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I have really enjoyed the past few days of milder weather. I hope you had a chance to head outside yesterday and enjoy some moments of sunshine.
I love this time of the year for a couple reasons, including the impending thaw and the feeling of excitement I am always overcome with knowing that spring, and a renewal of our landscape, is finally on its way. Another reason is that our co-op goes through a renewal at this time of year as well in the form of board elections!
This is your chance, as an owner of your food co-op, to weigh in on our direction by election board leadership. I want to convey my sincere thanks to each of the individuals that has chosen to run for a three-year term on the board: Sarah Carroll-Muniz, Torrie Condet, Jo Ann Mundy (incumbent), Michael Strohauer, and Rachelle Yeaman.
Here is how the election works:
- Statements from and a short video of each candidate are available on our website.
- Ballots will arrive in your mailbox shortly with your Coop Scoop, and will be available in the store.
- Please fill out ONE ballot and return it to the store or to the Annual Owner Meeting on March 23.
- Ballots will be due to the store by 9pm on Saturday, April, 5. Results will be announced on social media, web site, and in the eNews by Tuesday, April 8.
We need your help to ensure that we continue to live into what our community needs. We need at least 250 owners to participate, and would love to have over 500! Please vote!
Thank you so much for the part you play in helping PFC to create access to food that is healthy for people, land and the economy.
Peace PFC people! I hope all are as healthy and well as can be.
Last week and the beginning of this week have been inspiring and educational for me, full of great meetings and events about health and food systems. Last Wednesday I was able to attend KPL’s Reading Together kickoff event with author Tracie McMillan.
Listening to Tracie speak about her experience undercover in California farm fields and a Wal-Mart’s produce department really reassured me about the work that we are doing here at the Co-op.
Last Thursday I was able to be involved in a meeting at Mount Zion Baptist Church for their 5K Healthy Kids initiative. During the meeting we brainstormed ideas about how to better promote health and wellness among youth on our north side, with the end goal of curbing childhood obesity.
On Saturday I was part of the PFC’s Transformation Team orientation, where 20 plus people gathered to continue the work that the PFC has been doing with ERAC/CE to better provide access to all!
Today I took part in a presentation at the North American Envirothon, where Chris Broadbent and I talked with high schoolers from around the region about local food systems and sustainable agriculture. The combination of these events and meetings has left me feeling great about my community and the work our Co-op is doing. Going off this momentum I plan to attend some more of the upcoming Kalamazoo Public Library Reading Together events. I encourage you to check them out as well.
Don’t forget about our awesome cooking classes! This month’s classes include:
- Paleo Lifestyle with Stacy Housman-Schmitzer
Tuesday, March 18, 6:30-8:30pm
- Yummy, Easy, and Allergen Free with Vicky Mitchell
Monday, March 31, 6:30-8:30pm
As we gear up for the growing season, we're starting to have conversations with our local farmers about the spring, summer and fall fresh food season! Let's face it, it's the end of winter and with Seed Savers Exchange seed packets now in the store, it's time to get going. Break out your gardening books, look for your local community garden, and best of all imagine the flavor of your first handpicked ripe red tomato. The last 10 days of winter... it's a good time of year.
Lots of really great events are happening this month regarding growing food! Kalamazoo Public Library is hosting panels with your local farmers, movies about food topics, and speakers. This is a great way to enrich your inner hype for the growing season and we hope to see your face around town! Click here for the schedule.
This week's owner specials are just what the doctor ordered to soothe your spring fever. Celery bunches are $1.99 each, regularly $2.99. Big five pound bags of carrots are $5.79 each, regularly $6.49. Tonight I'll be bringing home fresh ginger, turmeric, carrots, celery, and apple to juice in the mornings this week. Fresh tastes are not that far away!
Farmers' Market Manager
Just 57 days until the Kalamazoo Farmers' Market opens!
Last year our market supported $2.5 million in sales, according on a customer survey from the Michigan Farmers' Market Association. Check out their report! This year is sure to be as exciting.
We are holding vendor meetings this coming Saturday, March 15 1:30-2:30pm, and next Tuesday March 18 2-3pm at 1157 Bank St, in the Bingo Hall across from the market. All are welcome, and the meetings are optional for vendors.
If you're interested in selling at the market this season be sure to send me an email and I'll get you the info you're looking for. May the force be with you. Peace.
THE CO-OP DELI
We know the PFC deli is a favorite mealtime destination for a lot of folks, and we’re always looking for ways to improve our service to you! One recent improvement we just implemented is posting the hot food menu for the week on the glass above the hot food itself. This easy-to-read reference gives deli hours, prices and what we're cooking up throughout the week so you can plan ahead for delicious meals!
Here's a quick rundown of what we prepare on our hot bar. House-made breakfast burritos are warm and ready by 7am, with both regular and vegan options. On the weekends we also add meat burritos, a big favorite among PFC staff, I’ve heard. Our salad bar is set up and ready at 7am as well, and replenished throughout the day.
Our two daily soups are hot and ready to enjoy between 10 and 11am. Our hot food -- main dishes, side dishes, grains, greens, and more -- are being prepared in our kitchen fresh each morning, and on the bar by 11am.
Want to grab a quick lunch? We make our own deli sandwiches, salads, dips, hummos, cookies, muffins and treats daily in our kitchen. Our deli team works 7 days a week to bring you fresh and delicious selections, all prepared with LOVE. Bon appétit!
Alaffia is one of my favorite brands we carry in the body care department. They have four lines of skin care and hair care products, and we carry a few items in each line: Alaffia, Beautiful Curls, Everyday Shea, and Everyday Coconut. All of these products are based in fair trade shea butter or coconut oil, handmade in Togo, with the goals of redefining the beauty care industry and alleviating poverty through fair trade and sustainable skin care products.
In addition to making excellent products, Alaffia gives back to the women's cooperatives in Togo that make their raw ingredients through bicycle donations, maternal health care programs and facilities, and schools. I'm sure you've heard me mention Alaffia's great work and products many times before, because I love to talk them up!
Alaffia has produced a new youtube short documentary about their personal story and their journey. If you want to learn more about Olowo-n'djo and Rose, the founders behind the products, I highly recommend watching it.
In Olowo-n'djo's most recent newsletter he calls out Togo's situation most eloquently. Here are a few excerpts from his letter:
“As with all my visits to Togo, last month I returned to the USA with great sadness in my heart since the human condition seems to worsen every year in my country despite the efforts of Alaffia. I see my country being recolonized by foraging emerging economies... I see cargo ships lined up as far as the eye can see at the Togo port. Yet, the streets of Lomé are filled with girls 11 years old or less, selling bean cakes in the hot sun, and more and more families are digging through garbage heaps for recyclables to pay for a day's worth of food.
...economic injustice continues in my home country and across the globe, prohibiting the attainment of all other human rights. To fight this injustice, I put out a calling to my own people, to the powerful in the West, and to the emerging economies to compensate the poor fairly for their resources and labor. For your part, I urge you to support fair trade initiatives and, most importantly, activities that do not destroy indigenous cultures. I am optimistic that by continuing this work together, we can bring full economic rights for all our communities and our future generations, and in the process preserve cultural diversity and indigenous knowledge.”
THE CENTER STORE
Grocery & Merchandizing Manager
Like to read? Like to listen to farmers talk about their craft? You're in luck, as The KPL Reading Together Program is hosting The Farming Life, where local farmers will speak of their passion. Talk about having a connection with your food, this takes it to another level! I'm especially proud to say that the Co-op's own Meat and Cheese Buyer, Heather Colburn, will be there too, instilling knowledge on what local farming can be like.
We are supporting the Reading Together project with an informational display in our store. We’re also working with local bookstore extraordinaire Bookbug to provide you with the books Farm City and The American Way of Eating, the two official Reading Together selections. Bookbug is also hosting their own event, an open mike night on March 28 called Verses and Vibes on Food, from 7-9pm. Come to share or listen!
In the Good Deal department, this week we have Cascadian Farm frozen fruit. Stock up now to last until the fresh stuff is back! 10 ounce bags are only $3. Going from good value to great this week is Field Day Pasta Sauce. It’s organic and tastes great, now only $2.50. What a deal!
Chips and salsa have long been a favorite snack of mine. If you haven't tried the new Salsa by Blanca selections in the deli Grab n’ Go case, now is a good time. Its price to please at $6.49. You can make a meal out of a jar of this local Can-Do Kitchen-made salsa and some Garden of Eatin’ Tortilla Chips for $3.99.
Judging by our sales of the Confections with Convictions chocolates we had during February, you were excited to support Dale's mission through eating chocolate. Sign me up! We have added a few new varieties recently, including foil wrapped chocolates in our Bulk section, a new bark made just for us here at the Co-op, and more. Come check ‘em out!
This week's question: PFC Board elections are underway! With 2433 owners, we're hoping to have at least 500 votes this year. Last year, around 200 owners cast votes. How many votes will we get this year? Be the closest to guessing the 2014 board vote total and win a $20 gift certificate!
VOTE FOR YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The time has come to vote for your Board of Directors! This year there are three seats to fill, and a slate of five great candidates! View the candidates’ short video interviews and read the statements of candidacy to get to know them each a little better.
All owners in good standing (up to date in owner payments) are eligible and strongly encouraged to participate in the voting. Ballots will be arriving in owners' mailboxes in mid-March, and will also be available in the store.
Please turn in your ballot to the voting box within the store or bring them to the Annual Owner Meeting on Sunday, March 23. Ballots are due on April 5 by 9pm!
ANNUAL OWNER MEETINGSunday, March 23, 12-5pm – Kalamazoo State Theatre (404 S. Burdick Street, Kalamazoo)
Don't miss the PFC Annual Owner Meeting – it’s the party of the year! Learn about the exciting progress your Co-op has made in 2013 with food, friends, and films. Following meeting we'll be showing the film Food For Change, a great new documentary about food co-ops. The film will be free and open to the public, so invite your friends to join us at 3pm! We’re looking for owners willing to help volunteer at the Annual Owner Meeting, so please contact our volunteer coordinator if you’re interested.
Full event schedule:
- 12pm: doors open, showing of PFC owner Matt Clysdale’s film Animals Among Us
- 1pm: meeting (upstairs) and children's performance by Duniya Drum and Dance (downstairs)
- 2pm: light snacks provided, cash bar available
- 3pm: Food For Change screening -- free and open to the public!
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!
- Paleo Lifestyle – Tuesday, March 18, 6:30-8:30pm
Learn more about the ways of the paleo diet with Stacy Houseman-Schmitzer!
- Yummy, Easy, & Allergen-Free – Monday, March 31, 6:30-8:30pm
Prepare delicious meals that are gluten, soy, dairy, and nut free with chef Vicky.
- Dress Your Salad – Friday, April 11, 6:30-8:30pm
Learn to prepare fresh salads for deliciously memorable meals with Sara Kozminske.
OWNER ORIENTATIONWednesday, March 19, 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.
NORDIC WALK ON THE KRVTSaturday, March 22, 2pm – People's Food Co-op (507 Harrison St, Kalamazoo)
PFC is teaming up with Gazelle Sports to get us all moving on a wintery walk! Meet at People's parking lot for a movement and nutrition clinic with a Gazelle instructor and then hit the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail for a 1-5 mile walk. 20 sets of walking poles will be provided -- bring your own if you've got 'em!
APRIL PFC BOARD MEETING
VOLUNTEER ORIENTATIONMonday, April 14, 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.
OWNER COUNT/EQUITY UPDATE
Current owner count: 2433!
New owners in 2014: 74!
Current equity invested: $356,617!
To share news or an event, please email media and communications coordinator, Chris Moore.
KALAMAZOO PUBLIC LIBRARY: READING TOGETHER 2014
Get involved by attending the community events that will move the conversation about food in Kalamazoo forward. See the full events calendar here.
Selected Reading Together Events:
- The Farming Life
Tuesday, March 18, 6:30 pm -- Oshtemo Branch Library (7265 W Main St, Kalamazoo)
- Beyond Food For Thought
Wednesday March 26, 6:30 pm -- Portage District Library (300 Library Ln, Portage, 49002)
- The Farmworker Story
Tuesday April 1, 6:30 pm -- Washington Square Branch Library (1244 Portage, Kalamazoo, 49001)
- Food Security or Food Justice: Does it Really Matter?
Thursday April 3, 7:00 pm -- Bronson Gilmore Center for Health Education (7 Healthcare Plaza, Kalamazoo, 49007)
- Farmer’s Market 101
Tuesday April 8, 7:00 pm -- Central Library (315 S Rose St, Kalamazoo 49007)
- ERAC/Ce Food Justice Intro
Saturday, April 12 – Location and time TBD
- Meet Novella Carpenter
Tuesday April 15, 7 pm -- Kalamazoo Central High School Auditorium (2432 N Drake Rd, Kalamazoo Township, MI 49006)
HOPE FOR CREATION: FAITH & ACTION IN A TIME OF CLIMATE CHANGE
All events held 5:30-7:30pm -- First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo (212 South Park St. Kalamazoo, MI 49007)
Don’t miss this series of presentations about climate change and how people of faith might take meaningful action here in Kalamazoo. Each evening will begin with a simple soup supper followed by a presentation by a community expert on climate change and conversation among participants. Presented by an inter-faith partnership of the Bronson Park churches, other local faith communities and the Climate Change Working Group of WMU. Childcare provided. Free and open to the public.
- Seeds of Hope: Faith Communities Adapting to a Changing Climate – Monday, March 10
Presented by Cybelle Shattuck, University of Michigan
- The Economic Debate on the Costs of Climate Inaction – Monday, March 17
Presented by Ahmed Hussen, Kalamazoo College
- Climate Change & Agriculture in Michigan: What We've Seen & What We Can Expect – Monday, March 24
Presented by Phil Robertson, Kellogg Biological Station
- Our Response in Kalamazoo – Monday, March 31
ROLE OF RESTORATION IN 21ST CENTURY CONSERVATIONWednesday, March 26, 7pm – First United Methodist Church (212 S. Park, Kalamazoo)
Edward Stanton, Restoration Ecologist with The Nature Conservancy, will speak on the many meanings of the word "restoration." The most common limitation in defining and practicing restoration successfully is limited knowledge of the past history and condition of the land. Regardless, restoration in all its forms and scales will be increasingly important to conservation. 1-hour program sponsored by Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones, free and open to the public.
ISAAC 2014 BANQUET: "LOVE WILL GUIDE US"Saturday, March 29, 5pm – WMU Bernhard Center Ballroom (1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, 49008)
“Love Will Guide Us” is the theme of this year’s ISAAC 2014 Banquet! The keynote address will be given by Elise Bryant, an award-winning actor, singer, director and playwright who uses her many talents to build a more just community. Music provided by soloist is Havier Hill Roller, Loy Norrix student and ACT-SO gold medalist. Seating at 5pm, program begins at 5:30pm. Call 341-4213, or visit our website for tickets.
CIRCLE PINES CENTER NOW HIRING
Circle Pines Center in Delton, MI is looking for a few folks to fill various positions in the summer camp kitchen. We are specifically looking for people to work in our face-paced and demanding kitchen who have high energy and stamina, who are willing to communicate, and who recognize the value behind serving ethically-raised and healthy foods to youth. These jobs require staff to live on-site at the summer camp facility throughout the duration of camp, June 25 through August 13. Our kitchen staff are responsible for preparing three meals/day from scratch for up to 110 people (mostly youth). We are in need of full-time, temporary positions for Head Cook and Assistant Cooks. Please send resumes, including salary requirements and references, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 269-623-9054.
KALAMAZOO NATURE CENTER HIRING FOR SEASONAL WORK
TRYBAL REVIVAL GARDEN SEEKING INTERN/BOARDER
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HIRING CONSTRUCTION SITE COORDINATOR
UPCOMING ERAC/CE EVENTS
- 2½-day Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshop – May 8-10, 2014
- 2½-day Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshop – September 25-27, 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:
- Bank Street Winter Market, Kalamazoo – Saturdays, 8am-1pm (December 8 – April 28)
- Borgess Indoor Farmer's Market, Kalamazoo – Every other Thursday, 11am-2pm
- Bronson Winter Farmers' Market, Kalamazoo – Every other Friday, 10:30am-2pm (December 20 – March 14)
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.