SYNTHETIC VS ORGANIC
President, Good Earth Natural Foods
Mark Squire came to California in the late 60s as an idealistic 17-year-old food activist. His conviction that we needed to change our agriculture away from pesticide dependence and our diets back to a more natural one lead him to Good Earth Natural Foods where he has worked continually for the last 48 years.
When Good Earth began in 1969 the concept of a Natural Food store was a new one and the number of organic farms in California could be counted on one hand. Good Earth became a leader in developing this new organic market.
As studies are now showing that Organic food production is quantitatively better for our health, Good Earth’s early food idealism is daily being proven to be a very practical solution to the health crisis our communities face. Since Agriculture is one of the top polluting industries on the planet, and organic agriculture has proved that we can “just say no to pesticides”, organics is one of the great environmental success stories of our time as well. Good Earth’s early commitment to making that vision real led Mark to start working with the early pioneers of organic farming during the 80s. Together they created California Certified Organic Farmers, which developed the first standards for organic farming, standards that still form the foundation of our USDA National organic program. During the 90s Mark served on the board of directors of OCIA, which at that time was the largest organic certifier worldwide and which developed organic standards for organic processing.
Always vigilant to keep sustainability real and to protect local food systems, Good Earth was the hub of Marin’s 2004 voter initiative, which banned the cultivation of Genetically Modified Crops in Marin and passed with 61% of the vote. Mark also served on the steering committee of California’s Prop 37 which would have required the labeling of food products containing GMOs and lost at the polls by only a percent and a half.
Mark and his Good Earth partner Al Baylacq created Good Earth’s School lunch program which is one of the first in the country and to date has served over a million Organic Lunches to Marin kids.
Mark served on the Board of the Non-GMO Project for Ten years ending last year and is currently on the Board of the Organic Trade Association. For the last 2 years he is also part of a mixed farming operation, Tara Firma farms, in Petaluma Ca managing crops and learning about soil health first hand.