October is Non-GMO Month!

…and Co-op Month!

Check out these great companies who strive to give us organic and gmo-free products.

Garden of Eatin'

Garden of Eatin’

Garden of Eatin’ offers a variety of Non-GMO Project verified corn tortilla chips, from Sesame Blue Corn Chips to Pumpkin Chips. With corn as one of the top GMO crops, it’s great to have tasty organic chips. Garden of Eatin’ is also a proud supporter of the Just Label It Campaign that advocates labeling GMO foods.

 

Andalou

Andalou

Andalou was the first beauty brand to achieve 100% Non-GMO Project verification. Their Fruit Stem Cell Science uses ‘universal cells’ to renew, repair and regenerate healthy skin. Choose them for all your beauty needs, including lotion, shampoo and conditioner, and more!

 

Frontier

Frontier

Frontier Cooperative is a fantastic cooperative! They supply many of our bulk spices, herbs, and teas. They provide common varieties of these bulk items, but also lesser known varieties such as the two alternative cinnamons. They have numerous organic products and are proud supporters of organic farming.

 

Mega Food

Mega Food

MegaFood Supplements prides itself on its Non-GMO ingredients and many of its products are Non-GMO Project verified. They offer balanced, comprehensive supplements as well as focused supplements for supporting particular health concerns.

Where are the Roots of the River Junction?

by Amanda Skinner
 
Panorama Interior Summer 2014

Revolution in Downtown White River. Photo by Kim Souza

As recent transplants to the Upper Valley, our family is always looking for places we and our children can thrive and connect. The Upper Valley Food Co-op has provided that opportunity for us. Not only is there an abundance of fresh, ethical produce we can feed our family with, but there is a small area where children can color, play, eat, and interact with other children who happen to be there. Perfect! I love that my children are making this community connection and associating it with healthful and ethical food.

We first visited White River Junction back in 2006 when we discovered the most rad clothing store on Main Street. When we returned last year, we were so pleased to see it had survived and was thriving. Revolution is another example of the alchemy that happens when something good comes to WRJ. A clothing boutique that hosts music events, fashion shows, houses photography exhibitions, offers coffees and, perfect again, has a play area for children!

Co-owner and founder Kim Souza was enthusiastic to talk about the Co-op and community. “Here at Revolution, we have a solid appreciation for aesthetic and quality of life in our everyday pursuits.  We don’t go shopping just to buy things, nor do we eat food simply to fill a void.  We prefer a more dynamic approach to activities like these that bring us closer to our community and inspire a cooperative attitude.

“Clearly, the Upper Valley Food Co-op has a similar standard of practice which engages the community with a depth of interdependence beyond what a commercial supermarket can offer.  If White River Junction were personified as a village, the Upper Valley Food Coop would represent integrity and resourcefulness within that community.  The coop plays a major role in White River’s identity which supports the arts and a sustainable, meaningful lifestyle.  Essentially, it’s the heart and soul of downtown WRJ, and it helps to nourish the greater Upper Valley region with healthful products and basic goodness!”

 

made marion at coop

Made Marion at the Upper Valley Food Co-op. Photo by Kim Souza

To accompany this article, Kim sent an image of a woman wearing a medieval costume shopping in the produce department. This was from a shoot by Revolution for Made Marion, a label created by designer Marion Taylor Settle, who some of you may also know as one founder of the sew-op!

Matt Bucy, property developer and cinematographer, will develop the American Legion Hall building into 22 apartments. The Co-op has been going for 38 years, and I wanted to hear his insight into the key for this success. One of the attractions to the Co-op for Matt stemmed from an earlier reincarnation of the building the Co-op now owns. That kids’ play area? The offices of New England Digital employees were there, including Matt’s, working on creating the first commonly-used digital synthesizers!

“Walkability and accessibility are key,” he said. “Not all residents want to, or can, drive to farmer’s markets or farms to get organic local produce,” he said. The Co-op is a hub for shopping, but also for numerous events that bring community together intentionally. Thinking about the future of this community stemming from the Co-op, I asked how growth and development can thrive. His response: “own who you are and stay open to possibilities.”

The Upper Valley Food Co-op is more than a space that our children can enjoy, or where we can shop. It’s a space where, in a past life, Matt Bucy built digital synthesizers that were used on Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. It’s a space with a members’ library and a sewing room. It’s a space that hosts a non-profit solely dedicated to community. It’s the roots communities are grown from.

Come to our Annual Meeting on Saturday!

Don’t miss a stellar line up of panelist who will discuss Food Security from their unique perspectives.

Cat

Cat Buxton

Welcome Cat Buxton, Education Coordinator at Cedar Circle Farm and Activist through the Vermont Right to Know GMOs Coalition.

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Sylvia Davatz

Hear from Sylvia Davatz, our local seedsaver and creator of Solstice Seeds, a small seed company in Hartland, VT where all the seeds are grown.

Bonnie Hudspeth photo

Bonnie Hudspeth

Learn from Bonnie Hudspeth, the Membership & Outreach Coordinator at the Neighboring Food Co-op Association and evolver of the Healthy Food Access Project.

It’s sure to be a great time! We have Celtic duo, Blackbird playing for us, starting at 5:30.

Bring a dish to share. The Co-op will provide soup, bread and salad, as well as ice cream from our friends at Strafford Creamery. Elect your board members, hear from our GM

 

Short History of the Upper Valley Food Co-op’s Roots

This article was written by longtime Co-operator, Kye Cochran.
 
The latest issue of our community newsletter is still in layout and will be available soon online and in-store. In the meantime, please enjoy this taste of what is to come.
~Chris Jacobson
 

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The Upper Valley Food Co-op has an interesting history with roots all over the Upper Valley.  

Activists in the early ’70’s were unable to get bulk foods, so they started a small store on West Lebanon’s Main Street that they called ‘The Do-it Store’, with its motto over the door: “ Don’t Just Talk about it, Do It!” Customers figured out their own bill and put their money in a can.  

Later, the store became known as the Upper Valley Food Co-op, acting as a buyers’ club housed in a couple of quanset huts near the Ompompanoosuc River in Thetford.  Each month, after the bulk food had been distributed, they cleared the center of the main building and had a dance.  

Eventually it became a grocery store, located on Mechanic Street in Lebanon;  then in 1983, it moved to the Coolidge Block in downtown White River Junction. 

A wonderful video of the our co-op’s beginnings, filmed by South Strafford co-op member Phyl Harmon, is available on DVD in the co-op’s library.  

I began working at the co-op in its White River Junction location in 1987.  My pay was $4.75/hour.  There were two staff members: Chip Blough and myself.  There were no departments, and we shared all the tasks.  On a good day, we took in $1,000.  The store had wall-to-wall carpeting (presumably in place when they moved in), and a superworker came in each morning and vacuumed it. 

Most of our products came from a distributor co-op of food co-ops called Northeast Cooperatives, and the trucks had to park on Main Street across from the store (there was no rear access).  We would carry the boxes across the street, take them in the front door and down an aisle to the back of the store, and pile them in a little dark back hall to be opened and the contents stocked. 

Even back then, before the local foods movement, our co-op bought as much from local producers and farmers as we could. We got tomatoes (and lettuce!) from Longwind Farm before they began to concentrate on just tomatoes, and I remember Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm bringing his yogurt to us in person! 

It was a charming little store, and we loved it.  We had a big window in front, where we put a little table and chairs, so that two people at a time (or maybe 3) could eat and watch people go by in the street.  

But by 1993, our sales were such that we had to move to a bigger building, and with trepidation we took over our present location.  We knew our customers loved our smallness and humanness and were afraid we would lose that in this big store! 

Clearly, we have been able to preserve what our customers like!  

From the Cooked to the Raw: An Experiment in Eating

Article by Amanda Skinner, published in the July/August newsletter: Raw Food

If you hate cooking, you’ll love raw. Raw means not heating food above 105 – 118⁰ as this damages the nutrients and minerals and can make food harder to digest. That means no steaming, boiling, sautéing, broiling, baking, frying or any of the other creative processes I was used to. None of the ingredients are pasteurized, homogenized, genetically modified, or otherwise compromised.

Levi Strauss wrote about the raw and the cooked as a way of describing what was found in nature and what is formed by human culture. At first glance, our home culture didn’t involve many processed foods. The challenge of eating raw for a week opened my eyes to how many processed foods we actually ate and helped me re-examine our relationship with food.

Our kids’ snacks were off limits. Coffees and teas were also off the menu (help, I thought!). Bread and all the other baked goods that peppered our week were out. And as much as I love cooking, there are days when I just throw the fallback meal together (the one where I know we will be full and I know I have the ingredients), or we eat out. Those options were not available.

Where we found our ingredients also changed. Beyond our home, the food culture is largely processed, in some cases more heavily than others. The majority of supermarket goods are processed, and a large number of those contain genetically modified organisms which are strictly off the table, so to speak, in the raw diet. Unless the produce was raw and organic, I wasn’t buying.

After some rushed research and some serious produce purchasing at the coop (thank you bulk section!) I figured I could at least get us through the first day. I knew I had to soak nuts (to release enzymes and make them more digestible) and I had a vague idea about sprouting seeds (studies have shown this increases proteins, B vitamins, and amino acids). I knew people used dehydrators (but did not have a spare few hundred $ to buy one), and was convinced of the importance of a good food processor or blender.

Despite all this, day one was abysmal.

Breakfast was put on hold when I discovered we had no cheesecloth to drain the pulp from the almond milk. I packed the kids into the car to pick up cheesecloth before they had hunger meltdowns. Did I mention there was no coffee for me during my raw week? The rest of the morning was spent preparing and researching lunch and dinner and made day one exhausting.

We made it through day one, in fact we made it through a week with zero processed foods. Some of the meals were abject failures – we spent one meal choking back blended cabbages masquerading as soup. Other meals were amazing and filling.

Eating 100% raw food completely challenged the culture we had formed around food in our home. We genuinely felt better about food because we were making such a conscious effort to eat better food. Although it was frustrating to let go of the old culture of cooking, the new culture of soaking, blending, marinating, sprouting, and drying offered fresh possibilities.

Making that cultural shift at home was not as hard as I had thought. Making a broader cultural shift will be harder. Eating out is impossible on a raw diet, and visiting with friends and family mean salads and veggie sticks, which is why now we are about 80% raw. I haven’t had a cup of coffee since our raw week began and I don’t miss it.

© 2014 Upper Valley Food Cooperative