April 2021

Musings on Democracy as Practiced at our Co-op.

As I look at the myriad bills presented across the country right now designed to limit access to voting – and as I remember with horror the January 6 insurrection at our nation’s Capitol by folks refusing to believe the results of the November 2020 election – I find a glimmer of hope in how we practice democracy at MNFC.

What IS democracy? Many of us believe this is our ability to cast a vote. The history of our country is partially a tale of who has had the right to vote, how, and when. Years ago, I painted the posthumous portrait of Marilla Ricker (1840-1920) for the New Hampshire statehouse in Concord. A young widow, with property and means who paid taxes, she was not allowed to vote because she was a woman. She is known to have said, “This is taxation without representation!” at her little town hall in Dover, NH.  She walked in every year to try to cast her vote. A freethinker, she spent her life as a suffragist and also became the first woman lawyer in NH, as well as one of the first women in the nation to argue a case before the US Supreme Court. She died in 1920, just after the first election in which women were allowed to vote; it’s not known whether she was physically able to get to the polls to cast her vote.

We know intuitively that an active and healthy democracy is much more than voting, however. True participation has preconditions: the freedom to express one’s opinion, and the opportunity for active participation in the conversations and arguments around the issues and candidates for whom we cast votes.  Howard Zinn describes democracy as more than a series of votes: it is a series of actions.  We also know that the process by which we select our leaders matters.

At MNFC, collectively owned by US, we are our member-owners. We are our democracy.  our participation, our care, our questions, the flow of ideas as we develop policy and make decisions, all of this is integral to the cooperative model. Our board meetings are open to the public. I speak for the board when I say, we welcome all questions and concerns.

All member-owners have opportunities to engage and participate in conversations about our values.  I dream that the ways the coop model practices democracy could serve as a model for our country: no gerrymandering, no electoral college, fewer regulations on when and how to vote, no ID laws, no disenfranchising voters based on their color, race, or identity, no long lines because of closed polling places.

Every spring, member-owners are invited and encouraged to participate in our annual May election.  For the most part, the May election is exclusively focused on Board of Director elections. Each year one-third of the board is up for re-election and new candidates are encouraged to run through an extensive outreach process.

This year there is a record number of candidates (12) for the four open seats on the Coop’s board of directors. Of the 12 candidates, four are incumbents, all of whom served as we collectively navigated the stormy seas of the pandemic and resulting economy. Eight candidates are community members: farmers, producers, educators, coaches, health providers – each a member-owner of our vital organization — with a variety of perspectives and life experiences.

A board candidate does not need to be wealthy or “connected” to run. They simply need to be a member-owner, interested in the mission of MNFC, and open to exploring how the board of directors functions before choosing to run.

As a member-owner, we get to choose the design of our board of directors. Does the board reflect our community? Are there folks with skill sets (finance, legal, communications/ marketing/education, health, agriculture) that enhance the board’s intelligence? Is the board balanced by gender, race, socioeconomic status, and age?

And May right now is our election month.  Each member-owner votes for board candidates and access to voting lasts all month long – electronically – see below for more details.  Watch your regular mail for our annual report that includes the ballots with all the candidates’ profiles and instructions for casting your vote.

To vote, you need to be a member-owner. In my household of two, I am the member-owner. If my husband wishes to vote, then he needs to become a member-owner as well.

If you have any issues with the electronic interface – such as no computer or Wi-Fi connection —  please bring your ballot into the Coop with you on a shopping day and a staff member will help you go online to cast your vote in the store.

I relish the notion that we are member-owners of MNFC voting with our minds and hearts, not simply consumers voting with dollars. Thank you for being part of the conversation.

If you have any questions, or want to know more about any of the candidates, please don’t hesitate to contact Amanda at apawarren@gmail.com

We will announce the winners at this year’s Annual Meeting, held remotely on June 2, at 6:30 pm.  Click HERE to find out more.

If you are a member-owner, and would like more information about how to vote in this year’s Board of Directors Election, please click HERE to find out more.

Kate Gridley is a Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member

The Congo Coffee Project

Equal Exchange is well known for revolutionizing the fair trade of organic, non-GMO coffee, chocolate, cocoa, tea, bananas, and avocados from small farmer cooperatives. They’ve become experts at creating powerful change in industries dominated by profound social, environmental, and economic exploitation and their Congo Coffee Project is no exception. You’ll find this coffee featured in our Weekly Sale from May 6th – 12th and we wanted to take a moment to shine a bit of extra light on the profound impact that your purchases of this coffee are having on survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

From the time of colonization on, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been shaken by conflict. In recent decades, combatants fighting for land and resources have used sexual violence as a tactic, affecting thousands. For women, men, and children who are rape survivors in need of medical attention, there are not many treatment options; they are sometimes ostracized, abandoned, or ignored with nowhere to go. In 2011, Equal Exchange’s Quality Control Manager Beth Ann Casperson helped found the Congo Coffee Project with the Panzi Foundation as a means to bring Congolese coffee to market in the United States while offering healing for survivors and raising awareness about the alarming rate of violence.

Beth Ann Casperson – Quality Control Manager at Equal Exchange who helped initiate the Congo Coffee Project.

Survivors of sexual violence seek refuge and assistance at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DRC, a bustling place with more than 360 staff and thousands of visitors each year. The hospital treats patients with various ailments but has become known as a safe place for survivors of sexual violence to seek treatment and an opportunity to heal from their extensive and brutal trauma. 

Since its inception in 2011, the Congo Coffee Project has raised more than $100,000 for survivors of sexual violence and Dr. Denis Mukwege, the physician responsible for treating survivors of sexual violence and raising awareness of their plight, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. One dollar from each Congo Coffee purchase goes toward supporting Dr. Mukwege’s work to assist the women, men, and children who have been impacted by sexual violence. Click here to read more about the impact of your Congo Coffee purchases and see a breakdown of how the funds are allocated. We also invite you to learn more about this project by tuning into this podcast titled Conflict, Coffee Farmers, and the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Appreciating the Cultural Significance of Cinco de Mayo

Here at the Co-op, we love to celebrate the food traditions associated with various holidays, affording us the opportunity to get a glimpse into the beauty of a different culture through the preparation and sharing of a delicious meal. We also understand, however, that it’s necessary to recognize and honor the line between appreciation and appropriation. With this in mind, we’d love to take a moment to explore the history of Cinco de Mayo and offer some tips on ways to celebrate the holiday respectfully, honoring the rich heritage of Mexican culture.

What Is Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo, which translates to the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s unlikely victory in 1862 over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. The holiday is also known as Battle of Puebla Day and should not be confused with Mexican Independence day, which occurred nearly 50 years prior to the Battle of Puebla. 

The spark for the Battle of Puebla was ignited in 1861 when Benito Juárez, a member of the Indigenous Zapotec. was elected president of Mexico. At the time of his election, the country was in financial ruin resulting from several years of civil war, which forced Juárez to default on debt payments to European governments. In response, France, Britain, and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz, Mexico, demanding repayment. Mexico was able to negotiate successfully with Britain and Spain, resulting in the withdrawal of their forces. France, however, under the rule of Napoleon III, considered it an opportunity to carve out an empire in Mexican territory and install a French monarch.

Assault to Notre-Dame de Guadalupite church in Puebla by French army soldiers. Created by Godefroy-Durand, published on L’Illustration, Paris, 1863

Late in 1861, a well-armed fleet of French soldiers stormed Veracruz, driving President Juárez and his government into retreat. Soon thereafter, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a ragtag force of 2,000 loyal men and sent them to Puebla.

The Mexican troops, led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza, fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez led his army to the city of Puebla and launched an assault. Despite all odds, the vastly outnumbered and outgunned Mexican soldiers battled bravely from sunup to sundown, ultimately forcing the French troops to retreat. Nearly 500 French soldiers lost their lives in the battle, compared to fewer than 100 of the Mexican forces. 

The unprecedented victory solidified the pride and devotion to Mexican heritage among the people, who deemed Cinco de Mayo a holiday. The name later became a battle cry during other battles and is a holiday filled with love and respect for the people who fought so hard to protect Mexico. The immense pride and sense of accomplishment that came from overcoming such a prolific colonizer swept through the country and showed the world that Mexicans are fiercely capable of defending themselves.

Why Do We Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in America?

While Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla with military parades and battle reenactments, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. This began in the 1960s when Chicano activists in the US raised awareness of the holiday, in part because they identified with the victory of Indigenous Mexicans (such as Juárez) over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla. Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing, and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. 

Can Celebrations of Cinco de Mayo in America Be Problematic?

Some of the ways in which Americans have chosen to celebrate Cinco de Mayo have been fraught with controversy, and rightly so. The reinforcement of harmful stereotypes caused by celebrations that involve dressing up as Mexicans, using fake accents, and poking fun at the heritage while using it as a theme for parties and heavy drinking is deeply problematic. The team of diversity, equity, and inclusion consultants at TMI Consulting Group reminds us that “Cinco de Mayo is the story of the underdog. It is one of strength and resilience. In today’s world, the reminder that Mexican people are just as capable and deserving of equality is necessary. And being an ally to Mexican people is about so much more than throwing a party.”

How Can Americans Celebrate Cinco de Mayo Respectfully?

It’s important to show respect and camaraderie when celebrating, which means celebrating for the right reasons. A great first step is to take the time to understand the history and context for why you are celebrating, so thanks for taking the time to read this blog post! On Cinco de Mayo, consider honoring the foodways and history of flavors often present in Mexican cuisine by finding an authentic recipe to prepare at home. Try to source the products in the recipe from Mexican-owned farmers and food producers if possible (you’ll find Sonia’s Salsa in our weekly sale from April 29th – May 5th, and be sure to visit our Cheese Department display to find several varieties of authentic Mexican queso). If you don’t feel like cooking at home, consider patronizing a Mexican-owned restaurant.

Mole Poblano

Avoid fake accents and silly props and costumes such as sombreros, stick-on mustaches, maracas, and piñatas, which serve to reduce an entire people down to a few clichéd signifiers. It’s also wise to avoid decorations and regalia that are reserved for Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead (sugar skulls, flower crowns, etc.), “which is a Mexican holiday in which individuals honor their dead loved ones by visiting their graves or having celebrations in their honor,” writes Ellie Guzman on Medium. “For many, it is deeply religious and is a source of comfort that those that have passed on are still loved and are with us spiritually.” This holiday is celebrated on November 1st each year and has absolutely nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo. 

TMI Consulting group reminds us that “while there is nothing wrong with participating in Mexican culture and festivities in order to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, make sure you are supporting the community year-round, and not just for one day a year. This day honors the fight for independence and a win over European colonizers. As you celebrate, keep that in mind.” If you want to honor the Mexican culture and communities around you, take the initiative to learn how you can support them. A few options are to buy from Mexican-owned businesses and support organizations that work for equal rights for the Latinx community. Migrant Justice Vermont and Addison Allies are two great places to start.

 

Spotlight on Wellness Pet Products

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 29th – May 5th! 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.

Quality Ingredients

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.

Sustainability

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.

Spotlight on Rhapsody Natural Foods

Rhapsody Natural Foods is basking in Member Deals Spotlight this week and all of their fabulous fermented foods are 20% off for member-owners from April 22nd – 29th. Read on to learn more about this family-owned local business hailing from the heart of Cabot, VT, and their quest to bring you traditional plant-based foods produced in harmony with nature:

Sjon and Elysha Welters moved to the US from the Netherlands in 1983 with their 1-year-old daughter in tow in search of a place to build a homestead from which they could carve out a sustainable lifestyle. Their family eventually landed about a mile from Cabot Village in central Vermont and began setting down roots, raising their three children, and starting a business. 

Sjon Welters on the family homestead in Cabot, VT standing between the Rhapsody production facility and office

Their initial venture was a restaurant in Montpelier, which would serve as a test kitchen of sorts for the line of Rhapsody products that we know and love today. Their ultimate dream, however, was to be able to produce these foods on their homestead, cutting the commute and allowing the family to decrease their carbon footprint and dependency on imported food. The 2011 construction of a small production facility on their homestead allowed this dream to come to fruition, rooting the Welters family more deeply into the rural Vermont landscape where they were able to focus on improving the soil, maintaining their large vegetable gardens, and tending to the fruit trees and fields.

Sjon Welters in the Rhapsody production facility on the Welters family homestead

The Welters family is committed to producing foods that uphold their traditional value to nourish the health of their community. They understand that traditional foods can hold solutions to many modern-day problems. They are particularly passionate about fermented foods, which contain beneficial probiotic bacteria, are full of digestive enzymes that aid in digestion, support immunity, and help nutrients and minerals assimilate more easily. 

Rhapsody is committed to supporting a sustainable local economy by sourcing from local and regional producers as much as possible, buying organic, and minimally processed, clean ingredients, and avoiding all GMO foods. They are constantly seeking opportunities to collaborate with local farmers so that more of the ingredients in their products can be sourced closer to home. They experimented with growing rice on their homestead for 7 years, proving that rice production in Vermont is possible. They hope to someday be able to source the rice for their Koji (starter culture for their miso) locally. They are also hoping to find someone who is excited to grow organic natto soybeans locally as those are only available from a very limited number of suppliers. Rhapsody’s products are certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers and their goal is not to only meet the organic standards but to exceed them, as the national standards of organic become less representative of the intention on which it was based. Additionally, in October of 2020, all of Rhapsody Natural Foods’ products became certified kosher.

Sjon Welters planting rice on the homestead

 

Presently, their three children and their families (7 grandchildren) live on the same property and support the business in their own unique ways, making it a true family affair. According to their webpage, the Welters family is “committed to running a sustainable business that supports a natural lifestyle where the days and weeks of our lives are engaging, dynamic, inspiring, challenging, and fulfilling. Production, sales, marketing, distribution, and bookkeeping are all divided up according to skillset and interest. We get it all done with a sense of purpose and satisfaction! In the face of the health, economic, and environmental crisis that our community, both local and global, faces today we are committed to actions that contribute to positive change. Our work towards meeting this challenge is in part by sharing our passion for high-quality fermented local food!”

 

 

Spotlight on Seventh Generation

Are you gearing up for some spring cleaning? Keep it green with Seventh Generation! They’re basking in the glow of the Co-op Spotlight this week and member-owners can enjoy 20% off their full line of products from April 15th – 21st! Read on to learn more about their energy-efficient practices, socially responsible business model, their fight for labeling transparency for cleaning products, and their impressive efforts to tackle climate change:

SeventhGenerationTM_spot_1224x792_300_RGB (2)

More than 30 years ago, a group of like-minded individuals came together to create Seventh Generation, a company dedicated to nurturing the health of the next seven generations. They do that by creating everyday products using plant-based ingredients, and by creating positive policy change through their mission and advocacy work. They’re on a mission to transform the world into a healthy, sustainable & equitable place for the next seven generations.

 

As a mission-driven B-Corps business, Seventh Generation aims to pioneer a more mindful way of doing business. They remain committed to examining their impacts as a business and considering the principles that matter to them as a company:  responsible sourcing; using materials from plants, not petroleum; ensuring the health of our planet and the people on it; having an engaged, motivated workforce; and caring for their community. They track their progress toward these goals and present them with total transparency. Click here to check out their most recent impact assessment.

Not Business As Usual

Our planet’s future and the health of generations to come is far too important for business as usual, which is why Seventh Generation constantly strives to make their products more sustainable, why they’re racing to reduce their carbon footprint and become a zero-waste company by 2025, and why they’re advocating for climate justice. They stand with the Youth Climate Movement and seek to use their platform to elevate the voices and initiatives championed by the leaders of the Movement who have heard the call and stepped up to lead the charge. 

As many climate activists have noted, though, this movement is about more than just switching to a renewable energy economy and curbing our fossil fuel usage. It’s about demanding true Climate Justice. It’s about changing our energy usage in a way that is fair and equitable so that frontline communities and those among us who are most vulnerable aren’t compromised in the process—as they often are. The students have raised their voices and the team at Seventh Generation feels compelled to not only stand beside them but also to take action and use their own ability to affect change to help the movement grow and create the healthy future all of us deserve. As a sustainable business, Seventh Generation feels a responsibility to fight for that future and they invite you to join them. Click here to read more about their ongoing Climate Justice efforts.

 

 

 

Envisioning A Zero Waste Future

Packaging is more than just a container to the folks at Seventh Generation. In every packaging decision they make, they consider the impact on the health, safety, and sustainability of people and the planet. And as industry leaders in their use of post-consumer recycled plastic, their sustainable packaging embodies their mission to nurture the health of today and the next seven generations. By 2025, they aspire to reach their goal that 100% of their packaging will be reusable and reused, recyclable and recycled, or biodegradable and degraded. 

But recently, the company doubled down and shifted tactics to involve moving away from plastic completely, starting with a new line called Zero Plastic Homecare.

“What we realized is that we really need to take action and move ourselves as a business away from plastic, because as good as the plastic is or as little you use, recycling alone will never solve the problem,” says Seventh Generation CEO Joey Bergstein. In the U.S., according to an EPA report last year with the most recent data, only around 9.1% of plastic waste is recycled; another 15.5% is burned. The rest—26 million tons per year—ends up in landfills. That’s despite years of effort to improve recycling rates.

To eliminate plastic in the new line, the company rethought the products themselves. By using non-liquid products, the containers don’t need plastic to act as a “moisture barrier.” “If we remove plastic from the equation, that means removing the liquid from the equation as well,” says Joe Giallanella, who leads the company’s growth incubator, the team tasked with eliminating plastic from packaging. The cleaning power of these liquid-free tablets and powders is activated with water when you are ready. A fundamental clean is achieved without the use of dyes, bleach, wrappers, or plastic. And they will biodegrade once you are done with your cleaning routine.

For now, these products are available exclusively through Grove Collaborative online. This will allow Seventh Generation to test the products with a smaller audience before going more mainstream. We look forward to seeing how these work!

Pandemic Response

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the health and livelihood of millions every day, Seventh Generation is thinking hard about how best to support and uplift their communities, especially those who need help the most. First, they have significantly increased production of the essential cleaning and household products people and families need. They are working closely with retail partners to continually restock products to meet the unprecedented increase in demand. They’re also continuing to assess where their voice as a business can be most effective in spurring and supporting systemic change that nurtures this and future generations.

For the past several years, they’ve been outspoken advocates for climate justice and equity because they know that vulnerable and marginalized populations are the first and worst affected by the climate crisis. Now, as they raise their voice and channel their resources in response to the COVID-19 crisis, they remain more committed than ever to supporting equity and justice. It is their strong belief that the solutions created to battle this crisis must be equitable and that they must address the vulnerable and marginalized communities that are experiencing the effects of COVID-19 first and worst.

Now is the time to invest in people and the planet, and as solutions are proposed to respond to COVID-19, Seventh Generation has pushed for stimulus and relief packages that put the people first. That’s why Seventh Generation has endorsed the People’s Bailout, a comprehensive approach to recovery and relief built around the needs of the everyday people who need the most support. They have asked our elected leaders to act in line with the People’s Bailout principles, which put us all on a path toward a society that leaves no one behind.

The Fight for Ingredient Disclosure

Seventh Generation firmly believes that you have the right to know what is in the products you buy, which is why they helped launch the #comeclean campaign. Through this campaign, they aim to air the cleaning industry’s dirty laundry. They support state and federal legislation to require manufacturers of both consumer household and industrial cleaning products to disclose all intentionally added ingredients, including fragrance components, on their product labels and on their websites.  Thanks to their vigilant efforts, landmark legislation (SB 258-California’s Cleaning Product Right to Know Act) was passed which required that, by 2020, companies must list certain ingredients on their packaging and website. It’s a major step forward in the fight for ingredient transparency and affirms our collective right to know what’s in the products we buy.  This victory wouldn’t have been possible without the emails, calls, texts, and tweets from our collective community. Seventh Generation encourages you to get involved

Spotlight on Tierra Farm

We’re casting our Member Deals Spotlight on Tierra Farm this week to highlight the socially and environmentally responsible practices of this employee-owned business. They provide an array of healthy products to our bulk department that are certified organic, gluten-free, kosher, and GMO-free, all of which are produced in small batches in their solar-powered facility in Valatie, NY. From April 8th – 14th, member-owners can enjoy 20% off their delicious dried fruits, nuts, nut butters, and other healthy snacks! Read on to learn more about this fantastic small business and its commitment to responsible practices throughout the supply chain:

Tierra Farm is a Certified Organic manufacturer and distributor of nuts and dried fruits located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Their customers consist mainly of cooperatives and independently owned grocery stores that value working with an employee-owned, environmentally conscious company that manufactures its own products.

Tierra Farm started as a diversified organic vegetable farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The organic nuts & dried fruit portion of the business started in 1999, as a way to generate income in the slower winter months. That portion of the business has continued to thrive and evolve into a year-round operation, though they still maintain their original farm.

Tierra Farm offers their customers exceptional value through unbeatable quality at prices that are fair both to the consumer and to the farmer. Their products are made without preservatives, added oils or refined sugars, in their own peanut-free facility. They manufacture the products they sell: dry roasting and flavoring nuts and seeds, blending trail mixes, grinding butter, and covering nuts and fruits in fair-trade chocolate. Everything is made in small, hand-crafted batches for freshness.

One of their core values has been to cultivate strong relationships with the best organic farmers in the world. They work directly with the farmers from which they source their nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and have worked with some of these farmers for over a decade. Being in direct communication with their farmers allows the preservation of their organic integrity and ensures fair business practices throughout the supply chain.

Tierra Farm handles only Certified Organic products which are grown without synthetic pesticides, genetically modified organisms, or chemical fertilizers. This helps sustain biodiversity, conserves fresh water, and enhances the soil. They generate over 70% of their electricity from solar panels and recycle over 60% of their waste. Their boxes are made from recycled cardboard and their containers are made from over 50% recycled material – both are recyclable after use. They’re continuously looking for better ways to protect the planet.

Tierra Farm is also committed to community. They recognize that there’s a whole big world outside their doors and they want to help make it as beautiful as possible. With this in mind, they embrace opportunities to s

upport local charities and help them continue to do great work in service to others. 

Recently selected one of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies by Inc. 5000, Tierra Farm remains committed to their team members. Every single Tierra Farm employee makes a living wage of $15 per hour and enjoys a comprehensive health benefits program, as well as a retirement plan and onsite lunch. In August of 2019, Tierra Farm became a Certified B Corporation, one of only 3,000 companies worldwide to earn this distinction.

 

Co-op Connection Featured Business – Juice Amour

We’re excited to shine a little light on a local favorite – Juice Amour! They’re our featured Co-op Connection Business this month and they have a sweet deal for Co-op member-owners. Show your member card when you visit Juice Amour’s Middlebury location and you’ll receive 10% off their full line of organic, raw, fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, chia pudding bowls, sprouted nut milk, and other healthy, seasonal lunch and dinner offerings! Read on to learn more about one of Middlebury’s best stops for fresh, healthy foods on the go!

 

Juice Amour is owned and operated by Sheri Bedard and her father David Bedard. It was the love and strong belief in the many health benefits of drinking fresh juice that started Juice Amour on it’s path to your backyard.

They wake up early to produce local, raw, organic juice and products on-site every day. According to Sheri, “Every day we wake up passionate in our belief that healthful food should be accessible, taste delicious, look beautiful, help you feel amazing and have as little negative impact on the environment as possible. Every decision we make here is with those philosophies in mind but (lucky for you) all YOU have to do is enjoy the deliciousness that comes from those efforts.”

 

Keeping it Local

Getting as much produce from our local organic farmers is a core principle of the companies mission to make a minimal impact on the earth while supporting local farmers. They view their support of local organic farmers as an essential step toward minimizing the global impact of their business as well as providing support and income for their neighbors. As often as possible all juice ingredients will be sourced locally.

Glass and the “Milk Bottle” Concept

To maximize health benefits for you and minimize the impact on our planet they avoid the use of plastic and recycle and reuse the glass jars their juice is delivered in. They ask customers to return their jars and lids to the location they picked up their juices where they are commercially washed and reused again and again. This reduces the cost to their clients while minimizing any negative impact of drinking out of plastic as well as maximizing benefits to the community and planet.

Commitment to Organic

Juice Amour is also committed to supporting organic. Organic farming employs methods that minimize the use of toxins while building soil quality and protecting water quality. Additionally, buying organic supports chemical and pesticide-free practices that are healthier for our farmers and for our planet. Lastly, they also feel that organic foods have more intense and delicious flavors – no wonder their juice is so delicious!

Abundant Offerings

In addition to a bounty of fresh organic, raw fruit and veggies juice options, Juice Amour also offers raw, sprouted nut milks; guilt-free raw smoothies; gluten and dairy-free soups; chia pudding; acai, dragon fruit & cashew cream bowls & jars; and other seasonal, organic and raw lunch and dinner options. Click HERE to browse their menu.

Their juice cleanses are extremely popular and are a great way to introduce people to juicing while enjoying incredible benefits, ranging from weight loss to improved health. They also know that the true benefit to juicing is accomplished when it is done regularly so they are constantly adding new juices and products to keep things new and fresh.

Sheri and the Juice Amour crew are proud to be based in Middlebury, Vermont, with an additional location in Burlington.

 

© Copyright 2021 - Middlebury Food Co-op