Monday, January 31, 2011

USDA’s Recent Decision to Completely Deregulate Monsanto: A Major Blow for Organic Farmers

Like most of you, we are extremely disappointed and disheartened by the USDA’s decision for complete deregulation of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa. We had hoped that the voices of the hundreds of thousands of consumers who commented on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] would result in a different outcome. Nonetheless, we will continue to support better protections for organic farmers and ultimately, our owners.

We encourage you to contact the White House and state legislators with feedback on the USDA's decision. You can still have your voices heard. Click here to contact President Obama. You can also support the work of other grass roots organizations involved in this issue, such as Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch and the NCGA among others. However, we have also heard some calls for boycotting of organics in protest to the USDA's decision.

We cannot support this position for many reasons; chiefly that we simply do not have enough facts as to what parties were involved in this decision, and what their position was behind closed doors (click here for Organic Valley’s response, and click here for StonyField’s response.) Secondly, we can point to a glimmer of silver-lining—the USDA has committed to studying methods to prevent cross pollination and securing and preserving non-GE alfalfa seeds.

The message we would like to send our owners is that it is more important than ever to support the farmers and processors who bring us organics. It is only through continued growth and increased market power that we can have a greater impact in Washington. The USDA’s decision means that the work of organic farmers and others in the industry will be more challenging than ever. We want them to know that Co-opportunity and its owners will continue to work on their behalf. Now is the time for us to demonstrate our shared commitment to organic. Now is the time to support organic farmers.

For more perspective and resources on this decision, please find the links below:

USDA release - includes Q&A link and link to: USDA actions to support continued dialogue and constructive coexistence in U.S. agriculture

Food and Water Watch Action Alert

Organic Trade Association

An Organic Valley farmer talks about GE Alfalfa

National Organic Coalition
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Natural Supplements and Products Under Assault

The start of the 112th Congress marks the beginning of renewed efforts to over-regulate natural supplements and products. For example, the ideas contained in the McCain bill, such as a pre-market approval requirement for dietary supplements, remain in play; and there are those, particularly in the Senate, who would revive the FTC powers proposal. Legislation involving categories of supplements like sports supplements and DHEA is another real possibility.

There are also the activities of Congressional committees. It was the Senate Aging Committee that asked the GAO to perform their investigation of the supplement industry. The report served as the centerpiece of a 2010 hearing, and follow-up hearings are always possible in 2011. We all need to stay vigilant to these threats.

What You Can Do Now

We must educate both new and returning members of Congress so that they better understand dietary supplements when they make decisions that impact us. The more your representatives and senators hear about the value of supplements from their constituents, the better.

If you would like to send an email to your elected officials, just go to the NPA's Action Alert page. You will find a letter you can send to your members of Congress to open the door of communication with them. If you wish, you may add a line or two about your involvement with natural products.

Thank you for your advocacy with Congress.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Water Machines Have Arrived!

We are thrilled to announce that our new R/O water machines are now installed and fully functional. We apologize for the delay, but we believe the wait was worthwhile considering all the cool new features that are available to you. These include:

* Great-tasting, pure chilled water at half the price of single-use bottles
* Advanced purification and health safety features
* A bottle washer with a high pressure ozone cleaning system
* Dual UV disinfection technology
* Cash, coin and Credit/Debit card ready
* Click here for a video demo

Thank you for your patience throughout not only the wait for the new water machine, but for the makeover in general.
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Friday, January 21, 2011

Remodel Updates

In case you didn't notice, we've been busy working on our 2011 "Extreme Co-op Makeover." We're officially calling it a "makeover" and not a "remodel" since we're using this opportunity to transform our organization on many levels. And we use "extreme" in the most positive sense possible. We're extremely focused on being the best we can be on all levels.

We've reimagined our sales floor, store design, layout, product offerings and merchandising-and I'm positive the end result will be nothing short of amazing. We're already getting feedback from staff and customers about how the store feels larger and more spacious.

So far, we've installed new checkstands, and added two more registers. And we're currently finishing our grocery department makeover. The aisles are straightened out; we're tightening up our grocery merchandising and product selection, and remain focused on making it as easy to shop as possible. (Note: Two of the grocery aisles are narrower than normal. This is only temporary and part of the staged process. They'll be widened as the makeover progresses.) The metal shelving will also be finished with wood molding, giving them a warm, pleasing look. Our bulk herb and spice section is now much easier to shop as well.

We'll be moving through the store and transforming each department as the weeks progress. I encourage you all to visit the store on a regular basis to experience the makeover as it happens. It's exciting and fun to see the changes as they occur. And at the end of the day, these changes are meant to improve your experience with Co-opportunity.

Please don't hesitate to ask any of our staff for assistance with finding products. We're 100% focused on making your shopping experience as seamless as possible. (I think I've lost some weight running around helping customers these past few weeks-and I'm not complaining.)

Not only will we be giving the store a makeover, but in conjunction with our planned grand re-opening this spring, we'll also be rolling out a new website, online interactive newsletter, new member-owner materials, programs and more! We've had a lot of ideas floating around-and a lot of member-owner input as well-and we're ready to really take the whole Co-opportunity experience to the next level. Stay tuned for more information!

We also understand that there are a lot of changes happening, and things won't be exactly the way they were in the past; but I'm confident that our co-op will lose none of its intimacy and specialness-we're just evolving as all living entities do. And we're planning to become even more intimate and special.

I appreciate all the support and feedback we've received from you, our member-owners, during the process. I truly believe that when the makeover is done, our co-op will have noticeably changed for the better.

Thanks for your continued feedback and support!

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