The Co-operator | April 2022

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a free publication of the east end food co-op

Board Corner Greening Our Co-op’s Future Just as what we eat impacts our health, our daily food choices also have a dramatic impact on our planet. Food production — in particular, the industrial food production system (“Big Ag”) — is responsible for ¼ of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Our World In Data. Since we all have to eat, what can we do to address this major cause of climate change? The purpose of the East End Food Co-op is to exist as a sustainable business, enhance the health of our community, and present a creative vision for the future. Since climate affects all of these things and we all affect the climate through what we eat, we need to think about planetary impact as part of the Co-op’s identity. You’ve probably heard the term “Net Zero,” which refers to reducing and, when reduction isn’t possible, offsetting emissions to the point of elimination. The Co-op is a long way from “Net Zero,” but we’ve started talking about how to get closer. This will involve choices we make as we expand to new premises, decisions about what products to offer while maintaining affordability and food access, and visions of what the shopping experience could look like in a plastic-free future. Ultimately, the Co-op on its own is only a piece of the larger food system. Perhaps the biggest opportunity we have to enhance our community’s long-term health is by working with co-ops around the country to support and develop robust and resilient food systems. The path to a greener future will be messy. The effects of climate change are already contributing to instability in our food system. Globally, we’ve seen drought, disease, flooding, and fires that have already made getting certain products harder or more expensive. Our own Co-op has started feeling the impacts of climate change, with products that have become harder to find, more frequent storm-driven power outages and supply shortages, and subtle price increases in staple products that are becoming more challenging to grow (like flour). To remain a sustainable business, we’ll have to adapt and respond nimbly to these and other challenges in the years to come. This Earth Month, I hope you’ll take a moment as you shop to consider the climate impacts of the food you’re eating, and to learn about the ways your Co-op is already working to build a resilient and climate-aligned food economy. Ultimately, as member-owners of this business, it’s up to us to envision a green and healthy future for our Co-op and to work toward creating that reality. If you’re interested in getting involved, please consider this your invitation to join the Co-op Resilience Committee. We meet on the 4th Thursday of every month to discuss these issues and more. To learn more, you can email me directly at or write to: Brian Alderman Board Member & Resilience Committee Chair

Board of Directors 2

Ariel Barlow ‘22 Laura Valentine ‘22 Tom Pandeleon ‘22 Megan Moffitt ‘22 Jenise Brown ‘23 Trevor Ring ‘23 Marty Seltman ‘23

The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op | April 2022

Brian Alderman ‘24 Mia Sorada ‘24 Debi Johnson ‘24 The board meets online the third Monday of each month at 7 PM. Members are welcome to join virtually via WebEx.


A Moment with MAura It started with garlic. Several years ago, I discovered that, for whatever reason, I was really good at growing garlic. After that, I figured I could grow anything I wanted — so I did! Growing my own food offers me a chance to play an active role in my food system, but it’s so much more than that. It’s therapy. It’s an expression of love. It’s an opportunity to share time with my kids and to instill in them a passion for good food, hard work, and a sense of wonder. Through these meaningful experiences, I can only hope that I’m making memories with them that will last a lifetime. I want them to remember gardening with their mom when they’re old — how I taught them to grow (and love!) okra; how they could walk around in a maze of broomcorn in their own front yard; how they learned to stay connected to the land and to the food they eat. Being a part of the Co-op furthers my ability to contribute to the land and my community in productive and meaningful ways. If I want my children to look back fondly on gardening with me, I have to do what I can to ensure that they have a future in which to live and flourish. The Co-op offers me that connection to our local foodshed and allows me to play my part in strengthening it. If I’ve seen anything from working co-operatively, it’s that no success happens by individual action, but rather through the partnerships we create and the collective contributions we all make. I hope my kids see that when they join me in the garden: every seed we sprinkle into the soil becomes a part of something so much bigger than itself — its roots form bonds that we’ll never begin to understand, its leaves communicate with the sun in a language we can’t hear, and it requires our love and attention if it is going to thrive in this world. But we can’t work against the Earth. We must give and take carefully so that we can mutually benefit. As a Co-op community, I know that we can achieve so much together. My hope is that you can each find what I find in my garden — an indescribable joy and sense of hope for the future — and that you feel empowered to make a difference. Happy Earth Month, co-operators! Maura Holliday East End Food Co-op General Manager

join a board committee The board convenes a number of committees, including Finance, Member-Owner Participation, Expansion, Resilience, Annual Meeting, Bylaws, and Board Perpetuation and Elections. These committees all play an important role in developing proposals and recommendations to strengthen the governance of our Co-op. For more information and to sign up to join a committee, contact The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op |April 2022


Composting fo Louis Mennel, Founder of Carbon Compost

If we are going to talk about climate change, we need to talk about methane. Methane is the earth’s second most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Over a 20-year period, it is 80 times more potent at warming our planet than carbon dioxide. Because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and short-lived compared to carbon dioxide, targeted reductions will have a rapid and significant effect on atmospheric warming. When organic material ends up in a landfill, they decompose anaerobically (without oxygen) and produce methane as a byproduct. According to the most recent EPA report, landfills released an estimated 114.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) of methane in 2019; this represents 17.4 percent of methane emissions generated by humans. Additionally, it’s important to know that soils hold more carbon than the atmosphere or plant and animal life combined. Over the centuries, human activities have degraded our soils, releasing a significant portion of this carbon into the air, contributing to global warming. So what does compost have to do with all this? Compost is a powerful panacea to climate change because it attacks both of these issues at their core. Organic materials, such as food scraps from our kitchen, that are processed at a composting facility rather than being sent to rot at a landfill won’t produce methane. In addition, the finished compost replenishes our topsoil and helps to sequester additional carbon out of the atmosphere. This is sometimes referred to as a carbon sink.


The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op | April 2022

or the ClimatE So how can we, as individuals, harness the power of compost for good? A bin can be built or purchased and filled with organic material for folks with a backyard. Organic material can be categorized as “browns” (high in carbon) or “greens” (high in nitrogen). Examples of browns are wood chips, straw and hay, uncooked pasta, and shredded paper. Examples of greens are kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, fruits, veggies, or fresh grass clippings. Managing a healthy compost pile requires keeping a balanced ratio of browns to greens, regularly turning the material to provide oxygen, and maintaining proper moisture content. The goal is to provide an environment where billions of beneficial microorganisms can turn our waste into a living soil our plants will love. When the right conditions are met, the compost pile will heat to over 130 degrees due to all the microbial activity! It’s important to note that one cubic yard of material (at minimum) is needed to self-insulate and retain the heat of a compost pile. Alternative methods of composting include vermiculture (using worms to process food scraps), the bokashi method (a process of fermenting organic material that avoids having to turn piles of compost and can be accomplished in a small space such as an apartment), or letting someone else do the dirty work by paying for a residential compost hauler to collect your organic waste and turn it into “garden gold.” Composting is a powerful tool that every one of us can use daily to positively impact our planet. Who’s ready to get their hands dirty?

Carbon Compost is a Community Partner and offers Co-op members 25% off curbside compost services. Visit for more info! The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op |April 2022


Easy HOMEMADE Toothpaste Amanda Stephen – EEFC Health & Beauty Buyer

Homemade toothpaste is incredibly easy to make and only requires three ingredients! Since most toothpaste tubes are plastic and can’t be recycled, making your own toothpaste is an easy way to replace a necessary, but wasteful item, with an environmentally friendly alternative. Plus, there are a lot of ways to customize your toothpaste to your taste and needs.

Basic Toothpaste Recipe:

• ½ cup coconut oil (Tip: Use room-temperature coconut oil for easy mixing) • 4 tbsp. baking soda • 15-20 drops essential oil (peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, fennel, or clove are good options) • Glass jar for storage

Mix together coconut oil and baking soda in your glass jar and then mix in your essential oil of choice (starting with 15 drops, and adding more to taste). Use a clean finger or Popsicle stick to apply the paste to your toothbrush. Some ideas to further customize your toothpaste: • For a more store-bought taste, add a small amount of stevia or xylitol, about 1 tsp. • For whitening, add 1 tsp. of activated charcoal. • To give your toothpaste a thicker and more stable consistency (useful in the warmer months), add arrowroot powder. Start with a small amount, and slowly add until you have your desired consistency. • For healthy gums, add 5-10 drops of myrrh essential oil.


The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op | April 2022

Grass Heads Craft! Leah Schneider – EEFC Community Engagement Coordinator

A fun spring activity for all ages, especially the little ones. Set these by a sunny window, and enjoy watching their “hair” grow! You may even be able to give them a haircut if you’re patient enough

Materials: • • • •

Nylon/tights – make sure there are no holes in the toes! Grass seed Soil One of the following: - Buttons + thread - Marker - Googly Eyes + Glue

Instructions: • Measure 6-10 inches from the toe of the tights and make a cut. • Scoop 3-4 tbsp. of grass seed into the tights. • Follow with about a cup of soil (8 oz.), adding more or less as desired. • Tie the open end into a knot. • Carefully flip over, trying to keep all the grass seed in one place. • Choose between sewing, gluing, or drawing on a face to finish!

The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op |April 2022


Flux Bene Sets out to help recycle 10k garments Rebekah Joy, Flux Bene

Hi. My name is Rebekah Joy, and I manage a Pittsburgh-based textile recycling project called Flux Bene. The global fashion and garment industry is cited by some sources as the second-largest producer of industrial waste on Earth. This pollution comes in the form of chemical runoff from fiber processing and dyeing, air pollution from factories and shipping methods, and the solid waste of our discarded clothing. Thrift shops in the US are frequently overwhelmed by the amount of clothing donations they receive, so attempting to mitigate our current consumption rates by donating the garments that we no longer wear is not a sustainable answer. To make an impact, we need to reduce the amount of clothing we buy and extend the life of the garments we already own. In fact, extending the life of a single garment by just nine months reduces the ecological footprint of that garment by 20-30%, according to Flux Bene is my small contribution toward solving this problem. Since 2017, I have been upcycling discarded second-hand garments into clothing that people are excited to wear again. All Flux Bene pieces are one of a kind, and all of them are gender-neutral, because the idea that our clothing needs to be assigned by gender is an outdated scam. We begin by sourcing second-hand garments. Sometimes the garments have issues like stains, missing buttons, or rips. Sometimes they’re perfectly fine, and they’re just nearing the end of their month-long stay at the thrift shop. We reimagine the garments by updating their shape, fixing any issues they have, and adding textile art like screen printing, hand dyeing, blockprinting, and quilting. We also add large pockets to everything, because pockets are important, and I was tired of never having good ones. 8

The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op | April 2022

At Flux Bene, our mission is to facilitate the reuse of 10,000 garments by June 2025. For us to reach this goal, we need help. We need YOU to upcycle, too! In 2021, we published our first sewing pattern for upcycling. So now, you can visit our website and download the pattern and instructions for making our Flughafen Top.You can make a fun, new shirt out of an old shirt you already own. Our second pattern, the Sketchbook Jacket, will be released this spring, and we plan to release two patterns each year through 2024. If you already know how to sew, I hope that you will consider joining us in this upcycling adventure. If you are interested in learning how to sew, there are wonderful classes offered at Cut & Sew Studio in Morningside, as well as a vast catalog of instructional videos on YouTube. Even if sewing does not interest you, there are a lot of alterations you can do with a pair of scissors or an inexpensive dye packet. The next time you are about to donate or toss an item of clothing, take a few moments to consider what it is that you don’t like about the item, then brainstorm ways that you could alter the garment into something that you can get more use out of. In addition to the ecological impact of our clothing, an immense amount of human effort goes into producing clothing for us. I feel that the very least we can do is honor that effort by wearing items until they have lost their usefulness. Flux Bene releases new upcycled pieces in our webshop bi-monthly. You can stay up to date with our mission and our work by joining our newsletter at

The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op |April 2022



cathy! Cathy has been a staple in the Front End for the past two and a half years. She says the organization as a whole and the really good people have kept her around. Outside of work, she especially loves gardening, biking, hiking, and — most recently — birding. She also loves making art; painting and writing poems are her current favorites.



Having started as a volunteer, Jim secured his first official job at the Co-op the summer of ‘98. Jim loves all the wonderful staff and customers he gets to interact with every day and really appreciates how the products the Co-op carries align well with his values. Outside of work, Jim likes to run, bike, listen to music, and go on walks with his wife, Carol, in Frick Park. 10

The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op | April 2022

register round up

Management Team

april recipient

The Environmental Health Project (EHP) is a nonprofit public health organization that assists and supports residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond who believe their health has been, or could be, impacted by shale gas development (SGD).

Maura Holliday General Manager Amber Pertz Café Manager Shawn McCullough Finance Manager eric cressley Front End Manager Ian Ryan Grocery Manager Jen Girty HR Manager Erin Myers IT Manager Tyler Kulp Produce Manager Elly Helgen Marketing & Member Services Manager

The East End Food Co-op exists to enhance physical and social health to our community. To these ends, we will create: A sustainable memberowned business open to everyone; An ethical and resilient food infrastructure; A creative vision to transform the future.

The Co-operator is published by:

East End Food Co-op 7516 Meade Street, Pittsburgh PA 15208 phone: 412-242-3598 web:

Opinions expressed are writers’ own and do not necessarily reflect Co-op policy. Elly Helgen, Editor Christine Bruening, Design & Layout

Printed locally by Banksville Express with vegetable-based inks on recycled paper. © East End Food Cooperative 2022

The Co-operator | The Newsletter of East End Food Co-op |April 2022



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