Sunday, May 4, 2014

Shopping the Created Organic Way



Have you ever walked in to a store to pick up supplies for your dinner or a ready-made meal and wondered what’s in your food?  Since I took a nutrition class while I was in college years ago and learned about preservatives, colors, agricultural chemicals, hormones, nutrition density and their correlation to health, I have. 

Did you know that the number one “All Natural” strawberry and raspberry flavors are made from a beaver’s anal glands?  Are you kidding me!  We don’t do “All Natural Flavors” in our house and we won’t do “All Natural Flavors” in Created Organic Centers!
 
In our centers you will find that the only thing that tastes like a ripe strawberry in your food is a ripe strawberry.  Same with raspberries, peaches, blueberries, kale, passion fruit, pomegranate or anything else that we produce and sell.  Every product we produce will be completely organic (organic seed, organic plant food, clean water, etc.).  Our chief agricultural designer Chris says “if you can’t put it in your mouth it doesn’t belong anywhere near the greenhouse” in terms of what goes into his plants.  I believe every ingredient and not just the ones that are more than 1% of the mix as the FDA dictates should be listed. 
  
You see in my view convenience foods should also be whole foods and if my customers have the time and want to cook for themselves they’re free to know my recipes.  In my fifteen years in the foods industry I have developed, marketed and placed more than fifty products, it might be closer to a hundred but I lose count (ready to eat, ready to cook or ready to use as an ingredient) into retail and foodservice operations.  The primary guiding principle I use has always been “if I wouldn’t feed it to my family I won’t feed it to any other family” it’s just that simple.  It hasn’t always been 100% organic as I just started on what I call my organic journey about four years ago but we strive for that now at home and Created Organic certainly will be.

So whether you pick-up fresh cut pomegranate arils, frozen mangos, fresh or frozen asparagus, fresh or dehydrated kale, kale chips, chard chips, fresh ready to cook stir fry mix, frozen stir fry mix, prepared salads, soups, chili, seasoning blends, SuperNatural Pops (will debut at Created Organic see www.goodlifehealthyfoods.com ), sauces or anything else you may find in the store to include shampoo, soaps, lotions, clothing, cleaning supplies, etc. rest assured it’s all organic, clean and made with love.

From our family to yours, Cheers!

More than seven billion people
Seven continents
Two thousand Islands
One hundred ninety six countries
One Earth
One ocean
One atmosphere
One sun
One great ecosystem
Created Organic
© 2014 Richard E. Robinson


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Created Organic FAQ's


  1. It’s a farm, it’s a store, it’s a community center – Can you expand on that vision so I can picture it?  Picture a big “home improvement or Club” store with racks up to the ceiling at least on one side.  Instead of pallets of products on the racks they are grow towers with two to four tiers of growing beds with produce growing in them.  In the back of the store there is a clear partition where one can see fruits and vegetables being cutup, juiced, blended, dehydrated, frozen, canned etc. into various finished products that might appear in a normal supermarket.  There is at least one pool of fish that has runners going around various portions of the store allowing the fish to swim freely.  Our store will feature a deli, a cooking area, a brewery where applicable and a restaurant where applicable.  There will be a retail area for the products grown and produced on site with as little outside input as possible.
  2. Why should I buy organic food?  Organic production and particularly with the “Perpetual Harvest” growing system takes an holistic approach to being Earth and health friendly.  In our opinion the only “REAL” food is organic with maximum nutrient density, high natural (healthy) sugar content and never anything remotely harmful to people and our beautiful planet.
  3. What is the difference between organic and natural?  The only truly natural things in this world follow organic principles.  Organic as we see things is the ultimate in natural with nothing synthetically produced as an input.  “All Natural” products on the other hand can be grown with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc. and in fact anything of plant or animal origin with little enough synthetic chemicals in them to be less than 1% by weight (thus not required on an FDA approved label) can be called “All Natural”.   
  4. How much room do you need for this farm?  This will vary from locale to locale from a couple thousand square feet all the way up to the largest of “supercenter” or even “mall” sized.  The average at this point should be along the lines of a “club” store.
  5. Where do you intend to put this?  Will there be more than one store?  As of this time we are targeting Pomona, CA for the first prototype store.  Pomona has a lower average household income than many if not most of the locales around Southern California and the idea is that the concept can work both to feed healthy foods and create jobs in lower income areas.  We know the concept will work in higher income areas where people already target strictly organic and locally produced products.  Once we prove the concept we would like to see a “Created Organic” franchised or company owned store in every neighborhood, community, village, etc. in the world! 
  6. How can you make money doing this?  We will operate on standard retail margins but by cutting out transportation, packaging, middlemen and other costs that normally go into foods we can dramatically reduce the cost to the consumer.  Farmers need to make a profit on the food they produce; the truck driver who takes it to the distributor needs to make a profit as does the distributor, the next truck driver and the retailer.  Further in the case of fresh foods each of these steps takes valuable days off of the life of the food which results in “shrink” at the distributor and retail level.  With virtually zero thrown away we save that money as well.
  7. How do you compare to big name natural or upscale retailers?  For most products, we will be fresher, cleaner, higher brix (natural sugar) in our produce (selling on-site we can harvest fully ripe) and much lower cost.
  8. How do you intend to use “Green Technology”?  You listed the following sources of energy:
    1. Solar – It’s relatively easy to go solar on the roof of any building and we are not aware of any regulations against using solar power.
    2. Wind – Some areas do not have enough wind to make this option viable and some places do not allow wind powered turbines to generate electricity but for those areas where wind can and does work we will utilize windmills to generate electricity.
    3. Biogas – We will utilize both aerobic (fish and worms) and anaerobic (beneficial bacteria) digesters to break down our waste and excess produce into plant food.  One of the byproducts of anaerobic digestion is methane which where we are able will be used as fuel for a high efficiency turbine generator.
    4. Future Technologies – There are always new power generation systems being developed and we will continue to look for more efficient and cleaner ways to generate power.
  9. How is this going to work in a store?  Solar on the roof or a ground based array where appropriate, wind in the parking lot where allowed and biogas in a shipping container behind the building.
  10. How can you grow a large enough amount of product on site to sell?  By growing vertically (in layers) we increase our production per square foot by a multiple based on the number of layers.  Further using hydroponic/aquaponic growing methods we can grow most plants closer together which also increases yield – as nutrients are waterborne and always in the right proportions there is less “competition” for nutrients among the plants.  Indoor farming allows for control of the lights and we know that by optimizing the plants’ grow cycles (amount of light and dark to achieve maximum growth) we can further multiply the output.  Add to that optimized plant food and CO2 enrichment in the growing area (using excess CO2 helps the plants grow quicker and healthier while reducing carbon and replacing CO2 with O2 or oxygen in the environment; thus producing a negative carbon footprint).
  11. Do you intend to seek certification?  In the United States to process food a third party food safety audit is extremely important and we will definitely have that.  We will also have Kosher/Halal certification for the products that may require them. 

Organic certification for our facilities will come down to regulation.  We believe in the “Know your farmer” principle and intend to operate very openly.  Perhaps because organic is in our name and products cannot be called “organic” in the United States without a USDA NOP (National Organic Program) third party certification we will have to be certified.  It is important to understand that the intent of the NOP is to give some assurance to consumers that a product meets organic standards.  We will exceed NOP standards to an extremely high degree. 

Perpetual Harvest x Created Organic = Organic²

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Is the Organic Movement Disrespectful to Traditional Farming?


The organic movement is growing and if people like me have our way then in the next decade “conventional” farming will disappear from the mainstream.  It is my firm belief that organic food, clothing and cosmetics truly are the answer to many of the ills that face our society today.  In an interesting article on the website of Representative Kurt Schrader D-OR, I found the following quote. 

"That's one of the things that has caught me and raises my concerns, is that industry's lack of respect for traditional agriculture," said Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., referring to some organic companies' efforts to reduce the number of genetically modified crops in the marketplace.

Representative Austin goes on to say that he and his wife buy organic foods.  What I find interesting is that he calls conventional or chemical farming “traditional” to include the use of GM crops and points out the organic industry’s “lack of respect” troubles him somehow. 

A quick history lesson:

Anthropologists believe that human beings have been in existence for somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 years.  For the sake of argument let’s assume that around 150,000 years is the correct number.  It is widely accepted that human beings have been farming in one way or another for more than 10,000 years.

According to www.xtimeline.com experiments with chemical fertilizers began sometime in the early 1800’s and industrial farming also known as conventional farming came to life sometime around 1900 and genetically modified crops became available for public consumption in 1996. 

Organic: 3 a (1) : of, relating to, or derived from living organisms <organic evolution> (2) : of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides  (Source: Webster’s Online Dictionary)

Based on the definition above it is safe to assume that at least 9,800 years of the 10,000 years that humans have been farming has been organic in nature or 98% of the time that we have been farming has been solely organic.  Further, the 140,000 years prior to the known farming history would have consisted of “wild harvesting” which takes organic to an even higher level.  Isn’t organic the more traditional way of raising crops and livestock?

With these things in mind I am troubled by Representative Scott’s words.  What kind of person shops for organic foods but defends chemically grown and genetically modified foods?  Is the organic movement disrespectful or is the “conventional” way of thinking more disrespectful?  I will leave that up to the reader to decide.

Sources:




© 2013 Richard E. Robinson

 

 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Garden Update


Garden Update


So I have fallen a little behind in writing to this blog.  We had a couple of family issues come up and frankly it is hard for me to be creative when I’m worried about my kids.  I think things are better now so hopefully this will be updated at least weekly again moving forward.

We planted the garden for the neighbors in June on the front walkway by the street.  Since it went in a little late our choices were a bit limited and we ended up putting in watermelon, yellow squash, zucchini squash, pumpkin, eggplant, tomatillos and jalapeno peppers.

Right away we started getting neighbors who we already knew and a number that we did not already know asking us what we were doing.  When we explained that we had learned this concept that we thought was cool and that we were following it by planting a garden for the neighborhood the opinions were unanimously positive. 

About a week after we noticed the first squash had disappeared I was out watering one morning and a car drove up the street adjacent to ours; I thought nothing of it until it turned around and pulled in front of our house.  The young gentleman driving rolled down his window and thanked me for planting this and said that he and his wife took the squash while on a walk the other day and they loved it. 

We maintained the garden throughout the summer, talked with neighbors occasionally and learned that we have some really cool neighbors who really like that we’re growing this garden “just because”.  I learned that one gentleman who often walks with his wife and their beautiful dog; yes we’re dog people, is on the school board for the district that our kids attended and he asked me to talk with him if I ever see anything that needs fixing.  I don’t know how important that is at this point but I thought it was rather cool to get that conversation going.  Another woman who lives on one of the side streets in our neighborhood stopped by and told me that she is planting fruit trees in her front yard and everyone should be doing things like this. 
It’s just cool to hear the positive feedback from so many sources.  My favorite was my next door neighbor’s mother introducing herself, mentioning that she uses our jalapeno peppers all the time when she visits and she asked me if we like grapefruits.  I said of course, she said she had a tree and a couple days later a big bag of ruby reds were on our porch; I love this stuff!
    
Right now most of the garden is comprised of a couple of pumpkins.  The jalapeno peppers are doing well but have slowed in production of late but we have mild winters so like my other peppers in the back and closer to the house in the front yard they should be perennials here and just produce more and more year after year.  When the pumpkins mature in a few weeks we have a bunch of seedlings going for our “winter” if you want to call it that garden.  Kirstin and I have lived outside of Southern California and to say we get a winter here is a joke…

Until next time!
 
More than seven billion people
Seven continents
Two thousand Islands
One hundred ninety six countries
More than seventy distinct religious faiths
One planet
One ocean
One atmosphere
One sun
One great ecosystem
Created Organic
© 2013 Richard E. Robinson
 
 

Monday, July 1, 2013

More than Seven Billion People

More than seven billion people

Seven continents

Two thousand Islands

One hundred ninety six countries

More than seventy distinct religious faiths

One planet

One ocean

One atmosphere

One sun

One great ecosystem

Created Organic


What does this statement mean and why do I like to put it at the end of my posts?  The answer is both very complicated and very simple.  Created Organic started as a marketing idea for a product I developed a couple of years ago when I started learning about and appreciating what organic means.  To say that our family has learned and changed dramatically for the better since then would be a huge understatement.  With those changes the term “Created Organic” has taken on much more meaning and the statement that goes with it came into being.
 
 
There are more than seven billion people inhabiting our beautiful planet.  Those seven billion people live on the seven continents and roughly two thousand islands all of which comprise at present 196 countries.  There are more than seventy distinctly recognized religious faiths and I would go so far as to believe there are more than seven billion distinctly different; yet quite similar, views as to how this beautiful world came into being and how we as human beings got here.  My personal belief is that every single one of them is correct and I respect them to include those with whom I do not necessarily agree.
 
Thinking about all of these people from all these different lands with all these different backgrounds, customs, belief systems and views; some of which are quite violently opposed, I thought to myself, what do we have in common?  We all live on the same planet.  This beautiful planet which we call Earth has one great ocean with many names but if we look at the globe we can see it is one great continuous body of water that surrounds us all.  There is but one atmosphere containing the air that we all collectively breathe and that also serves to protect us from the harmful rays that come from our sun; while allowing the good ones in that make life possible. 
 
In my very humble opinion our world in its most pristine and natural state is organic in nature.  Therefore, regardless of one’s belief system I would hope we can all agree that however this beautiful planet was created it and all of the life on it is indeed “Created Organic”. 
 
Much more to come…  Remember it’s the differences that make us beautiful!
© 2013 Richard E. Robinson

 

Monday, June 17, 2013

“Created Organic” Doing Our Part One Step at a Time


“Created Organic” Doing Our Part One Step at a Time


June 17, 2013

Dear Reader,

We as individuals may not be able to control the world but we do have the ability to shape the things around us.  Good things tend to spread and when we make our community stronger we have the ability to create a better life in our communities and beyond.


Before
Saturday morning a good friend who happens to live in across the street and I tore out the grass strip in front of my house that the city owns and we maintain.  We turned the soil, mixed in some organic compost and new top soil and started the process of planting a garden.  The purpose of this garden is to grow fruits and vegetables for our neighborhood to use and enjoy.  Our hope is that people will enjoy the relatively free and healthy food that we create and join in the fun; which in turn should help to build a sense of community and promote healthy organic food.
During, that's Eric on the left and me on the right.

The idea for this garden comes from a video that I watched recently that I found truly inspirational.  As, the purpose of Created Organic is to promote organic living and its positive influence on our health and the health of the world, the garden just seemed like a natural.   

The actual planting should take place a little later this week after we finish amending the soil.  Since we are starting late we will probably start mostly with seedlings from the nursery and a few seeds and will hope to go completely from seeds that we start in the fall.  Of course updates will be forthcoming…

 

 
More than seven billion people

Seven continents

Two thousand Islands

One hundred ninety six countries

More than seventy distinct religious faiths

One planet

One ocean

One atmosphere

One sun

One great ecosystem

Created Organic


© 2013 Richard E. Robinson




 
 


Monday, June 3, 2013


 


Why I Became a Tree-Hugging, Granola Cruncher



Part 2


A common theme among military members (at least when I was in) is to marry young, have children young and get divorced… well young.  I was fortunate to meet the woman of my dreams not long after my divorce and we will celebrate 20 years of loving married life next month.  I told my wife when we met that I would end up with my kids which she didn’t believe until they moved in with us full time just weeks after we got married. 
I love my wife and my children dearly.  There has always been a lot of love in our house; it’s a theme we live by “Live Life with Love” and one we share with our friends and family.  That attitude has a very nice way of leading to happy and good times. 
We thought we had it all when our younger daughter left home.  Finally we had a chance to enjoy life without kids in the house.  Our older daughter had left a couple of years earlier, got married, brought us a beautiful granddaughter and then got pregnant with our grandson.  As is so often the case of young marriages, she got divorced and moved in with us when our granddaughter Claire was 18 months old and her brother Ricky came about 5 months later nothing compares to grandchildren! 
It wasn’t long after Claire’s birth that I started learning about and getting involved with organics.  I had worked with organic produce before but years ago it was nothing more than a marketing tool.  As I learned about organics and healthy eating, I started getting healthier myself and my wife got healthier too.  When my daughter and Claire moved in they started eating healthier with us and great results soon followed.  Ricky joined in last year and is truly a specimen of health.
As I learned more and more about healthy eating, healthy lifestyles and everything that goes with that I started learning about the importance of a healthy planet.  I also learned that there are policies that our government promotes that are not only unhealthy for our people but unhealthy for the planet.  I took a course revolving around the world’s food practices and the absolutely unsustainable nature of the food systems in place.  The worst part of that is that a few billionaires are set up to become bigger billionaires all with the support and actual subsidization of our government while future generations may not even be able to survive. 
Our planet is warming up.  We have already increased our annual average temperature by 1 degree Fahrenheit which doesn’t sound like much but 4.5 is believed to be the threshold for life; which makes 1 sound like a very large number to me.  We are losing topsoil at an alarming rate and may not be able to farm classic farmland much longer.  We are literally mortgaging our children’s, grandchildren’s and future generation’s ability to live so that a handful of people can profit today.
Going organic can and does reverse much of the damage!  Organic farming promotes humus which holds carbon in the soil.  It literally builds living arable soil from dead dirt taking a holistic approach to soil which also increases the nutrition of the food grows in it.  We have the capability to quite literally save the world and it starts with that first step of going organic.
For my wife and me I am not worried.  We are still pretty young but we have had a long time of a great life.  For my children and grandchildren I find there really is no choice but to try and create a better world for them; we owe it to them  That is a large part of why I am a proud Tree-Hugging, Granola-Crunching, organic living advocate!   



















More than seven billion people
Seven continents
Two thousand Islands
One hundred ninety six countries
More than seventy distinct religious faiths
One planet
One ocean
One atmosphere
One sun
One great ecosystem
Created Organic


© 2013 Richard E. Robinson