Shift Happens

Today I’m at a conference that my friend Leah founded and graciously invited my Diet Coke swigging self to attend. I met Leah about six(!) years ago at a blogger event and I was impressed by her story of having lost one hundred pounds and keeping it off by eating organic and nonGMO foods.

Since then she has gained (no pun intended) so many followers that organic and eco aware brands have created a movement called ShiftCon. ShiftCon is “the only social media conference focusing on wellness, health, and the environment. This conference blends workshops, networking, parties, and intense collaboration of changemakers all over the United States and Canada in one place. ”

I think the full impact of how hard the work of of food farms and brands who want to keep things clean, chemically speaking, is hitting me right now as I listen to Robyn O’Brien in the panel I am sitting in right now. She describes this work as a crusade on the front lines of a fifty year project – big industry food executives do not necessarily know and understand the the effects of what they do with the food we eat and that their business models are at a critical point. They really need to be educated in “shifting” the way food is grown and processed so that it is good for people. Robyn, along with two other healthy food companies that we all have/have had in our homes – John Foraker, founder of Annie’s and Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farms cheerfully talk about how small eco aware and natural food brands are finally being seen as financially viable by the big guys, but fear of failure in making the shift holds companies back. I’m amazed at the great profit statistics that Robyn shares when a monolithic brand makes the move to make things healthier. Having these statistics is hard won by all three of these panelists, and they are clear that more hearts and minds must be changed.

I realize that these are the people who have raised my (limited) awareness and are probably the reason we don’t buy water in bottles anymore, we (meaning Esperanza my housekeeper) recycle all those Diet Coke cans, and I no longer buy brands with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and avoid items with sugar for no reason. I only buy organic dairy and meat products, and only buy wild caught fish. I don’t think of myself as having anywhere NEAR the integrity of most of the attendees of this conference, but I really believe less junk in our food IS better. I think the patience of those who created the shift are the reason for this, and I am excited to learn more.



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