This post is the first in a series in which Frontier employees share their organic living “Aha!” moment – an experience that shaped their commitment to a more mindful lifestyle.
By Alan Miles
My life changed in 1971 when I walked into New Pioneer Co-op at 518 Bowery Street in Iowa City.
It wasn’t that I suddenly saw the whole truth about natural and organic food in that moment, of course — it was more a butterfly effect from a seemingly minor event that reverberated across decades and almost every aspect of my future life.
That day, my outlook on food was broadened and deepened. Starting with brown rice and vegetables I hadn’t heard of, I saw new possibilities for cooking. Stir-fries became one of my staples.
I began spending time with others who shared my interest in natural food, and my awareness of environmental and political issues related to food grew. Books like Silent Spring and Diet for a Small Planet moved onto my must-read list and I became committed to organic gardening.
One of my new relationships became life-long. Shortly after my wife, Karen, and I were married, she became manager of a natural food co-op whose membership included a number of people who worked at Frontier Herbs. Soon she was hired to work at Frontier. A year later, I followed, and I have been here ever since, mainly writing about organics, natural products and sustainable living.
I’m convinced that the offhand decision to stop by that food co-op to see what was going on 40-some years ago had more of an effect on my life than many of the carefully assessed “big” choices about colleges, residences and such that I made. And I’m really glad that first New Pi store caught my eye – and opened my eyes to the richness of a natural and organic lifestyle.
Where did your organic living story begin?
About the author: A Frontier employee since before the co-op had computers (over 30 years), Alan explores ideas and issues related to a sustainable lifestyle — from cooking and culture to social and environmental responsibility. He enjoys Shakespeare, but not as much as college basketball. Alan is a family man, liking nothing better than spending time with his wife of 33 years, his four kids and four grandkids.