Non-GMO Verified

Maldivian Red Curry Tuna

In honor of our duel celebrations of Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month, we’re excited to be featuring a lineup of some of our favorite Fairtrade Certified, non-GMO Verified ingredients in our weekly sale from October 14th – 20th. In that display, you’ll find most of the ingredients for this fantastic one-pot curry dish that comes to us from fairtradecertified.org. The curry is especially delicious served over a steaming bed of Lotus Foods organic heirloom Tri-Color Blend rice, also featured in the sale. The wild-caught Orca Bay tuna featured this week also bears certification from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), which aims to promote and support diversity in the global supply chain. Orca Bay is an Alaska Native Owned business and proceeds from your purchase of their products support Alaska Native communities. Supplier diversity programs such as this seek to upend the reality for historically under-utilized, diverse-owned suppliers and help transform our supply chain to better reflect the rich diversity of the communities they serve.

Celebrating Fair Trade Month AND Non-GMO Month!

In October, we celebrate both Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month — highlighting two labels you may have seen on food packaging and want to know a bit more about. We believe that transparency in food production and labeling is essential. Shoppers have a right to know if the products they purchase exploit people and planet. Shoppers also have the right to clear on-package labeling, allowing them to find products that align more closely with their values. 

What is “Non-GMO Project Verified”?

GMOs (or genetically modified organisms) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and/or virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional breeding methods. Farmers were sold on the promise that GMOs would allow them to increase crop yields and reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides. Unfortunately, neither of these promises has proven true. Pesticide and herbicide use are at record highs and continue to climb.  In fact, 150 million additional pounds of herbicides are sprayed in the US each year in order to control the superweeds and superbugs that have developed resistance to the previous year’s chemical cocktails. Farmers have been forced to scale up to industrial levels of mono-crop production in order to remain profitable, squeezing out small diversified family farms. This has led to the collapse of many rural communities, while also diminishing biodiversity, destroying the health of our soil microbiome, causing significant loss of precious topsoil, sending pollinator health into serious decline, and destroying water quality. These factors all have a significant impact on human health and the health of our planet. 

Are Genetically Modified Foods Labeled?

GMOs are present in over 70% of processed foods, and without a requirement for clear on-package labeling, thanks to the DARK Act, most consumers are unaware and unable to make an informed choice. In the coming months, you might see a new label at the grocery store: the Bioengineered (BE) Food label. A BE Food disclosure will be displayed on some — though not all — products containing GMOs.

  • Most products of new GMO techniques like CRISPR gene editing won’t require a BE disclosure. That’s because the law focuses on foods containing detectable modified genetic material in the final product. Products that contain GMOs made with new techniques are currently untestable.
  • Foods that are heavily processed contain little or no intact genetic material for accurate testing, so they also fall outside of BE disclosure. That includes very common products like sugar and cooking oil, as well as packaged goods that contain such ingredients.
  • The BE labeling law only applies to food intended for direct human consumption. GMO crops for livestock feed take up millions of acres of agricultural land and ultimately support the human food supply — but the BE labeling law does not look at it. Because of the sheer volume of GMO commodity crops grown for livestock feed, choosing Verified meat, dairy, and eggs is the key to building a non-GMO future.
  • There are also complexities in the new law that prevent GMOs in multi-ingredient products from being disclosed. For example, a canned soup containing GMO corn would not require disclosure if the formulation lists meat as the first ingredient. Under the BE labeling law, it doesn’t matter that the corn is prevalent and plainly visible in the product or that 92% of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. It doesn’t even matter that the corn might have detectable modified genetic material. With meat as the first ingredient, the product is not subject to disclosure. Even if water, broth, or stock is the first ingredient and meat is the second, the loophole still applies because those kinds of liquids don’t count.

The BE labeling law allows several options for how the Bioengineered disclosure appears on product packaging. Brands might display the BE symbol or include a line of text. They might opt for a digital code or a contact phone number that would provide the inquisitive shopper with more information. These options offer flexibility to the manufacturer, but they also make information less accessible to people in stores. Electronic disclosures exclude people who face barriers to technological access, such as residents of rural areas or people who come from a low-income background. Anyone who isn’t comfortable with pocket-sized tech or who is shopping with small children could also be impacted.

With each step away from clear and equally accessible labeling, the average shopper gets less information, compromising the very purpose of an effective labeling program.

How Can A Shopper Identify Non-GMO Foods?

Thanks to the third-party certification provided by the Non-GMO Project, we now have a way to determine with confidence which products are free from genetically modified organisms. A Non-GMO Project verification  means that a product is compliant with the Non-GMO Project Standard, which includes stringent provisions for ingredient testing, traceability, and segregation.

Since 2007, the Butterfly label has helped millions of people find Non-GMO Project Verified products quickly and easily. The Butterfly is the leading third-party certification for GMO avoidance. To be Verified, each product is thoroughly reviewed. Its major and minor ingredients are traced back through the supply chain — giving us (and you!) the most accurate information about the food you eat.

Over the years, the Butterfly has grown with the times. The Non-GMO Project Standard is continually evolving to respond to new GMO techniques. With a dedicated research team monitoring biotech development around the globe, the Non-GMO Project knows more about GMOs, old and new — about products already on the shelves and what we might see in the coming years — than any other organization. We rely on their expertise so we can deliver a product that meets your standards.

You can also feel confident that products that are Certified Organic, Real Organic Project Certified, and Regenerative Organic Certified are also non-GMO since the use of GMOs is prohibited in all forms of organic production. For example, organic farmers cannot plant GMO seeds, organic livestock cannot eat GMO feed, and organic food manufacturers cannot use GMO ingredients. Organic producers are also required by law to protect their crops and products from unintentional contact with GMOs. Processors must separate organic ingredients from non-organic ingredients during receiving, processing, storage, and shipping, preventing GMO contamination throughout the supply chain.

A few of our favorite local Non-GMO Project Verified products

What is “Fairtrade Certified”?

When we buy products from local farmers and producers, it’s relatively easy to ensure that they are produced in a way that supports the health of our environment and the wellbeing of people who labor to produce the food. When we’re purchasing products from afar, particularly those that simply don’t grow in our climate, like coffee, chocolate, and bananas, it can be more challenging to feel confident that these products reflect your values. These industries are typically dominated by profound social, environmental, and economic exploitation. These farmers and workers often live on less than $2 per day and lack access to essentials such as clean water, adequate shelter, and nutritious food. They must often endure unsafe working conditions and forced child labor.

When you see the Fairtrade Mark on a product, you know that farmers were paid at least the cost of production as well as an added Fairtrade Premium to invest in their businesses and communities. You know that child labor was banned and that measures were in place to protect the local environment and water supply. This label also ensures that workers’ rights were upheld and they have the choice to organize and advocate for themselves and their communities. You may notice that there are several different Fairtrade labels. If you’d like to learn more about the various Fairtrade certifications, click here. 

Joisy Tuanama Lumba, a member of the Huingoyacu community of ACOPAGRO Co-op, who grow the Fairtrade cacao in Equal Exchange chocolate chips

 

Why do we need such labels on food at all?

“Natural” food and “fair” food are big business these days and “greenwashing” has become a serious problem. By making unverified or uncertified claims about how their food is grown or processed (“self-made marketing claims”), some unscrupulous companies capitalize on shoppers’ willingness to pay a bit more for high-quality food that supports both people and planet. In response, there is a sea of different labels popping up with claims that sound really good, but have little backing them up.

So how does an informed shopper know what’s backed up and what’s empty words? Choosing well-recognized, independent, third-party seals on products is the best place to start. Seals like Non-GMO Project Verified and Fairtrade Certified are rigorous standards with meaningful rules that must be followed in order to receive the seal. This may actually require laboratory testing and supply chain transparency that allows for “identity preservation.” That typically requires the strict segregation of ingredients that are compliant with the standards from ingredients that are not.

Both the Non-GMO Project and Fairtrade America are nonprofits driven by their missions to change how food is made in order to better serve people and planet. The Non-GMO Project has been verifying products since 2010 and Fairtrade has been operating internationally since 1989. Both nonprofits publish their Standards on their websites to give shoppers transparency, first and foremost. It also helps to check which brands are using these labels: Brands both large and small voluntarily showcase this compliance by including either the Fairtrade or Non-GMO Project seal on their packaging (and in some cases, both seals). This provides further assurance to shoppers that it’s not a new fad but a sustainability tool used by brands to have a positive impact on people and planet.

Vineyard workers from the La Riojana co-operative in Argentina

 

How do Fairtrade and the Non-GMO Project overlap?

The rigorous Fairtrade Standards ban the use of GMO seeds. This is partly because farmers may get stuck in an exploitative cycle when they rely on big agribusinesses for genetically modified seeds, rather than buying seeds from a variety of sources. Furthermore, Fairtrade and others in the field are not yet sure of the impact GMOs may have on the environment, which farmers rely on for their livelihoods.

What you can do?

Shop the labels! All month long, our Co-op will be highlighting products that are Fairtrade Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified. See the Weekly Sales display and the Member Deals display to find many of these items featured at a great price. Also, be sure to check out page 2 of the Addison Independent to find coupons to help take those discounts even deeper.  Support brands working towards a more sustainable future, and try something new!

Want to learn more?

Get the scoop on Fairtrade. Sign up to receive Fairtrade America’s newsletter and follow them on social media — @FairtradeMarkUS

Follow the Butterfly with the Non-GMO Project. Check out their recipes and like them on social media — @NonGMOProject.

Celebrating Fair Trade Month AND Non-GMO Month!

In October, we celebrate both Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month — highlighting two labels you may have seen on food packaging and want to know a bit more about. We believe that transparency in food production and labeling is essential. Shoppers have a right to know if the products they purchase exploit people and planet. Shoppers also have the right to clear on-package labeling, allowing them to find products that align more closely with their values. 

What is “Non-GMO Project Verified”?

GMOs (or genetically modified organisms) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and/or virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional breeding methods. Farmers were sold on the promise that GMOs would allow them to increase crop yields and reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides. Unfortunately, neither of these promises has proven true. Pesticide and herbicide use are at record highs and continue to climb.  In fact, 150 million additional pounds of herbicides are sprayed in the US each year in order to control the superweeds and superbugs that have developed resistance to the previous year’s chemical cocktails. Farmers have been forced to scale up to industrial levels of mono-crop production in order to remain profitable, squeezing out small diversified family farms. This has led to the collapse of many rural communities, while also diminishing biodiversity, destroying the health of our soil microbiome, causing significant loss of precious topsoil, sending pollinator health into serious decline, and destroying water quality. These factors all have a significant impact on human health and the health of our planet. 

Are Genetically Modified Foods Labeled?

GMOs are present in over 70% of processed foods, and without a requirement for clear on-package labeling, thanks to the DARK Act, most consumers are unaware and unable to make an informed choice. In the coming months, you might see a new label at the grocery store: the Bioengineered (BE) Food label. A BE Food disclosure will be displayed on some — though not all — products containing GMOs.

  • Most products of new GMO techniques like CRISPR gene editing won’t require a BE disclosure. That’s because the law focuses on foods containing detectable modified genetic material in the final product. Products that contain GMOs made with new techniques are currently untestable.
  • Foods that are heavily processed contain little or no intact genetic material for accurate testing, so they also fall outside of BE disclosure. That includes very common products like sugar and cooking oil, as well as packaged goods that contain such ingredients.
  • The BE labeling law only applies to food intended for direct human consumption. GMO crops for livestock feed take up millions of acres of agricultural land and ultimately support the human food supply — but the BE labeling law does not look at it. Because of the sheer volume of GMO commodity crops grown for livestock feed, choosing Verified meat, dairy, and eggs is the key to building a non-GMO future.
  • There are also complexities in the new law that prevent GMOs in multi-ingredient products from being disclosed. For example, a canned soup containing GMO corn would not require disclosure if the formulation lists meat as the first ingredient. Under the BE labeling law, it doesn’t matter that the corn is prevalent and plainly visible in the product or that 92% of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. It doesn’t even matter that the corn might have detectable modified genetic material. With meat as the first ingredient, the product is not subject to disclosure. Even if water, broth, or stock is the first ingredient and meat is the second, the loophole still applies because those kinds of liquids don’t count.

The BE labeling law allows several options for how the Bioengineered disclosure appears on product packaging. Brands might display the BE symbol or include a line of text. They might opt for a digital code or a contact phone number that would provide the inquisitive shopper with more information. These options offer flexibility to the manufacturer, but they also make information less accessible to people in stores. Electronic disclosures exclude people who face barriers to technological access, such as residents of rural areas or people who come from a low-income background. Anyone who isn’t comfortable with pocket-sized tech or who is shopping with small children could also be impacted.

With each step away from clear and equally accessible labeling, the average shopper gets less information, compromising the very purpose of an effective labeling program.

How Can A Shopper Identify Non-GMO Foods?

Thanks to the third-party certification provided by the Non-GMO Project, we now have a way to determine with confidence which products are free from genetically modified organisms. A Non-GMO Project verification  means that a product is compliant with the Non-GMO Project Standard, which includes stringent provisions for ingredient testing, traceability, and segregation.

Since 2007, the Butterfly label has helped millions of people find Non-GMO Project Verified products quickly and easily. The Butterfly is the leading third-party certification for GMO avoidance. To be Verified, each product is thoroughly reviewed. Its major and minor ingredients are traced back through the supply chain — giving us (and you!) the most accurate information about the food you eat.

Over the years, the Butterfly has grown with the times. The Non-GMO Project Standard is continually evolving to respond to new GMO techniques. With a dedicated research team monitoring biotech development around the globe, the Non-GMO Project knows more about GMOs, old and new — about products already on the shelves and what we might see in the coming years — than any other organization. We rely on their expertise so we can deliver a product that meets your standards.

You can also feel confident that products that are Certified Organic, Real Organic Project Certified, and Regenerative Organic Certified are also non-GMO since the use of GMOs is prohibited in all forms of organic production. For example, organic farmers cannot plant GMO seeds, organic livestock cannot eat GMO feed, and organic food manufacturers cannot use GMO ingredients. Organic producers are also required by law to protect their crops and products from unintentional contact with GMOs. Processors must separate organic ingredients from non-organic ingredients during receiving, processing, storage, and shipping, preventing GMO contamination throughout the supply chain.

A few of our favorite local Non-GMO Project Verified products

What is “Fairtrade Certified”?

When we buy products from local farmers and producers, it’s relatively easy to ensure that they are produced in a way that supports the health of our environment and the wellbeing of people who labor to produce the food. When we’re purchasing products from afar, particularly those that simply don’t grow in our climate, like coffee, chocolate, and bananas, it can be more challenging to feel confident that these products reflect your values. These industries are typically dominated by profound social, environmental, and economic exploitation. These farmers and workers often live on less than $2 per day and lack access to essentials such as clean water, adequate shelter, and nutritious food. They must often endure unsafe working conditions and forced child labor.

When you see the Fairtrade Mark on a product, you know that farmers were paid at least the cost of production as well as an added Fairtrade Premium to invest in their businesses and communities. You know that child labor was banned and that measures were in place to protect the local environment and water supply. This label also ensures that workers’ rights were upheld and they have the choice to organize and advocate for themselves and their communities. You may notice that there are several different Fairtrade labels. If you’d like to learn more about the various Fairtrade certifications, click here. 

Joisy Tuanama Lumba, a member of the Huingoyacu community of ACOPAGRO Co-op, who grow the Fairtrade cacao in Equal Exchange chocolate chips

 

Why do we need such labels on food at all?

“Natural” food and “fair” food are big business these days and “greenwashing” has become a serious problem. By making unverified or uncertified claims about how their food is grown or processed (“self-made marketing claims”), some unscrupulous companies capitalize on shoppers’ willingness to pay a bit more for high-quality food that supports both people and planet. In response, there is a sea of different labels popping up with claims that sound really good, but have little backing them up.

So how does an informed shopper know what’s backed up and what’s empty words? Choosing well-recognized, independent, third-party seals on products is the best place to start. Seals like Non-GMO Project Verified and Fairtrade Certified are rigorous standards with meaningful rules that must be followed in order to receive the seal. This may actually require laboratory testing and supply chain transparency that allows for “identity preservation.” That typically requires the strict segregation of ingredients that are compliant with the standards from ingredients that are not.

Both the Non-GMO Project and Fairtrade America are nonprofits driven by their missions to change how food is made in order to better serve people and planet. The Non-GMO Project has been verifying products since 2010 and Fairtrade has been operating internationally since 1989. Both nonprofits publish their Standards on their websites to give shoppers transparency, first and foremost. It also helps to check which brands are using these labels: Brands both large and small voluntarily showcase this compliance by including either the Fairtrade or Non-GMO Project seal on their packaging (and in some cases, both seals). This provides further assurance to shoppers that it’s not a new fad but a sustainability tool used by brands to have a positive impact on people and planet.

Vineyard workers from the La Riojana co-operative in Argentina

 

How do Fairtrade and the Non-GMO Project overlap?

The rigorous Fairtrade Standards ban the use of GMO seeds. This is partly because farmers may get stuck in an exploitative cycle when they rely on big agribusinesses for genetically modified seeds, rather than buying seeds from a variety of sources. Furthermore, Fairtrade and others in the field are not yet sure of the impact GMOs may have on the environment, which farmers rely on for their livelihoods.

What you can do?

Shop the labels! All month long, our Co-op will be highlighting products that are Fairtrade Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified. See the Weekly Sales display and the Member Deals display to find many of these items featured at a great price. Also, be sure to check out page 2 of the Addison Independent to find coupons to help take those discounts even deeper.  Support brands working towards a more sustainable future, and try something new!

Want to learn more?

Get the scoop on Fairtrade. Sign up to receive Fairtrade America’s newsletter and follow them on social media — @FairtradeMarkUS

Follow the Butterfly with the Non-GMO Project. Check out their recipes and like them on social media — @NonGMOProject.

Spotlight on Nutiva

Nutiva is enjoying the glow of the Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their Organic, Fairtrade, and Non-GMO Verified goods are 20% off from July 29th – August 4th! Read on to learn more about their humble beginnings and their mission-driven business model:

The Nutiva story began in 1999 when founder John Ruloc began pursuing his passion to bring healthy hemp seed products to the market. The name for the company is even hemp-derived:  Nutiva — NUT of a cannabis satIVA. His very first product launch was hemp seed bars, followed in 2002 by organic, cold-pressed, minimally processed coconut oil products. They also now partner with 35,000 independent Ethiopian farmers to bring you high-quality organic avocado oil products. 

Nutiva founder John Roulac pictured with his very first product — Nutiva hemp seed bars.

Nutiva is proud to be a fierce advocate for the legalization of hemp-based products and the consumers’ right to pesticide-free, GMO-free foods. In 2003, they also began advocating for reform in the destructive palm oil industry, working with Natural Habitats and Palm Done Right to create a more equitable and sustainable supply chain for red palm oil, shortening, and hazelnut spreads. Every Nutiva product containing these ingredients is Fair for Life Certified, deforestation-free, wildlife-friendly, and Certified Organic. 

In 2015, Nutiva worked with Fair Trade USA to certify their coconut oil in the Philippines and, as a result of this partnership, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Nutiva’s coconut products are deposited into a community-led fund that supports and empowers their growers’ communities. To date, this fund has raised over $450,000.

In 2020, Nutiva launched a zero-waste program through which 95% of its waste products are either reused or recycled in an effort to divert from the waste stream. For their efforts, they’ve earned a Gold Standard Certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and prevented 1,674 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

One of their most recent projects aims to ensure that their products are free of residues from the toxic and ubiquitous herbicide glyphosate (also known as RoundUp). Nutiva’s chia seeds and avocado oils are the first to become Certified Glyphosate Residue Free by the third-party Detox Project, which shares Nutiva’s commitment to creating pesticide-free superfoods that are healthy for people and planet. Nutiva’s goal is to eventually have all of their products bear this certification. Their entire line is already Certified Organic and Non-GMO Verified.

Since Nutiva was formed in 1999, every product purchased has helped to raise over $5 million to advance sustainable agriculture and grow healthy communities through Nutiva’s various social impact programs.

  • Schoolyard Orchard Initiative – For 6 years, Common Vision and Nutiva have partnered to bring an orchard to every public school in Richmond, California. This Nutiva School Orchard Initiative is an unprecedented, city-wide achievement that has brought fresh, healthy, school-grown fruit to 28 schools, impacting over 13,000 students — 79.5% of who rely on free and reduced lunch.
  • 100,000 Seedlings – In partnership with the global nonprofit Grameen Foundation, Nutiva has donated and helped plant 100,000 coconut seedlings in the Phillippines to revitalize crops and replace trees destroyed by typhoons. These seedlings have since grown into productive, organic coconut trees which help to improve the livelihoods of their local smallholder farmer partners in the Phillippines.
  • Typhoon Relief – In late 2020, the Phillippines were ravaged by three successive typhoons, destroying homes and plantations and leaving many in their smallholder farmer communities at risk. Nutiva has worked diligently to provide labor, lumber, and other supplies to assist with cleanup and rebuilding efforts. 
  • Planting Justice – Transforming the food system one garden at a time, Planting Justice grows food, jobs, and community through urban permaculture and holistic re-entry programs for folks transitioning out of the prison system. Nutiva supports their pursuit of food sovereignty, economic justice, and community healing — primarily through paid internships, compost production, and tree planting programs.
  • Kiss the Ground – Awakening millions of people to the climate solution that’s right beneath our feet, Kiss the Ground is a film bringing the story of regenerative ag to a global audience. As supporters of this film from its inception, Nutiva is proud to see Kiss the Ground educating viewers around the world about the ways that healthy soil and agroecological stewardship can provide solutions to the climate crisis.
  • Avo-Conscious – Nutiva’s avocado oil is nurturing farming communities, sustainable livelihoods, and soil regeneration. They’ve partnered with over 35,000 small farmers to grow organic avocados regeneratively in a polyculture with coffee trees. Through this project, they’ve offered tools and trainings to over 5,000 farmers, empowering their farming partners with the most relevant and up-to-date organic and regenerative avocado farming methods and business skills through in-field education. In 2020, 30 Ethiopian women began training in Nutiva’s avocado nursery program. Upon graduation in 2021, each will be capable of supplying 6000 seedlings per year.

To read more about these programs and an assessment of Nutvia’s environmental impact, be sure to check out their 2020 Social and Environmental Impact Report

Spotlight on King Arthur Baking Company

Are you gearing up for the holiday baking season? What a perfect time to stock up on local baking supplies from King Arthur Baking Company! They’re featured in our Member Deals Spotlight from October 29th – November 4th, so member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on their full line of baking products! Read on to learn more about America’s oldest flour company and its mission to create and deliver superior products and knowledge so that consumers experience the joy and passion of baking, all informed by their values as a 100% employee-owned Benefit Corporation:

 

King Arthur is an employee-owned company on a mission to be the ultimate resource and inspiration in the kitchen, to inspire connections and community through baking, and to use their business as a force for good. They were first founded over 230 years ago and while much has changed over the years (including a recent name change from King Arthur Flour to King Arthur Baking Company), they remain committed to the principles upon which they were founded. They believe in the power of baking to make a difference — for people and the planet. They work to build stronger communities and increase access and connection to real foods. They take pride in their responsible sourcing and their “never bleached” guarantee. And they work closely with farmers, millers, and suppliers in a continued commitment toward sustainability.

King Arthur Baking Company Headquarters in Norwich, VT

 

King Arthur Baking Company is a certified B-Corporation and they measure their progress with a triple bottom line — people, planet, and profit. Their products are non-GMO Verified by the third-party Non-GMO project and they source their wheat from American farms, helping grow a strong, sustainable agricultural economy. In partnership with their farmers, they’re working to limit pesticide exposure while increasing sustainable yields in a changing climate; promoting our planet’s health for many years to come. They carry on their centuries-old heritage of stewardship through the quality of their brand, and the steps they take to preserve the vitality of the community and the earth on which we live. Click here to view their Mission & Impact documented through the annual B Impact assessment.

Gluten-Free Baking Made Simple with King Arthur Baking Company’s Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

At King Arthur Baking, they have always believed that everyone deserves equal access to the joy of baking. They strive to ensure that their values are reflected in all that they do. To maintain and extend a history of putting community, their employee-owners, and the planet first, they recognize that they must also address the social injustices that challenge those very values. They have committed themselves to this work not out of obligation, but because it’s ingrained in who they are as a company. They recognize that the work of fostering an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion will never end; there will always be more humbling, difficult, and meaningful work to do. And they commit to rising to the challenge time and time again — because of a strong sense of responsibility to break down barriers that hinder access to baking, a universal craft that has the power to unite people from all walks of life. Click here to read more about their ongoing work towards diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Whether you’re a brand new baker or a seasoned professional, King Arthur Baking is there for you with an incredible volume of resources to help you bake your best. There are handy tips for what to do when your bread falls flat and your cookies crumble, excellent instructional videos to help you understand everything from bulk fermentation to baking the perfect pie crust, and recipes for anything you could ever dream to bake. And if you’re a professional baker, King Arthur Baking offers a library of reference materials and information that will be helpful in bakeries, restaurants, and production facilities. They also offer live classes for every type of baker at every skill level at their facility in Norwich, Vermont. Classes range from introductory demonstrations for beginners to intensive week-long professional courses, with a wide variety of hands-on classes for adults and children. Let them be your ultimate go-to resource for all things baking.

Baking School at King Arthur Baking Company
 

 

 

 

Celebrating Fair Trade Month AND Non-GMO Month!

This October, we celebrate both Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month — highlighting two labels you may have seen on food packaging and want to know a bit more about. We believe that transparency in food production and labeling is essential. Shoppers have a right to know if the products they purchase exploit people and planet. Shoppers also have the right to clear on-package labeling, allowing them to find products that align more closely with their values. 

What is “Non-GMO Project Verified”?

GMOs (or genetically modified organisms) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and/or virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional breeding methods. Farmers were sold on the promise that GMOs would allow them to increase crop yields and reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides. Unfortunately, neither of these promises has proven true. Pesticide and herbicide use are at record highs and continue to climb.  In fact, 150 million additional pounds of herbicides are sprayed in the US each year in order to control the superweeds and superbugs that have developed resistance to the previous year’s chemical cocktails. Farmers have been forced to scale up to industrial levels of mono-crop production in order to remain profitable, squeezing out small diversified family farms. This has led to the collapse of many rural communities, while also diminishing biodiversity, destroying the health of our soil microbiome, causing significant loss of prescious topsoil, sending pollinator health into serious decline, and destroying water quality. These factors all have a significant impact on human health and the health of our planet. 

GMOs are present in over 70% of processed foods, and without a requirement for clear on-package labeling, thanks to the DARK Act, most consumers are unaware and unable to make an informed choice. Thanks to the third-party certification provided by the Non-GMO Project, we now have a way to determine with confidence which products are free from genetically modified organisms. A Non-GMO Project verification means that a product is compliant with the Non-GMO Project Standard, which includes stringent provisions for ingredient testing, traceability, and segregation.

 

What is “Fairtrade Certified”?

When we buy products from local farmers and producers, it’s relatively easy to ensure that they are produced in a way that supports the health of our environment and the wellbeing of people who labor to produce the food. When we’re purchasing products from afar, particularly those that simply don’t grow in our climate, like coffee, chocolate, and bananas, it can be more challenging to feel confident that these products reflect your values. These industries are typically dominated by profound social, environmental, and economic exploitation. These farmers and workers often live on less than $2 per day and lack access to essentials such as clean water, adequate shelter, and nutritious food. They must often endure unsafe working conditions and forced child labor.

When you see the Fairtrade Mark on a product, you know that farmers were paid at least the cost of production as well as an added Fairtrade Premium to invest in their businesses and communities. You know that child labor was banned and that measures were in place to protect the local environment and water supply. This label also ensures that workers’ rights were upheld and they have the choice to organize and advocate for themselves and their communities. You may notice that there are several different Fairtrade labels. If you’d like to learn more about the various Fairtrade certifications, click here. 

Joisy Tuanama Lumba, a member of the Huingoyacu community of ACOPAGRO Co-op, who grow the Fairtrade cacao in Equal Exchange chocolate chips

Why do we need such labels on food at all?

“Natural” food and “fair” food are big business these days and “greenwashing” has become a serious problem. By making unverified or uncertified claims about how their food is grown or processed (“self-made marketing claims”), some unscrupulous companies capitalize on shoppers’ willingness to pay a bit more for high-quality food that supports both people and planet. In response, there is a sea of different labels popping up with claims that sound really good, but have little backing them up.

So how does an informed shopper know what’s backed up and what’s empty words? Choosing well-recognized, independent, third-party seals on products is the best place to start. Seals like Non-GMO Project Verified and Fairtrade Certified are rigorous standards with meaningful rules that must be followed in order to receive the seal. This may actually require laboratory testing and supply chain transparency that allows for “identity preservation.” That typically requires the strict segregation of ingredients that are compliant with the standards from ingredients that are not.

Both the Non-GMO Project and Fairtrade America are nonprofits driven by their missions to change how food is made in order to better serve people and planet. The Non-GMO Project has been verifying products since 2010 and Fairtrade has been operating internationally since 1989. Both nonprofits publish their Standards on their websites to give shoppers transparency, first and foremost. It also helps to check which brands are using these labels: Brands both large and small voluntarily showcase this compliance by including either the Fairtrade or Non-GMO Project seal on their packaging (and in some cases, both seals). This provides further assurance to shoppers that it’s not a new fad but a sustainability tool used by brands to have a positive impact on people and planet.

Vineyard workers from the La Riojana co-operative in , Argentina

How do Fairtrade and the Non-GMO Project overlap?

The rigorous Fairtrade Standards ban the use of GMO seeds. This is partly because farmers may get stuck in an exploitative cycle when they rely on big agribusinesses for genetically modified seeds, rather than buying seeds from a variety of sources. Furthermore, Fairtrade and others in the field are not yet sure of the impact GMOs may have on the environment, which farmers rely on for their livelihoods.

What you can do?

Shop the labels! All month long, our Co-op will be highlighting products that are Fairtrade Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified. See the Weekly Sales display and the Member Deals display to find many of these items featured at a great price. Also, be sure to check out page 2 of the Addison Independent to find coupons to help take those discounts even deeper.  Support brands working towards a more sustainable future, and try something new!

A few of our favorite local Non-GMO Verified products

Want to learn more?

Get the scoop on Fairtrade. Sign up to receive Fairtrade America’s newsletter and follow them on social media — @FairtradeMarkUS

Follow the Butterfly with the Non-GMO Project. Check out their recipes and like them on social media — @NonGMOProject.

 

Spotlight on Barbara’s

From March 19th – 25th our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly on Barbara’s! During this promotion, member-owners can enjoy 20% off all of Barbara’s products, so it’s a great time to stock up and save! Read on to learn more about what makes Barbara’s shine:

At Barbara’s, they believe that being happy and healthy go hand-in-hand—which is why they’re passionate about bringing you the best tasting cereals and snacks. They believe in the goodness of whole grains and the healing power of laughter.

They believe that healthy food should be accessible to all because what we put in our bodies shapes how we feel, and how we show up in life.

At Barbara’s, they believe that few things are as meaningful as sharing food with someone you care about.

They believe in wholeheartedly putting their values into action, and that caring can change the world. They remain committed to bringing you only the most wholesome and simple ingredients and they encourage you to take a close look at what goes into their products. That’s why we list their ingredients on every box.

They believe in Non-GMO Project Verified and whole grain goodness. They know you’re concerned about GMOs, that’s why Barbara’s made a commitment to achieving the rigorous standards required to receive a Non-GMO Project Verified seal—consumers’ most recognized seal for GMO product alternatives.

They believe in transparency and enjoy making wholesome and nourishing food for you to share with your family. It’s their way of putting a little more care and kindness into the world. And they’re committed to providing honest answers to all your product, nutrition and ingredient questions—so you can make sure you are making the best choices for your family. Visit their webpage to check out their FAQs.

Barbara’s has been a long time proud supporter of Project Puffin and The National Audubon Society. Project Puffin dates back to 1973, when The National Audubon Society began to address the issue of a declining puffin population by restoring habitats throughout the Gulf of Maine. Project Puffin now has a seasonal staff of 50 people who work tirelessly on behalf of these beloved birds.