Annual Susties honor farming heroes
They may not have the red carpets and the paparazzi, but the "Sustie" awards still mean a lot to the naturals world. The Pacific Grove, Calif.-based Ecological Farming Association handed out four lifetime achievement awards in sustainable agriculture at the 26th annual Ecological Farming Conference.
The Steward of Sustainable Agriculture award—or "Sustie"—recognizes "contributions to sustainable agriculture and the establishment of the organic industry." This year's awards went to seed archivist and photographer Doug Gosling; sustainable farming pioneers Rick and Kristie Knoll of Brentwood, Calif.; and Bob Scowcroft, executive director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation.
The EFA also gave out the Social Justice in Agriculture award "to recognize exemplary contributions to social and labor aspects of farming." Jim Cochran, president of Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport, Calif., was awarded this year's "Justie."
The book on organic
In Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew, business writer Samuel Fromartz describes the ideals and anti-industrial origins behind the organic food movement and follows its evolution into a $12 billion business populated by players such as Kraft and General Mills. Fromartz's account of the split personality the organic industry developed as it moved into the mainstream is evenhanded. With equal care, he discusses big organic—Earthbound Farm's revolutionary bagged salad and Silk's rise to be the No. 1 dairy-case brand—and small organic farmers whose emphasis on sustainability defines their farming practices. Organic, Inc. is scheduled for publication by Harcourt in April.
Açai science promising
Researchers from the University of Florida have completed a study, published in January in the online edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, which showed extracts from açai berries triggered a self-destruct response in up to 86 percent of leukemia cells when applied for 24 hours. The berry, historically used by Brazilians to treat digestive disorders and skin conditions, has made a big splash in the health foods market. UF is one of the first American institutions to research the benefits of açai berries. It plans to follow up this study with one performed on healthy human subjects to test the effects of açai berries on blood pressure, cholesterol and related health indicators.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 3/p. 19