HWFC Co-op Scoop Collaboration and Creation May 2022

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Coop Scoop

Collaboration and Creation May 2022


It’s Garb, Not Garbage:

Reducing Your Closet’s Planetary Footprint

Helpful Staff and Delicious Olive Oil The Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

is and A committed to providing our with foods and products for healthy living. To promote more

of living. ways to who choose to participate in a community that embraces cooperative principles in an atmosphere of and

90 WA TE









Store Hours: Open to All












8am-9pm Daily

Collaboration and Creation May 2022 Features


Helpful Staff and Delicious Olive Oil

When opening a bottle of expensive oil proved difficult, Honest Weight’s staff stepped up for a delicious rescue!

By Joann Ryan


The Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

Learn about all the proven therapeutic benefits from being outside digging in the garden.

By Ben Goldberg



The Bulk Baking Pantry

By Melanie Pores


It’s Garb, Not Garbage: Reducing Your Closet’s Planetary Footprint How many times do you wear your clothing? What is the true cost of throwing textiles away? How can we change our habits and have fun with clothing at the same time?

By Ruth Ann Smalley

Adaptive Gardening: How to Make Your Garden Fit For You

By Catherine Jura

Happenings at the Co-op


Clothing Swap at the Co-op!

Fresh News

By Deanna Beyer


Defining Local

Co-op 101

By Rebecca Angel


Supporting Local Non-Profits

Honest to Goodness

By Deanna Beyer


Hudson Valley Harvest

Producer Profile

By Pat Sahr


Recipe Corner


What’s Fresh

By Deanna Beyer

By Melanie Pores


Andalusian Gazpacho Recipe

Recipe Corner

By Chef David Stein

Cover Photo: Toa Heftiba Illustrations: Jane Welch ISSN 2473-6155 (print) • ISSN 2473-6163 (online) The Coop Scoop is for informational purposes only, and not intended as medical or health advice. Always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. The views of our guest writers do not necessarily reflect those of Honest Weight, and we do not take responsibility for them.

Coop Scoop

Vegan Gluten-Free Sweet Spice Oatmeal Cookies

Links to informational sources can be found on Page 19


Honest Editors ty and doctor visits and various new health regimens to adopt due to nature. these benefitsI’ve of had collaborating with sudden revelations has greatly intensified Catherine Jura offers gardening tips for the mydifferently personal yearlong ordeal. abled, and Ben Goldberg intro-

Rebecca Angel has been a part of Honest Weight for years, and Coop Scoopiseighteen Managing Editor of the Coop Editors When not atScoop. the co-op, Rebecca is a teacher, musician, and writer, currently working on a memoir about her experience with Cushing’s syndrome. www.RebeccaAngel.com Deanna Beyer is the Education & Engagement Coordinator at Honest Weight. A long-time teacher Rebecca Angel and practitioner of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, she focuses on helping to make these practices accessible to people in all kinds of situations. You can reach her at deannab@honestweight.coop Carol Reid, our Assistant Editor, is a retired cataloger at the New York State Library, where she Carol Reidworked 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. Ruth Ann Smalley PhD, is our Content Editor. An educator and writer, with a 4-digit Co-op member number from the early 90s, Ruth Ann offers wellness, writing, Ruth Ann Smalley and creativity coaching through her practice at www.vibrant-energies.com or www.ruthannsmalley.com. Mathew Bradley is our Layout Editor. He has been the Lead Designer at Honest Weight since the new store. Outside the co-op, he enjoys writing music with his band, tending to his Deanna Beyer garden, and training his English Cocker Spaniel, Cricket, for field work.

duces us to mycobacterium vaccae, a soil

Letter Letter from from an an Editor Editor By Ruth Ann Smalley By Carol Reid


hisay’s hasissue beenhonors a rather fraught year local-level collabandjust creation. may fororation me and not for the That obvious take the form of partnering with Covid-related reasons. I’ve also movers and have shakers indifferent our community, as learned that I in physical described ourtwo Honest to Goodness disorders, oneProducer fairly common report and Profile. for Or, people it might mymean age and the other one far less common. organizing ourselves to support sustainable, healthy living. right Melanie Pores I made the first discovery at the shares how to stock a pantry beginning of the pandemic andwith the ingrediother ents that facilitate the creationvaccine of nutrione just baked after getting tious goods. my Andsecond “It’s Garb, Not dose. On topaddresses of the anxiety and isolation Garbage” the benefits of donatand of leavingused the house in general ingfears and swapping clothing. possibilitieselse), ariseattempting when humans (just New like everybody to work together, but let’sallalso simultaneously deal with the consider uncertain-the

Fresh News! N E WS

bacteria thatI’m increases producBut obviously, not theserotonin only one who’s tion! Research increasingly points to our been struggling with in such issues—whethembeddedness complex natural er systems, for oneself oralso one’s family them members, while harboring within friends, or colleagues; whether Covid-re-we ourselves. In this ultimate collaboration, create created,serious momentorbyroutine. moment. lated or and not;are whether Remember learning in biologysick, class It’s enough to make you downright about the symbiotic relationship—that and often quite desperate and depressed mashup of fungi and algae—that is lichen? to This boot.wondrous People have been afraid to make or partnership arises in harsh keep their medical to gocould in situations whereappointments, neither entity alone. Merlin forsurvive testing, or to even Sheldrake’s be around fascinatother ing book Entangled Life: and How emotional Fungi Make afflicted people. Mental Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our illnesses been exacerbated and are Futureshave offers inspiring new discoveries sadly on the But there are alsoare a lot of about thisrise. collaboration that worth resources available pondering in theseonline toughright times.now, and Among there’s hope Sheldrake's that we can many finallyastonishing beat the facts, one whatever of the most significant: Virus andhere’s deal with else might be lichen operate not simply as pairs of organcurrently ailing us. isms, but as multitudes. Other contributing players include bacteria, yeasts, and

In additional this issuetypes of the Scoop, of Coop fungus. As oneentitled scientist declared: “We have to find any lichen “Heal, ” Rebecca Angelyet writes about her thatexperience matches the definition of own withtraditional healing heartburn; one fungus and one alga.” Melanie Pores makes what’s for you Researchers call this typegood of multiple-oralso taste good with her delicious ganism unit a “holobiont,” from holos, the Date-Sweetened recipe; Greek word forSmoothie “whole.” This, of Ruth course, parallels ever-growing Ann Smalleyour gets to the root ofunderstanding things with our own OnAgriculture; the organism anofarticle onmicrobiomes. Regenerative level, when it comes to mutual aid and and [etc.]. We’re hoping thatof all of the interdependence, one set researchers articles and information contained herein put it this way: “There have never been will contribute all of us on our individuals . . .to Wehelping are all lichens. ” Ironically, understanding can help us occupy our personal journeysthis toward renewed health human-ness and healing. even more fully, as we collabo-

rate and create with intentionality.


with modest plan “What exactlyonest IS anWeight “edibleand garden?” No limits on aitems taken, but our Envi- We’ve3. started that includes some of the “easier” Whenever I try to explainI’m explain please select only what you’ll ronment Committee will be grow (including: lettuces, this tohosting someone, I inevitably a Clothing Swap,hear Satur-plants to enjoy and use. Gene Wilder in Willie Wonka and the totomatoes, zucchini squash, pole day, May 21st, 10am-2pm, support moresaying, sustainable living.beans, 4. peppers, and various herbs) Chocolate Factory “EveryWe’re not actively collecting Openisto everyone, and hope to expand our planting thing inside eatable, I meanfirst-come, edible, I clothing for donations, but first-served! mean you can eat everything.” based on what works doesn’t) this unclaimed items(or will be donated. Basically, it’s a garden that everyyear. Any surplus harvest will be used Please note: You may dropour off items prior to the one is invited harvest from. If to supplement on-going fillsevent: at 1. Bringto clean, well-maintained, Thursday, May 19th, 8am-12pm, you’re hungry and you want to try Free Food Fridge’s Albany locations. good quality clothes, shoes, and Room something, go ahead (no andstains, pick tears, it! Look Community for the Edible Gardens in the accessories Inspired pilling, by various urban gardens beautiful raised wooden created broken parts, etc.) that you Friday, May 20th, beds 2-6pm, that are popping up around the world by our friends at ADK Rustica and the would want to use yourself. MAXTeaching Kitchen in an effort to address food insecurity, stainless trough tubs on the exterior IMUM 10 items (NO hats or wall of the patio. And if you’re interHonest Weight is working on cultivatundergarments). Everyone who drops off clothes ested in being a part of this project in ing an edible landscape that anyone will receive a coupon for $5 off a can harvest, share,a bag andfor enjoy foryou free. please reach to you me at 2. Bring items claim,the future, $25 purchase as a out thank for deannab@honestweight.coop. It’s part of our ongoing mission to participating! Arrive early on and dress for easy try-ons (no make good, fresh food accessible to all. May 21st for the best selection. dressing rooms).

Incredible Edible Clothing Gardens!


By Human Soandso

With the help of a new team of member-owners,Saturday, we’ve May officially 21st, launched our first ever Edible 10am-2pm Gardens! You might be wondering, 3




Honest to Goodness!

Supporting Local By Deanna Beyer Non-Profits

What is a Co-op?

By Deanna Beyer

If you’re new to Honest Weight, you might be wondering what makes us different from any other grocery store. There are lots of things, but probably the biggest is that we’re a community-owned co-op!


veryone knows that Honest Weight works with lots of local vendors, artisans, farmers, and makers. But did you also know that we are constantly collaborating with local organizations, groups, nonprofits, and individuals who are doing incredible work out in the community? Here are a few recent examples we’d like to highlight! In early March, the Environment Committee hosted a Zoom event about incorporating Zero Waste practices at home. The robust discussion and lively idea-sharing was led by committee members Susan Hoffman and Tracy Frisch. Salad, Hot Bar, Towards the end of the month, and Cafe are we held Connect & Cook for Ukraine with Amy Halloran and Ellie Markovitch, who shared Back, with their own spin on some traditional Ukrainian favorites a New Option! during a pay-what-you-wish fundraiser for World Central Kitchen. Afterback whata has seemed like forever, the(Love Honest April brought Co-op favorite, the LoV of Weight Kitchen is excited to have re-opened both the Vegan) Potluck, where people shared a wide array of SSalad Bar and& HHot Bar, including daily soup plant-based food, recipes, and in great company. offerings. AndAlso other big news:The theyevent have was also hosted by our friends at Capital Region Vegan Network, launched the brand-new Build-Your-Own Burger & included several local vendors sampling their products, some Fries Bar, available from from 11am to -7pmand dailyeach classic vegan dishes by ourof in-house Kitchen. day. were Take provided it from those us who’ve been lucky


enough to sample them, (including meat, vegetarian, and vegan options), this is a MUST TRY for all! After grabbing your food, you are welcome to enjoy your meal in our newly reopenedre-opened Café space, or out on our beautiful, sunny patio with lots of comfortable seating.

By Rebecca Angel


Defining Local

hat does the word “local” mean? Nationwide, “local” can mean anywhere from a 100 to 400 mile radius, or even the entire continental US! So what’s Honest Weight’s number? A 250-mile radius. While this may seem like a large area, it is a far cry from the average of 1,500 miles for most grocery stores. There is also transparency in Honest Weight’s definition. One major big-box retailer, for example, has claimed they source 11% of their grocery products “locally,” which they define as “in the same state.” But the same state as what? It's not the store consumers buy from, according to independent research. This

Coop Scoop

Glass Recycling Piolt Project Z e r o Wa s t e C a p i t a l District has launched an ambitious Glass Recycling Pilot Project here at the Co-op, to ensure that the glass is truly being recycled rather than heading to the landfill. To make it successful, we need your help! Instead of throwing clear glass in your single stream bin at home, bring it to the Co-op.

well-known corporation uses i ts d i str i b u ti on cen ter s, Just States, follow these simple steps: anywhere in the United • Locate the collection as its center point to define local. bins near our bike lockers • Onlyfrom placeSouth clear, clean glass in the bins In one case, apples • Make sure to removeofboth the lids and little America fell under their definition plastic rings (labels are ok) “local.” Our co-op’s local policy includes an abundance of “hyper-local” products and produce from the Capital Region. We offer a discount on local products to encourage shoppers to support their neighbors. Our outreach and charity donations are a l m o s t a l w ay s Capital Seasonal R e g i o n bLocal a s e d (c uProduce rrent Ukraine crisis as an exception) and, most Whatimportantcould be fresher than all of your favorite produceincluding arriving daily from local farms? (could we ly, our employees, include alive couple administration, and of relevant farm names here?It’s work rightgrowing here. season and we’ve got farm-fresh fruits and veggies from all over the area. So, whether you’re This means your dollars support not only local producers looking for nNon-GMO sweet corn, crisp cucumbers, and farmers, but all our staff as well. It’s truly a home-grown store! or super juicy, tiny strawberries, we’ve got you covered! Be sure to check out all the beautiful new arrivals next time you’re here.

Money that is spent locally, stays local.

MAY 2022


Helpful Staff and Delicious Olive Oil By Joann Ryan


ast fall, the winter winds signaled that the holidays were only a few weeks away. It was time to restock my kitchen with baking supplies and yummy treats from Honest Weight. I also splurged, adding a pricey bottle of Agrumato Orange olive oil to my basket. The slender bottle and label have great eye appeal. The amber orange label has olive green text over a classic still life scene of fruit and flowers. The bottle has a donut shaped top sealed with its cork firmly recessed inside it. The distributor’s brochure and a cork pouring spout dangled from an elastic cord attached to the neck of the bottle, adding the temptation to try something new. Weeks later, filled with anticipation, I tried to open the bottle with my standard wine corkscrew, the kind with wings. It didn’t fit the donut-shaped top. The tip of the corkscrew wouldn’t reach the recessed cork. I contacted the distributor, who is based on the West Coast, three hours behind us. He/They referred me to the seller, Honest Weight, to request a refund if the bottle was damaged. I was not their problem. I returned to Honest Weight’s Customer Service Desk. I explained my problem and asked for help. Everyone behind the desk peered at the bottle and agreed we needed to compare this bottle with the other bottles. The oils are shelved between chocolate and cheese counter display shelves, easy to find. We compared bottles. They are all the same shape and design. The Honest Weight staffer consulted someone in the cheese prep area, who recognized the bottle and understood the problem. She took one look at it, listened to my sad story, and said, “I know how to open this bottle. You are going to love this oil! I use it all the time.” She disappeared into the back room, came back with a T-shaped corkscrew, and opened the bottle. She issued a caution about carrying the open bottle to the car, driving home, and not spilling the oil. Unfortunately, I cannot use the T-shaped corkscrew she used on my own. I do not have enough hand strength any longer. There is a happy ending, though. I went home with my bottle of oil carefully cradled in the car’s coffee cup holder, with a promise from the Honest Weight team that when I buy my next bottle, they will open it for me before I leave the store. Joann Ryan is an urban planner very much at home in downtown Albany, where she lives and works and gardens. Her interests include art and architecture, and our region has an abundance of both to enjoy.



Fresh News!

Double Up Food Bucks is a nationwide fruit and vegetable incentive program, servicing millions of SNAP users, active in 20+ states at over 800 farmers markets, CSAs, farm stands, mobile markets, and grocery stores. The program gives shoppers $1 for every $1 spent with SNAP, so you can purchase even more produce. A match of up to $20 a day could mean $40 for healthy foods. Why is this important? Because too many people don’t have access, even with government aid, to the amount of healthy food needed to support families. Sign up is free and the dollars never expire. In New York State, Double Up has contributed to 1.1 million pounds of healthy food sales to over 24,000 customers, at more than 130 sites spanning 23 counties. Visit our Service Desk to sign up and go to honestweight.coop for more information on the program.



Hudson DoubleHarvest Up Valley Food Bucks! By DeannaGermantown, Beyer



tion of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Hunger Free America estimates uring the height of the pandemic, when Assistance Program) benefits that that this past year has seen a 67% many products were unavailable we’ve seen in a single year. Which is increase in food- insecure New Yorkbecause of long delays in food delivery why we’re so excited to participate in ers. And here at Honest Weight we’re systems, Hudson Harvest was a lifesaver for the Double Up Food Bucks! on track to have the highest redempCo-op. According to workers in the Bulk Department, in the first weeks of the pandemic, when legumes seemed to suddenly disappear from the bins, Hudson Harvest was especially helpful in getting dried beans to the store when they Hudson Harvest has had a long-standing relationship weren’t available anywhere else. with Honest Weight. Foods from this distributor can be Having a close working relationship with local found in the grocery, meat, produce and dairy departments. farmers was one of the silver linings of being a When you buy products that have come to the store through smaller store during a global food crisis. It allowed Hudson Harvest, you can be sure of their quality. us to source new beans close to home, support the local economy, and provide shoppers with options. Learn more about this producer at: Now with even more bean varieties provided by Hudson Harvest, the inventory is better and broader than ever. Among the new additions are Jacob’s Cattle, Yellow Eye, Cranberry, Black Turtle, and Pinto, 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 their names reading like found poetry. part of the Honest Weight family, and I've especially enjoyed communicating with Hudson Harvest, founded in 2011 as Hudson Valley the various producers whose products are sold at the Co-op!" Harvest, has as its mission the creation of a more sustainable, transparent food system by providing a reliable outlet for small and medium-sized Hudson Valley farms and producers who use environmentally sound practices. They expanded in 2018 as they acquired and merged with Local Bushel and Field Goods. Acting as a distributor that cuts out the middleman, Hudson Harvest sources products directly from more than 70 farmers, butchers, and cheese makers. It then sends out these goods from its warehouse in Germantown, NY, to restaurants, catering compaOur 100 foot mural was created in nies, cafes, grocery stores, and schools, as well as to collaboration with Amplified individuals and families. Their customers can be Voices and neighborhood kids, found throughout the Northeast, from Saratoga to along with our sponsoring partners, Nordic Naturals, Nine Pin Cider, & Central New Jersey. RAD Soap Co. Together we can transform our environment!



Coop Scoop CoopScoop Scoop Coop

MARCH 2022

Heal MAY 2022

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It’s Garb, Not Garbage: Reducing Your Closet’s Planetary Footprint By Ruth Ann Smalley


ave you ever dropped a bag of unwanted clothes into the One World Center bins at Honest Weight? Maybe you felt relieved that they were finally out of your closet. But maybe you also wondered: what happens next? We want to tell that “hidden story” because our collaboration with this research nonprofit is a creative one. The life cycle of a typical garment involves many costs to people and planet. But by extending our clothing’s lifespan, we can help create opportunities: for employment, for quality of life, and for promoting a more “circular economy” in which reuse helps us all by reducing stress on the environment. According to various estimates, in the U.S. we currently dispose of about 70-80 pounds of textile waste per person, per year. Only about 10 pounds of that gets recycled. This is quite astonishing, given the human and environmental challenges all along the line of production. These include destructive farming practices, industrial pollution, and poor working conditions for textile workers.

Coop Scoop



in 2021, we collected 29,630 lbs for reuse. Well done. That is 570 lbs of clothes and shoes every week! Honest Weight ranks in the top 10 producers of our 230 bin location sites, Specials. We also accept SNAP benefits. overtaken only by large mall How is Honest Weight part of the locations.” local food system? If buying local F r oism t h e r e , H e n r i k s e n important to you, we’re one of the best describes the process behind places around to shop. Co-ops form scenes: strong relationships withthelocal, “These items are then made small-scale producers, which means you can find products that aren’t available typically for people all over the available at traditional supermarkets. world.At From our warehouse in Honest Weight, we work with over 285 Albany, we bale up the product local farms and 319 local producers; that and ship clothes and shoes to list is always growing. And because we get daily deliveries, it meansElfresher, Salvador, Guatemala, and lower-impact food that hasn’t North travelledAfrica, as well as domesacross the country for days. tically to Texas. Our clothes shoes are sold wholesale Shopping for special and dietary for tasty a low price, which covers needs? We get it. It’s easy to find food alternatives in every department at to pay a living wage to our cost the co-op. Our friendly staff our can also 10 staff members, the rent make suggestions if you’re feeling for the warehouse and truck overwhelmed by the choices, as many of them are on special diets, too! lease, etc.” Of the first buyers at wholesale, “95% are women, How does Honest Weight who then take the clothes and

support the local community? Most co-ops devote significant time and resources to educational What is a community-owned programming, community developco-op? It’s aour grocery store owned its ry by districts of China you caninitiatives. We Line Henriksen, One ment, and outreach members, usuallypoints the people who s e eshop n e x t sdonate eason ’ s f s hnet i o nprofits to local World Center liaison, 5% of a our here. These are the people who cooperaat theorganizations, runoff out that “each over two the colors not-for-profit run free tivelyyear, manage and control business.by looking waters in the nearby rivers!” billion t-shirts are sold worldand low-cost educational programs The membership makes all kinds of thatmanages are open to all, and are always decisions, including andWorld collecwide and 520 million pairs what of foodsOne products are on the shelf, and what looking for ways to collaborate with tion bins at 230 locations, from jeans are sold in the U.S. With standards those products and their partners in the community. We offerto their smaller villages shoes which 1.98 million pounds of the production of one t-shirt producers have to meet (think growing many opportunities for memand sell them at market stands. h o eAts a n d c l o t h e s w e r e using up 700 gallons of water practices, clean ingredients, setc.). ber-owners to help with this commuIn this way, the clothes are retrieved for use in just the last and one pair of jeans using Honest Weight, we’ve got about 14,000 nity engagement. providing an income and inde-

Honest Weight ranks in the top 10 producers of our 230 bin location sites.

members. year. The contents are brought 1,500 gallons, it is easy to pendence as well as being understand why the call to to the warehouse for sorting What other co-ops are in the Who can shop here? Everyone is and, Henriksen says, “overall, curb textilewelcome: wasteanyone is urgent. area? You can find co-opsdiverted every- from NY landfills.” can shop at the co-op. If Keeping clothing out of landwhat we pull out of our bins Furthermore, the production where! In addition to is Honest Weight, you decide to become a member, you’ll fills can is a worthy goal, and one good shape.” o f c o t t o n purchase a n d o tah“share” e r f i bofethe r s co-op,inbecome there Last are year, severalonly others you lots we can achieve in various ways. out: total Niskayuna r e q u i r e s leligible a r g e for am o uofnadditional t s o f discounts abouton11% check of their was Consumers and have voting rights on Market advice is compelpesticides.” products, In terms of synw a s t e , s u cCo-op, h a s “Chatham w e t i t eReal m s , Food Henriksen’s decisions that affect the store. Honest Co-op, Mohawk Harvest Cooperative ling: “The most effective way to b o o k sto, a n d o t h e r t h i n g s w e thetics, millions barrels of can choose Weight of member-owners Market, and Cambridge Food Co-op. reduce textile waste is to buy petroleum invest go their into time ever-inat the store, cannot serve on use.” u s ed c l o thi n g fr o m t h r if t one of ourproduction. committees, or work Honest with a Weight’s bins make a creasing polyester While every co-op has its program, in order to receive a bigger s t oown res, swap clothes, and Then there are the dyes and significant distinctive contribution. Henvibe, we are all founded on discount (up to 24%) on their groceries. donate or reuse your clothes riksen told the us,same “Webasic are principles: happy other manufacturing byprodi n s tea d of thr ow i n g t h e m have two· clothing ucts. Henriksen “itWeisbelieve to What isnotes, on offer? everyone voluntary collection and open membership ourgarment communityfactoshould have bins access at to Honest Weight, where said that in inthe democratic member control away. Why toss a shirt into the


affordable, high-quality, natural foods · member economic participation and products for healthy living. So we · autonomy and independence offer things like Co+op Basics (a line of PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOA HEFTIBA · education, training, and informaover 450 high-quality foods and house-


trash where it will waste away in a landfill when you could give it new life instead? A shirt reused saves the environmental cost of a shirt produced.” And that cost is not low. According to Veronique Greenwood’s in-depth look at the issue, by 2015 “carbon emissions from clothes surpassed those emitted from all international flights and all maritime shipping combined” (“Keeping Clothes Out of the Garbage,” Anthropocene Magazine). The Columbia Climate School re c e n tly es ti m at e d t ha t t he tim fashion industry is also the source of about 35% of ocean microplastics. Let that sink in. The U.S. has seen an explosive growth in clothing purchases since the 1980s, along with changes in wearing patterns. According to Greenwood, “many items are only worn 7-9 times before being tossed, and the average person keeps clothes for half as long as they did 15 years ago.” Add in the fact that many companies dump or incinerate returned clothing or unsold items, and the problem of too much clothing looms even larger. However, many people worldwide still have difficulty simply affording clothing. As Henriksen notes, “the need is great. The growing inequality between “the haves and the

have no ts ”—w i thi n ou r ow n country or in the wider world—means that 70% of the world’s population depends on secondhand clothes and shoes simply to have access to decent clothing.” When you choose to donate items to the One World bins, you participate in a larger movement to keep clothing in u se f u l c i r c u l a ti on , wher e i t helps most. You can also get creative in extending the life of your clothing, by mending, upcycling, and repurposing fabrics. There’s a whole world of fun “ v isibl e m en d i n g” you c a n learn about online. Elizabeth Cline’s book Conscious Closet is also a helpful resource for the whys and hows of making changes to your wardrobe, rethinking fashion, and learning basic mending skills. Care and repair are important, since a portion of an item’s environmental impact can be offset simply by wearing it more times. Many of us are already seasoned “outfit repeaters,” but fast fashion has held sway for so long that a campaign like #30wears can be a wake-up call for some. Ethical fashion advocates Livia Firth and Lucy Seigle suggest asking “will I wear this 30 times?” when considering a purchase. You can also buy from companie s wi th a c o m m i tm en t to

r e d u c i n g t ex t i l e w a s t e . Fo r example, Patagonia has been an early adopter of in-house r e c y c l i n g , w i t h t h e i r Wo r n Wear program and their ReCrafted line, made from fabric scraps collected from irreparable items. So when it comes to clothes, let’s try to Reduce, Repair, Rewear, and Share!




committed to providing our with

foods and products for healthy Have you To promote dreamed of having or attending a clothing swap, but can never quite pull it together?

ways to

Well, your wish has been granted!

Saturday, May 21st, 10am-2pm, Honest Weight will host a sweet swap of gently loved clothing, open to everyone. Join us for some wardrobe renewal and positive social exchange: prune your apparel overgrowth, while finding fresh new additions, for free! Check out the Fresh News in this issue for details, and learn how to get a store coupon for participating.

who choose to partici a community that em cooperative principles in an atmosphere of and

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www.HonestWeight.coop 10

The Mental Health Benefits of Gardening By Ben Goldberg

By Corinne Hansch

11 11


Gardeners have known forever that exposure to nature—particularly when working with living plants—is beneficial for us. The physiological benefits of gardening are apparent because gardening is usually a very physical activity. It is a natural way to enhance one’s emotional state because mood-enhancing endorphins are released during physical activity. What is less apparent, but what scientific research has confirmed during the last three decades or so, is that gardening is also very beneficial for our mental health and our sense of well-being. The research demonstrates t h a t g a r d e n i ng : Enhances self-esteem and a sense of well-being, a connection with nature; Provides a sense of purpose, accomplishment, pride, and validation;

Enhances our concentration and memory function, and may reduce the risk of dementia (plants release oxygen which helps our brains

Helps us to be present and mindful (we pay attention, focus, and concentrate in a stress-free way when we garden). Interestingly, a type of healthy soil bacteria found in garden soil, mycobacter i u m v a cc ae , i s someti mes ca lled “Nature’s antidepressant.” It has been shown to naturally reduce depression and anxiety by increasing production of serotonin, a biochemical that is associated with relaxation and positive mood. Dirt diggers (AKA, gardeners) absorb this bacteria by inhalation and direct contact with soil.

– Phyllis Theroux

function better, and even just having plants in homes and offices boosts memory, heightens our attention, and helps us feel more energized and able to think more clearly);

I like gardening – it’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.

– Alice Sebold Certainly gardening is not a cure for mental illness or the most stressful trials and tribulations of everyday living. But it is an activity that provides a range of therapeutic mental health benefits, and is available/accessible for practically everyone, regardless of where they live. No backyard space? Try container g a r d e n i n g o n a p a t i o, b a l c o ny, o r sunny window. Physical limitations? Try indoor houseplants. Most houseplants are

low-maintenance, so it’s easy to learn how to look after them—and the Co-op offers some nice varieties of houseplants (along with garden plants in season) at reasonable prices. Have trouble bending and stretching? Try outdoor elevated raised beds. (For more strategies, see “Gardening with the Differently Abled in the digital version of this issue) Like to cook? Grow some culinary herbs in pots or window boxes. Finally, there are many community gardens in the Capital Region. These are shared plots of land that are divided up into individual gardens and rented by individuals or groups for growing vegetab les a n d /or f lower s. T he regio nal nonprofit, Capital Roots, for example, operates 50 community gardens in Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and southern Saratoga Counties. (https://www.capitalroots.org/community-gardens/) So dig some dirt! You might like it...and feel better for it!

I think this is what hooks one to gardening: it is the closest one can come to being present at creation.

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.

– May Sarton

Ben Goldberg gardens happily in Albany.

Jeffrey Wright-Sedam

Artist Statement In True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art, Chogyam Trungpa writes:

Charlie Burgess manages OSI lands from the Catskills to the Adirondacks. With an MA in Archaeology and American Indian Studies from Cornell University, he studied Mohican history, culture, and land management practices. He was born and raised in the Mohican homeland.

You wait for the good moment - the infamous first thought - but nothing happens. There is a thought of giving up the whole thing, or else trying to crank something up artificially. But neither of those things works. Then you sort of become distracted by something else – and when you come back there it is.

Coop Scoop

Jeffrey Wright-Sedam lives and works in the Capital District. By seeking the connections between art, craftsmanship, and “Buddha Nature” I find motivation for my creative practice as well as daily living.

MAY 2022


Corner Vegan Gluten-Free Sweet Spice Oatmeal Cookies Makes 28 cookies

By Melanie Pores

Dry ingredients: 2 cups gluten-free oldfashioned rolled oats 1 cup almond flour ½ cup date sugar 1 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp ground cardamom ¼ tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt Wet ingredients: 1 cup almond butter 1 cup applesauce ½ cup pitted dates, soaked in 1/2 cup hot water for at least 15 minutes, and drained Add-in ingredients: ½ cup raisins ¼ cup walnuts ¼ cup sunflower seeds

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 2. Prepare 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment paper or silicone sheets. 3. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the dry ingredients. 4. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix the wet ingredients together. 5. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. 6. Mix in the add-in ingredients. 7. Scoop 2 Tbsp mounds of the combined batter onto a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. 8. Bake at 375°F for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden. 9. Allow the cookies to cool, before removing them from the baking sheet. Melanie Pores is a retired bilingual educator, an HWFC member since 1978, and the facilitator of HWFC’s Spanish Conversation Group since 2015, currently on Zoom, Fridays 10am to noon.



Fresh News!

Double Up Food Bucks! By Deanna Beyer

Hunger Free America estimates that this past year has seen a 67% increase in food- insecure New Yorkers. And here at Honest Weight we’re on track to have the highest redemp-

tion of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits that we’ve seen in a single year. Which is why we’re so excited to participate in Double Up Food Bucks!

The Bulk Baking Pantry By Melanie Pores

Stocking up on Honest Weight Bulk Items is a money-saving strategy for facilitating creative baking. During the pandemic, I have spent considerable time creating, experimenting, and preparing yummy, yet healthy, baked goods. By stocking up on items that can be found in the Bulk Department at Honest Weight, I have been able to save money while purchasing healthful food staples. The following is a list of some of the key items I include in my kitchen for creating healthy baking recipes. I mostly purchase organic varieties of these staples, which are available at the Co-op.

Coop Scoop

Double Up Food Bucks is a nationwide fruit and vegetable incentive program, servicing millions of SNAP users, active in 20+ states at over 800 farmers markets, CSAs, farm stands, mobile markets, and grocery stores. The program gives shoppers $1 for every $1 spent with SNAP, so you can purchase even more produce. A match of up to $20 a day could mean $40 for healthy foods. Why is this important? Because too many people don’t have access, even with government aid, to the amount of healthy food needed to support families. Sign up is free and the dollars never expire. In New York State, Double Up has contributed to 1.1 million pounds of healthy food sales to over 24,000 customers, at more than 130 sites spanning 23 counties. Visit our Service Desk to sign up and go to honestweight.coop for more information on the program.

Nuts, Seeds, and Dried Fruits: Bags of Bulk Raisins Tierra Farm Date Pieces w/ Oat Flour Shredded Unsweetened Coconut Raw Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) Raw Sunflower Seeds Raw Walnuts Whole Flaxseed Chia Seeds Healthy Alternative Flours & Leavening Agents: Almond Flour (in a small refrigerator in the Bulk Department)

Coconut Flour Oat Flour Gluten-Free Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats Whole Wheat Pastry Flour Baking Soda Baking Powder Baking Yeast (in a small refrigerator in the Bulk Department)

Flavoring Agents: Vanilla Extract Almond Extract Peppermint Extract


Sweeteners: Maple Syrup Date Sugar Liquid Stevia Chocolate Products: Raw Cacao Powder Cacao Nibs Dark Chocolate Chips Cocoa Butter Spices: Ground Cinnamon Ground Cardamom Ground Nutmeg Ground Ginger Ground Allspice Ground Cloves Himalayan Pink Salt Oils & Related Emulsifiers: Avocado Oil Coconut Oil Coconut Manna (Butter) Olive Oil Almond Butter

14 14

Corner Corner

Andalusian Melanie’s Favorite Gazpacho Date-Sweetened Fruit Smoothie By Chef David Stein


Melanie Pores s mo o t h a n d creamy, p a rtial ly his is the recipe for a By classic homogenized, or served with a A n da l u s ia n G a z p a c ho. smooth base, and some of the vegetaGazpacho is a blank palette b l e s h a n d- c u t i n m e d i u m d i c e for creativity! I havethe added fennel, n Ayurveda, 5000for texture. jalapeno,yearcilantro, and toasted oldcelery, “science of cumin. At times, I’ve substituted Chef David Stein is a well-seasoned (pun intended) chef life,”, the emerging with decades of experience. He’s worked everywhere from sweet onions, and used red, orange, fine dining to food trucks, hospitals to hotels, farm(s) to heat and humidity of the early or yellow bell peppers. When local table, and campsite to candlelight. AOS from the Culinary summer can be aren’t challenging, Institute of America and a BS in Culinary Management. ripe tomatoes available, especially to individuals a canned whole or diced canwith be substi“Pitta” constitution myself, until tuted. Gazpacho canlike be pureed who tend to overheat and dehydrate easily. As the temperature and humidity rise in the surrounding environment, the body is also experiencesing a surge in temperature and beginsning to accumulate moisture internally. People of all constitutions in this season need to be mindful of fluid intake and electrolyte balance. To this end, I thought you might enjoy here is a healthy blended fruit recipe, that you can either enjoy as a yummy drink or easily pour it into an ice pop tray and place in your freezer to help keep you hydrated. It’s a healthy, and delicious way to attend to your body's thirst, as soon as it arises, and to restore your body’s electrolyte balance. I hope you will enjoy my simple recipe for a date sweetened fruit smoothie.



2 cups fresh greens (e.g,2kale, or a mixture lbs ofspinach, the best ripe tomatoes you can find, of greens) coarsely chopped

1 1/21 cups coconut water or medium green bell coconut milk pepper or cubanelle coarsely chopped 1 cup almond milk 1 small Spanish onion

1 cup pitted, chopped dates, 1 peeled cucumber 6-7" soaked overnight coarsely chopped 1 cup frozen cooling 1-2fresh clovesor peeled garlic summer ½ cup fruit good-quality virgin olive oil (e.g,extra blueberries, blackberries, 2-3 Tbsp aged sherry vinegar chunks of mango) Salt and pepper to taste 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (2 cups peasant bread

1-2 scoops soaked inprotein water forpowder creamier (peaemulsion proteinoptional) powder for vegans) 1/4 tsp ground cardamom 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 -2 Tbsp healthy fat a large Dutch oven, heat oil. oil, (e.g,Incoconut butter, coconut Combine all ingredients in aor avocado or almond butter food processor or blender until other nut or butter) smooth, or seed to desired consistency. Gazpacho is always better after sitting for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.

1. Pour water/extra or Drizzlecoconut with high-quality virgin olive oil for serving. coconut milk, and unsweetened almond milk, filling a high-speed blender to the 2 1/2 cup mark for 2 quarts of smoothie. Add the greens. 2. Start blending on low and, as greens start to break down, increase to medium speed until completely broken down and smooth, approximately 45-60 seconds. 3. Add in soaked dates and cooling summer fruit. 4. Add ground flaxseed, protein powder, and cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. 5. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp healthy fat. Blend until smooth. 6. Serve immediately or pour in an ice pop tray and freeze. Enjoy!

Fresh News!

L o r e

Hu Grain-Free Crackers wide fruit and vegetable incentive Double Up Food Bucks is a nation-

program, servicing millions of SNAP

The Hu Crew is laser-focused on helping humans eat the way they users, active in 20+ states at over 800 were meant to—before the food industry began over-processing food. farmers markets, CSAs,replacing farm stands, They obsess over every ingredient in their products, industrial mobile markets, and stores. ingredients with simpler, healthier ones that helpgrocery people thrive. Find Sea Salt, Everything, and Pizza Grain-Freegives Crackers in Aisle 2.$1 for The program shoppers

Something & Nothing

Double Up Food Bucks!

With curiosity and courage, this company embraces change, thinks abundantly, and encourages consumers to remember resources Bythat Deanna Beyer are finite. On a mission to refresh people and the planet, they developed uniqueestimates Hunger Freethree America seltzers Cucumber, that this (Yuzu, past year has seen a 67% Hibiscus & foodRose)insecure that they increase in New Yorkdescribe in inspired, literary ers. And here at Honest Weight terms (check out their we’re on track to have the carefully highest redempwebsite!) Find these crafted sips in Aisle 6.

Coop Scoop

every $1 spent with SNAP, so you can purchase even more produce. Keto in of up to $20 a day could A match mean $40 for healthy foods. Why is a Hurry this important? Because too many Madras people don’t have access, even with Curry government aid, to the amount of Anyone who’s explored thefood needed to support famihealthy world of Keto knows just up is free and the dollars lies. Sign This family owned and how hard it is to find never expire. operated company makes prepared sauces that don’t desserts that In New York scrumptious State, Double Up has have added sugar (nearly build upon the great contributed to 1.1 million pounds of impossible…until NOW). culinary traditions of the Enter Pure Indian Food’s food sales healthy to over 24,000 Middle East. After coming newNutrition Keto In Acustomers, Hurry tion of SNAP (Supplemental at to more 130 in sites the USthan from Syria 2012, Madras. This Certified Assistance Program) benefits that spanning 23 counties. Ahmad Aissa wanted to Ketogenic Organic Curry share the treats he enjoyed we’ve seen in a single year. Which is Visit our Service Desk to sign up can be used to simmer, as a child in his for newmore homewhy we’re so excited to participate in orand to honestweight.coop sauté, marinate, evengo use land. The result is food made makes Double Up Food Bucks! as a spread, andinformation on with the program. love and care, using

Aissa Sweets

mouthwatering meals in just minutes. Seek in Aisle 1.

Heal MAY 2022

only fresh, natural ingredients. So. Yummy. In Aisle 3.

14 16


Adaptive Melanie’s Favorite Gardening: Date-Sweetened How toSmoothie Make Your Fruit Garden Fit for You


By Melanie Pores By Catherine Jura

n Ayurveda, the 5000year- old “science of life,”, the emerging heat and humidity of the early summer can be challenging, especially to individuals with a “Pitta” constitution like myself, who tend to overheat and dehydrate easily. As the temperature and humidity rise in the surrounding environment, the body is also experiencesing a surge in temperature and beginsning to accumulate moisture internally. People of all constitutions in this season need to be mindful of fluid intake and electrolyte balance. To this end, I thought you might enjoy here is a healthy blended fruit recipe, that you can either enjoy as a yummy drink or easily pour it into an ice pop tray and place in your freezer to help keep you hydrated. It’s a healthy, and delicious way to attend to your body's thirst, as soon as it arises, and to restore your body’s electrolyte balance. I hope you will enjoy my simple recipe for a date sweetened fruit smoothie.


2 cups fresh greens (e.g, kale, spinach, or a mixture of greens) 1 1/2 cups coconut water or coconut milk 1 cup almond milk 1 cup pitted, chopped dates, soaked overnight 1 cup fresh or frozen cooling summer fruit (e.g, blueberries, blackberries, chunks of mango) 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed 1-2 scoops protein powder (pea protein powder for vegans) 1/4 tsp ground cardamom 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 -2 Tbsp healthy fat (e.g, coconut butter, coconut oil, avocado or almond butter or other nut or seed butter)

1. Pour coconut water/ or coconut milk, and unsweetened almond milk, filling a high-speed blender to the 2 1/2 cup mark for 2 quarts of smoothie. Add the greens. 2. Start blending on low and, as greens start to break down, increase to medium speed until completely broken down and smooth, approximately 45-60 seconds. 3. Add in soaked dates and cooling summer fruit. 4. Add ground flaxseed, protein powder, and cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. 5. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp healthy fat. Blend until smooth. 6. Serve immediately or pour in an ice pop tray and freeze. Enjoy! PHOTOGRAPHY BY EDGAR CASTREJON


ave you dreamt of gardening but felt that your age, health, or disabilities made it difficult or impossible? The good news is that adaptive gardening makes it possible for “any body” to garden. Adaptive gardening is modifying tools and practices commonly used in gardening for people of different ages, levels of ability, interest, and needs. The goal is to make gardening enjoyable and successful! There are four steps that will guide you to achieving your dream of gardening.

Consider space-intensive planting methods: Plant in blocks instead of rows. This method allows easy access to all parts of your garden from the perimeters.

Step : Assess Yourself

Make your garden convenient: The closer to the house your garden is, the more you’ll use and enjoy it.

What are your current strengths and limitations when you think about gardening: can you stand, bend, kneel, or sit on the ground? Might you need some assistance? What are your time and money resources?

Step : Garden Options

Merriam:Webster defines a garden as “a container (such as a window box) planted with a variety of small plants” as well as “a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated.” When you bring together the broad definition of “a garden” with the possibilities of adaptive gardening, your garden can be whatever you need it to be.

Step : A Plan to Create an Accessible Garden The following suggestions are based on the Horticultural Therapy program at Craig Hospital in Colorado: Start small: You can always expand. Create raised beds, planters and containers; elevated garden beds: Raising the level of your garden makes plants easier to reach. Consider railing planters, window boxes, and hanging baskets: Easy to access from many positions (standing, padded bench, etc.) Vertical gardening (trellis, string, walls, fences): Easy to access from most positions.

Join a community garden: If you don’t have space for a garden, consider renting a community garden plot. Inquire if raised beds are available. Training may be provided.

Step : Consult Resources

Toni Gattone (Master Gardener and Adaptive Gardening Specialist): The Lifelong Gardener: Garden with Ease and Joy at Any Age; adaptive gardening coaching sessions available; comprehensive website: tonigattone.com Accessible Gardening: Tips & Techniques for Seniors & the Disabled by Joann Woy. Gardener’s Supply Company (employee ow n e d) : F r i e n d ly c u s t o m e r c o n t a c t center—staffed by gardeners—will help you find what you need to garden adaptively. Visit their extensive website to explore options: gardeners.com. 1-800-876-5520 Cornell Cooperative Extension Master G a r d e n e r Ho t l i n e : a n s we r s g e n e r a l questions; provides resources and referrals to arborists, pest management etc.; soil

testing; pes t/dis eas e id e n t i f i ca t i on . 518-765-3514 Now all you need are seeds, plants, and soil. The Co-op’s Plants Department has many offerings, and more baskets, annuals, and perennials arrive regularly. Come on in and our knowledgeable, friendly staff will happily help you make your gardening dream come true. Catherine Jura has had a 40-year love affair with food and the people who bring it to us. She enjoys the outdoors, reading, people, and laughing, and has been a Member-owner for eight years.

Otis Maxwell

For winning our April Coop Scoop Reader’s quiz!

Create safe pathways in your garden space: Think smooth, level, and firm.

Want to be a winner too?

Use adaptive gardening tools: Some tools you can make yourself and others can be purchased. The right tool conserves your energy and increases comfort while gardening.

Coop Scoop

Make access to water easier: Drip irrigation is an efficient way to water all your plants, even your containers and planter beds. Programmable timers eliminate the daily burden of watering. An outdoor faucet nearby is helpful when additional water is needed.

Make sure your on our Newsletter Email list!

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References and Resources

With great information comes great resources. Please check out these links to find out more from our Coop Scoop articles.

Letter From an Editor By Ruth Ann Smalley


Honest To Goodness By Deanna Beyer

World Central Kitchen https://wck.org/ Capital Region Vegan Network https://capregionvegans.org/ Shawn Mack Meal and Heal https://www.zenblacksheep.com/ New Choices Recovery Center https://www.newchoicesrecovery.org/

Co-op lOl: Defining Local By Rebecca Angel

https://www.nal.usda.gov/legacy/aglaw/local-foods http://lightheartedlocavore.thedailymeal.com/2009/06/usda-seminar-touts-local-fresh-and.html https://blog.timesunion.com/tablehopping/8946/whats-the-definition-of-local-food/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_(state) http://coopnews.coop/walmart-local/ https://withinhours.com/250-miles-of-albany-ny

Producer Profile: Hudson Valley Harvest By Pat Sahr


It’s Garb, Not Garbage: Reducing Your Closet’s Planetary Footprint By Ruth Ann Smalley

http://www.denimsandjeans.com/denim/manufacturing-process/vintage-denim-at-what-cost-to-environment https://www.elizabethclinebooks.com/the-conscious-closet https://www.patagonia.com/stories/second-stories/story-74520.html https://therethreadedit.com/what-is-the-30-wears-challenge/ https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2021/06/10/why-fashion-needs-to-be-more-sustainable/ 21


“Keeping Clothes Out of the Garbage” by Veronique Greenwood https://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/ sustainablefashion/

Gazpacho Recipe By Chef David Stein


What’s Fresh By Deanna Beyer

Something and Nothing Seltzer https://us.somethingandnothing.co/ HU Grain-free crackers https://hukitchen.com/pages/about-us Keto in a Hurry https://www.pureindianfoods.com/ Aissa Sweets https://www.aissasweets.com/

The Mental Health Benefits of Gardening By Ben Goldberg

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/what-are-microbes-in-soil.htm https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5153451/ https://extension.arizona.edu/get-outdoors-garden-it%E2%80%99s-good-you

Adaptive Gardening: How to Make Your Garden Fit For You By Catherine Jura

Four steps for adaptive gardening modeled after: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/osa/Adaptive_Gardening_523605_7.pdf “Ten Ways to Make Your Home Garden More Accessible” by Susie Hall: https://craighospital.org/blog/ten-ways-to-make-your-home-garden-more-accessible Gattone, Toni. The Lifelong Gardener, Garden with Ease and Joy at any Age. Timber Press. 2019 Woy, Joann. Accessible Gardening: Tips & Techniques for Seniors & the Disabled. Stackpole Books, 1997 Gardening for the Physically Challenged: https://sierranewsonline.com/over-the-garden-fence-gardening-for-the-physically-challenged/ Accessible, No Barriers Gardening https://ucanr.edu/sites/mgfresno/Central_Valley_Gardening_with_Master_Gardeners/Projects/Accessible_Gardening_147/ Gardening-people with disabilities: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/gardening-people-with-disabilities#things-to-remember Gardening for seniors https://craighospital.org/blog/ten-ways-to-make-your-home-garden-more-accessible Adapting Garden Tools to Overcome Physical Challenges https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/em8504.pdf

Coop Scoop

MAY 2022



or decades I had read about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); I loved the premise of sharing the benefits and risks of food production with the farmer. But I also enjoyed going to the Troy Farmers Market every week and picking out my own produce—primarily at the Denison Farm stand. Then Justine Denison phoned me: Would I be interested in being a CSA site “host”? Thus began my CSA journey: being nourished by the freshest food possible; building a relationship with the farmers who grew the food; enjoying a diverse community of like-minded folks. Justine and Brian Denison farm 25 acres of USDA Certified Organic produce and have approximately 500 CSA members. I became one of 17 hosts for the farm; as a host I would get a box of organic produce along with the 25 members who would be picking up their box at my home. Every Wednesday—from June through October—members would pick up their box (or “share”) between 4 and 8 PM. The Freshest Food CSA boxes are full of food picked within a day or two of—often the very morning of—their delivery. I often called Justine to rave about the extraordinary flavor of the produce: fresh equals delicious. The Farmers Every Wednesday I looked forward to the delivery truck—not only for the food—but to chat with two of the Denison farmers. Over the months we got to be friends; I often had a frozen fruit bar for them and at the end of the season they treated me to a box of my favorite squash. Community was building. And then there is Justine. There wasn’t a week that went by that I did not call her about “something” and we would talk and laugh together, often for an hour. Getting to know the farmer who grows your food is a

good idea, and through this frequent contact our relationship blossomed. The Members Members were young and old and from diverse backgrounds. What fun it was to chat with folks who were so different from me! During this second year I noticed some members were more apt to chat—a little more personally—and my sense of community was deepening. “Take and Leave Box” This past season I contacted Justine with an idea: I wanted to put out a box called the “Take and Leave Box.” Members could leave items in the box that they couldn’t use and take items from the box that they would love to have more of. I would leave fennel (which I never grew to love) and take corn, (which I couldn’t get enough of). It was fun to watch the trades, and usually the box was empty by the end of the night. Extra Boxes Sometimes a member could not pick up their box. Justine had made arrangements with Squash Hunger and ARC to pick up any extra boxes; folks who are differently abled would pick up the boxes and deliver them to a food pantry or other agency in need of food. I grew fond of these folks who were so excited to be participating in the feeding of communities. Being a CSA site host is one of the best decisions I ever made: I expected to enjoy the great food, but becoming part of a community was the most nourishing surprise.

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