Way off topic #1 - Recommended Viewing


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Profile Matt Lebofsky
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Message 530546 - Posted: 12 Mar 2007, 23:20:42 UTC

Okay.. lest I keep hijacking other staff members' threads I better start my own for once.

I highly recommend anybody who buys food (as opposed to hunting/gathering/growing their own) to watch this webcast of a recent live discussion between Michael Pollan (author of the Omnivore's Dilemma) and John Mackey (co-founder/CEO of Whole Foods). Actually that link above points to an article which contains some "back story." A link to the actual webcast is towards the top.

The access to quality food is one of the few things keeping me in California, so I find this stuff interesting.

- Matt

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Message 530665 - Posted: 13 Mar 2007, 2:43:45 UTC - in response to Message 530546.

I halfway expected it to be in a grocery store with a bulletin board in the front filled with lovely pics.

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Message 530876 - Posted: 13 Mar 2007, 22:07:48 UTC - in response to Message 530665.

I halfway expected it to be in a grocery store with a bulletin board in the front filled with lovely pics.


We can't have that, can we?! The lovely pics I mean...



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Message 531026 - Posted: 14 Mar 2007, 2:15:32 UTC - in response to Message 530876.

I halfway expected it to be in a grocery store with a bulletin board in the front filled with lovely pics.

We can't have that, can we?! The lovely pics I mean...

Certainly not. That would be creepy.
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Message 531226 - Posted: 14 Mar 2007, 15:36:06 UTC - in response to Message 531026.

I halfway expected it to be in a grocery store with a bulletin board in the front filled with lovely pics.

We can't have that, can we?! The lovely pics I mean...

Certainly not. That would be creepy.


Very!



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Message 531581 - Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 3:31:10 UTC - in response to Message 530546.
Last modified: 15 Mar 2007, 3:32:18 UTC

The access to quality food is one of the few things keeping me in California, so I find this stuff interesting.

Have fun! (auto updates)
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Message 531705 - Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 15:34:29 UTC
Last modified: 15 Mar 2007, 16:21:09 UTC

I didn't get around to the webcast yet but I read the article and found it interesting. I'll comment on a couple of the statements:

....."In this new era, Mackey believes increasing numbers of consumers will reject the industrial values of high productivity and low commodity prices in favor of foods that are natural (not processed, and without synthetic additives), organic, local, and ethically and sustainably raised and traded.".....

I'm willing to do that. Spending a little more money on foods that are healthier for you would be worth the money. But, think about people that have low incomes and large families. When faced with a choice between the low prices at the local you know the names of those mega supermarkets, and the alternative, and more expensive health store, those people would be less inclined to choose the later option for obvious economic reasons.

....."It has also resulted in inhumane treatment of farm animals that borders on the barbaric. Mackey, who became a vegetarian several years ago after reading books recommended by animal-rights shareholders, showed the Zellerbach audience a five-minute video (produced by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and narrated by the actor Alec Baldwin) depicting horrific practices common to factory farms: overcrowding, the debeaking of chickens, dairy cows lamed by such brittle bones they can barely walk to their slaughter, hogs dying while in transport or even worse, not dying as they travel through the slaughterhouse assembly line.".....

Something that has bothered me as well. I not a vegetarian, but I do think that animals should be treated with more respect. Another thing that's bad is that many farms feed animals foods that are produced from other animals, rather than the herbal foods they usually eat in the wild. I know that this is the case in some European countries, but I'm not sure how much it's done in the States. About ten years ago I asked a meat industry representative on television wether the conditions that animals were being raised in played a role in the quality of their meat. Well he didn't seem to think it was a serious issue when it came to the quality of meat, and his answer sounded more like an advertisement.

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Message 531719 - Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 16:36:57 UTC - in response to Message 531705.


I'm willing to do that. Spending a little more money on foods that are healthier for you would be worth the money. But, think about people that have low incomes and large families. When faced with a choice between the low prices at the local you know the names of those mega supermarkets, and the alternative, and more expensive health store, those people would be less inclined to choose the later option for obvious economic reasons.


One factor to remember (which is mentioned in the webcast) is that Americans pay *far* less for food on average than the rest of the world. If everyone coughed up the "extra" change to buy organic/local/ethical food they'd still be paying less than most of their international counterparts. One problem, I think, is that American food advertising is focused on quantity and not quality. This is actually kinda gross when you think about it. I'd rather get a good deal on a mattress, or a box of nails, but why are people so willing to save 20 cents to put completely processed unhealthy junk inside their bodies?

With the disparaty of incomes in this country such as it is right now, this food movement can only be driven by those with the higher salaries, but hopefully this will be enough to enact some kind of change, and I think that's what Mackey is working towards. Or he just found a great niche market.

- Matt

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Message 531732 - Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 17:41:27 UTC - in response to Message 531719.



With the disparaty of incomes in this country such as it is right now, this food movement can only be driven by those with the higher salaries, but hopefully this will be enough to enact some kind of change, and I think that's what Mackey is working towards. Or he just found a great niche market.

- Matt

I think he's found a great niche market.

What most consumers want in this country (at least as far as produce) is pretty food.

So, most farmers grow varieties that can be picked a little early, and will last several days going from the farm to the market. Taste is secondary.

If the average consumer wanted taste, then maybe the farmers would grow varieties that tasted good.

We shop at the local Farmer's Market. Apples (for example) do not look perfect, but they taste incredibly good.
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Message 531750 - Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 19:50:56 UTC - in response to Message 531732.

What most consumers want in this country (at least as far as produce) is pretty food.


This is a problem, but I'm not sure how big. However, when consumers get more educated, they will know how to select food beyond whether or not "it looks good."

So, most farmers grow varieties that can be picked a little early, and will last several days going from the farm to the market. Taste is secondary.


This is another problem that is slowly getting solved. I make it a point to try and buy from local vendors and locally produced food. I have the luxury of living in the bay area with infinite great produce from local producers, so I have no excuse NOT to. I'm cutting down on global warming by reducing the need to ship food from elsewhere, and the local food is fresher.

While I still shop there one beef I have with Trader Joe's is their excessive shipping. For example, there's a Trader Joe's in Emeryville (a tiny city right between Oakland/Berkeley). They sell their "store brand" bread which is really bread manufactured by Acme Bakery, which happens to also be in Emeryville. So the bread only travels a couple blocks, right? Nope. It gets shipped to TJ's closest headquarters (I think in LA - somewhere ridiculously far) to get packaged in the Trader Joe's signature packaging, then shipped back to Emeryville for sale. How ecological is that?

- Matt


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Message 531758 - Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 20:57:18 UTC - in response to Message 531750.


While I still shop there one beef I have with Trader Joe's is their excessive shipping. For example, there's a Trader Joe's in Emeryville (a tiny city right between Oakland/Berkeley). They sell their "store brand" bread which is really bread manufactured by Acme Bakery, which happens to also be in Emeryville. So the bread only travels a couple blocks, right? Nope. It gets shipped to TJ's closest headquarters (I think in LA - somewhere ridiculously far) to get packaged in the Trader Joe's signature packaging, then shipped back to Emeryville for sale. How ecological is that?

- Matt


I don't know. If it's one truck from Emeryville to the distribution center, and one truck back that is full of all of the stuff that your local TJ's sells, it may not be as inefficient as it sounds. The longer distances __may__ be offset by only running full trucks -- especially if bread is 2% or less of what is on the truck (I don't imagine any one store can absorb a truckload of bread).

I also don't know if anyone at TJ's has tried to figure that out, but I'd imagine that they have people to do that. Minimizing fuel costs would tend to minimize emissions....

I do know that here, south of L.A. a lot of their bread comes from a bakery between L.A. and San Diego.
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Message 531760 - Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 21:19:40 UTC - in response to Message 531758.

I don't know. If it's one truck from Emeryville to the distribution center, and one truck back that is full of all of the stuff that your local TJ's sells, it may not be as inefficient as it sounds. The longer distances __may__ be offset by only running full trucks -- especially if bread is 2% or less of what is on the truck (I don't imagine any one store can absorb a truckload of bread).

I also don't know if anyone at TJ's has tried to figure that out, but I'd imagine that they have people to do that. Minimizing fuel costs would tend to minimize emissions....

The problem there is that fuel and roads are far too cheap. Other aspects of the operation cost far more and those higher costs get optimised out first.

That usually means that more fuel gets burnt to take advantage of "convenience factor"...

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Message 531965 - Posted: 16 Mar 2007, 3:45:03 UTC - in response to Message 531719.

One factor to remember (which is mentioned in the webcast) is that Americans pay *far* less for food on average than the rest of the world. If everyone coughed up the "extra" change to buy organic/local/ethical food they'd still be paying less than most of their international counterparts. One problem, I think, is that American food advertising is focused on quantity and not quality. This is actually kinda gross when you think about it. I'd rather get a good deal on a mattress, or a box of nails, but why are people so willing to save 20 cents to put completely processed unhealthy junk inside their bodies?


One example would be in Europe, specifically in the EU countries that now use the euro as currency. I can remember the prices for food in Germany when the mark was still used. When the euro arrived things changed, and the prices for food became noticeably higher, especially in the town markets where many people do their shopping for fresh produce.

Well, if we're to believe the people that tell us foods containing unatural additives and pesticides are bad for human health in the long-term, and even shorten lifespan, than paying an extra 20 cents is worth it.


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Message 535279 - Posted: 22 Mar 2007, 23:22:58 UTC - in response to Message 530546.

Okay.. lest I keep hijacking other staff members' threads I better start my own for once.

I highly recommend anybody who buys food (as opposed to hunting/gathering/growing their own) to watch this webcast of a recent live discussion between Michael Pollan (author of the Omnivore's Dilemma) and John Mackey (co-founder/CEO of Whole Foods). Actually that link above points to an article which contains some "back story." A link to the actual webcast is towards the top.

The access to quality food is one of the few things keeping me in California, so I find this stuff interesting.

- Matt


Watch it if you eat.
Yes it's long but very informative.
Thank you for the post, Matt.
Try to eat where you can and...
..."Keep reaching for those stars!".
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