Book of the Month!

kingsolverNEW! Check out our Book of the Month!

Did you know that we have a library of sustainable living resources? It’s right upstairs! And in honor of all the great books we have available we’re highlighting a new book each month, with a Book Club discussion for anyone interested.

April’s book is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This is a great book for localvores, following one family’s attempt to eat local for a year. Chock full of recipes, anecdotes, and fun facts, you’ll love this book. And don’t forget to join us on April 25th at 5pm or April 28th at 11am to share your thoughts with others!

Update and Invitation from our Antioch Interns

At the First Friday event on April 4, the Antioch Team displayed several different designs for their GMO grading system that will soon be implemented at the Co-op. This Grading system will be in the Grocery Department with some of its products being evaluated and receive an A, B, or C based on their potential presence or absence of GMO ingredients. Customers who stopped by at the table at this month’s First Friday event were asked to choose their top two favorite designs along with their least favorite design. The customers were also asked to provide any additional feedback on the designs, so that the Antioch Team could use the most clear and appropriate design for their GMO grading system at the Co-op.

 

Overall, customers preferred the designs that were most clear and obvious as to what grade was being selected, meaning those that had letters with size differentiation and a bold font. Also grades that were circled or had bold borders were favored over the others. The color of the background and the color of the letters were also evaluated and most customers selected the design with pastel colors as their favorite. It was also suggested that bright and appealing colors would be the most understandable for the design.

This event was a huge success and helped the Antioch Team understand what customers and employees at the Co-op thought about the designs. This feedback will be factored into the final design of the GMO grading system and soon customers will get to see the results in the store! The purpose of this grading system is to serve the members of the Co-op and help them make more informed choices with regard to GMOs when shopping at the Co-op.

The launch of the GMO grading system will be held at the Co-op from 5:30pm-7:00pm on Earth Day, April 22. Please come to learn more and ask any questions!

The Latest Newsletter is Available In-store & Online!

As you may already know, the current theme is Grafting: Making and Keeping Connections. The newsletter is available in the archive on this website or if you prefer you can pick up a printed copy in-store. Below you will find an article from long-time member Luise Graf. She has a background in and earns a livelihood by growing and caring for plants.
 
The May/June theme at the Co-op is Cultivation: Nurturing Sustainable Growth. Tune in to find out what your Co-op Community is doing to think ahead and plan conscientiously. If you have a story to tell please send submissions to Chris@uppervalleyfood.coop. Thanks.

Definition: Grafting – to cause (a scion) to unite with a stock; to propagate a plant (by grafting)

Grafting fruit trees is one of my favorite early spring jobs.  The days are longer, the sun stronger, and the urge to plant is great.  It satisfies that urge on a warm spring day either outside or in the greenhouse.  Fruit trees have been grafted for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.  This can also be done on shrubs and on greenhouse tomato plants.

Grafting involves taking a piece of scion wood and attaching it to a rootstock.  The scion is a short piece of pencil-sized new growth from a tree with qualities you wish to propagate.  It is then grafted (attached), by any of several ways, to a rootstock, matching up both sides if the two are the same size.  If this is not the case, then both pieces must align the cambium layers on one side to allow for the flow of nutrients.  It is then taped or waxed to hold both pieces together.  This graft can be done on purchased rootstock, which is then planted, or on rootstock already in the ground, or on branches of trees where you want more than one variety.

The waiting period comes next.  As spring progresses, the sap rises from the roots which start to grow and buds from the rootstock will start to send up new branches.  Soon after this happens, perhaps June or July, you may start seeing growth from the grafted piece.  Some years there is a good percentage that “take”.  It is always exciting to know that you have created new life.  Other years, because of weather conditions – late frosts, heavy rains, or poor techniques -­­­- the scion dies.  This is a disappointment but part of the cycle.  The one redeeming feature is that the rootstock can be grafted again the following year.

For three seasons of the year, my life is totally immersed in soil and the plants I tend, and I’ve come to see grafting as a form of birthing.  The egg and sperm unite to grow into a baby.  There is that time of gestation, birth, baby, adolescent, adult (creating new generations), ripening to old age, and recycling.  In the plant there is the union of pollen and ovule to form a seed.  The dormant seed swells with moisture and warmth, bursts out of the ground as a newborn, becomes a seedling, matures to adulthood, flowers, produces fruit that contains the seeds to start the cycle over again, grows old, and recycles itself.

Like the tree that grows in a difficult spot, so we too are challenged in our life cycle.  Some do better than others, and some don’t make it.  Like the grafted tree we are a union of two parts, producing offspring to continue the cycle through the ebb and flow of seasons and the spiral of life.

Luise Graf

Save some time for our Membership Drive April 7th – April 12th

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACome One, Come All!

This year’s membership drive gives us a chance to get together and compare notes.

We will hold the drive Monday through Saturday. This is a chance to update old information, get current on your membership payment or finally become a member.

You will see lots of faces at the membership table. Instructors from the Sew-op, Board Members, Staff and SuperWorker Volunteers will help you navigate the member application, update contact info and enter our Grand Raffle. Take some time and ask the Board Members questions about the Co-op or just let us know what we are doing well.

The Raffle Winner will be picked on Saturday, April 12th. Please make a point of stopping by the Membership Table during the week. We love getting to know you!

 

An update from our Antioch Interns

gmo csi2

Dear Co-Op community, thank you for all your input.

At February’s First Friday, our team of Antioch University New England students asked you what factors are most important to you when making food purchasing decisions.  Through surveys and a ‘voting board’ display, you told us what you value most when it comes to your food.

It turns out that the majority of you who took our survey or cast a vote identified organic and your number one priority.   Locally made or grown products also seem to be important to many Co-op shoppers and when it comes to Health and Body Care, many of you are loyal to your trusted brands.  GMO-free products are important to many of you.

Our team also asked you to weigh in on how you want the Co-op to communicate with you about products in the store.  The vast majority of you say you want the Co-op to inform you about what is in the products you buy and most of you feel the Co-op is doing a good job providing you the information to make informed decisions.  Your responses indicate that the Co-op community envisions the Co-op playing an active role in informing you about products on its shelves and keeping you up to date on food issues.

What does all this mean to us?  We perceive that you are well educated about what you are eating, want to remain so, and look to the Co-op to be your partner in that effort.  We understand that you, the Co-op community, trust the Co-op and want it to provide you with materials that supplement food labels to create a more complete picture of store products.  Our intention is to use this information to begin to create materials to help people navigate the store and fulfill the Co-op’s role as you partner.

© 2014 Upper Valley Food Cooperative