Co-op Connection March 2014

Co-op Connection
 

Food and Community News
  Bloomingfoods Market & Deli


March 15, 2014  


At the Co-op

Wine Tastings 
  Bloomingfoods will host two wine tastings in the next few weeks. The first will feature special wines and cheeses to commemorate the Jacobs School of Music's performance of East By Northeast. It will be held in the East store patio from 4:30 - 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 29th. We'll do it again a week later, Saturday, April 5th, when a tasting--dubbed the "Oak & Hickory"--will feature wines paired with a selection of fine meats from Smoking Goose. Both events are free.
  
Patronage Rebate Report
97 For the fifth consecutive year, Bloomingfoods has issued patronage rebate checks to qualifying member-owners. This rebate returns to member owners profits accrued during the 2012-13 fiscal year. More than $54,000 was paid to over 3,100 member-owners in amounts ranging from $5 to almost $100. Thanks to everyone who made 2012-13 another successful year for the co-op. 

March - April Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Tuesday in March and Wednesday in April. You can view the  March product specials and member-owner specials online. You can also download your Co+op Deals flyers or find them in the stores. New to the bi-monthly Co-op Deals flyer are customized touches to reflect our store locations and hours, plus a focus piece on the back page to keep you informed about worthy upcoming events.
 
Gunthorp Turkey Breasts, Legs, and Thighs for Sale
Noting recently that we still had a few frozen Gunthorp turkey breasts, legs, and thighs left over from the holidays, we have decided to sell them at a very deep discount.  You'll find them in the freezer cases of our East, Elm Heights, Kirkwood, and Near West Side locations. Get them while they last. They roast beautifully, and the carcasses form the basis for magnificent stock for your soups and sauces.
 
  Bloomingfoods Member Injured
  Few member-owners have contributed more to the success of Bloomingfoods than Eric Mitter. Eric's involvement with the co-op dates to the mid-1970s when he was a member of the "cheese collective," an old-guard team that kept cheese cut for the co-op.  He later went on to serve several terms as a board member, where is financial acumen and sound good judgment helped guide the co-op to many achievements. Eric was recognized for his fine work by being named the Bill Krejci Cooperative Service award winner in 1999 (shared that year with Pete Kinne). We're grieved to report that recently Eric fell from a ladder, breaking his neck and sustaining a variety of neurological injuries. Eric is now proceeding through what may be a lengthy period of physical therapy, and we're sure that kind words of support from his many co-op friends would be deeply appreciated. Drop him a line at 808 N Washington, Bloomington, IN 47408.
 
Board Report: Blueprints for Living the Dream
In this month's board report, Carol Bridges explores the processes and considerations that guide members of the board in charting the co-op through major projects such as opening a new store. It's a wonderful, insightful look at all that goes on behind the scenes long before any ground is actually broken.
 
Bloomingfoods Garden Center Lecture Series
Chris Bobbitt will conduct the following classes at the East store patio room. They are free to the public.
Sunday, March 23rd, 2:00 p.m. - All about container and vertical gardening
Sunday, April 6th, 2:00 p.m. - Natural lawn care and lawn alternatives 
 
Near West Side Store 
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
The produce department has now taken its first delivery of the season of local salad mix from Good Life Farms, and it is now offering four varieties of local sweet potatoes from Sun Circle Farms. Please note, too, that we're getting especially nice pricing on organic asparagus and red peppers, and on organic bunch beets and strawberries. Out back, our garden center area is currently undergoing a facelift, and will soon feature expanded deli seating. Look, too, for Clay City bird baths and plenty of garden seeds and soil,
 
East Store 
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
Pardon our mess!  We'll be replacing the floor in the deli and kitchen area from the 15th through the 22nd of March, requiring that we close those areas of the store. We will keep our grab and go area stocked, and there will be some baked goods. Thanks for your patience as we make this necessary improvement.
 
The Garden Center is now officially open and staffed daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Potatoes and onion sets will arrive soon, and we already have garden seed in bulk and packets.  We now have row covers in several widths and thicknesses, allowing you to get an early start in your raised beds, cold frames, and hoop houses. We also have heat mats and seed starting trays to help you get your tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants going strong as early as possible. We're also pleased to offer a nice assortment of potting soils and soil supplements.
 
Health and wellness now offers (at sale prices through April) a line of mushroom formulations called Host Defense from Fungi Perfecti, a company founded by Paul Stamets, a noted mycologist who is a proponent of fungi for use in bioremediation and a variety of therapies. Stamets has received numerous accolades, including the 2008 National Geographic Adventure Magazine's Greenovater Award, and he has been named one of Utne Reader's "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World." You can learn more about this subject in Stamets' Ted Talk and in this much longer presentation delivered to an audience in Australia.

Around Town

Sycamore/Audubon Birding Tour
Here's a lovely opportunity to get into spring. On Saturday, March 29th Sycamore Land Trust and the Sassafras Audubon Society will lead a birding tour at Sycamore's 1,043-acred Columbia Mine Preserve.  Late March is a very active nesting and migratory month, and visitors to the Preserve can expect to see such species as wood ducks (which are migratory), blue-winged teal, northern bobwhite, Wilson's snipe, and perhaps even the bald eagles that have a nest visible from the area.  Details concerning the tour are available here.

Green Drinks Bloomington
Here's our regular reminder that Green Drinks Bloomington meets the 4th Wednesday of every month from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Banquet Facility at Upland Brewing. A $5 donation is requested; some food is provided. This month Stephanie Solomon, Director of Education and Outreach, and Kendra Brewer, Garden Coordinator, of Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, will deliver a presentation entitled “Building Sustainable Community Food Systems through Gardening.”  The talk will focus on the role of community gardening in building a sustainable local food system.  Solomon and Brewer will discuss Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard growing methods, and how they engage the community in their garden program, enabling a stronger local food system.  The presentation will take place during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6:00 - 6:30 p.m. on March 26th.  Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a thought-provoking discussion of this topic.

Spring Into Gardening
And speaking of gardening, Hilltop Garden & Nature Center will host a "Spring Into Gardening" event on Saturday, April 12th from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.  This family-friendly event will introduce you to over a dozen local gardening programs operating within Monroe County, and will address how you can grow your own fresh produce in a community garden.

Winter Farmers' Market
The 2013-14 Winter Farmers Market winds down its season this month, with the following special events remaining on the schedule:
3/22/14, 11:00 a.m. Hydroponics with Deb Kelly
3/29/14, 11:00 a.m. Strategies for Successful Morel Harvesting with Tracy Branan

Summer Farmers' Market Volunteers Needed
The Farmers' Market will spring into action in April, and there is need for a few volunteers to assist throughout the season with special events and promotional activity. So if you love the market and would enjoy being more closely involved in its activities, here's your opportunity.

Lotus Blossom Bazaar
Family Day at the Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar is a free multicultural arts-and-education event for kids and parents. Volunteers from the Bloomington community (and around the world) present arts, music, language, and international crafts that let kids get their hands on the world. Grab your passport at the door, and go! Don't miss the Bloomingfoods "Fruits of the World" fruit stand! The event is on Saturday, March 29th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Binford Elementary School (2300 E 2nd St).
 
Living "Off the Grid" Presentation
For anyone who has considered going "off the grid" or who has simply wondered how to go about using solar or wind power, here is a presentation you won't want to miss. On Saturday, March 29th from 10:00 a.m. to noon in the East store patio room, Dean and April Manuel will discuss their experience over the past twelve years living off the grid, commencing with leaving their commercial farm to starting a homestead with humble beginnings and no electrical power, to their current situation enjoying wind and solar power, wood heating and cooking stoves, gardens, and livestock.
 
Edible Lotus
Here's an early heads up that Edible Lotus will be held May 2nd at Deer Park Manor, and tickets will go on sale on April 2nd at all Bloomingfoods locations.  This event showcases a fabulous auction and fine food and drink from the best of Bloomington's independent restaurants.  All proceeds to support Lotus Blossoms Education Outreach and the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival. Ticket price: $65.
 
 
2014 Hoosier Half Marathon & 5K
Saturday, April 5th will see the running of the 9th annual Hoosier Half Marathon & 5k.  Hosted by the Indiana Running Company, Indiana University, and the City of Bloomington, this race challenges its participants with 13.1 miles of relentless rolling hills while rewarding them with amazing views of campus, downtown, and countless spring blooms. Challenging, beautiful, and rewarding! Please join us.

Lyme Disease Support Group Meeting
We're about to roll into tick season, so it seems appropriate to let you know that a Lyme Disease/Tick Borne Illness Support Group will be meeting in the Bloomingfoods Near West Side community room from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 22nd.

In the Co-op World

Bloomingfoods Co-op Start-Up Conference
The fifth consecutive "Up and Coming, Up and Running" co-op conference Bloomingfoods hosted last month was a wonderful success, with almost 100 attendees from 15 states and 34 start-ups. Our thanks to the Indiana Cooperative Development Center (ICDC) for helping us offer this valuable event, to the Bloomington Conference Center for providing very comfortable meeting rooms, to Finch's Brasserie for hosting a delicious and very amiable reception on Friday night, and to all the many Bloomingfoods member-owners we were told had chatted with our visitors and made them feel welcome and quite at home.

Food, Eating, and Health

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Pacific?
Apparently to be processed in China before being shipped back to the U.S. for sale and consumption, in an arrangement that enjoys the blessing of the United States Department of Agriculture.  Not a particularly appetizing scenario, given China's subpar food safety record and the fact that there will be no USDA inspectors at the Chinese plants. Industry spokespeople say the practice will never actually be implemented because it would be economically impracticable, ignoring the fact that precisely this system is already being applied to the processing of Pacific salmon and Dungeness crab.  Food Safety News has the story.
 
Cheese Discovered On Chinese Mummies
173 A people after our own heart!  Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics have confirmed that the substance nestled on the necks and chests of 3,600 year old mummies found in the Taklamakan Desert is a lactose-free cheese. A fascinating anthropological and biogeographical story: approximately 200 Bronze Age mummies and their cheese vacuum-packed beneath the sands of the Taklamakan under, of all things, boats.
 
European Nations Install Raw Milk Vending Machines
The safety and nutritional merits of raw milk in the human diet continues to be hotly contested around the world. Nation of Change recently reported that France, the UK, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Italy, Austria Switzerland, and the Netherlands have, or are in the process of, installing self-service vending machines providing their citizens 24-hour access to raw milk. Raw milk yogurt is just around the corner. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, on the other hand, is sticking to its gunsthat raw dairy represents an unacceptable serious health risk.

Environmental News

Wolves Change Rivers in Yellowstone
Wolves were introduced in Yellowstone in 1995 after an almost 70-year hiatus. Scientists thought they had a pretty good idea what the impact of an active wolf pack in the area would be, but the "trophic cascade" of change that has resulted from the introduction of a creature at the top of the food change has far surpassed their expectations, both biologically and in the very physical geography of the region.  This four minute video tells the amazing story; for a fuller though less timely exploration of the wolves' return and impact, see the National Geographic special, Wolves: A Legend Returns to Yellowstone.

Ocean Cleanup Project
The world's oceans have become horribly polluted with plastic. According to some estimates, an "average" square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of plastic. Some of it congregates into enormous gyres; some washes up on beaches. Wherever it appears, it is deadly to the many species of wildlife that mistake it for food. Obviously, cleaning up this mess represents an enormous problem. One solution which seems to offer some promise comes from a 19-year old Dutch aerospace engineering student, Boyan Slat. Slat has designed a device which would rely on the ocean's currents to bring the debris into a floating system of booms for processing and storage. The plastic collected in this manner could then be sold or recycled, potentially making the project financially viable. The project is still in the concept stage but hopes are high that it could be successfully developed.
 
San Francisco Bans Plastic Water Bottles
And speaking of plastic, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last month voted unanimously to bar the city from buying plastic water bottles and to ban distribution of plastic water bottles smaller than 21 ounces on city property, effective October 1st. The move was championed by board president David Chiu, who made the argument that the proliferation of single-use, single-serving plastic water bottles was terrible for the environment, only came into common practice in the 1990's, and that prior to their introduction "for centuries, everybody managed to stay hydrated."
 
Eugene, Oregon Bans Pesticides Linked to Honey-Bee Deaths
191 One Green Planet reported recently that Eugene recently became the first city in the nation to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, believed by some to bear responsibility for honey bee deaths.  Eugene is also expected to expand its current pesticide-free parks program, which already "requires all departments to adopt integrated pest management (IPM) standards.” Similar bans are currently under study in several communities in California, New York, and New Jersey. This EPA statement explains, after a fashion, why the European Commission has adopted a proposal to restrict the use of these pesticides while the EPA has not. 

Tiny Houses Are All the Rage
194 Tiny houses are capturing the imagination of the country, offering us environmentally responsible and aesthetically creative options for scaling down our material footprint. As Grist notes in an article exploring this trend, "Without even taking the environmental or economic benefits into account, tiny houses appeal to both our most primitive instincts and our desire to be unique snowflakes — a pretty enticing combination." Wonder if you're cut out for life in a tiny house? This flow-chart will help you decide.

The "Hovenring": A Bicycle Roundabout
Treehugger offers this interesting article on the "Hovenring," an elevated bicycle and pedestrian roundabout in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is famous for bicycle-friendly streets and bike paths, and the Hovenring is just one of their most recent solutions to a large and otherwise car-focused intersection.  Good article; great pictures.

Closing Thoughts

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."
  ~ Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


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