Friday, March 20, 2009

Water usage!

The good folks down at GOOD Magazine have put together a neat little illustrated chart on Water Usage in your everyday life. It's separated into not so good choices and better choices.

"As we become more and more aware that we may be using water at an unsustainable pace, the idea of water footprints-the amount of water an individual uses-is becoming more common. Water footprints can be hard to calculate, depending on how far up the chain of production you go, since everything you eat and buy used some water to produce (to feed cows for beef, for example, or to use in the factory that made your cell phone)."

Click the below image to visit their site.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Weekly Specials!

Weekly Specials are up on site, get them while they are hot!! Check them out - Vitamins, Dish soap & Pears - Oh my! And much, much more. Check back every week for new specials:


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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

First Garden!

Awesome news. The First Family is going to plant a white house veggie garden!

From ABC news blog:

ABC News' Brian Hartman Reports: President Obama's latest shovel-ready project is close to home -- in fact, right in his own yard. In an effort to promote healthy eating, the first family will be planting a vegetable garden right on the White House grounds.

ABC News' Ann Compton and Sunlen Miller report that the new White House vegetable garden will be dug up and planted on the South grounds of the White House -- near the fountain but out of view of the main house.

Though the 16-acre complex is maintained by the National Park Service, one worker who preferred to remain anonymous assured ABC News that National Park Service staff won't do the sowing and planting. The White House residence staff will handle that.

As first reported online by food writer Eddie Gehman Kohan, who reports on food issues related to the Obamas, First Lady Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey's "O" magazine, "We're...working on a wonderful new garden project."

In the April issue of the magazine, Mrs. Obama tells Winfrey, "We want to use it as a point of education, to talk about health and how delicious it is to eat fresh food, and how you can take that food and make it part of a healthy diet."

A variety of organic food and sustainable agriculture advocates have been pressing the Obamas to plant such a garden.


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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

H.R. 875

The National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) has done some research on H.R. 875 and the following is what they had to say.

The dilemma of how to regulate food safety in a way that prevents problems caused by industrialized agriculture but doesn't wipe out small diversified farms is not new and is not easily solved. And as almost constant food safety problems reveals the dirty truth about the way much of our food is produced, processed, and distributed, it's a dilemma we need to have serious discussion about.

Most consumers never thought they had to worry about peanut butter and this latest food safety scandal has captured public attention for good reason - a CEO who knowingly shipped contaminated food, a plant with holes in the roof and serious pest problems, and years of state and federal regulators failing to intervene.

It's no surprise that Congress is under pressure to act and multiple food safety bills have been introduced.

Two of the bills are about traceability for food (S.425 and H.R. 814). These present real issues for small producers who could be forced to bear the cost of expensive tracking technology and recordkeeping.

The other bills address what FDA can do to regulate food.

A lot of attention has been focused on a bill introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (H.R. 875), the Food Safety Modernization Act. And a lot of what is being said about the bill is misleading.

Here are a few things that H.R. 875 DOES do:

- It addresses the most critical flaw in the structure of FDA by splitting it into 2 new agencies - one devoted to food safety and the other devoted to drugs and medical devices.
- It increases inspection of food processing plants, basing the frequency of inspection on the risk of the product being produced - but it does NOT make plants pay any registration fees or user fees.
- It does extend food safety agency authority to food production on farms, requiring farms to write a food safety plan and consider the critical points on that farm where food safety problems are likely to occur.
- It requires imported food to meet the same standards as food produced in the U.S.

And just as importantly, here are a few things that H.R. 875 does NOT do:

- It does not cover foods regulated by the USDA (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, catfish.)
- It does not establish a mandatory animal identification system.
- It does not regulate backyard gardens.
- It does not regulate seed.
- It does not call for new regulations for farmers markets or direct marketing arrangements.
- It does not apply to food that does not enter interstate commerce (food that is sold across state lines).
- It does not mandate any specific type of traceability for FDA-regulated foods (the bill does instruct a new food safety agency to improve traceability of foods, but specifically says that recordkeeping can be done electronically or on paper.)

Several of the things not found in the DeLauro can be found in other bills - like H.R. 814, the Tracing and Recalling Agricultural Contamination Everywhere Act, which calls for a mandatory animal identification system, or H.R. 759, the Food And Drug Administration Globalization Act, which overhauls the entire structure of FDA. H.R. 759 is more likely to move through Congress than H.R. 875. And H.R. 759 contains several provisions that could cause problems for small farms and food processors:

- It extends traceability recordkeeping requirements that currently apply only to food processors to farms and restaurants - and requires that recordkeeping be done electronically.
- It calls for standard lot numbers to be used in food production.
- It requires food processing plants to pay a registration fee to FDA to fund the agency's inspection efforts.
- It instructs FDA to establish production standards for fruits and vegetables and to establish Good Agricultural Practices for produce.

There is plenty of evidence that one-size-fits-all regulation only tends to work for one size of agriculture - the largest industrialized operations. That's why it is important to let members of Congress know how food safety proposals will impact the conservation, organic, and sustainable practices that make diversified, organic, and direct market producers different from agribusiness. And the work doesn't stop there - if Congress passes any of these bills, the FDA will have to develop rules and regulations to implement the law, a process that we can't afford to ignore.

But simply shooting down any attempt to fix our broken food safety system is not an approach that works for consumers, who are faced with a food supply that is putting them at risk and regulators who lack the authority to do much about it.

You can read the full text of any of these bills at

If you'd like to send a message to your representative about how you feel or for more information please visit or

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Monday!

Here's a little fun education for your eyeballs. As greenLAgirl put it: "like the Story of Stuff, except less shrill and a lot shorter," I'll add also with a British accent.


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Friday, March 13, 2009

Grow your own!

A little Friday wrap up.

#1 An NPR bit about the Woman's Land Army, an all but forgotten women's movement during World War I. While U.S. servicemen were fighting "over there," American women from all walks of life moved to rural areas to work as farm laborers. Interesting and only about 5 minutes, check it out:

#2 In bad times, seed sales grow. Even if you only have a little bit of windowsill space, you can grow a pot of herbs. The more space you have the more you can grow! Don't forget that the co-op has certified organic seeds near the bread section to the right as you walk in.

#3 Listen to this: Evan Kleiman had Bill Freese, of the Center for Food Saftey, on her show on March 7th to talk about the FDA's recent approval of irradiation of lettuce and spinach. He brings up serious concerns about the safety of food irradiation. The whole show is good, but the irradiation part starts at about the 28:28 mark.


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Thursday, March 12, 2009


I follow a local blog called Backwards Beekeepers. It's a bunch of backyard bee keepers right here in Los Angeles. Actually if you have a bee hive you want to have removed they are the people to contact.

Below is a short video on urban bee keeping. Very inspiring, I'm not a beekeeper but I do have a hive in a pepper tree in my yard and I love the idea that all my flowering plants are helping to make bee food!

Every Third Bite from on Vimeo.


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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

EWG Posted a New Dirty Dozen

The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) the same good folks that bring us the skin deep website have released a new Shopper's Guide to Pesticides. I'm lucky enough to be able to purchase almost all organic produce, but if you can't, for whatever reason, the EWG's list can really help you make the best choices, to purchase the least amount of pesticides.

EWG analysts have developed the Guide based on data from nearly 87,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between 2000 and 2007 and collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can find a detailed description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and
the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at their dedicated website,

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Wow - Natural Products Expo

I had the opportunity this past weekend to go down to the Natural Products Expo. A truly amazing experience, not only because of all the amazing new products but also because of the many awesome people I got to meet and talk to.

This weekend reaffirmed yet another reason that makes me feel so proud to work at the co-op: I constantly heard throughout the day so much positive feedback on our store. It seemed like every other person either shopped at the co-op or dealt with us as a vendor and had nothing but encouraging, friendly comments. A few people even named a couple employees as friendly favorites.

The highlight of the show for me was being able to listen to Dr. Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned environmentalist, speak on "Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis". During her talk she spoke about big business and its tendency to try to suppress nature, by trying to take what is natural and attempt to patent it to make a profit. By mapping the seeds they are taking natural and cultural knowledge and trying to claim it as their own. She likened this tendency to colonialism where countries would put a country on the map and claim ownership. Shiva called this acts of "bio-piracy."

In order to combat these larger corporations, through her organization, Navdanya - which means nine seeds, she has preserved crops, plants, traditional knowledge and culture through seed banks, education and activism. Through the sharing of the seeds the organization has collected, they can help areas recover quickly from natural disasters such as flooding and drought. Additionally, by giving the area flood or drought tolerant strains of seeds they can help insure disaster doesn't strike twice. Her organization also hosts classes and educates farmers on best practices. As she put it, natural knowledge should be "open source." Given the knowledge, people have the ability to change, grow, find substitutes for toxins and develop better, alternative systems to the current ones available to us.

Big business has tricked many people into believing that their way - i.e. the way of petrochemicals, genetically modified seeds and industrial agriculture - is the only way that we're going to be able to feed the world. This just isn't true. Industrialized agriculture, by in large, is hugely inefficient, having to put in 10 oil calories to get just 1 food calorie out. Since we are running out of oil, we must think of alternative ways to get our food, we must think of ways to take less and give back more. Only through biodiversity and respect for all life can we survive. As Shiva said, "The more we build the natural economy, the more freedom and democracy we'll have. So let's cultivate the earth, let's cultivate more peace, happiness, and joy together!"

What an inspiration! I'm so glad I was able to hear her speak and I'm also really glad to be part of an organization that is doing its best to help cultivate the community.


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Friday, March 6, 2009

Green Beings

Check out this article Carbon Neutral on a Shoestring. Its about an eco-conscious restoration in Barcelona, Spain, a city that has long prized the new and glossy, amounts to a countercultural effort.

Also... The City of Santa Monica and Sustainable Works are sponsoring an Earthday Poster Contest open to all K-12 aged students who live or attend school in Santa Monica. This year's theme is "My Sustainable Community."

The purpose of this contest is to engage students in sustainability education and action, and to offer them an opportunity to share their vision for a clean, green, healthy community.

Educators are encouraged to schedule an in-class or assembly presentation on sustainability where students will be given the information to inspire contest submissions. Presentations can range from 10-20 minutes and will be adapted to specific K-12 age levels. Spanish language presentations are available.

All students and their families will be invited to an art opening where all students will be recognized for their artistic contributions, posters will be displayed and prizes will be awarded. Selected posters will also be displayed at community events and at traveling exhibits in public sites.

All entries are due by April 2, 2009.

Download the flier at

For more information please contact Traci Reitz:


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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy Almost Friday!

In case all of today's sunshine is bringing you down after yesterday's day of rain, here's something that's really going to put a damper on your day. It's an adorable hamster choosing between organic and non-organic foods. See how organic foods stand up to conventional in this super serious, highly scientific experiment.

If you're looking for something that is actually serious, check the Mother Jones' March/April food issue, its awash with food opinions. There is a Michael Pollan interview and an in depth article on what the "future of really sustainable agriculture" might look like.

Check it out


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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How To Green Your Garden: Sustainable SM Class Series

Everything you wanted to know about greening your garden!

This series of classes is for the Santa Monica gardener that wants to grow a beautiful and sustainable garden. Each class will walk you through a different topic to help make your garden a success and envy of your neighbors.

Classes will be held on the 3rd Saturday of each month from 9:00 to 12:00.

Santa Monica College, Main Campus

$35 per class

Class Scheudle:
March 21 - Plant Palette: Mediterranean Plants
Choosing climate-appropriate plants from the Mediterranean plant palette that offer a variety of colors, textures and fragrance.

April 11 - Water Wise Gardening
I've picked my plants but how and when do I water them? Learn the basics of water wise irrigation.

May 16 - Veggie Gardens 101
Learn how to incorporate edibles into your garden, including raised vegetable beds and planters.

June 20 - Good Bugs, Healthy Plants
Learn which plants attract good bugs and how you can reduce your maintenance and chemical use in the garden.

July 18 - No Sweat Gardening
A "green" garden requires 60% less maintenance. Find out how and when to prune your plants, mulching and composting.

September 19 - Plant Palette: Native Plants
Choosing climate-appropriate plants from our California native plant palette that offer a variety of colors, textures and fragrance.

October 17 - Showers to Flowers
How to use rainwater and graywater to water your garden.

Online Registration
Telephone Registration: 310.434.3400.

Questions: Russell Ackerman, 310.458.2213;
For more information about this series, visit or call (310) 458-8972


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Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Monday!

Hope everyone enjoyed a great and relaxing weekend.

A couple of co-op news points:
#1 You can find our new monthly sale items on our website here:

#2 You can download the latest version of our newsletter (March/April 2009) on our website as well. See:

In other news, March is National Women's History Month. This year the National Women's History Project is honoring "Women Taking the Lead to Save our Planet." Learn more here:


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