Sustainability’s next generation

By Alan Miles

My hope for the future has been encouraged by meeting some of the smart, energetic and hardworking individuals in the emerging generation of sustainability leaders. I’m optimistic that their commitment to organic growing and social justice will have a positive impact on our world.

If we’re to have a sustainable future, these leaders will have to continue to build upon our current consciousness and practices of sustainability, addressing both the environmental and social issues of a growing world. The annual scholarship our co-op endowed in 2009 for the farming apprentice program at the University of California Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) is one way we’re helping build this next generation of leaders — and one that I’ve personally enjoyed being part of.

Alex Vaugh, this year's scholarship recipient.

Alex Vaugh, this year’s Simply Organic 1% Fund scholarship recipient. Alex hopes he can develop a combination CSA/food bank sustainably farming operation to produce fresh, organic food for families in need.

Responsibility and awareness

When the scholarship was being set up, our thenVice President of Sustainability Kathy Larson visited the Center and said afterwards, “I was impressed with the quality of the program — and even more so with the apprentices enrolled in the program.”

Having interviewed all five of the apprentices who have received the scholarship so far for their profiles on Simply Organic’s website, I agree completely with Kathy’s assessment. Our scholarship recipients’ sense of social responsibility and awareness of the role our food systems play in it are qualities that can help build a better world. Continue reading

The Evolution of Think Globally, Act Locally

By Tom Havran
The first real car I bought was a well-used, forest green 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle with a cracked windshield, a heating system that “warmed” the interior with choking exhaust fumes and a carburetor with its own bipolar-disordered mind. At some point in its history, the car had acquired a “Think Globally, Act Locally” bumper sticker, the feature that ultimately charmed me into shelling out my entire savings of $1,300 to bring the wreck home.

My bug was born in a time when local community co-ops and natural foods buying clubs were well-established alternatives to mainstream supermarkets and the canned, plastic-wrapped and flash-frozen foods they offered. My car proudly sported its bumper sticker on trips to my quirky and fabulous local natural food co-op.

Think globally, act locally

Act globally, act locally: A woman processes organic vanilla beans at our Well Earth supplier in Madagascar.

But the resonance of the phrase “Think Globally, Act Locally” was diminished somewhat during the late 1980s through the early 2000s, when small community natural foods outlets began to disappear. I came to Frontier in 1993 and the process was in full swing. Each month brought more store closings, buy-outs and conversions into the big chain natural markets that are everywhere in urban and suburban areas today, with their shelves and coolers filled to bursting with exotic, gourmet-specialty and imported foods as well as natural and organic offerings. Back in the 90s, my ’74 beetle seemed to be as obsolete as those co-ops with their bulk bins, small bakeries, juice bars, crates of local produce and often volunteer staff. The situation troubled me. If acting locally wasn’t saving the co-ops how could merely thinking globally protect anything on a planetary scale? Continue reading

Organic Madagascar Vanilla Beans

Our theme at Expo West in the Anaheim Convention Center March 9-11 is “We Dig It,” to promote our organic Madagascar vanilla beans, which are used in products across all three brands of the Frontier Co-op family.

Why “We Dig It” ? Through a $40,000 donation from the Simply Organic 1% fund, we dug 49 wells in 38 villages where our vanilla beans are grown and processed. This effort brought clean water to thousands of people. Previously, women and children fetched water from a stream, sometimes walking up to several hours a day.

Here’s a look at this joint effort! See if you can spot Tony Bedard, our CEO.

If you are attending Expo West, some of the info below will fill you in about what we’re up to in Anaheim.  If you aren’t – which includes most of our retail customers – the information below will still tell you a bit about what’s new and how we interact at this trade show.

We’d love to see you at the Frontier™ and Simply Organic® booth #3532. We have some exciting new products to show you, including new bulk spices, bottled ethnic seasoning blends and new Simply Organic spices, baking mixes and more.

If you order directly from us, stop by our Frontier Direct booth #3730 and meet some of the folks who specialize in ensuring that your orders are filled quickly and accurately. We’ll also have displays of new products on hand. It’s a great way for us to meet members and get feedback on how to better serve you.

And join us at the Aura Cacia booth #3633 to learn about new products, make your own personal mister, and enjoy the music provided by DJ Drez. You’re also invited to attend our FREE yoga class Friday, March 9th, from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. in the ballroom at the Hilton Avalon.