Al Baylaq of Good Earth Natural Foods

Al Baylaq has been an organic food warrior for most of his life. Good Earth opened its doors 51 years ago with Al joining its team 20 years after its founding. “Mark started it and I came along 20 years later”. Al was first able to witness Good Earth’s growth when he owned a competing health food store in Fairfax. Nowadays Al helps run the show as the store continues its mission as a pioneer in building community resilience around organic food and sustaining healthy food systems. 

Al Baylaq (left), Mark Squire, Edwin Cariati (right) standing outside of Good Earth in 1999

Al has helped shape what makes Good Earth a consistent beacon of reliable and delicious organic food for the Marin community. Before his involvement with Turning Green, Al was inspired by Judi’s holistic approach to helping Marin County become a more environmentally conscious place through her work with the Marin Cancer Project, the precursor to Turning Green. Al shares that vision for tapping into what the children of CA are eating from an early age and how to remedy a lack of access to proper nutrition. Good Earth is committed to philanthropy through its relationship with Turning Green and the Conscious Kitchen. Al has guided Judi for the past 8 years starting from the day she had the idea of building the Conscious Kitchen to serve fresh, local, organic food to children in schools starting in Marin City. To serve Marin as a community, Good Earth wants to build awareness around organic agriculture and create resilience among its residents. Al has felt the demand for local food increase in light of the pandemic and is committed to taking part in driving change. Al also sees eating organic as a tangible way for the consumer to actively combat climate change and take a stand to better the planet. He enjoys educating and witnessing young people to older members of Marin’s community be woken up to Good Earth’s mission and its role in the larger Bay Area food system. 

Mark Squire (left), Al Baylaq (right)

With all of the uncertainty that has ensued, Al still feels a strong drive for change in the air. He says, “Maybe for the first time in my lifetime, I see change, real deep change being possible on a couple of fronts- maybe just questioning everything that we’re doing everyday”. It’s time for re-imagining on many fronts. Al used to reminisce on how he wished he’d been able to live through the exciting period of the 60’s and finds that there is a similar yearning for change and taking action right now, “the anti-corporate period, peace and love and well maybe we’re getting a little bit of that, maybe not the peace and love part”, Al jokes. When discussing his shared Turning Green philosophy, Al says “I’m not sure there’s that many other priorities that we should have besides getting the orange cheeto out of office”. Cheers to that!

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