Resist the spread of genetically engineered foods

Recently, the USDA approved unlimited, nationwide planting of Monsanto’s Round-up Ready™ genetically engineered alfalfa despite more than 200,000 critical comments submitted by concerned citizens. Since that decision, several Food Conspiracy customers have emailed to ask what this will mean for some of their favorite organic and GE-free products.

The truth is, we don’t know. Alfalfa, like the soybean, is a legume and a key food source for livestock and dairy cattle. Organic farmers fear possible contamination in the form of seeds or pollen from genetically engineered crops being picked up by the wind, bees, or birds and falling onto nearby organic fields. Such contamination can be devastating to organic farmers, cheese makers, and dairy producers, all who say even the smallest presence of genetically engineered seed can result in domestic retailers and overseas buyers refusing to buy their products.

Moreover, there are legitimate concerns about the healthfulness and safety of GE crops. This year, the Obama administration announced several decisions that have generated concern in the organic farming industry. In addition to giving the go-ahead to GE alfalfa, the USDA also approved a type of corn that can be used to make ethanol and gave the OK to plant genetically engineered sugar beets in certain situations.

Several organic food companies, including Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm, have expressed their opposition to the USDA rulings, and the Center for Food Safety announced it will sue. Our community should join in their opposition to the big companies that are pushing GE crops.

We encourage you to write your elected officials and tell them you oppose GE alfalfa and GE crops in general.

Here is a site that makes it easy to draft a letter to the White House.

Join the Board!

The Food Conspiracy Co-op is growing its Board of Directors. If you’re interested in joining the board, come to an informational get together on Wednesday, April 13, at 6:30 p.m. on the Co-op’s back patio. Co-op board members will be on hand to answer your questions. And we’ll have snacks!

Why join the Board of Directors? Click here for a list of candidate requirements, duties and benefits!

Solar Rock is Sunday, March 27 at Armory Park

In March, residents concerned about the catastrophic effects of climate change will rally to promote the benefits of renewable energy.

What is Solar Rock?

• Solar Rock is a 100% solar-powered concert and fair.
• Solar Rock is free and open to the public.
• This year’s Solar Rock will coincide with Cyclovia, a car-free community cycling and walking event.

Now in its fifth year, Solar Rock will feature live music from bands like Michael P., The Way Back Machine, Spirit Familia and The Opposables, the winner of the Arizona Daily Star’s 2011 Battle of the Bands competition. There will also be speakers, games, kids’ activities, food, and exhibits from local businesses, schools, and community organizations.

“If there are two things Tucson has in spades, it is great music and sunshine” said Solar Rock organizer Coley Ward. “So a concert to promote solar power makes perfect sense.”

Solar Rock 2011 will feature an assortment of activities and organizations including valet bike parking; a “free-meet” where people can exchange unwanted household items as long as no money changes hands; The Physics Factory, a modified school bus for hands on science experimentation & stage shows for all ages; and opportunities for kids to paint their own canvas bag to help reduce the need for disposable plastic bags in our community.

The event will be powered by an on-site trailer outfitted with solar panels, inverters, and battery packs that will act as a teaching tool for individuals to see how solar electricity is generated. GeoInnovation, the company that is donating the trailer, will be on-hand to talk with the public.

Solar Rock focuses on solar power as a solution to the immense challenges that climate change seems destined to bring.

Solar rock is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Armory Park.

You can find more information and updates at

2011 Co-op Election Results

Saturday, March 5 was the last day to vote in Co-op Elections. That evening, Board of Directors president Paula Wilk announced the winners of this year’s elections at the Co-op’s Annual Meeting. All three people running for the BOD were elected. Proposed bylaws changes passed overwhelmingly. Three nonprofits were chosen to receive Co-op Community Fund grants of approximately $500.

Here are detailed election results:

Total valid ballots cast: 249

Shefali Milczarek-Desai: 238
Joyce Liska: 225
Rob McLane: 223

Bylaw Revisions
Yes: 233
No: 3

Co-op Community Fund Winners:
Watershed Management Group: 136
Native Seeds (SEARCH): 134
Tucson Village Farm: 129

Reminder: The Annual Meeting is Saturday, March 5

Oh man, the 2011 Annual Meeting is going to rock. We’ll have food catered by the Avenue Deli, beer, wine, a photo booth, a henna artist, heirloom tomato plants for sale, an on-site babysitter, and more.

Raffle prizes will include a cooking class with the Tucson Organic Kitchen, Co-op t-shirts, hats and more.

Best of all, the meeting will feature a performance by Salvador Duran!!

Annual Meeting 2011
5-9 p.m.
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, 3809 East 3rd Street.

This event is for co-op member-owners.

Co-op elections coming to a close

Friday, March 4, is the last day to vote at the Co-op for Board of Directors members, Co-op Community Fund nominees, and proposed bylaws changes. Member-owners will be able to vote from 5-6 p.m. at Saturday’s Annual Meeting at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, 3809 E. Third St. Voting results will be announced later on at the meeting.