Co-op Connection March 2012

Co-op Connection

Food and Community News
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli

March 15, 2012

At the Co-op

Patronage Rebate Checks
If you have received but not yet cashed your patronage rebate check, please try to do so soon.  We want you to have the money and to avoid confusion in the future should the check be lost or misplaced. We'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who decided to donate their checks to the Bloomingfoods Cooperative Community Fund. Those contributions now total more than $700, and will do much to support Bloomingfoods' community giving for years to come.

Getting Better All the Time
Board secretary Carol Bridges shares her thoughts concerning the "Up and Coming, Up and Running" conference Bloomingfoods hosted last week, including the excitement and trepidation we experience when launching any big new project, the satisfaction of overcoming obstacles, and the sense of commitment we feel to "create local food security, maintain healthy farms and enjoy the real life working together that has always made a strong community."

INPIRGE Hunger & Homelessness Campaign
Hailey Butchart, a cashier at the East store, has organized an INPIRG Hunger and Homelessness Campaign effort on behalf of Shalom Center. You will find Hailey and other IU INPIRG volunteers tabling at the East store on March 24th and 25th. In an effort to help alleviate poverty locally, nationally and internationally, one of the INPIRG projects this spring is to provide a staple food for Shalom Community Center. The group has decided on spaghetti, and they appreciate any contributions individuals in our community make to the cause. Buy some extra spaghetti to contribute to the Shalom Center those two days, and it will be much appreciated.

March-April Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Thursday in March and Monday in April. These are the March product specials, and these are the member-owner specials.  Your Co+op Deals flyers are available here.

East Store
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
In the garden center, the "shack" is now complete, and is filled with a great array of seeds (bulk and packaged), plus soil supplements and garden tools.  Outside the shack, we've got a great supply of mulch with which you can tidy up your yards and gardens. We're also delighted this year to be offering the Fiscars reel lawn mower, whose many wonderful qualities are described here by yard & garden expert, Chris Bobbitt.

And in addition to all the enhancements we're making to our garden center, we're also having a blast establishing a small vegetable garden on the north side of the store. We are partnering with Abundant Harvest to create the beds, and to plant vegetables and herbs for use in our deli and for sale in our produce department. We'll also be planting a row for the hungry.

In response to the many requests we've received for Gunthorp Farms products, we're now offering that fine establishment's whole chickens, boneless/skinless chicken breasts, boneless/skinless chicken thighs, and boneless/skinless turkey breasts. Our line of Smoking Goose products continues to expand, and now includes Guanciale and Applewood Smoked Bacon (their top seller). We're also carrying bison chuck roast and brisket from Cook's Bison Ranch, and we have lobster tail in our freezer case.

From the grocery department comes manager Martha Philion's report on the dramatic expansion of our Member - Owner Rewards program to include a long line of products on which local distributor, Tree of Life, has given us special pricing to pass along to you. She also has news concerning such new products as: Canine Café dog treats; a new Piccoli Dolci dessert item called Semifreddo, consisting of layers of sweetened cream, cake, and fruit; and a variety of new gluten-free items, hummus, and coconut water.  Note, too, that due to the publicity they're receiving on the Dr. Oz show, we've received many requests for 'raspberry ketones', a product used for weight loss. We'd like you to know we now have them in stock.

Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
We now have some great new dog products from the Good Dog Company, including leashes, collars, and toys, all made in the U.S. from hemp and cotton. We also have dog and cat treats, water bowls, and related paraphernalia.  See, too, the brightly colored mixing bowls, new cookbooks, and Fido canning jars on which we've just taken delivery.

We've also pleased to offer an entire lineup of new gluten-free items in our bread isle. It includes breadcrumbs, ciabatta rolls, and baguettes from Schars, as well as a plethora of new Udi's gluten- free items perfect for the upcoming grilling season. There are hamburger and hotdog buns, double chocolate muffins, blueberry muffins, sliced sandwich breads, and two types of bagel.

Finally, we've got a nice inventory of corned beef, cooked and raw, for your St. Patrick's Day meal.

Around Town

Brain Extravaganza To Feature Bloomingfoods' "Brain Food"
Have you heard about the "Brain Extravaganza"?  It's the first local community project being undertaken by the non-profit organization, Jill Bolte Taylor BRAINS, Inc. The project will place 22 5'x5'x4' fiberglass brain statues along the B-line trail, on the IU campus, and at various other locations around town. Each brain statue will be embellished by an artist to correspond to the mission or interest of the organization that has sponsored it. We're very happy to announce the Bloomingfoods-sponsored brain is now in the inspired hands of member-owner Bonnie Gordon-Lucas, who is exploring the theme "brain food." We believe this is a wonderful project that will showcase how Bloomingtonians value the brain and it will raise our appreciation, awareness, and education about this wonderful organ.  East store manager Meg Torrence is the volunteer coordinator for the Extravaganza, and she could use some help on Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th. Drop her a line to learn how you can be part of the fun.

"Urban Greenness, Physical Activity, and Childhood Obesity
On Friday, March 23rd, from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the MCPL auditorium, Dr. Gilbert Liu (of the Children’s Health Services Research Program in Indianapolis, the IU School of Medicine, and the IU School of Public Health) will speak about the link between urban form and childhood obesity. This event is sponsored by B-TOP (Bloomington Transportation Options).

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, Dave Rollo, City Councilman and Farm Manager for Stranger’s Hill Organics, will deliver a presentation entitled “Peak Oil: Evidence and Consequences” during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6 - 6:30 p.m. on March 28th.  Given the city's recent decision concerning I-69, which Dave opposed, this could be an especially lively session. Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a thought-provoking discussion.

Winter Farmers' Market Seminars
Few things are more exciting to Hoosiers in the spring than gardening and mushroom hunting (well, maybe basketball). If you're new to these delightful hobbies, or would just like to learn more, don't miss the winter farmers' market on March 24th and 31st. On the 24th, from 10:00 to 11:00, Stephanie Solomon, Ed Burns, and Cathy Crosson will discuss the selection and cultivation of seeds appropriate to your garden, as well as how to prepare your soil to receive them and keep them happy.  On the 31st, from 10:00 to 11:00, Tracy Branam, Marty Crouch, and Bobby Boos will discuss the hunting, identification, and cultivation of mushrooms.

Hoosier Hills Food Bank Competes for Its Own Orchard
The Hoosier Hills Food Bank and the Monroe County Parks department are working together to win a grant from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Edy's Fruit Bars for as many as 50 fruit trees. This is the same competition won two years ago by our Community Orchard. The new orchard will be planted in the Will Detmer Park, and its fruit will be harvested to provide fresh, nutritious fruit to many folks who cannot otherwise acquire it.  Getting the grant requires that the Food Bank's project receive the most online votes. Voting will begin on April 16th, at which time you can vote once per day for the "Detmer Park Orchard." We urge our readers to step up again, as you did for the Community Orchard, and help us establish yet another local food source.

Update on County's Community Conservation Challenge Grant
The new rubber roof with a white membrane has been completed, over half of the panels are installed, and the energy monitoring dashboards will be operational by the end of March. Students at University and Fairview Elementary schools and the Bloomington Project School are gearing up for the upcoming energy challenge with the employees from the Monroe County Courthouse, Justice Dept., and North Showers. Baseline data on electrical use will be collected with the goal to see which entity can reduce their energy use between Earth Day April 22, 2012 and April 22, 2013. Stay tuned for information on the challenge kick off, energy fair and ribbon cutting ceremony, and the dedication of the panels on April 21st. In the meantime, the Monroe County Commissioners encourage the community to come by and check out the PV installation progress at North Showers.

Wonderlab "Foodie" Events
Wonderlab has scheduled two events of possible interest to all the food lovers in our audience. The first, entitled "Science of Art: Nature's Palate," will take place on April 6th, from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m.  During the session, garden designer Jami Scholl will explore the connections between art and science, and artist Timothy Carter-East will demonstrate his unusual technique of transferring plant pigments to paper. Visitors will be able to help plant a beautiful edible landscape in the museum's WonderGarden. Then, on April 14th, Wonderlab will host a workshop entitled "Savory Science: Eggs-cellent Meals," which will explore the science and nutrition of eggs, as well as guide you in the preparation of several delicious, egg-based dishes.

Lotus Blossoms Bazaar
The annual Lotus Blossoms Bazaar will take place at Binford School on Friday and Saturday, March 30th and 31st.  The bazaar is open to the public on Saturday, admission is free, and Bloomingfoods will be there at our Fruits of the World booth. If you'd like to serve as a Bloomingfoods volunteer, contact Ellen Michel.

In the Co-op World

Bloomingfoods Hosts "Up & Coming, Up & Running Food Co-op Start-up Conference"
For the third consecutive year, Bloomingfoods and the Indiana Cooperative Development Center hosted a co-op start-up conference for folks interested in launching their own community-owned grocery store. Originally intended to be a "regional" service event, we're delighted to witness the conference evolving into a national affair, with attendees joining us from as far away as Alaska, New Mexico, and Mississippi. This year's event took place from March 8 - 10, featured tours of our stores, and working sessions on co-op governance policies, establishing a food service program, branding a business, and expanding a membership base.  Our thanks go our 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 members we were told had chatted with our visitors and made them feel welcome and quite at home.

Food, Eating, and Health

The Ants Choice
We loved this image and what it suggests. Upper right corner: margarine; lower left: reduced-fat margarine; lower right: butter and a swarm of ants. (Thanks to member-owner, Scott Little.)

Seattle to Build Nation's First Food Forest
Seattle has announced that a seven-acre plot of land in its Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edible plants: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. The bounty from this forest will be available for plucking by all who pass through it.

Livestock Antibiotics and "Superbug" Link Detected
A battle has been raging for years over the question of whether "the judicious use of antibiotics in cattle herds leads to antimicrobial resistance in humans [MRSA].” Such groups as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Animal Health Institute (itself, a drug industry "front group") have long argued there is no evidence that it does, but a study just published in the journal mBio, published by the American Society for Microbiology, may represent the smoking gun demonstrating that it does. As reported by Grist, the study documents the process by which "an antibiotic-susceptible staph germ passed from humans into pigs, where it became resistant to the antibiotics tetracycline and methicillin. The antibiotic-resistant staph then learned to jump back into humans."

BPA Petition
For years the FDA has ruled that there is no evidence that the bisphenol A (BPA) present in many food storage containers constitutes a threat to human health; groups such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) believe otherwise.  It's every bit as inflammatory as the gmo and antibiotics wars.  By the end of the month, the FDA plans to decide whether or not to continue allowing food packaging that leaches BPA into the food it contains. If you're persuaded that BPA should not be part of the human diet, you can make your views known to the FDA using this petition, housed on the site of the EWG.  And this just in: the world's largest soup-maker, Campbell's, has announced that it will stop using BPA in the linings of its cans.

TEDx Presentation on Reversing MS through Diet
Once again, TEDx conferences are serving up wonderful insights into living healthy, fulfilling lives. In this instance, Terry Wahls, M.D., reports on how she was able to reverse the symptoms of her multiple sclerosis through diet. In the course of her presentation she offers a provocative assessment of how our "modern" diet robs us of a host of nutrients our body and brain cells require in order to function properly and remain healthy as we age. Her solution? Consume large quantities of green leaves (she loves kale); large quantities of sulphur-rich vegetables (kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic); large quantities of brightly-colored vegetables; grass-fed meats; organ meat; seaweed. I urge you to watch her presentation to better understand how all these items conduce to good health.

Don't Rip Up Your Yard to Grow Vegetables
Northwest Edible Life offers a better approach that maximizes the fertility of the soil that has been created by years of grass growth and decay, that preserves the very structure of your soil profile, and that is much less back-breaking to complete.

Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods
Few issues in the food world are more contentious these days than mandatory labeling of genetically-engineered foods.  In California, the Organic Consumer Association, Food Democracy Now,, and others have launched a campaign called "The California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative," attempting to force labeling.  Dan Morain of the Sacramento Bee editorialized against the initiative on a number of grounds, and the Organic Consumer Association has rebutted the charges. I urge you to read them both to get a look at both sides of the story, and then draw your own conclusions.

If you decide you like the idea of mandatory labeling, consider surfing over to the Just Label It website, and sign the petition to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. It has already generated more signatures than any other food petition in the agency's history.  The website also offers a very useful faq page on the subject. And you might prefer not to contemplate this government-industry "revolving door" image: it could break your heart and rob you of the will to act.

Do you really want to delve into this controversial subject? Wander over to this page of the Mercola website, where you can watch a video of Bill Gate discussing his foundation's massive support of genetic engineering, then read the counterpoint provided by Mercola.

Environmental News
Electric Scooter Rental Comes to San Francisco
Scoot Networks, an electric scooter rental system, recently launched in the Bay Area. The system permits users to locate and claim nearby scooters using their smartphones. When the phone docks into the scooter, it unlocks the vehicle and performs the functions of a dashboard.  The system is being rolled out initially for corporate fleets, but the company intends to soon offer hundreds of scooters for use at public transit stops throughout the city, and to eventually establish fleets of scooters in towns and cities around the country.

Closing Thoughts

"Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country."
~ William Jennings Bryan

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