Autumn 2020 Coop Scoop from Honest Weight Food Co-op

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ISSUE #435



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and discussed at length were all of the members of our community who were considered “high-risk” or “compromised,” who couldn’t leave their houses or expose those they lived with to potential harm, as well as those who didn’t have someone to shop for them.

the pandemic has reminded me of the importance of local food sourcing, and of creating opportunities for deep human connection, as well as the ripple effects on our mental health during times of extreme stress That’s when our curbside program was created. It wasn’t an overly str uct ured t hing and ever y participating staff member had a slightly different way of completing each order, but it was an opportunity to highlight just how flexible we could

People who were able took the recommended precautions and came to the store to get the food supplies they needed to tide them over. What we as staff worried about


You don't have to Be a member to shop!


























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100 Watervliet Avenue, Albany, NY 12206 (518) 482-2667 [COOP]


Food is important beyond just nourishing the physical body—it creates opportunities for us to share, teach, build relationships, create lifelong memories, connect with one another. These connections give us a framework that helps us build resilience during times of crisis. It’s in our very language—we use the phrase “to break bread” with people as a way to describe being in communion with others. Although there are many aspects of our food co-op, when it comes down to the very basics, we are all about access to good, quality food and building community.



Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people. —Roy T. Bennett


Deanna Beyer, HWFC's Education Coordinator and, now, Curbside Shopper

Which brings us to what happens when a world-wide pandemic strikes and people are ordered to shelter in place, restaurants and offices are closed, and basic food becomes scarce. Almost overnight, the shelves of Honest Weight were stripped of shelf-stable essentials like beans, soups, pasta, and rice, along with every immune-boosting tea and supplement imaginable. Baking supplies flew from the shelves and our bulk bins; huge amounts of meat and chicken disappeared from the cooler cases; and, like everyone else, we had no toilet paper. None. Not. A. Single. Roll. For those of us working in the store, it was like the week before Thanksgiving (our historically busiest time of the year) times a hundred. We were scrambling to keep up with the demand and exhausted from the effort.


Letter from An editor


8am TO 10pm EVERY DAY

Honest Weight Food Co-op is a memberowned and -operated consumer cooperative that is committed to providing the community with affordable, high quality natural foods and products for healthy living. Our mission is to promote more equitable, participatory, and

Ecologically sustainable ways of living. Honest weight is open to the public, seven days a week. The Coop Scoop is produced bimonthly by our Education Department and offered free of charge as part of our mission. To view online, Please visit



Heather Bonikowski, our Content Editor, is a lexicographer for

and a foreign language instructor. She relocated from Austin in 2017, after triple-checking that there was a co-op here for her to join. Holley Davis, our Layout Designer, lives in Troy and works in communications. When she’s not at the Troy Farmers Market or trying new recipes, you can find her running a half marathon in every state. Rebecca Angel Maxwell, our Managing Editor, has been a part of Honest Weight for eighteen years, member-working in various capacities. When not at the co-op, Rebecca is a teacher, musician, and writer. If you see a curly-haired woman stocking produce, say hello! Carol Reid, our Assistant Editor, is a retired cataloger at the New York State Library, where she worked for over 35 years. She wrote a 10-year blog called “Typo of the Day for Librarians” and has been a Co-op member since the 1980s.

• contests and giveaways • Sales flyers • exclusive promotions • special event notices


Mecca Andrades, Deanna Beyer, Amy Ellis, Blaise Farina, Ben Goldberg, Sarah Goldberg, Georgia Julius, Mia LaVada, Rebecca Angel Maxwell, Alex Mytelka, Hilary Papineau, Melanie Pores, Pat Sahr, Francesca Thornton, and Janel Topal.

Additional Visuals:

Mathew Bradley is Honest Weight's Lead Graphic Designer.


ADVERTISE WITH US! Contact: Kim Morton (518) 330-3262 Printed with soy ink on recycled paper in Albany, NY

Interested in Contributing TO THE COOP SCOOP? Contact: ISSN 2473-6155 (print) ISSN 2473-6163 (online) The Coop Scoop is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider. We are not responsible for errors or omissions. Honest Weight is not responsible for, and does not necessarily agree with, our guest writers' articles. Cover photo by Charlotte Noelle on Unsplash

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Deanna Beyer

Sarah Goldberg Ben Goldberg



Mia LaVada, Melanie Pores, & Georgia Julius



Janet Topal















Blaise Farina

Alex Mytelka Pat Sahr

Hilary Papineau

Rebecca Angel Maxwell Ben Goldberg

Francesca Thornton



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Mecca Andrades






Melanie Pores Melanie Pores


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Letter from an editor - p. 2

Thank you cards from an Honest weight shopper be during a national crisis, all the while fulfilling our mission of serving the community and helping to build personal resilience. It’s been hectic since late March, as we’ve been slammed with orders, with each of us filling between eight and ten each day. But if you dive just a little deeper, you can see some of the magic that has happened just below the surface in the form of

Many customers have expressed their gratitude to me for shopping for them, without even realizing how much they’ve helped me get through the stress of this situation. The gratitude is overwhelmingly reciprocal. human connection. Getting to know people v is-àvis their shopping lists is a very intimate experience. It’s a direct view into personal daily rituals, dietary restrictions, how people comfort themselves, what is ethically important to them about their food and where it comes from, what brings them joy, and how flexible they can be (or not!) in a time of crisis and scarcity when they are relying on someone else to procure nourishment for them and their families. It has brought out the vulnerability of this extra-ordinary situation in many of us. It has been a privilege to be a part of so many different people’s lives as they’ve been isolated and trying to stay safe. 6

It has also given me a renewed sense of the importance of local food sourcing, and of creating opportunities for deep human connection, as well as the ripple effects on our mental health during times of extreme stress. Phone calls and introductions have turned into highly anticipated weekly check-ins during a time of deep isolation with little human contact for many. Shopping lists have turned into treasure hunts for both shopper and customer (this was especially true early on when there were major disruptions in the supply chain). And friendships have developed between people who might never have had the opportunity to meet. There’s a great quote from Albert Schweitzer: "Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.” That has happened for me so many times since early March. Being at the store day in and day out through this whole thing has been physically and emotionally exhausting for our staff. Some days just seeing someone’s smiling eyes above their mask, hearing the cadence of a familiar voice, or receiving a shopping list beginning with “Dear Angel Deanna” was enough to buoy me. One sweet family of six (one of whom is fighting cancer) even applauded for me as I loaded groceries into the back of their minivan (through tears). Every Wednesday one very dear customer has given me a card printed with her own artwork. They are lined up on my bookshelf and make me smile every time I look at them. Many customers have expressed their gratitude to me for shopping for them, without even realizing how much they’ve helped me get through the stress of this situation. The gratitude is overwhelmingly reciprocal. My parents live in Buffalo, NY, and as they are both considered immunocompromised and high-risk, they have been in isolation since early March and we haven’t seen each other since Christmas. They have been very concerned about my health and well-being as I’ve continued to work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.” -Albert Schweitzer They have also been feeling (like so many) overwhelmed and depressed— watching a lot of TV and doing a great deal of sleeping. I check in on them every other day or so and let them know I’m alright. Mostly, I talk with my dad and tell him stories from what he calls “the front lines.” After telling me about the frequency of his naps, he will perk up and cheerfully ask, "So, what have you got for me today?” More often than not, there has been a story to share. Last week I told him how one of my regulars, "Grandpa Pete,” had placed his usual order, which included over ten pounds of artisanal flour. A few weeks earlier, I had inquired what he was doing with so much flour and was told that he bakes bread daily to share with his family, including his adult children, their spouses, and his grandkids from Brooklyn, who are all living with him and his wife during this crisis. When Pete came to pick up his order he handed me a freshly baked loaf of bread that had come right from the oven and thanked me for shopping for them. Holding the warm bread over my heart, I could hardly contain the tears that rolled down my cheeks. Even though we wouldn’t share it at the same table, Grandpa Pete, his

A loaf of Grandpa Pete's Homemade bread COOP SCOOP

Praise for the curbside grocery program We are ever so grateful to Honest Weight Food Coop for helping us during this challenging time. When this pandemic began, being a 'high risk' household, we were at a loss as to how we would do our grocery shopping. All of our options left us with limited choices. After speaking with Katie at the front desk, she arranged for Yevette to do our shopping for us. Every week since we have been able to order our groceries via an email, pay by phone, and meet up with Yevette in the parking lot to get our food. Making this not only safer and easier for us, we also looked forward to being greeted by Yevette who was always warm and friendly. family, and I would break his bread together. We were connected and that was incredibly touching to me. (And can I just tell you that it was the most divine tasting bread?!) My dad got rather choked up as we talked about the smell of freshly baked bread. He remembered a time when he was young and his father gave him a nickel to walk to the bakery and buy fresh bread for the Sunday meal at his grandmother’s house. He told me about how he could smell the bakery from a few blocks away. How the smell enveloped him when he entered the store. How heavy and warm the bread was in his arms on the way home. How his

Human connection helps us build resiliency and reminds us of our shared experience in times of crisis. AUTUMN 2020

stomach started rumbling. How he just couldn’t help himself and ripped off a little bit, and then just a little more. Apparently, after several weeks of little Patrick coming home with an almost empty bag after having eaten most of the bread on his walk home and his mother being pretty upset, his father wisely (and on the down-low) began giving him TWO nickels so that there would be a loaf for Sunday dinner. My grandfather died when my father was very young, and most of his memories after that tragedy are very painful for him. This may sound dramatic, but I could actually feel him smile through the phone when he shared this story with me and I know that it warmed his heart and lifted his spirits. I told Grandpa Pete that story when he arrived with yet another beautiful loaf of bread this week. It was a deeply connecting experience between us, even though two of the people involved will most likely never meet. Food is essential for survival. It can be intricately interwoven with our emotions and is a huge part of our daily rituals and routines. Human connection helps us build resiliency and reminds us of our shared experience in times of crisis. These things help us weather the storms of life. For myself, on some of the longest, hardest, loneliest days, these connections and conversations were not just a silver lining, but indeed a lifeline of humanity and interconnectedness. A reminder of the collective human experience at a time when the whole world was turned upside down. From all of us here at Honest Weight, we are proud to have been “essential” to you and your families throughout this crisis and are looking forward to breaking bread in community with you again soon. Deanna Beyer is the Education Coordinator at Honest Weight and has worked in and around health and wellness for over 20 years. A long-time teacher and practitioner of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, she focuses on helping to make these practices accessible to all kinds of people in all kinds of situations— practicing the yoga of life. She can be reached at


by Sarah Goldberg

An object that stays in motion on inclines and still keeps pushing on. Toppled stone statues Justice, peace, equality— we shall overcome. Strength comes from your voice, your lungs, your heart, and only sometimes, muscled hands. Stonewall still repeats. Tired throats can still make noise. It starts with just one. No justice, no peace. Time repeats but history still seems to forget. Time is not a line. You are living, have lived, and we all keep moving. The sun and moon don’t need anyone’s approval and neither do I. You are energy. Not your mother (or father). You sing for all souls. Sarah Goldberg is a young adult living in the

Capital Region. She enjoys singing in the car, intellectual debates with friends, and a really good milkshake. Sarah graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in Creative Writing in 2015 and has since moved back home to work with the public and learn marketing. 7

Optimism: Radical Audacity by Ben Goldberg

“Optimism is the rebellious audacity to refuse the status quo and strive for a better future." —Matt Davies, cartoonist The research is abundantly clear: optimism is good for us and for those around us—partners, spouses, kids, and coworkers. There are many demonstrated benefits, but this one, offered by the Dalai Lama XIV, unapologetically tops my list: “Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”

Just getting out of bed each morning is a leap of faith. The world can be a cruel and heartless place, but most of us get out of bed each morning and venture out. Frosts, droughts, floods, diseases, and bugs all come, but we plant our gardens anyway and rejoice each spring when living plants break through the barely warm topsoil. In short, and for better rather than worse, most of us can embrace the positives, the potential, and the possibilities in life. And that seems to be the essence of optimism: choosing to see the potential and possibilities, choosing to stay engaged and not give up-despite life’s many challenges. Those choices feed our ability

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”" -Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, political activist 8

"People who wonder whether the glass is half empty or half full miss the point. The glass is refillable." -Unknown to see opportunity, creativity, persistence, and resilience. We don’t give up easily.

Rational, realistic, rebelliously audacious optimism works! Here are some of the demonstrated benefits of optimism: ● Better physical and psycho-emotional health, including possible protective factos against heart problems, cancer, and dementia; higher selfesteem, satisfaction, and well-being ● Better relationships at home and work ● Empowerment (optimism is empowering; pessimism is disempowering) ● Actual changes in some of the ways we think and how our brains work ● Motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle ● Longevity and faster recovery from even serious and/or chronic illness ● Stress and mood management and enhanced resilience and proactivity ● Better sleep ● Improved likelihood that we can reach personal and professional goals COOP SCOOP

“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be.” -George Carlin, comedian Optimism is a beneficial tool and a psychosocial/ public health resource for people of all ages. Optimism can be learned and intentionally practiced. Some ways to gradually become more optimistic: ● Actively look for possibilities for growth.

“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn how to surf.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness scientist/teacher This may be a particularly challenging time to learn to be more optimistic, or it may be a particularly opportune time. You can choose which. Ben Goldberg is an Albany resident, dog walker, and gardener—not necessarily in that order.

● Practice being grateful, hopeful, and compassionate. ● Take a few minutes each day to record positive things you have experienced or learned about. ● Meditate or practice yoga on a regular basis, or walk the spiritual path of your choice (e.g., major league baseball; dancing; prayer; quilting; fishing; cooking…Get it?) ● Seek counseling or cognitive-behavioral therapy if you feel stuck in negativity.

“Optimists are right. So are pessimists. It’s up to you to choose which you will be.” -Harvey Mackay, businessman, author

invest in your community. earn interest.

● Give up catastrophizing (assuming the worst or expecting the worst). ● Prac t ice posit ive self-ta l k. To prov ide psychological distance use your own first name and second person pronoun (“you” instead of “I”). ● Be kind to yourself. ● Associate with positive people. Try to avoid toxic associates. ● Give up perfectionism, and instead set realistic, achievable goals.

optimism: choosing to see the potential and possibilities AUTUMN 2020

Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region 255 Orange Street, Albany 920 Albany Street, Schenectady (518) 436-8586


D.I.Y. Household Recipes by Mia LaVada, Melanie Pores, Georgia Julius

Staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic upended most of our normal routines. We cooked more, we organized more, and we created more. We became more resourceful when grocery store shelves were empty and budgets became tight. DIY projects seemed to be everywhere.

The following recipes can be simple, cost-effective, and eco-friendly approaches to managing your home. Start with simple steps like using white vinegar instead of store-bought cleaning products to clean your kitchen and bathroom. Scrub your pots and pans with coarse sea salt and a lemon cut crosswise for a fresh scent. Once you’ve got these basics down, try out some of our DIY household recipes below.

Melanie’s Favorite Homemade Body Butter Cream by Melanie Pores

This recipe is for homemade body butter that is easy to make, smells really good, and makes your skin feel nice and smooth. I've enjoyed making and using it for years, both for myself and as a gift for friends and family, and I'd love to share the recipe with you!

What You Need: ● ½ cup Cocoa Butter ● ½ cup Mango Butter ● ½ cup Coconut Oil ● ½ cup Avocado Oil ● 30 drops of your favorite blend of essential oils* 10

The Steps: ● In a double boiler or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except the essential oils.* ● Bring to medium heat and stir constantly until all ingredients are melted. ● Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add essential oils if using. ● Move to the fridge and let cool another hour or until the butters are starting to harden but are still somewhat soft. ● Use a hand mixer to whip for 10 minutes until fluffy. ● Return to the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set. ● Store in a glass jar with a lid and use as you would regular lotion or body butter. If your home stays above 75 degrees, it may soften and need to be kept in the fridge, but it will stay whipped at a temperature lower than that. *You can also melt the butters and oils (excluding the essential oils) in a microwave, stopping and stirring frequently, to ensure the butters melt completely. In relation to the essential oils, I’ve used lavender in the recipe, and rubbed the body butter on before bedtime for a sense of calm. A yummy combination of orange and vanilla essential oils smells like a creamsicle. The possibilities are endless, so be creative!

D.I.Y. Laundry SOAP by Georgia Julius

Super cheap and easy all-natural liquid laundry detergent that costs pennies per load! I make five COOP SCOOP

gallons at a time and don't have to worry about it for a few months. I mix it up in a bucket and then use a funnel to fill up more manageable gallon-sized containers. If you use a natural bar of soap, you'll get a gentle detergent with no harmful chemicals or artificial fragrances. I like Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap, which is available in many scents (rose, lavender, peppermint) from organic essential oils.

What you need:* ● Washing soda (Arm & Hammer is the most common. Note that this is sodium carbonate, not to be confused with baking soda, which is sodium bicarbonate) ● Borax (sodium borate, most commonly seen as 20 Mule Team Borax) ● A bar of natural or laundry soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap) ● 5-gallon bucket with lid (available at hardware stores for about $3 or you can ask for them at restaurants or bakeries for free) ● Empty, clean gallon jugs or old detergent containers and a funnel

Start with simple steps like using white vinegar instead of store-bought cleaning products to clean your kitchen and bathroom. The steps: ● Heat up ½ gallon of water to a simmer. ● Grate the bar of soap and stir into the water until it dissolves. ● Fill your bucket almost full with very hot water, leav ing enough space to add the soap mixture. Stir in 2 cups each of borax and washing soda until dissolved. ● Pour the soap mixture into the bucket and stir well. Leave to set overnight. ● Stir until smooth. If it has formed a gelatinous mass, you may choose to blend it—I have found that an immersion blender or whisk is the easiest way to do this. ● I use a funnel to fill up gallon-sized containers, which I find are more manageable. AUTUMN 2020

D.I.Y. Overnight Oven Cleaning Scrub by Mia LaVada

● Use ½ to 1 cup per laundry load and enjoy! *A note on where to find the ingredients: Borax and washing soda are available in the laundry section of many stores. HWFC carries a large assortment of Dr. Bronner’s!

What You Need: ● 1 Tbsp liquid washing soap ● 1½ cup baking soda ● ¼ cup distilled white vinegar ● Enough water to make the cleaner into a paste

The Steps: ● Remove the oven racks. Rinse with hot water, then let soak in the sink in soapy hot water. ● Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl, adding a little water at a time until the cleaner is a spreadable paste. ● Spread the paste on the inside of the oven either with gloves on or with a paintbrush. ● Let the paste sit for 6-8 hours or overnight. ● Fill a large bowl with warm water. Use a sponge to scrub and wipe away the paste. Dip the sponge in the water bowl to rinse off. Change out the water as necessary. ● Wipe with a dry cloth once all the paste has been scrubbed off, and put the oven racks back in the oven. Mia LaVada is a newer member of Honest Weight. She prides

herself on exploring culture through food and frequently refers to the Co-op as her “happy place.” She can be caught perusing the Baked Goods Dept. looking for inspiration for her next baking project. Find her latest bakes on Instagram: @passionforsugar.

Melanie Pores is presently retired after having served a 30+ year

career as a bilingual educator, teacher-trainer, resource specialist, school board member, adjunct professor, educational researcher, and policy analyst. She has facilitated the Co-op’s Spanish Conversation Group for the past 5 years. She has presently switched to facilitating the group as a Zoom Group on Friday.

Georgia Julius is the Marketing & Digital Coordinator at Honest Weight Food Co-op.


Pandemic Journal from an Honest Weight Employee by Janet Topal

It is mid-March and the realization that COVID-19 is here to stay has set in. Monday, 3/16: This is the first day of the new store hours starting at 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. to accommodate seniors and immunocompromised shoppers. My co-workers and I arrive at the store at 5:30 a.m., somewhat apprehensive because we are not sure how popular this will be. 6:00 a.m.: Store opens with customers waiting outside. The store is busier than expected. Many of the customers are grateful for the early morning hours. People are filling up carts. There is a lot of panic buying. I spend most of the day bagging groceries and helping customers get out of the store as quickly as possible. NOTE: We are now required to wear masks and gloves. Meanwhile: A customer comes in and says this is the first time she has been out of the house in a while. She tells us she had stage-four cancer and even though her family is helping her, she wants to shop for herself. The early hours made her feel comfortable enough to come in.

“Apparently, people like their chips and salsa during a pandemic because I have had to fill the chip aisle three times this week.” 12

Janet masked up and ready to start her day! 3/23–3/27: I spend the rest of the week bagging groceries and stocking shelves. Delivery trucks are sporadic. Shelves are about 50% full. People are in total panic-buying mode. Every day this week is like pre-holiday shopping. The store has the highest sales record ever. I go home exhausted. NOTE: People are patient, waiting in long lines and are filling multiple shopping carts. Some customers say the extra food was for children suddenly home from school. Saturday, 3/28: I get to the store at 7:30 a.m. to help unload two trucks. The store is busy when it opens COOP SCOOP

“The store opens every day with fun and inspirational tunes such as...Proud Mary and the theme song from Rocky.” at 8:00 am. I stock the baking aisle for four hours. Customers are taking baking soda and flour from me as I am opening boxes. Monday, 3/30: I arrive at 6:30 a.m. to help bag groceries and stock shelves. The customers come but the delivery truck does not. The truck has broken down and doesn’t come in until noon. My coworkers from administration and I have to stock shelves because the morning crew had left. NOTE: Apparently, people like their chips and salsa during a pandemic, because I have had to fill the chip aisle three times this week. Meanwhile: While out on the f loor, I have one customer walk away disappointed because we do not have veggie sticks. I convince him to buy veggie chips instead, same thing, different shape. I figure, life must be wonderful for this man, if he only has to settle for veggie chips instead of veggie sticks. Meanwhile: I overhear a young couple making light conversation in the tofu aisle as if they were on a first date. Interesting place to connect. 4/1–4/3: I try wearing the N95 mask my mother sent me. I wear it for 10 minutes and have to take it off. I seriously do not know how people can work with these things on all day. I have a renewed appreciation for healthcare workers. I spend the rest of the day wearing a cloth mask that the store has provided. It is flimsy, but at least I can breathe. Meanwhile: I notice a mom with two teenagers in the aisles. The mom is shopping, and the kids are busy on their phones. No one is wearing masks. Really?

NOTE: On the upside, I have noticed many more people wearing masks. The rest of the month of April and into May the store has made some changes: There is now a limit of 50 customers in the store. It’s strange to hear daily announcements like, “Gooood morning, Co-op shoppers, thank you for shopping with us today, we are currently at our store limit, so please wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose, follow the arrows on the floor, and shop with intention. Thank you for making the Co-op a safe place to shop!” The store opens every day with fun and inspirational tunes such as Ike and Tina Turner’s version of Proud Mary and the theme song from Rocky.

"Curbside ordering is now provided. Customers enjoy this service, especially the ones that order over $800 worth of food." Daily lunch and dinner are provided for staff. Curbside ordering is now provided. Customers enjoy this service, especially the ones that order over $800 worth of food. The café has been turned into an in-store plants department. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine I would be risking my health going to work, in a marketing department, for a local food co-op. So why do I continue to venture into a place of risk? It is my small way of helping out the community and the small business I work for. I want to do my part to make sure my small, socially conscious, “People and Planet before Profit” food co-op stays in business. Peace.

“I overhear a young couple making light conversation in the tofu aisle as if they were on a first date. Interesting place to connect.” AUTUMN 2020

Janet Topal is a Member and one of many Owners of Honest

Weight Food Co-op. She works in the Marketing Department as the Merchandising and Promotions Associate. She designs and produces sales flyers and signs for in-store promotions, works with department managers to develop promotions, and supports them with food sampling and raffles. Not a bad gig. 13

Reclaiming Our Ancient, Daily Bread by Blaise Farina

One sunny afternoon late last summer, well before the COVID-19 pandemic, and just north of New York State’s Helderberg Escarpment, I was amusing myself in Greg Giorgio’s backyard, gazing alternately at a red-tailed hawk circling overhead and at Giorgio laying the final tiers of fireproof brick for his masonry oven. The oven, probably standing six feet tall and thirty feet behind the house, manifests creative physical labor and concretizes a passion to produce wood-fired sourdough bread. Having plastered the last red brick into position, the long-haired Giorgio walked toward me, trowel in hand, and asked, “Any questions?” So I replied, “When do we eat woodfired sourdough?” His rejoinder: “Construction is part of it, so more work still needs to be done.”

More work? Giorgio invited me back several weeks later, so that I could observe him conduct the fifth of six curing fires, all designed to progressively dry the bricks' residual moisture. Giorgio had been constructing and kindling these fires so that each would be slightly bigger and hotter than the one before, until the oven’s internal ceiling morphed from black to white, one sign of curing success. When I arrived, I found him poking the split logs on which the flames of a roaring fire crackled as they licked the dome’s inner roof. Let me not over-romanticize Giorgio’s backyard bread project; he relied readily on an infrared thermometer

“When do we eat wood-fired sourdough?” His rejoinder: “Construction is part of it, so more work still needs to be done.” 14

gun to measure the chamber's temperature and bring it to 450 degrees, perfect for bread. Giorgio is not a certified bread baker, let alone a Lionel Poilâne clone. Perhaps what distinguishes him from most culinarians is not his passion to engage in creative, meticulous work, but rather his propensity to resist the pernicious practices of the prevailing food regime’s mass-produced, commodified bread. Throughout this fifth curing fire, Giorgio, who had stumbled onto progressive food politics in the 1980s while leafleting for workers' rights at a Utah Phillips concert, was not shy about voicing his view on the mass production of bread. He stressed that the shelves of convenience stores and supermarkets throughout Europe and North America are stocked with multifarious brands of bread that radiate technological progress and capitalist triumph as well as illusions of exhaustive consumer choice. By the late 20th century, such loaves concealed their linkages to, and dependence upon, far-reaching geographies of social labor, monopolized socioecological processes of bread production, and economic exchange executed under exploitative conditions in culturally diverse places across the planet.1 "People should challenge the processes that bring bread to their tables," he told me as we gazed 1 For one glimpse at the bread monopoly in North America, please see: Howard, Phillip H. "Decoding Diversity in the Food System: Wheat and Bread in North America." Agriculture and Human Values, 33, no. 4 (2016): 953-960. As for socio-ecological exploitation, please consider: Liam Goucher, et al, "The environmental impact of fertilizer embodied in a wheat-to-bread supply chain." Nature Plants, 3 (3), no. 17012 (March 2017): 1-5. nplants201712 COOP SCOOP

at the blaze in the chamber, "just as much as they should question the ingredients in their bread."

And so I comprehended how much work remains. Given Giorgio's view, I suspect we need an alternative food paradigm that re-imagines our planet as a global commons whose resources are cultivated and shared by people empowered by democratic governance. I suppose Giorgio imagines something like an ethics of global usufruct, the civil right for folks to use property vested in another and benefit from it as long as it is not altered and impaired. Unquestionably, his backyard bread project is an important political act. And yet, he cannot go it alone, nor can anyone else, nor can political actors sally forth successfully as if the only socio-ecological space that matters is the one they happen to be in. Reimagining and remaking bread production and distribution, as Giorgio notes, calls for folks to “challenge and transcend the dominant production forms imposed by predatory capital accumulation,” the sort of challenge illustrated by “Food First's work to teach people to gain more control of their food supply and [thereby] gain food justice.”2

What happened to our discussion of Giorgio’s wood-fired sourdough, you ask?

"People should challenge the processes that bring bread to their tables," he told me as we gazed at the blaze in the chamber, "just as much as they should question the ingredients in their bread." sourdoughs. As it happened, I drove to Giorgio's house in order to pick up a fresh loaf of sourdough packed in a large brown bag placed on his truck’s tailgate. Our exchange required me to provide distanced feedback. So hours later, when I phoned him from home, I was eating a thick slice of this crusty, golden-brown bâtard, whose interior was pockmarked with air bubbles yet dense and chewy. I told him this bread is salty-tangy but distinctively tasty, and asked: "What's the secret? Is it the importance of your brick oven and relevant baking tools?" "Well, not entirely." "Is it the importance of monitoring temperatures throughout the long fermentation and dough development processes? Or the dozens of hours you put into it, and without machinery?" "All that’s important. But healthful, tasty bread starts with great flour."

Giorgio and his partner K. had been planning a garden party that featured his fresh brick-oven sourdough before the pandemic arrived. The party promised to be similar to their previous homespun gatherings, which brimmed with conviviality. Never mind the details of these shared meals at a common table, except to underscore the fact that the provender was fresh, whole food punctuated by glasses of Côtes Du Rône, Jamille, and Bully Hill, and slices of Giorgio’s indoor-baked sourdough. But, as you know, pandemics, which haunt daily life, are divisive. As we were subsequently divided by selfquarantining and social distancing, the anticipated gathering organized around wood-fired sourdough was duly suspended.


The good news is that in early May 2020, I enjoyed an opportunity to sample one of his first wood-fired

"With advice from scientists and doctors about the coronavirus, I’ve been staying home, playing it by ear, baking sourdough baguettes for a few local people with disabilities and leaving them gratis on their

2 Details on Giorgio’s reference to Food First, formally known as the Institute for Food Development Policy, can be examined here: AUTUMN 2020

"Yeah, yeah—Ethiopian Teff flour is what I use. Sometimes I buy it in bulk at Honest Weight. Sometimes I buy bags of Bob’s Red Mill, which is the employee-owned, whole grain mill that gets its Teff from Nevada and uses slow grinding, quartz millstones to produce nutritionally rich flour."

Before long, I inquired about his breadmaking pursuit as a form of insurgent politics. "How will you promote alternative, healthful bread, such as sourdough, and raise consciousness about food justice, particularly amid the pandemic?"


Until folks begin to forget, the coronavirus will have reminded us powerfully of our global connectivity.


porches. I wanna teach multi-session courses using my new oven too…teach folks how to bake sourdough bâtards, baguettes, and even sourdough pizzas." "Zoom meetings?" "No remote classes. I prefer teaching how to make ancient bread as a collective, real-world activity, with face-to-face chats about worldwide food justice— with all the proceeds from course fees going to the Altamont Free Library." I shall spare you further witnessing of a scene transcribed at the cost of its sparkle, but a few thoughts remain. Until folks begin to forget, the coronavirus will have reminded us powerfully of our global connectivity.

Meantime, we should never forget how a vital staple like bread is a fabric of our historical human diet. As for Giorgio’s bread politics, consider the lefthanded tilt of his post-pandemic pursuit—a residual hankering, however sotto voce, to help encourage fresh social and spatial relations through which common people can reclaim an ancient, healthful bread like sourdough. Blaise Farina has enjoyed shopping at Honest Weight Food Co-op for over thirty years.

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Anti-Racism at Honest Weight by Alex Mytelka, Marketing Manager

The Co-op has taken on a number of new initiatives in the spirit of immediate action toward a just and equitable co-op and Capital Region community at large. What we’ve done in past years, and even in recent weeks, while a good start, is not nearly enough. We recognize this and we’re hard at work actively striving to do better, plotting a course forward. In the spirit of communication and transparency, here’s some of what we’ve been up to as we attempt to balance swift, immediate action with long-term, thoughtful, and lasting programs and initiatives.

ONGOING PROJECTS AND COMMITMENTS Most notably on the internal front, our newly formed Anti-Racism Committee held its first meeting on July 20th and has met bi-weekly since. Please look out for updates on the work of the committee (or even better, get involved directly!) We’re also putting a lot of energy into expanding our support of local organizations fighting racism and inequity. We encourage our Co-op community to join us in this effort. This is just the beginning.

The Free Food Fridge Albany project [is] a network of community fridges providing free food while helping fight food injustice. . We’re sponsoring Root3d’s Black Health Matters class on the first Friday of each month. Root3d is an amazing local organization that we’re very excited to be partnering with. We hope to work together on more projects in the future! We are the very first sponsor of The Free Food Fridge Albany project, a network of community fridges providing free food while helping fight food injustice. This is a super exciting and brand new initiative put together by Jammella Anderson. Please follow AUTUMN 2020

the project as it develops; you can find updates at @freefoodfridgealbany on Instagram. We’re actively dedicating space on all of the Co-op’s social media feeds to highlight and amplify local Black-led initiatives and Black-owned businesses. These highlights are most often posted in our Instagram and Facebook “Stories,” as that’s the most functional space to “repost” content from other creators and give them credit for their work. Our reposts on “stories” typically receive upwards of 1,000 views! If you aren’t sure how to access the “Stories” feature, it’s easy—just click on the Honest Weight logo on either Instagram or Facebook. All stories are posted to both platforms, and we share lots of things via this feature nearly every day.

SPONSORSHIPS AND DONATIONS We've made donations to Citizen Action, Soul Fire Farm’s “Fortifying Our Foundation” campaign, and a local Black Lives Matter vinyl decal project supporting Root3d and the Center for Law and Justice. Ongoing donations include weekly fresh produce contributions to the South End Children’s Café’s COVID summer meal program and $1,500 annually to the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region.

We welcome any ideas on how the Co-op can do more, and do better. Stay tuned for more action with greater depth in the very near future. Please feel free to get in touch with any feedback, thoughts, or ideas of organizations you think we should be working with. We welcome any ideas on how the Co-op can do more, and do better. Alex Mytelka is the Marketing Manager at Honest Weight Food Coop. Reach Alex at 17

Producer Profile by Pat Sahr

We truly value the small businesses and dedicated individuals who work hard to create the exceptional goods and products we carry here at Honest Weight Food Co-op. We think these inspirational stories demonstrate the importance of supporting local, and why we’re so committed to it!


Godly Intentions is an Albanybased business specializing in natural skin care products that contain no water, fillers, harsh fragrances, chemicals, or parabens. Used daily, these moisturizers soothe many major and minor skin conditions such as dry skin, dry hair and scalp, burns, diaper rash, eczema, psoriasis, stretch marks, skin discoloration, and scars. They are also helpful in relieving symptoms of arthritis, rheumatism, and muscle fatigue. Two of the brands offered by Godly Intentions are Shea4Real and Tree Gard. Many products on the market contain shea butter, but what is this amazing ingredient, and where does it originate? Shea butter is a fat that is extracted from the nuts of the shea tree, which is native to West Africa, where most shea butter still comes from. Shea butter, with its high concentration of vitamins 18

and fatty acids, has been used as a cosmetic ingredient for centuries. The partners who run Godly Intentions were inspired to create their own shea butter product because many similar cosmetic products are so adulterated that “shea butter appears maybe 9th or 10th on the list of ingredients.” Their mission is to provide a commodity that is transparently pure: hence the name Shea4Real.

Their mission is to provide a commodity that is pure: hence the name Shea4Real.”. At Honest Weight the Shea4Real brand can be found in the Bulk Department and in 4 oz. containers in Wellness. Soon a new product, Moringa Raw, will be on the shelf in the store. It will consist of pure, raw shea butter infused with the leaves

of the moringa plant. The leaves and oils of this “miracle tree” are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and are imported by Godly Intentions from an organic farm in India. Tree Gard is the other brand created by Godly Intentions and found at the Co-op. The products with this label are Healing Herbal Pomade Supreme, Divine Coconut Oil, and Sacred Shea Butter. All are infused with beneficial herbs, included to protect and heal all skin types. Please support this local business by purchasing its products at the Co-op, or find them online at Pat Sahr has been a member of the Co-op

since 2005. She contributes to the Coop Scoop as the writer of the Producer Profiles. Sahr says, “It’s a pleasure being part of the Honest Weight family, and I’ve especially enjoyed communicating with the various producers whose products are sold at the Co-op!” COOP SCOOP

A Retrospective of COVID-19 from Honest Weight’s Outreach and Education Coordinators by Hilary Papineau

shopper Testimonial!

honest weight delivers meals to essential workers at St. Peter's Hospital COVID-19 has reshaped daily life, forcing individuals and institutions to adapt to a new way of life, changing the way Honest Weight—and its shoppers, member-owners, employees, vendors, community partners, and others—engage with one another. The Co-op’s response to the pandemic, however, reflects a constant—the value Honest Weight places on fulfilling its mission: promoting a more equitable, participademonstratedtor y, and ecologically sustainable way of living—as by the proactive,

Shopper Testimonial! "Thank you. It's very important when we have to stay far apart that we make an extra effort to be kind and generous to each other. There's so much fear and division in the world." AUTUMN 2020

"It is hard to imagine a co-op, chain grocery store, or mom-and-pop operation materially affecting the well-being, quality of life, and sense of security that a family has, but Honest Weight has done just that. Deanna, and indeed the entire staff, have, week in and week out, demonstrated, with their curbside service, extraordinary professionalism, flexibility, compassion, and good humor. It has genuinely redefined our experience during these challenging times, knowing that we can rely on them for quality fresh food without exposing ourselves to undue risks. As a 69-year-old man with a history of pneumonia and other complications, it is difficult to overstate my appreciation for the service Honest Weight has provided me and those I care about. 'Thank you' feels so inadequate." passionate, and innovative leadership of the Co-op’s community outreach and education departments. While one may think that community outreach and education become dormant during a time of “social distancing,” the crisis has made this work increasingly relevant while also reshaping the departments’ operations.

The Co-op’s response to the pandemic reflects a constant - the value Honest Weight places on fulfilling its mission 19

shopper Testimonial! "I had wondered why people love CSA's and today I understood the pleasure of opening packages and finding surprises inside. It was a little like Christmas during the Coronavirus! Thanks for your fantastic help!"

Community Outreach & Education Efforts Fill Critical Needs While New York on PAUSE limited the Co-op’s community outreach efforts and education programming, Honest Weight continued to meet the needs of the broader community as well as to offer virtual education programming throughout — and in response to — the pandemic. Community outreach efforts shifted to meet growing demands for food donations across the region as well as delivering lunch to essential workers, while continuing to forge partnerships with allied organizations across the Capital District.

honest weight staff members delivering meals to essential workers!

Community outreach efforts shifted to meet growing demands for food donations across the region as well as delivering lunch to essential workers. The Co-op also altered its Environmental Tokens program in response to the pandemic, shifting from physical tokens to a touchless exchange, with funds split equally among designated organizations. A Community Outreach initiative, the program incentivizes shoppers to go green by offering either five cents off their bill or an Enviro Token to donate those five cents to a local organization in exchange for every reusable bag used. Over the summer, Honest Weight dedicated the program to local organizations working to fight racial injustice, including: Youth

shopper Testimonial! "You are amazingly conscientious. I'm trying to think of what I might do to express my/our appreciation for you and your colleagues." 20

Honest weight's Alex Mytelka, Marketing Manager, and Rick Mausert, COO, at The Food Pantries FX, the Center for Law and Justice, the Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration, the Social Justice Center, and AVillage. While in-person classes were paused as a result of COVID-19, the Co-op posted yoga, breathing, and meditation videos on its social media sites as well as live Instagram videos, such as “Inside the Coop Kitchen” (accompanied by delicious recipes and COOP SCOOP

shopper Testimonial! "We were so thankful that the Co-op started doing curbside pickup during the height of the pandemic. As regular shoppers there, and as a full-time caretaker of my mother who is in the high-risk category, we were really stressed about how we were going to be able to get so many of the foods and products that we rely on. I called on a whim to ask if they had by any chance started doing anything like curbside pickup, and I can't tell you how relieved we were when I was told that they had indeed just started taking preorders. We've had nothing but incredible experiences using this service, particularly thanks to Yevette who has been outstanding from day one, and has truly gone out of her way every time we've ordered. The whole process is incredibly easy, convenient, and has been a quite literal lifesaver. I'd like to give a huge thank you to everyone involved!" photos), and occasional videos of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Community outreach and education teams reshape roles in response to pandemic Honest Weight’s tireless outreach and education teams, led by Amy Ellis and Deanna Beyer, continued to meet the Co-op’s evolving needs in response to COVID-19, in partnership with Yvette Buddeau, Member Services Coordinator; Liza Molloy, Graphic Designer; and Emily Collins, Housewares Buyer. The team, affectionately dubbed “The Elite Squad,” launched Honest Weight’s first-ever personal shopping and curbside pick-up program as a way to help those in need—shoppers still wanting Co-op products but not able to physically shop at the Co-op during the pandemic. While plans were underway to utilize InstaCart, this practical but informal system answered a call to action—facilitating a process where staff members and member-owners shopped for others, thereby maintaining the accessibility of Honest Weight during COVID-19. In addition, Alex Mytelka, Marketing Director, Deanna Beyer, and Yvette Buddeau, along with the help of memberowners, initiated Honest Weight’s “Early Bird” program, preparing and opening the Co-op to elders AUTUMN 2020

and high-risk shoppers from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. three days a week. The Co-op community’s response to these services has been overwhelmingly positive, as the customers' testimonials convey.

Looking ahead While Honest Weight is hopeful about returning to in-house educational programs in the fall, the Co-op will continue expanding its virtual offerings in an effort to connect with the wider Co-op community, including its talented teachers and vendor-educators. Keep an eye out for the launch of a culturally diverse book club this fall! Community outreach efforts will continue to serve at-risk groups and respond to the changing needs of the community.

Going forward, community outreach efforts will continue to serve at-risk groups and respond to the changing needs of the community. Do you follow the Co-op on social media? If not, maybe it’s time you do! Find Honest Weight on the following platforms: ● Facebook: @HonestWeight ● Instagram: @honestweightfoodcoop ● LinkedIn: @honest-weight-food-co-op ● Twitter: @hwfc Social media is a great way to keep up to date on the Co-op’s educational offerings and how Honest Weight continues to engage with its diverse community partners amid a changing landscape. Hilary Papineau is an urban planner, food activist and enthusiast, and a Co-op member since 2015. She, her husband, and baby live in the Helderberg Neighborhood of Albany where they spend their free time playing with seeds and weeds and trying not to kill their Co-op houseplants from too much love. Hilary grew up in the Adirondacks and is a research analyst with New York State. 21

Do Not Fear to Hope by Rebecca Angel Maxwell

Several years ago while driving with my children after a storm, we saw a wide lawn with many trees knocked down. The following week all the trees had been cleared away except one. It was completely tipped on its side; we could see the crack at its base, branches on the ground. Why had they left it behind? A few years later our eldest child left for college and bequeathed my husband and me two aloe plants from their room, overwatered, limp, and dy ing. My initial response was to chuck them out, but my husband insisted he would re-pot them and give them another chance. I rolled my eyes. Our child had a tough time in college. To be honest, they were having a tough time before that, but those underlying issues exploded once they were out of our care. I watched as my firstborn, finally diagnosed with an eating disorder, struggled and slipped off their carefully envisioned future path. I wasn’t doing so well myself then either. While I provided my child with support during their illness, I was also trying to make time to see my own doctors and specialists. I had been complaining for years about a list of physical and mental problems that continued to grow in length and severity. It felt like I was slowly breaking down. My family suspected there was 22

a core issue at work, but their suggestions were dismissed by “experts” as much as my suffering was dismissed as part of the aging process for women. I held on as best I could, but I was losing hope.

Finding the root of resilience we all are born with, and having been nurtured by a childhood of care and patience, my eldest chose to live. Finding the root of resilience we all are born with, and having been nurtured by a childhood of care and patience, my eldest chose to live. A fantastic team gave them the tools to dig their own way out of the darkness, while loved ones encouraged them along the way. It was a long effort, but eventually they were able to continue on the path of their dreams. My husband continued to take care of the aloe plants: re-potting them, setting them on warming pads, finding them a spot at the brightest window, trimming the weak spots, and giving them time to heal. I marveled how, amidst the obvious sick mess, new shoots kept forming and reaching for the light. One morning I took a long look at the aloe plants and was impressed: ‘Well, you’re not dead yet.”

I, however, was dying. As I watched the aloe plants inch-byinch recover, and my child pieceby-piece assemble their life back, I was falling apart. After ten years of asking for help, I finally gave up on the medical profession that didn’t seem to care. The only person who was concerned was my herbalist, but she could only ease the pain. Although I released my grip on hope, I did not let go of life. I might not get the future I had planned, but I still had some living to do. My remaining time was uncertain, since I didn’t even know what exactly was wrong, so I tried to make the most of it. There was only time for love. Even though I had to take breaks, from weakness, while washing my hair, my inner light grew and strengthened. I loved my family. I loved my friends. I loved my students. I loved my neighbors, and the bank tellers, and everyone I read about in the news, whether I agreed with them or not.

Despite my resignation about my future life, my family and friends did not let go of me. Despite my resignation about my future life, my family and friends did not let go of me. Several of Continued on page 25 COOP SCOOP

Listen Up! by Ben Goldberg

Blues in Time (original title: Gerry Mulligan - Paul Desmond Quartet) Blues in Time is a jazz album by two saxophone giants and two masterful sidemen, Dave Bailey on drums, and Joe Benjamin on bass. It was released in 1957 on the Verve label. All but one tune— the traditional Body and Soul— were written by either Mulligan or Desmond. Mulligan, who set the high bar standard for baritone sax, had a long and accomplished history as a prominent band leader, side player, and composer, with many European music awards and nine Grammy nominations and a win in 1981. He died in 1996. Desmond is probably best known for his remarkable work with the Dave Brubeck Quartet (e.g., the iconic “Take Five”) spanning most of the 1950s and 60s (as well as some reunion tours in the 1970s). However, in addition to Brubeck, Desmond played with some of the best jazz artists from the late 1940s through the mid-1970s. Desmond died in 1977. Desmond and Mulligan recorded one other album together in 1962, Two of a Mind, on the RCA Victor label. A lt hough I listen to many different types of jazz, I only AUTUMN 2020

Although I listen to many different types of jazz, I only recently discovered Blues in Time, and it quickly became a favorite. recently discovered Blues in Time, and it quickly became a favorite. To the extent that any label is meaningful, this music is a prime example of mid-20th century, post-bebop “Cool Jazz.” Blues in Time is complex but accessible without being simplistic, slick, or “smooth.” The playing is lyrical without being saccharine, and it’s funky enough to satisfy most listeners’ cravings for groove. This gem is available on Spotify and Napster.

Brother Sister - The Watkins Family Hour Warning: Every day for the six weeks after I discovered Brother Sister, I just HAD to listen to it at least once a day and often more than once. (I won’t say how many times!) It’s that good, and yes—I still listen to it every few days. Brother Si ster, wh ich wa s released this year, is the second offering from the Family Hour

record label. It prominently features the siblings Sara and Sean Watkins. These still young people co-founded the acclaimed “Americana”/“new folk”/“acoustic pop” trio Nickel Creek when Sean was 12 and Sara was 8, with the 8-year-old mandolinist Chris Thile (Grammy and McArthur Genius Award winner). Since Nickel Creek sort of disbanded, fiddler/multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Sara has followed a solo recording/touring career and has collaborated with many others, including I’m With Her and the Decemberists, among others. Guitarist and songwriter Sean, meanwhile, has recorded solo and as part of The Bee Eaters, the Fiction Family, and the Works Progress Administration. Both Sara and Sean also play with Watkins Family Hour, a family band which often includes many non-family members (think: pickup basketball game). Continued on page 25

There is a long tradition of so-called “sibling duos” in early country and bluegrass music that carried over into rock. 23

Quarantine Life from a Nine-Year-Old’s Perspective by Francesca Thornton

I am always hearing things like, “Remember to social distance.” Or, “I can’t go to the store, I have a Zoom meeting.” “Okay, then I will go.” “Okay, Mateo (that’s my dad), but remember your face mask.” All of this talk is because of a horrible virus called the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). COVID was announced by the World Health Organization as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. That feeIs like one million years ago. I suppose if the doctors and nurses hadn’t discovered the sickness, then the pandemic would be even worse than this; that would be BAD.

I have been thinking about something Fred Rogers’ mother said, “Always look for the helpers.” I thought, “Well who is a helper right now?” Now that we’re very far into the pandemic, I realize the helpers are the doctors and nurses, employees at the supermarket (who are either sacrificing themselves to take care of their community, or are in need of money to pay for taxes and bills). A helper is also the oil person or your mail carrier, and it could be your parents or any family member or friend who is 24

with you at this time and is doing all they can to take care of you.

Another thing I have been thinking about is how we would manage through this time period without devices like phones, computers, iPads, TVs, etc. But I've thought more thoroughly on this and realize that we don’t need tech to work through this crisis. We can send letters and pictures to stay in touch; we can read newspapers and books to stay on top of things. I have found many things that don’t require devices: for example, poems (I have found beauty and strength in both reading and writing them), art (I have definitely found passion in this activity because the sky's not the limit, there is no limit), walking in the woods and biking on the street (ahhh, that sweet smelling air), playing games with my sisters and my parents (this

Now that we’re very far into the pandemic, I realize the helpers are the doctors and nurses, employees at the supermarket.

has been extremely fun), baking (my mama and I have found tons of new recipes and ideas and they're all yummy, especially the pumpkin-spice cookies). As Julia Child said, “A party without a cake is just a meeting.” Last but definitely not least, I’m reading. (I love reading SO much! It’s one of my favorite things to do and I have read about 175 books in this quarantine.)

But, technology still has its pros. This past spring my school has been doing online school and it’s not as good as regular school, but it still works out. And I have been doing educational games which have sorta worked out. I have also been typing a lot of stories on the computer, and it’s really calming. I did a research project on screen addiction and created a presentation for my class. Tech is also good for connecting and checking in with friends and family.

I have also been thinking about how I want the world to look in the future. You know, I don’t just see the world as it is now, I feel what the world will become. I hear the world and taste it; sweet and tangy. But there COOP SCOOP

Getting outside will be the law and hugs will be part of your daily schedule. are some things that I do imagine and hope for. I imagine that there is no sickness, especially the coronavirus, which will mean that everyone is healthy. Getting outside will be the law and hugs will be part of your daily schedule. I hope for the air and water to be clear: no pollution in the sky or sea. We will reduce the number of animals that are harmed and killed each year. There will be colorful streets, and on those streets there will be homes for the homeless and everyone will join hands and sing. And how will all beings be treated? There will be no racism for humankind; there is no difference between us but we are still amazingly unique. And of course, there will be no war. Listen to Matisyahu’s song “One Day.” “That we don’t want to fight no more, there'll be no more wars and our children will play, one day one day one day-y...” How will I get there? I will not get there; we will get there, together as one. And if someone does not help or is discouraging, we will still be strong. We are all one family; we can change the world together. Francesca Joy Thornton is going to be a 5th

grader at The Robert C. Parker School. It was there that she first wrote this piece with her teacher Nellie Barker (also a Co-op member!) Francesca loves the Co-op, especially the variety of good and healthy food. When she is not playing with her two sisters, you can find her reading in a tree or in her favorite nook in the couch. AUTUMN 2020

Do not fear to hope cont. - p. 22

Listen up! Cont. - p. 23

them called around and found a new doctor far away, secured an appointment, drove me there, and even paid for the visit. When I expressed my amazement at this outpouring of generosity, one friend remarked, “You reap what you sow.” Within a few short weeks, this new doctor diagnosed me with Cushing’s Syndrome. There was a reason for all of my problems. And a cure! I had a life-saving surgery in the fall of 2017 and have been in recovery ever since. I am secure now in the caring hands of better doctors and my family and friends.

There is a long tradition of socalled “sibling duos” in early country and bluegrass music that carried over into rock (e.g., The Kinks, The Allman Brothers) and pop (The Everly Brothers), and with good reason.

There was a reason for all of my problems. And a cure! These days my f irstborn is still careful with their health, while exploring their abundant potential. The aloe plants never look exactly like those in the store, but they’re alive and thriving in their own way. For me, I cannot go back to how my life was before my illness, but instead I am breaking ground that is equally worthy. As for that tree cracked by the storm? One day I drove by that lawn and saw the downed tree still lying there, yet full of leaves! Alive, despite its new horizontal direction. Someone in the cleanup crew had paused with their chainsaw, k nelt dow n, and realized that strength and growth remained. I can imagine how they gave the tree a little nod and let it live to see another spring. Rebecca Angel Maxwell has been a part of Honest Weight for eighteen years and is Managing Editor of the Coop Scoop. When not at the co-op, Rebecca is a teacher, musician, and writer, currently working on a memoir about her experience with Cushing’s Syndrome.

There does seem to be something about the type and quality of vocal and instrumental harmonies that sibs produce in almost any musical genre, and Brother Sister is a good example of that. Both siblings are excellent players but when they sing together—well, when the angels sing with soul as well as delicate beauty, they might well sound a lot like this.

when the angels sing with soul as well as delicate beauty, they might well sound a lot like this. Brother Sister consists of an interesting variety of ten tunes, including seven Watkins cowritten originals and three covers, including a Warren Zevon song and a swinging 1930s fun tune by Charley Jordan. Sara has been quoted as saying, “It’s a very duo-centric album because that was the focus in the writing.” Somehow, though, for me, the varied tunes work together nicely. The songs, which range from “folky traditional” to “pop,” are excellent, the playing is terrific, and the singing is, well, even more terrific than that. Warning: Try it, but be careful. It may be habit-forming. 25

Shaken, Stirred, or On the Rocks...How do you like your RESILIENCE? by Mecca Andrades

The dictionary definition of resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines it as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.

In general, there are four main types of resilience: psychological, emotional, physical, and community. The one that stands out the most in the current moment is community resilience: the ability of groups of people to respond to and recover from adverse situations, such as natural disasters, acts of violence, and economic hardships. All the aforementioned categories are important, and considering the current state of our world, in which we are bombarded by images of all three (a natural disaster in the pandemic, an act of violence in the killing of George Floyd, and economic hardship in

it is important to ask, “Where does my source of strength originate from?” because there will be many days when these reserves will need to be tapped in order to nurture and replenish the mind, body, and soul. 26

the greatest unemployment seen since the Great Depression), community resilience is the appropriate and necessary response. The APA’s definition of resilience enumerates sources of stress in the face of which people may develop resilience. This additional significance given to the context in which resilience develops enhances the connection to a multifocal understanding of it, as understood in the discipline of psychology. It also acknowledges that often there is more than one stressor involved, hence the expression, “When it rains it pours.”

It’s also understood that for resiliency to occur, adverse conditions are a precondition. An analogy would be a firefighter attempting to rescue someone from a burning building. The stressors in this situation would be, for example, the firefighter’s duty to safely remove the person from the building, the heavy equipment he has to carry to perform effectively, and th limited oxygen and visibility as he walks through the fire. Conditions needed for his resilience in the face of these challenges include the cooperation of his team, properly functioning equipment to get the fire extinguished, and his own personal desire and determination to get himself and everyone else out unharmed. Similarly, research shows that having supports readily available, such as family, friends, and COOP SCOOP

research shows that having supports readily available, such as family, friends, and peer groups, is an effective coping mechanism in times of trauma, and that being able to use your own inner strength also enhances the chance of a positive outcome. peer groups, is an effective coping mechanism in times of trauma, and that being able to use your own inner strength also enhances the chance of a positive outcome. An example of this would be the firefighter being able to go home and process his day by talking with family members, working out, meditating, or gathering with friends.

Even before the coronavirus, many of us have suffered personal and societal trauma from national and international tragedies, and those experiences have caused us to change our actions, attitudes, and belief systems.

Tips for developing resiliency • Practice being in the moment by meditating or journaling because arriving at a destination always begins with mapping exactly where you are. • Practice self-care and always take time out for yourself: for example, some quiet time, a hot bath, spending time in nature, or some other enjoyable solo activity. Exercise and a well-balanced diet are also part of self-care. • Avoid any and all negative thinking, because while we can’t necessarily control or avoid a negative person or place, we can control our own thoughts, and thereby change a negative to a positive. • Identify your goals and find your purpose, because we all have a bigger role in this world. Your destination must be clear, otherwise you will drive aimlessly until you run out of gas. • Finally, learn from the past, so mistakes are not repeated, and do not be afraid to ask for and get help if you need it.

In today’s trying times, as a community and as a nation, we will continue to be resilient in the wake of whatever comes our way, just as we were in the past and as we will continue to be in the future. One historical example to reflect on is the 1918 flu pandemic. In just 15 months one third of the population was infected and 50 million lives were lost worldwide, and still as a species we recovered and prospered. Many hearts are heavy with grief for all of the recent loss of life as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and, though easier said than done, it is important to ask, “Where does my source of strength originate from?”—because there will be many days when these reserves will need to be tapped in order to nurture and replenish the mind, body, and soul. Dr. Amit Sood said it best: “Resilience is the core strength you use to lift the burdens of life that we sometimes must carry. Mecca Andrades has been a nurse for over a decade. She currently

works in the field of Psychiatry and aspires to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. When not working, writing, or studying, she enjoys nature or spending time with her two daughters and granddaughter. You can find her online at and on Facebook at @mecca.johnson.16. AUTUMN 2020


Building Resilience by Melanie Pores

During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, two distinct examples of resilience have emerged, both for my family and for me personally. Although I would not wish this on anyone else, our family witnessed firsthand how resilience means “the ability to recover.” Employing incredible strength and tenacity, one of our twin daughters was unfortunately forced to develop tremendous personal resilience as she fought the very real ravages presented by this awful virus. At the same time, I have personally made it my mission to cultivate and harness resilience in “adjusting to change.”

This process has resulted in my reinventing my everyday life in as meaningful and productive a way as possible for me in this newfound reality. On March 25, barely a week and a half after the first COVID-19 cases reached the greater Capital District community, our 31-yearold daughter, who is an “essential worker” as an Associate Director of Behavioral Health for NYC Health 28

and Hospitals, called us from her apartment in Spanish Harlem, e x p e r i e nc i n g c o n s id e r a ble difficulty breathing. As a parent, it doesn’t matter the age of your child, it pains your heart when they are suffering. For the first nine days after our daughter began experiencing challenging respiratory symptoms, I called her as she prepared for sleep, put my cell phone on speaker, and left it muted as a remote monitor. When I heard her experience distress, I un-muted my cell phone and attempted to coach her through a protocol I developed and later revised that incorporated a variety of alternative health practices. The protocol focused on clearing her lungs in hopes of avoiding hospitalization during that very difficult period, the first two

For the first nine days after our daughter began experiencing challenging respiratory symptoms, I called her as she prepared for sleep, put my cell phone on speaker, and left it muted as a remote monitor.

weeks of the peak of COVID-19 infections in New York City. Thankfully, as I compose this article, nearly eight weeks have passed since our daughter fell ill and her health has improved immensely. Hopefully, the worst of the symptoms are behind her, although she has suffered an occasional flare-up, experiencing dif f icult y in breathing. She continues to demonstrate an amazing resilience, continuing to do her essential work from her apartment and being open to exploring new therapies for healing, pushing ever forward as she regains her strength, taking one day at a time.

In the last few months, I have had a considerably easier time adjusting to the change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic than many others have. Having joined the ranks of the retired five years ago, I had more or less settled into a rhythm, attempting to balance outside activ ities, my many homecentered ones, and those involving my husband of four decades. COOP SCOOP

Although a part of me misses spending face-to-face time with many of the friends that I have gotten to know over the past forty years I’ve lived in Albany, including the many new friends I’ve been connecting with since I retired, I have been following the wonderful advice that Deanna Beyer, Honest Weight’s Education Coordinator, shared in her Coop Scoop article in the May/June issue, “Cultivating the Seeds of Self-Care.” Deanna encouraged readers to create and follow self-care practices supported by important daily and nighttime routines. Along these lines, I have now created a NEW daily routine. To my daily meditation and yoga practice, I have added qigong group sessions on Zoom, taught by my tai chi instructor. Another important anchor for me during the past two months has been the ability to facilitate a Zoom version of the Honest Weight Spanish Conversation

Deanna encouraged readers to create and follow selfcare practices supported by important daily and nighttime routines

group that I have been hosting for the past five years. Thankfully, with the assistance of several of the members of the group, I was able to set up a year-long Zoom account to continue facilitating our weekly group. Although connecting on Zoom has its limitations and is not a permanent substitute for face-to-face gatherings, I experience a sense of pure joy every Friday morning from 10:00 till noon while connecting with the individuals who attend this group. Seeing their faces and hearing their voices each week has definitely enriched my life. It has been a great way for me to bridge the gap created by social distancing and has helped me to build resilience. I have “adjusted easily to the change” by using the extra time I have gained by not having to drive to face-to-face gatherings. Some of this newfound time has been used to experiment with developing new recipes and also to pursue my passion for lifelong learning. Beginning back in March, I started researching new ways of creating recipes for a variety of different dishes, condiments, and baked goods and have made a goal of sharing these recipes so that

Although connecting on Zoom has its limitations and is not a permanent substitute for faceto-face gatherings, I experience a sense of pure joy every Friday morning from 10-12 when connecting with the individuals who attend this group. others might enjoy them. Some of the recipes that I have recently created were born out of the necessity to replace food items that I usually purchase, but that have not always been available during the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that you w ill enjoy preparing your own variation on the three recipes (see page 30) that I have created and/or adapted and enjoyed, thanks to the resilience I have developed over these past few months. I encourage you to experiment too and develop your own sense of resiliency! Melanie Pores is presently retired after having served a 30+ year career as a bilingual teacher, teacher-trainer, resource specialist, school board member, adjunct professor, educational researcher, and policy analyst. She facilitates the Co-op’s Spanish Conversation Group on Mondays at 10 a.m.

Toddler • Early Childhood • Elementary • Middle School

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100 Montessori Place • North Greenbush • 518.283.5400 • AUTUMN 2020


Recipes for Resilience by Melanie Pores illustrations by Jane Welch

Sesame Sauce with Vegetable Noodles, Barbecue Sauce, & Pizza with Cauliflower Crust Melanie’s Almond Sesame Sauce with Spiralized Vegetable Noodles Recipe information


● Prep time: 5 minutes

One of my favorite recipes is extremely adaptable, representing the "resilience" of plants, and can be based on what you may have in abundance in your garden or from your CSA, or whatever you may find to incorporate in from your pantry and refrigerator, such as quinoa or rice.

● Cook time: 1 minute ● Servings: 2

Ingredients ● ¼ cup almond butter ● 2 Tbsp coconut aminos ● ⅓ cup warm water ● ½ inch fresh ginger, finely grated

If you do not have and/or do not want to use almond butter, you can substitute peanut butter or another nut or seed butter or even tahini. Don’t have coconut aminos? You can substitute some tamari, soy sauce, or miso. Just improvise with what you have or prefer.

● 1 roasted garlic clove, minced ● 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (or rice vinegar) ● 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil ● 2 Tbsp maple syrup ● 2 Tbsp chopped chives (optional)

This recipe uses a delicious and healthy Almond Sesame Sauce. I have made it with spiralized zucchini noodles, which you can make with a vegetable peeler if you do not have a spiralizer. You can substitute steamed broccoli or cauliflower or prepare it with any other vegetable or mixture of vegetables and/or substitute rice noodles or shirataki noodles. For example, my husband has planted some bok choy that we will use to prepare this dish for tomorrow’s lunch, along with cubes of smoked tofu and some rice noodles.


1. Soften almond butter in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds on high. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut amino acids, water, ginger, garlic, lime juice or vinegar, sesame oil, and maple syrup. 2. Toss sauce into 10 oz to 1 lb. of your favorite spiralized vegetable noodles (or any vegetables that you like), add sesame seeds and minced chives, if using, and enjoy!



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Melanie’s Favorite Homemade Mild and Sweet Hickory Smoke Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

BBQ Sauce!


● 1 6-oz can tomato paste ● ● ● ●

I’m always in search of milder, less piquant and salty sauces. 6 oz water One afternoon, I realized that we ¼ cup maple syrup didn’t have any barbecue sauce, so 2 Tbsp pitted chopped dates I experimented and came up with cauliflower soaked overnight in ½ cup water the following recipe. Pizza! 2 tsp (30g) liquid smoke (the Directions Co-op carries Lazy Kettle brand 1. Add all ingredients to a blender/food processor. Mix until smooth. liquid smoke) 2. Warm on the stove for 3-5 minutes, whisking continuously until Pinch of salt and ground the spices cook through. You can also warm it in a microwave for black pepper 1 ½ minutes, stir, and microwave another 1 ½ minutes.

Melanie’s Favorite Mushroom, Artichoke, Roasted Red Pepper Pizza with Cauliflower Crust Overview Ingredients Cauliflower Crust ● 1 cup riced cauliflower* ● 3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided ● 1 tsp dried basil and/or oregano ● ½ tsp garlic powder ● 1 tsp garlic, finely minced ● Pinch salt ● 1 egg (or egg replacer)** ● Olive oil

Anyone been having a hankering for pizza during the pandemic? You can either make a traditional crust, use refrigerated or frozen pizza dough, or make the cauliflower crust in the recipe below. Molto bene!


1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. 2. In a medium bowl, stir together the riced cauliflower, half of the shredded mozzarella, dried basil and/or oregano, garlic powder, minced garlic, salt, and egg or egg replacer. 3. Gently spread the cauliflower cheese mixture out into a 9-inch circle on a silicone sheet or parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil. White Sauce 4. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. ● 2 oz softened cream cheese (or 5. Blend all the white sauce ingredients until creamy in a blender. you can use Neufchâtel cheese, fat-free cream cheese, or ricotta) 6. Top the pizza with white sauce. 7. Sprinkle the remaining half of the shredded mozzarella on top of ● 1 tsp roasted garlic the white sauce. and herb spice 8. Top with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers. ● 4 oz of your favorite shredded cheeses and/or grated Parmesan 9. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese melts—watch carefully so it doesn’t burn! Toppings Notes ● Canned mushrooms, drained ● *To prepare your own riced cauliflower: Pulse half a head of ● Artichoke hearts chopped cauliflower into chunks in a food processor until it looks ● Roasted red peppers like grain. Microwave the cauliflower for 8 minutes. Jane Welch is a registered nurse and new

member of the Co-op. She loves to swim and is passionate about art. AUTUMN 2020

● **To replace 1 egg: Mix 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal or 1 Tbsp chia seeds with 3 Tbsp warm water. Let set for 10 to 15 minutes before using. Or, use Ener-G Egg replacer (follow the provided directions). 31



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