WXXI AM News

Organic

Wegmans

Wegmans is experimenting with new, heartier produce, and new ways of growing it, on over 200 acres of organic farmland and orchards, and they plan to pass that knowledge on to local farmers.

On the top of a hill, on a plot overlooking Canandaigua Lake, Wegmans Organic Farm and Orchard is growing 1800 cherry tomato plants. Some varieties are more popular than others.

Nate August, the farm's manager, pulls at a golf-ball sized Sakura tomato. He says customers haven't been wild about these bigger varieties. Turn out, people like tinier tomatoes.

Are environmental groups denying the real leading cause of the destruction of the planet? The makers of the film Cowspiracy say yes.

The local chapter of the Sierra Club is bringing in filmmaker Keegan Kuhn of Cowspiracy to talk about the role of animal agriculture in climate change. We talk to Kuhn, and we hear from others who are participating in a local event to focus on food, access, cost, and more. Our guests:

  • Keegan Kuhn, filmmaker
  • Peter Debes, chair of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club
  • Carly Fox, worker rights advocate

Local farms are uniting to bring more people into their CSAs. Soon enough, we'll see asparagus leading the spring crop, and CSAs will be in full swing.

Our panel explains how CSAs work, how they've grown, and we talk about how building community gives CSAs an opportunity to talk about a wide range of issues that impact farms. Those include why local food can be healthier for consumers as well as the environment, why teaching your kids where their food comes from is important, and what climate change is doing to local farms. Our guests:

The Good Food Collective started in 2009 and it’s aim was to link local farmers, specifically organic farms, with customers that may not otherwise find them. So did the venture work? They started with 100 customers. This season, they will have 1,600. What has led to their growth? We’ll ask Chris Hartman, president of the Good Food Collective.

Two new studies offer more details about organic food is, and what it is not. So is it worth spending more money on organic produce? What is the certification process for organic growing? What are the evidence-based health benefits? Why is Wegmans so supportive of organic? We discuss this with our panel:

Jane Andrews, Wegmans nutrition and product labeling manager
Denis Lepel, Lakestone Family Farm
Todd Lighthouse, Lighthouse Gardens
Anne Ruflin, Executive Director of the Northeastern Organic Farming Association of New York