Nell Newman

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Nell On Earth: An interview with Nell Newman, creator of Newman’s Own Organics

An enlightening interview on Grist.com about the business of organics, but what’s up with her answer to “are you vegetarian?”:

I was a vegetarian for three years as a kid. Now I am a “flexitarian.” My friends say it’s a PC name for hypocrite. I eat a little bit of everything. Ninety percent of what I eat is organic, and any meat I buy is organic, but when I go out to dinner, I don’t always investigate the ingredients. I don’t say no when I go to a friend’s for dinner and they’ve prepared a non-organic meal.

Isn’t she answering two totally separate questions there?

That aside, Nell’s got some interesting things to say about big business/mainstream organics:

Oh, it’s good that someone’s mainstreaming this industry. Adopting big-business practices is one thing, and adopting agribusiness practices that would dilute the meaning of organic is another. On the whole, I think we’re doing a pretty good job of preserving the integrity of organic foods.

As for business practices, you have to be realistic. Even running a small organics company, I’ve got constraints. I would love to not have to ship anything and use nasty packaging, but you know what, that’s not a reality. You want to do everything regionally, and just support local small farmers regionally, and then you find out there are no good pretzel manufacturers anywhere on the West Coast, so you have to make your pretzels on the East Coast and ship them. So you do as best you can, but most of the time, it’s difficult to have those high ideals and stick to them, in terms of how you produce stuff. People would love us to put our pretzels in wax paper, but would they really like it when they bought a stale pretzel? It’s a very difficult balance.

2 Responses to “Nell Newman”

  1. Anni G.

    Nell’s answer regarding being a vegetarian is cogent and heartening.

  2. ryan

    You’re kidding, right?

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