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Tiffany Traynum’s Blog

NRDC Back in Bloom: New Beginnings, New Life...New Growing Green Foodies to Honor!

Tiffany Traynum

Posted March 26, 2014

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Spring Meme.pngSpring is the season when the world shakes off its winter hibernation and reveals new life. Flowers bloom; fabrics get lighter and brighter; birds chirp hello; we feast, dance and ‘Spring Break’; and much needed April Showers’ feed a thirsty earth and hydrate growing buds. It’s a time of renewal and a great time to get closer to nature and the natural cycle it follows.  The same notion applies at NRDC. The clouds dissipate, the sun comes out, and we begin to seeing the fruits of our hard labor. Then it’s party time!

Late last year we released the NRDC/Harvard ‘Dating Game’ food labels report.  We continue to see it capture interest way’s we never could have imagined. NBC Dateline, TIME, FORBES; the train hasn’t stopped since. You mean those food labels we rely on mean very little?? No way! That one report has gone a long way in terms of how we the consumer connect those confusing labels the food waste problem in our country. Now there are even restaurants looking to open with the words ‘expired’ printed right on their front door. Our little seed blossomed into a full grown garden of reduce food waste advocates.

Also, last winter, we began an antibiotics fight against its overuse in agriculture. We’ve cultivated our message (Stop Superbugs!), planted the seeds with the release of our ‘Playing Chicken with Antibiotics’ report, and now continue to feed and water the campaign as it grows;  and hopefully blooms into an FDA enforced antibiotics-use safety guideline to improve livestock conditions and protect human health.

Now – in the midst of this season rejuvenation – NRDC, along with the Berkeley Food Institute, is busy preparing to celebrate our sixth Growing Green Awards. Why are these are awards so important? Because amongst all of the food date label confusion, chicken making us sick, drought-like conditions causing strain on farmers, and the dwindling honeybee population , we need reasons to rejoice! Also, because we want to elevate and celebrate the innovators who are doing things in harmony with nature to demonstrate to others in the food industry that a) everyone is paying attention and b) good food practices can be replicated.

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This year we hit refresh with a new panel of well-seasoned food judges and a new category of Pollinator Protector – a practitioner, advocate or scientist who has raised public attention to the critical loss of pollinators in the U.S. and has either implemented significant actions to protect or enhance pollinators, or marshalled action to win government or industry support to preserve them. The other categories have been modified to Sustainable Food and Farm Educator, Sustainable Livestock Producer, and Regional Food Leader. We received over 200 nominations (that blew our socks off!) and now that we’ve selected out winners…we’re traveling the country visiting with them and checking out the amazing food operations that made them Growing Green worthy. If you haven’t met the GGA past winners, it’s not too late to familiarize yourself (check last year’s gorgeous video) -- as they pioneered the way, continuing to inspire and enforce good food practices in their communities and across the country.

Springtime brings change that feels good to all our senses. So eat, sing, play, dance and let the light shine in. Now that it’s a growing season, there’s a bounty of things we can celebrate!

Better Farming + Better Food = Healthy Families, Healthy Communities, Healthy Planet. Join us @NRDCFood Twitter and Facebook.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

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