“Albert’s Organics is pleased to announce the opening of two new distribution centers; one in New Jersey and one in Colorado,” said Simcha Weinstein, director of marketing for the leading national distributor of organic products headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA. “The new warehouses will replace our existing warehouses currently located in Bridgeport, New Jersey, and in Aurora, Colorado. These new facilities will allow us to provide greater service to our customers in both the greater Rocky Mountain region as well as on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic East Coast areas.”
The new address for Albert’s Organics’ New Jersey is 1155 Commerce Boulevard in Logan Township. The new facility for its Denver division is 17901 E. 49 Avenue in Aurora.
Weinstein noted that as the locally grown movement becomes more popular, and because the media tends to discuss it alongside organics, there is a tendency for the two to become confused.
“It’s not at all an uncommon assumption for shoppers to believe that food that is grown locally is also organic,” he said. “This is a huge perception problem and one that is easily confounded by the fact that so much of the food you see at local farmers markets is labeled as organic.
“But as we all know, organic and local are not the same,” he continued. “Just because something is grown locally does not mean that it is raised using organic farming methods. This confusion is significant.”
He pointed out that when presented as a choice between organic or local, the sustainability options are not as distinct as they initially seem. For example, in theory, locally grown foods have traveled shorter distances and thus represent less fuel use and lower carbon emissions.
“In short, this products’ carbon footprint is smaller,” said Weinstein. “But this is not as clear an issue as it seems. Consider your average farmers market is supplied by dozens of different farms, each one transporting its own crops to market in a separate truck or van. As a shopper, after finishing your rounds at the market, your shopping basket may reflect far more road miles than you would think, weighing the fact that farmers rarely carpool.”
And, he noted, transportation accounts for less than one-tenth of a product’s greenhouse emissions, while the actual production of certain foods can do far more damage to the environment. This is where organic farming shows its advantage in sustainability.
“Scientists have shown that organic farming methods pull carbon out of the atmosphere in the form of CO2,” said Weinstein. “Soil carbon sequestration, or soil storage, is the process of moving CO2 from the atmosphere into the soil, where it can no longer contribute to the warming of our planet. Well cared for soil actually grabs carbon out of the atmosphere and brings into the soil, where in addition to reducing the carbon in the atmosphere, it also provides huge benefits to the health of our soil and therefore to our food.”
While he said that none of this is meant as an attack against eating locally, it does point out the false choice of pitting local versus organic. The ideal food system is to find food that is both local and organic.
“I see both local and organic becoming increasingly more important to our overall food system,” Weinstein added. “Both have grown significantly in the past 10 years, with local being particularly strong during the past five years. It’s important to keep in mind that both organic and local are methods for how we deliver our food system. Neither should ultimately be seen as an end unto themselves.”
As both trends are still relatively new, Weinstein feels that ultimately the endgame, when viewing the food system, should be to feed as many people as possible with the healthiest food, employing the most sustainable food system possible.
“Over 10 million Americans go to bed each night underfed,” he said. “We must come to terms with not only how to take advantage of growing organically and distributing sustainably, but also on how we can effectively feed a larger portion of our population.”