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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/25/14

Searching For Organics and Non-GMOs at the Biggest Restaurant Show

a beautiful array of seafood
a beautiful array of seafood
(Image by rob kall)
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I was in Chicago. The Restaurant Show was in Chicago. I got a press pass and checked it out.

It's huge-- over 1800 exhibitors and some of them have really big exhibits. I believe it's the biggest restaurant trade show.

It's for the restaurant industry-- so exhibits ranged from bulk food, processed food, pots and pans and bio-degradable take out packaging to stoves, beer distillers, gelato, blenders, menu printers, billing software, waiting list buzzers, franchise consultants, basic grains and produce, did I mention beer distillers and gelato? I tried a dark pretzel beer served in pretzel cups and a lemon beer-- both delicious-- and I'm certain, non-organic.

I went with a few goals in mind-- to learn more about the state of organic and GMO food in the restaurant industry, to sample and savor some good food, to find some contacts for background and interviews. I had success on all fronts.

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Regarding the idea of organic foods in restaurants, my search was not that encouraging. There were a few dozen, maybe even fifty or sixty or eighty companies offering organic food, non-GMO food. Not all, maybe only 60-70% offered ALL their products as organic. They'd say that more complex foods with multiple ingredients are harder to get to meet Organic criteria. I got the impression that regulations produce more organic, more safe food in Canada. One supplier of organic bulk food to restaurants told me that about half a percent of restaurants offer organic food options and that you can expect the best chance of finding organic quick take out food. That's also been my experience-- wraps and sandwiches that can be taken out.

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There were between 50 and 100 booths that were offering one of or a combination of foods that were Organic, GMO free or gluten-free. There was a lot of free pizza sampling to indulge in.

I spoke to one farmer who had a booth that represented some 1600 organic farms in the Midwest. That's hopeful. One booth offered wild rice harvested by Native Americans in Minnesota-- now that seems like the most organic to me-- gathered rice-- downright indigenous.

One company offered a range of soft taco products. Some were organic. They offered some samples. They were delicious with veggie burgers, sliced tomato, lightly sauteed spinach or kale, a touch of hummus made in a blender and a bit of Siricha.

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I asked at all the booths if their products were organic. That got me thinking that I should be doing it at every restaurant. At least let the proprietors know that there's a demand. And at supermarkets we should be telling the managers that we want organic-- and thanking them for what organic items they are offering. If we don't let them know they won't even realize there's a bigger demand. I spoke at the March Against Monsanto Rally in Chicago and said the same thing-- after the rally, always ask at restaurants and grocery stores whether the food is GMO, whether it is organic.

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It was impressive and encouraging to learn that Bob's Red Mill company is employee owned-- that Bob, the 85 year old founder of the company gave the company to his employees.

It was nice to learn that many of the exhibitors who were showing food or giving away samples donated what food they had left to local food pantries and kitchens. More credit to them.

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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet (more...)

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