In short, because your vote matters, to all of us. As the primary governing force behind the Co-op, your Board’s eleven members make an impact every day. How? Partly, it is through carefully designed policies that define our Co-op’s core values and scope of operations; safeguard our financial well-being; track our performance; and ensure high levels of transparency. It is also through working to understand the local, regional, national and global conditions that affect us now and inform the choices we’ll make in the future. We do this through strong, ongoing support of management, and a deep respect for our talented staff. It is through a Board culture with high standards of collaboration, inclusion, discipline, and a sense of commitment that is reflected in its remarkably low turnover. (There is a shared sense of purpose that comes with making a difference.) Your Board prizes new ideas, pithy dialogs, great technology, humor, thinking fast and slow, and our four decades of cooperative history. It learns and communicates constantly, and knows the value of outside expertise. Its advice is sought by other co-op boards. In the end, though, it all depends on you: your support, your participation, your vote. So please read those application essays, make your choices, and return your ballot. Give your Co-op the gift of four of this year’s excellent candidates and we’ll continue getting stronger together. Thank you.
Tam Stewart is a Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member
This month, members will receive a copy of our 2018 Annual Report for MNFC in the mail (yes, the “snail” mail). In this publication, you’ll find updates from our Board President and General Manager about how the Co-op has fared in our first year of Expansion. In addition, you’ll get to “meet the candidates” for the four available seats on our Board of Directors. Included with your Annual Report are Voting Instructions, Your Official Ballot, and a $3.00 Coupon (redeemable with your completed ballot). Please bring your completed ballot into the Co-op by May 26th, so we have time to tally the votes and inform the candidates before our June 6th Annual Meeting. Then, please join us on June 6th, 5:30-7:30 at American Flatbread to find out who won, get a first-hand account of how your Co-op is doing, and enjoy dinner on the Co-op!
In honor of National Shelter Pet Adoption Day on April 30th, we’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on one of our favorite pet product brands – Wellness! All of their natural pet products are 20% off for member-owners from April 26th – May 2nd! During this time, for every purchase of pet food you make, the Co-op will donate the equivalent item to Addison County’s Humane Society – Homeward Bound! Read on to learn more about Wellness and their philosophy of care for creatures great and small:
At Wellness, they know that healthy doesn’t have to be hard. That’s why they offer a simple, holistic approach to pet food that focuses on real ingredients with real benefits. In the 1990s, their dedicated team began working with animal nutrition experts, veterinarians, and scientists to develop a food that would revolutionize the pet food industry. Since then, they have continued to push forward to represent a new generation of natural pet food, supporting their local communities and creating long-term sustainability initiatives along the way.
The team at Wellness recognizes that mealtime is more than just a bowl of food. They’re committed to your pet’s overall wellness and offer thoughtfully prepared recipes that are crafted to be as delicious as they are healthy. They include superior nutrients and probiotics to provide the foundation for whole-body health and wholesome, natural ingredients to satisfy every appetite. Click here to read more about their ingredients.
Rigorous Safety Standards
Their mission is to provide you with wholesome, natural pet food that is the best it can be. They require all suppliers to meet stringent requirements and adhere to the highest standards, exceeding even the strictest requirements from the FDA. They are determined to go further, to do better, and to take as many precautions with your pet’s food as is taken with food for humans.Click here to read more about product safety standards.
Wellness demonstrates their dedication to long-term sustainability by embracing and supporting recycling efforts. Through a unique partnership with upcycling and recycling leader TerraCycle®, they created a program allowing you to recycle your Wellness pet food packaging and providing you the opportunity to donate to your favorite school or nonprofit organization. Join the 230,000+ people currently participating in this program and register to Recycle Your Wellness Packaging. It’s free and only takes a couple of minutes. You can sign up as an individual or sign up to create a recycling hub at your child’s school, your office or your favorite local community organization.
Significant progress has been made since the development of modern recycling programs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Most in our community have access to curbside recycling services and we’re rarely more than a few steps away from a recycling bin, even in public places. Thanks to streamlined all-in-one recycling services offered by the Addison County Solid Waste Management District which save us from having to sort our recyclables, it’s safe to say that recycling is pretty darned convenient these days. So convenient, in fact, that we might have forgotten about those other two “R’s.” We all know that recycling is the right thing to do, but perhaps we could use a reminder that the most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place.
Recycling an item definitely beats sending it to the landfill, but it still takes a significant amount of energy to recycle an item and transform it into something “new.” As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money.
The Benefits of Reducing & Reusing:
Prevent pollution caused by reducing the need to harvest new raw materials.
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.
Reduce the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators.
Allow products to be used to their fullest extent.
Ideas to Help You Reduce & Reuse
Buy used and refurbished when possible. You can find everything from clothes to electronics to building materials at specialized reuse centers, architectural salvage yards, and consignment shops. Often, used items are less expensive and just as good as new. Middlebury has several wonderful thrift stores and if you’re in Burlington, be sure to check out ReSOURCE.
Look for products that use less packaging. When manufacturers make their products with less packaging, they use less energy and fewer raw materials. This reduces waste and costs. These extra savings are often passed along to the consumer.
Buy in bulk. When you bring your own containers to buy bulk items, you save packaging waste and you can also save money. At the Co-op, you can bring your own container to buy foods such as flour, grains, maple syrup, and honey in the Bulk department; soaps, lotion, and bath salts in the Wellness department; on-tap beverages such as kombucha, coffee, and tea; and Deli items from the salad bar or hot bar.
Buy items that are reusable rather than disposable and incorporate reusable items into your daily routines. For example, you can bring your own silverware and coffee mug to work and bring your own shopping bags to the store.
Maintain and repair products, clothing, tires, and appliances, so that they won’t have to be disposed of and replaced as frequently. Think quality over quantity when purchasing these kinds of items.
Borrow, rent, or share items that are used infrequently, such as party decorations, tools or furniture. Front Porch Forum is a handy resource.
Think twice before discarding an item. Consider alternative uses. The mesh bag your citrus came in can be reused for future produce purchases and that empty two-liter bottle can make a fun hanging planter.
Plan ahead.Planning your weekly meals in advance, utilizing leftovers, and shopping the refrigerator first are great ways to reduce food waste. For more tips on reducing food waste, click here.
Donate gently used items whenever possible. You can drop them off at a thrift store, or consignment shop, or you can post them to Front Porch Forum. Let your trash be someone else’s treasure!
Call it the cleaning cupboard’s dirty little secret: many household cleaning products contain a variety of toxic chemicals that can harm your family’s health. These come in the form of carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, organ toxicants, reproductive and developmental disruptors, neurotoxins, and respiratory hazards. There are over 17,000 petrochemicals available for home use, most of which have not been tested for exposure to human health and the environment. Chemical exposure is increasingly linked to chronic illnesses including asthma, allergies, cancer, obesity, and reproductive harm. These chemicals enter our bodies via the air we breathe, through our skin, and through the water we drink.
In addition to the hazards associated with human health, one must also consider the dangers to our environment. The chemicals in our cleaning products are released into the environment through evaporation of volatile compounds into the air and also by escaping down the drain as a residual product. Once the chemicals enter our water, they can have adverse effects on water quality and aquatic life. We all live downstream!
What can you do as a consumer?
Cleaning product manufacturers are not legally required to disclose ingredients on their packaging, but thankfully, there are a handful of companies that believe in full ingredient disclosure. Choosing to support these companies with your hard-earned dollars is a vote for consumer transparency. Seventh Generation offers this handy guide to the Top 12 Chemicals of Concern to avoid in cleaning products. Familiarizing yourself with this list will ensure that you know what to look for when scanning labels. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also offers handy resources to help you avoid toxic petrochemicals in household products. If you’re interested in a particular cleaning product that does not list its ingredients, check their website or try contacting the product manufacturer. This extra step takes some time and effort, but the more we practice it, the more manufacturers become aware that ingredient transparency is a priority.
Skip the Antibacterials and Antimicrobials
To borrow a line from Sandor Katz, “the problem with killing 99.9 percent of bacteria is that most of them protect us from the few that can make us sick”. An FDA advisory committee study found that using antibacterial soaps provides no benefits over plain soap and water and can actually bring more harm than good, due to chemicals like Triclosan. Triclosan is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity and has been shown to disrupt hormone balance and thyroid function. Additionally, Triclosan and other antibacterial ingredients may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
Make Your Own
Another creative solution is to consider making your own cleaning products at home. This option is extremely budget-friendly and surprisingly simple. For example, vinegar diluted with a bit of water makes an excellent glass and surface cleaner. Making a paste of baking soda and water yields a fabulous scouring scrub. It’s important to note that “clean” does not have a particular scent; however, if you enjoy natural fragrances in your cleaning products, Aura Cacia offers an array of home care essential oils and recipes for DIY household cleaning products that are delightful to the senses.
Thanks in part to a robust Come Clean campaign spearheaded by Seventh Generation, there’s a bill up for debate known as the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act (H.R. 5205), which requires manufacturers of both consumer household and industrial cleaning products to disclose all intentionally added ingredients on their product labels and websites. Take action by telling your representatives that you value chemical labeling transparency.
Products to look for at the Co-op
You’ll find an array of non-toxic, petrochemical-free household cleaning products at the Co-op. Look for brands like Vermont Soap, Seventh Generation, Ecover, and Earth Friendly Products. You’ll find many of these brands featured in our Member Deals spotlight and in weekly sales throughout April and May.
We’re shining this week’s Member Deals Spotlight on Cascadian Farm. Their full line of organic products are 20% off for member-owners from April 19th – 25th, so it’s a great time to stock up and save! Read on to learn more about their commitment to providing healthy, organic foods for more than 45 years:
The Cascadian Farm story began over 45 years ago when founder, Gene Kahn, an idealistic 24-year-old grad-school dropout from Chicago, wanted to make a difference in the world. He recognized the delicate balance between humans and their environment and wanted to farm in a way that would not harm the natural beauty of the earth or her inhabitants. Inspired by reading “Silent Spring” and “Diet For A Small Planet”, he set out to farm organically on a little stretch of land next to the Skagit River in the Cascade Mountains of Washington.
The Cascadian Farm family is proud that more than 45 years after their founding, the original farm is still rooted in the organic values it was founded upon. It represents their ‘true north’, demonstrating their commitment to organic and land stewardship practices to the partner farms they work with to bring organic products to more consumers. Dedication and passion from farmers past and present preserves this organic legacy. Their company has been recognized as a pioneer in converting large-acreage conventional farms to organic production, now boasting more than 100,000 acres of organic farmland.
Want to visit the farm? They’re offering a trip for two to tour the original farm in Skagit Valley, WA to learn all about their history and farming practices! Three runners up will win $250 in free Cascadian Farm product. To enter, click HERE anytime after April 19th.
Choosing organic foods allows you to:
limit your exposure to synthetic insecticides, fungicides, and herbicide
limit your intake of growth hormones and antibiotics
limit your intake of genetically modified foods
Do rely on natural biological systems for pest and weed control thus avoiding use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and soil fumigants.
Do improve the quality and fertility of the soil
Do protect water quality
Do reduce soil erosion
Do reduce the impact of agriculture on our environment
Do produce high quality, great tasting food
Don’t use genetic engineering
Don’t use sewage sludge as fertilizer
Take it from Jim Meyer – Cascadian Farm’s Organic Educator and Farm Manager from 1993 until his retirement in 2015. His strong belief in working with nature and giving back to the community set a solid foundation for the future of the farm:
We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Amy’s Kitchen this week to shed some light on a family-owned company that was organic before organic was cool. Member-owners can enjoy 20% off the full line of Amy’s Kitchen products from April 5th – 11th! Read on to learn more about this pioneering company that set out over 30 years ago to offer convenient, time-saving foods that didn’t sacrifice health or quality:
Amy’s didn’t set out to become the nation’s leading frozen food brand; they simply hoped to create a successful business that would provide convenient and tasty vegetarian meals for people who appreciated good food but were often too busy to cook healthy, organic meals from scratch.
Andy & Rachel Berliner launched the business 1987, the year their daughter Amy was born, using their own house and barn as headquarters. The founding meetings were held in the same room where the couple married and where Amy was born. They began with a humble vegetarian pot pie, followed soon after by pizzas and soups. The business continued to evolve and expand, realizing a need to include gluten-free and dairy-free items for those living with food allergies. Amy has since grown up and started a family of her own. She and her husband, Jace, both play active roles within the company.
Organic Before Organic Was Cool
Amy’s was serving up organic food before there was a national certification program. In fact, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture decided to create standards for organic, they looked to Amy’s for guidance. Together with other industry leaders, they helped pioneer the organic food industry and, more importantly, helped make organic food available to more people. Their commitment to organic ensures that neither farmers nor consumers are exposed to harmful chemicals and pesticides. A proud supporter of GMO labeling initiatives, all of Amy’s dishes are non-GMO. They were also the first to market canned items with non-BPA-lined cans, and they’re happy to see many other food companies following their lead.
Amy’s Kitchen has grown beyond the Berliner’s wildest dreams, going from several family members pitching in anywhere they can, to a wonderful group of employees, farmers, and suppliers. But no matter how big the company grows, one thing will always remain the same—the family spirit that permeates every decision made inside of Amy’s Kitchen. Although they have considerably expanded their production facilities and the number of people they employ, Amy’s remains family-owned and fiercely independent. They choose what’s best for their customers, their farmers, their employees, and the planet. It’s a tall order, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Spring is officially here and if you enjoy gardening, you’re likely yearning to get your fingers into the soil as soon as Mother Nature allows. In the meantime, as you dream up your garden plans and place your seed orders, we invite you to check out the incredible variety of local, organic seeds offered by High Mowing Organic Seed Company of Wolcott, VT.
High Mowing Organic Seeds began in 1996 with just 28 varieties, many of which originated in founder Tom Stearns’ backyard. Since then, the company has grown exponentially, and what started as a one-man operation is now a thriving business making available to home gardeners and commercial growers over 600 heirloom, open-pollinated, and hybrid varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb and flower seed. True to their roots, High Mowing Organic Seeds continues to grow many of the varieties they sell on their 40-acre farm, setting them apart from the majority of other seed companies. Seeds that are produced here in Vermont come with the added bonus of regional specificity, meaning that they are more attuned to life in our unique growing conditions. They have already established relationships with our soil, our pollinators, and our specific climate, making them more likely to thrive in your garden.
At High Mowing Organic Seeds, they believe in reimagining what our world can be like. They believe in a deeper understanding of how rebuilt food systems can support health on all levels – healthy environments, healthy economies, healthy communities, and healthy bodies. They believe in a hopeful and inspired view of the future based on better stewardship for our planet. Every day that they’re in business, they are growing; working to provide an essential component in the rebuilding of our healthy food systems: the seeds.
The Safe Seed Pledge
The Safe Seed Pledge was created in 1999 when High Mowing Organic Seeds guided a coalition of 9 other seed companies in drafting a statement about the signers’ stance on genetic engineering. To date, the Pledge has been signed by over 370 seed companies worldwide. In signing the Safe Seed Pledge they affirm their commitment to non-GMO (genetically modified organism) seed. They feel that the regulatory framework for the introduction of genetically modified crop varieties is flawed and that GMO seeds themselves present a threat to plants’ genetic diversity through their ability to pollinate non-GMO plants. The pledge reads as follows:
“Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities.”
When asked what it is about seeds that makes him so passionate, Stearns replies, “I see seeds as one of the best educational tools. For me, I’ve seen myself as an educator more than anything else. I see my work focusing on helping people rebuild their local food systems. Seeds are an important, yet easy, tool to recognize the importance of these systems, and seeds are one of the mediums by which this message can be conveyed”.
Is your skin in need of some TLC? Or maybe you’re long overdue for a massage? Check out our Co-op Connection Business of the Month, Pro Skin Studio! Co-op member-owners can enjoy 10% off when they visit this beautiful boutique spa in the heart of Middlebury’s Marbleworks!
As a Co-op shopper, you likely know that eating well does a body good, but did you know that carving a little time out of your hectic schedule to care for your skin and body can also reap major benefits to your overall stress level and sense of well-being? Experience the bountiful benefits of the wide range of treatments that Pro Skin Studio has to offer!
Pro Skin Studio offers a unique experience unparalleled to that found in a large salon and spa or medispa. Their skilled staff members provide exceptional skin treatments, peels, microdermabrasion, LED, micro-needling, full body waxing, eyebrow design, lash lifts, brow & lash tinting, fireless cupping, shiatsu, & full body massage. They have the ability to customize services not only to clients’ skincare needs but also to your budget.
Are there wedding bells in your future? Pro Skin Studio offers all of the services you will need to look fabulous on your wedding day! Here are some options to consider:
Book a series of facials for beautiful, radiant skin on your special day
Relax with a massage
Consult with a Pro Skin Studio makeup and brow artist
Host a ‘Girls’ Day’ spa party before your big day
Meet the Crew
Jenn Buker, the owner of Pro Skin Studio, is a Licensed Skin Therapist and the only Dermalogica Expert Plus in Vermont. She has built Pro Skin Studio from a small, one room booth rental, to a private two room Studio with 3 employees. Jenn’s philosophy on skincare is simple – healthy skin is beautiful skin, and only needs accentuating, not covering! She is deeply committed to her clients, and truly enjoys the time spent with each and every one of them.
Jennifer is a Licensed Skin Therapist & has been a Professional Makeup Artist for over 12 years. Her previous experience as the Head Esthetician at a Medical Spa guides her passion for results-driven skincare. She believes the key to optimal skin health is finding the balance between protecting and enhancing, which then aids in overall well-being. Jennifer graduated from The Salon Professional Academy and went on to attend classes at the International Dermal Institute, Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics, as well as Jane Iredale University. Other education includes advanced certifications in Chemical Peels, Micro-Needling, Dermaplaning, Photo-rejuvenation, and combination therapies utilizing medical modalities such as Microdermabrasion.
Gina has been in practice as a certified Massage and Bodywork Therapist for 14 years. She started her training in Minnesota at Centerpoint School of Massage and Shiatsu Therapy. She has continued to expand her repertoire in Thai Massage, Reiki, Ayurvedic Energy Balancing & and variety of spa relaxation treatments and wraps. Gina loves to read people’s body and designs treatments specific to each client. She is very well rounded with her training and ability and loves to range from relaxation massage to energy work and deep tissue massage. She believes each individual is unique and manifests stress and blockage in different ways. It is her job to find what each client needs that day to leave feeling revitalized and refreshed.
As skilled estheticians and massage therapists, we are able to bridge the gap between the result-driven corrective services of a medispa while still providing the relaxation and pampering of a larger salon and spa. The only way to truly know the unique services that Pro Skin Studio has to offer is to come and experience them for yourself. We guarantee that you will look and feel your best!
We look forward to working with you! If you have any questions please, call (802)458-8964 or contact us via email.