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I am busily readying myself for a visit from five representatives from other food co-ops across the country this week. People's is a member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association, a cooperative of cooperatives that allows us to bring you great pricing through the Co+op Deals program. Another perk is access to peer support in developing our stores. So, we welcome these five general managers, taking time from their stores to look at our options for furthering People's and our Ends in this community.
Amid the congratulatory and other supportive comments about our recent open letter to Michael Potter, Eden CEO, last week, several of our owners bristled, making excellent points about our stance, and helping me to clarify the facts.
One thing that has become very clear to me is that our ownership base is not homogeneous, and that there are many folks who agree with Eden's expression of religious freedom in this case, and take the right for religious expression very seriously. It is extremely important to me that People's is a place where diverse people with diverse perspectives and values find a safe place to search for common ground. Building relationships that promote mutual understanding is one way for us to humanize ourselves and our community.
Finally, several owners and shoppers have challenged me on the reason for making a statement on this case at all, suggesting that it is outside of our mission to "create access to food that is healthy for people, land and the economy." I think that this is a very fair point! We have roamed into political territory here, and that is not our domain. That said, we're in this community conversation now, and will continue to share what we see and learn to support a community knowledge base. To that end, I've asked Michael Potter some additional questions and am waiting on his reply. I'll share what I learn, to be sure.
Thanks to you all for sharing your hopes and concerns about this situation. I appreciate the chance to have a meaningful conversation in our community.
Peace PFC people! I had a busy week last week on the outreach tip. The list includes a few healthy snack demos, vending at the Douglass Farmers’ Market, a smoothie making class, a free movie showing of More Than Honey, and tabling all day Saturday at the Black Arts Festival. Overall it was a very busy and fun week!
I’ll be tabling for the Co-op this Saturday at the Mothers of Hope 7th Annual Ultimate Family Reunion in Spring Valley Park. The event is going on from noon to 6pm, and the theme is “Reading Is FUNdamental.” The event is free and open to the public, and it is sure to be a good time, so come see us!
Remember the PFC is vending at the Douglass Farmers’ Market every Tuesday from 3-6pm, please spread the word. And don’t forget about our upcoming cooking classes! Check out class listings in the event section of our website. Youth ages 12-17 get in free with an adult.
Finally, I would like to give a plug for something non-PFC related. Outside of my work at the Co-op, I also serve on the board of a local organization called Educating for Freedom In School. Freedom School is an after-school and summer-school program serving youth K-12 in Kalamazoo.
This Friday, August 1, at 6:30pm is Freedom School’s end of the summer celebration in Dalton Theatre at Kalamazoo College. The theme is All Youth Matter: Remembering Youth We’ve Lost & Celebrating Those Who Are Still Here. Tickets are only $5, so if you are interested in attending the showcase or donating to Freedom School, please contact me here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're ankle deep planning for this summer’s Can It, Yo!, which is a celebration of preserving and capturing the flavor of summer at the 100-Mile Market on August 27. We'll have some demos, kids’ activities, music and LOTS of food to can or jam. If you're already planning on canning or jamming in the next week or two, you best jump on the Mitchell's Blueberries! Five pound boxes of fresh, organic, local family-grown blueberries are now $27.99 each. They did lose some berries to frost this spring, so get 'em while they're here, summer doesn't last much longer.
Did you see the fresh new raspberries from Ramey's Raspberries in Martin, Michigan? They are another local family farm bringing Co-op folks the fresh fruits of summer. When I eat them, I typically imagine each berry to come straight off that rainbow I see in the sky after a good sunny day rain. Straight from rainbows, eat some summer raspberries! (Can you tell they're my favorite?)
It's green bean, yellow bean, purple bean, Roma bean season! Maybe we oughtta call it "beanson" season? Anyway, to the point, we've got beans! They're Organic from Cinzori Farm, and awaiting your summer casseroles every night of the week. Starting Wednesday, they'll be on owner special for $2.99 per pound, regularly $3.99, for three weeks!
THE CO-OP DELI
We’ve got a new salad for you to try in the Deli; it’s our Spicy Peanut Kale Slaw and it will figuratively knock your socks off. Created by our very own fearless leader, Chris Orsolini, this salad is chock full of raw organic kale and complemented by a light addition of carrots and dry roasted peanuts. It’s then tossed in a house-made peanut sauce that’s slightly tangy, a little spicy, and finishes with a sweet ginger flavor.
It’s just one of many new products our Deli has been rolling out over the past few months and, like most everything else we do, the recipe was created by us, made from scratch in the Can-Do Kitchen with the highest quality ingredients available, and filled with love. We’ll be sampling this all week so stop in and try it before you buy it. And if we’re not sampling it, just ask; we’d be more than happy to open one up for you to try.
I just returned last week from an annual conference for co-op wellness and grocery buyers that is always exciting and inspiring. This year the focus was family farms and organic seed production. It was eye-opening for me and prompted much soul-searching about supporting local farms and local food and the positive difference that can make on a global scale. It makes me so grateful to be able to help provide more access to local food and locally-made products in my daily work.
Speaking of local products, have you seen our local body care end cap lately? The summer sun and bug care display at the top highlight many of our great locally-made items! Water Dragon salves and bug sprays are made by Kalamazoo's own Lesley Serri and include a sunscreen cream, after sun shea salve, bug repellent salve and sprays in two sizes, and an itch relief cream made with local herbs including jewelweed, one of the best poison ivy relief herbs.
Curvey Girl soaps made by Kathey Lynn in Lawrence, MI include a poison ivy relief soap with tea tree oil and walnut hulls and a wonderful skin cream with grapeseed oil, aloe, and lavender that feels amazing on sun-heated skin. I took some with me to Puerto Rico last year to visit my husband's grandparents, and it was so soothing for my fair skin in the tropical sun.
Last but not least, Brittanie's Thyme bug sprays are made near Grand Rapids and are USDA certified Organic citronella-free sprays that work wonders keeping the bugs away. Ask Max for his personal experience with them up north! Brittanie's Thyme also makes a great itch relief roll-on with witch hazel and lavender oil that helps soothe itchy bites when you forget your bug spray.
Fall is still almost two months away, so there is plenty of summer fun to be had still! Stock up on your local supplies while they last!
NOW HIRING A DELI COOK
PFC COOKING CLASSES
Register for one of our fun, interactive cooking classes! All classes are held in the Can-Do Kitchen (511 Harrison St). Values Program classes are $5 each; all other classes are $20 per adult, kids come free. And come hungry! In our classes, you’ll always eat well. Space is limited, so please sign up today with a friendly PFC cashier!
- 1-2-3 Sushi – Tuesday, August 5, 2014 from 6:30-8pm
Join chef Sara Kozminske in the Can-Do Kitchen and learn how to make raw, fish-free sushi. You'll come away with great new recipes to make for friends and family!
- Quick, Cool, Wheat-Free – Tuesday, August 19, 6:30-8pm
Join PFC owner and cooking instructor Vicki Mitchell to learn all about cooking easy, fun, delicious meals for summer, all wheat-free! Please note that all ingredients used will be certified gluten-free; however, the Can-Do Kitchen is used to prepare foods with gluten. Those with severe gluten allergies should be advised that the Can-Do Kitchen is not a gluten-free environment.
- Vegan Soul – Tuesday, September 16, 6:30-8pm
Denise Miller merges traditional soul food with a vegan approach in this one of a kind cooking class. Not to be missed!
GROW-IT-YOURSELF SEASON EVENT: CAN IT, YO!Wednesday, August 27, 3-7pm – People’s Food Co-op (507 Harrison St, Kalamazoo)
100-MILE MARKETWednesdays, 3pm-7pm (May–October) -- People's Food Co-op parking lot (507 Harrison St., Kalamazoo)
Join us for the 100-Mile Market every Wednesday, May through October! All food sold at this market is required to be grown or produced within 100 miles of Kalamazoo.
We accept Bridge Cards at the market, and we'll be participating again in the Double Up Food Bucks program starting in June! SNAP benefits customers, bring your Bridge Card to the market to get your SNAP tokens. In June, SNAP benefits will be matched up to $20 for fresh Michigan-grown fruits and veggies! That's $20 for free! Click here for this week’s vendor list.
KALAMAZOO FARMERS’ MARKETTuesdays & Thursdays (June – October), Saturdays (May – November), 7am-2pm – 1204 Bank St., Kalamazoo
People's Food Co-op is proud to manage the Kalamazoo Farmers' Market! Our purpose is to connect consumers directly to food sources through honest relationships and to support local food businesses through a vibrant market culture. Our Kalamazoo Farmers' Market Manager, Chris Broadbent, is available to answer questions. Find more information on market vendors, news, and events at the Kalamzoo Farmers' Market website.
AUGUST PFC BOARD MEETING
OWNER ORIENTATIONWednesday, August 13, 7:30-8:30pm – People's Food Co-op (507 Harrison St, Kalamazoo)
Perhaps you are a PFC owner, but you're not really sure what that means. Maybe you just became an owner and want an introduction to the store. Join us for one of our new monthly owner orientations! Gain a better understanding about ownership, learn more about your Co-op, and meet other PFC owners and staff. If you are interested in joining us, please RSVP with our media and communications coordinator, Chris Moore.
VOLUNTEER ORIENTATIONMonday, August 18, 7-8pm – People's Food Co-op (507 Harrison St., Kalamazoo)
Volunteers are what make co-ops great, and we believe we've got some of the best volunteers in the country! If you've applied to volunteer at People's, you'll first need to attend an orientation session, where we'll make sure you have everything you need to join our all-star team. Please RSVP with our volunteer coordinator today! To learn more about becoming a volunteer, check out our Help Out page.
FREE MOVIE SCREENING: FED UP!Thursday, August 28 5:30pm and 8pm -- Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (180 Portage St, Kalamazoo)
OWNER COUNT/EQUITY UPDATE
Current owner count: 2574!
New owners in 2014: 216!
Current equity invested: $382,445!
To share news or an event, please email media and communications coordinator, Chris Moore.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: PERMACULTURE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
TILLERS INTERNATIONAL: ADVANCED CANNING CLASS
Saturday and Sunday, August 2 and 3, 9am-5pm – Tillers International (10515 E O P Ave, Scotts, MI)
RICHLAND FARMERS’ MARKET FARM TO FORK FUNDRAISER
DOUGLASS FARMERS' MARKET
WOODWARD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SUMMER GARDEN NIGHTS
SUSTAINABLE GRAIN GROWING COOPERATIVE PROJECT
UPCOMING ERAC/CE EVENTS
- 2½-day Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshop – September 25-27, 2014
- 2½-day Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshop – December 4-6, 2014
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE SHARES
Get connected with local food and local growers! Check out the full list of Kalamazoo Area CSAs.
LOCAL FARMERS' MARKETS
Farmers' markets are providing a great opportunity to meet local farmers and to pick up some great food, including:
- Borgess Indoor Farmer's Market, Kalamazoo – Every other Thursday, 11am-2pm
- Douglass Farmers' Market, Kalamazoo – Tuesdays 3pm-6pm (June - September)
- Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market, Kalamazoo – Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7am-2pm (June – October) and Saturdays 7am-2pm (May – November)
- People’s Food Co-op 100-Mile Market, Kalamazoo – Wednesdays, 3pm-7pm (May – October)
- Schoolcraft United Methodist Church Farmers Market, Schoolcraft -- Wednesdays, 3-6pm (June – October)
- Vicksburg Farmer’s Market, Vicksburg – Fridays, 2:30-6:30pm (May 16 - October 3)
- Richland Farmer’s Market, Richland – Wednesdays 3-6pm (May 21 – October 15)
- Texas Township Farmers’ Market, Kalamazoo – Saturdays 8am-noon (May 10 – Oct 18), Tuesdays 4-7pm (May 27 – Aug 26)
Are you inspired to eat closer to home? Do you want to find sources of local foods and share with other locavores? Well, here's a tool you'll not want to miss. To join hundreds of others with similar interests, visit their Yahoo Groups page. To learn more, please email Lori Evesque.