Sandi Kronick is founder and CEO of Eastern Carolina Organics (ECO), an innovative food hub company that connects medium-scale organic farmers with local and far-flung markets. Located in Durham, NC, ECO is part of a new breed of mission-driven for-profit companies looking to help us eat better within a capitalist framework.
ECO is farmer-owned, and serves as broker, business agent, and storage and delivery department for many small and mid-size organic and sustainable farms in the North Carolina Triangle.
Sandi and I spoke about ECO’s mission, why it’s necessary, and how it helps address some of the problems in our broken food system. We recorded in her office, during a typically busy day for her, so I got right down to business and didn’t go into some of the “what’s your journey” questions that I usually begin with.
- We covered:
- why organic food has been hard to get into supermarkets and onto consumers’ tables
- the benefits of USDA organic certification – and the serious limitations
- the key element of true organic farming: soil fertility
- why not all farms can benefit from farmers’ markets
- the challenges of fitting seasonal growing into mass markets
- corporate vs family farming
- the vital importance of pastoral landscapes to our ecological and mental health
- why sustainability must include relationships as well as agricultural systems
- “the grandkids are growing up on the farm” – how to keep the next generation from moving to the city
- the need to reduce competition and infighting in the organic world
- cabbage and potatoes – and arugula
- key metric: the average age of the farmer
- light commercial processing: the missing economic link for many small farms
and much more…
- Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
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Check out my online TV show, Triangle Be Well. This week I talk with Duncan Burns, inventor of VeggiDome, about how to get our vegetables out of the plastic bags in the far recesses of our refrigerators, and onto our kitchen counters and into our mouths.
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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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