Eden Foods and Affordable Care Act

Thank you to those of you who’ve contacted the Food Conspiracy Co-op and shared your thoughts regarding Eden Foods and the Affordable Care Act.  When a few owners called for the co-op to take action on this issue it presented an opportunity for a conversation.  On Tuesday, July 23rd, 8 owners, two Board members and three Food Conspiracy staff met in an open meeting in the Hoff building.  The intention of this meeting was not vote on whether or not to remove Eden Foods from the store.   It was an opportunity to meet in a safe space, share and create a better understanding of the issues, and to share the co-op’s history and philosophy on requests for boycotts.  Our policy is to focus on providing choices and information so our customers can choose which companies and products they believe in and want to support.   We did agree that more educational information that may impact customers shopping choices needs to be provided and available in the store.  If you are an owner and would like to have more conversation with other owners about Eden Foods, the next discussion will be at the Owner Linkage Committee meeting on Saturday, September 20 at 10:00 a.m. in the Hoff Building behind the co-op.

Unfamiliar with the Issue?

Eden Foods appears on track to win its fight with the federal government over funding insurance coverage of contraception in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Hobby Lobby ruling.   This has upset some of our shoppers who don’t agree with Eden Foods’ politics. A few have called for the Co-op to boycott the company’s products.

Food Conspiracy Co-op serves a diverse customer base and there are individuals on both sides of this debate. As a result, we feel that we can best serve our community by continuing to focus on providing healthy foods without taking a stance on the politics of this particular issue.

It is important to consider that Eden Foods has been an industry leader in maintaining organic standards and bringing BPA-free packaging to the U.S. market. Eden’s offerings are amongst the most high quality products available at the Co-op due to their commitment to organics, GMO labeling, and using BPA-free cans. Eden has been an industry leader in organics and maintaining standards in the face of corporate attacks. They have fought to maintain organic standards in the face numerous attempts to water them down. They also almost singlehandedly brought BPA-free lining into cans to the U.S. market and raised the bar, so that BPA-free cans are becoming or have become the industry standard for natural/organics.

What does the Hobby Lobby case have to do with Eden Foods?

Eden Foods was not a plaintiff in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, meaning the Supreme Court has not made a ruling specific to Eden Foods. However, in their Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court ordered the lower courts to reconsider their earlier decisions against Eden Foods.


What is Eden Foods’ stance on the Affordable Care Act as it relates to women’s health care?

Eden Foods objects to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires companies, if they choose to offer health insurance to their employees, to include coverage of a wide array of contraceptive choices. Here’s an excerpt from Eden Foods’ statement on the issue:

We believe in a woman’s right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management. This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone’s access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to the HHS [Health & Human Services] mandate and its government overreach.

Some people are calling for a boycott of all Eden Foods products. What is our co-op’s stance on this issue?

Our co-op serves a very diverse customer base and there are individuals on both sides of any issue. We believe that we can best serve our community by continuing to focus on providing healthy foods without taking a stance on the politics of this particular issue.

We also encourage our customers to vote, on this and other issues, with their dollars by supporting those companies they like and believe in. When (for any reason) products don’t sell, the co-op stops carrying them. As always, consumers can and should choose to purchase the products that meet their own needs. Consumers can choose to personally not buy the product, but we will not be discontinuing our sales of Eden Organics at this time.

We are, as members and shoppers of a co-op, united in a common set of principles. We are also individuals with differing views on a multitude issues. It is not when we all agree that makes the Co-op stronger, it is when we all have a voice.

Owners wishing to have a deeper discussion about Eden Foods are invited to the next Owner Linkage committee meeting on Saturday, September 20th at 10:00 a.m. at the Hoff Building behind the co-op at 425 East 7th Street.

There is a provision for an owner to start a petition to have a special meeting called or a have a proper issue presented to a vote of the owners. Here are the by-laws and links to Food Conspiracy Co-op bylaws.

Section 3.2 – Special meetings.  Special meetings of owners may be called by the Board. Special meetings shall be called by the President as soon as possible after the receipt of petitions signed by ten percent of owners, such petitions stating any proper business to be brought before the meeting.

Section 3.9 – Issues submitted by owners.  Notices of a meeting of owners shall include any proper issues submitted by petition of at least five percent of owners.  Petitions must be received by the co-op not less than one hundred and twenty days before the date of the meeting at which or in connection with which they are to be presented to a vote of owners.



Statements from Eden Foods July 11


On response to Affordable Care Act  Heath and Human Services Mandate April 2013


Salon Article  Organic Eden Foods’ quiet right-wing agenda (April 11, 2013)

Salon Article Eden Foods doubles down in birth control flap (April 15, 2013)

Salon Article  Eden Foods CEO’s bad week continues (April 18, 2013)

Philidelphia Inquirer Co-op’s Quandary: Boycott or Not? September 2, 2014



10 Ways for Kids to Go Local

“Eat your veggies!” “Clean your plate!” “You don’t know what’s good for you!” When it comes to eating healthy foods, these might be some parents’ daily mantras. At the peak of the local food season, there’s no better time to engage your kids in enjoying good food.

Encouraging kids to get excited about local foods is a great way to increase their appetite for nutritious foods like tomatoes, broccoli, eggs and carrots as well as healthy grains, dairy and meats.

Check out these 10 tips for getting children interested in local foods from spring and summer to harvest.

  1. Take your family on a farm tour. Encourage your kids to take pictures and make a photo book or poster about the farm to share with friends and classmates during show-and-tell or a similar time.
  2. Let your kids play with their food. Make an art project out of local foods, such as seed art or veggie sculptures.
  3. Planting a back yard garden or container garden? Don’t just share in the dutiesDesignate one row or one type of vegetable or fruit that is your child’s to plant, weed and harvest throughout the season.
  4. Encourage your child to pick out an item at the farmers market or co-op; then prepare a meal with them using their chosen local food.
  5. Make freezer jam out of their favorite berries. By making freezer jam, kids can learn about food preservation and enjoy their favorite fruit into the fall season. There’s always room for jam!
  6. Declare your food independence! On July 4, make homemade ice cream featuring locally-sourced milk, cream, fruit and nuts.
  7. Throw a local food pizza party.  Devote a Saturday afternoon to baking a pizza with as many local foods as possible. Let your kids roll the dough while you chop and shred local ingredients that they can sprinkle on top.
  8. Sip cider and jump in the hay at the local orchard. Pick apples with your kids and talk about the year-long work it takes to produce an array of apples.
  9. Pick the perfect pumpkin for Halloween. Take your kids to a local pumpkin patch to enjoy the festivities. Then, bring home an extra pumpkin and make a holiday pie, and don’t forget to roast the seeds.
  10. Prepare a meal based on your heritage. Were your grandparents farmers? Prepare a meal based on the food they once grew. Is your ancestry Italian? German? West African? Make a meal based on their native foods with as many local ingredients as possible. Share stories about your family over the dinner table.

– See more at: http://strongertogether.coop/fresh-from-the-source/10-ways-for-kids-to-go-local/#sthash.kLH0BtXQ.dpuf

Two winners tie at the Pie Party

The results are in!  The 11th Annual Pie Party proceeds will be shared by the two winning organizations, El Group Youth Cycling and Tucson Village Farm who each received 175 votes, congratulations!  Your pie eating and baking enthusiasm raised a total of $845.86!
We were pleased with the turnout and know what to expect next year. More pies!  We know there is always a level of surprise hosting a potluck and this year’s mere70 pies were gone by 4:15 pm!  While the pies were few, they were delicious.  People enjoyed the Tropical Mai Pie, the Vegan Mango Madness, Spanish Tortilla and the Cornmeal Apricot. Next year we will promote the party with more advance notice, will roll out some incentives for bakers to get baking pies (possibly a contest) and will hold classes at the Food Conspiracy Co-op on how to make pie crusts.

Thank you to all of the bakers, servers, the pie eaters and the organizations.   Visit our facebook page to view photos of this year’s party or look for them in the July/Augustedition of the Co-op’s Community News.


See you next year!

Conspiracy Beer

Check out this video of John Adkisson talking about how he made the inaugural batch of Conspiracy Beer, a new product coming soon to the Food Conspiracy Co-op. What is Conspiracy Beer, you ask? Here are the broad strokes:

• Conspiracy Beer will be brewed by a local Tucson microbrewery.
• The style of beer will change every two months.
• The price of the beer will vary, depending on the style.
• A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Conspiracy Beer will benefit a local nonprofit.

The Food Conspiracy is selling Conspiracy Beer right now. The first batch is an English Pale Ale brewed by Iron John’s Brewing Company. Sales of the first six batches of Conspiracy Beer will benefit El Grupo Youth Cycling.

A word from the Pie Party co-founder

This year is the 11th Annual Pie Party, and for the first time the Food Conspiracy Co-op is organizing the event. Here’s what Pie Party co-founder Turtle Southern has to say about what she loves about the Pie Party, and why she asked the co-op to take the reigns.

In 2003, I was involved in dreaming up an event that would involve an endless sea of fantastic desserts and a steady stream of friends to share them with. The delicious assortment of pies was always equally as important as the friends and neighbors that came to our annual Eat More Pie Parties. It is hard for me to comprehend the scale to which this humble event has grown. Dozens of volunteers have served nearly 1,500 pies in the last decade, and, still, throughout our community people are hungry for more opportunities to sit down and share a slice of pie with one another.

What an honor it is to pass on the torch to the Food Conspiracy, as the Co-op carries on this tradition into a new era of pie. The Pie Party has grown out of its roots, when we first offered all-you-can-eat vegan pie for the masses. It evolved into a pie-baking contest, and most recently a pie potluck. The one constant is that the Pie Party comes alive for a few hours each year, full of special moments to feast on for pie novices and aficionados alike.

So much pie in one place always leaves me satiated and delirious. There’s great joy to be found in each slice of pie, especially unique flavors, and the stunning creativity instilled by the bakers. If I think back to all of the Pie Parties over the years, there are certain pies I will never forget – a gorgeous heirloom tomato creation, an award-winning artichoke pie, and this one particular strawberry pie many years ago that was more than I ever dreamed possible. Bites that were so heavenly, they brought tears to my eyes.

The contagious excitement that comes from baking hundreds of pies in a single marathon session and the treasured friendships forged in the warmth of the kitchen were highlights from the early years of the Pie Party. But what I remember most fondly, before the last pie is served, is assembling a plate with a medley of the tastiest slices. Sitting down with loved ones to savor each bite of this pie-pourri is the culmination of what the Pie Party represents to me, and why I personally keep coming back for more.

When was the last time you tasted a truly sensational piece of pie? Have you dusted off your rolling pin and baked a pie recently? Thanks to the Food Conspiracy, that could happen sooner than you think. The Co-op does so much to tie our community together, and I’m eager to see where this pie tradition travels. This year’s Pie Party is Saturday, May 10th, from 3:00 at 6:00 p.m. at Mercado San Agustin. Slices of pie are $3 each $5 for two slices and the proceeds will benefit local nonprofits. Pie eaters get to cast their vote on who receives the earnings, and I hope you’ll come participate in the tastiest, most memorable fundraiser Tucson’s ovens have to offer.

2014 Elections Results

Food Conspiracy Co-op elections have concluded, and the results are in. This year, four people ran for four spots on the Board of Directors, and seven nonprofits were nominated for three Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) grants. Here are the winners:

Jessica Hersh-Ballering (120 votes); receives a three-year term
Glenn Furnier (116); receives a two-year term
Rob McLane (113); receives a two-year term
Joyce Liska (72); receives a two-year term

Desert Harvesters (66)
Living Streets Alliance (63)
Tucson Village Farm (54)

We don’t yet know how much money each CCF winner will receive. We’ll get that info later in the month, when the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation informs us how much interest our account generated in the past year. Last year, our winners got over $700.

Thanks to everyone who ran in this year’s elections and to all of those co-op owners who took the time to vote.

Homesteading 101

This Spring, join the Food Conspiracy Co-op for a series of fun, educational classes on a variety of homesteading topics, including:

Come to one or come to all four. All classes are in the Hoff Building, 425 E. 7th Street, behind the co-op. All classes are $5 for each participant; children must be accompanied by parents. Walk-ins will not be accommodated. You must pre-register.

Shopper Survey

Last week, we emailed shopper surveys to a random selection of shoppers. If you got a survey, we hope that you will take time to answer some questions regarding our products and services, and regarding your preferences as a shopper/member. Your feedback will provide valuable information to Food Conspiracy Co-op’s management and Board of Directors, helping us to improve store operations and to better serve our shareholders and customers.

If you didn’t get a survey in your email inbox but you’d like to fill one out, you can come to the co-op and fill out a paper copy or you can fill out the survey online at our in-store computer.

Your responses will be anonymous. 

We need you to complete the survey soon –the deadline is January 21, 2014 – so don’t wait!

In appreciation for your participation, everyone who completes their survey will automatically be entered into a drawing for one of five $50 Food Conspiracy Co-op gift cards. If there is more than one adult in your household, please have the adult who is the primary food shopper complete the survey.

Thank you for your time and thoughtful responses.  If you have any questions about the motivation for and use of the survey data, please contact Coley Ward atmarketing@foodconspiracy.coop.  If you have technical problems accessing the survey, please contact Shelly Hadley at michelle.hadley@uwrf.edu or shellyhad@gmail.com.

How to go unprocessed

By Megan Kimble

This article was featured in the Jan/Feb issue of the Food Conspiracy Co-op’s newsletter, Community News.

A little over two years ago, I set myself a challenge. I would go an entire year without eating a processed food. The first question you might ask—besides “But why?” (and I’ll get to that)—is “What makes a food processed?”

Cooking is a process, as is dicing, heating, fermenting, and preserving; indeed, all foods are processed and often they are the better for it. But increasingly, they are not; today, what we refer to when we speak of processed foods are foods that have been manipulated and molded beyond recognition.

For the purposes of my year, a food was unprocessed if I could theoretically make it in my own kitchen. I ground wheat berries into flour but couldn’t sift out the endosperm—no refined flours. I helped a beekeeper gather honey and used my food processor to grind nuts into butter, but I didn’t refine sugar, stock up on chemicals, or mix emulsifiers.

That meant giving up some of my favorite foods, including low-carb bread or fake cheese or Diet Coke.

Giving up processed foods was a decision both political and personal. Although my year unprocessed was motivated in part by health and weight, by economics and environmentalism, more than anything it was an attempt to connect my dollars to my community. Processed foods represent a $1.25 trillion market across the globe and this market is controlled by only a handful of companies. The giants of our food system are also our political Goliaths, who use this influence to lobby for policies that may or may not serve our interests and health. One way to take a stand against this influence is to redirect our dollars away from these corporations—and the packaged products they produce—and spend them instead in our community, supporting growers and processors who sell locally (and thus must be locally accountable).

Indeed, while unprocessing my food supply began as a very personal project conceived of in my kitchen, it soon drove me out into the Baja Arizona community as I sought to understand how it is we shape food from the raw materials of the world.

I drove to Phoenix and spent an afternoon in the dusty world of Hayden Flour Mills; I stared into the big brown eyes of a cow at Double Check Ranch, grasped the warm udder of Sammy the goat at Chiva Risa Ranch, and walked through the many furrowed fields of vegetables that allow Tucson to keep on eating and thriving. Finally, at the end of my year, I spent two days at Bean Tree Farm, where I helped to slaughter, butcher, and process a sheep. Although it was a colossal endeavor, breaking apart a once-sentient animal, what it taught me was that I didn’t have to undertake it every time I wanted to eat meat—that there was a reason we once clustered into communities. What I learned after eating unprocessed for a year was that I didn’t have to do all my food processing myself; I could work to earn money to support those people in my community who were processing foods—growing vegetables, fermenting cheese, bottling wine, raising cattle—and doing it well.

Unprocessed eating refers to more than just the ingredient label; it is a way of being a consumer in your community.

How to shop unprocessed at the Co-op

Much of my year unprocessed unfolded in the aisles of the Food Conspiracy Co-op, as I fretted up and down the aisles, muttering over ingredient labels or pulling out my smartphone to Google search “What is citric acid.” The effort and time-cost of buying unprocessed is spent upfront, but it can quickly become effortless. Some tips to get you started:

Read ingredient labels. If you don’t really know what it is, it’s processed: Soy lecithin, modified food starch, and xanthium gum are a few regular culprits. Many of these smoothing agents and preservatives are found in low-fat and vegan dairy products like cheese or yogurt. (Soy and almond milks, while great alternatives to cow or goat’s milk, are full of chemicals and emulsifiers to create the same “mouth-feel” as animal milk.)

When you’re reading labels, watch out for artificial sweeteners or refined sugar; don’t buy brands that add either unnecessarily. Mustard, for example, does not really need sugar—look for brands sweetened with honey. Ditto for marinara sauce—tomatoes contain enough natural sugars that you really shouldn’t see “cane syrup” on an ingredient label.

Shop the sales. When you’re on a budget, sometimes spending locally can be a stretch. Each month, the co-op puts different grocery items on sale for all shoppers, through its Co+Op Deals program. Produce specials, also for all shoppers, change each Wednesday. There are also Basic Buys for co-op owners, which offer staple foods at 10% above cost. Stock up on wine, yogurt, frozen corn tortillas, or almond butter. Well, don’t just stock up on my favorites—get whatever you eat consistently and make some space in your cabinet or freezer.

Buy from the bulk bins. Not only do you save packaging waste, you send less of your dollars to the middlemen who make those packages. During my year, whenever I had to travel, I stocked up on Chunks of Energy Carob Squares and tamari almonds.

Ask questions. When I was intimidated by raw milk, I finally just walked up to a co-op employee and said, “So, um, what’s up with raw milk?” When he told me that 30 gallons were delivered once a week from Queen Creek and that demand was so high they couldn’t keep it in stock, I happily jumped on the bandwagon and crowd-sourced my anxiety.

Find your favorites. My favorites are: Cherry Pie Lara Bars (ingredients: cherries, dates, almonds). Honey! I love honey, most especially Happy Bear’s creamed honey, which I eat with a spoon. R.W. Knudsen’s fruit juice plus soda water equals unprocessed cola. La Tauna Tortillas: Not only are they made locally, the Whole Wheat Olive Oil Tortillas are made with only its namesake ingredients, plus salt.

Find your exceptions. Now that my official year unprocessed has ended, I’ve happily returned to buying paper-wrapped bars of chocolate and spicy bottles of Ginger Ale, both of which contain cane sugar (and sometimes preservatives). I have not returned to low-carb bread or fake cheese or Diet Coke or 90 percent of the processed foods I used to love. (After a year off, the first time I tasted Diet Coke, it no longer tasted sweet—just chemical.)

Win a $20 giftcard to the Co-op! Tweet #unprocessed @megankimble or post on Facebook.com/meganekimble with your favorite unprocessed tip, product, or brand.

*     *     *     *     *

Join Megan Kimble, Managing Editor of Edible Bajaat the Hoff Building on January 18 as she talks about her experience eating unprocessed foods for a year. Megan will discuss how to read and understand ingredient labels and more. Space is limited. Please RSVP  be emailing outreach@foodconspiracy.coop

We’ve got a new bike corral

Photography by Mamta PopatHave you seen our new bike corral? It holds up to 12 bikes and is located just outside our front doors! Thanks to the City of Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Program for installing it.