[Homeroast] GMO Coffee

Ryan M. Ward silvercro_magnon at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 21 01:22:44 CDT 2010


I completely agree with the spirit of your position. I feel similarly about credit unions. I avoid banks at all costs and try to do all of my business with credit unions (When appropriate- most credit unions make lousy stock brokers for independent traders like myself- so I trade through TD Ameritrade).

"It is, has been and really always will be up to us as individuals to 
make these changes that begin on a community level."

Beautifully stated!

"I tend to agree with Lynne that Big business is about and for 
big business. Not so with the small farmers."

As much as I would like to agree with this, I am not really willing to grant small farmers quite that much credit. I would love to believe this is true but I have known too many small businesses and local farmers that definitely do not have this mindset and are looking out for number one. I do agree in the sense that, at least in my experience, the bad apples are in the minority. I hope that this is true in general and transcends my personal experience.

I would also advocate for giving Big Agribusiness a little more credit for a couple of reasons (since I am affiliated with few large agribusinesses, I will make the assumption that large agribusinesses and large businesses in general share many of the traits I will outline- correct me on any of them):
1) Many large businesses have the means to, and do, give back to the community in significant way
2) Many large businesses do have ethical standards that they follow fairly uniformly with respect to the handling of their products- IE, because they can afford discard mistakes, they are less likely to try to cover up mistakes in their products and try to sell them anyway (This is very speculative on my part and is partially based on experience working for both large and small businesses and seeing how they handle errors- but again is speculative and a very generous use of my experience- again, my experience does NOT include large agribusinesses)
3) Any business is made up of people, if a business is run by good people with sound ethics, the business will run soundly and ethically- irrespective of size. I think the problem with big business is in accountability to shareholders who's sole interest is money and profit, there are a lot more people and thus a lot more chances to get a bad one in, and last- the stakes are higher, more money, more greed.
4) Usually, big businesses started out as small businesses. After all, Starbucks was a small coffee shop in Seattle when it opened. If we assume all big businesses are corrupt and greedy, we have to assume that small businesses generally have the potential to become corrupt and greedy as well by virtue of the fact that they have the potential to become big business. This does not suggest that they ARE corrupt or greedy- but it causes me to wonder when a growing small business is not longer good in the eyes of small business supporters.

The fundamental idea here, I think, is it boils down to the fundamental philosophies of any business and how well they adhere to such a philosophy- irrespective of size of company. 

-- 
Ryan M. Ward

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> Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 20:49:09 -0700
> From: theotherjo at gmail.com
> To: homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
> Subject: Re: [Homeroast] GMO Coffee
> 
> Rich,
> With all do respect, while you watch very carefully what "they" are doing. I
> will opt the a morphed version of your third option / or choice. Instead of
> doing it myself I am going out of my way to support and hopefully bring back
> the small farmers and food co-ops.
> Food Co-ops are in and affordable. These small local co-ops are popping up
> all over and I'm doing what I can to see this continues.
> It is, has been and really always will be up to us as individuals to make
> these changes that begin on a community level. I tend to agree with Lynne
> that Big business is about and for big business. Not so with the small
> farmers.
> As far as this discussion on this list. The politics of Coffee and food are
> very close indeed. I know Tom has all these concerns and issues on his mind
> when he sources some of the wonderful small lots for us.
> Joe
> 
> On Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 3:38 PM, Rich <rich-mail at octoxol.com> wrote:
> 
> > So, the possible choices are these, corporate control of the food supply,
> > government control of the food supply, or do it yourself and control your
> > own food supply.  The corporation has to make money for the stockholders by
> > being profitable and selling/making unsafe products does not long produce an
> > income.  Government can fix nothing and its too much bother to do it
> > yourself.  There is way to much junk pseudo science out in the wild now.
> >  With the swarm of ever present lawyers ready to sue at the drop of a seed I
> > will trust agribusiness to be very careful and responsible.  While very
> > carefully watching what they are doing.
> >
> >
> > Sheila Quinn wrote:
> >
> >> I could go on and on about this subject, but I'm restraining myself. I
> >> will say, though, that I highly recommend the film "The Future of Food" for
> >> an honest look at some of the problems with GMO and with corporations
> >> controlling our food supply. It's a real eye opener, to say the least. You
> >> can watch it for free on Hulu:
> >>
> >> http://www.hulu.com/watch/67878/the-future-of-food
> >>
> >> There's another good one you can rent on DVD called "Food Inc." It deals
> >> with some of the same issues, as well as other problems with the food
> >> industry.
> >>
> >> Sheila
> >>
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> 
> 
> -- 
> Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.
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