Tag Archives: Nature’s Path Foods

Academy Awards of Organic Food

Last night, I attended the OTA awards recognizing Leadership in the Organic Foods Industry.  Organic became an industry started by idealists like my father, as a response to farming with toxic chemicals. These committed few believe, as I do, that poisons don’t belong in the food supply.  Ask any mother and she’ll tell you that she doesn’t want to feed even trace amounts of carcinogens and hormone disrupters to her children.   Several joined the caravan and the few became an “industry”.  Fast forward several years and things are looking brighter as the industry has grown from a seed into a sapling.  But we now have to contend with unsustainable GMO agriculture. Instead of decreasing their use, GMOs have exponentially increased pesticide and herbicide use in a misguided mono-crop disaster.

But here is hope for our planet and our health.  Side by side studies with “Conventional” Vs Organic show that Organic yields are equivalent and organic yields are greater in times of Drought.  Organic methods are the gold standard for healthy soil, clean water, and the food Mother Earth intended for us to eat.  For those of you wondering about organic standards, please see my blog post with answers from Dag Falck. https://thedeepersideblog.com/2013/09/15/dag-falck-replies/

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The first award was presented to my parents Arran and Ratana Stephens, of Nature’s Path Foods.  They were honoured with the Growing Organic Industry Award.  When recently asked if Nature’s Path was a non-profit activist group or a consumer foods company, Dad answered “Both”.  I’ve copied his and mom’s inspired acceptance speeches below.

The Second Award was presented to Kyle Mathison of Stemlit Growers for Organic Farmer of the Year Award.  In a rousing speech which made my mouth water, Kyle spoke about his quest to grow the best, most juicy, luscious fruits.  He has helped advance solutions in orchard weed control, organic fertilizer, integrated pest control etc etc.  Kyle, a fourth generation farmer from Washington, made me salivate as I flashed though my most memorable fruit experiences.  That peach I bought in Montreal, those figs from Florence, the sweet muscat grapes from France that tasted like candy, ripe mangoes from India that defy description.  The Apples dad has espalliered.  I wish I had the text of his speech so I could make you salivate too.

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The third and last award of the evening was presented to Karen and Colin Archipley: the Rising Star Award.  Colin is a war veteran who founded the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training program.  Helping veterans, who face employment hurdles after leaving the military, Karen and Colin create a link between jobs for vets and organic agriculture on Archi’s Acres in California, their organic hydroponic farm.  Talk about literally turning swords into ploughshares!  They recently helped plant the White House’s Organic garden.

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During their acceptance speech, Colin made everyone in the crowded room raise their hand and pledge to be Semper Fidelis.  This is a Marine Motto.  Always Loyal.  It was a lovely gesture.  From a former marine leading the pledge (whose opening I solemnly swear reminded me of the marauders map), it was powerful.  If anyone had been unsure about the zealous commitment to Organic farming, this dispelled any doubts.

I saw Bob Quinn the KAMUT grower on my way out.  Bob and I spent many years bumping and into each other at European Trade shows.  No matter where I was or what my mood was, Bob made me smile with his killer smile dressed in his cowboy boots and hat with two sprigs of Kamut in its band.  Kamut (heirloom wheat found in an Egyptian tomb and subsequently planted in the midwest) has higher protein content and superior nutritional content to modern wheat.  It also doesn’t cause bloating.  Only organically grown, Kamut, which is trademarked, is growing literally by leaps and bounds since I last saw Bob.  Bob tells me that over 70,000 acres are dedicated to the organic sowing of Kamut!  That is great news for Kamut growers, happy tummies and the planet.

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Below is the inspiring speech mom and dad gave:

OTA Growing Organic Leadership Award ACCEPTANCE SPEECH, Sept 26, 2013, Baltimore, MD:

RATANA:
Dear friends, family, OTA Board Members and Fellow Travelers,

Thank you for bestowing this honor upon us. We are privileged to be recognized.   This journey has been a labor of love. It is to create a better world for our children, grandchildren, and the children of the universe.

This has not been a solo play. So wonderful to see many familiar faces who have been a vital part of the organic movement for years, and together we have nurtured and grown this into an industry. What is the power of a committed few? According to Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Rather than talking about what has happened over the past 45 years that Arran and I have been together (and believe me, we have seen a lot), I would like to pass along some advice in building a successful legacy enterprise, and what we have learned from our mentors:

Never sacrifice quality for money or for any other consideration

Always do your best, and leave the rest

A success is a failure that never gave up. There’s no substitute for patience and persistence.

Never compromise core values and principles. Business and the market are in constant flux, VALUES never change.

Be humble.

Now, I’m going to turn this over to Arran…

ARRAN:

On behalf of the many, Thanks for the Award!

Because of the visible stand that i and my family have taken against the artificial genetic modification of our food supply, And our fight to have GMO foods properly labeled in California and Washington State so people can make an informed decision about whether or not they wish to feed this stuff to their families, I received a tongue-in-cheek question, “Are you a packaged consumer goods company, or an activist group?” I happily answered, “Both!”

2 1/2 years ago, lying in the ICU ward, my life was dangling from a very slender thread, hovering somewhere in the void between life and death. It seemed then, in some strange way that I had a choice—to go into the Beyond or stay on and complete some unfinished aspects of this existence. I chose, or so it seemed, to live on.

Having been granted a life extension, I re-dedicated whatever time was left to serve the Creation in some small way—on the one hand to nurture and protect the fragile earth, to help fulfill the destiny of our enterprise, Nature’s Path and ensure its smooth succession to the next generation, to be there as a loving father and husband, and on the other hand, to continue to evolve as a human and spiritual being.

In ancient times, it was said, “Honor your heavenly Father and your earthly Mother that your days may be long upon the earth, for from one mother proceeds all that lives; therefore he that kills, kills his brother, and from him will the earthly mother pluck her quickening breast.”

I have always felt a kinship with this spiritual, but non-religious Father-Mother aspect of existence.

Over the past seven decades. I have been much blessed to have been raised by loving parents on the family farm on Vancouver Island; to have lived in India; to have married one of her daughters; to have been blessed by her Saints, to have been constantly involved in the organic movement since 1967, before there was an industry, to have, with my dear wife of 44 years, and our four children–Shanti, Gurdeep, Jyoti and Arjan) built an inter-generational legacy of Nature’s Path, without selling out!  For our friends in the investment community, no part of NP is for sale, just to save your and our time.

We have made many good friends over these decades, many of whom are in this hall tonight. We honor you all, we love you all.  To all who are part of the burgeoning organic industry, starting with our unsung heroes: family farmers, suppliers, the hundreds of Valued Nature’s Path Team Members, wholesalers, retailers and last but not least, our millions of customers, we salute you, for without you, we wouldn’t be here.

The world we all share and love, is in crisis. Nature is under serious attack, and she’s beginning to revolt. It’s up to us to nurture and care for what is left. Our generation has made a terrible mess of polluting the nest; let us hope and pray the next generation is wiser. My dad told me, his ten year old son, as we hand planted a field of corn together to “Always leave the soil better than you found it.”

With modern methods of chemical agriculture, using fossil fuel based fertilizers and attacking pests with massive amounts of pesticides and herbicides, we are short-sightedly destroying the long-term fertility of our soil bank, depleting it at the expense of future generations. In less than 20 years, since the first GMO crops were introduced, more than 90% of soy, cotton, sugar beets, canola, and Hawaiian papayas now contain alien gene traits. There have been no long-term safety GMO trials, which makes us part of an unprecedented feeding study, but we are not lab rats! Nor are GMOs even labeled, yet they are in 80% of supermarket foods. GMO crops are failing their maker’s promise to provide greater yields, toxic herbicide use has gone up 15 fold, allergies have increased three fold in the short two decades since GMOs were introduced into the North American agricultural system. Predicted super weeds have developed resistance to herbicides, contaminating more than seventy million acres in North America, now requiring even more deadly chemicals to eradicate them. Thousands of unique species of plants and creatures are lost every year.  Instead of cooperating with nature as we should, as guardians or trustees of our land bank, modern science and short-sighted consumerism is waging war against Nature. And this has many of us disturbed.

Biotech companies are interfering with evolutionary processes that have taken thousands—even millions of years to perfect. Genetic modification is not a continuation of selective breeding, but the significant alteration of life forms. And the outcomes are haphazard and unpredictable.

Organic agriculture and soil conservation is the only bulwark against this tsunami of ecological mismanagement.

Because we are concerned that good organic farmland is being lost due to ageing farmers retiring with no heirs to take their place, we have begun to buy good farmland, with a cooperative crop-sharing model. It is working, but with the rate of demand exceeding supply, we desperately need more young organic farmers. We are grateful to be a part of the organic solution. You are, or can also be a part of the solution. A new, caring economy is needed. A fresh paradigm of conscious capitalism, if I may borrow the term, a new generation of idealist-entrepreneurs is much needed. There is hope, and I am an optimist.  I will fight for the good of the earth so long as I live, and until the I that is my body becomes the earth, while the I that is my soul soars free from its temporal fetters to merge the lesser light with its Source in the greater Light.

Let me share one of my farmer/songwriter/father’s songs:

Across the plain, my yellow grain
Lies restless as the sea,
How could this all be given to a guy like me?

To fill my need I sowed the seed,
And now repaid I’ll be,
How could this all be given to a guy like me?

The seasons change with splendor,
My ceiling is the sky,
The earth, my master, happy man am I

Two arms that gladly share my toil
Or hold me tenderly,
How could this all be given to a guy like me?

BC Ferries Composting Kudo

“Earth knows no desolation.
She smells regeneration in the moist breath of decay.”

– George Meredith

On the BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, I greeted this welcome sight with a delighted whoop and whipped out my phone to snap a photo.

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Yay BC Ferries!

May you inspire all the other millions of travellers to think about composting.

This is something that my sister Jyoti and sustainability advocate did for Nature’s Path Foods many years ago. Nature’s Path has been named one of the top Green companies in Canada over and over again. When large corporations get behind solid earth-enhancing principles, then real change can occur. I dream of every company composting their paper towels, every company going Carbon Neutral, the Big Oil Companies investing in Sustainable Technology and the end to Canada’s Billion-dollar give-away to big oil.

I envision everyone recycling everything, returning to the Earth that which can be returned. I see more and more folks recycling soft plastics, from Saran Wrap to straws, bags our bread comes it to random bits of soiled plastic.

I dream of every person feeling personally responsible for the actions in the complex, and hefty consumer chain from clothes we wear to the food we buy to the air we breathe.

Q&A With Arran Stephens re: GMOs

“I’m not the CEO, I’m just the gardener”

– Arran Stephens, Founder, CEO and Chief Gardenkeeper at Nature’s Path

Arran and Ratana Stephens, my parents, have recently been honored for their passion and commitment to the organic food movement.  I wasn’t surprised by the award but I was surprised by the fact that this story was picked up by the Wall Street Journal.  Organics is growing movement, a movement for food democracy, health, and planetary well-being.  More and more people are waking up the dangers of toxic pesticides and herbicides that our foods are typically drenched in.

Although my family has supported GMO labeling since the beginning, my battle became personal this Spring when I started to understand how little my peers know about them.  Everyone agrees that whether you think GMOs are healthy or harmful, we should have the right to know if we are eating them.  My dad was asked to answer the following questions about GMOs.

1.        What potential effects do GMO’s present?

Up to this point, neither government nor industry has provided any long-term safety studies on human or animal health from consuming Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods in our daily diet, making us all guinea pigs in the biggest feeding experiment in human history. GMOs have not been proven safe, and nearly 64 countries—including Russia and China—have significant restrictions or outright bans because of this.  We are now starting to see a growing body of research, and the results are pointing to potential negative health effects like pre-cancerous cell growth and tumors, damaged immune systems, infertility and more.   Couple this with the negative effect on our environment and the potential impacts are too great to ignore.

2.      What do consumer’s need to know about GMO’s and their consumption?

Consumers need to know that GMOs have not been proven safe, and they do not have to be a part of this huge science experiment – they have the right to know what’s in the food they are eating and feeding their families.  In 2013, 95 bills related to the labeling of GMO foods were introduced in 28 states, including I-522 in Washington.   Now is the time to learn more, spread the word and vote for your right to know, so you can make an informed decision about the food you buy and feed to your families. The best way to avoid GMOs is to choose food that is USDA certified organic, which prohibits the use of GMOs, and Non-GMO Project Verified, which  means it went through rigorous third party testing to bear the seal.  At Nature’s Path, all of our products are both organic and Non-GMO Project Verified, so consumers can feel comfortable knowing our products avoid GMOs.

3.       What does organic mean, and why is this movement important?

Organic means that food has been grown without toxic, chemical pesticides and herbicides, GMOs, antibiotics and artificial growth hormones.  Organic is the gold standard, and your best way to avoid GMOs.  Non-GMO Project Verified products have been tested for GMOs – which is incredibly important – but it doesn’t mean they are organic, so they most likely have been grown with toxic and carcinogenic agri-chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, and fertilized with fossil-based fertilizers which harm the environment. The only way to have both Non-GMO and the numerous, additional benefits of organic food, is to choose products that bear the USDA Certified Organic Seal. It’s not hard to imagine why this would be better for people and the planet and there is a growing body of research that is beginning to show the health and environmental benefits of organic food.

4.      What is the argument for GMO’s?

The biotech industry claims that GMOs increase crop yields and are the answer to world hunger.  In some cases, yields have been shown to improve while in others, they have not, and recently, those claims have been challenged by a United Nation’s special report: which found that

‘agroecological methods [without the use of GMOs] can outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live,” and that “conventional farming relies on expensive inputs, fuels climate change and is not resilient to climactic shocks.  It simply is not the best choice anymore today.”  We’ve seen people in Haiti, who desperately needed food, burn GMO seeds that were given to them, considering them a kind of Trojan Horse – we need to help feed the world with food that has been proven safe and nourishing, not genetically engineered and filled with chemicals.

Another claim from the biotech industry is that GMO crops use less pesticides, since the Bt toxin pesticide is already spliced into the GMO seed. But, since the introduction of GMO crops, toxic, carcinogenic herbicide use has gone up over 1,000%, as these GMO seeds are bred to resist the application of herbicides which kill everything else on the fields, not just weeds.

Erin Brockovich of Food

“Let love be your rocket fuel”

– Robyn O’Brian

I attended a blogger event yesterday in Seattle in support of Washington State’s I522 GMO Labelling campaign.  It was a breakfast sponsored by Nature’s Path and Stoneyfield Farms.  For me it was a last minute affair; I had only found out about it the day before.  Asked to speak, I went having a hunch that I would be inspired.  I was.

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I met several amazing folks, working tirelessly to make GMO labelling happen.  I met fellow moms and bloggers, such as Emily  from http://emmycooks.com/.  I also met Keith Tucker who is making a film called ‘Hip Hop is Green’.  Keith said, “Think “Forks over Knives”. Think Hip Hop. Think “FoodInc”. I’m bringing it all together.”  What do I think? I think hell yeah! I think change for good. Keith’s project is called “Pursuit of a Green Planet”  http://poagp.com/  Bring it ON Keith.  (A Journalist, Keith also knows the Gangster Gardener that I posted about previously!).  The worlds needs to harness the incredible momentum of youth and music and ideals.   We must foster Shameless Idealists!

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Above I’m standing with author Robyn O’Brian and Delana Jones, campaign manager for YES on I 522

I had the honour and privilege to speak right before Robyn O’Brien.  Robyn is the Erin Brockovich of food.  She is endorsed by none other than Erin Brockovich herself.  A bombshell (Note to self: get Robyn for Style-Diet Shot!), Robyn explained in her mild-mannered but potent way what is wrong with our food supply and how we must take back the right to know what we’re eating.  Her voice trembled with emotion as she spoke about the current generation of American kids called Generation Rx.  Rx is short-hand for prescription drugs (in case you didn’t make this connection immediately).  These Rx’ers are the first generation of American kids to have a shorter expected life span compared to their parents.  Cancer is now the leading cause of death for children under 15.  1 out two men are expected to get cancer and 1 in three women.

But hang on….  Only 10% of cancers are genetic.  That means 90% of cancers are preventable.

Shaking her head, Robyn didn’t want to know what she had learned.  Whereas I have grown up in the Health/Natural Food/Organic world, Robyn comes from a conservative Texas family.  Robyn’s rude awakening was after her daughter suffered an allergic reaction at breakfast one morning.  She soon found herself “under the belly of the beast”, when she tried to determine the causes of allergies.  

Robyn thinks it’s less about people being allergic to food and more about being allergic to what has been done TO foods since the 1990s.  This is the time when GMOs were released into the food supply after industry-provided 3 month-long rat studies.  Her case in convincing and she was compelled to write a book about it, calling herself the most unlikely person ever to be a food crusader.  http://www.robynobrien.com/

Unhealthy Truth

Robyn, a true patriot, has a message of love and compassion.  She moved me over and over again to tears during her speech.  She also made me laugh!  Robyn said to approach and broach the issue with our loved ones.  With love.

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“Let Love be your rocketfuel.  Love is something we all have in spades.”

Dad and the Tesla

“Whoever does not have a good father should procure one.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

My father Arran has always been more interested in gardening than cars.  His Nature’s Path business card titles are ‘Co-CEO’ and ‘Garden-keeper’.  Dad makes the world greener and warmer and brighter.  Like Johnny Appleseed, wherever dad goes, he sows seeds: of vegetables and fruits, of kindness.  After eating a particularly good tomato or plum, Dad will spit out the seeds onto a napkin to dry and save (to plant).  Even when residing in a temporary home whose garden had no vegetable beds, Dad planted several zucchinis and tomatoes in and amongst the decorative floral landscaping.  When Dad came to visit our new home, clippers were out within minutes, dead was taken out of trees and bushes.  Lunch long-forgotten, berry clippings were planted and seeds sown.  A dedicated visionary, Dad even turned the back of the parking lot at Nature’s Path head office into a vegetable garden.

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Dad, going to garden at Nature’s Path in his Organic tee shirt that says, “Avant Gardener”

Now, I’ve been asked by a few folks to post about Dad’s new car, the Tesla Model S built and designed in California.  This seems like an appropriate Father’s Day post.  Although Dad is not a typical car fanatic, I’ve never seen him get more excited about a car.  Ever.  He’s driven a whole slew of motor vehicles since I was a kid, which, regardless of how pretty and clean they start off – usually end up being turned into soil-covered utilitarian vehicles in which to haul plants, compost, and gardening tools.

Now I’m not a car buff myself.  In a vehicle, I value functionality, beauty, and environmental sustainability in the reverse order.  We humans are addicted to fossil fuels, even knowing full well that they are hurting us.  It’s a drug and we can’t seem to stop using.  (Myself included).  When I moved back to Canada 4 years ago, I had to choose a car (as our trusty little Belgian-bought Peugeot couldn’t move with us).  My criteria for a car was “Whatever, however, as long as it’s a hybrid”.  When asked “What colour?”, my response was “Whatever, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s a hybrid”.

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After waiting a couple years for his Tesla Model S to be delivered, Dad promptly put it work, hauling his gardening equipment from the Nature’s Path Garden to his home garden and a few other gardens in-between.

Everyone agrees that fossil fuel consumption is unsustainable, and that if one must drive, drive an electric car fuelled by clean renewable energy (not coal-based power plants for example).  Rob Stewart, film-maker, was one of the motivators for me to write this blog. He explains in his film that we have billions of reasons to kick the fossil fuel habit.  We have the technology to make change but we lack the political will. We know the problem and we know the solution.  We just have to put it together.

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After driving dad’s Tesla, I am super thrilled for the future of the electric car.  The Tesla is going down in history as tipping the point.  I am no car expert folks but I can tell you a few things neat things about the Model S.  First of all, dad can drive from Vancouver to Victoria and back (with a trunk full of seedlings and fruits of course) on a single charge.    The key is shaped like a car, the door handles pop out, the top is an all-glass panoramic roof.  Plus there is a cool large screen which does everything like open the garage door, babysit your children and buy your groceries (just kidding it doesn’t buy your groceries,  But the next model will).  Sitting in the middle part of back isn’t a punishment because there is no hump in the middle of the floor.  The Model S is wider than regular cars so 3 adults fit comfortably in the back.  This is all very nice.

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But what is truly amazing about the Tesla Model S is the silent, ridiculously-rapid acceleration.  This is the reason why every one who drives a Tesla will want one. It’s like being in a quiet rocket.  It’s science-fiction.  It’s 0-97 km/h in 4.2 seconds.  That’s like roller-coaster, stomach-dropping, rocket-ship fast.  I have a strong stomach.  I am someone who enjoys airplane turbulence (the bumpiness is soothing) and I like amusement park rides with names such as ‘Twister ‘ and ‘Kamikaze’.  But when Dad accelerates too fast, a mischievous look in his eyes, I get motion sickness.  The Model S model is that fast.

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Me and Dad, Canadian-Bollywood-Gothic

My father has always spoken out against what is wrong and voiced his soft tenor for what is right.  Being a custodian of the Earth, he has always defended nature, spoken out against conventional (chemical fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides) farming and GMOs which are poisoning our planet un-necessarily.  Being an organic gardener, dad knows first hand what soil needs to be healthy: sweat, toil and love.  He knows what the long-term data shows: Organic methods meet or beat GMOs production in yields.  We need bees, we need birds, we need biodiversity and love and compassion for all.  With his head in the clouds and his feet on the ground, Organic gardening, Tesla-driving Dad is one of my greatest heroes.  I can’t think of a better father, a better example for me – and everyone – to live by.

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Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads who toil in the soil, who envision, support and spark change.  To the fathers who support the Earth – even when they could make more money by spoiling it.  I’ve heard dad say this a million times but each time it resonates and strikes a different chord inside me.  In everything we do, whatever we do, “Always leave the soil better than you found it”.   I need to share this as it is now what drives my every conscious action or purpose; in effectuating change we stand up against what’s wrong and stand up for what’s right.  In symphony with other salient, common sense truths, that mantra of leaving the earth better than we found it sings every day, ever louder in my heart.

Mom’s advice from the Social Venture Institute

I see people holding to their ideals.

My mother Ratana and sister Jyoti gave a talk yesterday at the Social Venture Institute.  Jyoti has been championing sustainability at Nature’s Path even before she got her Green MBA.  My mom, co-founder of Nature’s Path, steers the company forward with vision, style and a sense of greater purpose.  With their beautiful voices and complementary speaking styles, they got a well-deserved standing ovation after their talk.

Here they are today – unintentionally color-coordinated

Mom (Ratana Stephens) and Lil' Sista (Jyoti Stephens)

Mom (Ratana Stephens) and Sista (Jyoti Stephens)

My mom is uncannily wise.  Here is the advice she gave yesterday for making a difference in business.  I want to share it with you.  I daresay that this advice can be applied to most endeavours:

Mom’s advice number one: Choose the right life mate

Mom’s advice number two: Understand the finances of your company

Mom’s advice number 3: Create a business you belive in and are passionate about

Mom’s advice number 4: Surround yourself with people whom you respect

Mom’s advice number 5: Don’t wallow in mistakes, learn from them and accept and move on

Mom’s advice number 6: Welcome advice from those you trust

Mom’s advice number 7: Don’t compromise your beliefs

Earth Day Message

On this Earth Day 2013, I see a world where it is becoming ever hipper and cooler to garden and farm organically.

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Me and my dad, Arran

I was hanging out in Richmond the other day, dad was busy, furiously typing when I walked into his office

‘Whatcha doing?” I asked.

He kind of hummed and hawed and mumbled for a bit.  My phone rang so I left.  About half an hour later or so, I bumped into him again.  “Hey Deepie, want to hear what I’ve been writing?” he asked.  My friend Nathalie Chambers was there, talking about conservation of farmland (more on that in the future).  Dad read the following out loud to us.  Nathalie was crying by the time he finished.  Me too.

“Dad,” I said, “I have to share that on my new blog”.

He smiled his beautiful smile. “Go ahead.”

Dad and mom are my heroes, more so every day.  Dad founded Vancouver’s first vegetarian restaurant called the Golden Lotus and established Vancouver’s first super-market size Health Food store called Lifestream in the late 1960s.  An idealist driven to business in order to advocate for the Earth, Health, Organic Farming and Ethical business practises, my parents are inspirations to thousands.  Dad has been called a ‘folk hero”, “hippie capitalist” among other names.  To me he is a loving, kind, and firm father with a fierce sense of justice. When he feels that something is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘just’ or ‘injust’, he will stop at nothing to stand up and say so.  My Mom is a determined mother bear and lioness.  She also has that uncanny common sense with the wisdom of Solomon.  They are a fierce team.

In case you are wondering, the goal of “The Deeper Side Blog” is not to promote my parent’s or their company but to use them and many many others as beacons of light, as shining models; templates of success for those searching to creating meaning in life.  I was thrilled to hear from Tricia Millhouse Walter feeling moved by despair about the conditions of children in her neighbourhood and transforming that energy into positive action by working for the non-profit ‘Corazon’.  She posted on my first ‘blogger’ post and I’m not sure that came through.  She is another example of people moved to ‘be the change’.   Although I’ve started this blog talking about the right of the seed, I am brewing and steeping with overflowing words in my bottomless teapot of ideas.  I’m just wondering which one to write next – and trying to find the time!  I could write this blog 15 hours a-day, not eat or sleep (Yeah, I’m a little obsessive).

Here is the Earth Day message.

EARTH DAY OPEN LETTER FROM ARRAN & RATANA, Nature’s Path co-
founders

On this Earth Day, we give thanks to the Earth, our Mother, and to the Creative
Spirit, our Father. We give thanks to you, our beloved Customers for believing in
and supporting Nature’s Path and what we stand for: good wholesome healing
food, food which is good for the planet, good for people, for animals, for farmers
and all living things. We give thanks for Light and Love, Peace and Beauty. May
it heal, spread and overcome the dark, the forlorn, the hungry, the pain and the
forgotten. We give thanks to the hundreds of valued team members at Nature’s
Path.

On this Earth Day, we would also like to say a few words in support of the
powerful, relevant, beautiful and poetic new film about food which is being
released across North America and the world: GMO OMG by filmmaker Jeremy
Seifert.

There is a parable about the Earth, which we’d like to share:

Once, the Earth was asked how She could support the weight of the mountains,
the land, the oceans, the peoples, the animals, the birds and fishes. How could
she possibly withstand the occasional famine, war, bloodshed and poverty. How
could she bear such a burden?

And the Earth replied, “I can stand any burden, except an ungrateful heart.”

Love to you all,

Arran & Ratana Stephens