Last week, Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, hosted the last of 4 public forums around the country to gather input on offshore drilling and offshore renewable energy development. Choosing to end in San Francisco means he is going back to Washington with a resounding “No” in his ears. “No” to offshore drilling and “Yes” to investing in renewable energy, and any other new green technology San Francisco start-ups can figure out.
All the California elected officials on the dais (Boxer, Lee, Speire, Napolitano, Woolsey, Lt Governor Garamendi) and Oregon governor Kulongoski made very clear, and sometimes even passionate, that CA needs and values its coastline the way it is, and the potential output of oil (estimated 1% of US daily consumption by 2030) comes no where near to justifying the risk posed to its economy and ecosystem.
The New California Academy of Sciences (CAS) in San Francisco will open September 27th with a long awaited, Renzo Piano designed, 2.5 acre living roof undulating across Golden Gate Park. While the roof has great scientific, educational, and ecological benefits, it will also have a financial benefit by helping to conserve energy use. The roof will keep the building an average 10 degrees cooler than a standard roof.
But the more interesting, and fun, business oriented aspect to this story is the marketing roll out this week in advance of the opening. The Academy, in partnership with the city, Clear Channel Outdoor, and the advertising company Heat, has installed living roofs, each with a different ecological focus, on a series of bus shelters around town. These shelters are just as effective at multi-tasking as the big daddy on the Academy to which they refer.
Two years ago Truitt Brothers decided to figure that out, and added two products, green beans and pears,sourced and prepared sustainably, to their more traditionally packaged goods which they had been producing for over 30 years. While the sustainability-focused line is still less than 5% of their whole business it has quadrupled in growth in those two years, and that growth is projected to continue. In fact, they have already doubled their offerings by adding kidney and garbanzo beans.
Speaking on a panel at Slow Food Nation on Friday, Peter Truitt declared the canned green beans’ time arrived. He acknowledged most people, himself included, would choose fresh produce over processed when available. However, in most of the US you cannot purchase local and fresh produce consistently year around. At those times Truitt believes canned produce can be a very sustainable second choice.
We don’t eat lions, tigers or bears for protein, so we shouldn’t eat shark, tuna or swordfish either. We need to be eating further down the ocean food chain if we want an ocean food chain from which to eat in the future.
Those are statements from Paul Johnson made on a panel during Changemaker’s Day at Slow Food Nation this weekend in San Francisco, CA. The panelists and audience were interested in how fishers, distributors, and chefs could work together to ensure the viability of the oceans upon which their livelihoods depend.
Food Navigator, a European-focused food news site, reports that The European Union Commission has launched a marketing program aimed at building awareness of organic produce in young people. The main slogan of the program is: “Organic farming: Good for nature, good for you.” However, even with that slogan the commission insists it is not claiming any health benefits for organics but rather supporting the growth of the organic sector. It’s an interesting concept that a government agency might try and support two different approaches to providing the same product in one sector – conventional and organic produce. Is there a conflict of interest here when these two products are competing for the same consumer monies?
Organic fast food appears to be a viable business option and is growing fast as demonstrated by the chain, Organic To Go’s expansion from the West to the East, this month announcing its 5th caf√© and a catering business to be active in Washington D.C. It is a public company with more than 34 cafes in Seattle, Los Angeles (including at the airport – frequent flyers take note!), San Diego and Washington. While basically a penny stock (OTGO.OB) their second-quarter revenue increased about 56% to $6million over same quarter last year, and in a soft economy none the less.
Those growth numbers are supported by a recent poll from the National Restaurant Association which found that 68% of adults 18-24 say they are willing to pay more for food that was grown or raised in an organic or environmentally friendly way, compared with 48% of adults 65 and older.