Cover of "common ground" magazine, March 2013 issue, featuring a close-up image of a pomegranate cut in half, with articles highlighted on food issues and health.

March 2013

The Food Issue

Twelve months ago, there was a glimmer of hope that there would be enough signatures for a GMO labeling ballot initiative. Despite years of Food issues crammed with information on GMOs, the message hadn’t fully caught on. Parents at local schools mostly had no idea about GMOs, but by November it was a different ballgame. Now I sense there is general awareness about GMOs. We’ve come a long way.

But we have a long way to go. Hopefully, the general awareness won’t turn into complacency. In this issue, Kat Schuett has written a smart piece about the importance of voting with our dollars. There are many food providers vigilant eaters can align with. She’s compiled an honor roll of those companies and organization that donated generously to Prop. 37. As you may know, Washington State is gathering signatures to propose a similar bill there. Meantime, the FDA is perched to approve genetically engineered salmon, aka “Frankenfish.” What a mistake it would be to tamper with livestock. Anne Mosness, a former commercial fisherwoman, has weighed in.

In harmony with our universal themes of eco-health-wellness-sustainability, Matt and Astrid Hoffman have included an article on the renaissance of heirloom seed, and we’ve included a stunning pictorial celebrating the sanctity of seed—seed not genetically tampered with. You’ll enjoy these.

We’re proud of our extensive interview with John Mackey, the co-CEO of Whole Foods. A philosophy major and vegetarian in college, he quit school to open a health food store with his then girlfriend in Austin in The rest is history. John is credited for taking health food from the hippie fringes to universally cool—which is very cool!

No stranger to controversy, John is outspoken. But he deserves to be listened to, particularly as he is championing a practical business philosophy known as Conscious Capitalism. John sees it as the wave of the future as more enterprises become conscious businesses, with a deeper purpose beyond profitability. The key is to accept the challenge of answering to an array of stakeholders, which includes employees, suppliers, communities, the environment—and of course, the investors. It’s not just pie in the sky, as this approach has been essential to Whole Foods’ incredible success. It has been an interesting month getting my head around John’s ideas. The first Conscious Business Conference takes place in San Francisco next month; see you there.

I am very proud of this issue for its variety of stories ranging from David Wolfe’s elaboration on how to eat superfoods for beauty to Pauli Halstead’s Paleo diet. Casey Beck has documented the growing trend of locals taking up sustainable farming, while Sarah Mowdy and Benjamin Dierauf teach us how Chinese medicine uses the tongue in diagnosis. We have recipes in praise of kale and a review of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Diet for a New America. If all that is too much, you can fall back on Bruce Davis’s piece that reminds us why silence is the real food.

April is our Green issue. If you have any feedback or recommendations, send us a note at CommonGroundSF at As ever, please support our advertisers, who provide the backbone of this free community publication. And consider becoming an advertiser yourself. We have a nearly 40-year record of connecting people in this bellwether territory.



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