner stepping out on you, the worst part for them was the lies.

So, trust is now gone and the relationships are over.

How can we know any farmer is doing it right, one asked me.

Educate yourself, I replied.

The truth is farmers can get away with lying or growing in a manner you might not like because most people don’t know how to discern what the farmer is doing.

And – much like the person being cheated on – a lot of people might notice something isn’t right but talk themselves out of it.

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