Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Paper or Plastic? Bring Your Own

Here's my rant for the day: We should all bring our reusable bags on a regular basis when shopping for our groceries. There's no reason we can't keep our bags in our cars and use them when we shop. It might take time to create a habit, but it can be done. The oceans and landfills throughout the world are choked with the trash of a billion and one shopping trips. We can't keep going along this route. Eventually, we're going to hit a proverbial (or real) wall and end up with more trash than we know what to do with.

Single-use bags (paper or plastic) are so outdated, inefficient and wasteful that we--rumored to be the most intelligent species--should know better. Both require tremendous resources to create. Not only that, we are dropping so much plastic into the oceans, I'm afraid we're not going to have an ocean one day. Or if we do, it will be more like swimming in a saltwater Toys"R"Us.

Obviously it's not just plastic bags that are choking our oceans; it's all plastic. But I'm ranting about bags here, so we'll leave the discussion of other plastic for another time.

Need facts? Just Google "Pacific Gyre" or "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch" and watch the videos documenting our continual disregard of our planet's most precious resource. (Or see my previous post, Plastic Soup.) We've also got some good video links on our Environmental Sustainability page.

Paper bags are no better. They require a huge amount of resources for their production. A Washington Post article claimed that over 14 million trees are cut down annually to create paper bags.

I've just received an email from a longtime owner who's as frustrated as I am about the continual use of new paper and plastic bags. Sure, some are recycled, but that takes energy, time and money. Why not bring your own? Reuse over and over again. If you need trash bags for your kitchen, try using our Biobags. They're biodegradable, which means they'll break down in a landfill. We've got them in the paper and cleaning product section.

We have a bunch of great reusable bag options to choose from: 99 cent poly bags; Co-opportunity canvas bags; and Chico Bags are just some. Our One Bag at a Time poly bags (stocked at every register) are only 99 cents and they're from a company run by a longtime owner of our co-op.

It only takes a little practice; after that you'll be remembering your reusable bags for every shop. And the oceans and landfills will thank you.

So, here it is: Paper or Plastic?

Neither if we can help it.
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Food, Inc..

There's a new movie premiering today at the Nuart theater in West L.A. called Food, Inc. Featuring Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser and others, this flick should prove to be another enlightening installment in a series of films documenting the sad state of industrial agriculture, the livestock industry and food production in our country.

Rather than summarize the film myself, here's the blurb from the movie website:

"In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli--the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising--and often shocking truths--about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here."

If you're unaware of what really goes on behind the scenes with the production of much of our food, then definitely go see this movie. While it may not be a contender for the next "Best Comedy" Oscar, it's crucial we stay informed. For it's only through knowledge that we can make the best choices regarding the health of our bodies and the health of our planet.

Food, Inc. is showing at the Nuart through next Thursday. This is a limited engagement. Check the theatre for exact showtimes.

Here's the Official Food, Inc. website:
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Frankenseeds & Beans

The most fascinating thing about Monsanto is that they actually have the audacity to believe they are entitled to claim the world's seeds as their own. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I will direct your attention to several websites and videos at the end of this post.

Not only has Monsanto crafted frankenseeds (GMOs or "genetically modified organisms") based upon sound science fiction; but they are scouring the world attempting to slap patents on thousand-year-old seeds developed by indigenous farmers through years of trial and error. What will happen if all the seeds in the world are owned by one corporation? Well, that's a scenario straight out of a Hollywood scriptwriter's pen.

I first learned about Monsanto's audacity from the film, "The Future of Food," wherein said multinational monster of a corporation claimed that a Canadian farmer named Percy Schmeiser had infringed on their proprietary property. Briefly, some of Monsanto's GMO canola seeds had accidentally blown onto Schmeiser's organic canola fields. (A truck was driving by and lost some of its cargo.) The frankenseeds grew, threatening Schmeiser's organic certification. Lo and behold, Monsanto's agents had discovered the "infringement" and sued Schmeiser. After years of litigation (and much expense and heartache for Percy), Schmeiser finally won a favorable decision in 2008.

But the battle is certainly not over.

Everyday there's a push to create more genetically-modified crops. First it was soy, corn and canola. Now it's wheat. Third world countries are being forced to accept these GMO laden exports as well. It has become a constant battle between the European Union (and other countries) and the forces of "progress" who want the world to drink the GMO kool-aid.

Monsanto claims it is developing ways to cure the world's food shortage. With global population growing at a fantastic rate, Monsanto believes we'll run out of food. So they're riding in on a white horse of mutilated and manipulated life forms to save the day. Remember folks, this is the same child of free enterprise that brought us Agent Orange and DDT.

But these are different times. We need to forget all that nonsense. We need to realize Monsanto is in the business of providing food for the masses. No matter that they'll eventually own the ability to control the entire process.

Any company that creates a "terminator" seed which becomes useless after one harvest can't be all bad, huh?

We need to take a collective pause and realize we're tinkering with the very basis of life. This is audacity on a whole 'nother level, folks. Sometimes you have to leave well enough alone. Shooting fish genes into corn is not what I want to be remembered for when I kick the proverbial bucket. The tombstone will read:

"He Ruined the Genetic Makeup of the World's Corn."

You'll be happy to know that certified organic products must be GMO-free.

Now, please pass the organic tofu...

Vandana Shiva talks about the patent of seeds by Monsanto

"The World According to Monsanto" Documentary

Organic Consumers Association "Millions against Monsanto" Campaign

Percy Schmeiser's Website
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Friday, June 5, 2009

Co-op to Go!

Great news for all you co-op deli lovers. We've now got a whole new delicious bunch of grab'n'go goodies made right here, "in-house," as they say in the biz. It's our recently created "Co-op to Go!" line and we're adding new models weekly.

Here's just a partial listing: Daily fresh sandwiches of all persuasions (turkey, veggie, tuna, grilled chicken panini, grilled veggie panini, etc.). Sides of rice. Wraps. Whole meal plates. And more.

And there's more yet to come. Our research and development department is hard at work in a secret location creating new culinary delights for the line.

Stop by the deli and check the lower case in front of the counter and also the case on the side facing produce. Just look for the "Co-op to Go!" label.

No more waiting in line!

It's easy: Choose. Purchase. Devour. Enjoy. Wipe face.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Homegrown, It's What's for Dinner

I haven't grown much more than a potbelly during my time here on Earth, but after watching "Homegrown Revolution," the video documentary on the Dervaes Family, I'm committed to harvesting at least one full course meal myself before kicking the bucket.

Here's the plot: Father of three says no to GMOs and bug spray on his dinner, bucks the system, and transforms his 1/5 acre Pasadena plot into a self-sufficient food factory capable of producing up to 6,000 lbs of organic produce a year. Their definition of a local tomato is 40 feet from farm to table.

(I could do without the chickens, but I'll save that for my therapist.)

After watching this video, you will never look at a front lawn (or backyard) the same way again.

Can you imagine what would happen to commercial agribusiness, GMOs and the pesticide industry if everyone began growing their own food?

Here's the documentary:

Here's the Dervaes website:
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Our Local Produce

Here's some good news: We currently have over 30 fresh, delicious local organic produce items available in our produce department. (Our Meyer Lemons, grown just 12 miles away, wins the "Most Local" prize.) We're coming up on summer and the fields are pouring forth a rich bounty of succulent crops.

It is our policy to purchase the highest quality local organic produce available at any given time. Just check for "LOCAL" on our produce signs. Our Produce Manager, Inez Gobert, is continually on the lookout for tasty local items--from small, independent farmers when available. As the seasons change, certain items are not available in California, so we have to source from other regions. But if it's to be found close to the co-op, we'll do our best to stock it.

Come on in and partake of the harvest.

Local Organic Produce Currently In-Stock

Malibu 12 miles
Meyer Lemons

Sun Valley (Kenter Canyon) 15 miles
Clamshell Salads

Oxnard (Pure-Veg) 41 miles

Riverside (The Grove) 62 miles
Navel Oranges

Santa Barbara (Givens Farms) 75 miles
Red Kale
Green Chard

Goleta (Ebby's Farm) 84 miles
Black Kale

Bakersfield (Cal-Organics) 97 miles
Red Leaf Lettuce
Bunched Carrots
Red Onions
Yellow Onions
White Onions
Bunched Beets
Bunched Carrots
Bok Choy
Green Leaf
Mustard Greens
Red Cabbage
Loose Beets

Thermal (Anthony's Vineyard) 168 miles
Green Grapes
Red Grapes

Santa Maria (Bonipak) 123 miles

Kingsburg (Brooks) 179 miles

Kingsburg (Olson Farms) 179 miles
White Peaches
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