The Food Conspiracy Co-op, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in February, recently agreed to lease a building that will more than double the size of the co-op’s physical footprint.
The 6500-square-foot building at 425 E. Seventh Street is a two-story structure that was formerly office space for Verizon and others. The building features a 1,000-square foot area that the co-op plans to convert to a commercial kitchen. It is owned by Hoff-7th LLC, an investment group represented by Ann Lovell, a local CPA known for her philanthropic endeavors, and Richard Studwell, who has developed several inner city projects and restored numerous prominent historic buildings throughout the state.
The new, larger kitchen will allow the co-op to expand its deli menu, which currently includes two daily soups and a variety of sandwiches, wraps and salads. The co-op also plans to begin to offer expanded catering services.
Currently, the Food Conspiracy’s Avenue Deli prepares its popular foods in a kitchen that is the size of a walk-in closet. The co-op’s new, larger kitchen will include a walk-in freezer and cooler, double-stack convection ovens and a six-burner range.
“The co-op traces much of its recent financial success to the growth in popularity of its deli,” says Coley Ward, Food Conspiracy marketing manager. “People love our tempeh BLT sandwiches, carrot and kale salad, and red lentil dahl soup. Soon, they’ll have even more options to choose from.”
A full service grocery store is a key element in the establishment of a viable mixed-use, residential infill area, and neighborhoods in other cities have gone to great lengths to lure grocery stores. Phil Whitmore, former Director of Transit Oriented Development for Metro Portland, says that their research “showed that a viable grocery store in an infill neighborhood added more per-square-foot value to nearby housing than any other demographic factor.”
Ward 6 City Councilmember Steve Kozachik lauded the co-op’s announcement, saying “this is an exciting addition to 4th Avenue and I know the community is really going to embrace this expansion.”
The Food Conspiracy Co-op began as a buying club in 1971 with the motto, “food for people, not for profit.” Anyone can shop at the co-op, which is collectively owned by nearly 2,000 people.
Food Conspiracy Marketing Manager
On Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day) we’re open from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. But on Tuesday, May 31, we’re closing at 8 p.m.
Vote for us in the Tucson Weekly’s “Best of Tucson” contest.
Hey all, it’s almost time for the Bike & Wine! We’ll have two rides – one 11-mile route and one 25-mile route. Both rides will be led by a co-op employee and both will start and end at Callaghan Vineyards, 336 Elgin Road.
Here’s the plan:
We’ll start riding around 10:30 a.m. We’ll all head west on Elgin Road, then north on Highway 83, and east on Lower Elgin Road. After about 5 miles, those who are riding the 11-mile route will turn right on Elgin Road and return to Callaghan Vineyards. Those doing the longer ride will head south on Elgin-Canelo Road, turn right on Highway 83, and then head east on Elgin Road to return to Callaghan.
We’ll stop for a taste of wine at Willhelm Family Vineyards, Village of Elgin Vineyards, and Canelo Hills Winery. When we return to Callaghan, there will be local food and more wine.
You’ll need to bring a wine glass with you if you want to taste wines. Callaghan is offering Bike & Wine participants 4 tastes of wine and a glass for $5. But if you want, you can bring your own glass and save a couple bucks. Or, if you’re nervous about biking with a glass in tow, you can bring a plastic cup (though the winery owners will probably have a small heart attack if you drink their fancy wine out of plastic).
What if you can’t make it before 10:30? Or if you want to bike more than 25 miles? You don’t have to ride with the group. Feel free to set out on your own, and rest assured the vineyards are all open until at least 3 p.m. and the co-op will be at Callaghan serving local food until 2 p.m.
How much will it cost? The food is free, and the wine is usually around $1 per taste.
Things to bring: a helmet, sun screen, bright clothing, and a water bottle.
Directions: Your on your own to get you and your bike to Elgin. Take I-10 East towards El Paso. Take exit 281 and head south to Sonoita on scenic Highway 83. Continue on Highway 83 to Sonoita. When you reach the intersection of Highway 83 and Highway 82, continue south on Highway 83 to Elgin Road. Turn left on Elgin Road and Callaghan vineyards is approximately 3 miles on your left.
Email email@example.com to reserve a spot on the trip.
When: May 15-29
More online: FoodConspiracy.coop
THE FOOD CONSPIRACY CO-OP INVITES CITIZENS TO FEAST FROM FARMS
Eat Local, America! initiative unites food lovers across the country in support of local food producers
Want to learn more about eating local? The Food Conspiracy Co-op is launching a campaign this summer to help people do just that. From May 15 through May 29, consumers can explore the benefits of eating the region’s best locally sourced foods through Eat Local, America!, an initiative led by co-op grocers nationwide.
To participate in Eat Local, America!, shoppers are invited to stop by the co-op to find great local food options and event information and join the Eat Local online community at www.eatlocalamerica.coop. Participants are encouraged to set a goal for themselves. Whether eating one meal a week made with local foods or trying to source a specific percent of meals locally, participants can set a goal that fits their lifestyle.
The Food Conspiracy Co-op will also organize several events as part of Eat Local, America!, including a tour of Sleeping Frog Farm and a bike ride through southern Arizona’s wine country.
The Food Conspiracy defines local food as anything grown within 100 miles of the co-op, or anything made by a business located within 100 miles. During Eat Local, America! and throughout the year, the Food Conspiracy helps shoppers identify local food by labeling all of our local products.
“Summer is an exciting time of year for co-ops; the bounty and diversity of local foods are at their peak in Southern Arizona,” said Coley Ward, Food Conspiracy marketing manager. “Eat Local, America! gives us a chance to introduce ‘newbies’ to the local food movement in a fun, engaging way, but also to challenge local food lovers to get creative.”
“Though eating locally has become more popular recently, The Food Conspiracy has a long tradition of developing close relationships with food producers,” added Ward. “Right now there is a groundswell of people looking for authentic local foods, and we’re thrilled to be at the center of this movement.”
The Food Conspiracy joins dozens of natural food co-ops hosting Eat Local, America! coast-to- coast. All are members of National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), a business services cooperative representing 119 retail food co-ops nationwide.
Food lovers can learn more about Eat Local, America! and how to participate at www.eatlocalamerica.coop. For more information on great food, visit www.stronger.coop
Eat Local, America! Events
8-10 a.m. Hosted by Tucson Organic Gardeners at Dunbar Springs Community Garden, on the northwest corner of 11th Ave. and University Blvd. Learn about soil micro ecology, how to pick a spot for your garden and how to get started. Free.
Talk & Grill: The Paleolithic Diet
7 p.m. on the Food Conspiracy Co-op’s back patio. Painted Cave Ranch’s Langdon Hill will grill up some tasty beef samples and talk about getting back to basics by eating only what our ancient ancestors ate — no grains, legumes, processed sugars or oils. Free.
At Forever Yong Farm, in Amado, AZ. Join Yong and John for a unique farming experience. Garlic harvesting starts at 8 a.m. Lunch will be served and everyone will go home with a bundle of garlic. There will be a second harvest date in June. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. Hurry, space is limited! Free.
Tour Sleeping Frog Farm
4:30 p.m. See where your local food is grown. Meet at the co-op at 2:30 p.m. A bus will leave for the farm at 3 p.m. Email marketing@ foodconspiracy.org to reserve a spot on the tour. Hurry, space is limited! Free.
Bike Ride through Wine Country
Starting and ending at Callaghan Vineyards, 336 Elgin Road, Elgin, AZ. Taste local food and wine after a ride through southern Arizona’s beautiful wine country. More details to come.
For more details about these great Eat Local events, visit FoodConspiracy.coop
Food Conspiracy Marketing Manager
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.
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!