The Evolution Of The Food System – Mark Squire
January 10, 2021

The Evolution Of The Food System – Mark Squire

(President Good Earth Natural Foods)

Mark Squire, President, Good Earth Natural Foods

I'm super excited to have Mark Squire as my guest on today's episode.

Mark is a co-owner and manager of Good Earth Natural Foods. His career began in the 1960s after reading J.I. Rodale and Sir Albert Howard, which instilled in him a deep conviction of the need to move agriculture away from pesticide dependence toward natural system approaches. This led him to Good Earth Natural Foods, where he has worked relentlessly for the past 51 years.

Throughout his reputable career, Mark's mission has always centered on improving the foundation of our diet by developing a deep knowledge of GMO-laden products and discovering ways of optimizing organic farming practices.

During his time at Good Earth, Mark created a beautiful community with health at the very heart of the company's identity. He fondly remembers how new staff would join the company and transform their health within a short time. Especially touching for him were those staff members who came in with serious health problems, and after learning the links between a good diet and overall health, finally freed themselves of problems that made life difficult for so long.

One of Mark's good friends, Bob Quinn, wrote a book called "Grain by Grain" that I highly recommend to those interested in the relationship between food and health. One of Bob's startling revelations in the book is his claim that the last 50 years of American history could be summed up in 3 remarkably similar graphs of 3 ostensibly different things. One shows a steady rise in the percentage of the US population with diagnosed diabetes from less than 1% in 1958 to nearly 10 % today. Another shows a very similar trend line in the average carbon dioxide concentration at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii - this is the famous Kelling Curve, which first sounded the alarm on climate change. The third graph shows the number of Americans relying on food stamps, which rose from just over 10 million in 1972 to more than 45 million today. He claims that the correlation in these trends is no accident  - they are all symptomatic of a system of producing and consuming goods, particularly food that has gone badly awry".

Unless we begin to change the food system, these trends will continue to rise, with disastrous consequences for our health, our livelihoods, and our planet.

Mark spent a lot of time in Washington D.C.  as part of an industry-wide effort to lobby Congress on the Farm Bill. Through that process, he saw major wins for organic like increased funding for research and increased funding for the National Organic Program. It feels like there’s a growing recognition that supporting organic is an investment in healthy communities.

Please enjoy the episode. I'd be happy to receive your feedback on what you liked about it and what I could do better in the future.

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sending you love, crina

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