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Excerpted and reprinted from Investing in What Works for America's Communities with permission from the author. For the full article and footnotes go to www.whatworksforamerica. org/ted-howard-democracy-collaborative. BY TED HOWARD AND THE DEMOCRACY COLLABORATIVE he Evergreen Initiative’s audacious goal is to spur an economic breakthrough by creating living wage jobs and asset building opportunities in six low-income neighborhoods with 43,000 residents. Rather than a trickle-down strategy, Evergreen focuses on economic inclusion and building a local economy from the ground up. Rather than offering public subsidy to induce corporations to bring what are often low-wage jobs into the city, the Evergreen strategy is catalyzing new businesses that are owned by their employees. And rather than concentrate on workforce training for jobs that are largely unavailable to low-skilled and low-income workers, the Evergreen Initiative first creates the jobs and then recruits and trains local residents to take them.


Evergreen represents a powerful mechanism to bring together anchor institutions’ economic power to create widely shared and owned assets and capital in low-income neighborhoods. It creates green jobs that not only pay a decent wage and benefits, but also, unlike most green efforts, builds assets and wealth for employees through ownership mechanisms. The initiative is built on five strategic pillars: 1. leveraging a portion of the multi-billion-dollar annual business expenditures of anchor institutions; 2. establishing a robust network of Evergreen Cooperative enterprises based on community wealth-building and ownership models designed to service these institutional needs; 3. building on the growing momentum to create environmentally sustainable energy and green-collar jobs (and, concurrently, support area anchor institutions in achieving their own environmental goals to shrink their carbon footprints); 4. linking the entire effort to expanding sectors of the economy (e.g., health and sustainable energy) that are recipients of largescale public investment; and 5. developing the financing and management capacities that can take this effort to scale, that is, to move beyond a few boutique projects or models to have significant municipal impact. Although still in its early stages, the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative is already drawing substantial support, including multi-million-dollar financial investments from the federal government (particularly U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and from major institutional actors in Cleveland. The first two businesses—the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry (ECL) and Evergreen Energy Solutions (E2S, formerly Ohio Cooperative Solar)—today employ about 50 worker-owners between them. ECL is the greenest commercial-scale health care bed linen laundry in Ohio. When working at full capacity, it will clean 10–12 million pounds of health care linen a year, and will


OCT. 22



employ 50 residents of Greater University Circle neighborhoods. Based in a LEED Gold building, ECL requires less than one-quarter of the amount of water used by competitors to clean each pound of bed linen, and produces considerable carbon emission savings through reduced energy consumption. E2S is a community-based clean energy and weatherization company that will ultimately employ as many as 50 residents. In addition to home weatherization, E2S installs, owns, and maintains large-scale solar generators (panels) on the roofs of the city’s biggest nonprofit health and education buildings. The institutions, in turn, purchase the generated electricity over a 15-year period. Within three years, E2S likely will have more than doubled the total installed solar in the entire state of Ohio. A third business, Green City Growers (GCG), is a year-round, large-scale, hydroponic greenhouse employing approximately 40 people year-round. The greenhouse is located on 10 acres in the heart of Cleveland, with 3.25 acres under glass (making it the largest urban food production facility in America). At full capacity GCG can produce approximately three million heads of lettuce per year, along with several hundred thousand pounds of basil and other herbs. Virtually every head of lettuce consumed in northeast Ohio is currently trucked from California and Arizona. By growing its product locally, GCG will save more than 2,000 miles of transportation, and the resulting carbon emissions, for each head of lettuce it sells. The region’s produce wholesalers are enthusiastic because they will gain seven days more shelf life for the product. Beyond these three specific businesses, the Evergreen Cooperative Corporation acts as a research-and-development vehicle for new business creation tied to specific needs of area anchor institutions. Through this process, a pipeline of nextgeneration businesses is being developed. Virtually all of the financing of Evergreen is in the form of debt—a combination of long-term, low-interest loans from the federal government (such as HUD108) that focus on job creation targeted at lowincome census tracts; tax credits (in particular, New Markets Tax Credit and federal solar tax credits); and grant funds from the Cleveland Foundation and others that have capitalized a revolving loan fund (the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund). Recently, Evergreen has secured five-year below-market rate loans from “impact investors” who are willing to take a lower return in order to put their money to work to improve the Cleveland community.

Ultimately, of course, the success of Evergreen will depend not only on Cleveland’s anchor institutions, its local philanthropy, and the support of the city government. The men and women who have become Evergreen’s worker-owners will determine the viability of the strategy. Keith Parkham, the first neighborhood resident hired in 2009, is now the managing supervisor of the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry. Says Parkham, “Because this is an employee-owned business, it’s all up to us if we want the company to grow and succeed. This is not just an eight-hour job. This is our business.” His colleague, Medrick Addison, speaks for many Evergreen worker-owners when he says, “I never thought I could become an owner of a major corporation. Maybe through Evergreen things that I always thought would be out of reach for me might become possible. Owning your own job is a beautiful thing.” TED HOWARD is the executive director of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland and the Steven Minter Senior Fellow for Social Justice at the Cleveland Foundation. This article draws in part on work previously published by the Democracy Collaborative.




laborative approach to growing the local/regional food system. Without their support and contributions to our food system over that time and now, what we’re doing might not be possible.

A POWERFUL FOOD EXPERIENCE BY ROBERT HOBERG lot of our work with Dig & Serve is helping people reconnect with the true value of local food. Not just what goes into making it happen, but how it can holistically improve the quality of life for those who invite it in. Founded by Brandon Gregoire in Houston, (with energy mirrored in Albuquerque), we of Dig & Serve recognize that there needs to be a spectrum of ways in which people can have these experiences.


Alongside our local-centric, speakeasy, pop-up dining events, we're building a collaborative network of values-driven food professionals that will enable us to better fill the many opportunities that we see around us to offer higher caliber nourishment in more dynamic settings. It's either us working together to uphold this vision, or business-as-usual takes over by default. For this reason, Chef David Gaspar de Alba and I are excited to have been brought on in collaboration with Carlos Alvarez of Pop Fizz to carry this approach to La Montañita’s Annual Member Owner Gathering (Oct. 22nd, National Hispanic Cultural Center). During its forty years, La Montañita Co-op has pioneered a col-

Coming down from Portland, OR, David Gaspar de Alba took the reins at Radish & Rye in Santa Fe before jumping into Silver Leaf Farms in Corrales to work in the field, and use his skill and creativity to build more engagement with the produce that is in abundance there. It is in Dig & Serve’s carefully handcrafted moments that the inherent power of connected ingredients reveals itself. When you get the story, the flavor is not just the flavor... it’s a celebration of life supporting the next link of life. So, how do we create more of these ‘moments’? We pay attention to what the growers around us are pulling out of the soil they’ve invested in. When life gives us tons of garlic or green beans, we'll pickle them and teach people to do the same. Regenerating a food web with eye contact and people’s appreciation of what it takes to feed our community is big, it's necessary, and it's going to take as many people as we can get excited. The right bites can heal us, our economy, and our planet. ¡Serio! Come to the Co-op's Annual Member Owner Gathering and savor your food and its future. Information: email or go to

La Montañita Co-op Annual



RSVP TODAY TO SAVE YOUR SEAT! Roy E Disney Performing Arts Center at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th Street SW, Albuquerque We will hear from our Board of Directors and our General Manager on the state of our Co-op and owners will have the opportunity to meet the candidates for our Board of Directors election. We also are tremendously pleased to have TED HOWARD of the Evergreen Cooperatives with us to share his expertise on building community wealth. SEATING IS LIMITED for both the dinner and meeting as well as for Ted's talk. Owners must RSVP at or call 217-2027 by Oct. 19 to reserve their seat at the dinner and the theater.




KUNM = 50 YEARS LA MONTAÑITA = 40 YEARS A collaborative Event!



LA MONTAÑITA CO-OP’S ANNUAL OWNER GATHERING with guest speaker TED HOWARD beginning at 5:30pm. See you there! In the Roy E. Disney Performing Arts Center at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.


October 2016 2

La Montañita Cooperative A Community-Owned Natural Foods Grocery Store Nob Hill 7am – 10pm M – Su 3500 Central SE, ABQ, NM 87106 505-265-4631



Rio Grande 7am – 10pm M – Su 2400 Rio Grande NW, ABQ, NM 87104 505-242-8800 Gallup 8am – 8pm M – Su 105 E Coal, Gallup, NM 87301 505-863-5383

Worker co-ops receive invaluable technical assistance, training, and advocacy work from the Democracy at Work Institute, a subset of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives. These organizations epitomize the sixth of the seven core co-op principles: cooperation among cooperatives.

Santa Fe 7am – 10pm M – Su 913 West Alameda, Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-984-2852 GRABnGO 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


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

BEN SELDEN, LEAF hile walking down the aisles of a La Montañita store, surveying the fresh local produce, it can be easy to forget the large cooperative framework that works behind the scenes to create, finance, and support businesses like these. Since October is National Cooperative Month, we want to recognize the many co-op builders that support and promote this economic model. A broad mosaic of nonprofits and cooperative associations work across the country to strengthen food and worker co-ops, and grow the New Economy. BY


Support Office 9am – 5pm, M – F 901 Menaul NE, ABQ, NM 87107 505-217-2001 Support Staff: 217-2001 TOLL FREE: 877-775-2667 (COOP) • General Manager/Dennis Hanley 217-2028 • Controller/John Heckes 217-2029 • Computers/Info Technology Rob Dixon 217-2011 • Merchandizing Manager/Mark Lane 259-4396 • Human Resources/Sharret Rose 217-2023 • Marketing/Karolyn Cannata-Winge 217-2024 • Membership/Robin Seydel 217-2027 • CDC/MichelleFranklin 217-2010 • Operations Director/Jason Trant 242-8800 Store Team Leaders: • Henry Gamez/Nob Hill 265-4631 • James Esqueda/Westside 505-503-2550 • William Prokopiak/Santa Fe 984-2852 • Leaf Ashley/Gallup 575-863-5383 • Joe Phy/Rio Grande 505-242-8800 Co-op Board of Directors: email: • President: Ariana Marchello • Treasurer: Tracy Sprouls • Secretary: Lisa Banwarth-Kuhn • James Esqueda • Gregory Gould • Tammy Parker • Courtney White • Julie Anderson • Gina Dennis

The central players in the co-op economy are, of course, the coops themselves. As we’ve mentioned in this column before, they come in many shapes and sizes: consumer co-ops like La Montañita; producer co-ops, popular especially in the agriculture world; worker co-ops, which can provide wealth creation to low-income workers; and housing co-ops, an innovative solution for long-term affordable housing. While co-ops come in different forms, the themes of democratic ownership and governance remain constant. On a national level, these co-ops are connected through national federations and large co-op membership associations, which help co-ops to network, share best practices, and influence policy. For example, Food co-ops can apply to be part of National Cooperative Grocers (NCG), a “business service cooperative for retail food co-ops,” that helps to unite “food co-ops to optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power, and ultimately offer more value to natural food co-ops owners and shoppers everywhere.” La Montañita is a member!

On the community level, organizations can help create and “incubate” cooperatives in a targeted geographic area. For example, Cooperation Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi seeks to bolster lowincome communities in the city through promotion of the solidarity economy. Their goal is to create four linked institutions: “an emerging federation of local worker cooperatives, a developing cooperative incubator, a cooperative education and training center, and a cooperative bank.” Other regional co-op developers include Wellspring Cooperative Corporation—profiled in this column a few months ago—and Project Equity, which develops nascent co-ops through a co-op business incubator. On the level of an individual co-op, there are several support institutions that provide consulting services to co-ops in various ways. Small business owners looking to sell their business to their employees can seek council from The ICA Group, LEAF’s sister organization that consults for co-ops. Food co-ops looking for help to improve operations, develop talent, and engage members regularly turn to NCG or the CDS Consulting Co-op. Co-ops must also wade through the financial world (without selling equity to remain true to their principles), but need capital to start-up, maintain, and grow their businesses. Enter a national consortium of co-op-focused community development financial institutions like LEAF! Co-ops may often be misunderstood and thus underserved by most financial institutions—especially due to collateral and personal guarantee requirements on owners—but LEAF isn’t alone in financing co-ops. Other lenders and investors such as Shared Capital Cooperative, Cooperative Fund of New England, The Working World, Capital Impact Partners, and National Cooperative Bank work alongside LEAF to bring their financial services and technical assistance to provide cooperatives with crucial access to capital. So next time you reach for that locally-sourced kale, think about the network of co-op associations, incubators, consultants, and CDFI lenders that work together to support the efforts of co-op members like yourself!



SHELLE VAN ETTEN SANCHEZ rtists don’t just make beautiful things; they change the world we live in. And beautiful change is where Tiaso comes in. The Tiaso Artist Cooperative, based in Albuquerque and opened in 2016, is a member-owned, member-run co-op that supports artists with purpose so they can continue to feed themselves and their communities. Tiaso is built by and for active artists who work to strengthen community and transform lives.



Membership Costs: $15 for 1 year/ $200 Lifetime Membership + tax Co-op Connection Staff: • Managing Editor: Robin Seydel 217-2027 • Layout and Design: foxyrock inc • Cover/Centerfold: Co-op Marketing Dept. • Advertising: JR Riegel • Editorial Assistant: JR Riegel 217-2016 • Printing: Santa Fe New Mexican Membership information is available at all six Co-op locations, or call 217-2027 or 877-775-2667 email: website: Membership response to the newsletter is appreciated. Email the Managing Editor, Copyright ©2016 La Montañita Food Co-op Reprints by prior permission. The Co-op Connection is printed on 100% recycled paper with 100% soy inks. It is recyclable.



Tiaso at work Tiaso was founded to provide member artists, creatives, and cultural workers with the planning, administrative, financial, event, and promotion support services they need to continue and expand their work in community. The co-op does not believe in the “starving artist;” Tiaso actively works to support sustainability and creativity in our communities. The co-op’s growing network of multi-disciplinary professional artists and community leaders enables members to build upon their own expertise and relationships, and take on big, powerful creative projects as a collective— because we are better together. Tiaso artists and beautiful change Tiaso founding members are creatively building community with several notable projects in the past few months. Artful Life, directed by member Valerie Martinez, secured funding from the PNM Foundation and led a community process to design, fabricate, and install neighborhood banners in the International District along Central Ave. ALMA, led by Cassandra Reid, recently dedicated another section of the monumental mosaic mural on the outside of the Albuquerque Convention Center. This multi-year mural project provides paid apprenticeships to Albuquerque youth through a partnership with the Mayor’s Summer Art Institute. Hakim Bellamy of Beyond Poetry is launching a collaboration with the Santa Fe Art Institute this fall to bring leaders and activists from the national Black Lives Matter movement to New Mexico for a creative residency. Michelle Otero is part of a

leadership team that secured funding from the Kresge Foundation for a South Valley initiative that connects local growers, community organizations, and residents through the arts. This short list represents only a few highlights of the broad community work of Tiaso member artists. In August of this year, Tiaso hosted Jane Chu, Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, to discuss the Tiaso Artist Cooperative and share stories from member artists’ projects. It was an honor for the ambitious cooperative in its first year. Tiaso invites you to be part of the co-op Building upon the dedication and success of Tiaso founding members, the Tiaso Artist Cooperative invites additional members at all levels to grow the work and positive social impact of arts and artists in community. Tiaso Artist Cooperative Membership Levels FULL MEMBERSHIP. Full membership is available to individuals and nonprofits working creatively in, for, and with community. Applications for Full Membership are accepted in January. ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP. Associate membership is available for individuals and nonprofits that choose limited access to benefits. SUPPORTING MEMBERSHIP. Supporting membership is available to individuals who want to support Tiaso and the work of Tiaso members. NON-MEMBERS. Those who are not Tiaso members can access professional services of Tiaso on an hourly, fee-for-service basis. Non-members pay full price for hourly services and are not eligible for any benefits of the Cooperative. For TIASO membership information or to make a donation go to


October 2016 3




ROBIN SEYDEL ne of my fondest childhood memories is walking home in the cool, fall dusk with an armload of books from the library near my home. Then settling into my favorite chair, mom's handmade afghan blanket across my lap, trying to decide which book to read first, as the long, dark night set in. My love of libraries continues, and when my brother suddenly passed away, our family was honored to be able to donate his extensive book collection (including many first editions and handmade artist books) to the library at Hampshire College where he taught. Our libraries continue to be priceless centers of education, enjoyment and community. In this spirit and with the coming of the first of the cool, extended winter evenings, we are pleased to have the Friends of the Santa Fe Library, the Albuquerque Library Foundation and the Gallup Octavia Fellin Library and Children's Library receive your bag credit donations.



The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation (APLF) was founded by several long-time library volunteers who envisioned more opportunities for the Albuquerque Public Library System than could be provided by bond issues and other public monies. It's non-profit status allows it to help the libraries in the following ways: • ACCEPT DONATIONS for the specific benefit of the library system. • REDUCE GAPS in services caused by shortages in public funding. • PROVIDE RESOURCES to meet the needs of a changing economy, diverse workforce and growing community. • IMPLEMENT PROGRAMS to introduce families to their public libraries. • FUND OPPORTUNITIES to encourage the public’s pursuit of knowledge. The two volunteer groups that work in cooperation with The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation to support the needs of the Albuquerque Public Library System are the Library Advisory Board and the Friends for the Public Library. Members of the Library Advisory Board serve as liasons among the community and city, county and state governments. They also educate the community about library funding issues. For more information go to: The Friends, also a nonprofit organization, supports literacy programs at the libraries through recycling donated materials and conducting monthly book sales. They also contribute funds for the professional development of library staff. For more inforamtion go to:

The Friends of the Santa Fe Library is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the public library by providing funding, advocacy, programming, services, and materials that enrich the diverse community it serves. The Santa Fe Public Libraries are community information hubs where everyone can gather to learn, create, and dream. The Friends of the Santa Fe Public Library seek to preserve and enhance our libraries for generations today and tomorrow.


2400 Rio Grande. Blvd. NW 505-242-8800

City tax dollars do not meet the annual costs of the innovative library programming and new collections provided by the Santa Fe Public Library. To meet the needs, the Friends of the Library supplement this funding. Become a member today and enjoy a host of benefits. For more information, to become a member or make a donation go to


In Gallup we are pleased to be able to support the award winning Octavia Fellin Library and its special Children's Library. The Octavia Fellin Public Library’s mission is to enable the people of that diverse community to obtain information, resources and education through a full range of services and programs. The City of Gallup funds the library and all county residents, the Navajo Nation and the Zuni Pueblo receive services for free. Contiguous county residents and those living in Arizona pay a nominal fee. The Octavia Fellin Library is the only public library for McKinley County and the Southeast District of the Navajo Nation. Not believing a library should ever be limited by the economic condition of its region, the library seeks out partnerships and grant opportunities, always striving to meet and exceed the needs of patrons. The library is the crossroads of the community, bringing together people, information, and ideas.

UNM Bookstore 505-277-9586

Bring in your cloth bags all month long and donate your dime to help encourage the joys of reading and support our Public Library systems.



ient. However, they have a cost both to the environment (read: trees) and to the consumer which is passed on to the shopper, at a dime per bag. That's the price of convenience.

The main function of single use plastic bags is convenience. One need not think about how to get the groceries home or other purchased items. The use of the plastic bag is habitual. Once used and discarded like all other conveniences, it can be forgotten. La Montañita Co-op has long switched to paper bags, which are somewhat more environmentally friendly, reusable and conven-


During the past six years, once a month a different non-profit has received the monthly donation which averages out to about $2,000. Over the past six years, this has amounted to almost $150,000. The details, the non profits, the exact dollar amounts are all available on La Montañita's webpage at What has surprised me the most is that I've developed a habit of packing a canvas bag in the trunk of my car. It no longer requires thought, it is just as convenient and I get to feel good about making a seemingly insignificant donation which collectively is a real blessing to a local organization.



This month your bag credit donations will go to support PUBLIC LIBRARIES in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Gallup.

Donate your BAG CREDIT!

In AUGUST your bag credit donations totaling $2,812.80 were shared equally by the UNM Issa Sakaki Merrill Peace Studies Scholarship Fund and the CNM Access to Education Scholarship Fund. Thank you!



Alamed a Blvd. Coors Blvd.



3601 Old Airport Ave. NW 505-503-2550


GREG GOULD he single use plastic bag continues to be controversial. Although banned in California, it's back on the ballot in November to be ratified yet again. The problem with the single use plastic bag is that it takes a long time to biodegrade and often ends up in oceans, contributing to massive islands of plastic and hurting wildlife. BY

Now the real trick is how to change the behavior of the shopper. The Co-op has managed, to some degree, this behavior modification feat by creating an incentive: the Donate-a-Dime program. If a shopper brings in their own bag, they have the choice to 'donate-a-dime' or keep the dime.

Old A irpor t Ave .


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 News is published by La Montañita Co-op to provide information on La Montañita Co-op, 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.


October 2016 4



KHARA HINDI itality Works began in 1982 as a holistic health clinic just down the street from La Montañita Coop’s Nob Hill location. It was at the clinic that Mitch Coven, Medical Herbalist, founder, President and CEO of Vitality Works utilized herbal medicines as a primary treatment modality. Mitch compounded specific herbal formulations for each person based on their presenting problem. He practiced under the belief that herbs do not actually heal you; instead they change physiologic function and structure and facilitate your own healing. His goal was to understand what an herb does and how it functions in the body through its biochemical makeup and then match it to the problem or system dysfunction based on its biochemistry.



customers when the Nob Hill store began purchasing products with the Vitality Works label in 1993. With time a strong relationship of trust was built, and La Montañita allowed Vitality Works to formulate their private label line of herbal extracts, liquid vitamins and minerals, and essential oils. Vitality Works has proudly been doing business with La Montañita for over 23 years now. The relationship is a powerful demonstration of local supporting local. The La Montañita private label line supports not only a local business, but also hundreds of New Mexico jobs and local growers throughout the State. Now in our 34th year of business, the Vitality Works facility is located on 22 acres of land on Albuquerque’s Westside. Our facility is FDA Compliant, Good Manufacturing Practices-Certified by NSF, Kosher Certified, Organic Certified, FDA-Registered as an OTC drug manufacturer (for our homeopathics), and has a site registration with Health Canada (their FDA). We are a primary manufacturer, and buy only whole easily identifiable botanicals that can be tracked from farm to bottle. We adhere strictly to the FDA’s good manufacturing procedures (GMPs) for dietary supplements and

After many years of practicing in the clinic, Mitch made his most successful herbal products available to the public. La Montañita Co-op became one of his very first

BEAT THE BACK TO SCHOOL EMERSON chool has begun and on the heels of books and pencils, the season of runny noses, sneezes and coughs has also begun. Viruses, not bacteria, cause colds; antibiotics should be given only for secondary bacterial infections. If your child is starting a cold, let them stay home so they don’t infect others. Rest gives your body time to do its work of fighting off infections.

use 3rd party testing and verification to ensure identity, quality, strength and composition of raw materials and finished products. Some of the highly advanced material and product testing we utilize include testing for microbial contamination, and ICP-MS heavy metals testing. Our products contain no fillers, no magnesium stearate, and all of our products are Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, and Vegetarianwith the exception of our Glucosamine Chondroitin caps.

VITALITY WORKS has proudly been doing business with La Montañita for over 23 YEARS. We buy directly from growers and wild harThe relationship is a vesters and only source the freshest and powerful demonstration most vital raw materials. We support OF LOCAL hands-on, family-owned medicinal herb SUPPORTING farms across the United States and practice fair trade, paying sustainable wages. We treasure the certified organic farms and ethical wild harvesters. Our environmental focus has resulted in recycling programs that has annually kept 345,000 lbs. of extracted herb out of the landfills and turned it into composted soil, recycled 80,000 lbs. of cardboard, and saved over 5,000,000 gallons of water yearly by xeriscaping with medicinal plants.


While our growth has been exponential since our humble beginning in 1982, our mission has remained the same: to craft products of uncompromising quality, to operate in an environmentally sustainable manner, to embrace fair trade, support organic farms and ethical wild crafters, and to provide honest, intelligent education. We strive to continually evolve from a good to a great organization by remaining true to our core values of integrity, quality, stewardship, and customer centricity. It is an honor to be able to work with a company such as La Montañita Co-op that shares these same values with us.




Hand washing is the number one way to stop the spread of infection. Plain soap, water, rubbing hands together and rinsing is the best way in most situations. Antibacterial soap is not necessary and just contributes to mutations, resistance and “super bugs.” To make sure you wash long enough, sing or whistle “Happy Birthday;” one chorus will do.

Keeping a strong immune system is like keeping gas in your car-it’s always ready. The heart pumps the blood and keeps the circulation flowing. Movement is the only way to keep the immune system healthy. How much time in your house is spent watching TV or in front of the computer? Encourage activity by setting an example. Have fun outdoors with your children. The money you save not spending on cold remedies is worth the effort. Healthy Evaluations It isn’t stress that creates illness, it is our response to stress. If you or your child are always sick from colds, it is time to evaluate what is happening at work or school or in the home. What foods are you eating? What you eat can strengthen and nourish or cause disease. Sugary drinks, diet drinks or sport drinks have NO place in a child’s diet, or an adult's for that matter. Water is still the drink of choice. I dilute my juice with water to make it less sweet and to preserve tooth enamel. Sparkling water adds a little pizzazz. Herbal teas are healthy and add nutrients. Mint tea is always a favorite, hot or cold. It is especially beneficial if you grew it, tended it and harvested it yourself. Gardening is movement and movement keeps the immune system strong. Rose hip tea is an inexpensive source of vitamin C. A cup of rose hip tea has 60 times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange. They are also a source of bio-flavonoids that aid in the absorption of vitamin C and iron. The seeds can be ground into a meal and added to cereals and muffins and are a source of Vitamin C, sulfur and unsaturated fats. Add a dash of cinnamon, a teaspoon of honey and enjoy. Gathering rose hips can be a fun family outing. They are found along streams and in moist meadows. Pack a lunch. Dress warm, because the best time to gather them is after the first frost. And, please don't forget to leave some for the birds and animals of the forest. Ginger Root Tea Every kitchen surely has fresh ginger root or ginger tea. Make a strong cup at the first sign of a cold to prevent it from going deeper into the body. Grate the root and place in a pan with 2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You can add some honey and drink it or pour the liquid, without the honey, into a hot bath and “sweat it out." A cup of chamomile tea will help calm a fretful child and is also antibacterial. It is especially effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus. Add lavender to the chamomile and you have a powerful remedy. This combo can be used for steam inhalation for stuffy head colds and sinusitis. Steaming or placing herbs in a vaporizer will bring moist air to the mucus membranes of the respiratory tract, relieve the “dry throat tickle,” loosen secretions and stimulate expectoration. This treatment can also help headaches accompanying a head cold. Herbal Steam Tents 1. Place a handful of the herbs into a tall tea pot 2. Pour boiling water into the pot 3. Place a towel over the head and lean over the opening of the pot. You are now in a kitchen tent.

4. Inhale slowly and deeply 5. If you start feeling over heated or uncomfortable, come out of your tent. There are some precautions when doing this treatment. Pay attention and keep your focus. The boiling water can scald if it spills on skin. Be mindful when working with children or restless patients. An infant can benefit from this remedy. Place a sheet over an open umbrella and you have a croup tent. Holding the child, carefully place the steam pot under the tent, relax and play with your child and let the steam do its job of de-congesting. Carrot Juice and Soup Too! Vitamin A is the anti-infection vitamin. Carrot juice has always been my most effective cold preventive. Add cilantro or parsley for an added boost. A hot soup is soothing and sends “ammunition” to help your cold defense. To a basic vegetable or chicken broth (if not a vegetarian) add 1–2 crushed garlic bulbs. Yes, I said bulbs, not cloves! Season with chili powder, basil and oregano and drink throughout the day. Another soup is carrot-ginger or acorn squash and pumpkin. These yellow vegetables contain vitamin A that stimulates the macrophages in the lungs. Macrophages are our lungs first defense; sort of like our body’s National Guard. They keep the germs from taking over. Add a little honey and some cinnamon to mashed sweet potatoes. It tastes yummy even to a finicky eater. They are both active against staph and strep organisms. The kitchen can be a marvelous pharmacy. Our food is our medicine. Healthy snacks include seaweed and gently spiced kale crisps. Sugar snacks create mucus and contribute to runny, yucky green nose syndrome. Everyone likes a treat, even when suffering from a cold. A squash or pumpkin bread with sunflower seeds and or pumpkin seeds is a healthy sweet treat! Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds contain zinc, another immune supporter. Making Pepitas You will need raw hulled pumpkin seeds. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheet. In a bowl, mix the seeds with just enough olive oil to coat lightly and evenly. Add plain or seasoned salt, Mrs. Dash, garlic powder, chili powder to taste or a little lime juice. Bake 15 to 25 minutes, or until light brown, stirring about every 5 to 10 minutes. Keep a bowl within reach of little fingers for a healthy healing snack. A healthy diet, exercise and a positive attitude keeps one in balanced health. Try these kitchen remedies and see which works best for you.


October 2016 5





here is no denying the past months have been one of courageous leadership at the Co-op. Like dozens of other La Montañita staff members over the past two decades, after much soul searching, my heart and mind would no longer allow me to work in the business-as-usual world. I wanted to work in an organization with which I shared values and had opportunities to put those values into action to positively impact people's lives. When I was offered the position of General Manager here at the Co-op it was a dream come true. From my first days here, I have been guided by the Co-op's member-owners through the Board of Directors, especially Marshall Kovitz, who until his untimely death, took me under his wing and became my first and most trusted friend here. Now through the many close and deepening relationships I have here at the Co-op and in the larger community, I am experiencing the great good heart of New Mexico. However, as there often are, there are those few people for whom change is difficult, and especially so when it affects us personally—changes in our work environment or changes to something we are comfortable with and love. Sadly, for the past months I have experienced threats, bullying and intimidation from a relatively small group of Co-op people well beyond anything I have ever experienced before. I have had my tires slashed, people following me home and lies told about me that are absolutely not true. Although I know change is hard, Let's all remember there are always two sides to a story. You are probably already aware of a group of members who are calling themselves Take Back the Co-op. These people at the outset were displeased with our efforts to expand access to the Co-op to people in our neighborhoods, by bringing in some conventional produce dubbed, by Environmental Working Group, the "Clean 15." By the way, our Co-op has sold conventional produce for 40 years. At this time their petition and the platform of the slate of candidates they have put forward for the Board's annual elections in November has expanded greatly. And if put into action, I believe it could seriously impair the Coop's future ability to survive in an increasingly dense natural foods marketplace. People are signing the petition and getting information that is simply not true. I grew up in a family that honored and believed in the "Golden Rule;" treat people like you would like to be treated. I still live by that rule. Some people in this group are saying that we refused to meet with the membership. We have had over a dozen gatherings to give member owners an opportunity to talk with us; and those of us who participated learned a lot. Take Back The Coop organizers requested a meeting with the Board, which we agreed to. Take Back the Coop organizers then refused to meet with us. Democracy is not perfect and not easy, but to make it work we all need to be part of the discussion. Our Successful Initiatives In the past 9 months with a stellar team of people, many of whom have been instrumental in the Co-op's success over two and three decades and with whom I am honored to work; we have forwarded a number of initiatives that are experiencing extremely positive outcomes. A few of our amazing results over the last 9 months include: • La Montañita Co-op has reduced prices in organic produce by 45%, in Meat by 20% and in grocery by 15%, increased choices in organic produce selection by 200%, and we are still working to do more. In December we had approximately 125 organic produce items and today we have approximately 325 per store. • We have increased sales for the whole Co-op by 6.6% over last year. This is a far greater increase than is seen in the natural/organic and mainstream natural foods space. It is our customers voting for our initiatives with their dollars that have driven our sales.

October Calendar

of Events 10/5 ALBUQUERQUE TOWN HALL at the Mennonite Church, 1300 Girard NE, 5:30pm 10/6 SANTA FE TOWN HALL at the Center for Contemporary Arts, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, 5:30pm 10/13 ALBUQUERQUE VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION PARTY at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 5:30-8pm

• We have increased sales at our Westside 10/14 SANTA FE VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION PARTY location by 35%. at the Santa Fe Co-op/Community Room, 4-6pm • In 2016, La Montañita Co-op’s Distribution Center (CDC) purchased almost 10/18 BOD MEETING Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, $2.5 million in products from 71 local 2401 12th St. NW, Albuquerque, 5:30pm farmers, producers and ranchers. 10/22 ANNUAL MEMBER OWNER GATHERING at the • Co-op wide sales of local products durNational Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. SW, ing the fiscal year that ended 8/31/16: Albuquerque, 5:30pm. RSVP at over $10.5 million which is 26.82% of total Co-op sales. CO-OPS: A Solution-Based System • La Montañita is a leader in the local A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons foods movement. We carry over 2,000 united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and local products from 280 farmers, ranchaspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. ers and producers by way of our local foodshed, 300 miles around ABQ. • Eighty-two percent of our team is • Continue to maintain the Nob Hill store as it works to employed full time, and 95% of our team members are eligible overcome almost a year and a half of declining sales and for benefits. increased occupancy costs (rent). • We pay on average 85% of health benefits for both full-time • Sustain the Westside store as it works to build sales at that and part-time team members and on average 70% of the location in much the same way that we struggled to sustain health benefits of their dependents. the Rio Grande Co-op location for over three years after it • We pay on average 30% more than the average living wage opened, until it became profitable. in the communities we serve. (Source: Calculation from M.I.T., 2016) Take Back the Coop's website proposes a conspiracy theory • In 2016, 300 Co-op members-owners volunteered 5,713 that includes some of our national partners. Much of their hours at 60 area non-profit organization. information comes from a purely opinion piece written by • We have assisted 20 farmers and ranchers with $173,000 in Mimi Yahn several years ago in protest over a bylaw revision low-cost loans through the La Montañita Fund. at Putney Food Co-op, in Vermont. These claims are both • We led the effort to introduce the Double Up Food Bucks without merit and defamatory. To set the record straight below program into grocery stores, connecting small, local producers is some information about two national cooperative with with low- and fixed-income families. whom we partner and UNFI one of our many distributors. • SNAP/EBT sales increased over last year by $15,000 in July and over $12,000 in August. 1. CDS Consulting Co-op is a worker owned co-op of private • La Montañita is helping create the next generation of farmindividuals providing a wide variety of consulting services to ers through the Veteran Farmer Project: helping veterans heal retail food co-ops. Most of these consultants are former coand support the local farmers. op staff or board members. They have no ties to UNFI and work exclusively to support successful, independent food coTake the Co-op Back to... ops. La Montañita engages a number of consultants for We are now in a serious position given the proposed actions of advice on a wide variety of topics: legal, accounting, staff the Take Back the Coop group. Their actions could indeed relations, recruitment, marketing and more, but we make the take the Co-op back to the times when: decisions—our consultants do not. • Before policy governance, any and all of the nine Board of 2. National Co+op Grocers (NCG) is a co-op that we coDirectors could and did personally give, sometimes conflicting, founded in 2004 and which we own, along with 150 other direction to staff on operational issues and summarily fire staff food co-ops. Like at La Montañita, as an owner we elect its at will. board of directors and over the years our General Managers • Before La Montañita Co-op and 100 other cooperatives came have served on their Board of Directors. NCG only exists to together to form the National Co-op Grocers (NCG) association lower our cost of goods and help co-ops like us thrive. NCG to help us get to the economy of scale that, with our pooled purleverages the combined purchasing power of its members to chasing power, allows us to negotiate the volume discounts on get us better pricing and deals from UNFI and the manufacgrocery items needed to stay competitive in the market place. turers of the brands we sell. NCG does not mandate product • La Montañita remains proud of the fact that we were one of selection and every NCG program is voluntary. We are gratethe co-founders of NCG and are one of 150 Co-ops nationful for NCG’s support and their expertise – they have saved us wide that own this second tier cooperative. We remain a leader millions of dollars and helped us to remain more competitive. at NCG. Cooperative not Corporate Values We were local before local was cool! Not many organizations can say that they have been in the vanguard of the movement to grow the local economy for 40 years. We have good processes in place to ensure our Co-op remains true to its purpose of serving our diverse owners and expanding to serve new owners—as best we can. We recognize that conventional business wisdom would not have made some of the decisions we have made over the years and continue to make today. We continue to be proud of these decisions and continue to believe they represent actions in keeping with cooperative principles and values. These are not the decisions of a corporate mind set, but rather that of an organization dedicated to supporting our staff, our member owners, building community and the growing the cooperative economy. Some include: • Investing over $1.5 million in the nationally respected CDC to help local farmers, ranchers get access to markets and consumers get access to local and regional food products. • Taking out a nearly 3 million dollar loan to purchase and renovate the Santa Fe location based on the strength of the two existing Albuquerque Co-op stores. • "Merged" with the struggling Gallup Co-op to ensure that it could continue to serve that underserved rural community, by paying off its $160,000 debt, outfitting a new store, training staff, and maintaining it for over 7 years until that Co-op location became profitable a couple of years ago.

3. UNFI is the largest national wholesaler of natural and organic products and is our primary supplier. We buy from their Denver warehouse and rely on them for less than 40% of our purchases. They do a great job for us and are a valued partner. Next Steps You the Co-op community have worked hard and long to grow one of the finest food Co-ops in the nation. It would break my heart and the hearts of lots of others in our community to see it all slip away, due to the sensationalist actions of a relatively small group of members. Please help keep your Co-op strong and vibrant for another 40 years. We are hearing that many of our owners are alarmed by the half-truths, inaccuracies and inflammatory accusations put forth by this group. Please help them understand the above stated facts. • Speak to friends, members and shoppers in support of the positive initiatives we are taking to change and grow as the business environment we find ourselves in changes. • Refrain from posting or reposting Take Back the Coop literature and stay positive about your Co-op in your social media exchanges • Help members and shoppers understand who we are and all the positive impacts we have on the local/regional food system. My door is always open and I would be happy to answer any questions or concerns. While not perfect, La Montañita is firmly committed to democratic process, transparency and meeting the needs and preferences of our diverse members by moving forward to positively impact lives in our communities. IN








5:30pm ----------------------------




Special Guest Speaker: Ted Howard, Co-Founder of The Democracy Collaborative and Architect of Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives. Share some incredible local and organic food, free for members. RSVP: ownergathering Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St SW Albuquerque, NM seating is limited—rsvp!



ABQ • Wed, OCT 5 • 5:30 pm Mennonite Church • 1300 Girard NE Santa Fe • Thurs, OCT 6 • 5:30 pm Center for Cont. Arts • 1050 Old Pecos Trail

meet with the

La Montañita Board • General Manager • Senior Staff National Co-op Grocers Operations Director, C.E. Pugh CDS Consulting Cooperative Co-Founder, Marilyn Scholl

volunteer 1 3 parties 14




ABQ • Thurs, OCT 13 • 5:30-8 pm Emmanuel Church • across Carlisle from Nob Hill Co-op Santa Fe • Fri, OCT 14 • 4-6:30 pm Santa Fe Co-op Community Room


SPEND... $0.00 - $74.99 for a 10% Discount $75.00 - $174.99 for a 15% Discount $175+ for a 20% Discount




If you will be purchasing larger quantities or cases of your favorite products, please special order them at least 7 days in advance of your volume discount shopping trip to be sure we have everything you need in stock and ready for you to pick up when you arrive. The Volume Discount cannot be added to any other ownership participation discount, special order discount or any other discount. Your ownership MUST be current to take advantage of this discount offer.


la montañita by the numbers ------------------------------------------------------------------------We carry: 300+ organic produce items • 2,000+ local products From our: 280+ local vendors • 300+ mile local foodshed



Co |op Month Happenings


We have increased sales: 6.6% Co-op-wide over last year • 35% on the Westside Co-op-wide local sales this fiscal year: $10.5

million • 26.8% of total sales SNAP/EBT sales: increased over last year by $15,000 in July • $12,000 in August Our Team: 82% are employed full time • 95% are eligible for health benefits We pay: on average 85% of employee health benefits • 70% for their dependents In 2016 member-owners volunteered: 5,713 hours at 60 NM non-profits We have: assisted 20 farmers & ranchers with $173,000 in low cost loans Veteran Farmer Project: Helping veterans heal & become local farmers since 2011


FLAVOR SWEET POTATO AND CARROT SOUP Serves 6 / Prep time: 20 minutes / Cook time: 30 minutes This is a quick, satisfying and healthy soup. If you want an exquisitely velvety texture, strain the finished soup through a fine sieve or cheese cloth before serving. 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed, skin-on, cut into about 8 pieces 4 carrots, scrubbed, unpeeled, cut into 2 inch sections 1 onion, roughly chopped 2 garlic cloves 1/2 tsp salt 2 tsp ground ginger 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth 1 cup unsweetened almond milk Place the chopped sweet potato, carrots, onion and garlic in a sauce pan. Just cover with water and simmer on low for 20–30 minutes until the carrots and sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a sharp knife. Cool this mixture. Place the cooled veggies, measured broth, seasonings and almond milk into a blender and blend until smooth. Gently re-heat on the stove without boiling and serve. NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING: Calories 60; Calories from fat 4; Total fat 0g; Saturated fat 0g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 318 mg; Total carbohydrate 13g; Dietary Fiber 2g; Sugars 4g; Protein 1g RED CHILE SAUCE Makes approx. 4 cups / Prep time: 1 hour / Cook time: 20 minutes About 30 dried red New Mexico chiles 8 garlic cloves 2 tsp dried oregano Water as needed 3 cups of homemade chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)

October 2016 8

After making this chile sauce from scratch, you will never want to have anything else on your enchiladas! De-seed and de-stem the red chiles. Place them in a sauce pan along with the garlic and oregano and add water just to cover. Simmer on low for 20 minutes until softened. When cooled, process in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a strainer and add the broth. The sauce can be frozen for later use as well. NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/4 CUP SERVING: Calories 65; Calories from fat 14; Total fat 2g; Saturated fat 0g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 103 mg; Total carbohydrate 21g; Dietary Fiber 10g; Sugars 7g; Protein 4g Corn Chowder Serves 6 / Prep time: 10 minutes / Cooking time: 45 minutes This is a hearty fall stew, made New Mexican with the addition of roasted green chile and chicos. The chicos add a wonderfully deep smoky flavor to the stew. 1 onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 red sweet pepper, diced 1/4 lb ground beef (optional) 2 cups chicos or posole 2 medium potatoes, small dice 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth 4 cups water 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, chopped (thawing is unnecessary) 1 cup cooked pinto beans Green chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped (optional) Salt and pepper to taste In a 4-quart soup pot, sauté the onion, garlic and sweet pepper for about 10 minutes. If using, add the ground beef and cook until it’s browned. Add the chicos or posole, the diced potatoes, broth and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Just before serving, add the green beans, pinto beans, and chiles (if using) and warm through. NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING: Calories 364; Calories from fat 50; Total fat 6g; Saturated fat 1g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 13 mg; Sodium 240 mg; Total carbohydrate 66g; Dietary Fiber 10g; Sugars 4g; Protein 14g



pinch of salt, stirring well, boiling then simmering for about an hour and a half, stirring throughout the process. Piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar), sugar, honey or agave may be added when served. Serves 2–3.

SHARON NIEDERMAN BLUE CORN. The words conjure a special food magic, a rare beauty and nutty flavor unique to the Southwest. The Hopi of Arizona were the original cultivators of the special plant, valuable for its medicinal as well as nutritional properties; with it they made paperthin piki bread baked on hot stones. Today we value blue corn because it has a low glycemic index, so it digests more slowly and is helpful for diabetics; contains 20–30 percent more protein than other corn; and its blue color, from a chemical called anthoocyanin, has antioxidant value and may even have potential anti-cancer properties. Interestingly, blue corn is also free from GMO contamination.

BLUE CORNMEAL PANCAKES 1 1/2 cups fine-grind blue cornmeal 3/5 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 2 large eggs 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 1/4 cup corn oil


While it is possible to enjoy blue corn enchiladas at local New Mexican restaurants, blue corn meal is available for home baking and cooking. It generally is available in fine ground form and in a coarser grind suitable for use like regular corn meal. You can find horno-roasted blue corn meal for sale by driving the back road through Isleta Pueblo; or, you may purchase it from bins in your local food Co-op. It is also found in packaged form as “blue corn pancake mix” at specialty stores, but this mix will not work for the recipes below. I have adapted and used these recipes for muffins and pancakes from “Breads of the Southwest,” by Beth Hensperger (Chronicle Books; 1997) many times, with good success. ATOLE Similar in texture to cream of wheat, atole is a universal breakfast throughout Mexico and Latin America. It is an indigenous food that offers sustaining nourishment, is consumed by all cultures, fed to children, the elderly and nursing mothers. In Albuquerque, a version is served at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s Pueblo Harvest Café. You can make it at home by mixing a cup of toasted finely ground blue corn meal with two cups water and a

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and oil. Combine mixtures with a few swift strokes. Batter should be the consistency of heavy cream. If too thick, add a few tablespoons of buttermilk to thin. Heat and oil griddle. Drop on griddle using 1/4 cup measures. Serves 3–4. I like to top with toasted pinons and chokecherry syrup. BLUE CORN MUFFINS 1 cup fine-grind blue cornmeal 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 1 T light brown sugar 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/4 cups buttermilk 1/4 cup corn or olive oil 1 large egg Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cups of a standard muffin tin. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil and egg. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until moistened. Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling eight of the cups level with the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and tops are dry and firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to cool on rack. Note: you can substitute maple syrup for brown sugar, or add 1/2 cup dried cranberries.

October 2016 9


October 2016 10

SOILebration NOV.12

Sarah Pierpoint, Executive Director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition. “It is because of Soilutions that New Mexico has organics recycling programs, and it continues to be instrumental in certifying other recycling facilities.”



for a business model that could help the environment while being economically sustainable. Explains Jim, “In the Albuquerque area we’ve got dry, depletBY PAULINA AGUILERA-EATON ed soils, high erosion rates, water quality n a year of great milestones for orconcerns, urban concentrations, and ganizations working towards comlandfill issues. Put all that together and mon good in our community, Soillook for the leverage point. For me it was utions is thrilled to be celebrating 20 years all that organic material going to waste of organics recycling in New Mexico. in the landfill. By hitting that one lever, Making it to 20 years as a for-profit busiSUSTAINABLE you could turn the problem into the soluness founded and operated in an ethical tion while making a positive impact on value system is no small feat—only 2 out of all those other things.” Karen adds, “We 10 businesses make it to that milestone. So in thanks to wanted to do work that respected our environmental our community—in particular those who have never resources while creating good jobs and giving back to questioned the value of recycling their landscape trim- the community. It’s been challenging to stay in business mings, horse manure, or food waste—Soilutions is for 20 years but we’ve never questioned that it’s the right throwing a ‘SOILebration’ party this November 12. thing to do.”

into compost and mulches was the clear choice for a business model that could help the enivronment while being ECONOMICALLY


Owners Jim and Karen Brooks founded Soilutions on a simple premise: Be part of the Soilution. Recycling organics into compost and mulches was the clear choice

Doing the right thing has involved a lot of advocacy work over the years. “Soilutions brought organics recycling to a broader awareness in New Mexico” says

Organics recycling has grown from recycling yard waste and horse manure to managing food waste in recent years. “It’s as close as you can get to a closed loop system,” observes Walter Dods, Operations Manager at the Soilutions compost facility. “We make compost that’s approved for use on organic farms and gardens for local growers, they provide produce to local restaurants, and we collect and compost their waste—that’s what ‘Complete the Cycle’ is all about.” In 2015 Soilutions recycled 2,860 tons of food waste from Albuquerque area businesses. By recycling that waste into compost instead of letting it rot in the landfill, 2,057 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent was prevented from entering the atmosphere. That is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 53,310 seedlings grown for 10 years. All are invited to join Soilutions’ Thank You for Organics Recycling in New Mexico ‘SOILebration’ happening on Saturday, November 12 from 10am to 3pm. “We want to recognize those businesses whose support enables us to continue our good work,” says Karen, “And we want to show the community a good time, while sharing the story of organics recycling.” There will be tours, demonstrations, vendors, art booths, children’s activities, food trucks and live music. To learn more, visit or call 505-877-0220.



COMMON SENSE CARING BRETT BAKKER f you’ve followed my ranting and raving here (poor you!) you’ve seen sweeping statements that even I, the author, might not believe. Two maxims since my teenage years have been: 1) Don’t let the facts get in the way of the story and 2) I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say. I generally ascribe my belief in the first to the classic 1962 John Ford film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, where actor Carleton Young says—without a trace of irony “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." The second I attribute to a lifelong liberal outlook of the sort that tends to aid the political defeat of us lefties: Not only do we see two sides to every story, we recognize that there may be, oh I don’t know, 418 of them. How the heck do ya reconcile all of them?



One of my observations with which I agree/disagree on alternate days goes like this: Farming is not natural. The naturally occurring ecosystem (flora, fauna and micro-flora/fauna) is replaced with an acre—or five thousand—of, say, Blue Lake 274 Bush Beans. In a strict sense this is true because nature abhors uniformity. But it’s also an assessment based on a few thousand years of religious texts and a few hundred years of Eurocentrism. If you believe that humans are apart from nature and were indeed created to dominate it, then yeah it’s true. But if you believe that we are but a facet of nature, then perhaps farming is as natural as lions hunting wildebeest or chimpanzees using sticks as tools to capture edible ants. In the past experts declared that animals live in their environment but don’t shape it. First off, I’ve always distrusted

“experts” (and was completely demoralized when years ago I realized that I am an expert in ITCHY my field, what a nightmare!) GREEN but, second, we now know that is not true. In an easy example, the American Bison helped both create and maintain the prairie ecosystem. By human definition, bison are part of the ecosystem. By that reasoning, what removes us from the ecosystem, from nature? Brains bigger than a walnut? Naw! By our follies and foibles, we have proven time and again that humans barely use much more than a walnut’s worth of our brain in most matters. Opposable thumbs? Nope. Just because we’re smart enough to make child-proof caps that neither brains nor opposing thumbs can easily open doesn’t mean we’re all that smart. I used to be an insufferable preachy vegetarian. Yeah, one of those. What changed my mind was while living, working and hanging around at many Indian Pueblos here in New Mexico, one Puebloan told me “We eat animals because they are part of us.” Take it as you will, but it made sense to me that we are not apart from nature.


So all this is a roundabout way of conceding that perhaps altering the landscape by farming—be it plowing, burning prairie to bring new grass for prey animals, even chopping down trees—is actually part of the natural

process. Sure, it sounds more romantic if you picture it happening thousands of years ago when less humans were about, but consider: even without our influence, nature wipes out entire populations through catastrophe and evolution. Whether the creations or destructions of nature are good or bad is a human construct. Some tree huggers look at me askance when I offer the opinion that it’s pretty arrogant to think we can destroy the world. Sure, we might to able to trash it so badly that life as we know it wcould cease to exist. But that’s as we know it. Who knows what else Mother Nature has cookin’ to take its place? It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything we can envision. Try to imagine (a tip of the hat to H. P. Lovecraft here) a color we’ve never seen before. Who’s to say it does not exist? In any case, the takeaway here is that even if our destructive tendencies are part of nature, that’s still no reason to not take care of that with which we’ve been blessed. That’s just common sense and practicing graciousness, both of which are in short supply these days.






ROD REAY, BERNALILLO COUNTY EXTENSION MASTER COMPOSTER Interested in becoming well grounded in composting science so that you may share that information in the community? Please consider participating in the upcoming Bernalillo County Extension Office's Master Composter training. BY

Master Composters are volunteers educated in the science, art, materials, methods and benefits of various home composting techniques. They then share this information in the community through classes, information tables and on-site evaluations.

Each master composter is required to perform 10 hours of volunteer service annually in community outreach and supporting activities for the Bernalillo County Extension Master Composter Association. You do not have to be a resident of Bernalillo County to attend. You may do your volunteer work in your home county if you wish. The 25-hour training program will be held from October 12 through November 9 on Wed. evenings and Sat. mornings. Complete course details, schedule, and an application are available on our website at: All classes will be held at the Bernalillo County Extension Office, 1510 Menaul Ext Blvd. NW Extension, Albuquerque. Info:


OCT. 6


The NM Food and Agriculture Policy Council, Farm to Table and partner organizations are hosting a presentation and round table discussion by Anthony Flaccavento, farmer and author as it pertains to the Policy Council's New Mexico Grown initiative. Anthony's book, Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real World Experience for Transformative Change, features three dozen local economy and healthy food system initiatives from around the nation, including the work of La Montañita. The discussion will take place on October 6 at the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce Board Room, 115 Gold Ave. SW, Ste. 201 from 2-4:30pm. SEATING IS LIMITED. Participants MUST RSVP to Pam Roy, Farm to Table, 505-660-8403, or at


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THE MIGRATION EXPERIENCE AFRICAN AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, 310 SAN PEDRO NE, ALBUQUERQUE Artful Life is an Albuquerque-based arts and community development organization dedicated to transforming communities through the beauty and power of collaborative art. Their upcoming film and discussion series "The Migration Experience” will be held in the African American Performing Arts Center, 310 San Pedro NE. Films and discussion are free and open to the public. The discussions after each film will be led by academic and community scholars. All are welcome. For more information: or THE MIGRATION EXPERIENCE FILM SERIES SCHEDULE: Oct. 20, 6:30pm: Well-Founded Fear "Groundbreaking, as well as devastating... if it's life and death drama you're looking for, with entire futures hinging on a few words, this is the place to go." -Kenneth Turan, LA Times Nov. 3, 6:30pm: The Journey Matthew Cassel's new documentary traces the remarkable journey of a Syrian refugee from his home in Damascus across half of Europe and finds "a human story about ordinary lives disrupted by extraordinary circumstances." -Ceasefire Nov. 9, 6:30pm: The Harvest/La Cosecha "'The Harvest' follows a 16 year old boy and two girls, 12 and 14, through one harvest cycle, depicting their lives as a more or less voluntary indentured servitude and provides a detailed, sometimes heartbreaking portrait of a permanent American underclass. -NY Times

WAT E R S Y S T E M S W A L K T H R O U G H : O C T. 2 TOUR AMPERSAND SUSTAINABLE LEARNING CENTER'S OFF-GRID SITE. We will focus on rain catchment throughout the built environment, water harvesting


AND WATER CAPTURE WORKSHOP AT DESERT OASIS TEACHING GARDEN SPECIAL GUEST JIM BROOKS, OCT 18, 8AM-NOON BY TIANA BACCA Join us for a morning lecture with Jim Brooks as we explore concepts of rainwater catchment. Using the Desert Oasis Teaching Gardens as a case study, Jim will discuss how to minimize erosion in areas with steep slopes by utilizing stone plating, soil sponges, and fibrous root plantings. After the talk, you’ll have the opportunity practice these new skills as we complete work in our Welcome Center: a new community space, native plant garden, and rainwater catchment site. Desert Oasis Teaching Garden is located at Albuquerque Academy. For more information contact Tiana Baca for more info: or 505-828-3164. $10-$20 suggested donation.

earthworks for food growing and land restoration, water distribution, greywater in the greenhouse and outdoors, and three different kinds of water heaters. The workshop will be held from 3 to 5pm; join Ampersand friends for a potluck after the workshop. There is a suggested donation. More information:

Kyle T. Cowan, second generation Co-op member, asks that you support his debut novel Sunshine is Forever. The fictional story is aimed towards helping young adults and adults understand and cope with depression. The book follows protagonist Hunter through a series of life-changing events that lead to an understanding both of his traumatic experiences and how to overcome them. Kyle T. Cowan is an actor whose first big screen appearance was in Odd Thomas. Most recently he appeared in Longmire, Preacher, War On Everyone, and Manhattan. He is recognized for writing, directing, producing, editing, and starring in the indie feature film Camouflage. Cowan graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing and Directing from the University of Colorado Denver in December 2010. Cowan resides in Los Angeles and Albuquerque, NM. PREORDER SUNSHINE IS FOREVER NOW:




La Montañita Co-op Connection News, October 2016  
La Montañita Co-op Connection News, October 2016