Saturday Food Chain

Every Saturday morning, from 9 to 10 a.m, join KSCO's Michael Olson for a discussion on local farm and agriculture issues.




Michael Olson produced, wrote and/or photographed feature-length news for a variety of media, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner newspapers, Skiing and Small Space Gardening magazines,NBC, ABC, Australian Broadcast Commission, and KQED Public Television networks. His production and photography helped win a National Emmy nomination for NBC Magazine with David Brinkley. Olson is the author of MetroFarm, the Ben Franklin Book of the Year Finalist and Executive Producer and Host of the syndicated Saturday Food Chain radiotalk show, which received the Ag/News Show of the Year Award from the California Legislature. He recently authored Tales from a Tin Can, which is the oral-history of a World War II US Navy destroyer that earned a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly.

Business Person

Olson designed, blended and packaged a fertilizer for container-grown house and garden plants; certified and registered the product as a “specialty fertilizer” with the State of California; and sold the product to the national lawn and garden market. Olson has over two decades of broadcast media management and, as General Manager of newstalk radio stations KSCO & KOMY in Santa Cruz, California, has helped hundreds of locally-owned businesses compete against national chains. Olson is currently a partner in the MO MultiMedia Group of Santa Cruz, California.

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Should any food be labeled “Natural”?

Guest:  Stephen Gardner, Director of Litigation Center for Science in the Public Interest

It is a food selling $40 billion a year, but there is really nothing to it but a suggestion that really doesn’t mean anything.

Many of the foods once labeled “Natural,” like Goldfish crackers, Naked juice, and Silk soy drink, are now shedding the label to become, well, whatever is next!

Consider, for example, Silk, a milk-like drink made from soy.  Silk was introduced as an “organic” food in 1996 by the White Wave Company at the Natural Foods Expo in Anaheim.   In 2002, White Wave was purchased by Dean Foods, and by 2005 the organic drink was generating sales in of $350 million a year.  In 2009, Dean switched from organic soybeans to conventional beans, and Organic Silk became Natural Silk.  Today, Silk is just Silk. 

One of the reasons food and drink companies, like Dean, PepsiCo, and Campbell Soup are shedding the natural label is to avoid an avalanche of lawsuits alleging false advertising.  According to a recent post in the Wall Street Journal, at least 100 lawsuits have been filed in the past two years “challenging the natural claims of Unilever PLC’s Ben & Jerry’s, Kellog Co.’s Kashi, Beam Inc.’s Skinnygirl alcohol drinks and dozens of other brands.

These lawsuits lead us to ask…

Why do consumers spend $40 billion a year on the suggestion of natural? 

Why are some trying to litigate foods labeled natural off the shelf?

Comment (0) Hits: 83

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Food Chain Radio News
            Food Chain Radio Host Michael Olson
            Urban Farming Agriculturalist

Can we learn to cook, eat and live with abandon?
Guest:  Karen Karbo, Author Julia Child’s Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life

At six foot three inches, she was taller than most men, not particularly pretty, and had a voice like a cartoon character.

Some say she was a Che Guevera armed with a pound of butter and a sauce pan.  Maybe so, but she was not born the revolutionary of cooking, eating, and living.

In fact, she was born into a straight-laced family, a formica kitchen, tv dinners, and oh yes, golf at the country club.  Then war came and everything changed for Julia.  She found herself working intelligence in Asia, where she met a man named Paul Childs.  After the war, she became Julia Childs, and the Childs ran off to Paris, where Paul took her to dine at a favorite restaurant. That meal marked the birth of Julia Childs, revolutionary.

Julia Childs’ kitchen revolution leads us to ask…

Can we, too, learn how to cook, eat, and live with abandon?

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