Member-Customer Appreciation Day (MAD-CAD) Report
MAD-CAD this year was once again a fine event, as members and non-members alike appeared in droves to experience great prices, prizes, and a lot of fun. Our prize winners? Rita Orcelletto took home a new charcoal grill, Lane Vargas won a bike, and Cathy Kammer received an exceptionally nice coffee basket and hand crafted mug from Bloomington's pioneer micro-coffee roaster, Partridge & Quigley.
Elm Heights Project Update
Our project to develop a store in the Elm Heights neighborhood, at 2nd and Fess, continues to move through the city regulatory process. You can follow the development of this project at elmheights.bloomingfoods.coop, where we'll continue blogging news, pictures and drawings (as they become available), and background information on the project. There is also a member loan pledge form on the site, allowing you to make a non-binding monetary pledge to the project in advance of the launch of the actual member loan drive.
The start of a new school year typically means a surge in membership, and this year has been no exception. Thus far in August, fully 94 new households have joined the ranks of membership. Thanks so much to all the members-owners who share with newcomers to our community the benefits of Bloomingfoods member-ownership.
From the Board
At each of its monthly meetings, the members of our board of directors devote a significant portion of time educating themselves on matters germane to guiding a large and thriving co-op. Last month the board turned its attention to a fascinating and often neglected topic: the rich history of cooperative businesses in this country, as represented in a documentary still in development, Food for Change. Here is board secretary Carol Bridge's report.
Mindful Eating in the Age of High Prices
Bloomingfoods member-owner David Keppel recently shared with us this thoughtful essay, addressing the issue of escalating food prices and steps we can all take to keep our costs under control. We submit it for your consideration.
Update Your Address with Us
Late summer is typically a time when many of our member-owners change residences, so if you have, here's a little reminder to please let us know your new address. We don't want you to miss receiving your newsletter or other mailings of significance that will be going out soon.
August-September Member Days & Product Specials
Member day is Wednesday in August and Monday in September. These are the August product specials, and these are the member-owner specials. Your Co+op Deals flyers are available here.
Monroe County United Ministries Food Drive
The seventh annual “Each One, Feed One” Community Food Drive to benefit MCUM’s food pantry will be held on August 17th, 18th, and 19th. On these days, MCUM volunteers will collect donations at our stores to re-stock their depleted food pantry that serves Monroe County residents in need. Their goal is to collect 16,000 pounds of food, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items from generous shoppers. Financial donations are also accepted. Please help, as your means and inclinations suggest.
(812-336-5400; 3220 East Third St.)
In response to many customer requests, we've now established a second cart corral in our parking lot, so you'll have less walking to do when you return to your cars. And remember: never hesitate to ask for assistance if you'd like help taking your groceries to your car.
Here's a personal testimonial. Vinho Verde is a style of wine (rather than a varietal) produced in the northern Portuguese province of Minho. The region is characterized by thousands of small growers, who traditionally train their vines to climb high above the ground, permitting the farmer to grow vegetable crops below for the family's consumption. The "verde" in the wine's name alludes to the greenness or, rather, the youthfulness of this wine, for it is intended to be consumed in the year after pressing. The East and Near West Side stores have two especially nice examples: Avaleda Fonte and Gazela. No wines we've drunk during this summer's long, hot evenings have been more satisfying and refreshing than these.
Produce manager Jerome Gust reports that many of our growers have reported on the difficulties they've experienced this year as a result of the heat and drought: seed germination is compromised; many things are ripening much faster than usual; and most crops aren't lasting as long as usual. The sweet corn of Dan McCullough, for instance, experienced poor germination in several plantings, and consequently we'll be short on his corn for the next few weeks. Dan feels confident, however, that he will have plenty for us in September and into October. Jerome would also like to take this opportunity to thank our local growers for their hard work in this very challenging growing year. We've been surprised and delighted by just how much we've been able to purchase locally this summer, given the harsh growing conditions: local produce purchases are up almost 20% from last year.
In the meat department, Josh Hermes reports on the collection of new products he's bringing in, including sliced capocolla from Smoking Goose; T-bone steaks from Fischer Farms; and bacon, brats, and franks from Beeler. Also, please note that our frozen meats are now located in the stand-alone, reach-in freezer adjacent to the fresh meat case. We hope you'll find this makes for more convenient shopping.
Our Health & Beauty manager, Mark Jennings, recently shared with us this report from ScienceDaily on a study out of Australia indicating fish oil supplementation "could be an adjunct therapy for periodontitis." As you are probably aware, periodontitis is strongly linked to systemic inflammation, which in turn is linked to stroke and heart disease. We just happen to have several good fish oil supplements on our shelves. Check with Josh if you have questions or special requests.
Near West Side Store
(812-333-7312; 316 W 6th St.)
The big news at the Near West Side is the inaugural tent sale we'll be holding Saturday, August 18th, from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Think of it as a scaled down version of the spring and fall truckload sales we hold at the East store, with great deals on pantry basics, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, meat, produce, and snacks. Stop in and stock up: it'll tide you over until the fall sale. We could use a few hardy volunteers for this event, so if you'd like to earn some working member discounts, contact Jason Hill for a shift.
Bloomingfoods works with many local grocers and artisans, but none it loves more than Bud Smith, the Brown County grower with whom we've done business for so many years and whose melons and other produce our shoppers enjoy so much. Here's a very brief report from Ruth Ferree, our NWS produce manager, concerning a recent field trip she and some of her staff made to Bud's farm.
In the general merchandise section of the store, we've just taken delivery on a very limited supply of mittens from Linda Garcia of Massena, NY, made from recycled sweaters and lined with fleece. Sure, winter's still a long way off, but when it arrives, you'll really appreciate a pair of these, and they'd
make a great, unique Christmas present.
Fourth Street Festival of the Arts & Crafts
Now in its 37th year, the Fourth Street Festival will take place Saturday, Sept. 1st, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 2nd, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free of admission, the event is a great opportunity to view and purchase art from over a hundred of the area's and the country's finest artists. For folks wanting to really get involved in the event--and get a free festival t-shirt--we have volunteer opportunities available Friday evening and during show hours Saturday & Sunday. Contact Jean Kautt for details.
Gardening/Orchard Classes from Bloomingfoods and Bloomington Parks & Recreation
Would you like to learn more about fall gardening, "tree guilds," compost, beekeeping, or simply the best way to put your garden to rest for winter? Bloomington Parks & Recreation can help, with this set of fall classes.
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, Carol Seaman, co-founder, past president, and volunteer with the Funeral Consumer's Alliance of Bloomington will deliver a presentation entitled "Ten Things You Should Know to Understand Green Burial" during the programmed portion of the evening, from 6 - 6:30 on August 22nd. Please join us for a snack, a drink, and a lively discussion with your friends and neighbors of the components of a "green burial" and how one can be arranged locally.
Bloom Front Page Challenge
The Bloom Front Page Challenge is a great way to support our community. If every Bloomingfoods member-owner household gave just one dollar, we would far exceed our goal! Please give generously and help us practice the 7th Cooperative Principle: Concern for Community. You can make a tax-deductible contribution here or by mentioning to your Bloomingfoods cashier that you'd like to make a donation.
The 24th annual Bloomington Farmer's Market's Salsa Contest will be held this year on Saturday, August 25th, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. If you have your own great salsa recipe and are feeling competitive, hurry in to either our East or Near West Side stores to pick up a registration kit. And whether you compete or not, plan to be there to sample the salsas, and to see a salsa-making demo by Gregg "Rags" Rago from Nick's, and a salsa dance demo by members of the Arthur Murray Dance Studio.
The Happiness Diet: Drew Ramsey Author Event
Please join us on Tuesday, August 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Near West Side community room for a special dinner, book-signing, and conversation about the connection between food and mood, featuring Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of The Happiness Diet. You'll find all the details here, including reservation information.
"Flavors of 4th Street" International Food Festival
On Friday, August 24th, from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m., the place to eat in Bloomington will be downtown on 4th street, between Grant and Dunn, where the 4th street chefs will be assembled, offering $1 samplings of their favorite dishes. There is a $5 admission fee for students; $10 for non-students; children under 12 get in free.
In the Co-op World
Bumper Crop of Startup Co-ops, Including Columbus, IN
Even as Bloomingfoods is working to acquire land in Elm Heights on which to build a new grocery, thereby better serving the residents of that neighborhood, folks around the country are banding together to establish their own cooperatively owned grocery stores. One of the most exciting pieces of news to emerge from this year's Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) meeting was the announcement that nineteen new co-op groceries opened during the 2011-12 fiscal year. Geographically dispersed, they range from Vancouver, WA in the west to New Haven, CT in the east, and from St. Cloud, MN in the north to Gainsesville, FL and New Orleans, LA in the south. There's even one getting started next door, in Columbus. You can learn more about the Columbus co-op in this fine four-minute video, in which members and farmers discuss the benefits of co-operative groceries and locally-produced food. Or to hear this topic discussed more generally and even more succinctly, dedicate two minutes to viewing this video, entitled "Why do I Shop at the Co-op."
Food, Eating, and Health
Wonder at Your Love for Meat? It could be in Your Genes
Have you ever wondered about your strong attraction to the flavor of meat? Or perhaps even lamented it, given the medical evidence that too much of it is probably not so good for you? Well, some scientists believe you have nature, in the form of the mutated gene apoE, rather than nurture, to thank. The Wall Street Journal offers this account, based on Sam Kean's book The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code.
Fresh Fruit and Fire: A Summer Romance
Regardless of whether or not we enjoy, or suffer, a genetic predisposition toward meat, consider replacing expensive corn-fed burgers, steaks, chops, and chicken with fresh fruit this summer. Jim Shahin of the Washington Post tells the delicious tale of how the sweetness and intensity of flavor in pineapple, peaches, melon, and other luscious fruits are intensified and enhanced by the smoky fire of a grill.
Briefs Filed to Stop Monsanto's Patent Infringement War
Eleven prominent law professors and 14 renowned organic, biodynamic, food safety and consumer nonprofit organizations have filed separate briefs with the Federal Court of Appeals, arguing that farmers have the right to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement by agricultural giant Monsanto. The briefs were filed in support of 75 family farmers, seed businesses and agricultural organizations representing more than 300,000 individuals and 4,500 farms that last year brought a protective legal action seeking a ruling that Monsanto could never sue them for patent infringement if they became contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified seed. The case was dismissed by the district court in February, and that dismissal is now pending review by the Court of Appeals. And so the battle rages.
Worried About GMO's?
If you number yourself among those concerned with unwelcome and unlabeled gmo's in your diet, you may appreciate this guide to 10 food items about which you should be especially careful.
Maine Lobster Glut: the Good and the Bad
Last month we reported on the record harvest of sockeye salmon in the Columbia Basin. This month it's Maine lobsters. The good? There's a record harvest, thanks to warm weather and solid conservation efforts. The bad? Prices paid to the fisherman are at a 40-year low, thanks to the law of supply and demand.
Food Prices Predicted to Rise Above Inflation Rate
The BBC reports that whereas food prices in the U.S. typically inflate about 2.8% per year, the drought that has devastated corn production this year will result in increases from 3% to 5%, with most of this appearing on products based on corn. It will take a bit of time for this to occur, of course, but eventually the price hikes will work their way through the system, first into feed and animal prices, then wholesale prices, and then, finally, retail prices. Looks like a good year to eat fewer corn-based products.
Worst Farm Bill Ever?
The Washington Post reports here that the severe drought afflicting much of the country is providing a perfect excuse for the Senate Agriculture Committee, spurred on by big ag and the Monsanto crowd, to pressure House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio into speeding consideration of a subsidy-rich, five-year farm bill. The Post's opinion? "...the flawed bill is irrelevant to the farm belt's current predicament, and it could perversely magnify losses from future natural disasters." The Post is hardly alone in looking askance at the bill. SignOn.org observes that "so-called 'Monsanto riders,' quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require - not just allow, but require - the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed." If you have bad feelings about all this, you can let the House, Senate, and President know, via this petition.
A Statement from the National Pork Producers Council
"The only real measure of their well-being we have is the number of piglets per birth, and that's at an all-time high," the spokesman went on to say. So we'll issue our own statement: Please don't eat CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) meat. Nowhere. No how. It's an ethical, nutritional, and environmental abomination. And if they can't tell you the name of the farmer or the processor, it is, almost certainly, cafo meat. Here's a closer look, from the Humane Society of the United States, if you have the stomach for it.
Beavers Terrorize Philadelphia
According to Foxnews, beavers are running amok in Philly this summer, crazed with rabies, and chewing on the citizenry instead of the trees. Biologists and game wardens are reportedly stumped.
The Sound of a Damaged Habitat
Bernie Krause, writing in the NY Times, explores the notion that while a picture may be worth a thousand words, a soundscape is worth a thousand pictures. Krause offers a beautiful article on what the "biophony" of a habitat reveals about its environmental health, including audio clips recorded in areas before and after logging and other environmentally traumatic activities. Of one area that had been very carefully and selectively timbered, Krause observed: "When I returned a year later, nothing appeared to have changed at first glance. No stumps or debris — just conifers and lush understory. But to the ear — and to the recorder — the difference was shocking. I’ve returned 15 times since then, and even years later, the density and diversity of voices are still lost."
Introducing the All Electric "Fold"
Grist reports here on the all-electric "Fold," which is eight feet long but will fold up to a mere five feet long for parking. The Fold was conceived a decade ago by researchers at an MIT media lab, who wanted to design a small car that got even smaller for tight city parking. Now it’s finally going into commercial production, which means you could have your own sweet little fold-up car as early as 2013.
U.S. Leads the World in Cutting CO2
On the good news, bad news front, we have cut our carbon emissions more than any other country in the world in recent years — 7.7 percent since 2006. U.S. emissions fell 1.9 percent last year and are projected to fall 1.9 percent again this year, which will put us back at 1996 levels. According to Grist, It's ironic, though, that our progress is mostly due to 1) The recession dramatically flattened demand for electricity; 2) 2011 was incredibly warm; 3) thanks to fracking, there's currently a glut of natural gas, which is killing the demand for dirty coal.
"The fate of a nation depends on the way that they eat."
~ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1825 (and more than ever, perhaps, true today.)
"If organic farming is the natural way, shouldn't organic produce just be called "produce" and make the pesticide-laden stuff take the burden of an adjective?"
~ Ymber Delecto