Free workshops on raising urban chickens

City Chicks” author Patricia Foreman will lead workshops Dec. 13 at Manzo Elementary School, 855 N. Melrose Ave.

• 9 to 10 a.m.: Chicken care (English)

• 10 to 11 a.m.: Chicken care (Spanish)

• 5:30 to 7 p.m.: Backyard chickens and gardens (English)

Run for the Food Conspiracy Board of Directors!

Co-op elections will be held Feb. 1-March 3. If you’d like to run for the Food Conspiracy Board of Directors, please fill out an application and submit it with a bio (200 words max) and photo to by Thursday, Dec. 15. We’ll include your bio and photo in our Jan/Feb newsletter, and on the election website (this year’s elections will be conducted online!).

The Board of Directors (BOD) is elected by the membership, with each member serving a three year term. BOD Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month, from 6:30 pm to 9 pm at the Quaker Meeting House, 931 N. 5th Avenue. All members are welcome to attend meetings, and 10 minutes of open member time is scheduled on every meeting agenda.

Take the Chicken Coop Tour!

You’re in cluck! It’s once again time for the Food Conspiracy’s most popular event – the annual Backyard Chicken Coop Tour.

The self-guided tour is Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. It’s a great way to gather information before buying a brood. See a wide variety of creative coop styles and sizes. Talk to backyard chicken keepers. Learn about raising chicks.

Tickets cost $5 and are for sale at the Food Conspiracy Co-op.

The Food Conspiracy launched Tucson’s first urban chicken coop tour in May 2009. The event is designed to introduce people to the joys (and challenges) of urban chicken keeping. As part of the co-op’s focus on education, this tour is meant to inform people about chicken rearing with a goal of encouraging more folks to raise their own chickens in their backyards to have a regular supply of local, fresh, humanely-raised chicken eggs. This event is also meant to build community and give people a fun, family friendly Saturday activity.

Virtually every major American city now boasts at least one annual chicken coop tour, including Raleigh, Atlanta and Spokane. Urban chicken coops have become trendy enough in Chicago to allow Jennifer Murtoff to make a living as an urban chicken consultant.

How it works
Once a person has purchased a ticket, they will be added to a list of tour participants. All tour participants will receive an email with a downloadable packet that includes a map to all participating coops and descriptions/pictures of each coop. For anyone without email, a hard copy of the packet can be held for pickup at the Co-op.

On the day of the tour, anyone with a ticket can visit any coops they choose to visit anytime between 10 and 3 pm. There is no set route, participants can start at any coop on the tour, participants do not need to visit every coop, and participants can spend as little or as much time at each coop as they want to.

At each participating coop there will be at least one person available throughout the tour to answer questions about their chickens and coops. Many of the coop owners also have other home sustainability features like cisterns, desert gardens, rainwater harvesting basins and solar ovens, and they’ll be happy to talk about them, too.

All money raised from ticket sales will be donated to the Watershed Management Group’s co-op to offer subsidies for installing backyard chicken coops.

We have turkeys!

This year, the co-op will offer three types of frozen turkeys, starting on November 2.

• Natural turkeys ranging between 10-22 lbs. are hormone-and-steroid-free and will cost $1.99/lb.

• Organic turkeys ranging from 14-22 lbs. cost $3.59/lb. The co-op is ordering 8
organic turkeys, though smaller birds might become available closer to Thanksgiving.

• Bourbon red heritage turkeys —  native to North America and naturally tender — ranging between 8-14 lbs. cost $6.99/lb. The co-op is ordering 6 red heritage

Frozen turkeys are available on a first-come-first-served basis. They require two days to defrost.

Will you run for the Food Conspiracy Board of Directors?

The co-op board consists of nine positions, of which seven will be up for grabs this spring. Board of directors members are elected to three-year terms.

Will you consider joining the board? The co-op needs a few good men and women to help make decisions about our future. Candidates should possess an eagerness to learn about policy governance and an interest in acquiring training and knowledge. Moreover, to be eligible to serve on the board one needs to have been a co-op member for at least six months.

The board welcomes any questions you might have about becoming a board director. Please feel free to contact board president Rob McLane ( or any member of the board to find out what being a board director is all about.

Completed applications need to be received by December 15, 2011. You can pick up a hard copy at the co-op, or download one here.

The Co-op Presents: “The Greenhorns”

It’s time for the second annual Taste Film, Talk Food, brought to you by the Food Conspiracy Co-op and Slow Food Tucson. The evening kicks off at The Screening Room with the Tucson premier of The Greenhorns, a documentary film that explores the lives of America’s young farming community – its spirit, practices, and needs.

Directed by farmer/activist Severine von Tscharner Fleming, The Greenhorns looks at young Americans who are learning to farm at a time when the average age of the American farmer is 57. These greenhorns are working to reverse negative trends in favor of healthy food, local and regional food sheds, and the revitalization of rural economies, one farm at a time.

The Food Conspiracy will also screen a short film about the four young farmers who operate Sleeping Frog Farms in Cascabel, AZ. Adam, Debbie, CJ and Clay will be on hand to introduce the short film and answer questions from the audience.

Following the movies, we’ll make our way to Borderlands Brewing Co., downtown’s newest brewery. There, attendees will be treated to:

  • Conspiracy Beer (brewed by Borderlands and available for purchase exclusively at the Food Conspiracy
  • Conspiracy Coffee (locally roasted by Exo Roasting Co. and also only sold at the co-op)
  • Warm food prepared by Conspiracy Kitchen with ingredients grown by the Sleeping Frog farmers.

In addition to the movies at The Screening Room, your ticket to Taste Film, Talk Food entitles you to a cold beer, a hot cup of coffee, and delicious Conspiracy Kitchen food.

This food and film event is sponsored by Borderlands Brewing Co., Slow Food Tucson, The Screening Room and Food Conspiracy Co-op.


Taste Film, Talk Food

When:              3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20
Where:             The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress St., and Borderlands Brewing Co., 119 E. Toole Ave.
Cost:                $15. Tickets will be sold at the Food Conspiracy Co-op, 412 N. 4th Ave., starting Nov. 1

More online:

Introducing Conspiracy Coffee!

Something delicious is brewing at the Food Conspiracy. It’s a new coffee, available exclusively at the co-op and roasted two blocks away at Exo Roasting Co. Now that’s local!

We call our new brew Conspiracy Coffee. It’s a medium-roasted blend of three organic beans. We hope to soon add a dark roast blend.

You can find Conspiracy Coffee beans in the co-op’s bulk section. Or grab a hot cup from our coffee bar!

Eventually, we hope to add a second style of Conspiracy Coffee, for those who prefer a darker brew.

Exo Roasting Co. is owned by a couple of local java lovers – Doug Smith and Noel Trapp. They recently talked to the co-op about what makes Conspiracy Coffee special.

How did you get started with coffee?

Noel: I used to be a barista. I’m still ranked in the top 100 baristas in the nation. I also did some consulting. People would hire me to come in and fix their café. They’d say I want to serve awesome shots of espresso. And I’d help them do it.

How about you, Doug? How long have you loved coffee?

Doug: Since I was 13. I certainly was a caffeine addict long before I understood the beauty of coffee and the process. I really learned that in Mexico. I’m an anthropologist. I wrote my PhD on coffee farmers in Mexico during a very difficult time for farmers. Market conditions were really prejudicial. For six years, I watched families get poorer and poorer and migrate to the border. So I learned everything about coffee from the culture of production to how the second most valuable commodity market in the world, behind oil, actually treated farmers. It wasn’t pretty. It made me want to get involved.

What does Conspiracy Coffee taste like?

Noel: The blend is special.  It finishes really nice with this kind of beer bitters attitude. And it keeps the palette clean. It’s not like other coffees where you drink it and as soon as you do your mouth dries out because it’s very astringent.

How organic is Conspiracy Coffee?

Doug: All of the beans that we are using in the Conspiracy Coffee blend are certified organic. Most of the farms Exo buys from are certified organic and the ones that aren’t all grow according to organic standards.

How “fair trade” is Conspiracy Coffee?

Doug: Beginning next year, we’re going to start trading directly with some of the farms we buy from. We will buy lots or portions of lots directly from the farmers, which is a way of cutting out the middle men. That will mean that we can offer the growers a much better price. Some people describe direct trade as fair trade plus. To us that’s the future of coffee. It guarantees the highest level of social justice.

How is Conspiracy Coffee good for the farmers who grow the beans?

We like to order coffees that come from farms that have locally-designed social programs that are concrete. That do things like support women’s organizations or that use research-efficient processing methods. One of the coffees we bought recently helped pay for a school that the farm was building. A lot of social and environmental factors go into our decisions.

Learn more Exo Roasting Co. at


We’ve got new t-shirts!

Our new Food Conspiracy t-shirts are gray with the power veggies on the chest. They come in adult sizes, child sizes, tank tops, and onesies for the littlest ones. They’re made of organic cotton and printed using soy ink. Best of all, they’re only $15. Get yours at the Food Conspiracy Co-op today!