The Walmart of Organics? Whole Foods Moves to Centralized Purchasing

Posted Leah Douglas Leah Douglas, Newsletter, Organics

Photo from Flickr user forever5yearsold. Whole Foods’ recent decision to centralize buying for its U.S. stores will likely make it much harder for smaller producers of organic and natural foods to get to market. The move could thus further solidify the control of the corporate food giants currently dominating the organic and natural foods sector. Zach […]

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Food & Power Newsletter: Is an Organic Checkoff Supported By Farmers?

Posted Chris Wager Checkoff Programs, Leah Douglas, Newsletter, Organics

There’s a battle happening in organic farming, and it’s not about labeling or the setting of standards. In May, the Organic Trade Association submitted a revised proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to impose a special tax on organic farming. Called a “checkoff,” this tax would apply to all organic farmers, handlers of organic […]

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Big Beef

Posted Sid Mahanta Beef, Checkoff Programs, Sid Mahanta

Imagine if the federal government mandated that a portion of all federal gas taxes go directly to the oil industry’s trade association, the American Petroleum Institute. Imagine further that API used this public money to finance ad campaigns encouraging people to drive more and turn up their thermostats, all while lobbying to discredit oil industry critics—from environmentalists to those calling for better safety regulations or alternative energy sources.

That’s a deal not even Exxon could pull off, yet the nation’s largest meat-packers now enjoy something quite like it. Today, when you buy a Big Mac or a T-bone, a portion of the cost is a tax on beef, the proceeds from which the government hands over to a private trade group called the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. How did this system come into being? And what is the NCBA doing with all that money?