Tag Archives: Just Food Co-op

Alex Beeby wants you to shop at Just Food Co-op today: $5 million annual sales milestone within reach

ex Beeby, Operations Manager at Just Food Co-opAlex Beeby, Operations Manager at Just Food Co-op, stopped by my corner office at GBM this morning to let me know that their fiscal year-end is today and that they are $17,000 shy of hitting the milestone of $5 million in sales for the year.

So help them out by getting your grocery shopping for the week done today.

And  while you’re there, consider applying for the General Manager position. Melanie Reid is departing and the Board is conducting a national search for her replacement.

George Kinney wants you at Saturday’s solar energy workshop

City of Northfield Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) member George Kinney Solar Energy Workshop Flyer 2012 
Longtime City of Northfield Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) member George Kinney stopped by my corner office at GBM last week to alert me to a solar energy workshop coming up on Saturday. See the flyer (PDF) and the press release below (links added):

Solar Workshop: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Solar Energy But Were Afraid, Or Didn’t Know Who To, Ask

A workshop on residential and commercial solar energy opportunities will be held at the Just Food Community Room (Just Food Co-op, 516 Water Street South, Northfield) from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Saturday, May 19th. The workshop, sponsored by RENew Northfield and the Southeast Clean Energy Resource Teams (SE CERT), will cover currently available active solar technologies, the economics of solar installations, and the experiences of local homeowners and business owners with recent solar projects.

Presenters include representatives of three solar energy vendors, who will discuss solar air heating, solar water heating, and solar electric systems for homes and businesses. The head of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association will present an overview of solar energy opportunities in the state, and a Minnesota Division of Energy Resources representative will discuss current solar rebates and financial incentives. A panel of local homeowners and small business owners will talk about their experiences in selecting and working with solar contractors, and the performance of their systems.

The solar vendors will have informational displays, and will be available for one-on-one discussion after the formal presentations.  Attendees will also be invited to view a nearby solar installation after the workshop.

The workshop is free. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required. For more information, contact SE CERT at Joe@cleanenergyresourceteams.org 952-406-1215.

Ben Witt can teach you how to do basic bike maintenance

Ben Witt teaching basic bike maintenance  I attended a free basic bike maintenance class at Just Food Co-op last night. Northfielder Ben Witt, proprietor of Milltown Cycles in Faribault, teaches the class once or twice a year. Last night he was assisted by his sweetie, Meg Jensen Witt, Just Food Co-op’s wellness manager.

Ben has class participants do some hands-on learning: changing a flat tire, lubing cables, and how to handle the rear derailleur to make it easy to take the rear wheel off and put it back on. Cool.

See the large slideshow of 17 photos (recommended) or this small slideshow:

Atina Diffley to speak at Just Food Co-op on Thursday; no bullshit expected

Turn Here Sweet CornIn case you hadn’t noticed, Northfield’s blogosphere is humming (Northfield.org here, Monkey See Monkey Read here, Just Food Co-op here) with the news that Atina Diffley of Organic Farming Works will be in town this week to speak about her new book, Turn Here Sweet Corn.

Why do I say "no bullshit" in my blog post title?

She was featured on the front page of the Strib’s Variety section last week:

and the last paragraph of the main article:

Atina Diffley - Strib photo by Marisa WojcikThe book deserves a wide audience, Dooley said. "I pray it doesn’t get pegged to a category. This is literature. It’s every woman’s story, about land use and food but also about resilience and being yourself." And even though Diffley finally caved to using cosmetics, she’s still very much herself, Dooley said. "There couldn’t be anyone more genuine. There isn’t a lick of bullshit in her."

I guess cuss words are aok in a family newspaper if someone is quoted using them.

Atina has at least one connection to Northfield that I know of. Her kids went to Prairie Creek Community School.

You can buy her book from Jerry Bilek at Monkey See Monkey Read bookstore in downtown Northfield.

Follow Atina on Twitter and read her blog here.

Beth Dooley at Just Food Saturday, March 3rd

Just Food Co-op is excited to welcome Beth Dooley, author of The Northern Heartland Cookbook, for a book talk and signing on Saturday, March 3 to kick off the Eat Local Challenge.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Dooley will be signing copies of her book at the front of the store during the Eat Local Tasting. Books will be available for purchase at Just Food during that time by Monkey See Monkey Read.

Then, from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dooley will give a short talk about her cookbook and her thoughts on local eating in the Just Food Community Room.

Please reserve your seat for the talk at the Just Food customer service desk at 516 Water St S in Northfield, or online at http://justfood.coop/events.

“‘Eat Local’ means a lot of different things to different people,” says Dooley. “To me, it means paying attention to light, temperature and the land’s bounty. When our appetites follow the arc of the sun, we bring balance to our plates. Join me in a discussion into all of the reasons why eating locally makes sense—flavor, health and nutrition, environment, economy, food safety, land preservation, community—and how eating local creates a true home.”

This event is the kickoff to the Winter Eat Local Challenge at Just Food Co-op. Community members are challenged to eat 50% of their diet from the five-state area from March 3 through March 10. Other events during the week include a class on shopping for and cooking with bulk foods, with an emphasis on local items; a class on honey bees, and an opportunity to volunteer at Thursday’s Table with the Northfield Local Food Action Network. The challenge culminates in CSA Day at Just Food, on March 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where people can meet local farmers and purchase a share in the harvest of the upcoming growing season.

Visit Just Food Co-op or www.justfood.coop to sign up for the Winter Eat Local Challenge.

CRWP to host rain barrel building workshops

CRWP rain barrel building workshopJoin the Cannon River Watershed Partnership to learn about runoff and the benefits of using rain barrels for water conservation and gardening.  Go home with a fully assembled 55 gallon plastic rain barrel and the knowledge that you are doing something for clean water.

Through the generous support of the Beim Foundation, CRWP will begin hosting rain barrel building workshops in the cities of Owatonna, Faribault, Northfield, Waseca and Red Wing in 2011. 

At the workshops, participants will learn about water conservation, runoff and how they can reduce the pollution that reaches our lakes and rivers by capturing roof runoff in a rain barrel.  The barrels also provide a free source of water for your outdoor watering needs. We will assemble 55 -gallon plastic drums with the attachments needed to make them rain barrels. 

Northfield rain barrel building workshops

Pre-registration is required!

  • Just Food Co-op: April 21– 7:00 PM; Cost—$42 (Coop owners) $45 (non-Co-op owners); register by calling the Co-op at (507) 650-0106.
  • Northfield Perennial Earth Day Celebration: April 30—1:00 PM; River Walk/Water Street between 4th and 5th St. Rain location is First United Church of Christ, 300 Union St. Cost—$40; register by calling CRWP at (507) 786-3915 or emailing leslie@crwp.net.

Cannon River Watershed Partnership

On Watermelons and Widgets, by Tom Swift

[show_avatar email=tom@tom-swift.com]The free market does many things well, but we know it does not do everything. Even market fundamentalists concede that the public must build roads, put out fires, police streets, and provide national defense. Most people, at least those to the left of the Tea Party edge of political spectrum, accept that the government must also be involved in education, disaster relief, and health care. That is, certain services must be rendered — necessary services, universal services — whether or not those services are financially profitable. If your house is on fire, you do not have time to solicit bids from contractors. If you are sick, you cannot wait until the price of MRIs suits your budget.

Frederick Kaufman’s essay in the July issue of Harper’s (subscription) — which I recommend to anyone who eats — speaks of another universal need: food. His point is not that the government should run our grocery stores and, to be sure, that is not my position, either. Yet it seems clear that treating our cereal boxes the same way we treat our iPads is no longer working. Not everyone needs the latest app. But everyone must eat.

The article explains why our grain-laden grocery bills have risen so drastically in recent years — the worldwide price of food rose by 80 percent between 2005 and 2008, Kaufman says — and the harm that hike has had on countless people. Some 49 million Americans suddenly found themselves “unable to put a full meal on the table” and “demand for food stamps reached and all-time high.” One in five American kids came to “depend on food kitchens.”

Incredibly, it gets worse:

“The global speculative frenzy sparked riots in more than thirty countries and drove the number of the world’s ‘food insecure’ to more than a billion. In 2008, for the first time since such statistics have been kept, the proportion of the world’s population without enough to eat ratcheted upward. The ranks of the hungry had increased by 250 million in a single year, the most abysmal increase in all of human history.”

The article underscores how important it is to me to support corporate agribusiness — makers of nearly every product in traditional grocery stores — as little as possible. Fortunately, I live in a community in which another option exists. Fortunately, I shop at a place in which a watermelon is not an edible widget.

On Saturday morning, after we went to the fantastic Riverwalk Market Fair, we stopped by Just Food to buy goodies for our Fourth of July grill. From the parking lot (where I passed an advertisement for the “competition” we just left) … to the aisles of food made from ingredients I can actually pronounce … to the employee who offered to bag my groceries (the next time I receive less-than-stellar customer service at the co-op will be the first time) … to the closed-on-the-holiday sign (not surprising that good people work where they aren’t treated like numbers on corporate-office spreadsheets) … I was reminded that, at least at this one food shop, the bottom line is about more than money.

Maybe this is pure coincidence, but customers at the co-op always seem happy. Or maybe I am projecting that sense because even though I hate shopping for anything nearly everywhere I always feel good at the co-op. That good feeling is one reason why I willingly spend more there than I would at nearby on-the-grid grocers. (I confess that I use those nearby options periodically because I am not in a financial position to fully disregard them — but I do so as infrequently as possible.) I also buy as much as I can at Just Food because I do not have to worry about my choices. They are healthier (no partially hydrogenated oils), tastier (pesticides do not taste very good), and directly support the economy of the place I call home. I do not know many members of staff and yet I trust them because I know they supply the store with more than profits in mind.

A company’s job is to make money. I get it. I would not have the laptop I am using to type this post if Steve Jobs had not had a financial incentive to make it. He is supremely rich and that is OK by me. However, when I buy a product that is necessary for my health and nourishment, I do not want the very idea of health and nourishment obscured by profits and stock prices.

The libertarian reply — that the market will respond to my demand — is not only lacking, something close to the opposite dynamic has taken hold. Kaufman articulates causes for the recent food bubble. He also asks whether it could happen again. Could prices rise even higher?

“Yes,” says Layne Carlson of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. In fact, it is a near certainty. That is because of what Carlson calls the two principles governing the grain markets: “fear and greed.”

Copyright © 2010, Tom Swift. All rights reserved.

Tom Swift Writer’s Notebook blog