Christine Koh

Hello!

I'm Christine Koh, a music and brain neuroscientist turned multimedia creative. I'm the founder + editor of Boston Mamas, co-author of Minimalist Parenting, co-host of the Edit Your Life podcast, and creative director at Women Online. Drop me a line; I'd love to chat about how we can work together!

Small Acts & Good Food

YoBabyMeals.pngYesterday I was honored to speak about organic living alongside Stonyfield Farm CE-Yo Gary Hirshberg at a media event for YoBaby Meals at the Boston Children's Museum. And I couldn’t stop thinking about two things: 1) how small acts truly can lead to big changes; and 2) that grownups deserve good food too. I’ll address each of these issues in turn. And at the conclusion, you can learn how to win one of two Stonyfield Farm goodie bags to help you get your organic mojo running.

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Gary Hirshberg is one of the friendliest, least intimidating CEOs (in Stonyfield yogurt land, he’s the CE-Yo) I’ve ever met. We’re different in that he’s an organics pioneer (he founded Stonyfield 26 years ago) and I’m a consumer (an organic devotee of over 10 years), but what was clear to me at the event was that we’re the same in our beliefs about the importance of small acts, and that grownups deserve to eat just as well as babies do.

Small Acts Can Lead To Big Change.

There’s no question that Americans are amidst a food crisis; people are consuming high volumes of cheap, chemical and filler laden food – which Gary pointed out isn’t even really food – and suffering the effects down the road. And while this seems like a daunting tide to turn, Gary made the excellent point that it took a lot of small and gradual steps to get us into this mess, which means that we also can take a lot of small and gradual steps to get out of the mess. He suggested speaking up as a consumer in two ways. First, by purchasing organic, as much as you are able. Gary pointed out the power of collective buying, even in a small amount, such that if everyone bought one single organic item tomorrow – something as small as an apple or carrot even – this equals billions of dollars in buying power that can create change. Second, he recommended making your voice heard at your favorite grocery store’s customer service desk to request organics and specific products; that stores are listening because they want to be able to give customers what they want in order to get them in the door.

I have shared a lot of tips about making green changes here on Boston Mamas; always with the belief that small acts matter enormously – on personal, community, and global levels – and that all of these acts are interrelated. In addition to describing small changes people can make (e.g., shopping organic, making food from scratch, supporting companies that package their goods responsibly, picking up litter and recyclables on the street, carrying home recyclables when a recycling bin isn’t available, etc.), I also discussed how those smaller decisions can impact larger ones, such as our (initially challenging) choice to remain a one-car family, which allows us to live greener, reduce household maintenance, and free up dollars so we can afford to buy organic food, textiles, and so forth.

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Grownups Deserve Good Food Too.

Gary and I both touched on the fact that organics often come on people’s radar when babies enter the picture. I also have seen many instances where families prioritize so that their babies and kids eat organics, but they – the grownups – do not. But grownups deserve good food too.

stonyfield_placesetting.jpgIn addition to talking about the organic landscape, the event served to introduce folks to YoBaby Meals, which is Stonyfield’s new organic line of yogurts mixed with fruits and vegetables. Even though I used to mix Laurel’s fruit and veggie baby purees, I have to admit that when I first heard about this three-way combination, I thought, “Really? That sounds a little weird.” And of course when I mentioned it to Jon and Laurel they kept making up flavors such as broccoli & banana yogurt and brussels sprout & kiwi yogurt.

I subsequently was surprised during the testing. Stonyfield currently offers three flavors: Pear & Green Bean, Peach & Squash, and Apple & Sweet Potato, and they are all super yummy. For real. It’s nothing like the experience of tasting some jarred baby foods, where – in my opinion – they’re a little bland and bizarre (no wonder Laurel refused jarred foods after many months of home purees). With each flavor, you catch just a hint of the veggies, but otherwise, the predominant taste is fruity yogurt (though, thankfully, not sickeningly sweet fruity yogurt). Of the three flavors I was surprised that Pear & Green Bean – the flavor I thought would be really weird given that it includes a green vegetable – was my favorite. Laurel tasted this flavor at breakfast today and loved it; she didn’t detect any vegetables (and yes, I did tell her in advance that there were green beans in the yogurt) and stated that it just tasted like pears and honey. Yum.

The reality is that as an organic devotee my family eats well. But given that Laurel and I aren’t wild about drinking milk (unless there’s chocolate in it), we both could use the calcium hit, and a dose of fruits and veggies wouldn’t hurt either. So yes, not only am I totally on the YoBaby Meals train for Laurel (she will not touch green beans in their original form), but I’m also going to buy them for me. Maybe Stonyfield should rebrand this product as YoFamily Meals. And probably also make bigger cartons.

Tasting these yogurts and engaging in the organic dialog with Gary and the audience really made me think about how parents – in food and so many other practices – tend to put their kids first. But it shouldn’t be that way. As Gary pointed out, we’re all former babies. Grownups deserve good food too.

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Image credits: 1st image from Stonyfield Farm; 2nd and 3rd images by Bill Brett of the Boston Globe; see also this photo in today's Boston.com Lifestyle section.

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Congrats to winners Sarah & Debra!
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Now, want to be one of two lucky readers to win a Stonyfield goodie bag? Here's how:

  • Click over to the Stonyfield Farm store locator page, then email contests@bostonmamas.com (with ‘Stonyfield’ in the subject), and name a store near you where you can find Stonyfield products.

  • One entry permitted per person; US entrants welcome to enter.

  • Entry period closes at midnight EST, Tuesday, September 22, 2009.

    *The Stonyfield goodie bag includes a Hamilton Beach single-serve blender, ECOBAGS classic string tote, Eric Carle Up, Up I Go growth chart, household goodies (lidded snack bowl, storage container, spatula, baby bib, chapstick), and assorted recipes, coupons, and organic living literature. All in a sturdy canvas Stonyfield tote. (Approximate value = $65)


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