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COOPERATIVE ECONOMY

THE

A CONVERSATION WITH

GAR

ALPEROVITZ Published in the May/June and July/August 2014 issue of Orion magazine. Orion editor Scott Gast interviewed Gar Alperovitz after his new book What Then Must We Do came out. EDITED AND REPRINTED with permission from Gar Alperovitz, by Robin Seydel SCOTT GAST: You’ve been thinking, writing, and speaking about alternatives to capitalism for a long time. Where did your interest in cooperatives begin? GAR ALPEROVITZ: My interest began back in 1977, when a big steel company, Youngstown Sheet and Tube, went out of business. Five thousand people in Youngstown, Ohio, lost their jobs in one day, which was disastrous. Layoffs of that size are common today—especially when multinational corporations shift capital around—but in 1977 that was front-page, national news. It was a big, big deal. But the community leaders and steel workers in Youngstown decided that they didn’t have to go down without a fight. They got together and built a coalition to buy the steel mill back and run it themselves, under workercommunity ownership. Things were looking up until the mid-term election of 1978, after which the Carter money disappeared and the project fell apart. It was a serious blow—but everybody involved in the coalition knew it might happen. They understood that part of their job was to educate people about this alternative form of ownership, because what happened in Youngstown was going to happen to other communities and at some point, they might win the battle. So they launched an educational campaign throughout Ohio and they began talking about worker and community ownership as a means of rescuing cities and towns from decay. So even though the Youngstown experiment failed, it succeeded in a much larger sense; some thirty-five years later, there are now a great many worker-owned businesses in the state of Ohio and the support system for building them is one of the best in the nation. SCOTT: You mentioned earlier that, in the wake of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube collapse, there are a great many worker-owned companies in Ohio. Can you describe one of them? GAR: In Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood—which is a poor, mostly black neighborhood with high unemployment and an average income of about $20,000—there exists a complex of worker owned companies called the Evergreen Cooperatives. Evergreen is not a collection of small co-ops; these are significant scale companies linked together with a nonprofit community corporation and they employ many local people. The largest urban greenhouse in the United States, Green City Growers Cooperative, is one of the companies in the complex; and it’s capable of producing three million heads of lettuce a year, plus other greens. There’s also Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, which is an industrial scale laundry serving hospitals and nursing homes in the area; they’re housed in a LEED-certified building and use about a third of the heat and a third of the water of ordinary laundries. And there’s a solar installation company, Evergreen Energy Solutions, which employs men and women from inner-city Cleveland and recently installed a forty-two-kilowatt solar unit on the roof of the Cleveland Clinic. But what makes this complex particularly interesting is the way it’s anchored to its community. In the middle of this very poor neighborhood, there are two major hospitals. Together, those institutions purchase about $3 billion in goods and services a year which, until recently, were purchased almost entirely outside the community. Now, though, they’ve begun to direct some of that purchasing power at this complex of cooperatives. In this model, those big, quasi-public institutions are called “anchor institutions.” Unlike major corporations, they don’t get up and leave; they’re anchored to their neighborhoods, and they drive the local economy.

SCOTT: Surely, though, those anchor institutions are looking to purchase goods and services at a low price. What’s to prevent a corporation—like Walmart—from moving to the edge of town and undercutting the local cooperatives by selling the same stuff for less? In other words, how can a cooperative economy survive the mainstream market economy? GAR: Well, in addition to their relationships with anchor institutions, some co-ops are beginning to buy from each other in order to widen and stabilize their markets. For instance, I’ve just been down to Texas, where there’s work being done to build a system of co-ops that buy from other co-ops, which in turn sell to regional public school systems. In general, as these co-op complexes group together and get more sophisticated, they also become better able to withstand pressure from the market economy. A stable market also means that growth isn’t a requirement, which is important in terms of environmental sustainability. SCOTT: But isn’t some degree of competition between companies healthy? GAR: Absolutely—to a point. But community stability is important too. And the current economy isn’t providing it, which has been disastrous for many reasons! For instance, Cleveland was once home to more Fortune 500 corporation headquarters than perhaps any city other than New York. Today, almost all of them are gone. The city’s population has gone from 900,000 to under 400,000, all because the economic decision making power was left to corporations, leaving the city vulnerable. It’s a wasteland now—we’ve thrown away the houses, schools, and local businesses of 500,000 people; with huge carbon costs. It’s even worse in Detroit, where a million people have been forced out. And people don’t disappear; they need houses and hospitals and schools someplace else. All of this is very, very costly to people and places, which means that there is an incentive, if you do it the right way, to begin stabilizing these communities and their local economies. SCOTT: Why are these forms proliferating now? What’s driving the experimentation? GAR: In a word, pain. Many communities are simply not able to deal with their employment problems. In a city like Cleveland, or in any major city for that matter, the typical pattern for employment is, “Major corporations seek major subsidies to come into the city, while attempting to avoid regulation wherever possible because it’s costly.” The city’s in a box, because it needs to provide jobs, and so it’s forced to cut corners and make a deal. Communities need alternatives to these difficult confrontations with corporations. Without them, many are simply decaying, and unless they try something new, things are likely to get worse. SCOTT: What are some examples of this kind of thing at work elsewhere in the country? GAR: In Boulder, Colorado, there is a major city effort to take over a large electric utility, which up to this point has been run by a private energy corporation. It’s part of an effort to move away from polluting forms of energy and toward solar and other renewables. Activists in Boulder realized corporate regulation was hopeless, so they’ve helped their city fight for ownership of the utility. They recently won by a large majority in a second referendum and, as a result, are continuing to move away from fossil fuels. People in Boulder recognized that attempting to regulate corporations while leaving ownership in their hands also leaves the power in their hands; but making their utility municipal—which is a form of democratization—gives decision-making power back to the community.

A WEEKEND OF FOOD FRIENDS &GAR SANTA FE, OCT. 17 AND ALBUQUERQUE, OCT. 18

CO-OP MEMBER GATHERINGS

OCT. 17-18

Don’t miss these opportunities to hear Gar Alperovitz, share in a lively discussion about the future of cooperatives, the democratization of wealth and growing the “New Cooperative Economy.” These events coincide with national “New Economy Week 2014”. Go to www.new economyweek.org for more info.

• Hear about how our Co-op is doing from our Board and Staff, and meet the candidates for the upcoming Co-op Board Elections. • Hear how Cooperatives are working to democratize wealth and provide a model for the “New Economy” in an inspiring talk and community dialogue with noted economist Gar Alperovitz. • Enjoy a delicious New Mexican feast, with foods sourced locally and regionally.

In Santa Fe: Join Gar as he speaks on Creating a New Economy at 6:30pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 107 W. Barcelona Road. There will be a question and answer period after the talk and light refreshments available. Sponsors are La Montanita Co-op, We Are People Here and New Economy community activists.

Dinner is FREE for Co-op members but seating is limited. Please RSVP by October 12 at www.lam ontanita.coop or to robins@lamontanita.coop. Be sure to include: Your name, your Co-op membership number, your contact information and the number from your Co-op household that want to attend.

In Albuquerque: We welcome all our members to our Annual Membership Gathering at 6pm at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 2401 12th Street NW.

For more information, contact Robin at: robins@lamontanita.coop or call 505-217-2027.

SAVE THE DATES!

There are literally hundreds of experiments going on at different levels that point to changes in ownership as a way to build new institutions—institutions that emerge from a more locally minded set of values. SCOTT: In your writing and speaking you’ve used the term “evolutionary reconstruction” to describe the work of the next several decades. What do you mean? GAR: What I’m talking about is the reconstruction of a culture of community in this country! And that’s a project that depends not only on local-level work, but also on institution building and long-term cultural change. It’s not just about climate change or any other issue; it’s about re-conceiving ourselves as people who care about the country and want to move it in a different direction.

you OWN it!

Through all of this, we should remember to think of ourselves as historical actors. We are facing systemic problems, like climate change, that are historic in scale. And you don’t change systems without thinking in terms of decades. Big shifts happen all the time in world history: the American Revolution, the French Revolution, even the modern environmental movement. But all of these things were thirty or forty years in development before they exploded. That’s true of the civil rights movement: there were people in the 1930s and ’40s whose names we’ve never heard of who were developing a long-term vision that made possible what happened in the 1960s. Without that kind of a vision, there is no base for a larger change. Developing a democratically oriented alternative to capitalism can’t be done overnight. This work requires a different sense of time and a deep sense of commitment—the bargaining chips are decades of our lives. What we’re seeing is the prehistory, possibly, of the next great change, in which a movement is built from the grassroots that becomes the foundation of a new era. Gar Alperovitz Gar Alperovitz is a distinguished historian, political economist, activist and writer. He is currently the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland and is a former Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University; Harvard’s Institute of Politics; the Institute for Policy Studies; and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of critically acclaimed articles and books including American Beyond Capitalism, Unjust Desserts and What Now Must We Do.

THE MORE YOU SPEND THE MORE YOU SAVE OCTOBER IS

MEMBER

APPRECIATION VOLUME

DISCOUNT SHOPPING MONTH!

GET UP TO 2 0 % OFF

shop&

save Watch your home mailbox for your volume discount shopping coupon. Bring it to any Co-op location during the month of October and get up to 20% off one shopping trip! The more you spend the more you save!

Up to 20%!!!

$0.00-$74.99: get 10% off • $75-$174.99: get 15% off $175 + : get 20% off!


happenings

La Montañita Cooperative A Community-Owned Natural Foods Grocery Store Nob Hill 7am – 10pm M – Sa, 8am – 10pm Su 3500 Central SE, ABQ, NM 87106 505-265-4631 Valley 7am – 10pm M – Su 2400 Rio Grande NW, ABQ, NM 87104 505-242-8800 Gallup 8am – 8pm M – Sa, 11am – 8pm Su 105 E Coal, Gallup, NM 87301 505-863-5383 Santa Fe 7am – 10pm M – Sa, 8am – 10pm Su 913 West Alameda, Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-984-2852

9TH

October 2014 2

ANNUAL TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURE AND

SUSTAINABLE LIVING CONFERENCE

saving, traditional farming, land restoration, traditional medicine and medicinal herbs.

OCTOBER 3-4

Northern New Mexico College BY LORRAINE KAHNERATOKWAS GRAY, FOUR BRIDGES TRAVELING PERMACULTURE INSTITUTE he Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute announces the 9th Annual Traditional Agriculture and Sustainable Living Conference to be held October 3-4 at the Nick L. Salazar Performing Arts Building of Northern New

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Grab n’ Go 8am – 6pm M – F, 11am – 4pm Sa UNM Bookstore, 2301 Central SW, ABQ, NM 87131 505-277-9586 Westside 7am – 10pm M – Su 3601 Old Airport Ave, ABQ, NM 87114 505-503-2550

Administration Offices 9am – 5pm, M – F 901 Menaul NE, ABQ, NM 87107 505-217-2001

Store Team Leaders: • Valerie Smith/Nob Hill 265-4631 valeries@lamontanita.coop • John Mulle/Valley 242-8800 jm@lamontanita.coop • William Prokopiak/Santa Fe 984-2852 willpro@lamontanita.coop • Sydney Null/Gallup 575-863-5383 sydneyn@lamontanita.coop • Joe Phy/Westside 505-503-2550 josephp@lamontanita.coop Co-op Board of Directors: email: bod@lamontanita.coop • President: Martha Whitman • Vice President: Marshall Kovitz • Secretary: Ariana Marchello • Lisa Banwarth-Kuhn • Jake Garrity • Leah Rocco • Jessica Rowland • Rosemary Romero • Tracy Sprouls Membership Costs: $15 for 1 year/ $200 Lifetime Membership Co-op Connection Staff: • Managing Editor: Robin Seydel robins@lamontanita.coop 217-2027 • Layout and Design: foxyrock inc • Cover/Centerfold: Co-op Marketing Dept. • Advertising: Sarah Wentzel-Fisher • Editorial Assistant: Sarah Wentzel-Fisher sarahwf@lamontanita.coop 217-2016 • Printing: Vanguard Press Membership information is available at all four Co-op locations, or call 217-2027 or 877-775-2667 email: robins@lamontanita.coop website: www.lamontanita.coop Membership response to the newsletter is appreciated. Email the Managing Editor, robins@lamontanita.coop Copyright ©2014 La Montañita Co-op Supermarket Reprints by prior permission. The Co-op Connection is printed on 65% post-consumer recycled paper. It is recyclable.

The Traditional Agriculture and Sustainable Living Conference is a organized by a partnership of like-minded organizations including the Pueblo of Tesuque, Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute, the indigenous program at Northern New Mexico College, and Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association (TNAFA). This conference was originally created to bring awareness of the presence, prevalence and threat of genetically modified food seeds and foods. In cooperation with the Native American communities of Northern New Mexico and their tradition of agriculture and self-sufficiency, we are asking people to abandon their reliance on corporate agriculture and consumer lifestyles. Native American communities demonstrate the validity of traditional agriculture and knowledge and will share their world view during this conference.

Cooperative Distribution Center 9am – 5pm, M – F 901 Menaul NE, ABQ, NM 87107 505-217-2010

Administrative Staff: 217-2001 TOLL FREE: 877-775-2667 (COOP) • General Manager/Terry Bowling 217-2020 terryb@lamontanita.coop • Controller/John Heckes 217-2029 johnh@lamontanita.coop • Computers/Info Technology David Varela 217-2011 tech@lamontanita.coop • Operations Manager/Bob Tero 217-2028 bobt@lamontanita.coop • Human Resources/Sharret Rose 217-2023 hr@lamontanita.coop • Marketing/Edite Cates 217-2024 editec@lamontanita.coop • Membership/Robin Seydel 217-2027 robins@lamontanita.coop • CDC/MichelleFranklin 217-2010 mf@lamontanita.coop

In light of the recent proposal to bring 80 acres of GMO Poplar trees to Espanola Valley, the conference will have a strong theme teaching about the extreme threat of GMOs to our environment, food supply, and human health.

It is our position that genetic modification of our food may be the worst pollution problem facing mankind. Genetic modification cannot be cleaned up. There is no process to reverse genetic modification and bring the organic material back to its original state. Genetic modifications made today are forever. Mexico College, in Espanola, New Mexico. The conference will include keynote speeches by Percy Schmeiser, Jefferey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology, Nina Simons of Bioneers, and arriving from Bolivia, Los Masis, an Andean cultural performance group. The conference is designed to generate proactive community response in support of sustainable communities, ecologies, health, and indigenous spiritual practices. This year’s conference will again be a multi-national fellowship with speakers and participants from Bolivia, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Canada and the US, as well as many Native American tribes from across the country. The event will also feature local and regional experts in the areas of food security and sustainable ecology, a heritage seed exchange, workshops and panel discussions on youth issues in the 21st century, food and nutrition, seed

LOCAL

FOOD FESTIVAL AND

FIELD DAY At Gutierrez-Hubbell House, 6029 Isleta Blvd. SW BY TIFFANY TERRY, MRCOG AGRICULTURAL COLLABORATIVE t the sixth annual Local Food Festival & Field Day, we invite you to enjoy fun with your friends, family and neighbors while you “Discover the many faces of local food.” This year’s festival offers so much! New events and offerings include: • a beer garden by Marble Brewery, • horseback rides by 4-H, • a community seed mural project with the SEED Collective and ABC Library’s mini “seed library”, • “Ask a Gardener” by Master Gardeners • food drive collection stations for Road Runner Food Bank!

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In addition, enjoy festival favorites like the Edible Santa Fe chef demos and pie contest for kids and adults, FREE cooking and gardening workshops, live music, storytelling, poetry reading, horno bread baking, 4-H petting zoo, face painting, rock climbing and more! Appreciate the crisp fall morning and scenic views when you join the coordinated BikeABQ ride to the festival. Park your bike with the bike valet, stroll and shop on grassy fields from booths by local farmers—like Wagner Farms and other local food entrepreneurs. Bring your reusable bags and take advantage of all the great local products these small business owners offer! Sit a spell in the ample shade with refreshing options like cold local beer from Marble Brewery’s beer garden, tasty meals and beverages from the ABQ Food Truck pod. Enjoy chef demos, live music, storytelling, poetry, workshops and more.

FOOD!

SANTA FE FARMERS’MARKET

Fall Fiesta October 11 at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Pavilion njoy a beautiful evening of delicious local food, honor fine local producers, and share the joy of community with the local agricultural community as you help generate vital operating funds for the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute’s farmer and community outreach programs. This year, the event has a special focus in that it is raising funds for the EBT Double Vale Program. Two local foundations will match donations for this important program that provides underserved members of the community with access to fresh, local food by doubling the value of their EBT dollars.

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• Dinner made by an eclectic collection of Santa Fe’s top chefs using locally grown ingredients • An awesome variety of Silent Auction Items • An amazing collection of Live Action Items • A Raffle drawing for your choice of live Auction Items • An honoring of three beloved agricultural producers

October 12 from 11am to 4pm

Discover the many faces of LOCAL

For more information or to register for the conference visit email four bridges@live.com or www.fourbridges.org.

For more information, to RSVP or make a donation to support their programs go towww.farmersmarketinstitute.org or contact Kierstan Pickens: kierstan@farmersmarketinstitute.org at 505-983-7726 ext105.

Qualifying “local food” vendors (e.g., farmers, salsa makers and other “value-added producers”) and community organizations interested in participating can still reserve a space at the festival. Read about the “local food” criteria and sign up at bit.ly/1sc94R7. In the new outdoor art exhibit, “Faces of Local Food,” you will find beautiful photo posters of people from farmers to eaters, community builders to policy makers, parents to children and many more sharing why local food matters to them. You still have time to participate in an online version of the "Faces of Local Food" exhibit. Submit your own photos and join the "Faces of Local Food" online exhibit at www.ediblesantafe.com. See you on Sunday, October 12th! For more information: localfoodnm@mrcog-nm.gov or 505-724-3619.

FOOD

FRIENDS

&GAR

ON SATURDAY, OCT. 18 DON’T MISS AN EXCITING OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR GAR ALPEROVITZ AND share in a lively discussion about the future of cooperatives. Co-op members enjoy a FREE New Mexican feast at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. RSVP by October 12 at www.lamontanita.coop. For more information: robins@lamontanita.coop or at 505-217-2027. Hear him in Santa Fe on Friday, October 17 at 6:30pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 107 W. Barcelona Road. Sponsors are La Montañita Co-op, We Are People Here, and New Economy community activists.

OCTOBER 17-18

CO-OP MEMBER GATHERINGS

NEW ECONOMY WEEKEND

harvest


cooperative

democracy

October 2014 3

Staying True to Our Principles:

PRINCIPLE 6

COOPERATION AMONG BY ROBIN SEYDEL

A

t La Montanita our dedication to the seven cooperative principles has never wavered. In all our decision making processes, our actions, the utilization of Co-op resources and our Board of Directors crafted “Ends Policies,” which some organizations might call mission/vision, we consider how to best fulfill the needs of our community in relation to these principles. Crafted originally by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in the mid-nineteenth century, the principles, with slight alterations by the International Cooperative Alliance, are even more important today. Given the state of the nation, the world and the need for and expansion of true economy democracy it is hardly surprising that interest in cooperatives has in the past few years experienced strong renewal. Our adherence to some of the principles is quite evident. In brief, some of our commitments include: Principle 1: Open and Voluntary Membership. Everyone, member or not, is welcome to shop at La Montanita and membership is open to everyone in our community, should they choose to become an owner. Principle 2: Democratic Control. Our one member, one vote annual elections for the Board of Directors and bylaw amendments happen every November. Board members are elected to represent the needs and wants of the 17,000 households that own this consumer cooperative; they are responsible for crafting the larger organizational vision. Principle 3: Member Economic Participation. Over the years, based on purchases, member-owners received well over 4.5 million in patronage refunds. These refunds are based on patronage, how much owners use the cooperative business they own, rather than on investment as in the corporate model. Principle 4: Autonomy and Independence. Although we participate in other cooperative organizations including the National Cooperative Grocers Association, get loans for expansion from the New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union (a financial cooperative), and partner with them on our La Montanita Fund grassroots micro-lending project, we maintain our independence and autonomy. Principle 5: Information, Education and Training. This very publication has been educating on links between food, health and environmental issues in the community since

Our volunteer program and our La Montanita Fund grassroots investing and loan program are models that have been successfully utilized by coops around the nation. La Montanita regularly trains staff from other coops, hosting them as they shadow our staff, providing materials, information and training. We have helped start-up co-ops and relatively new co-ops grow their capacity. Our CDC delivers weekly, both locally sourced products and national brands to small cooperatives, when national distributors will not service them, providing access to products they otherwise would not be able to carry. Just a few of the co-ops La Montanita supports in one way or another include: Espanola, Taos, La Cruses and El Morro in New Mexico and Durango, Alamosa, Trinidad and Manitou Springs in Colorado, Sweet Grass Beef Co-op, the Family Farmers’ Seed Co-op, and the new Headwaters Co-op, an organic produce grower’s co-op, to name a few. Cooperation rather than competition is one of the important hallmarks of the cooperative economic model. We believe that we all do better when WE ALL DO BETTER! Our community ownership model provides hope for a future with a more equitable distribution of wealth and true economic democracy for all.

BY LILIANA CASTILLO t the Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund (CVNMEF), we believe that protecting our environment starts with the people of New Mexico. Our vision is for a New Mexico where decision-makers and public policies represent the conservation values of our people.

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We are working toward our vision by engaging the people of New Mexico in our long-standing shared values of protecting our air, land, water, and the health of our communities. We do this by mobilizing people to advocate on policy, enhancing the voting process, encouraging people to vote, cultivating conservation leaders, and amplifying the voices of those most affected by environmental injustice. Conservation values run deep and are an entrenched part of history and culture in this state. Those values are at times not reflected in the decisions made by some New Mexican elected officials. Working closely with local residents and leaders from communities throughout rural

EDUCATION FUND New Mexico, CVNMEF engages communities in these areas around the environmental issues important to them. Since 2005, CVNMEF has worked to effectively advocate for conservation by convening the Environmental Alliance of New Mexico, a coalition of two dozen organizations working to advance a common agenda of environmental priorities at the state legislature. EANM’s partner networks and membership represent over 50,000 New Mexicans statewide and cross-sector interests including public health, business, faith, sportsmen, clean energy, environmental justice and conservation interests. EANM serves as a primary way to unify and align the conservation community and demonstrate broad support for conservation policy. CVNMEF provides a plethora of educational information and trainings to help people take action for environmental protection. Some of the activities that CVNMEF promotes are contacting our elected officials, writing letters to the editor, testifying at public meetings and hearings, and participating in town hall meetings. For more information, or to make a donation, go to www.CVN MEF.org.

BAG CREDIT ORGANIZATION of the month: Conservation Voter of New Mexico Education Fund: working to enhance the voting process, encouraging people to vote, cultivating conservation leaders and amplifying the voices of those most affected on environmental issues. Your AUGUST Bag Credit Donations of $2,295.60 went to Camp Fire Kids Care Program. THANKS TO ALL WHO DONATED!

WESTSIDE 3601 Old Airport Ave. NW 505-503-2550

Alamed a Blvd. Coors Blvd.

of the Month

your BAG CREDIT!

Our dedication to this principle runs deep and wide! We have consulted at a wide variety of co-ops, both regionally and nationally, on a diverse set of operational and community development issues. The hundreds of collective years of expertise we bring to these consults would, on the open market, cost co-ops dearly if they had to hire conventional consultants.

COOP

ORGANIZATION

DONATE

But where is Principle 6 you ask? It is our work around Principle 6: Cooperation among Cooperatives, that many people might not know much about our activities.

conservation voters of new mexico

BAG CREDIT

CO-OP PROGRAM

Principle 7: Concern for Community. Our dedication to this principle is evidenced quite publicly by: our foodshed project that is growing the local food system to provide good food, good jobs, and a healthier eco-system; our Veteran Farmer Project that is training vets and other community members in sustainable agricultural food production and our volunteer program that makes shopping at the Co-op accessible for over 200 people with limited income by allowing them to serve the community and shop at an 18% discount at the Co-op, among our many other community service activities.

Old A irport Ave.

CO-OPS

1987. Gatherings like the recent CO-OPversations, weekly e-news blasts and other social media have also been added as the information landscape has changed. Also, for an organization of our size we spend a large proportion of our operational budget on a variety of staff trainings and education.

Old Airport Ave. Co-op Values Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Co-op Principles 1 Voluntary and Open Membership 2 Democratic Member Control 3 Member Economic Participation 4 Autonomy and Independence 5 Education, Training and Information 6 Cooperation among Cooperatives 7 Concern for Community The Co-op Connection is published by La Montanita Co-op Supermarket to provide information on La Montanita Co-op Supermarket, the cooperative movement, and the links between food, health, environment and community issues. Opinions expressed herein are of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Co-op.


co-ops meet needs

October 2014 4

COOPERATIVES

FOR ECOLOGICAL REGENERATION

BACK to the

mortgage speculation as contrary to the interests of their members. Consumer cooperatives mostly focus on the essentials necessary to a healthy society: food, water, electricity, insurance and finance. Their primary mission is to provide public services, not to act as engines for wealth accumulation. This public service orientation is why it is not such a big leap to extend the cooperative model to ecological restoration and carbon sequestration.

FUTURE! BY COURTNEY WHITE, QUIVIRA COALITION Cooperative Behavior ood for People, Not for Profit—as with many co-ops that started up in the late 60s and early 70s, this was the original slogan of La Montañita Food Cooperative, which was founded in Albuquerque in 1976 with three hundred member families. According to Robin Seydel, a co-op staff person since 1985, it was very much a “hippie” establishment in the beginning, dedicated to gaining access to hard to find food, including organics, whole grains and macrobiotics. The co-op also threw early jabs at the industrial food system by offering workshops on food irradiation, GMOs, and the links between pesticides and cancer. Its counterculture spirit even extended to its organizational structure. By setting up as a member-owned cooperative association, it defined itself as an alternative to the corporate model of soulless profit making.

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Co-ops for Ecological Regeneration Fast forward nearly forty years and what was once counterculture is now mainstream. Today, La Montañita has over 17,000 member households, employs nearly 300 people, manages six stores in three cities, operates a regional food distribution hub and is an active member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association, where over 140 food co-ops have combined annual sales of more than $1.5 billion and over one million consumer-owners. This good news begs a question: could other kinds of regenerative activities considered economically challenging today—such as building soil carbon, restoring damaged ecosystems or feeding large numbers of people sustainably—follow a similar trajectory? Perhaps cooperatives are the ticket to getting this important work accomplished as well. What about a restoration cooperative! It’s not a pipe dream. Cooperatives are all around us, including workerowned manufacturing co-ops, depositor-owned credit unions and agricultur-

QUIVIRA

CONFERENCE NOV. 12-14 al marketing co-ops. Overall, there are nearly 30,000 cooperatives in the United States, accounting for two million jobs and $500 billion in annual revenues. IRSrecognized categories include 1) consumer cooperatives, which are owned by the people who buy their products or use their services—REI is the nation’s largest example; 2) producer cooperatives, set up so that farmers and others can sell their products under one label—Organic Valley, for instance; 3) purchasing cooperatives—like the members of the National Cooperative Grocers Association; and 4) worker cooperatives, which are owned and run by employees. The consumer cooperative category is by far the largest in the United States and the movement as a whole is gaining momentum. Recent research suggests why: the broad and diverse benefits created by co-ops make them resilient in a crisis. Credit unions, for example, survived the Great Recession of 2008 relatively unscathed because they viewed rampant

NEW MEXICO HEALTH -

BY LYDIA T. ASHANIN o one likes insurance very much. We need it if we drive a car or own a house, and the Affordable Care Act now requires us to have health insurance. One of the many changes the ACA brought to our healthcare system is a new insurance company model—one that focuses on keeping people well instead of waiting until they get sick. This new model is a CO-OP health plan.

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New Mexico Health Connections (NMHC) is New Mexico’s only nonprofit, consumer operated and oriented (CO-OP) health plan. As new entrant in the marketplace, NMHC is a change agent, bringing innovation and creativity to the health insurance industry, which is traditionally staid and risk-averse. NMHC breaks the old paradigm through its commitment to

NMHC puts its members first by striving to improve their access to healthcare. We offer our members: • $0 copay for generic medications for nine common chronic conditions. • $0 copay for most generic behavioral health medications. • $0 copay for the first three behavioral health visits for most plans.

Come to the Quivira Coalition Conference, BACK TO THE FUTURE for more on ecological restoration. Register at www.quiviracoalition.org.

CO-OP health plans differ from commercial health plans in two significant ways. The first is the CO-OP model itself, which emphasizes a strong consumer focus as a primary value. NMHC is overseen by a Board of Directors, of whom 51% or more must be elected from the pool of NMHC members. This gives our members a voice and ensures that NMHC will stay focused on what is best for them.

well-care instead of sick-care, its prioritization of people over profits, and its ethical commitments to members, provider partners, and communities. Any profits NMHC makes must be reinvested into benefits and programs to help improve the healthcare members receive. We are a lean, start-up health plan, which enables us to work closely with contracted providers to coordinate members’ care and lower their overall healthcare costs. And our members can travel anywhere within the US and get care if they need it.

Counterculture indeed! There are many reasons to support the cooperative model. La Montañita pays a living wage—and did so before living wages became popular—and it provides an excellent benefits package. Its food hub, the Co-op Distribution Center, serves several hundred local producers in a 300 mile radius around Albuquerque. It is farmerand rancher-friendly, sending them the important message that they can count on the Co-op. This explains the unofficial motto of the cooperative movement: “We were local before local was cool.” Cooperatives are cool. And important to our future!

• $0 copay for the first three primary care visits (starting in 2015).

CONNECTIONS CO OP MODEL WORKS FOR HEALTH INSURANCE TOO!

“The cooperative economy is helping to reawaken an ancient wisdom about living together in community, something largely lost in the spread of capitalism,” writes Marjorie Kelly, an author and advocate for cooperatives. Cooperatives represent a need that “arises from an unexpected place—not from government action, or protests in the streets, but from within the structure of our economy itself. Not from the leadership of a charismatic individual, but from the longing in many hearts, the genius of many minds, the effort of many hands to build what we know, instinctively, we need.”

The second difference is that CO-OP health plans are truly nonprofit, mission-driven rather than shareholder profit-driven. NMHC is required to return all income that exceeds expenses to its members in the form of increased member benefits or lower premiums. Because NMHC is a New Mexico-domiciled health plan, its money stays in New Mexico, whether through payments to healthcare providers or profits reinvested in member benefits. The 2014 theme for National CO-OP Month is “The CO-OP Connection. How Does Your CO-OP Connect?” At NMHC we connect with you to help keep you well, and with our partners to help keep our community healthy and vibrant.

CREDIT UNIONS

specific, unique needs. And many credit unions are exploring ways of providing micro-financing options to assist different underserved communities.

STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES THROUGH COOPERATIVE ACTION

Financial Tools, Education and Resources BY BRANDON MCFATRIDGE on’t go it alone;” “it takes a village;” lots of these inspirational phrases are familiar, and truth is threaded through all of them. Cooperative action is the best way to prevail over challenges and to share equitably in benefits. Like La Montanita, your New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union (NMEFCU) is founded on cooperative principles. The NMEFCU is the state’s largest financial co-op, with more than 140,000 member-owners. If you aren’t yet a member, you’re eligible to join through your membership with La Montanita.

“D

• Running Start for Careers: a program designed to give area high school students real-life experience in high-demand industries. • La Montanita FUND: where agricultural and food-based suppliers can receive financial support even though they may not qualify for a traditional loan.

Your credit union is dedicated to the co-op values of giving back to members and the community. Tying action with the idea that the greater good of each individual is strengthened by community sustainability, the credit union provides financial tools, education, and resources throughout the state.

The credit union also contributes to charity organizations each year through its unique Community Rewards program, in which members select charity organizations as recipients of a portion of their debit card purchases. Members also have a matching amount returned to them.

The credit union’s financial capability team offers in-depth curricula and workshops to empower New Mexicans to manage finances more effectively. As one of the state leaders in this area, the credit union partners with the University of New Mexico (UNM), Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), Albuquerque Public Schools (APS), and other community organizations to offer classes. And for those without time for full-length financial classes, the credit union team provides workshops on buying a car or house, on managing credit, and creating savings plans.

Combining advocacy, programs, outreach, and research, credit unions across the country are helping people reach the American dream, especially in communities that lack access to traditional banking. Stepping in where banks won’t for immigrant, elderly, and disabled people, credit unions target ways to meet

Other ways the credit union works to strengthen the local community include: • Innovate ABQ: to improve educational, workforce, and economic opportunities here in the state of New Mexico now and for generations to come.

A recent and dramatic example is how Alliance CU, in Jennings, MO., is extending a $5,000, 0% interest loan to a family restaurant in Ferguson, MO. and is assisting eight local businesses restock and recover and they provided funds immediately after riots there. The World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) mission is to make strides in ending poverty by providing financial services to low-income people throughout the world where banking services are otherwise rare or nonexistent. Credit union networks or services are now offered in Bolivia, Mexico, Afghanistan, and Kenya, among others. WOCCU is building communities’ local financial institutions during and/or after conflict or natural disasters, is supporting at-risk communities, providing training and peer-to-peer programs to prevent HIV/AIDs in Kenya and funding orphanages there. Working together for the benefit of all; it’s a worthy cause for all of us to join in on. For information on the WOCCU please visit www.woccu.org. For more information on NMEFCU please visit www.nmefcu.org.

GOat GREEN ! your Get your locally grown GREEN VEGGIES CO-OP

at any Co-op location. Fresh, fair, organic...


october is national co-op month CO-OPS ARE EVERYWHERE

SHIFTING

THE FOCUS OF BUSINESS

BY SARAH WENTZEL-FISHER o-ops often hide in plain sight. They are all around us all over the world. They take the form of electric companies, agricultural businesses, sporting goods stores, media outlets, banks, breweries, bookstores, bike shops, and, of course, grocery stores. To the consumer, co-ops function like any other business. The fundamental differences between coops and privately or publicly owned corporations are ownership, where the money goes, and who sets the business priorities.

C

Matthews published in the Times Higher Education, reorganizing as a coop represents a solution to financial woes, as well as greater democracy. At a time when academic institutions struggle to remain financially viable and students and researchers are increasingly asked to shoulder the financial burden, would restructuring as a co-op provide a solution with its model of collective ownership and democratic governance?

GROW

The cooperative model also represents a method for starting business without one person needing to have significant start-up capital. This September a cash-poor, but social capital rich group opened the doors of one of very few cooperative breweries in Minneapolis. Fair State Brewery engaged over 350 members at $200 each for lifetime membership. The brewery leveraged the capital to open its doors, and founding members Evan Sallee, Niko Tonks and Matthew Hauck happily pour pints with the motto, “Drink like you own the place.”

CO-OPs!

As a refresher, a co-op is owned and governed by its members. These individuals or groups of businesses all have an equal stake in governing the organization and they share in the profits. They are owned by and operated for the benefit of those using the co-op’s services. Because they wear their co-op model on their sleeve, natural foods co-ops like La Montanita often get their business model misinterpreted by the media. For example, I often hear people say the co-op is a nonprofit, or the co-op is a member club. Our business is neither of these—it is a cooperative. The co-op model has had economic significance historically. The official designation the US government and the IRS recognize (www.sba.gov/content/cooperative) has its roots in the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers who formed a cooperative in Rochdale, England in 1844 to address the needs of textile workers not being paid adequately to afford basic staples. The founders articulated a set of guiding principles that most modern co-ops worldwide acknowledge as a baseline for their operations. (See page 3 for the cooperative principles.) In modern times, as resources are increasingly unevenly distributed among the haves and have-nots, the cooperative model has grown in strength. What the cooperative model represents for many businesses is not just a distribution of wealth, but also a shift in focus from profits to a more mission driven business. For example, this fall the Centre for Human Ecology, a Glasgow-based academic institution will decide whether or not to restructure as a cooperative. According to an article by Dave

Education plays an important role in making the cooperative model viable. Without a clear understanding and direct experience with how a co-op works, considering it as a viable business model may seem challenging. Much of the work around cooperative youth leadership development in the US happens through the support and initiative of rural electric co-ops. This year the National Rural Electric Co-op Association will celebrate fifty years of a Youth Leadership Council. Regional rural electric coops choose young leaders to learn the co-op model, attend summer leadership camps and visit DC to engage elected officials. Cooperatives are growing, but coops only work and thrive when the membership actively participates in the business. Participation takes many different forms. At La Montanita, members primarily participate by shopping, but members can also volunteer, vote in elections, and run for the board. Every level of participation is valuable! Next time you shop at the Co-op, consider: what do your purchases mean to the business? What does the business mean to the community? Then, consider sharing these thoughts with a friend.

October 2014 5

Mary Alice Cooper, MD


CO-OP news

October 2014 6

CO-OPVERSATIONS: just the

BEGINNING LISA BANWARTH-KUHN, FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS lbuquerque’s Tractor Brewery, on 4th Street NW, provided a warm and pleasant atmosphere for the first CO-OPversation that was held Thursday, August 21. Twenty-nine people sat side by side in a small meeting room: a friendly gathering at the end of a regular workday. People said hello and introduced themselves to one another. Some folks had a local brew or root beer, and everyone was relaxed in anticipation of what was to come. BY

A

The CO-OPversation began with a short presentation from Jessica Rowland and Leah Roco, two La Montanita Board Members. Participants were asked to reflect on the idea of “Community Wealth” and how to build a culture within our community that is concerned with democratizing wealth.

MEMBERSHIP IS OWNERSHIP say. Even more lively discussion continued when people shared their thoughts about what they would like to see in their community, and what steps could be taken to create and strengthen democratization of wealth.

Discussion opened up when partners began to share how they themselves participate in community wealth building. Many took a moment after they began sharing to realize that it could be as simple as riding a bicycle instead of using a car; helping a neighbor by watering plants; picking up trash in the neighborhood; creating a community garden or volunteering to tutor or mentor youth. Beyond these, some people lived in a housing co-op; became a member of La Montanita; joined a local credit union; are working in local community government and some were involved in Southwest Organizing Project; which is actively involved in working to empower communities in the Southwest to realize racial and gender equality and social and economic justice.

When the short hour of CO-OPversation ended, attendees wanted more time to visit, to share and to explore the possibilities of individual actions and the potential of creating sustainable community projects. In that spirit, there were two more CO-OPversations on September 18 at 5:30pm: one in Santa Fe and another at Albuquerque’s Bachechi Open Space. We hope at some point in the future to continue these productive and fun community dialogues. All these friendly community get-togethers are in preparation for La Montanita’s Annual Membership Meeting on October 18 where our guest speaker, Gar Alperovitz will speak on why and how to build a culture that is concerned with building community wealth. DON’T MISS IT! SEE PAGE 1 FOR DETAILS.

Time passed quickly and everyone enjoyed sharing their thoughts; the feeling in the room was upbeat and energetic. The only complaint was there wasn’t enough time to really enjoy what each person had to

Letters to the the

Editor

always revealing. If you disagree with Eden Foods' practices, do not purchase their products. When done with purpose with like minded consumers, it will send a powerful message.

THE EDEN COMMUNITY DIALOGUE CONTINUES

TO MY BELOVED CO-OP, I am a long time member and regular writer for the Co-op Connection. I disagree with the position taken by the three authors of the recently published letter to the editor. I actually will not speak to my position on the political issue behind their proposal. I don't feel it's pertinent. There are few to no corporations that share all of my religious and ideological views, which range from very liberal, somewhat conservative and even libertarian on some issues. While I can provide many things for myself, the reality is I must purchase products for myself and my family. Should I require a company to line up with all my views, I'd be in some trouble! I prioritize my preferences, balance them against my financial means, and do my best, as I'm sure most of us do.

My next point is that I know people from all walks of life who shop at La Montanita. I know evangelical Christians, practicing Roman Catholics (as well as the not-so practicing), Jewish families, Buddhists, atheists and more. How can La Montanita satisfy all of us?! Well, by providing quality food. That is what connects us. IF (notice the capitalization) Eden Foods satisfies the Co-op's current requirements for consideration for merchandise, please let the end consumer decide. We are often encouraged to "Vote with our dollar." While our country struggles with abysmal voter turnout, our dollars consistently show where our values lie. As discouraging as this might be, it is

My last point is that there are many products and companies some of us might find questionable at a grocery store, even La Montanita. I'm sure you all struggle with drawing, erasing, moving and shading those lines. Do we carry Coca Cola products? There goes Odwalla, Zico Coconut water, Honest Tea. Love Seeds of Change? They're owned by a hugely popular candy maker and one could see them as poisoning our children. I won't argue whether or not they are, but that if you feel they do, you can personally boycott them. In summary, please let ME decide which food to purchase. THANK YOU, AMYLEE UDELL

Dear

Editor

I am writing to Pam England, Barbara Grothus, and Katie Stone’s letter regarding Eden Foods in the September edition of Co-op Connection. As a citizens of the US, we are guaranteed the right to freedom of religion by the First Amendment of the Constitution. This means more than the right to freedom of worship; it is the right to exercise one’s beliefs in the public square, including where one makes a living. The owner of Eden Foods, Michael Potter, is a Roman Catholic. Catholicism holds that life begins at conception, continues through natural death and is sacred. The termination of life through the use of contraceptive drugs is, therefore, not permissible in his world view. The law does not ask him to surrender this world view to a competing one when he goes to work in the morning. I am sure we can agree that this would be hypocritical and not in keeping with a whole, integrated life. The Supreme Court affirmed this in the Hobby Lobby case. The decision did not interfere with a woman’s right to obtain contraceptive coverage should she choose to do so. Rather, it ruled that owners of family busi-

nesses would not have to pay for these services when they run contrary to their convictions. La Montanita Co-op is composed of members who form a community around food. We do not all share the same political or spiritual beliefs. We form a microcosm of the society as a whole. Some of us are Roman Catholic or Evangelical Protestant and share Mr. Potter’s convictions. It would be a mistake for La Montanita Co-op to align itself with one part of its membership to boycott Eden Foods. This would be an expression of intolerance. It would, in effect, say to those of us who dissent from this position that we must support a political agenda, which runs counter to what we can reasonably support, in order to shop here. Though I would find it a tremendous loss to relinquish my Co-op membership after 17 years, I would take my purchasing power elsewhere. I’m certain others would do likewise. With this in mind, allow me to suggest that if there is any boycotting to be done in this case, it should be an individual decision, not a community one. SINCERELY, MELISSA HOLT, CO-OP MEMBER

the DELIGHTS of CHEESE!

THURSDAY OCTOBER 16 6:30PM

AT THE SANTA FE CO-OP Enjoy an evening of delicious cheese tasting and education! October 16 in the Santa Fe Co-op’s Community Room, from 6:30pm to 8pm. OCTOBER’S TOPIC – SAY CHEVRE “Explore more than cow’s milk – we’ll be looking at varieties of sheep, goat and buffalo milk cheese.” • All participants get a special coupon for 10% off • Gluten-Free participants please let us know at time of registration! • Min. 10, Max. 20 participants • Pre-Registration required for class each month! Register at the Santa Fe Co-op Info Desk. lamontanita.coop/sf-cheese-classes

JUST SAY

CHEVRE!


co-op news

October 2014 7

DURANGO

L

ast month I provided information on the possible merger with the Durango Co-op. Since that time, I have visited Durango and decided not to move forward. I don’t believe this acquisition would have been a good fit for either Co-op. I appreciated the opportunity to explore this possibility but it is time to move on. We have always enjoyed working with Durango and will continue that relationship as part of our commitment to Cooperative Principle 6: Cooperation among Cooperatives.

new members) at this location. We are building a cooperative community where there was none. We entered into a market full of national players and are surviving. We have provided new living wage jobs with generous benefits for people in the community. I am confident this location will serve this community for years to come.

While the Westside Co-op has seen its challenges, our CDC (Cooperative Distribution Center) has made great gains this past fiscal year. We are close Our fiscal year ended August 31; as to breaking even and have reached our usual, the time went by much too fast goal of five million in sales a year THE INSIDE SCOOP and it’s hard to believe we are into ahead of projections. Our CDC staff autumn with winter not far ahead. It was has and is working hard to achieve an interesting year at La Montanita with the opening these results. What a great example of starting at of our Westside store in October 2013. While sales at zero, then over the years, building a model that serves this location are growing, the store has not achieved our local producers, while providing product to many expected sales projections; which has reduced our net local business that otherwise would have a difficult income for the year, which in turn will reduce the time accessing these products. patronage refund distributed in December. As soon as we complete our year end financials and our review Our Nob Hill store remains steady, and Rio Grande with the independent auditors, I will know more has done well and has not been impacted by the about the numbers. Westside store as much as we had projected. The Santa Fe and Gallup stores have enjoyed remarkable In the late summer and early fall, the Westside store sales increases. My thanks to all of you for your conenjoyed improved sales and has recently had the best tinued support of La Montanita. I can be reached by sales week to date. I have been involved with many new e-mail at terryb@lamontanita.coop or by phone at stores and one of two scenarios usually occurs: they 505-217-2020. I hope to see many of you at the either begin with strong sales or take a few years to Annual Member Meeting on October 18. -TERRY B. achieve the desired results. While it may take some time for this store to gain the traction we want, the Westside store has much to be proud of; 3,500 members have either joined or renewed their memberships (most are

October Calendar

of Events 10/12 RSVP Deadline for the Annual Member Dinner on October 18 10/16 Delights of Cheese Class, 5:30pm, Santa Fe location, community room 10/17 Gar Speaks in Santa Fe, 5:30pm see page 1 for details 10/18 Annual Member Gathering, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, see page 1 for details 10/21 BOD Meeting, Immanuel Church, 5:30pm

CO-OPS: A Solution-Based System A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs, and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

OCTOBER IS

Member Appreciation VOLUME DISCOUNT

SHOPPING MONTH! The more you spend the more you s a v e ! See page 1 for more details! GET UP TO 20% O FF!

GENERAL MANAGER’S COLUMN terryb@lamontanita.coop

BELGIOIOSO FIVE GENERATIONS OF CHEESE EXPERTISE C H E E S E S P O T L I G H T:

BY DAVE PAYNE, CO-OP DISTRIBUTION CENTER ifth generation cheese maker, Errico Auricchio, came to the US 35 years ago, searching the country for milk that would perform best in Italian-style cheesemaking. He settled in Green Bay, WI and started the company Belgioioso (pronounced bel-joy-oso), bringing his families’ recipes and a couple of experienced cheesemakers from Italy (who still work for the company today). Wisconsin is known for its dairy production and conversion of milk into cheese. Belgioioso has access to both great raw materials and master cheesemakers, and has been able to provide a consistently excellent product in the US since its inception.

F

I had the good fortune to tour a number of Belgioioso’s plants during an 18 hour visit to Green Bay this summer. In years past, I’ve visited Old Windmill Dairy and Tucumcari’s cheese production facilities; both produce great local products on a small to medium scale and are very hands-on, quality products. My first impression regarding Belgioioso was the immense difference in scale: in quantity of milk delivered daily, machinery utilized and in product on hand, aging. Many

hard cheeses are not ready for consumption without a number of months aging in a cave or other temperature and moisture controlled environment. Smaller producers cannot tie up so much inventory in unsold products, which is why much of what our local producers sell are very fresh, unaged cheeses, like chevre and feta. The tour started in the plant where they make Parmesan and Romano. Vats of milk are heated and cultures are added, causing the milk to solidify like jello that’s been in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. The process is monitored by experienced cheese makers dressed all in white, with steel toed rubber galoshes, hair nets, no jewelry and no cellphones allowed, all stashed away in lockers to be retrieved at the end of shift. They use both electric monitors and their experienced senses to tell when the curd is set and ready to be cut and drained. Curds are scooped into hoops where they drain further and set in their wheel shapes before their long soak in brine. Belgioioso prides itself in making cheese in a traditional manner; they don’t skip steps. After a day of draining, the wheels of parmesan and

Co-op Distribution Center UPDATES: FROM PRODUCER TO CONSUMER

CAFE BIEN BY SARAH WENTZEL-FISHER or the next few months, we will shift the focus of our Co-op Distribution Column from producers we work with, to some of our customers, specifically chefs. Many local independent restaurants work closely with the CDC to source local, seasonal ingredients for their menus. We encourage you to visit these chefs and their restaurants and ask about what’s local on the menu.

F

Ernesto Duran, owner and chef of Café Bien, was born and raised in Las Vegas, New Mexico. His love of preparing food began at a young age, as he observed and often helped his mother in the kitchen. Ernesto’s journey as a chef began in 2005 at the Albuquerque Hyatt Regency, where he served as a prep cook in the banquet kitchen. In 2012, Ernesto was promoted to Chef de Cuisine of the Hyatt Regency’s restaurant, Forque. A year later, he made the leap to opening his own establishment at the corner of 3rd and Gold in downtown Albuquerque. Ernesto apprenticed with chefs Phil Beltran and Jeremy Peterson, who both have long relationships working with the CDC. As soon as he was able after opening his doors, he opened his account with our distribution center. Ernesto says

his restaurant is his life’s work—he likes knowing that the farmers and ranchers producing the raw ingredients have the same level of commitment and investment in their craft. His love for food and everything related to taste is where Ernesto’s culinary philosophy begins. He believes in educating his team and shares with them the values that each farmer, butcher, gardener, rancher and forager possess. He believes those individuals are the lifeline of the restaurant industry. When their products originate in an environment where it is cared for and loved until the day it is harvested, food just tastes better. Ernesto says, “I try to honor each individual’s contribution by not wasting or taking any product for granted.” This specific foundation of knowledge and conscious cooking is what Café Bien tries to impart on every plate. A connoisseur of Modern American cuisine, Ernesto explores classic flavor combinations and prepares dishes with a unique twist. Cooking, according to Ernesto, is not just about the food—it is about the experience. In particular, he recommends the Bacon and Eggs, which he prepares using house smoked local Kyzer pork belly. The meat is brined for twenty-four hours, then smoked for many more, before its prepared with poached eggs, green chile potato pancakes, and lots and lots of love. With Chef Ernesto Duran at the helm, prepare your taste buds for a delicious and unforgettable experience.

romano go into a salt water brine, where they stay for weeks. This traditional process adds the appropriate salty taste to the cheese. Some cheeses traditionally add salt to the curd before forming the block or wheel; parmesan is traditionally brined, resulting in great flavor but less salt added to the cheese.

say cheese

Next, the cheese is aged, and the climate controlled rooms where the cheese wheels sit were staggering in regards to aroma (walnut), size (10,000, 25 pound wheels per room) and equipment (shining steel racks and refrigeration that is evenly distributed so wheels don’t crack from being too close to the fans). I was surprised by the amount of inventory and was entranced by the aroma of the aging parmesan.

Finally, the wheels were cryovaced by a machine that looked like it was from a Dr. Seuss drawing, which also lifts the wheels and stacks them onto pallets for further storage. La Montanita’s distribution center purchases both vegetarian rennet parmesan and cow’s milk romano from this facility. After the tours we had lunch at the main facility, where we did comparative tastings of Belgioioso’s products against the competition. I was surprised by the large difference in taste between a great ricotta and a fair one, milky fresh mozzarella against bland and a well balanced parmesan vs. bland. La Montanita prides itself in offering the best products to our members, and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed by Belgioioso’s offerings. Look for them in Coop cheese departments.


up to 20%

up to 20% One Volume Discount Shopping Trip Any Day in October

Shop More, Save More, Get More!

spend...

$0.00 - $74.99 and receive a 10% Discount $75.00 - $174.99 and receive a 15% Discount $175+ and receive a 20% Discount

The Volume Discount cannot be added to any other owner participation discount, special order discount, or any other discount. Your owner status must be current to take advantage of this discount.

La Montañita Co-op’s

ANNUAL OWNERSHIP

Hear Gar Speak! GAR ALPEROVITZ Growing the New Economy

SANTA FE

Gathering ALBUQUERQUE

Unitarian Universalist Church 107 W. Barcelona Road

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center 2401 12th Street NW

Friday, October 17th at 6:30pm

Saturday, October 18th at 6:00pm

• In Santa Fe, come hear Gar Alperovitz speak. • In Albuquerque, hear how our Co-op is doing from our Board and Staff. Meet the candidates for our upcoming Co-op Board Elections. Learn how Cooperatives work to democratize wealth and provide a model for the “New Economy” with noted economist, Gar Alperovitz. Enjoy a delicious FREE local and regional foods dinner!

RSVP by OCT 12th • www.lamontanita.coop or to robins@lamontanita.coop


CELEBRATE WITH US AND PARTY ON THE PATIO! 3601 OLD AIRPORT AVE NW • NEXT TO PETCO

sat.

BIRTHDAY BASH & HARVEST FESTIVAL SATURDAY, OCT 25, 11am-4pm

Best Fruit or Veggie

grilling on the patio • local vendors local & organic food samples • giveaways FREE birthday cake! • raffle best fruit or veggie costume contest 1st prize $100 gift certificate 1pm Loren Kahn Puppet & Object Theatre 1:30 pm costume judging

1

$

100

Gift Certificate

1st Prize

music 11:30-3:30 • Me & My Wife and The Zia Conservatory

Dress as your favorite fruit, veggie or natural food! 2 Arrive at the Co-op by 1pm for puppet show 1:30 for parade & judging 3 Win Prizes! 1st Prize age13+ $100 Co-op gift certificate More prizes for 12 & under 4 Eat fresh food off the grill! FREE Birthday Cake!

www.lamontanita.coop/ws-birthday-bash


harvest time

flavors

October 2014 10

SQUASH &APPLE SEASON

Scoop the pumpkin flesh out of the skins and add to the vegetables in the soup pot. Add the water and milk, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook the soup until the carrots are quite soft, about 25 minutes. Transfer the soup, by the ladlefuls, to a blender or food processor until smooth. Add a small amount of milk to thin the soup as desired. Return the soup to the pot and place over very low heat.

ROASTED PUMPKIN AND CARROT SOUP FROM CHRISTINA PIRELLO Serves: 4 Time: 70 Minutes

Remove a small amount of broth and use to dissolve the miso. Stir the miso mixture into the soup and simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes to activate the enzymes in the miso. Serve garnished with pumpkin seeds and parsley.

During the fall and winter months, there are few things as comforting as a bowl of savory-sweet pumpkin soup. This soup creates a serene strength and a calm disposition. By normalizing our blood sugars, this soup keeps our emotions on an even keel.

FALL APPLE CRISP FROM ADRIENNE WEISS Serves: 6 Time: 60 Minutes

2 small pumpkins, halved and seeded 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for coating the pumpkins Sea salt 1 small yellow onion, diced 3 to 4 carrots 1 medium apple of choice, diced Grated zest of 1 lemon 1 tablespoon mirin or white wine 2 cups of filtered water 1 cup plain soy milk, plus extra if needed (you may use any non-dairy milk of choice) 2 teaspoons sweet white miso 2 to 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, pan toasted for garnish 2 to 3 sprigs fresh parsley, minced for garnish Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously rub the outside skin of the pumpkins with oil and place, cut sides down, in a shallow baking pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt and add 1/8 inch of water to the baking pan. Cover loosely with foil and bake about 40 minutes, until the pumpkins are tender (baking time depends on the size of the pumpkins). Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Place the 2 tablespoons oil and the onion in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the carrots, a pinch of salt , the lemon zest and mirin or white wine. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.

The minute the leaves start changing, I just have a taste for this delicious apple crisp. It's the official announcement of Autumn. I find it interesting to experiment with different varieties of apples. My crisp topping doesn't include butter—it's made with a rich oil such as olive. Some crisp toppings aren't actually crispy, but I've figured out a solution: if you add a little water to the mixture just before cooking, it creates a crunchier texture. Apple Mixture 2 1/2 pounds apples (about 7), peeled and thinly sliced 2 tablespoons sugar of choice 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 teaspoons flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg small pinch of cloves 1 lemon (juiced) 1teaspoon vanilla Topping 2/3 cup rolled oats (old fashioned, not quick cooking) 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour 2/3 cup light brown sugar 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons water


harvest time

flavors

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the apples with the first eight ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Drizzle the olive oil over the dry mixture and combine with your fingers until crumbly. Add the water and stir briefly with a fork. Put the apple mixture in a lightly oiled 8 x 8 inch baking dish, then sprinkle on the crumbly topping. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and the apples are tender. Try serving with your favorite non-dairy ice cream! BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO FROM ADRIENNE WEISS Serves: 4 Time: 45 minutes

October 2014 11

SMOOTH AND CREAMY! Now stir in the cashew "cheese," if desired. Immediately add the sage and mix. Turn off the heat and serve. STEAMED KALE WITH LEMON DRESSING 4 cups kale, chopped 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 1 teaspoon soy sauce Salt and pepper to taste Destem and chop kale. Place a steamer insert into a saucepan, and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Cover, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the kale, recover, and steam until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes depending on thickness.

Risotto is one of the most popular Italian dishes. Butternut squash makes this risotto extra special, adding a deep, rich sweetness highlighted by the warm smokiness of the sage. Sage and squash are the perfect flavor pairing, in fact, there is just no way to go wrong with this one.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Toss steamed kale into dressing until well coated. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve! WARM BALSAMIC KALE SALAD

Risotto is usually finished off with Parmesan cheese for that signature creaminess and while this risotto, already richly flavored, doesn't need that extra touch, I added some vegan cashew "cheese" to mine, this delicious paste of some cashews, nutritional yeast and salt makes this dish quite amazing! 1 cup arborio rice(you need a starchy rice for risotto, unlike the long-grained basmati) 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 -inch dice (about 4 cups of diced squash) 4-5 cups hot vegetable stock 1/2 cup white wine 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage Salt and ground black pepper to taste For Cashew Cheese Blend together 1/4 cup cashews, 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast, 1/4 cup of water, salt to taste. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add some butternut squash, a pinch of salt, and some ground black pepper. Sauté over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes or until the squash starts to soften and caramelize. Turn down the heat to medium. Add the rice and stir it with the squash until it begins to turn opaque, about 1 minute. Season again with salt and pepper. Add the white wine and cook, stirring, until the wine's almost evaporated.

2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup diced onion 1 red pepper, diced 1 yellow pepper, diced 8 oounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced 4 cups kale 1 teaspoon garlic, minced 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup Asiago cheese salt and pepper to taste In a large skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Add the onions and peppers; sauté for several minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and one tablespoon butter; sauté for several minutes until browned. Add the kale, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until the kale is deep green but not yet wilted. Remove from heat and serve topped with Asiago or Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

the

flavors of

FALL

Add 1/2 cup of vegetable stock and stir it in. Once the stock has almost evaporated, add another 1/2 cup. Repeat until the rice is cooked. It takes about 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper when completed. You might need more or less stock; you basically want the rice to be tender yet slightly toothy, or al dente. You don't want mushy rice. You don't want the rice to be dry and lumpy. IT SHOULD BE

OCTOBER

SHOP

CO-OP!

is MEMBER A P P R E C I AT I O N

VOLUME

D i s count

SHOPPING MONTH!

October 17-18 IN SANTA FE AND ALBUQUERQUE

CO-OP ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING! OCTOBER 18, 6PM: HEAR GAR ALPEROVITZ! Co-op members enjoy a FREE New Mexican feast at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. RSVP by October 12 at www.lamontani ta.coop. For more information: robins@lamontanita.coop or at 505-217-2027.

FOOD FRIENDS &GAR

October 17, 6:30PM: HEAR GAR IN SANTA FE at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 107 West Barcelona Road. Sponsors are La Montañita Co-op, We Are People Here, and New Economy community activists.


cooperation for

agriculture

Family Farmer’s SEED cooperative FA R M E R O W N E D A N D

O P E R AT E D

BY DAN HOBBS AND MEMBERS OF THE FFSC he Family Farmers Seed Cooperative (FFSC) is a farmer owned and operated cooperative with members in seven western states. Our mission is to produce high quality certified organic, open pollinated and public domain seed for organic growers and other bulk purchasers.

stewardship, and build a resilient organic seed trade. Our farms are certified organic, adhering to USDA regulations for the production of organic seed. We nurture our crops by building rich, healthy soil and encouraging beneficial organisms such as bacteria, insects, and birds to keep

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Our member farms are some of the best and most experienced organic seed growers in North America. We uphold high quality standards to ensure the viability and rigor of our seeds and stand proudly behind our product. We stake our business on solid, work-horse organic varieties that have been maintained and developed in the prime seed production regions of the west (Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Dakota, Washington, Oregon, California).

At FFSC we are dedicated to SAVING ORGANIC SEED; so all our seed is held in the PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Our seed is defined by a few key traits: organic, open pollinated, and public domain. These set us apart in the marketplace and enable us to provide organic farmers with quality, open pollinated seed, protect and expand our public organic seed supply, support environmental

COMMUNITY FUNDING FOR GAIA GARDENS

BUYING THE FARM BY POKI PIOTTIN or the past three years, Gaia Gardens, a nonprofit, one-acre, certified organic urban farm has provided an important community garden experience for people in Santa Fe. The Gaia Gardens property is now threatened with foreclosure and we are attempting to buy the property through a short sale. To preserve this unique piece of land, continue our educational mission and provide affordable housing for future generations, we have created the Mil Abrazos (One Thousand Hugs) Community Land Trust, a nonprofit, to purchase the farm property.

F

We believe that lasting ecological health and social wellbeing are kindled in reconnecting to the Earth and reclaim-

ing our food sovereignty. Our concern for the planet inspired us not only to farm, but also to facilitate learning opportunities related to urban farming, encouraging schoolchildren to participate, supporting community gardening, and nudging our city to embrace the deeper meanings of sustainability. In recognition of our efforts, we have won awards for Best Recycler (Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce) and Best Sustainable Food System (Sustainable Santa Fe Commission). In order to raise capital to purchase the farm property, we have launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that will run until Oct 16, 2014. Please help by going to www.indiegogo.com/projects/mil-abrazos-community-land-trust and make a donation to keep this farm in our community for generations to come.

October 2014 12 pests in check. We don't use genetic modification, irradiation, sewage sludge, or synthetic agrochemicals. Our seed is open pollinated (OP), which means that saved seed will breed true and that farmers have direct access and control of their seed supply. In contrast, F-1 hybrids and GMO varieties are impossible for farmers to reproduce, leaving them dependent on seed companies for new seed. OP varieties reproduce through natural pollination via wind or insects. They breed true, provided that there is no cross pollination from other varieties of the same species. If particular plant traits are desired, humans may use natural mechanisms such as hand-pollination or removing undesirable plants from the population before pollination begins. This traditional, open pollinated breeding approach allows for continuous adaptation of a variety across diverse and changing climatic conditions, and represents dynamic evolution in action. We're out to save organic seed and we want you to do it too, so all of our seed is held in the public domain (PD). That means there are no restrictions for saving, multiplying, sharing, or selling seeds you produce from our seeds. Denying seed sovereignty and centralizing seed supplies that are the basis for our food supply threaten food security; we put all of our seed in the public domain for customers to reproduce and improve, creating a worldwide, bioregionally adapted, publicly held and genetically resilient organic seed bank. TO ORDER SEED FROM THE FAMILY FARMERS’ SEED CO-OP go to www.organicseedcoop.com. La Montanita Co-op supported to the creation of the FFSC by being the first retail outlet to sell their seed, providing start-up capital and with branding/marketing materials.

SEED

sovereignty for seed

SECURITY


farming &

gardening

FARMING

O R G A N I C , S U S TA I N A B L E , H U M A N E

October 2014 13

IN NEW MEXICO

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

TIERRA DEL SOL

FARM

“Traditionally all land based people grew food and used a bartering economy in New Mexico, sharing communal lands and acequias, “ explains AFSC co-director Don Bustos, who farms his ancestral land. “In the rise of agribusinesses and federal subsidies, we’ve seen a shift to a more aggressive and competitive model of agriculture.” Yet the communal values of land based people is evident in the recent creations of farmer cooperatives in New Mexico and cooperation to aggregate between farmer cooperatives.

BY ERIN FRYE

A Family Practice he Delgado family, owners of Tierra Del Sol Farm outside El Paso, TX, understands the importance of natural practices and promptly implemented them when they bought the farm in 1985. Manager Efren Delgado says his father learned sustainable practices from many years of farming in both Mexico and Latin America. Today those natural practices are paying off for the Delgado family; they are about to have the first certified organic processing plant for goats and lamb in the state of Texas.

T

The farm started off growing cotton but in recent years extended to other crops and raising goats, lambs, rabbits and chickens. Even though the family has always used organic and sustainable practices, it was not until four years ago that they became certified organic with the crops grown on farm. Over the last year they have been working on getting their meat and processing plant certified. Efren thinks the certification process will be complete by the end of this year. Daily business at Tierra Del Sol is truly a family affair with three generations currently working the farm. The Delgado’s grandfather is still in charge of agricultural practices like crop rotation and animal management. The family’s three sons run the business side of the farm’s operations such as finance and product sales. Two nephews also work the farm helping with business development, marketing and running the farmers’ markets with one of the family’s 15 year old nieces. Tierra Del Sol is one of the few Hispanic-owned farms in the area carrying an organic certification; the next closest farm is located two hours away in Las Cruces. Efren said he would encourage other farms thinking of switching to more sustainable methods and organic certification to go for it. He says the gratification is high especially when you talk to your customers and clients who are appreciative of the extra mile gone to grow the animals and crops using more natural methods.

COOPERATION

The farmer cooperatives and beginning farmers who have graduated from the AFSC farmer training program are selling to grocery stores and coops in Espanola, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces; three public school districts; the Mora senior citizen center; and a daycare in El Paso as well as numerous restaurants and farmers markets throughout the state.

BY SAYRAH NAMASTE, AMERICAN FRIENDS SERVICE COMMITTEE “Farming cooperatively is traditional to New Mexico, as evidenced by the community maintained acequia system and the communal land grant system,” says Patrick Jaramillo, whose family has farmed in northern New Mexico since the 1600s. Jaramillo is the Statewide Farm Trainer for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

AFSC provides logistical support to the cooperatives by helping with sales, invoicing and delivery, as well as technical assistance to incubate the farmer networks in their infancy. AFSC also brings together the farmer cooperatives and farm trainees once a year for a two day meeting to discuss potential collaboration, including sharing knowledge, farm materials, transportation, and markets.

A LEGACY OF

AFSC helped develop farmer cooperatives in New Mexico including Agri-Cultura Network in Albuquerque; La Cosecha del Norte: A Growing Co-op in the Espanola Valley which includes Jaramillo’s family farm; and Sol y Tierra Growers in southern New Mexico. Additionally, the farmer cooperatives and the AFSC farm trainees are also aggregating products with each other to feed people across New Mexico.

EAT YOUR CAKE AND HAVE IT TOO DEPARTMENT

GMO NOTES

BRETT BAKKER argill, one of the largest privately held, multinational corporations, offers dozens of GMO and GMO-derived items in its brands and subsidiaries such as meats, poultry, grains and sugars. Cargill's chairman Gregory Page is on the board of the Grocery Manufacturers Association which recently sued Vermont for requiring food GMO labeling. Guess what Cargill’s latest product is? Non-GMO soy oil! Says green Cargill food ingredients commercial manager Ethan Theis, “Despite the many merits of biotechnology, consumer interest in food and beverage products made from non-GM ingredients is growing, creating opportunities and challenges.”

BY

C

ITCHY

thumb

Yup, opportunities like raking in the bucks from both conventional and non-GMO consumers. And challenges such as how not to make Page look like a total jackass for green-lighting a “new” non-GMO product while fighting tooth and nail against non-GMO labeling. GO BANANAS Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia have developed a GMO cooking banana (like a plantain) with elevated levels of vitamin A. The harvest has been shipped to the US for six weeks of human trials. This means feeding them to humans for a month and half and then waiting to see what happens. According to Queensland, previous “trials using Mongolian gerbils had proven successful.” Humankind! One step up from gerbil-kind. Professor James Dale wants to see the crop cultivated in Uganda, the world’s number one consumer of bananas. Never mind the fact that GMO crops are banned from commercial cultivation there. Dale is hopeful now that Uganda’s Parliament is considering passing the Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill to allow such crops. Oh, and by the way, ten million bucks from Bill and Melinda Gates were critical in developing the high vitamin banana. (UN) NATURAL SELECTION The Western Corn Rootworm—which devastates the crop by feeding on silk, pollen and kernels—was tem-

porarily hindered by Bt corn, a GMO with a natural caterpillar disease bred into it. Eighteen years after the crop’s introduction, Iowa State University says the rootworm is now Bt-resistant and developing immunity. Three quarters of US cornfields are planted with Bt corn. Of course GMO scientists are hard at work on yet another GMO corn that will thwart the super-bug. What was that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results… ? Also in Iowa, one finds increasing populations of Palmer’s amaranth. Palmer’s is a weedy species closely related to grain amaranth. Like all amaranths, it already is a superweed; it can reach seven feet by growing two inches per day. After only a few years of raising dozens of grain amaranth varieties for trials in the 80s, I now flee in the opposite direction when I see this humble plant about to flower. The tyranny of allergies is that you don’t develop resistance as the years go on, rather your immunity drops. It is the opposite for plants themselves, or at least as it pertains to pesticides. Likely, you already know that Roundup Ready crops were bred to withstand heavy spraying of the weedkiller glyphosate. This trait is the top priority for over 86% of GMO breeding. The humble Palmer’s Amaranth is gaining in resistance to glyphosate and is beginning to inundate soy and corn fields all over. Just this summer, the Texas Department of Agriculture gave up on glyphosate and petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to use heavily-regulated propazine, a close relative of atrazine. For once, EPA did the right thing and said NO, even though they ruled that the request met its emergency use clause for dangerous herbicides (What? aren’t they all dangerous?). Jack Housenger, EPA director of pesticide programs stated, among other things, that the final ruling was “consistent with EPA’s legal responsibilities.” Hmm! For once, the government attorneys made the right decision… even though the wallet was their first consideration over environmental health and safety. Me, I’ll take any win we can get. A HUMAN GMO EXPERIMENT

Shoppers can find organic produce from La Cosecha del Norte at the La Montanita in Santa Fe, the Los Alamos Cooperative, and the Espanola Community Market; Sol y Tierra Growers at the Mountain View Co-Operative and Beneficial Farms CSA; and Agri-Cultura Network at the Rio Grande La Montanita in Albuquerque. To learn more go to: www.afsc.org/newmexico.


for your

health

October 2014 14

CULTIVATING A MOTHER OF A

FIZZ

KOMBUCHA

A source of NUTRITIONAL and HEALTH PROMOTING PROPERTIES since 221 B.C.!

T E A O F I M M O R TA L I T Y

BY AMYLEE UDELL ombucha is sweet, fermented tea. It is fermented by a SCOBY, a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, also known as the mother or the mushroom. The SCOBY grows by consuming the sugar and changes the tea into an acidic, fizzy drink, often compared to champagne or cider, moving closer to vinegar in taste the longer it ferments. It's been around for awhile, with references to it made in China in 221 BC.

K

As with many supplements, its proponents believe it has health improving abilities. Due to its lactic acid fermentation, it's a probiotic, with digestive and immune boosting benefits. It's full of beneficial yeasts, anti-oxidants and enzymes, offering a detoxification effect. It contains high amounts of glucosamine, benefiting joint health. Its many amino acids and several B vitamins also boost its nutritional properties. Most people using it for detoxification are seeking its glucaronic acid, a naturally occurring acid produced by our liver to bind up toxins and poisons and carry them away. The Chinese, who first wrote about kombucha, attributed many additional healing properties to it. The list is much longer than this, but includes alkanization of the body, alleviation of constipation and headaches, improved skin conditions, improved eyesight and reduced ulcers. My main reason for consuming kombucha, aka the “Tea of Immortality,” is it’s taste. My kids also enjoy it. When made at home, it's very affordable but I'm so very glad it's available commercially. Prices begin at around $3 for 16oz and go up to almost $4. If making your own you'll spend $.50-$1 per gallon! Beyond price, when you make your own you can control ingredients. Kombucha is only sugar and brewed tea. Many commercially produced kombuchas have added fruit juices and sugar AFTER fermentation to appeal

MAKE IT AT

HOME

to a broad audience, but you can adjust for sweetness in your own brew. Some commercial brews may also be pasteurized, killing the beneficial bacteria and altering some of the constituents. Making Kombucha To make kombucha you need sugar (white works the best, some people are successful with honey), water, black tea (some people use green, but no Earl Grey or teas with flavoring oils) and a SCOBY. You can get a SCOBY from a friend; each batch of kombucha makes a new SCOBY layer so there's usually plenty to share. You can also make one from bottled kombucha. This takes a little time, but if it's your only option, it will be worth it. Finally, you can buy a SCOBY. La Montanita carries Oregon Kombucha's starter kit for $13.99. It contains a live culture, organic black or green tea, and a brewing guide. Making kombucha is as simple as making sweet tea, letting it cool, and then adding your SCOBY. Your SCOBY will take the shape of your container and most people suggest a glass jar (a gallon pickle jar works great) or a ceramic crock, but never metal. Kombucha needs air so a wide container works very well. Cover it with a cloth to keep out any dust and debris. Let it sit for several days to weeks. In the summer, mine starts to ferment in a few days. In the winter, it will need a week. The longer it sits the more sour it gets, and less sugar and caffeine it contains. If it gets too sour use it like vinegar in salad dressing, to marinate meat, etc.

Most people will bottle their kombucha when it's to their taste. You can strain it as you bottle to filter out yeast floaters and "blobs" of loose SCOBY, using mason jars or rubber sealed, wire-top bottles. Airtight lids help achieve and maintain a nice fizz. Before closing the lids, many people will add a little sugar, fruit juice or fruit, as well as herbs or spices, and leave their bottles out for a second fermentation and stronger fizz. After the second fermentation, refrigerate your bottles. To save space and time, I now do a continuous brew. This means I take mine straight from the crock into my glass. When it starts to get low, I brew more tea, let it cool and add it directly to the crock. Those who promote this method say having the mix of older and newer kombucha gives you a more beneficial blend of enzymes, bacteria and yeasts. But I simply find it much more convenient. Kombucha works by the process of lacto fermentation, not alcoholic fermentation. But it CAN contain .5% alcohol. If you are extremely sensitive to caffeine, you may also need to take a test run. Green tea has less than black tea and the finished kombucha will have 1/3 to 1/2 as much caffeine as the tea used to make it. If you do struggle with too much caffeine consumption, research different types of teas, using a second steep of tea to decaffeinate, longer brew times and more. As with any food preparation, make sure you have clean hands and clean tools. Should you see any mold, discard your batch and the SCOBY and start over. A SCOBY will feel rubbery and be light and consistent in color, though you may see stringy brown yeast threads. The newly growing one will be transparent. A black SCOBY should be discarded. Extra SCOBYs can be given away, composted, fed to chickens and other pets, added to smoothies or made into jerky. Kombucha is a great soda replacement! You can customize it with lavendar, mint, juice or the ever-popular ginger. There is no shortage of kombucha variations online to spark your creativity!


community

forum

October 2014 15

THE CARBON

ECONOMY SERIES A Sizzling Year of Events BY IGINIA BOCCALANDRO hank you for coming to the Carbon Economy Series (CES) events for the 2013-2014 season. We grew in numbers, expanded to new locations and multiplied the number of participating higher educational institutions this year. Your feedback has informed and shaped our fourth annual educational series; thank you.

T

The Carbon Economy Series in New Mexico and the Clean Economy Series in Texas taught nearly 1,500 people in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Española and Dallas and last year three college campuses hosted our programs. We also held our first two-day conference in Albuquerque with six local experts and a pre conference workshop taught by our favorite “lunatic farmer” Joel Salatin. Our mission is to continue to build resilience in our community by teaching sustainable principles and practices that affect the triple bottom line: people, planet and economy. This year we will do this by focusing on healthy, local food production with value added products that create an economic multiplier, cash crops that use less water and have a multitude of applications for our current climate chaos, methods to lower fuel and energy costs using smart technologies, ways to use the existing tourism in New Mexico as an economic driver for greater sustainability. We will also bring together local experts for our second annual Conference. CES in October: Nourishing Traditions Spending your money locally causes your dollar to enrich anywhere from three to six people instead of it going to Wall Street. Sally Fallon, from Texas will teach on October 21 and 22 at the Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) on Friday from 7-9pm and Saturday from 9am-5pm. “Journalist, chef,

nutrition researcher, homemaker and community activist, Sally Fallon is the author of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. This wellresearched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper function of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels.” Sally founded the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) “dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet... [and] supporting movements that contribute to this objective including accurate nutrition instruction, biodynamic and organic farming, pasturefeeding of livestock, community-supported agriculture, honest and informative labeling, prepared parenting and nurturing therapies.” CES in November: HEMP Hemp, our nation’s founders most important crop, will be the topic of our second event on November 2122, 2014 also at Santa Fe Community College. Doug Fine, author of Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the

20TH ANNUAL DIA DEL RIO! FALL WITH THE OPEN SPACE DIVISION KENT SWANSON, ASSOCIATE PLANNER, CITY ALBUQUERQUE OPEN SPACE DIVISION urs is a city of contrasting landscapes, with vast desert scrublands giving way to the lush river forest of the Rio Grande bosque, and piñon/ juniper foothills leading to the majestic Sandia Mountains. These special places help to define who we are as a city. BY

a fabulous prize drawing! Parking is limited so PLEASE CARPOOL! Bring gloves, sun protection, plenty of water, and a sack lunch. Free snacks will be provided during morning sign in.

OF

O

october

Register online with REI at www.rei. com/albuquerque or by calling 505-2471191. The first 80 people to pre-register will receive a free t-shirt the day of the event, courtesy of REI!

18

Join the Open Space Division, the Open Space Alliance, REI, the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park and other local organizations for Dia del Rio and help nurture and protect the bosque and river. There will be activities appropriate for all ages. Please arrive at the Rio Grande Nature Center, 2901 Candelaria NW, Albuquerque promptly at 8:30am to sign in and enjoy snacks provided by our other generous sponsors. At the end of the event, make sure to stick around for

Organize your own clean up the day of the event. Do you live near the bosque? Or do you have a favorite area near the river? Open Space will provide trash bags and haul off the collected trash. Call 452-5216 or email kswanson@cabq.gov to sign up your group for your own cleanup.

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS NOV

2

MARIGOLD PARADE AND CELEBRATION DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS (Day of the Dead) is an ancient tradition celebrating life and honoring those who have passed on. The theme of this year’s Marigold Parade is El agua es la vida! ¡No se Vende! ¡Se defiende! Floats that wish to enter must adhere to this theme. All floats must have marigolds on them and all members of float’s must be masked or painted as Calaveras. One member of each floats group MUST attend a parade orientation meeting on October 27 at 5:30pm at the

WRENCHED

El agua es la vida! ¡No se Vende! ¡Se defiende!

FILM PREMIERE!

OCT. 17 7PM

AT THE KIMO THEATRE

WRENCHED

Opening Reception at 6:30pm How Edward Abbey lit the flame of environmental activism and gave the movement its soul! $20 – Proceeds to benefit the ew Mexico Wilderness Alliance. Tickets available at the Kimo Box Office and online at www.kimotickets.com/event/180770 Info: NMWild 505-843-8696

WestSide Community Center Gym 1250 Isleta Blvd., SW). FLOAT APPLICATIONS must be returned by October 17 to 1411 Roma Ave NW. For more information call 244-0120, e-mail: ruseavila@gmail.com or www.muertosymarigolds.org. WORKSHOPS to prepare your float will be held throughout Oct. They are FREE and are held from 1pm to 4pm at 803 La Vega SW, Los Jardines Institute. All ages are welcome! For more information, please call 363-1326 or 244-0120.

Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, will teach along with local experts. Doug writes, “the stat sheet on hemp sounds almost too good to be true: its fibers are among the planet’s strongest, its seed oil the most nutritious, and its potential as an energy source vast and untapped.” It’s one downside: for nearly a century, it’s been illegal to grow industrial hemp in the US—even though Betsy Ross wove the nation’s first flag out of hemp fabric, Thomas Jefferson composed the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper, and colonists could pay their taxes with it. As the prohibition on hemp’s psychoactive cousin winds down, one of humanity’s longest-utilized plants is about to be reincorporated into the American economy. Get ready for the newest billion-dollar industry.” Watch for more information on our annual Sustainable Summit conference January 23-25, in Albuquerque. Help us spread the word and invite more sponsors to join our lively group of current sponsors: the Inn of Governors, Santa Fe Community College, Joe’s Dining, Areté Consulting Group, Sweet Water Harvest Kitchen, Los Alamos National Bank, La Montanita Co-op, and the Green Fire Times. VISIT OUR WEB SITE www.carboneconomyseries. com or please call us for more information at 505819-3484.


La Montanita Co-op Connection October 2014  

The La Montanita Co-op Connection is a monthly publication about food and issues affecting our local foodshed. Membership in La Montañita Co...

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