Happy Birthday L'Oca d'Oro. Below is the toast from our event last night:

I want to thank all of you who came out tonight and I want to thank all the folks who contributed to the evening, the many donors to the silent auction, Banner distilling, Susto Mezcal & Goodnight Loving Vodka for making Eva & Elena’s amazing cocktails possible and Chefs Michael Fojtasek, Fermin Nunez, Sarah Heard & Nathan Lemley & Mari Soto.  If you haven’t been to Olamaie, Suerte, Foreign & Domestic under new management, or Sweet Ritual, you need to make that happen.  

Speaking to you today, I’m so grateful that we have formed relationships with friends and colleagues who support each other and who we can celebrate with, because you can not successfully run a small business in America today on your own. I saw firsthand over this last year, in court and at the Capitol, the forces lined up against us – the larger corporations, their trade associations who claim to speak for all business and the politicians who are friendly to their cause. What has kept us willing and able to do business in a way that is healthy for us, our employees and our community is the idea of Good Work Austin.

GWA started as a group of businesses working with City Council to write a paid leave ordinance that would be a progressive benefit for workers and not overly burdensome on business. We continued to work together recognizing that to achieve bigger goals, we would need to formalize this association.  Good Work Austin is now a 501c3 and by the end of the year we will have completed a unique website complete with support and resources for businesses looking to eliminate waste, source locally, reduce utilities consumption, transition to Open Books management and One Fair wage. All of this in ways that will be helpful to their businesses’ culture and their bottom line.  GWA will provide inexpensive access to direct primary care and a cost sharing community as well as mental health & wellness benefits with Capital Area Counseling, based on a system that HAAM has already set up for Central TX musicians. GWA will advocate for rewards and incentives for its members to create upward pressure on the folks who are doing the bare minimum to support their workers and our community and for legislation to level the playing field.  Finally, GWA will aggressively promote its members and help to educate consumers about our values and the benefit that GWA businesses provide to Austin. 

In 5 years, we imagine Good Works in Dallas, Houston & San Antonio changing the way Texas does business, and, what’s maybe even more important, ensuring that no small business has to face this struggle alone. 

Thank you again and Happy Birthday to my best friend and business partner, Fiore & L’Oca d’Oro!

"It’s not hard to see why organic food is expensive. Farmers have to price the organic carrots to reflect the cost of production in a world designed for them to fail. In the checkout aisle, we wince. A consensus is reached: Organic carrots are a noble idea but not a practical one to feed our growing population.

And yet, these ingredients could be a lot more practical and affordable if they received more than a sliver of research and development investment. From 1996 to 2018, funding for public organic plant breeding totaled $27.5 million. I’m reminded of a multinational seed company executive who once boasted that his company invested a million dollars a day in corn seed research. A million dollars a day! In 27 days he would blow through 22 years of public organic seed investment.

Imagine the advances an organic vegetable breeder could make with a fraction of that."

Here is a link to Barber, chef at Blue Hill in New York and Future of Food Genius. This is the "race" issue of climate change, health care, job growth, immigration. You name it. The way we treat our food supply - mechanize it, homogenize it and sell it to the highest bidder so we can have the cheapest commodities on the shelves and the highest profits on Wall Street touches so many of our "hot button" topics.

Can we talk about immigration and undocumented immigrants without talking about who makes up the agriculture work force? Can we talk about pollution without talking about the thinning of top soil, drainage of fertilizers and feces, methane produced by overcrowded feedlots? Can we talk about health care without discussing food that lacks nutritional value because it's been grown in over-fertilized soil? Can we talk about jobs and rural america without talking about the lack of subsidies available for family farmers to grow organically and sell locally?

Can we talk about anti-trust laws or money in politics without discussing that the biggest pesticide companies are allowed to become the biggest seed companies? This is not just the way it's always been. This is recent and we can do better.

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