My Earth Day wish: Treat climate change as an alien attack

FR WEB Earth Day Wish 04-14

By Alan Miles

During a speech before the United Nations in 1987, President Ronald Reagan suggested the world would stand together as one if aliens invaded Earth:

Perhaps we need some outside universal threat to make us recognize our common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.

I suggest that on Earth Day, the governments of the world announce they’ve discovered that climate change is the work of extraterrestrial beings intent on destroying earth, rather than something we’re foolishly doing to ourselves. Perhaps that will unite us in worldwide action. It’s not too late, but we need to get going. Continue reading

Guest Post: 40 years of concern for community at Davis Food Co-op

By Lis Harvey

California’s Davis Food Co-op celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, so we asked if they’d tell us a little about themselves in a Co-op Month guest post. What we got is a look at a co-op that takes the last of the seven Cooperative Principles — concern for community — very seriously. Lis Harvey, head of Brand & Advertising at Davis Food Co-op shares how:

Davis Food Co-op

The Davis Food Co-op’s iconic sign.

The Davis Food Co-op began in a cozy living room in 1972. Since then, the store has grown into a multi-million dollar corporation serving over 10,000 member households in a town of roughly 65,000. We’re proud of our membership, but even prouder of our community’s level of involvement in the Co-op.

The Co-op is a mission-driven business, guided by “Ends” that are sculpted and upheld by our democratically elected Board of Directors. This year, our Ends state that the Davis Food Cooperative exists to provide our members and community with:

  • A thriving, cooperatively owned business
  • Access to healthful, sustainable, higher quality, and locally grown and produced foods
  • A retail store that satisfies customers
  • An improved environment and a more sustainable food system
  • Education that leads to informed choices about health, food systems, the environment and cooperatives

Concern for community in action

Beyond our yearly Ends, we also sponsor countless community efforts, from Little League to our Short Term Emergency Aid Committee’s annual Fund-a-Family holiday event, during which families in need are adopted, then given food, clothing and gifts to help warm their winter.

davis logo(1)

The Co-op also encourages community and education at the organizational level. Our New Parent Network meets Tuesdays in our Teaching Kitchen, with a morning session for infants and an early afternoon session for older children. New Parent Network is a place where parents can feed and cuddle their children, meet and exchange ideas, and have a lovely (free) snack.

Our other Co-op “circles” include a Knitting and Crafting Circle that meets twice a month, a Gluten-Free Group, and a PermaCulture Circle. We started these get-togethers on the heels of our wildly successful Club Vegan, the first of its kind in our county.

Co-op circles are just one way we are able to nurture Davis and draw people closer together. We also offer free classes to K-12 on topics ranging from farming to zero waste, and we aim to be the place folks call when they’ve got a question on topics like food, agriculture or sustainability. It’s just one more way of honoring the seventh principle of cooperatives!

For more on the Co-op, check out its Facebook page.

lisharvey(1)About the Author: Lis Harvey is in charge of Brand & Advertising at the Davis Food Co-op and a well-known folk musician. (Lis holds the Guinness record for “Fastest to Play A Concert in All 50 States,” doing 52 shows in 60 days in 2002.) She lives in Davis, Calif., with her son and husband.

Guest Post: Co-op business model creates real impact

By Karen Zimbelman
Day in, day out co-ops enrich each of our lives. For some, co-ops bring profound and life-altering improvements to their lives. It’s just this potential that inspires me about co-ops and keeps me hopeful about the ways that co-ops can contribute to a better world for us all.

Here are two stories about the profound and life-changing impact that the co-op business model can have on people’s lives that drew me to co-ops and has kept me working with them for over 35 years.

On an inspiring visit to the Rochdale Co-op Museum, home of the original Rochdale Co-op store, with co-op managers Deirdrie Lang and Gail Graham.

On an inspiring visit to the Rochdale Co-op Museum, home of the original Rochdale Co-op store, with co-op managers Deirdrie Lang and Gail Graham.

Those pioneering weavers
We all owe a debt of gratitude to the 28 intrepid textile workers in Rochdale, England, who banded together to form the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in 1844. Tired of the poor quality food and limited goods at high prices available to them at the company store, they sacrificed to scrape money together for over a year and opened their own co-op store. They stood up to their employer at great personal risk to break away from this exploitation. Theirs wasn’t the first co-op to open, but they studied others and codified their practices to leave an enduring legacy for us all. Continue reading

The fight for GMO labeling continues


By Tony Bedard
I wrote in support of GMO labeling before and after California’s vote on Proposition 37. As I said in that last post, this issue is not going to go away — people across the country are going to keep insisting upon their right to know whether their food contains genetically modified organisms.

Frontier agrees with the more than 90 percent of Americans who feel that foods containing GMOs should be labeled. We’re not calling for a ban of GMOs — we simply feel we should have the right to know when our food contains genetically engineered ingredients. We feel we should be able to choose between non-GMO foods and those with GMO ingredients just as we can choose now between organic and non-organic products. Continue reading

Overfed yet undernourished: The importance of nutrient-dense foods

By Tom Havran

In my youth, I squeezed extracurricular school activities in between my cow-milking duties on my family’s farm in Norway, Iowa. Washing udders in the dark barn on below-zero mornings, and again after school, wasn’t much fun for me (or for the cows, I’m sure), but the experience did serve to educate me about where whole, unpasteurized, non-homogenized milk came from and what that nutrient-dense product should taste like.

Many years later, I’m learning that the farm milk of my youth was very different — and far more nutrient-dense — than what today’s dairy industry supplies to America’s supermarket shelves. In fact, I’m learning that much of what fills the standard American diet is indeed filling us up, but not with the nutrients we need.

top nutrient dense foods

Chronically undernourished yet grossly overfed

I recently read a compelling article in Mother Earth News that describes the declining nutrient values in modern agricultural products (supported by data from our very own USDA). The article, written by Lynn Keiley, left me with a sense that the American ag industry seems most focused on industrialization, ever-increasing yields and mechanized efficiencies at the expense of a holistic quality effort. Continue reading

Making spices safer

By Tony Bedard, CEO Frontier Natural Products Co-op

I’m often asked how we make sure our spices are safe and of high quality. These questions spike every time there’s something negative about spice quality in the news — sensible or sensationalized. We understand your concerns and are glad to answer questions regarding our Frontier and Simply Organic spices.


In fact, I believe aggressive programs like the ones we have at Frontier are the key to improving the overall trust in spices.

We take quality and food safety issues very seriously, and we’ve taken a number of simple, but significant, steps to avoid the kinds of problems that raise safety and quality questions — and inspire bad press.

Here’s what we do:

  • Buy direct. Buying direct from responsible, sustainable sources — certified organic whenever possible — provides an important advantage in food safety and quality. Having personal contact with suppliers builds reliable relationships that are often missing when buying from middlemen. Direct buying allows meaningful supplier evaluations and approval, along with opportunities to facilitate changes at the source that improve quality and food safety. Continue reading

June Web Finds: Creative summer recipe ideas, essential oil uses and more

By Katie Shatzer

Creativity isn’t just for craft hour at summer camp. This month, we found many ways for adults to get creative, from summer recipe ideas to new ways to use essential oils. Check out our favorite web finds from June — maybe they will inspire your own creativity!

1. Perhaps our (and Simply Organic fans’) favorite web find this month came from Instagram user @lostinsydney. For those looking for ways to reuse your Simply Organic bottles, use them to infuse olive oil with your favorite spices. This would make a great DIY gift for foodies, so start saving your bottles now!

Simply Organic

Photo by Instagram user @lostinsydney

Show us your ideas on Instagram by tagging your photos with #simplyorganic and following us @SimplyOrganicFoods! You can also follow the rest of our brands, @FrontierCoop and @AuraCacia. Continue reading

No more mowing the lawn: 6 reasons to plant a front yard garden

By Alan Miles

Thinking about planting a front yard vegetable garden, but afraid of what the neighbors will think? Fear not!  We’ve got proof that your garden can be a vital part of your community — and we’ve even planted 6 good reasons you can use to make your case.

front yard gardenThe front yard vegetable garden stories you’re most likely to hear about are the ones where someone has to fight City Hall to grow one. But two highly publicized cases of local officials trying to eliminate front yard gardens — in Orlando, Florida, and West Des Moines in Frontier’s home state of Iowa — both ended in victory for the gardeners when public support for them grew. So you can feel confident that you can gain support for your front-yard garden because it’s been done before. Here are a few more points to consider: Continue reading

California vote not the end for GMO labeling

By Tony Bedard, CEO

It’s simple: People should know what’s in their food.

Yesterday, California residents voted on whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) should be called out on food labels.  In spite of the support of Frontier and other like-minded companies, the measure unfortunately failed to pass, with nearly 47 percent of voters in support of it.

Continue reading

GMOs: We all have a right to know

Frontier supports Proposition 37, the legislation on the ballot this fall in California that requires labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We hope this proposition will pass in California and inspire national legislation.

We oppose genetically engineered foods in general, but our support for Prop 37 comes from an even more fundamental position — we all have a right to know what’s in the food we are eating. Continue reading