The Co-operator | April 2023

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board corner introducing our newly elected board directors! Carlos gasca 2023 tyleda worou • 2023 caoimhe quach • 2023 liz geist • 2025 tom pandaleon • 2025 2 The Co-operator | April/ May 2023

gm report

A very happy Earth Month, yinz! I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your personal contributions to the social and environmental sustainability of our community, whether that’s by riding your bike to work, picking up litter, investing in solar panels, using a metal straw, starting a community garden, or shopping local — this is a journey, and we’re happy to be a part of it with you. As a co-op, we acknowledge that everyone has a role to play in the stewardship of our planet, but we also know that sustainability can look quite di erent from person to person and place to place. I’d like to just share a couple of recent Earth Month-related highlights from the Co-op with you all:

In 2019, the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) conducted a waste audit at the Co-op, and we were hard at work implementing some of the recommendations that came out of it. Those e orts, however, were interrupted by a wee little pandemic… By August of last year, we felt that procedures within the store had stabilized enough to conduct a new audit that would re ect our post-pandemic practices. And by October, we had a new report in hand! We were thrilled to learn that the Co-op’s current waste diversion rate is 87.7%. PRC feels that we can potentially bump that up to 93.1% at our current location, so we’re going to try! With a few slight adjustments in the store and some sta education, we’ll be on the right path to zero-waste.

I am also very pleased to share that we recently received a silver designation through the Sustainable Pittsburgh Shops program. While we are honored to make it on the list at all, we know we can do better! Fortunately, the application process showed us a lot of areas in which we can make improvements both here and, when the day comes, in our new location. It is certainly hard to do everything we want as renters, but we will always strive for our best.

Caring for this planet can so often feel like it may just overwhelm us, but Mother Earth gives us a chance to start anew with each spring. It’s this sense of hope and new beginnings that keeps me moving forward. I look forward to all the new beginnings this co-op community starts together!

The Co-operator | April/ May 2023  3

Getting Grounded

Grounding is a term — sometimes used interchangeably with centering —that refers to strategies that help a person focus their attention on the present moment. There are many situations in which grounding may be bene cial (e.g., athletes may use it to boost their performance), and there are countless techniques to explore (e.g., meditation, yoga, gardening, standing or walking barefoot).

Grounding kits are a great resource to keep on hand for situations in which a person needs relief from stress, anxiety, or both. These kits are also bene cial for all ages, so if you have children, consider making kits together!

What is a Grounding Kit?

Whether you’re feeling nervous, worried, angry, or simply unbalanced, taking actions to ground your energy can help you become calm and better able to experience or manage your emotional state.

A grounding kit (sometimes referred to as a self-soothing toolkit or coping toolbox) compiles together physical objects that you can include in your grounding e orts.

Grounding methods that involve the ve senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell) may help interrupt disruptive or disturbing thoughts and symptoms, so consider including at least two items for each sense in your grounding kit. Some people may respond more to one sense or a few, however, so consider what appeals the most to you as you create your grounding kit and stock it more heavily with items relevant to that sensory area.

There are no “right” or “wrong” objects to include in a grounding kit, and what works for one person may frustrate or even trigger another person. For example, if you have extreme sensitivities to noises and sounds, then a loud wind-up toy or popping bubble wrap is the opposite of helpful, even if it’s the go-to strategy for someone else.

Making Your Own Grounding Kit

Although a number of vendors, such as Amazon and Etsy, sell ready-made grounding kits, they’re easy to make yourself. You may also consider creating two grounding kits: one that stays at home and includes bulkier objects and a separate mobile kit with fewer items that you can take anywhere.

First, simply choose a bag, box, or another receptacle; ideally, you’ll want something small enough to carry around with you in a pocket, purse, or bookbag. Then, compile your grounding objects. You may already have plenty of useful supplies at home, but it’s also possible to buy grounding objects on a slim budget. Your Co-op has many products that would make great additions, such as candles, aromatherapy oils, hard candies, and more. Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse (PCCR) is a non-traditional art supply shop located near East End Food Co-op that o ers a variety of unique and a ordable kit-making supplies. You could also cruise the aisles at your local thrift store. There’s no need to make this an expensive project! Here is a list of items corresponding to each sense that you may consider including in yours.

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• Fidget items, such as spinners, cubes, and jewelry

• Weighted blanket

• Dice to roll

• Natural objects like rocks, shells, and pine cones

• Items with different textures like a smooth marble, a piece of sandpaper,tissue paper, soft fabric, feathers, pom-poms

• Photographs

• Postcards

• Color swatches

• Construction paper

• Colored pencils,

• Mints

• Tea bags (especially herbal blends)

• Chapstick or lip balm

• Candy

• Chocolate

• markers, or crayons

• A pair of headphones

• Mini singing bowl

• Bubble wrap

• Toys that make noise

• Music box

Using Your Grounding Kit

• Essential oils, such as peppermint, lavender, and citrus scents

• Candles (the flame works for sight too!)

• Lotion

• Jar of spices

• Fragrance sachet

Once your grounding kit is ready, try to have it with you and accessible as much as possible. The more a person practices engaging with their objects, the greater the chance is that this technique will help in periods of heightened stress. Try spending a few minutes per day for the rst week or two exploring your kits and seeing which items you each respond to most; contents can always be added or removed.

Finally, remember that the purpose of the grounding kit isn’t to avoid problems or get rid of di cult emotions. Feelings are important and should not be ignored! But this nifty little resource may allow a person to take a step back from stressors and triggering situations and hopefully regroup and reapproach the circumstance in a calmer, healthier way.

Author Bio: Hez is a nomad based out of Pittsburgh whose pet- and house-sitting business allows her to travel the country. She does freelance work with several organizations in addition to writing poetry, ction, and creative non ction. Learn more at

The Co-operator | April/ May 2023 5

Staff picks: outdoor edition

“My favorite outdoor spot is Borland Garden. It is smaller than a city block, with row houses all around. There is no gate. Everyone is welcome, dawn to dusk. You can sit under the fruit trees, or play on the lawn. There is space to grow your own vegetables and shared beds to tend. Sometimes it is busy with gardeners. But often it is just me and the birds and bugs, owers and fruit.”

“I love taking my kids on a walk through the Seldom Seen Greenway, located on route 51 west of the Liberty Tunnel. It is a semi-hidden trail that you might miss if you’re not looking for it. You begin the trail walking through a gra ti tagged tunnel that has hooks for climbing enthusiasts to scale the walls.

Frick Park to be an amazing place to get lost in. One of my favorite spots is a Bench that has a scenic view. I can’t tell you how to get there, but take a few lefts and keep going up, up, up.”

The best feature is the creek that runs alongside it, complete with an ominous whirlpool!

I consider it a kid friendly trail that is accessible and not too strenuous. There are drop o s, so children will need guidance and supervision.

-Debi (Marketing)

Seldom Seen Greenway

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How to play :

• To enter the ra e: Photos of the listed items can be sent to the East End Food Co-op Instagram @eastendfoodcoop in a direct message, tagged posted photo or tagged in your stories. We will also accept an email with attached photos to

Springtime Photo Scavenger Hunt!

• Each tagged or sent photo will count as 1 entry to our ra e, up to 10 entries will be counted. Ra e will be drawn on April 30, 2023 and posted on instagram and sent a direct message.

• Suggested equipment: Raincoats/jacket, long sleeves, high socks, long pants, bug spray, correct footwear, water bottle, ash light, and a simple rst aid kit.

Pay attention to the preservation of the forest.

Please do:

• Pay Attention to posted signs, notices and trail conditions

• Appreciate nature in a non-disruptive way

Please do not:

• Take plants or animals from the ecosystem

• Leave food waste, wrappers

• Eat anything on this list

Suggested Parks:

Schenley park- 3827, 101 Panther Hollow Rd, Pittsburgh, PA

White Oak Park -3 muse lane, White oak, PA 15131

Frick Park- 1981 Beechwood Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Boyce Park -675 Old Frankstown Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15239

The Co-operator | April/ May 2023 7

white tail deer salamander

moss violets
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pill bug ramps dogwood chipmunk fiddle head fern turkey tail mushroom The Co-operator | April/ May 2023 9
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Utilize a Flat southern facing surface; half sun half shade is preferable, close to a source of pollen or nectar. Be wary of too much wetness or strong winds.

Gather materials. bugs are attracted to items natural material already outside, like dried flowers, old wood, woodchips, hollow stems, bark, leaves, sticks, bricks etc. Also natural untreated items, like burlap, paper rolls, twine, wooden toys, and chicken wire.

Starting with the largest pieces - bricks, large rocks, pallet pieces - Build a base to stabilize your hotel, and stack the following:

step 1: step 2: step 3: step 4:

Utilizing all the small natural items you have collected, put them in whatever placement you think a bug would like. Think as though you were a bug about to move in to this hotel. what would you like?

The Co-operator | April/ May 2023 11

Spring cleaning, creatively

Spring is the perfect time to try your hand at upcycling! Many enjoy the annual custom of spring cleaning. How about taking it one step further and challenging yourself to make new stu out of your old stu ? Reuse is a wonderful way to explore your creativity while honoring the objects in your life that, for whatever

If you're left with an item that just can't be given away, donated, composted, recycled, repaired, or re-gifted, you might nd yourself in an existential-stu -crisis. Don't worry — we've all been there, and there is a handy solution — REUSE! With a bit of daydreaming, researching, and experimenting, any object can be transformed into something entirely di erent than its original form.

Sometimes people refer to reuse projects as "upcycling." Upcycling is when an object is re-made into something that's even more valuable than it was previously. Remember, as with all things, value isn't just about money; value can also be about beauty, joy, appreciation, and whimsy! The two projects featured here are great examples of upcycling — one transforms old silverware into windchimes, and the second transforms old dolls into planters!

Hot tip: You don't have to be someone who identi es as an artist, crafter, or even creative to try your hand at reuse. Reuse is for everyone of every age, ability, and experience.

Did you know that there's an organization in Pittsburgh that promotes exactly what we're talking about here? And it's just a block away from the East End Food Co-op? Allow us to introduce ourselves: We are the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, a non-pro t that inspires creativity, conservation, and community engagement through reuse. We see reuse as a vehicle for boosting self-con dence, learning new skills, and creating opportunity for all.

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We operate a non-pro t creative reuse center where people can explore sustainability and creativity in several ways:

At our non-traditional art supply shop, community members donate and shop for a ordable, secondhand creative supplies in a welcoming, inspiring environment.

Our gallery hosts local artists who incorporate reused materials into their work and engage community members with their creative process. Our wonderful volunteers help process, sort, and organize incoming donations.

All around the Pittsburgh region, we facilitate hands-on, creative programming that educates the public about the bene ts of reuse for the environment, community, and self.

Creative Reuse receives over 55 tons of donated art and craft supplies each year from over 6,000 individual donors and 100 business donors. More than 25,000 individuals visit the center and gallery annually. Through our educational programming and workshops, over 11,000 community members explore creativity and sustainability each year.

You can learn more about our shop, programs, gallery, and volunteer opportunities by following us on social media or visiting our website at Our center is located at 214 N. Lexington St., Pittsburgh, PA 15218. We are just one block from the East End Food Co-op at the intersection of Lexington and Thomas. We are located around the corner and down the sidewalk from Construction Junction's parking lot. Visit us seven days a week from 11 AM - 5 PM — all are welcome!

The Co-operator | April/ May 2023 13

gas vs. electric stoves: It's about the ventilation

I won’t wade into the debate about whether gas or electric is better for the environment. Instead, this article focuses on the impact of both on the indoor air quality of your home.

Burning unvented natural gas in your home is detrimental to both occupants and the structure of your house; the byproducts of combustion produce both toxic fumes and moisture in return for the heat provided. That is the case for all of your gas appliances, including furnaces, boilers, and hot water heaters. Those gas appliances do not generally pose an indoor air quality hazard because they are vented to the home’s exterior.

If you continue to use gas stoves and ovens, you need to properly vent them to exhaust the combustion byproducts to the exterior using some type of exhaust system.

Simple, right? Not really. Most kitchen exhaust systems are either non-existent or do not adequately mitigate the byproducts of combustion.

We have undervalued our kitchen and bathroom exhaust systems since the beginning of the energy crisis in the 1970s. Home exhaust systems, however, have dramatically improved. A parallel can be drawn with low- ow toilets. Low- ow toilets have improved signi cantly — going from 3 gal/ ush to .8 gal/ ush without any reduction in performance. Similarly, early exhaust fans were noisy and ine ective, but today’s options are signi cantly better.

Many exhaust fans still only recirculate the air without exhausting it to the outside. That is why it’s crucial to identify e ective exhaust systems for your home.

Exhaust systems for electric-only stoves and ovens need to address the odors and/or moisture created during cooking, so they do not need to be as robust as exhaust systems for gas appliances.

Unlike bathroom exhaust fans that can be automated to be deployed when needed, no such technology is in widespread use for kitchen exhaust systems. Therefore, until automatic ventilation systems for kitchens become ubiquitous, we need to identify, install, and use e ective exhaust systems to improve the indoor air quality of our homes.

AJ Stones is an EEFC Community Partner and o ers Co-op Member-owners 10% o consultations.

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April 5

co-op events

april & may 2023


Wellness Wednesday: 10 % sales in supplements/Health & Beauty

House plants 101: Repotting Class 6-7:30 pm in the conference room


17 th - 23 rd

Bulk Sale: 20% discount in the bulk Foods dept.

April 22

forest bathing in frick park w/ cloud gate pittsburgh 10-11:30 am


13 th 14 th &

Open donations for clothing swap 4-6:30 pm in the conference room

April 15th

Clothing swap 10 am-2 pm in the conference room

24 30

April - th th

Member drive

May 13 th

May 12 th 2-6 pm

Mother’s Day Floral bouquets in-store demo

Simple watercolor Mother’s Day cards 10 am-12 pm in the conference room

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The Co-operator
7516 meade st. pittsburgh, pa, 15208 412-242-3598 eastendcoop eastendfoodcoop

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