At the Co-opElm Heights Project Update
Our building is now largely enclosed, with the first layers of the roof and walls in place. Now, neither rain, nor sleet, nor even a late spring snow should slow our progress. Next steps include pouring the concrete mezzanine floor, installing plumbing and electrical below the ground of the main floor, then pouring the ground floor. See the Elm Heights page for all the latest pictures and developments.
Bloomingfoods Cafe at Ivy Tech
We're delighted to report that our new Ivy Tech location will open for business on Tuesday, April 16th. Hours will be from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., M-F. It's an open campus, so if you work or study at Ivy Tech, or just find yourself out that way feeling peckish, stop in for breakfast, a sandwich, or a salad.
Patronage Rebate Checks
Patronage rebate checks have gone out to the approximately 3,200 eligible households. We urge recipients to cash them promptly at any of our locations before they are lost or expire at the end of June. When that happens, you lose your rebate and the co-op must pay taxes on it, so no one wins except the IRS. Forgive the boldness with which this message was imparted, but every year many of our owners fail to get this benefit of membership simply because they lose their check before cashing it. Cash yours now!
Board Election: Call for Candidates
Do you have an interest in serving your cooperative and your community? Do you share a commitment to your co-op’s mission and values? Are you a conceptual thinker who can grasp the big picture? Can you work in a group to oversee a vibrant developing organization and help it articulate and achieve its end goals? If all of the above sounds good to you, please consider this call to service as a candidate for our board of directors.
Board Report: Change
The pace of change in our society continues to increase, challenging us all to evolve and adjust. This is especially so within the Bloomingfoods organization, as we respond to trends in our industry and in our community, even as we prepare to open new locations. In this month's board report, Carol Bridges discusses the process and the factors which encourage the smooth and rewarding evolution of our co-op.
Spring Wine Tasting
Bloomingfoods' spring wine tasting will be held on Saturday, May 4th, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the patio overlooking the lovely, in-full-bloom East store garden center. There will be many wonderful wines, and they'll be poured by wine industry reps who can tell you about the wines and make suggestions for pairing them with your favorite foods. We'll also feature some fine cheeses and specialty meats.
Bloomingfoods on Facebook
As we did last month, we invite you to visit and "like" our Facebook pages. We have one for each location - East, Near West Side, and Kirkwood - and they each feature a wide variety of timely, site-specific information.
April - May Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Tuesday in April and Wednesday in May. These are the April product specials, and these are the member-owner specials. Your Co+op Deals flyers are available here.
Garden Center Seminars
The East store garden center is hosting a series of free classes this spring, designed to help you hone your gardening skills, simply and inexpensively. On April 21st Ferrol Johnson of Abundant Harvest Farms will speak about soil improvement and urban gardening; on May 5th Tomi Whitaker will discuss hydroponics; and Sharlene Fish has been tentatively be scheduled to give a presentation on vermiculture on May 19th. All classes will take place between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. in the garden center patio.
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
We mentioned last month that we now carry Hartzler Dairy milk in returnable 1/2 gallon bottles. We neglected to mention, however, that we also carry its roll butter, which many customers have declared superb. Also in dairy, don't miss the fine raw-milk cheeses from 5 Spoke Creamery: both their cheddars and herbal jack are delicious. Grocery manager Martha Philion is pleased to report that we'll soon be carrying luscious frozen, canned, and dried fruits from Omena Organics (based in the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan), as well as cold-brewed Traderspoint Brewhouse Coffee.
Finally, spring is here, and our garden center is a hotbed of activity and new products. See Chris Bobbitt's report for all the details.
Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
Our new garden center trellis is now built, and baskets will soon be hung; shelving has been constructed on which to display plants; we have pansies from Bennett Nursery in Lafayette, tomato and herb plants from Strangers Hill, and a gorgeous selection of Mexican pottery; onion starts are expected to arrive any day now. And if you haven't noticed, the small structure in our parking lot that has heretofore housed our recycling now serves as a casual dining space.
(812-336-5300; 419 E Kirkwood Ave.)
Our Kirkwood store reports that it currently has a wide selection of gluten-free products on sale, plenty of grab-n-go and made-to-order sandwiches, and that vegan cream cheese is now available for bagel or sandwich. As always, follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter for our daily soups and sandwich specials.
Around TownDan Imhoff Speaks on the Farm Bill
Since the days of the Great Depression, American agricultural policy has been shaped by the so-called "Farm Bill." Every five to seven years legislators pass a new version of the bill that allocates up to $100 billion per year for food assistance, crop subsidies, conservation, organic research, and dozens of other programs. Dan Imhoff is an author, homestead farmer, and musician; he is also one of the country's leading advocates for Farm Bill (and CAFO) reform. He'll be speaking about the Farm Bill from noon to 2:00 p.m. April 16th at the Bloomingfoods Near West Side Community Room. Brought to you by Bloomingfoods and the IU Department of Anthropology Food Program.
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, Ellen Jacquart, Director of Stewardship for the Indiana Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, will describe the activities of "Monroe County's - Identify and Reduce Invasive Species" (MC-IRIS), including information on how to get a free invasive plant survey of your land, news on Sustaining Nature and Your Land Day (SNAYL Day), and other MC-IRIS projects. This will all take place during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6 - 6:30 p.m. on April 24th. Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a thought-provoking discussion of this topic.
Bloomington and Owen County Farmers' Markets
The Bloomington farmers' market is once again underway each Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Shower's Plaza. Please sign up here to receive a weekly report of the latest news from the market; you can also follow market news on Facebook. And if you should happen to see Market Mistress, er, "Coordinator," Marcia Veldman one of these Saturdays, congratulate her on being named Bloomington's "Woman of the Year."
And to our west, the Owen County farmers's market will begin its season on Saturday, May 4th. The opening day celebration there will include a wheat milling demonstration at 9:00, with live entertainment beginning at 10:00.
While the Bloomington community will host a number of events in celebration of Earth Day, none will be quite like the 2013 Trashion Refashion Show, which is set to take place 7:00 p.m. on April 21st at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. The annual show is a community fashion event that challenges designers to change the landscape of the fashion industry with designs made from fabrics and other materials rescued from the landfill. The co-op will have a strong presence at the show this year, as Cathleen Craig from our Near West Side store will be offering two dresses, both of which consist mostly of old sheet music, duct tape, and sundries she had lying about the house.
Ready, Set, Grow!
Habitat for Humanity's 12th Women Build Event
Women Build is a Habitat for Humanity International program that encourages women to make a difference by building homes and communities. Since Women Build’s creation in 1998, its volunteers have constructed more than 1,200 homes around the world. In 2006, approximately 32,000 volunteers helped build an additional 160 Women Build houses, and in 2007 more than 200 houses were built. This year's event will take place from May 4th through the 18th, and Bloomingfoods will generously support it via fresh food donations for a large crew workday.
Arbor Day Tree Giveaway
On Friday, April 26th from 4 – 7 p.m., Sycamore Land Trust (SLT) and Bloomingfoods invite the public to visit either our Near West Side or East locations to receive a free river birch or black cherry seedling.
Bike to Work Day
Bike to Work Day this year will be celebrated on Madison Street outside the West store from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday May 17th. The event will feature music, games, arts & crafts, bike related booths with swag and, of course, beer! Bloomington Transit will even be there with a demonstration on how to use the bike racks on their buses too. We'll be raffling a bike to the public and we've entered all Bloomingfoods employees into a drawing for a brand new bike to encourage environmentally friendly commuting, staff health and wellness, and to support our bike enthusiasts and those interested in taking up biking to work.
Clips Beer and Film Festival
The Clips Beer and Film Festival is a series of short films highlighting bicycling and sustainability around the world, sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company as a fundraiser for the Center for Sustainable Living. All ages are welcome. Food, beverage, and merchandise are available for purchase (cash only), and there will be games and a raffle for a Fat Tire bicycle. It will all take place on Friday, May 31st in Bryan Park from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. at Bryan Park. The event is free, and no registration is needed.
Community Orchard Spring Planting Day
The folks at our lovely Community Orchard invite you to join them this Saturday, April 20, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for the season's first planting day. For all the details, visit www.bloomingtoncommunityorchard.org.
In the Co-op WorldCo-op Start-Up Conference
The co-op start-up conference we hosted last month is enjoying rave review. Debbie Trocha of the Indiana Cooperative Development Council, which takes the lead in organizing this annual event, noted the other day that: "I think we’ve got a winner on our hands, given the evaluations the conference received: 3.89/4.00. We had 126 total attendees with 35 speakers (3 were videographers) and 91 attendees representing 35 co-ops from 14 states." As an amusing side-note, our food services team took top honors. Bill Gessner, a consultant for Cooperative Development Services who shares his expertise at this event drolly observed: "We do all this work as presenters and organizers of the conference, only to be outdone in the end by Bloomingfoods Food Service!" Thanks to Kai Bookwalter, Dan Borders, Alan Simmerman, and all the food service staff who wowed the attendees at this event, as they do many of us who get to enjoy their food daily.
Food, Eating, and HealthIt's Mushroom Season Again
It is now mid-April, and there is perhaps no more exciting outdoor and culinary experience in southern Indiana during this time of year than that provided by morel mushrooms. Here is a great little video from Daniel Klein's The Perennial Plate on their hunting and eating. Check it out, and then head for the woods (or to our East store, where you'll be able to easily find them beginning Wednesday, the 17th.) And for you morel lovers, please know that Brown County will be hosting two morel-themed festivals this year: Simply Music, Simply Mushrooms - Morel Festival, April 19 - 20 at the Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park and Campground; and the Morel Mushroom Festival, Saturday, May 4th at Brown County State Park.
Noted Republican Speaks Out Against Indiana's Ag-Gag Legislation
The Indiana legislature has before it SB373, a bill that would criminalize filming on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. Some legal experts have already expressed the opinion that the law it would create would violate First Amendment rights; now Mary Matalin, a GOP strategist of all things, has released a video urging Hoosiers to defeat the bill. Please watch her video to learn what "a meat-eating conservative Republican like me is doing in a PETA video." In spite of Matalin's plea, and those of many others, the bill has now passed its second hearing, and is probably headed for passage.
How To Feed a Town: The Incredible Edible Project
Four years ago the residents of the small town of Todmorden, England set a goal of being completely food independent by 2018. In support of that ambition, today virtually every free piece of land in the town is filled with food, from yards in front of the police and railway stations, to parks, schoolyards, backyards, and traffic roundabouts. Everything grown on public land is free for anyone in town to take. Learn more about this project at the Incredible Edible Todmorden website or from this brief video at the website of GoodIs.com
Folic Acid For Mothers Found to Reduce Risk of Autism in Infants
A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that women who began taking folic acid before getting pregnant were about 40 percent less likely to have a child who developed autism. Folic acid is the synthetic version of a B vitamin called folate, which occurs naturally in spinach, black-eyed peas and rice. The study is addressed in this edition of NPR's All Things Considered.
Dairy Products Found to Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer and Acne
Well, the medical news from the world of dairy is just miserable. A new study in the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reports that data from 21,660 participants tracked over a period of 28 years found that increased consumption of milk and cheese increased the risk of prostate cancer. Another study, from the same source, found that dairy, particularly cow’s milk, "produced and stimulated hormones linked with acne." So I guess the one question we all have to ask ourselves before we take that next bite of delicious 5 Spoke Creamery cheese is, "Do I feel lucky"?
Environmental NewsWhen Oil Isn't Oil
You've probably seen the media coverage of the recent tar-sands oil pipeline spill in Arkansas. But did you notice the background story concerning reparations? Grist tells the tale that “A 1980 law ensures that diluted bitumen is not classified as oil, and companies transporting it in pipelines do not have to pay into the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.” Therefore, it appears ExxonMobil hasn’t paid into the government clean-up fund that would help bankroll the epic scrub-down necessary to rid Mayflower, Ark. of all that "not oil." One is left to ponder just who writes these laws: our legislators, or the lawyers of the corporations that benefit from them.
Electric Co. Trade Group Foresees Demise of the Industry
It isn't just wild-eyed conservation zealots who envision a world at last free of its dependence on the century-old electric utility industry, at least as it has been traditionally operated. The industry itself may be seeing the writing on the wall, as explored in Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business, recently published by the Edison Electric Institute, a trade group of U.S. investor-owned utilities. Grist's David Roberts has the story and considers the implications.
Closing Thoughts“Go easy on the toppings. I think when you eat a camel burger, you want to taste the camel.”
~ A tip from Seth Gross of Bull City Burger & Brewery in Durham, N.C. following last year's inaugural Exotic Meat Month.