What is a food system, anyway?

Posted by Renae Cairns on Jul 21, 2018 4:00:00 PM

We’re getting into peak season for local produce here at Boston Organics. Our strong network of growers are increasing their availability each week with exciting new items populating our produce boxes like eggplant, hot peppers, and heirloom tomatoes. As we enter this time of year, we’d like to take a step back and share what it means to us to work within a sustainable and locally-based food system.

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Topics: Food Politics, Community, Local Season, Boston, Food System

Fair Trade Month - October 2016

Posted by Eric Siegel on Oct 10, 2016 8:45:00 AM

October is both Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month – a reminder for us to pause our busy lives for one moment and to reflect on the current state of our food system. With the school year in full swing and the holiday season quickly approaching, this is a good opportunity to think critically and learn more about the food we eat and where it comes from!

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Topics: Fair Trade and Organic, Food Politics, Community Events, Equal Exchange, miscellaneous, Original Boston Organics Blog

NOFA Organic Farming Conference Recap

Posted by Eric Siegel on Jan 12, 2015 4:45:57 AM

Hundreds of new and seasoned farmers, organic food producers, and sustainable agriculture activists from all over the Commonwealth convened in Worcester over the weekend for the 28th annual NOFA Winter Conference.

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Topics: Company Updates, Food Politics, Fresh From the Farm, Community Events, Boston Local Partnerships, Non GMO, Original Boston Organics Blog

Fair Trade Month - October 2014

Posted by Eric Siegel on Oct 3, 2014 8:04:00 AM

October is both Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month – a reminder for us to pause our busy lives for one moment and to reflect on the current state of our food system. With the school year in full swing and the holiday season quickly approaching, this is a good opportunity to think critically and learn more about the food we eat and where it comes from!

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Topics: Fair Trade and Organic, Food Politics, Community Events, Equal Exchange, miscellaneous, Original Boston Organics Blog

Upcoming Event: GMO Film Screening and Discussion in Jamaica Plain

Posted by Amy Levine on Jan 29, 2014 6:19:38 AM

Genetically Engineered Foods:
A community film screening and discussion

Join with Massachusetts GMO labeling advocates for a screening of the documentary Genetic Roulette (60 minutes) followed by a discussion about what GMOs mean for Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and how we can work together to keep our communities safe and healthy.

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Topics: Food Politics, Community Events, Organic Grocery Delivery Boston, Boston Local Partnerships, Non GMO, Original Boston Organics Blog

The Difference Between USDA Organic and Non-GMO Verified Seal

Posted by Amy Levine on Oct 24, 2013 9:22:00 AM

These days more and more consumers are looking for ways to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their food. Until the recent federal GMO labeling law goes into effect, there are two food labels that indicate the absence of GMOs for consumers: the USDA Organic label and the Non-GMO Project Verified seal.

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Topics: Food Politics, Non GMO

A Recap of the Massachusetts State House Hearing About the GMO Labeling Bills

Posted by Amy Levine on Jun 13, 2013 8:52:58 AM

This past Tuesday, June 11th, we attended the MA Right to Know GMO labeling rally and public hearing at the State House in Boston. The hearing was held by the Joint Committee on Public Health on 21 different health related bills, 5 of which were on the labeling and safety of GMO’s.

The five GMO labeling bills cover a range of labeling issues and requirements. Many of the bills require that “clear and conspicuous” language be placed on the front and back of the product packaging. Specifically, the words “Genetically Engineered,” “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering," or “May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering” must be on packaging of GMO products.

Supporters from as far as Iowa, Connecticut, and Western Mass gathered on the State House steps Tuesday morning. Advocates, business people, Frankencorns, mothers, parents, doctors, scientists, students, environmentalists, and farmers came together to show their support and fill the hearing with heartfelt testimonies. Their testimonies, each unique and important, all built up to one important message. The people of Massachusetts have the right to know what is in their food, and they have the right to make their own decisions based on that information. Click here to read the testimony submitted by Jeff Barry, Founder and President of Boston Organics.

The Massachusetts hearing comes at a very important time; both Connecticut and Maine passed GMO labeling bills this past week. Connecticut was the first state to pass such a bill into law, while Maine a few days later moved their bill through the House and Senate. These recent bills both carry clauses that halt them from implementation unless surrounding states adopt similar bills. This puts added importance behind the 5 bills in question in Massachusetts and will hopefully be a call to action for lawmakers.

All in all, the feeling in the hearing room was positive towards GMO labeling. The committee officials listened with open minds, asked thoughtful follow-up questions, and seemed generally interested in the stories from the public before them.

Attending the public hearing was a powerful, interesting, and insightful experience into the makings of Massachusetts food law. It was great to see so many people come out and share their experiences with GMO’s and push for proper labeling and legislation.

 

Here are a few ways you can help motivate Capitol Hill:

 

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Topics: Food Politics, Organic Grocery Delivery Boston, Non GMO

Farmer Spotlight: Shaw Farm Dracut, MA

Posted by Amy Levine on Jan 11, 2013 5:38:47 AM


Visit 12/21/12

We try to make an effort to visit our local growers and vendors at least once a year, and a few weeks ago we took a trip out to our new organic milk supplier, Shaw Farm of Dracut, Massachusetts! Located just an hour north of our Charlestown office, this family-owned dairy farm is about as local as it gets for Boston. After tasting some of their legendary eggnog and other products, we’re tempted to make our visits more frequent.

Shaw Farm operates their own farm store with fresh milk, ice cream, and even baked goods. The farm store is heated by geothermal energy – a renewable energy created by the heat found below the earth’s surface. It not only helps with their energy bill, but it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions on the farm.

1. Story and history of Shaw Farm

Since 1908 Shaw Farm has been providing high quality local dairy products to the Merrimack Valley. Located in Dracut, MA, the farm offers fresh milk, ice cream, and many other local products. Their tagline – “if they say it’s homemade, ask to see their cows” – reminds us of the true farm-to-table process and begs us to ask the question where does our food come from?

2. Why did they start the organic brand?

In 2007 Shaw Farm began to market its own “certified organic” milk products under the name New England Organic Creamery. Owner, Warren Shaw says changes in the marketplace driven by consumer demand for local organic milk have made this change important to the future of the farm. He saw that there was a demand for organic milk and realized that the transition to become certified organic was fairly simple since the farm already operated under many of the organic standards. Now they are the only certified organic milk producer in Massachusetts.

 

On extremely rainy days the cows stay indoors to prevent slips in the field. These girls are staying dry in the dairy barn!

 

3. How are the cows fed?

Shaw Farm has 16 cows that make up the organic herd. The cows go out in the morning to graze on organic pasture and relax in the field during the day. The majority of the organic herd’s diet consists of organic grass from their pasture and is supplemented with organic grains. Three generations of Shaw’s take care of the 150 acres of nutrient rich orchard grasses that help give the cows their proper protein and fiber. Warren also explained that he has never used antibiotics, growth hormones or anything that might taint the organic milk or harm his cattle.

4. How does farm legislation affect the Shaw Farm business and operations?

The recent nine-month extension of the federal farm bill allowed Shaw Farm to avoid an immediate rise in conventional milk prices. We asked Warren how the farm bill and other dairy industry legislation might affect his business, and he explained that federal milk subsidies and regulations only impact dairy farms that belong to co-ops, not independent dairy farmers like himself.

Because of Shaw Farm’s proximity to the city and densely concentrated population, they have direct access to a large customer base and are able to provide dairy directly to customers and retailers, such as Boston Organics. Because of our collective support, Shaw Farm will be able to thrive, operate, and continue their environmental stewardship of the land that has been in the Shaw family for several generations.

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Topics: Organic Milk, Newsletter, Organic Farmers, Food Politics, Organic Grocery Delivery Boston

Prop 37 - Well, What Now?

Posted by Amy Levine on Nov 26, 2012 9:33:02 AM

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Topics: Organic Farmers, Food Politics, Community Events, Organic Grocery Delivery Boston, Non GMO

Proposition 37 - What it Means and Why it Matters

Posted by Boston Organics on Nov 5, 2012 5:21:15 AM

Recently, there have been many articles about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the news and how California’s upcoming election may impact the US food industry. This issue has continued to heat up as we approach the final 24 hours before the election.

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Topics: Organic Farmers, Food Politics, Organic Grocery Delivery Boston, Non GMO

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