Archives for August 2012

  • Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities | 08.22.2012

    Do you love your co-op?  Turns out the store you own does more than just sell good food – across the nation, cooperatives are making a big impact in their communities!  A new study on food co-ops, Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops*, quantifies the impact co-ops have compared to conventional grocery stores. The study’s compelling results demonstrate the many ways that cooperative businesses like Good Earth Market do well while doing good.

    Unlike their conventional counterparts, co-ops are owned and governed by member-shoppers and rooted in principles like community, voluntary and open membership, economic participation and cooperation. Because of these principles and practices, food co-ops inherently serve and benefit the communities where they are located. For example, the study finds that for every dollar spent at a food co-op, $0.38 is reinvested in the local economy compared to $0.24 at conventional grocers.

    Good Earth Market is one of NCGA’s 128 member and associate co-ops that in aggregate operate 165 stores, generate more than $1.4 billion in annual revenue, and are owned by 1.3 million consumers. Individually, co-ops serve the distinct needs of communities like the Yellowstone Valley. Together, co-ops have the purchasing power to rival conventional grocery chains, and the good business practices to truly make the world a better place.

    I Shop at the Co-op because...Supporting Local Food Systems and Sustainable Foods
    Though “local” has popped up in conventional grocery stores in recent years, retail food co-ops are leaps and bounds ahead of the pack. Where conventional grocers work with an average of 65 local farmers and other local producers, food co-ops work with an average of 157. Likewise, locally sourced products make up an average of 20 percent of co-op sales compared to 6 percent at conventional stores.

    Years after creating the market for organic foods, co-ops are still the place to find them. Of produce sales at food co-ops, 82 percent are organic, compared to 12 percent for conventional grocers. Organics make up 48 percent of grocery sales in food co-ops, compared to just 2 percent in conventional grocers.

    Local Economic Impact
    The economic impact that a grocery store has on its local economy is greater than just the sum of its local spending, because a portion of money spent locally recirculates. Food co-ops purchase from local farmers who, in turn, buy supplies from local sources, hire local technicians to repair equipment and purchase goods and services from local retailers. To some extent, conventional grocers do too, but the gap is still significant. For every $1,000 a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1,604 in economic activity is generated in their local economy – $239 more than if they had spent that same $1,000 at a conventional grocer.

    Employee Benefits
    The average co-op earning $10 million per year in revenue provides jobs for over 90 workers. In total, 68 percent of those workers are eligible for health insurance, compared to 56 percent of employees at conventional grocers. Co-op employees also earn an average of nearly $1.00 more per hour than conventional grocery workers when bonuses and profit sharing are taken into account.

    Environmental Stewardship
    Grocery stores – co-ops and conventional alike – generate a significant amount of waste. What sets retail food co-ops apart is what they do with that waste. Co-ops recycle 96 percent of cardboard, 74 percent of food waste and 81 percent of plastics compared to 91 percent, 36 percent and 29 percent, respectively, recycled by conventional grocers.

    At a co-op grocer, fresh, delicious food is just the beginning.

     

    Impact Report – View the full report in Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops.

    Infographics – View a pdf of the infographics in Healthy Food Healthy Communities Infographics.

    Video – Find the animated video, along with other Co-op related videos on the Stronger Together YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/coopstrongertogether

    *NCGA partnered with the ICA Group – a national not-for-profit research organization – to compile the data used to develop Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops. The ICA Group compiled data from industry and government resources, food cooperative financial data collected by CoopMetrics for NCGA, and previous NCGA surveys. The ICA Group developed two additional surveys, one targeted to retail food co-ops and the other to the conventional grocery industry.

     


  • News from the Farm – Negaard Produce and Greenhouse | 08.14.2012

    Daniel, Obadiah and Leah planting onions

    Here at the Negaard’s farm it has been a very busy year so far:  planting tomatoes in the greenhouse the 1st of February, starting calving the sixth of February, planting and starting seeds to go out in the gardens when it is time, Rachel making jams and syrups in her spare time with Leah helping when she can, calving finishing and now time to start planting the gardens.  With that comes the weeding and water (which is a non-stop job).

    This spring found us to be very busy with starting the clean-up from the flood of 2011, which made quite a mess.  Daniel spent a lot of time moving gravel that had washed up on our flats and trying to re-level one of our gardens that had a lot of damage.  We couldn’t get in there last year because it was too wet.  We also rebuilt a walk bridge that had washed out so that we could get to the garden easier.

    Daniel also spent some time building new tools to go on the garden tractor to try and make things a little easier.  Daniel and Joshua are building some cement forms to go around our large greenhouse so that we can put new plastic on it.   This has to be done every so many years, and it is well past due.

    We started picking tomatoes the end of April and each week we have new crops ready to start picking.  Just this week the zucchini and snow peas are ready. We also grew some new produce this year, including kale, tomatillos, colorful carrots, and turnips. 

    Obadiah and Leah are very busy picking and getting the orders ready for Rachel to haul to market.  When they are not picking, they are busy weeding and watering.

    Daniel is on the constant go working tomatoes, hoeing, and making sure everything gets watered when needed.  Rachel concentrates on calling for the orders each week, delivering, selling, and baking bread for the Good Earth Market Deli, bookwork, plus all the other things that a mother and wife have to do to keep up. 

    The middle of June we started putting up our hay and were pretty much done by the 4th of July.  This was early for us, which is good, because usually we do not start until the  first of July and this puts us into the time that we get very busy picking produce.

    This time of year on the farm we put in very long hours – 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning until dark.  Sometimes, like today, when the temperature reaches the 100 plus mark, it is nice to come in during the hottest part of the day and take a little rest and get out of the heat. 

    Joshua is also home from college this summer and helping – it is always nice to have an extra hand.  Last fall when he returned home from being deployed to Iraq, he put up a nice building for us to get our produce ready for markets in.  (Of course, with the help of Obadiah and Daniel.)  This sure has been a blessing for us because we always did this outside in the heat or cold.

    This pretty well brings you up to date on what is going on at the farm so far in 2012.  We enjoy working and being a part of the Good Earth Market and enjoy getting to know each of you as time goes on.  As always, we look forward to working with all of you in the years to come.

    by Rachel Negaard, Negaard Produce and Greenhouse


  • Simple Stress Management | 08.08.2012

    Stress. We all know it, most of us are ‘under’ it, and we all want to get rid of it. Stress can result from many things, such as deadlines at work, pain, emotional upsets, illness, postural burden and even genetics.  Left unattended, you may begin to notice increased heart rate, loss of sleep, and even anxiety.

    As the body is subjected to prolonged stress, systems can begin to breakdown and malfunction. Your energy becomes depleted, you become fatigued and depressed. Protracted exposure to stress can increase blood pressure, disrupt digestion, instigate skin reactions, as well as affect weight gain or loss. Stress can disrupt the nervous system, causing neurotransmitter imbalances. This can lead to feelings of sadness, headaches and memory interruption or loss.

    Chiropractor Pat Holl with a PatientIf you’re experiencing stress in your life, there are positive ways to deal with it. Remember to eat healthy food regularly, preferably organic as no amount of supplementation replaces a healthy diet. Drink lots of water to help flush toxins through your body and help reduce the risk of disease and infection. Exercise and stretch, as movement enhances blood flow to the brain, promotes the flow of body fluids and improves metabolism. And whatever form of ‘calming’ you choose, whether you meditate, pray, or sing, remember to plug that ingredient in.  Stress is often invariable in today’s world, but it can be managed.

    Guest blogger Dr. Patricia Holl, DC, chiropractor at Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic, has more than a decade of experience in her field.  Learn more on her blog, “Pat on the Back“.