Co-op Connection June 2012

Co-op Connection


Food and Community News
Bloomingfoods Market & Deli

June 15, 2012

At the Co-op

Donations and Prizes
It is always pleasant to report on the philanthropic efforts of Bloomingfoods and its shoppers.  Most recently Kim Carballo (shown left) was the winner of the bike drawing held in conjunction with the truckload sale. Also at the sale, our generous shoppers donated more than $1,300 to cover the cost of the pallet of food we assembled, displayed, and then presented to Mother Hubbard's Cupboard. An additional $900 was raised by the lemonade stand operated outside the tent, and this was given to Habitat for Humanity. And up on the patio, the $5 entry fee we charged at the wine tasting event raised almost $600, which sum was turned over to the Boys and Girls Club.  Finally, we raised $264 at our "Bike to Everywhere" event, and this was donated to the Bloomington Bicycle Club grant program.  Thanks to all for your generosity.

Elm Heights Project Update
Our work on the proposed grocery at 2nd and Fess continues apace, with several important milestones being reached in the last few weeks. The project is located on a commercial lot in what is primarily a residential neighborhood. After several weeks of work with the Elm Heights Neighborhood Association (EHNA), we were able to develop a site plan for the project. While agreeable to Bloomingfoods, the neighborhood, and the City of Bloomington, the plan includes a number of variances that require approval from the Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals. We have now filed all the required paperwork, and have started down the path of gaining official City approval for the proposed project. Project manager Jenn Hileman files this report on the close working relationship we've established with the EHNA in order to ensure that the facility we create will meet their aesthetic and material wishes, while board secretary Carol Bridges reviews the process by which the co-op conducts a project of this type, and the many tangible ways in which "you can help."

Join Us in the 4th of July Parade
Bloomingfoods will once again have a presence in the annual 4th of July parade, the theme of which this year is "Back to Bloomington - Show us your B-Town Roots!" As a way of sharing the fun of the parade and highlighting the cooperative nature of our organization, we'd like to invite our member-owners to join staff members as we march through the streets of Bloomington. Email Jean Kautt for details and to reserve your place.

Member-Customer Appreciation Day (MAD-CAD)
Coming hard on the heels of the truckload sale is our annual MAD-CAD, to be held at all our locations on July 14th. Please join us for a great day of special discounts, prizes, demos, and fun. Everyone receives an extra 5% discount: for member-owners, that means 10% off your purchases; for not-yet-members of the co-op, it's a 5% discount. (Discounts do not stack for special orders.) In addition, all local products will be marked down by 10%. And if you'd like to be really involved--and save even more money--serve as a volunteer, helping bag groceries or doing product demos. You'll receive a week of 10% discounts for every two hours of service. Please let Tom (East) or Jason (West) know if you are interested.

June-July Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Wednesday in June and Thursday in July. These are the June 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.)
Produce manager Jerome Gust reports that the local produce season is ramping up, with a wide and growing array of products pouring into the store, including some especially delicious peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, and cherries. On our own grounds we are currently growing tomatoes, beans, and a variety of exotic greens which we hope to soon offer to our shoppers and to our friends at Plant a Row for the Hungry.  On the flip side, it's pretty clear by now that the peach and apple crops in Indiana and even more so in Michigan were severely damaged by frosts in April, with up to 50% of the crop lost in some areas.

There's great news this month from the deli, where Chris Saligoe (Sal) has begun offering delicious, made-to-order Belgian waffles during the breakfast hours. Enjoy them with just a little butter and powdered sugar or, à la Jerome (pictured left), loaded up with your choice of fancier toppings

In our health and beauty department, you'll now find products from Full Moon Soaps and Herbal Cooperative, crafted locally from raw milk and herbs produced on the owners' farms.

And lastly, grocery manager Martha Philion offers this report on Masters Hand barbeque sauces, Field Roast vegetarian frankfurters and deli slices, Lovestreet Living Foods chocolate products (a customer request fulfilled), no salt pistachios, and "forbidden black rice."

Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
Staffer Julie Harries reports that, just in time for the heart of the gardening season, we now have canning jars and a very nice canning gadget box set.  The vintage tin toys we brought in a short while back have flown off our shelves, and we're expecting a new shipment by late June.  Note, too, that we now have a great stock of cool summer clothes, including sarongs (great as beach wear or head wraps).

Elsewhere in the store, we've brought in a wonderful collection of new wines for your summer imbibing, and we're also reintroducing a few of the delicious meats of Smoking Goose. Store manager Jason Hill has the full story.

Around Town

National Take Your Dog to Work Day
On Friday, June 22nd the Near West Side store will host a celebration of National Take Your Dog to Work Day, This is an annual event created and first celebrated in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, and is intended to both celebrate dogs and encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters, and breed rescue clubs. So grab your dog and come over to the parking lot beside the B-Line between noon and 3:00. We'll have a dog photo booth, free homemade Bloomingfoods dog biscuits, watering stations, and all our dog accessories will be 25% off.  Canine Companions will be there doing training sessions, and the local shelters may be there with adoption animals.

Solar Home Bike Tour
On Saturday, June 23rd, SIREN will host a bicycle tour of solar homes from 2:00 to 4:00. Meet at the Woodlawn Shelter in Bryan Park for a 5-mile loop visiting half a dozen homes that utilize photovoltaic panels or solar hot water heaters. Ask the homeowners questions, see different panel mounting options, and enjoy a leisurely ride. After the tour, join the Center for Sustainable Living's 20th anniversary celebration at the Woodlawn Shelter, where there will be food, games, and music. Please RSVP.

Bringing Solar Energy to Your Home
Here's another chance to learn about "Going Solar" and shifting your home to clean energy! Due to the tremendous response to their April session, the Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network (SIREN) will be hosting another "Going Solar" presentation on Tuesday, July 10th at 7:00 p.m. in room 1B of the Monroe County Public Library. Woodie Bessler will talk about the costs, financial incentives, carbon savings, and other considerations for installing solar and geothermal systems. Options to be presented include solar water heaters, solar electric panels, and geothermal heating systems. Learn what is involved, have your questions answered by local green energy experts, and sign up for a free, solar pre-assessment to determine the solar potential of your home. Please RSVP by Tuesday, July 3rd.

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 Terry Usrey, with the Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network (SIREN), will deliver a presentation entitled “Solar Power in Indiana: The State of Adoption” during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6 - 6:30 p.m. Despite Indiana’s lack of incentives, solar technology adoption is booming in Bloomington and Monroe County. Terry will fill us in on the ever-growing solar capacity of our community, and he will discuss the reasons so many of our neighbors have chosen to “Go Solar.” Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a thought-provoking discussion.

"Be Your Own Butcher - The Whole Hog from A to Z"
Here's a fabulous opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to deconstruct a whole hog, to participate in a discussion of what is involved in raising, processing, and bringing pork to the retail market, and to enjoy a delicious and creative dinner of all things pork prepared by Dave Tallent. Spread over three evenings, you can sign up for one or all the sessions. Here are the details.

Homegrown Indiana Farm Tour
Enjoy a delicious taste of agrarian life on the Summer Homegrown Indiana Farm Tour, Sunday, July 22nd, from 5:00 - 8:30 p.m.  You'll spend the day on the grounds of Sun Circle Farm, just outside Paoli, where you'll learn about the farm's practices of clean culture, cover cropping, horse-powered tillage, and the maintenance of a classical farm aesthetic. You may even find yourself handling the reins on the harness of a draft horse, cultivating a field.  You'll then wrap up the day with a delicious meal prepared by Gregg "Rags" Rago of Nick's English Hut and Jeff Finch of Finch's Brasserie, served in the rustic dining hall at the adjoining Lazy Black Bear farm.

Garden Galas and Walks
It is June and the gardens are in bloom. We have tickets on sale at our stores for two of the following four events. Check the links for the details concerning tickets and times:

On Saturday June 23 and Sunday June 24 (rain or shine), you can catch the Bloomington Garden Club's 2012 Garden Walk, featuring six private gardens, a flower show, and admission to the Monroe History Center.

On Saturday June 30th, you can attend the Mother Hubbard's Cupboard Garden Gala, a fundraiser for the food pantry's garden and nutrition programs. Bloomingfoods is a Harvest Provider for this event, and you'll find our cheeses among the delicious offerings.

Green Acres Neighborhood Garden is holding its annual summer garden party on Saturday, June 23rd, and everyone's invited! Celebrate the joys of gardening in such a wonderful community while indulging in tasty garden treats and libations.

Finally, it's time for the 14th Annual Brown County Studio and Garden Tour, Friday through Sunday, June 22nd – 24th.  Roam the hills of Brown, meet the artists and see how they create their works, enjoy the country gardens, all free of charge.

First Friday Evening Science of Art: Smile! Cameras
On Friday, July 6, from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m., watch and talk with photographers Michael Finger and James Kellar as they demonstrate how to develop photos using traditional chemical processes, and how to use computer software to enhance digital photos. See the Wonderlab website for details. A small-plate meal prepared by Bloomingfoods will be available in the WonderLab café.

In the Co-op World

"Local" Outpacing "Organic" in Produce Trends
One of the big challenges faced by Bloomingfoods these days is balancing the sometimes conflicting demand for products that are local and those that are organic. For some of our member-owners, having organic is of paramount importance, while others are willing to compromise on that score in order to get a locally produced product.  A presentation appearing on the website of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) states that 52% of respondents in a recently-conducted survey indicated that access to local produce was of greater important than organic. If you have strong feelings on this subject, drop me a line.

Food, Eating, and Health

Grilling Vegetables...No, Not to Make Them Talk
We're now in the midst of both the grilling and the fresh produce seasons. Here are a handful of fine recipes from The Daily Green to help you combine and maximize the pleasures of both.

Cornucopia Institute Alleges "Conspiracy" Between USDA and Organic Agribusiness Industry
The Cornucopia Institute is this country's fiercest organic farming watchdog.  In a new white paper, "The Organic Watergate," Cornucopia challenges what it calls a conspiracy "between corporate agribusiness interests and the USDA that has increasingly facilitated the use of questionable synthetic additives and even dangerous chemicals in organic foods." The paper investigates how the industry has violated federal law and ignored congressional intent, thereby creating a climate of regulatory abuse and corporate exploitation. A particularly damning feature is the manner in which the National Organic Standards Board has been "stacked" by the USDA with former agribusiness executives, reminiscent of the "revolving door" which apparently exists between the USDA itself and Monsanto and other agribusiness executives.  The report is available here. See what you think.

Organic Standards Relaxed Rather than Strengthened
If you've read the Cornucopia report referred to above, the following will come as no surprise. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets every six months to review the standards that govern the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). We learn from the Organic Consumers Association that at the May meeting the Board continued its trend of allowing more rather than fewer synthetic substances in products qualifying as "organic." On this occasion, the NOSB decided to permit carrageenan to be used in organic products for another five years. Carrageenan is an emulsifier used in juice, yogurt, chocolate milk, and other dairy products. There is evidence that it causes digestive problems and cancer. Its cause was championed before the NOSB by J.M. Smucker Co., Santa Cruz Organic, R.W. Knudsen, Dean Foods, and even Organic Valley. Eden Foods, on the other hand, has pledged to remove it from its products.

Indiana Studies Raw Milk Sale
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health has been charged with preparing a report for the state legislature concerning the advisability of permitting the sale of raw milk in our fair state. You have until September 1 to make your opinions known.

Indiana Only State to Prohibit Alcohol Sale on Sunday
And speaking of bans, were you aware that Indiana is now the only state in the union to prohibit retail liquor sales on Sunday? Connecticut, the other holdout, finally voted last month to drop its prohibition on Sunday liquor sales, leaving Indiana on its own.  RTV6 reports briefly on the conflicting views concerning our ban.

Food Leaders Tell Congress to Fix the Farm Bill
Frustrated by a draft of the 2012 Farm Bill that recently cleared the Senate Agriculture Committee, the Environmental Working Group, the Organic Consumers Association, and a veritable who's who of America's leading thinkers on food and agriculture recently sent an open letter to members of Congress. The letter takes to task the bill's generous provisions for subsidies and protections for huge industrial farms producing commodity crops while failing to provide anything resembling even marginal support for programs that would promote the production and consumption of healthy foods, protect the environment, or help feed the needy.  The authors hope the letter will encourage citizens to learn more about this legislation, and to make their feelings known to their representatives. We urge you to read the letter, consider the reputations of its signatories, consult your own values and priorities, and act accordingly.

The Pesticide and Resistant Seed Even Conventional Farmers Oppose
At last month's Green Drinks event, local biologist Marti Crouch delivered an address concerning the probable consequences of the USDA's approval of Dow Chemical's new 2,4D-resistant corn seed.  Crouch (and Grist) described how the rampant use of Monsanto's Roundup has led, inevitably, to the evolution of a slew of resistant weed species that conventional farmers need a new means to control. Dow Chemical's good old 2,4D herbicide (a major ingredient in Agent Orange) offers a possible solution, but is complicated to apply without damaging current varieties of corn. To overcome this problem, Dow has developed a 2,4D-resistant corn seed and is requesting approval from the USDA for approval for use. If approval is granted -- which is expected -- millions of acres of the new corn will be planted and sprayed with the 2,4D herbicide.  In this case it isn't just the usual suspects -- organic farmers and environmentalists -- that oppose the introduction of this genetically modified species. The Save Our Crops Coalition, consisting of many conventional farmers, including Indiana's Red Gold, is urging the USDA to deny use of the seed. The Coalition stand is based on the fact that increased use of 2,4D, which is notorious for "drifting" through the atmosphere for miles and killing other vegetation it encounters, will do severe damage to their "specialty crops" (ironically, specialty crops are many we can actually eat, such as tomatoes and broccoli, and other real food.)  

Environmental News

Have You Seen the Murmuration Video?
If not, knock off whatever else you were planning on doing for the next two minutes, and see it here, at Wired Science. This mysterious and magnificent phenomenon may very well take your breath away and inspire you to live just a little bit more gently on this beautiful earth we inhabit. (Credits to John Scully for sharing this.)

Australia to Establishment Enormous Ocean Reserve
Australia just announced its plan to establish the world's largest marine reserve. At approximately 1.2 million square miles, the reserve is larger than Alaska, California, Texas, and Montana combined. All commercial fishing and fossil fuel exploration will be "restricted" in the area. The Australian government will allocate $100 million AUS to fishermen displaced by the new reserves.

More News to Warm the Naturalist's Heart
Cougars (Puma concolor) once roamed the length and breadth of our country, but they were pretty much exterminated everywhere but in a handful of western states by the middle of the 20th century.  Since the 1960s and '70s though, repeal of the bounties that led to their slaughter has allowed their numbers and their range to grow. Scientific American offers this exciting report on a study published in The Journal of Wildlife Management that describes their return to the Midwest and the East.

FDA Rejects Petition to Ban Bisphenol A
At the end of March the FDA rejected a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council to issue a regulation prohibiting the use of BPA in human food and food packaging.  The folks at Environmental Health News make the point that in doing so the FDA is disregarding hundreds of studies conducted by leading independent scientists demonstrating a link between BPA exposure and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, neurobehavioral abnormalities, allergies and asthma, prostate and mammary gland cancer, and a wide range of reproductive defects. The FDA prefers instead to rely on the findings of a handful of studies conducted by FDA scientists and scientists funded by the very companies producing and using BPA in their products.

Closing Thoughts

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
~ Marcel Proust