Co-op Connection News
We're pleased to lead off this edition of the enews by reporting that, henceforth, we'll be archiving this publication on the co-op website, as well as permitting people to sign up there to receive it. See the link in the At Your Co-op section on the front page of the site. As time permits, I'll upload past editions, as well. We hope you'll find this a helpful feature of the site.
Another Truckload Sale is Almost Here
Our spring truckload sale will take place this year on May 19th and 20th. Plan to stock up on all your favorite items at the best prices we can offer. I'll post a sample list of sale items to our website as the date approaches. Plenty of volunteers are needed for this event, so please email Tom Zeta to get a slot helping out. Volunteers will receive a week of 10% discounts for each two hours of service.
Wine Tasting on the Patio
All winter long member-owners have urged us to hold a wine tasting as soon as the weather permits, so I'm delighted to announce that on Saturday, May 19th, from 4:00 - 7:00 we'll stage a tasting of many of the new wines coming to our shelves. This event will feature over fifty wines from about ten of our distributors. Wine reps will do the pouring and will answer any questions you may have. We will also have fruit and cheese for you to enjoy with your wines. A $5 entry fee will be collected at the door and donated to a local not-for-profit community group. So please join us on the patio for a tasting of wonderful wines, delicious food from our kitchen, and the fellowship of good friends and fellow bon vivants.
From the Board
Board secretary Carol Bridges issues a call to service this month, encouraging member-owners with a desire for more direct service to the co-op to consider running for the board of directors. Carol briefly describes the duties and satisfaction inherent in board service, notes the board's current focus on the issues of local food security and our role supporting other local businesses, producers and growers, and she invites you to attend a board meeting as a means of experiencing the satisfaction that comes from working with your friends and neighbors in the guidance of our co-op.
April-May Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Monday in April and Tuesday in May. These are the April product specials, and these are the member-owner specials. Your Co+op Deals flyers are available here.
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
In the garden center, the "shack" is now complete and is filled with a fine selection of seeds (bulk and packaged), plus soil supplements and garden tools. Outside the shack, we've got a great supply of mulch and bedding plants, plus shrubs from local grower Allan Paton. Watch, too, for particularly interesting new nursery stock coming from Blue Grass Farms, based in Anderson, IN.
There is a lot of good news from the meat and seafood areas of the store. First, we have a fine line of items from The Buffalo Guys, a small company based in Colorado. Don't let the name fool you: they're supplying us with 100% grass-fed beef, including ground, sirloins, ribeyes, filet mignon, and strip loin steaks. Look for it on the bottom shelf of the frozen meat door. Grilling season is almost upon us, so we're now offering seafood kebabs made especially for the grill in our fresh seafood section. Also great for the grill are our new Smoking Goose sausages: Kitchen Sink and Hot Italian Fennel. Finally, as part of the "Protein Program" from United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) we now carry Legacy Seafoods frozen fish products, including skin-on haddock fillets, boneless/skinless haddock fillets, halibut fillets, and cod fillets. All are Icelandic and IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) to lock in the fresh flavor.
Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
Staffer Julie Harries is doing a wonderful job of ensuring the store is full of new items we think you'll love. Given the season, lets start with the extensive collection of gardening items in stock, including Clay City birdbaths and clay planting pots, Happy Frog potting soil, Abundant Farms soil amendment, Smart Pots, and Strangers Hill plants. We're delighted, too, by our Chucklesnort tin toys, by the made-from-recycled plastic shopping bags, coin purses and wallets from Coelacanth, and by the retro candy and lunchboxes we just received from Hobbs and Dobbs. In addition, we just brought in a new shipment of housewares: mixing bowls and related items from Clay City; colorful coffee cups; blue stripe ceramic mixing bowls from Zanesville, Ohio; and many new "how to" books. We also have an especially nice collection of dog products from the Good Dog Company (see left), including leashes, collars, and toys, all made in the U.S. from hemp and cotton. In addition, we also have dog and cat treats, water bowls, and related paraphernalia. Finally, we're going to bring in Save the Earth™ Fresh Mint Gum and Feed the Hungry™ Peppermint Mints from "Project 7," whose mission statement is: "To ensure everyone around the globe has access to fundamental human needs for a healthy life." Click on its link to learn more about the good work done by this company.
Downtown (Kirkwood) Store
(812-336-5300; 419 E. Kirkwood Ave.)
Eric is currently creating some new made-to-order specialty sandwiches that are sure to delight your taste buds! Along with new sandwiches, there will be new grab-n-go options and new specialty deli meats (e.g., chipotle raspberry turkey) on which we'll base our weekly sandwich specials.
Elsewhere in the store, look out for new seasonal fruits and vegetables, including black plums, Asian pears, and local rainbow chard. Plus we now carry fresh basil, mint, dill, and poultry blend (thyme rosemary and oregano). We also have new Kikkerland items, bike lights, bike horns, music boxes, owl kitchen timers, cat lights, owl key lights, and bottle openers.
As spring brings progressively warmer weather, stop in for an ice cream float, made with Chocolate Moose vegan or regular vanilla ice cream and Boylan's all natural soda.
Finally, we invite you to take advantage of our seating area upstairs, which offers both wi-fi and comfy chairs (sans inquisition)! We think it's a great place for a meeting, for sharing a meal with friends, or simply for quiet study.
Brain Extravaganza To Feature Bloomingfoods' "Brain Food"
We reported last month concerning Bloomingfoods' participation in the "Brain Extravaganza." The latest news on the project is that local artist Bonnie Gordon Lucas is wrapping up her work on Bloomingfoods' "Brain Food" model, and that Jill Bolte Taylor has issued the following press release, highlighting upcoming Extravaganza events.
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, Jodee Ellett and Megan Hutchinson, reps of the Local Growers Guild, will deliver a presentation entitled “Establishing a Local Food Hub in Bloomington” during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6 - 6:30 p.m. on April 25th. Access to quality local food is on of the most important issues communities will need to solve in the coming years. For consumers in Bloomington, access is currently good, but what is the long-term goal for a sustainable food distribution program? What are the obstacles toward reaching this goal, and how can we overcome them? Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a thought-provoking discussion of these questions.
Sycamore Land Trust and Bloomingfoods Offer Free Seedlings for Arbor Day
On Friday, April 27th 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 seedling. Volunteers will be available to answer questions and provide information.
Don't forget: the 2012 Trashion Refashion Show will take place on Earthday this year, April 22nd. The Trashion/ReFashion website has all the details.
First Friday Evening Science of Art: DancE=mc2
On Friday night, May 4th, from 5 - 8:30 p.m., Windfall Dancers, Inc. will perform three short pieces inspired by science—one outside on the B-Line Trail and two inside the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology. A small plate dinner prepared by Bloomingfoods will be available for purchase. Support for this program comes from F. Rudolf Turner, the BEAD Arts Partner Grant Program, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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 by our Community Orchard. The new orchard will be planted in the Will Detmer Park, and the fruit will be harvested to provide fresh, nutritious food to many folks who cannot otherwise acquire it. Getting the grant requires that the 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.
Community Orchard News
Amy Countryman of the Orchard invites us all to join them for a workday and People's University "Propagating the Orchard" class Saturday, April 21 from 2 - 4 p.m., which will coincide with the "Enhancing Pollination with Solitary Bees" class. And then, if you just can't get enough of that Orchard goodness, stop by on the 22nd from 1-5 p.m. for another beautiful workday experience.
Update on County's Community Conservation Challenge Grant
The county's project to install an array of solar panels on the northern-most four sections of the North Showers Building roof is nearly complete. The panels are installed and generating electricity even as I speak, the energy dashboards in the government buildings and schools will soon be operational, and the conservation challenge will officially launch on April 21st. Please stop by the Community Energy Fair being held that morning at the Farmers' Market, then join us at the "Cutting Our Dependency" ceremony being held from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Monroe County Government Center, North Showers, where Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom, Mark Stoops, Iris Kiesling, and Patrick Flynn will be the featured speakers.
Going Solar In Bloomington
Have you harbored notions of going solar, but don't know where to start? Then join us on April 26th, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the new Bloomingfoods Community Room (located in the old glass store, adjacent to the north side of the Near West Side store), as local solar energy expert Woodie Bessler will present information concerning the costs, financial incentives, carbon savings, and other considerations involved in installing solar and geothermal systems. This free "Going Solar" Leadership Forum event is co-sponsored by Bloomingfoods and SIREN (the Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network). Please RSVP by Monday, April 16th.
Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
From May 10-20 Cardinal Stage Company will perform "Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." This classic tale by Mark Twain tells the story of Huck and Jim as they make a trip up the Mississippi, allowing Jim to escape to freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River. The play was the winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Music.
In the Co-op World
Co-ops Turn Former Mafia Properties Into Vineyards
Decanter magazine offers this fascinating report on a European Union-Italian project to redistribute land in the southern regions of Sicily, Calabria, Puglia and Campagna. Since 1996, more than 4,500 properties once belonging to various mafia bosses, now imprisoned, have been turned over to cooperatives. The co-ops, in turn, are growing grapes on the confiscated properties, and are producing various "anti-mafia" wines, many of which are dedicated to the memory of mafia victims.
My Co-op Rocks
Do you love Bloomingfoods and making movies? If so, here's an opportunity to combine those passions and have a chance to win a pretty nice cash award: the "My Co-op Rocks Video and Photo Contest." Contest details and current submissions are presented here. The submission deadline is April 30th, so don't delay. My apology for the late notice.
Food, Eating, and Health
Hungry for Change
Hungry for Change is yet another excellent documentary exploring the sometimes-deadly nature of the mainstream Western diet. This one looks closely at how food manufacturers exploit our instinctive attraction to sweets and fats, a craving rooted in an evolutionary history in which eating foods with those qualities during the good times would see you through the periods of famine that inevitably followed. The cravings remain with us today, of course, but famines are largely a thing of the fast. Further, the refining, concentrating, and manipulating of various sweets and fats into "food-like products" lends to them a drug-like, addictive quality. The Hungry for Change website offers more information, plus a free glimpse at the first twenty minutes of the documentary.
Too Much Sitting Can Kill You
We reported a few months ago on studies indicating that sitting too much each day makes you especially susceptible to heart problems. Recently, a new study out of Australia reports that "mortality risks spike after 11 hours of total daily sitting but are still 15 percent higher for those sitting between 8 and 11 hours compared to those sitting fewer than 4 hours per day," and this was found to be true regardless of how otherwise physically active the subjects were. As one who converted his workstation to a standing arrangement almost a year ago, we can report that it's a pretty easy transition, one that leaves you feeling more limber and flexible at the end of the day. Lots of toe raises and shallow squats feel good and improve your legs. It all seems a pretty easy price to pay in order to significantly improve your odds of good health. Oh, and your feet will thank you if you get a thick, cushy pad on which to stand.
60 Minutes Report on Sugar
And speaking of the drug-like, addictive qualities of many "food-like products," did you see the 60 Minutes report on research indicating that highly refined sugar, absent the vitamins and minerals present in it's natural state, may not merely be full of calories but actually toxic. You can see the story here. This isn't exactly news, of course. William Dufty in 1975 published the evidence against highly refined sugar in his work, Sugar Blues, extracted here and still worthy of consideration.
Hot Dog Stuffed Pizza Crust
Coming soon to a Pizza Hut near you, if you happen to live in England. Is it just us, or isn't this pushing the boundaries of both pizza and charcuterie to a point of absurdity no amount of "free mustard drizzle" can redeem?
Local Food and Jobs Creation
You may be interested to know that not only does investment in local, small-scale farming put better food on the table of consumers, it also generates a lot of jobs. According to the USDA's Kathleen Merrigan, in defense of her organization's "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative, every million dollars in sales through local markets supports thirteen jobs, compared to only three jobs resulting from every million dollars in sales by agricultural operations lacking a local focus. NPR has the story.
County Health Figures and Rankings Available
Here's a resource about which we just learned that may be of interest and value to you: The County Health Roadmaps and Rankings Project. The rankings give you a look at how your county stacks up to others, while the "Roadmaps to Health Action Center provides tools to help groups working together to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play."
Velomobiles are reclining tricycles, long popular in Germany and the Netherlands, that feature fiberglass shells that render you both much more aerodynamic and weatherproof than you are on a normal bike. And now you can get an electrified version, providing a range of about 80 miles for about $.06 of electricity. Christopher Mims has this to say about it: "I am telling you now, until you’ve gone 20 MPH uphill on a brushless 750-watt motor, the wind in your hair, your fuel and insurance cost reduced to zero, you are living a poor simulacrum of the life you could have." Here's a 10-minute video of the velomobile in action.
"But raw milk from a Jersey cow is a totally different substance from what I'd thought of as milk. If you do not own a cow or know someone who owns a cow, I must caution you never to try raw milk straight from the teat of a Jersey cow, because it would be cruel to taste it once and not have access to it again...There's an old farmer's joke about the Jersey dairyman who keeps a Holstein in the barn in case the well runs dry, so he'll have something with which to wash the dishes."
~ Kristin Kimball, from her absolutely delightful book, The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love, available at the Monroe County Public Library