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How to Buy a House
How to
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Step-by-step guide for first-time homebuyers.

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The rise and breakup of the world's greatest piano pop band.

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How to Save Electricity

Everything you wanna know. Shows you exactly how much you can save.

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The Military Budget as Cookies

This excellent animation from TrueMajority shows in graphic detail (using Oreo cookies) how ridiculously, large the military budget is, and how we could solve many domestic problems with a modest 12% cut. A must-see. (watch it now)


Natural Foods & Sustainable Agriculture Companies

Juices: CBRYA.ob, HANS
Vegetarian/Vegan: GXY, GBUR.ob, HAIN, TOF
Grocery Stores: OATS, WFMI

J u i c e s

CBRYA.ob -- Northland Cranberries

In 1993, this company, which is the largest cranberry grower in the world, broke away from Ocean Spray's vast cooperative. Unlike Ocean Spray, whose products are about 27% juice, Northland's are 100%. Since most taste buds cannot tolerate pure cranberry, Northland mixes it with gentler flavors like apple, grape, and pear. Recent stuudies have shown that cranberry juice reduces the risk of urinary tract infections in women, and some believe that it may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. (from GMOG, 6-98)

HANS - Hansen Natural Corp.

Hansen Natural Corp. markets, sells and distributes alternative beverage category sodas, fruit juices, fruit juice Smoothies, ready-to-drink iced teas, lemonades, juice cocktails, functional drinks and still water. (from Yahoo!, 6-98)

V e g e t a r i a n ./. V e g a n

GXY - Galaxy Nutritional Foods

Makes soy & rice cheese, soy & rice butter, soy/rice/oat milk, and tofu cold cuts. Most alternative cheeses are not completely non-dairy, since most contain casein, a milk protein. (Galaxy's are 25% casein.) However, Galaxy also makes Soymage, which is 100% vegan and dairy-free. Galaxy's home page says that Soymage is free of rennet (calf or goat stomach, commonly used in regular dairy cheese), but does not say whether its soy & rice cheeses contain animal rennet or not. (MBJ, 11-98)

  GBUR - Gardenburger, Inc.

Makes vegetarian food products. Its chief competitors are Boca Burger, owned by Philip Morris/Kraft, and Morningstar Farms, owned by Kraft. (MBJ 10-00)

Note: In 1992, the Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United launched a nationwide boycott against NORPAC Foods for violations of farmworkers' rights. In 1996, the boycott was expanded to include Gardenburger, for continuing to use NORPAC as one of its distributors. In 4/99, GardenBurger agreed to stop using NORPAC, and the boycott against Gardenburger was dropped. During the boycott, Gardenburger never bothered to post any kind of explanation or defense on its web page. (MBJ, 4-99)

  HAIN - Hain Food Group

HAIN sells, markets, and distributes a full line of natural foods, cooking oils, medically directed snacks, low sodium food products, kosher foods and snack and dry milk products. [MBJ's note: Not all of Hain's products are vegetarian; for example, they make soups with chicken.] (11-98) 

In March 2000, Hain acquired Celestial Seasonings, a tea maker. See "Other Companies" below for more on Celestial Seasonings. Hain also owns Health Valley, Westbrae Natural, Westsoy, Arrowhead Mills, Yves Veggie Cuisine, Earth's Best Baby Food, Casbah (soup in a cup), Breadshop, Bearitos, and many others. In fact they've been swallowing up small natural foods companies at an alarming rate. According to this article, Heinz owns 20% of HAIN.

Hain is now a big enough player that their biggest investor is Wellington Management, whose primary investors include Exxon Mobil, Pfizer, Alcoa, Gillette, Pepi, McDonald's, and Wal-Mart! Who would have guessed? (MBJ, 6-2004)

TOF - Tofutti Brands

Tofutti makes non-dairy ice creams, desserts, cookies, cream cheese, and other soya-based products. (MBJ, 11-98)

G r o c e r y . S t o r e s

OATS - Wild Oats Markets

Wild Oats Markets, Inc. is a natural foods supermarket chain with operations located throughout North America. The Company also operates bakeries, commissary kitchens, and warehouses that supply the retail stores. As of March 8, 1999, the Company operated 67 stores under the names Wild Oats Community Market, Alfalfa's Market, Beans, Grains & Things, Ideal Market, Oasis Fine Foods, Sunshine Grocery and Uptown Whole Foods in 18 states. (AZ, CA, CO, FL, IL, IN, KS, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, TN, TX, UT) The Company also operates stores and under the name Capers Whole Foods Markets in British Columbia, Canada. (from Yahoo!, 1-00)

WFMI - Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods is a chain of natural foods supermarkets. It also direct-markets nutritional supplements.  Many will be surprised to learn that WFM has been criticized on a number of fronts, including illegal union busting (for which they were fined), aggressive monopolization, selling dangerous food, misleading customers about whether their produce is locally-sourced, failure to support farmworkers, obfuscating executive compensation, and more. Here's a page detailing criticism of Whole Foods. (MBJ, 2011)

O t h e r

GMCR - Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

GMCR is primarily engaged in the specialty coffee industry. It roasts over 25 high-quality arabica coffees to produce over 60 varieties of coffee, which it sells through a coordinated multi-channel distribution network in its wholesale and direct-mail operations. The direct-mail operations are comprised of all consumer-direct sales and sales to small businesses, which are solicited via catalogs and the Company's online store. (Yahoo!, 6-01) GMCR has an amazingly detailed section about its social responsibility on its website.

PSTA - Monterey Pasta Company

Monterey Pasta Company produces and markets premium quality gourmet pasta and pasta sauces. (Yahoo!, 11-98)

SJM - J. M. Smucker Co.

The J.M. Smucker Co. manufactures and markets food products such as fruit spreads, dessert toppings, syrup, juice beverages, condiments, and gift packages. [MBJ's note: Their products aren't particularly "natural", except for their "Simply Fruit" line, which is all fruit and no sugar.] (11-98)

SPOP.OB - Spectrum Organic Products

Spectrum (formerly Organic Food Products, "OFPI") is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of pesticide-free and preservative-free pasta sauces, salsas and condiments under the brand names ``Garden Valley Naturals'' and ``Parrot''. (Yahoo!, 11-98)

UNFI - United Natural Foods

United Natural Foods is an independent national distributor of natural foods and related products in the United States. (Yahoo!, 11-98)

VPS - Vermont Pure Holdings

Vermont Pure Holdings Ltd. markets and distributes natural spring water under the Vermont Pure and Hidden Spring brands to the retail consumer and home/office markets. In conjunction with the home/office accounts, the Company also distributes a variety of coffee, tea and other hot beverage products and related supplies. The Company rents or supplies multi-burner coffee machines to customers. In addition, the Company supplies whole beans and coffee grinders for fresh ground coffee, as well as cappuccino machines to restaurants. (Yahoo!, 2-01) 

VRFT - Vitafort International Corp.

Vitafort is engaged in the formulation and marketing of fat free and low fat bakery snacks based upon the Company's proprietary formulas, processes, procedures and technologies. (Yahoo!, 11-98)

Not Applicable

Dairy Companies

I don't list companies specializing in dairy products, because such products are harmful to human health, their production causes an unacceptable environmental impact, and in most cases, their production involves a significant amount of animal suffering. Such companies should be obviously unattractive to the serious socially-responsible investor. [order a book on this topic]

Even "organic" milk can just be greenwashing. As the Organic Consumers Association wrote in June 2006:

The Organic Consumers Association's (OCA) call for a boycott of Horizon and Aurora organic milk is resonating among consumers across the country and generating significant media coverage. Horizon Organic (owned by food giant Dean Foods) and Aurora are currently taking advantage of loopholes in organic regulations by purchasing the majority of their milk from intensive confinement dairy feedlots where the cows have little or no access to pasture. At their recent shareholders meeting in Dallas, Dean Foods executives expressed alarm over the public relations and investor fallout they are currently facing. (more...)

BBAR - Balance Bar

[In March 2000, Balance Bar Company was acquired by Kraft Foods, and is no longer traded separately.] Makes "nutritional" snack bars. They're not particularly nutritious, containing far too much fat and protein (30% each). Also be warned that as of 11/98, their website was overloaded and painfully slow to load. (MBJ, 11-98)

CTEA - Celestial Seasonings, Inc.

[In March 2000, Celestial merged with Hain Food Group (HAIN), and is no longer be traded under its own symbol. The name of the new, combined company, Hain Celestial Group, is traded under HAIN.] Based in Boulder, CO, Celestial Seasonings is the largest herbal tea manufacturer in the U.S., with a 51% market share. The company produces 50 varieties of tea that are sold in supermarkets, grocery stores, and natural food markets. One of our favorite things about this company is that Celestial Seasonings is known for its environmentally friendly packaging, which unlike most manufactured tea packaging does not include staples or chlorine-bleached paper. The company also uses a carbon dioxide process as an environmentally safe alternative to chemical fumigants and insecticides for its raw materials. We feel that Celestial Seasonings' environmentally conscious business practices provide a positive example for other corporations. Another positive aspect of this company that we have seen is its concern for maintaining the diversity and equity of its workforce. In recognition of this, Celestial was mentioned in the book The 100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians, for its practices of promoting acceptance and tolerance in the workplace for employees of all sexual orientations. The bad news: "Rocky Mountain Animal Defense has temporarily suspended a boycott of Celestial Seasonings products that began as a result of the company's poisoning of black-tailed prairie dogs on its property in Boulder, Colorado. Representatives of both groups met on May 25, with Celestial Seasonings agreeing to demands and helping to draft a preliminary action plan for the tea company's future prairie dog management policy. Beyond its promises not to kill or relocate any more animals, Celestial Seasonings also established an Environmental Grant program offering financial backing and volunteer work to environmental groups, and will include information regarding the value of prairie dogs in its company tours and consumer relations efforts. RMAD was pleased with the negotiations, but will only lift the boycott permanently when the company pledges to ban all commercial development on its 35 acres." -- from The Animals Agenda magazine, July/August 1999, p. 6

Hawaiian Natural Water

[Sold to Amcon in Dec. 2001. Here's Amcon's profile.] Hawaiian Natural Water Company is engaged in the bottling, marketing and distribution of Hawaiian natural water in the Hawaii, United States mainland and foreign markets. (Yahoo!, 11-98)

 ODWA - Odwalla Inc.

[In Dec. 2001, Odwalla was purchased by Coca-Cola, and ceased to be traded separately.] In May 2000, Odwalla merged with Fresh Samantha, but retained its name and stock symbol. Odwalla supplies fresh-squeezed and nutritionally fortified juices and smoothies in the Western U.S. and also offers meal-replacement beverages and spring water. (from Yahoo!, 6-98) In late 1996, several people were hospitalized and one child died from drinking Odwalla juice contaminated with E.coli. Pasteurization could have prevented the E.coli contamination, but Odwalla didn't pasteurize its juices because pasteurization removes nutrients and worsens taste. In its defense, no serious illness had ever previously been linked to lack of pasteurization in fruit juices, so it was not clear before now that pasteurization of fruit juices was important. In addition, before this incident, E.coli contamination was almost exclusively limited to animal foods. The New York Times charged that Odwalla used rotten fruit, which Odwalla denies. Odwalla also says that even perfect-looking fruit can harbor E.coli, so even the non-use of rotten fruit might not have prevented the E.coli contamination (if rotten fruit had been used at all). In any event, Odwalla now "flash-pasteurizes" its juice, and has been aggressive in establishing industry-wide safety standards. (by MBJ, 6-98) 

TOGA - Saratoga Beverage Company.

[Saratoga was acquired by North Castle Partners in June 2000, and is no longer traded separately. I couldn't find a stock symbol for North Castle.] Markets natural spring water, purified water, and organic, fresh unpasteurized juices. Certified as an "official certified organic processor". Merged in 2-99 with the Fresh Juice Company (formerly FRSH), which is now a subsidiary. Also owns Hansen Natural Corp. (see above). (MBJ & company web page, 4-99)

WFDS - Worthington Foods

[Worthington was bought by Kellogg's in November 1999 and is no longer traded separately.] Based in Worthington, OH, Worthington Foods develops, produces and markets high-quality vegetarian and egg substitute food products. The company has more than 150 products and is one of the largest independent producers of healthier alternatives to meat, egg and dairy products. For more than 50 years, Worthington has produced meat alternative products which simulate the taste and texture of meat and which are made primarily from soy and wheat proteins. Since the 1970s, the company has produced egg substitute products made primarily from liquid egg whites. Company brand names include Loma Linda, Natural Touch, and Morningstar Farms, which produces Scramblers and Better'n Eggs egg substitutes, as well as the ground meat substitute called "Ground Meatless."


Notes about other food companies

Horizon Dairy. "...The Organic Consumers Association called on consumers to boycott dairy companies like Horizon and Aurora for their practice of raising 'organic' cattle on intensive confinement feedlots. A number of natural food stores and co-ops across the U.S. are beginning to respond to concerned consumers and removing suspect dairy products from their stores. The Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the second largest co-op in the U.S., no longer carries Horizon products. In Colorado, the Boulder Co-op Market, has also discontinued stocking Horizon products." (Organic Consumers, May 2006)  

Silk / Dean Foods. "Dean Foods, Horizon's parent company, is also starting to come under fire for abandoning U.S. organic soybean farmers and importing cheap soybeans from China, where organic standards are dubious, and farm labor wages and conditions are abysmal. Dean Foods now controls the nation's largest organic soymilk brand, Silk, as well as the largest organic tofu brand, White Wave."  (Organic Consumers, May 2006)

Starbucks. "Despite years of grassroots pressure, Starbucks continues to serve milk from cows that are injected with Monsanto's controversial genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone, also known as rBGH or rBST. Virtually every industrial country, except for the United States, has banned the use of rBGH. Milk produced from cows injected with rBGH poses serious hazards to human health, including increased risks for cancer. The time has come to kick rBGH off the market, once and for all. If Starbucks, a major buyer of milk, were to ban rBGH dairy products in its coffee beverages other major corporations would likely do the same." (Organic Consumers, May 2006)

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