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March 8, 2015

LIVE UPDATES Day 3: Natural Products Expo West 2015.

expo west

*I’ll be constantly updating this blog throughout the day, so check back periodically for the latest goods and bads of Natural Products Expo West 2015.

6:30 p.m.

An emotional end.

So it could have been the lack of sleep, or the overstimulation, or the fact that I had been eating samples as meals for the past few days rather than good, whole foods…but, honestly, I’d like to think that the immense waste from Expo West and the general apathy of consumers that tore my heart open a bit and brought me to tears.

It was at the end of the expo and I was exhausted of going from booth to booth, trying to find the top companies that aligned with my values and elephant’s mission. They would get part of the way (Oh! You’re product’s vegan?! Non-GMO project? Awesome!) and falling short (Why not Organic? Why do you use unnecessary plastic packaging?).

And those good-ish eggs were on top of the fifteen booths I’d see in between who were nothing more than “All-Natural,” “Sustainable” BS.

We can blame it on the market demand, or maybe it’s a matter of cost, but the way I saw it, companies were compromising over and over again in order to get their product moved.

We have two options: do something, or do nothing.

Our future is set to be dire and dramatic—marked by extreme unpredictability, brutal droughts, drowning coastlines, rainforest and coral reef decimation, summer-warm winters, fish-free oceans, rampant wildfire, food deserts, disease, mass extinctions, refugee crises, economic turmoil, starvation, fear and subsequent, unrestrained violence.

(Before you furrow your brow with worried fears of, “Oh no! We can’t let this happen!” understand that it is already happening—right here, right now.)

We live in a time of crisis, and no one seems to care or even realize how serious climate change and our addiction to consumption really is.

Events like Natural Products Expo has such an opportunity to be on the vanguard of the sustainability movement! They could really drive regulations and help shape a new generation of truly Organic and sustainable food.

As it stands, the name alone allows so much wiggle room (“natural” means nothing more than “magical”) that products aren’t really held to any accountable standard.

I would really like to see some hard lines drawn by the expo committee as to what caliber of product is allowed to be touted about.

I digress, let’s get to the goodish parts:

I talked with Organic Valley about their awesome co-op model which has over 1500 members, nation-wide. Some of the farms have less than 10 cows, and they are all milked by hand, but most have just around or under 100.

An interesting fact I learned is that a whopping 30 percent of their farmers are actually Amish/Mennonite, which means they are committed to producing cows as close to nature as possible. Pretty amazing!

They have a new line of products which are 100 percent grass-fed cows. This means that the cows spend every single day out on pastureland, rather than a minimum 120 days required for the Organic label. I got to meet with one of the grassfed

These dairy products have higher naturally occurring Omega concentrations, too. So there’s no reason for added omegas, this means happy cows and happy people.

One thing that I respected about Organic Valley was the fact that they refused to label their other products as being grassfed, even though by Organic standards, the cows receive minimum 120 days on pasture per year. They said that it was misleading, and that if cows weren’t on pasture every day then it didn’t qualify in their eyes and would otherwise confuse consumers.

9:32 a.m.

A quiet start.

Yawn! It was daylight savings last night so we’re all going on an hour less of zzz’s—that said, it’s the last day here at Expo West and it seems like everyone’s sharing our sleepy sentiment.

Walking into the Marriott this morning, the mood had practically 180’d from last night’s vibrant (albeit overwhelming) feel. Quiet music played and the hallways were virtually void of people. Such a pleasant change from the hectic overstimulation of the past two days. I feel like I’ve aged five years.

Apparently no one really stays for today, so I’ll be interested to see what happens to all of the different booths—are they deconstructed and saved for next year? Are they trashed?

I’m excited to flesh out the Best of Expo West lists today, should have them up before tonight!

Cheers,

Emma

Missed day one? Two? Read ’em here:

Natural Products Expo West Day 1

Natural Products Expo West Day 2

For this weekend’s video update:

elephant journal does Expo West: Day Zero Videos!

Expo West Day 1: Which Companies have the most Integrity?

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Emma Ruffin  |  Contribution: 1,440