Cover of "common ground" magazine, March 2014 issue, featuring a close-up image of a lemon slice with headlines about food activism and organic sustainability.

March 2014

The Food Issue

As an eight year-old, Vivienne Harr vicariously witnessed child slavery via a photograph. Her shock prompted the response, “I want to free 500 children.” She began selling lemonade every day until she raised and donated $101,320. She’s 10 now, and besides being our youngest cover story, she is the force of nature behind Make A Stand, a certified B Corp., with a mission to eradicate slavery altogether. When Twitter began its IPO trading, Vivienne was the little girl ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy her interview enough to make a stand.

At the other end of the age spectrum, we have an interview with Dr. Andrew Weil, the 74-year-old pioneer of all things integrative and alternative. Fifty years ago, as an undergraduate reporter for the Harvard school newspaper, Weil’s investigations led to the dismissal of Prof. Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass). Now they’re friends. While Ram Dass is best known for popularizing psychedelics and Eastern spiritual philosophy, Weil is known for bringing integrative medicine into the mainstream—a valuable work in progress.

Of interest to food activists: This issue has been embargoed until now because of the GMO Inside story, which is now public. GMO Inside activists are responsible for drawing consumer attention to GMO ingredients in popular foods. In November 2012, after the defeat of Prop. 37, they decided to target Cheerios. Their pressure, it is believed, prompted the parent company, General Mills, to recently remove GMO ingredients from their recipe. For consumers inspired to vote with their dollars, this was a huge win.

When shopping at Costco this month, I was heartened to see giant end-cap displays with rows of Cheerio’s cereal boxes and a big sign saying, “now without GMOs.” The times they are a changin’! As such, the hope is that Starbucks will weigh the merits of removing GMO ingredients in the milk products they serve. Go ahead, readers, let Starbucks know it’s not okay to serve GMO lattes. Make a stand.

These are but three stories in this issue, which is loaded with other terrific material. We have contributions from John Robbins, Gabriel Cousens, Gary Hirschberg, and Arran Stephens—all heavy hitters who are dedicated to upgrading the food chain. I think you’ll also appreciate Marc Davis’s piece, “The Brain in Your Belly” and Bruce Davis’s essay, “The Mystic’s Diet.”

On the lighter side, we hope you enjoy our dessert pictorial about the sweetness of life and Kelly MacLean’s humorous spoof, “Surviving Whole Foods.”

We look forward to seeing many of you who work in the natural products industry in Anaheim for the Natural Products West Expo. We will report back the trends.

As ever, thank you for your show of support, expressed by your patronizing our advertisers. We have many wonderful sponsors; please show them your love.

April is our Green issue. May and June will be combined into our Creativity edition. Stay in touch.

Eat Right,


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