5-Spot: Reasons to Support Hemp Farming in the US

5SpotHemp
Written by Sarah Quallen

While hemp holds a special place in some of our hearts—mine included—from the bracelets and necklaces that were staple accessories in the 90s, the growing and harvesting of hemp has actually been a very controversial topic over the years. Here are a few reasons to support hemp farming in America:
1. Hemp grows like a weed. For farmers, this means a high rate of production. Hemp grows quickly, and it does not require a lot of space to do so, meaning more product grows on smaller plots of land in less time. In fact, according to the Hemp History Week campaign, while American farmers often net less than $50 per acre for soy and corn, Canadian farmers just across the border net an average of $200-400 per acre for hemp. And, even better—Yes! It gets better!—it grows well in a wide range of soil types and climates.
2. Hemp is a super food. Blueberries, shmooberries! Toss some hemp hearts on your salad, put hemp seeds in your energy bar, or use hemp seed oil for cooking. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and it’s a complete protein to boot. (Just kidding about the blueberries, of course. Eat those, too!)
3. Hemp is good for the soil. Because of its weed-like qualities, growing hemp does not require pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. It also does not require a lot of water to grow, and its resiliency can actually help to clean polluted soil. It’s so good at cleaning soil that it was among the plants used to clean the soil and groundwater after Chernobyl. Plus, hemp absorbs CO2 through photosynthesis, which could reduce greenhouse gases.
4. Hemp can be made into plastic. According to Hemp.com, hemp plastic is so durable it can be used to make cars! It’s stronger, lighter, and less expensive than fiberglass. Plus, it’s recyclable. With just a small portion of our farmland, we can replace production of billions of oil-based plastic water bottles with compostable hemp bottles.
5. Hemp can be made into fabric. Durable and comfortable, hemp fabric can be added to the list of excellent natural fibers next to cotton and linen. And twine—for necklaces, of course!
To date, 23 states have passed pro-industrial hemp legislation, which means the United States will soon be producing more hemp products, thereby creating jobs built around the hemp industry. Since Americans import as much as $11.5 million worth of hemp from China and Canada each year, it’s a good bet that hemp farming will be a sustainable and profitable industry for our country.
To find out more about hemp, including its history and uses, check out Hemp History Week at hemphistoryweek.com.

From the Market: Radish Dip

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Our Tuesday Growers Market is in full swing and we’ll be bringing you recipes and photos from the market each week. This is the 11th season of our market and we’re very excited to watch is grow and thrive each year. Our market is a great option for local food purchasing and is a nice alternative to the hectic market on Main Street. This is also a great opportunity to talk with the folks who are working so hard to provide our community with fresh and healthy food from within 50 miles of Moscow. The market takes place each Tuesday from 4-6:30pm in the Co-op;s parking lot and is pleased to offer music, food, games, and activities for kids this year. Come on down and join us!

This recipe for the Co-op’s Radical Radish Dip is made using locally grown, bright, and delicious radishes.
To make this dip you will need:
1 lb local radishes, trimmed
1 1/2 cups cream cheese
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons dried dill weed

Wash and trim radishes and roughly chop. Place them in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place a layer of cheesecloth in a strainer and drain radishes by squeezing, reserving the liquid. Add remaining ingredients to food processor with half the radishes. Blend until well incorporated.  Add remaining radishes and blend until smooth. Add a little of the radish liquid if dip seems too thick. Serve with sliced baguettes or gluten free crackers.

Beet Read: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

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Written By Rachel Clark, Good Food Book Club Volunteer Coordinator
Join us in reading the June Co-op Good Food Book Club book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. The Book Club will meet Sunday, June 29, from 7-8:30 p.m. at a member’s private residence to discuss The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more information and directions. Already a signature, key contribution not just to food writing, but to the now central platform of sustainable resilience, Michael Pollan’s groundbreaking The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006) is as important today as it was almost a decade ago when it was released.

At the time it went to print, Publishers Weekly said, “Pollan examines what he calls ‘our national eating disorder’ (the Atkins craze, the precipitous rise in obesity) in this remarkably clearheaded book. It’s a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You’ll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again. Pollan approaches his mission not as an activist but as a naturalist: ‘The way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world.’” These days, it’s easy to imagine that Pollan’s work, particularly with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has profoundly shifted (and continues to shift) many Americans’ relationship with food. And with food justice. Because as his writings spotlighted in The Omnivore’s Dilemma and beyond, the way we grow, choose, and eat our food is profoundly, inextricably linked to human, non-human, and environmental justice across all facets of the system: from loss or growth of soil, to pollution or healing of waterways, to unspeakable animal brutalities or thriving, healthy, animals, to dire climate change or halting carbon pollution. They all hinge on our food. And each is a choice.

Come join us to discuss what’s happened since the book first came out, and how it remains relevant today. We’ll meet to talk about The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Penguin, 2006) by Michael Pollan Sunday, June 29 from 7-8:30 p.m. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club.
GOOD NEWS! A generous donor, who knows the importance of Pollan’s book, bestowed us with free copies of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Please email bookclub@moscowfood.coop to reserve your copy. Limited copies available: first come, first served. The Omnivore’s Dilemma is also available through your local library. If you need to buy the book, check out the area’s local used bookstores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Community section of the Co-op website at www.moscowfood.coop.

5-Spot: Fair Trade Coffee

FairTradeCoffee2The 5 Spot: Reasons to Choose Fair Trade Coffee
written by Sarah Quallen, Volunteer Writer

Coffee is the one of the world’s most heavily traded commodities, which means world production is huge. It also means that in order to keep up with increasing demand for coffee, farmers were (and still are) growing coffee at a rate that is not sustainable. Yet, sustainability is imperative if we are to continue producing enough coffee to satisfy demands. Fortunately, coffee is also the most rapidly growing fair trade commodity.

Why should you choose fair trade coffee? Here’s five reasons:
1. Buying fair trade coffee supports small farms: Fair trade coffee tends to be grown on smaller farms regardless of whether or not the farm is officially organic. Smaller farms mean that the farmers are usually also the landowners and that more money is going directly to them rather than to corporations. Which leads us to…

2. More of your money goes to the farmers: Fair trade coffee farmers get paid more money per pound of coffee they sell than do conventional coffee farmers. Many fair trade cooperatives use the money gained through fair trade to enrich, support and empower their communities. For example, the Alto Occidente Coffee Cooperative of Caldas (CCAOC) in Columbia—from whom Equal Exchange purchased their first container of coffee in 1995—includes a five cent per pound premium which the cooperative allocates for social programs directed toward women and children, education, environmental preservation and organic farming projects.

3. Fair trade coffee is sustainable: An additional goal of the fair trade movement beyond paying farmers more is to promote sustainable farming. Farmers who belong to a fair trade coffee cooperative are required to use less chemical fertilizer, to prevent erosion, and to protect forests.

4. Purchasing fair trade coffee means “buying into the system”: While most people feel positively about fair treatment, many are not willing to spend the extra money on fair trade products, which means corporations are not promoting fair trade coffee. When more fair trade coffee is purchased, more will be produced.

5. Fair trade standards support human rights: By restricting the number of hours a person can work, ensuring a safe working environment and guaranteeing fair compensation for coffee and labor, fair trade workers are granted a higher quality of life. 

*Information for this article was gleaned from Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival by Daniel Jaffee and from Making the Food Trade Work for All by Daniel Gonzales, and from Equal Exchange (equalexchange.coop).

5 Uses for Coffee Grounds

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After you’ve enjoyed your coffee for the day, put the grounds to good use. Here’s 5 ways how:
1. Add the grounds to your compost for a healthy dose of acidity.
2. Mix coffee grounds with olive, vitamin E or mineral oil and exfoliate dry skin.
3. Has your home been invaded by an army of ants? Sprinkle coffee grounds around doors and porches to repel them.
4. If your hands seem to perpetually smell like onions or garlic from cooking, wash hands and scrub with coffee grounds. They’re great for neutralizing odors.
5. If neighborhood cats think your garden is the best litter box ever, mix coffee grounds with orange peels and sprinkle into soil. The pungent odor will keep cats looking elsewhere.

Celebrate World Fair Trade Day With Us!

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World Fair Trade Day, an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), is a worldwide festival of events celebrating fair trade as a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty, climate change and the economic crisis that has the greatest impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations. This year’s theme is “Fair Trade People”, meaning there is a strong emphasis on the farmers and producers of fair trade, as well as on us, the consumers.

Today we’re celebrating World Fair Trade Day with Alaffia, Alter Eco, Divine Chocolate, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Equal Exchange, Guayaki Yerba Mate and Maggie’s Organics. All these brands are committed to fair trade through their entire supply chains supporting small family farmers and trade justice policies. 

Look for great deals on fair trade products at the Co-op today through May 20, when the manufacturers have agreed to donate 1 percent of purchases made at our Co-op to Root Capital. Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. The National Cooperative Grocers Association will be matching the manufacturers’ donations as well. Learn more about Root Capital at www.rootcapital.org.

The WFTO is asking us, the consumers, to spread the word by making a poster using their online poster generating app and sharing it on social media. It’s simple! Visit www.wfto.com/wftday/people and upload a photo of yourself. Add your role in the fair trade movement—even if you don’t have a professional role, you’re still a “supporter” or a “campaigner”—and a message that you want to share with your friends. Click submit, and your poster will appear. Share your photo with the Moscow Food Co-op’s Facebook page for the chance to win a fair trade prize!

Celebrate Fair Trade: Alaffia

AlaffiaThe Co-op prides itself on sourcing items which utilize fair trade practices whenever possible. This means that we can ensure workers are paid a fair wage, that they work in clean and safe conditions and that the environment is treated with care. Founded in 2003, Alaffia is a US-based company that focuses on women’s empowerment, community development and the cooperative model. They utilize traditional methods for harvesting shea nuts and turning them into shea butter which is used in a variety of skincare products. To learn more about Alaffia, their practices and empowerment projects visit www.alaffia.com.

Beet Read: Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All

FairFoodBookCoverWritten by Rachel Caudill, Good Food Book Club Volunteer Coordinator

Join us in reading the May Co-op Good Food Book Club book, Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All (2011) by Oran B. Hesterman. The Book Club will meet Sunday, June 1, from 7:00-8:30 at a member’s private residence to discuss Fair Food. Email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for more information and directions.

With May’s newsletter theme being “Fair Trade” we could hardly pick a better book to read for this month’s Book Club. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Intended as a practical guide for community food activists who want to take the locavore movement across race, class, and city lines, this book illuminate ways in which consumers can become ‘engaged citizens.’ Especially important (and rare) is Hesterman’s willingness to work constructively with corporate giants like Costco and the Kellogg Foundation….The dedication to social justice is clear, genuine, and logically argued as a food issue. A helpful and hefty final chapter of ‘Resources’ provides readers with a comprehensive national listing of organizations to join, support, or replicate.”

Written by the President and CEO of Fair Food Network Oran B. Hesterman, Fair Food reminds us that, as consumers, making conscious food choices is not enough anymore.  His aim is nothing less than to galvanize eaters to action: action to solve and heal a widespread crisis in food justice that impacts poverty, hunger, race, and class, as well as countless animals and the land we all depend on. As is becoming clear in areas such as the climate crisis, his overarching point is that individual change is not enough, we need systemic policy change. And he shows us how to do it.

The New York Times says Hesterman “displays a wide-ranging knowledge of production, consumption, natural resources and public policy. He also writes about reform efforts with contagious energy and palpable authority…this is an important, accessible book on a crucial subject. Food for thought and action.”

Please join us to discuss Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All (2011) by Oran B. Hesterman, June 1 (in respect of Memorial Day Weekend on the previous Sunday) from 7:00-8:30 pm. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. Fair Food by Oran B. Hesterman is available through your local library.  If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the Co-op website at www.moscowfood.coop.

How-To: Plant Onion Sets

OnionSets2Even though the weather is wonky, it’s a great time to get your onions in the ground! Not only do we have onion sets available in the store for $2.99 each, but they are local and come from Ellensburg, WA.  Here are some easy tips:

  1. Onions grow best in full sunlight or partial shade and need good drainage.
  2. Mix a two-inch layer of compost into the soil before planting.
  3. Set plants 1-2 inches deep, making sure that they are well covered, but that their necks are above the soil.
  4. Place plants 6 inches apart.
  5. Onions roots are pretty shallow and not very efficient at taking up moisture, so they need a steady supply of water. Although they can recover from drought and start growing again when watered, it’s best to keep the soil consistently moist until the bulbs grow.
  6. You can harvest onions early (just a few weeks after planting) if you want scallions or “spring onions.
  7. Onions can be harvested when the bulbs are big and the tops are yellow or have fallen over.
  8. Pull them out of the dirt and let them cure, with the tops still attached, in a warm space with good air flow.
  9. Let them cure for 7-10 days, until the roots dry out.
  10. Enjoy!