February 2019

Spotlight on Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s of Maine is basking in the glow of the Co-op Spotlight this week and all of their wonderful body care products are 20% off for member-owners from February 28th – March 6th! This discount is in addition to the everyday low price on many Toms of Maine products offered through our Co-op Basics program, so it’s a great time to stock up and save! Read on to learn more about the philosophy of care for people and planet that the Tom’s of Maine community holds dear:

 

At Tom’s of Maine, they believe in living for today—and tomorrow! They recognize that decisions have a lasting impact, and they make them thoughtfully. Since 1970, their mission has been to help people live a more natural life. Here are just some of the ways they translate their mission into positive actions:

  • They’re guided by a Stewardship Model and over 45 years of expertise. Their passion is finding and combining naturally sourced and naturally derived ingredients to create personal care products that really work. And their products come with a product guarantee because your satisfaction is important.
  • They’re transparent about the ingredients they use. They explain where they come from, what they do, and how they are made so that you can make the right choice for your family and yourself. Click here to explore their ingredients.
  • They share their profits and time. Tom’s of Maine donates 10% of product sales to nonprofit organizations working to support health, education, and nature. And they encourage employees to use 5% of their paid time to volunteer for their favorite causes. Click here to learn more about how Tom’s of Maine gives back.
  • They strive to implement and follow sustainable business practices. This is the only planet we call home, so they work to protect it for future generations. Click here to learn more about their sustainability initiatives. They also publish their sustainability progress and goals in their annual Goodness Report.

The Backstory

Tom and Kate Chappell moved to Maine from Philadelphia in 1968, looking for a healthier, simpler life for their growing family. They discovered the benefits of natural and unprocessed food, and started looking for the same qualities in personal care products. But all they found were labels listing artificial flavors, fragrances, sweeteners, colors and preservatives. So they decided to create their own.

In 1970, with the help of a $5000 loan from a friend, Tom’s of Maine was born. Right from the start, their company was shaped by the Chappell’s entrepreneurial spirit and values. By 1975, they’d introduced the first natural toothpaste on the U.S. market. And because Tom and Kate felt that businesses should give back, they soon found meaningful ways to care for the planet and their communities.

Tom’s of Maine became a part of the Colgate-Palmolive company in 2006. And they’re proud to say that as they’ve grown through the years, their simple, direct approach has never changed. They continue to put their hearts into providing their customers with natural personal care products that work as well as they’d expect.

Tom & Kate Chappell

 

 

Rising to the Call of Spring…Hope and Renewal

I think about culture and meaning all the time.  It’s pretty much at the root of my life’s work.  As a Board Member of the Co-op and chair of our Communications Committee, I tap into those roots to consider how we as an organization strive to provide healthy living options to nourish our community’s bodies and souls.  Spring fills me with light – and it’s not just the longer days, it’s because we all rise up to greet each other with a little more energy and a little more warmth.   To me, it comes down to these smallest interactions, human to human, living being to living being. 

Of late I have been considering how we come to know the meaning of our place, our responsibilities, our safe havens.  How do we as a community open to love and acceptance, and inclusivity?  I am so proud of what I see happening all around me.  I see so many of us leaning towards hope and doing our best to avoid being trapped by the manufactured cynicism and fear that dominate what Donella Meadows called” the information sphere”.

As a Co-op, our culture is all about interdependence.  Member-owners rely upon the sound business practices of our management team and board of directors to bring us healthy choices because after all “food is the most important pharmaceutical we have,” according to neuroscientist Richard Davidson in a recent On Being Interview.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.  And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”   Dr. King’s “we” refers to humans, but what if adjust the meaning of “we” to be inclusive of all living beings?   I am truly grateful for the local families and individuals who farm in Vermont braving the elements and uncertainties to bring us local meats, vegetables, fruits, and even some grains.  What if we thanked not only the growers of our food, but the food itself for nourishing us as Robin Wall Kimmerer points out is done in her native traditions.

And this month brings us spring in the lunar calendar – the well of hope to be replenished.  It’s a reward for getting through the darkest hours in the northern hemisphere.  The days are getting longer, the sugar maple’s sap is rising from the root to sweeten our lives.  I am so very grateful for this time of year where I can stand up tall, reach for the sky and plant my feet deep into the ground – so that my sap can rise with that of our fellow being, the Sugar Maple Tree.

Nadine Canter Barnicle is a Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member

Spotlight on Muir Glen

We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on Muir Glen this week! From February 21st – 27th, all Muir Glen products are 20% off for Member-owners, so it’s a great time to stock up the pantry with these staples! Read on to learn more about why they shine:

 

Muir Glen was founded on the belief that there must be a way to grow a better tasting tomato—it must be grown organically. That’s why they grow their signature organic tomatoes in the rich organic soil of California’s Sacramento Valley. It takes a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it.

Their Principles –

Regenerative Farming

Muir Glen is building on their commitment to source 100% of their ingredients from certified organic farms by expanding their priorities to include regenerative practices like cover cropping and diverse crop rotations.

Protecting Pollinators

The unsung heroes of agriculture, the tiny but mighty bees work hard for our food.  Because the folks at Muir Glen want them to keep on buzzing for generations to come, they’ve partnered with the Xerces Society to plant pollinator habitats on the California farms that grow their tomatoes.

Farmers as Partners

As they learn more about the farmers and communities that make Muir Glen products possible, they’re working to find ways to support them all on a deeper level. Muir Glen seeks to understand their challenges and opportunities by cultivating real relationships with these champions who are committed to regenerating natural resources to ensure long-term prosperity.

 

Click HERE for great recipes from their web page!

 

 

 

Spotlight on Champlain Valley Apiaries

We’re shining this week’s Member Deals Spotlight on a local business that’s been providing local honey to the Co-op since the very beginning – over 40 years ago. In fact, Champlain Valley Apiaries was founded long before the Co-op existed, way back in 1931, and they’ve been producing pristine, delicious Vermont honey ever since! From February14th – 20th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of gooey golden goodness. Read on to learn more about this wonderful local business and their commitment to environmental stewardship:

Champlain Valley Apiaries is a 3rd generation Vermont family-owned business. Founded in 1931 by innovative beekeeper Charles Mraz, they have been producing delicious Vermont honey for over 85 years. Their mission, along with producing the highest quality honey, is to foster sustainable agriculture and bring awareness to the essential role of honeybees in our food system. They are committed to protecting all pollinators, the environment, the well being of their employees, and the local community where they live and work.

They also continually assess and modify business operations so as to lessen their impact on the environment by increasing operational efficiency, conserving energy, water, and other natural resources, reducing waste generation, and eliminating the use of harmful materials. Champlain Valley Apiaries is committed to a triple bottom line, not only valuing profit but seeking environmental excellence and social awareness within their company culture.

The folks at Champlain Valley Apiaries describe their honey as a floral snapshot of a particular area at a given time. Bees gather nectar from a variety of floral sources, depending on the time of year. Sources include things like clover, alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, various trees, dandelions, and goldenrod, to name a few. For this reason, the exact makeup of their honey will vary from year to year and even from bee yard to bee yard. In order to keep a consistent product, they blend their Vermont honey with other premium honey produced in the U.S. and Canada.

They treat their bees organically and during the winter, hives are left with enough of their own honey to survive and thrive. Throughout the company’s history, they have earned a reputation among beekeepers for producing a hardy strain of honeybee that is disease-resistant and able to thrive in the harsh Vermont winter. At the Co-op, you’ll find Champlain Valley Apiaries liquid honey and their raw, naturally crystallized honey.

Spotlight on Douglas Sweets

Looking for a sweet local treat for your Valentine? Our Member Deals Spotlight shines brightly this week on Douglas Sweets! All of their sweet and savory Scottish shortbreads are 20% off for member-owners from February 7th – 13th. Read on to learn more about this local bakery based in Shelburne, VT and the mother-daughter duo who are carrying on a cherished family tradition:

 

Armed with a traditional shortbread recipe developed and perfected by her Scottish mother, founder Debra Townsend, along with her daughter and co-founder Hannah (named for her inspirational grandmother), launched a business out of the kitchen of their condo. Fast-forward a few years and countless batches of these delectable, buttery shortbreads, the Townsends needed to scale up, moving their business into the Vermont Artisan Village in Shelburne where they also operate a retail bakeshop. There you will find their signature shortbreads along with great coffee and an array of baked goods from fruit tarts to cheesecakes, all of which are made with their famous shortbread dough.

According to Debra, “In 1956, my mother longed for the traditional Scottish shortbread she had grown to love while in the old country. After much experimenting, she duplicated that perfect rich buttery taste. For years our family has been baking that same shortbread and enjoying it with friends.”

The Townsends are committed to using Vermont ingredients like King Arthur Flour and Cabot butter whenever possible. At the Co-op, you’ll find their sweet and savory buttery shortbreads in a wide variety of flavors ranging from the original traditional Scottish shortbread to more exotic flavors inspired by Townsend’s world travels like spicy Indian curry, Italian lemon and rosemary, or Thai sweet basil and peanut. The bakers offer the shortbreads plain or dipped in chocolate for an even more luxurious treat!

 

Featured Co-op Connection Business – Otter Creek Yoga

Do you long to be calmer and more centered? Do you carry the strain of the world in your neck, shoulders, and back?  Could you use a generous helping of self-care? Consider checking out our February Co-op Connection Business of the Month – Otter Creek Yoga! Let them know that you’re a Co-op member-owner and your first class is free! Wouldn’t that be a lovely Valentine gift to give yourself? 

For 10 years, Otter Creek Yoga has offered our community an oasis of calm and healing – a place to come home to your true self. Their beautiful, peaceful, sunny studio is located in Middlebury’s historic Marbleworks and offers daytime, evening, and weekend classes for all ages and all levels of experience. Click here for the schedule and click here for detailed descriptions of the classes offered.

The Otter Creek Yoga faculty includes a total of nine experienced, certified, skilled instructors practicing a variety of yoga disciplines, including two certified Iyengar teachers. Click here to read more about the instructors and the various types of yoga they offer. Director Joanna Colwell founded Otter Creek Yoga in 2006 and it was Addison County’s first yoga studio! Joanna loves being a full-time yoga teacher and sharing this practice with students of all ages and abilities. She’s especially interested in exploring the ways in which yoga practice can be a method of self-care and believes that our ability to care for ourselves positively influences how we care for our families, our community, and the world around us. She invites us all to “come take a deep, cleansing breath, and then another. Let go of what you no longer need. Breathe in compassion – for yourself, your family, and your world. Breathe out peace and calm.”

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