Archives for October 2015

  • Vote for your Board of Directors | 10.12.2015

    October is national Co-op Month and we like to celebrate by voting for our Board of Directors!  We appreciate you taking a moment the next time you’re in the store to vote (look for the table at the front door), and joining us when we announce results and other co-op news at our Annual Meeting on October 29.




    Carol Beam_high res colorCarol Beam

    Dear Good Earth Market Members,

    It is with enthusiasm, vigor and passion that I submit this notice of intent to run for re-election to the Board of Directors. GEM continues to be the hub of activity for the local food movement thanks to the great co-operative effort of your board, the management of the market, the staff of the market and all of you active, supportive members. I am looking forward to our continued success and I am confident my contribution to the leadership of the co-op will help us keep our momentum going.

    The most important issues facing the co-op are growth and member engagement. We are in a time and a place where choices abound for grocery shopping. GEM is working hard to provide more options for shoppers – we want to be the first and only place you need to shop. But the board and the staff can only do so much to provide options. The members need to make a commitment as well. During the next three years, it will be my goal to help our members understand the importance of recommitting to this movement we call Good Earth Market.

    The biggest strengths I bring to the board are my leadership skills, my tenure and my continued passion for GEM. I have been committed to the success of the co-op for the past 12 years and I will continue to be committed to its success. It is unfathomable to image living in Billings, Montana, and not having the Good Earth Market as the place to go for my food and my friends.

    My greatest interest for the Board for the next three years is member engagement. Today, GEM is a member supported co-op rather than a true member owned co-op. GEM is actually one of the very few member supported co-ops in the country. The Board has done a lot of studying to better understand the pros and cons of our current structure versus the true member owned co-op structure. It is my belief that our member engagement will be significantly enhanced if we move ourselves to a true co-op and reward members for their loyalty to the store. If reelected, this will be one of the areas of focus for me and the Board.

    Thank you all for the continued support of your co-op and the support of your member election process. Here’s to three more successful years.


    IMG_4807Kevin Dowling

    I submit this letter of intent to run for reelection to the Good Earth Market Board of Directors. I have served two rewarding terms on the Board and am seeking another term.

    The Good Earth Market pioneered access to organic products. Then, the Good Earth Market led the movement for local foods and products. The Good Earth Market has responded to the needs of its membership. New competition is an opportunity to continue to grow the Good Earth Market to serve the members.

    Over the years, I’ve participated in the community by serving on the boards of Community Seven, the local access television station, and Washington School PTA. That experience has provided experience in grant writing, fundraising and communications—skills to use to build the membership, attract more consumers, and grow the Good Earth Market’s presence in the community.

    I would appreciate the opportunity to continue to grow the Good Earth Market by increasing the membership and customers shopping at the store.

  • Coffee at Risk | 10.07.2015

    Coffee at Risk_RoyaGrowing coffee on far-flung mountain slopes in ways that respect the earth and build rural communities is quite an accomplishment, there are routine, significant challenges to overcome. Now there is a new threat that is hitting many communities hard all at once.

    Coffee Leaf Rust, or roya in Spanish, is a fungus that starts with visible spots on the coffee tree’s leaves. As it progresses, Rust renders the leaves unable to photosynthesize, essentially choking the plant. The fungus spreads from tree to tree, farm to farm, community to community. Its range has reached across continents. Its spread is fast and impact severe. Some farmer co-ops have seen production levels drop 80% in a span of 3 years.

    The cause of this plague is due to a variety of factors, but likely one of the most significant is climate change, specifically an increase in temperature in higher altitudes where this fungus previously could not have thrived. This is an example of how unsustainable use of resources in industrialized countries contributes to climate changes that leave some of the most vulnerable communities to bear the biggest burden.

    For some farmers, the solution to Rust is chemical. But the most effective fungicides are not organic and are unrealistic solutions for our farmer partners. For farmers committed to small-scale, organic production, the answers need to fit that model. Through their own field tests, farmers report that the best results come from bolstering soil health and replacing diseased trees.

    Equal Exchange has responded in two ways. The first is to continue doing what we do: focusing not just on a product, but on the people and infrastructure that grow the product. We provide pre-harvest financing, support replanting projects and facilitate info-sharing between farmers. We have also dedicated $150,000 this year to directly fund Coffee Leaf Rust projects that farmers are managing in Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, and Guatemala.

    Equal Exchange logoEqual Exchange products will be on sale in October and we hope to draw attention both to the serious challenge of Coffee Leaf Rust, and to the perseverance and leadership of small farmers in finding better solutions. With your help and your purchases, together we continue to fuel an alternative trade model that does more than just trade.

    For more thoughts and analysis on this ongoing work, please visit our website and blog:


    By Lynsey Miller, Sales Director at Equal Exchange