Food Clubs

Across our vast nation, food clubs can be found everywhere, and in various shapes, sizes and styles. I believe that food clubs hail from a bygone era when area families came together to get the work done. Ladies of the community would pool their resources to “put up” the harvest by canning, drying or other preserving methods. The men would do their own work, butchering animals and processing for winter storage. Working together, house by house, to lighten the individual load and catch up on the latest gossip.

Besides our buying club, here are a few examples of other food clubs:

  • Cheese Clubs~ where members gather to sample cheese varieties, or perhaps even make cheeses together in a group setting.
  • Recipe Clubs~Kitchen savvy individuals gather together and concoct various forms of food and share the results (and the recipes)! Sounds tasty!
  • Monthly Food Preparation Clubs~make an entire weeks worth of meals (or more) in one setting. Members share food costs and enjoy company while assembling freezer meals.
Variety of cheeses on serving platter

Variety of cheeses on serving platter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food clubs fill the void left by our commuter lifestyle. We’ve grown away from tight-nit communities into larger metro settings. This is a great way to reclaim some of our agrarian heritage and rediscover the joys of preparing and eating food together!

Southeast Kansas Buying Club
Whole Foods for Less!

Serving Independence, Kansas
and surrounding areas.

 

 

 

 

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Zero Waste?

Is it possible to live without generating any trash in our modern-day society?

(By trash, I mean items that end up in landfill)

What do you think? I think that it may be possible, but it will take conscious effort.

Our family has tried to reduce~reuse~recycle whenever possible. We were more successful in the beginning when our recycling center was fully accepting recyclable items like glass and plastic. As our local center started refusing items, it made it more difficult for us. So we slowly slipped back into our old ways. But I am resolved to get back to being a better steward!

How many bags of trash do you set out per week? Are you recycling? Do you reuse items to keep from putting them in the trash? Share some of your tips with our readers please.

Right now our family of 5 is generating 3 bags of trash per week (13 gal kitchen sized bags) and this is too much! My initial goal is to reduce that to 1 bag per week, then I’d like to reduce that to less if we can.

If you’re like me, you need some inspiration to get you going with reducing your waste. Let me introduce the Johnson family to you. They live in California and in 6 month’s time only produced a handful of trash.  Bea Johnson has done many of the things that I see our club members doing: using cloth bags, bringing your own container to put your bulk items in, recycling waste, reusing boxes and containers that can be re-purposed and so on.

The Johnson’s give three tips to go waste-free:

1. Graduate from just bringing your own shopping bags to the grocery store, Johnson says, and use reusable bags to buy produce as well.
2. Think twice before buying plastic products, and make sure you buy only what you really need. “Shopping is voting,” Johnson says.
3. Refuse junk mail through sites like dmachoice.org and catalogchoice.org.

Click over and read the entire article, it’s very inspiring!

One of the ways to reduce waste is to re-purpose items that have been discarded. I’ve been saving old T-shirts to make into a braided rag rug. Recently I re-purposed some soda bottles, cardboard and straps off of a bag that was to be discarded along with some duct tape, hot glue and spray paint to create this fun accessory that I found on Pinterest~

Playtime Jet Pack.

Playtime Jet Pack.

Ready to blast off!

Ready to blast off!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will you take the challenge to reduce your waste with me? Comment and in the next few months we will revisit this post and see how we’ve progressed!
Happy reducing!

Healthy in the New Year?

Along with the new year come many resolutions to make oneself healthier via loosing weight, becoming more active, giving up a bad habit or other forms of “healthy”. Being a member of a buying club, most of us already have “healthy” in our daily vocabulary. Still some of us wouldn’t mind shedding a few pounds or adding more activity to our daily routines. And rightly we should.

Adding exercise or activity to your day doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rush out and buy a gym membership, although you could if you wanted to.  One way to add activity to your daily routine is to simply take the stairs, instead of the elevator. Or park farther away from the store entrance, adding extra steps to your walk to and from your car. For other simple ideas to increase your activity levels check here. If you do well with visual reminders, here are some Printable worksheets to track activity and help increase your activity level.

Now, what about food? Well many of us are already eating healthier. In our club we have members with a variety of dietary needs including: Raw diet, Traditional Foods (Nourishing Traditions style), Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten-free, Dairy-free and other special diets. So how do we improve on these? Eating nutrition dense foods is important for our well-being, but it’s easy to over eat when we are eating such foods. Slow down, chew your food well. Digestion begins in the mouth, both the action of chewing (which signals the stomach that food is on its way) and mixing your food with saliva (which contains enzymes to begin the digestion process) are vitally important and should be done well. In our modern fast food/microwave society, we find ourselves hurrying through meals, fast eating usually means that we haven’t chewed our food well.

A good rule of thumb is as follows: if you can tell what kind of food you are eating from the texture of the food in your mouth (not the taste), then you haven’t chewed it enough.

Chewing our food should not only make our food easier to swallow, it should slow our eating process down, so that we can enjoy our food, and allow our stomach the time to “feel” full, instead of leaping for that second helping before our stomach even realizes it’s got a job to do.

"Healthier" No-Bake Cookies, One more please??

“Healthier” No-Bake Cookies, One more please??

Portion control is just as important as what we eat. It’s easy for me to think to myself, “oh, this is healthy, I can have another portion”. “Healthy” is my excuse to eat more. Defeating the purpose of “healthy” in the first place! Visual portion control helps can be found here. And a generic points system can be found here, if counting points is more your style.

Let’s not forget that other important element to our well-being, water. Clear, pure water. Boring you say? Our bodies need sufficient water daily for proper function, to flush toxins, keep us hydrated (and avoid that winter dry skin) and keep our blood flowing well. The amount of water necessary for optimum health varies between the “Experts”. Around my house we’ve gone by the recommendation of “divide your body weight in half, and drink that many ounces in water” daily. So for a 180 pound person this would be approximately 90 ounces of water a day, or 6 16 oz glasses (rounded up). Drinking water not only helps us with hydration, it also helps us avoid the “munchies”. Often when we think our bodies are telling us that we are hungry, really what we need is water. Drink a glass of water, and if you’re still hungry, a healthy snack is in order, such as an apple or carrots with humus. Here’s a fun little Hydration Calculator Quiz.

Hopefully some of these tips and suggestions will help you to achieve your health goals for the new year. Here’s to a healthy New Year to you and yours from your Southeast Kansas Buying Club!

 

 

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Being Thankful for Our Food

Written by member Brandi M, with contributions.

When you say “thankful” this time of year it usually conjures up images of
black and white-clad pilgrims and plump turkeys. Vegetarians might imagine a horn of plenty stuffed with fruits and veggies. Still others think forward to the next big holiday and imagine their halls all decked out and the major shopping event that will happen in a few days.

But wait…

What does it mean to truly be thankful for our food?

In America we have largely enjoyed abundance, most of us, for all of our lives. Such abundance that people in third world countries never even dream about. We may eat more meat in one meal than many eat in a month’s time. Really? Yes, really.

Do we ever really sit and ponder what it means to be thankful for our food?

Trace the necessary path for your food. In order for you to eat something, someone (perhaps yourself) had to prepare it. Someone had to buy it. Someone else had to grow it and prepare it for you to buy. There was

someone or more than one who had to earn the money to purchase the food. The list can go on and on. In that list we also find our buying club, the varied individuals and families that come together with a common goal of bringing wholesome foods to the area, with affordable prices.

In our diverse group, being thankful has various meanings, manifestations and realities. With permission, I will share some with you here.

 About a year ago I was diagnosed with Celiacs disease, after many years of mysterious ailments I was grateful to have a diagnoses but confused how to move forward with this new information. After much research and talking with friends with same or similar food restrictions I changed almost everything regarding my diet. I know follow a gluten-free diet in combination with the type O blood type diet. I am very grateful for my local food cooperative as well as friends that have assisted with this journey. I am grateful for the support of my family who do not always understand but go with it anyway. I still have a way to go in reaching my goal of living without medication and only using food as my primary medicine but I have a good start. ~Jennifer C.

Being thankful for my food, What does it mean to me? Thanking God first for the filling of my families bellies…no matter if it is a bowl of rice or a seven course meal. Having the ability and freedom to raise chickens, grow my own garden and drink raw milk (for now). Having options outside of the big box store. I am thankful that I still have food choice and freedoms and folks willing to fight to keep them for me. I am thankful that I can rest assured that even sparrows are taken care of by God and so shall I be. ~Carolyn S.

Being thankful for our food means to me that I acknowledge there is a Higher Power than myself and all the work and energy put into growing, harvesting, hunting, gathering is a gift from God, because of His love for His children. I am grateful for our buying club and all the wonderful people in it who are so helpful with information to guide us in our food choices that improve the life and health of our families and all the work that keeps our club alive. I am also grateful for the knowledge and understanding of what is going on in this world that helps us make, not only the right food choices for the health of our bodies, but that we can understand our spiritual needs and can help us make the right choices for our spiritual growth, which is infinitely more important than our physical well-being. I am grateful that we live in a country where we have so many freedoms and I pray that we don’t lose them. ~Margaret G.

I am thankful for the privilege of living on a farm in a family who loves to produce food. My son and mother in law raise beautiful organic vegetables, I enjoy milking cows, and raising chickens for eggs and meat. We also raise heritage pigs for pork and a beef each year.  Everyone in the family pitches in to help in one way or another. It is a blessing to be able to do this and I am quite aware that our family is in the minority of people who are in a position to be able to raise our own food. With our modern-day lifestyle, there are foods that we enjoy but cannot or choose not to raise on the farm. Some years we have crop failures or other issues that impact the availability of certain foods. For these items I am extremely grateful to have a natural foods buying club (SEKBC) available in our area. The members of the club band together to pool our resources to purchase foods such as organic grains, beans, snack foods and other products in large enough quantities from wholesalers to be able to bring the prices down to a manageable level for our budget. The club also provides a social setting to find other people interested in healthy lifestyles.  Food is necessary for life and I am grateful that God has provided it bountifully for our family through the work of our hands on the farm and through the ability to purchase organic foods from the SEKBC. ~Deanna M.

My own reality of being thankful for my food lies with my Creator. I have been so extremely blessed in my life, both with my needs met and those little “extra” blessings that I cannot begin to express my gratitude sufficiently. I do extend my thanks to each SEK Buying Club member, for without you, we wouldn’t have that choice. I realize that it takes every one of us to make this happen and your contribution does not go unnoticed.

 May you have a blessed season of thanks!

It’s Fall…. Almost!

The calendar says September and with the cooler temps of the last few days, it’s starting to feel more like fall although we aren’t there “officially” yet.

With fall and cooler weather comes apple harvest, cider and bonfires. Wiener roasts and hot cocoa on camp-outs tops our list of fun fall activities. What are some of your favorite things to do in the fall?

Azure Standard

 

 

By member Brandi M.

One of our warehouse suppliers is a family owned company called Azure Standard.
What we know now as “Azure Standard” started out just as an attempt by one family to grow healthier foods for themselves. The story began in 1971 when radical changes were made in the operation of a 2,000-acre dry-land wheat and cattle ranch in the Pacific Northwest.  Fast forward to today and they are shipping their products (and those of other carefully selected companies) half way across the continental US and even all the way to Alaska.

I was introduced to Azure back in 1998 when I lived in Idaho. Being newly diagnosed with a wheat allergy, Azure was heaven sent in allowing me to find wheat alternatives! After moving back here and being many years without access to Azure deliveries, I was extremely happy to find out that they were extending their delivery routes to include Kansas! Since our club added Azure to our roster of suppliers, we haven’t turned back. Azure has had some growing pains with adding new routes, and working out new computerized inventory controls, however, they have been diligent to work through these issues and continue to supply their customers to the best of their abilities.

There are many benefits that Azure offers over our other suppliers are: smaller quantities~you can order three of an item instead of an entire case; products that are not available elsewhere;  family owned/operated business with real people on the other end of the phone line; recipes and helpful hints; fresh produce and others! Also an added benefit for our local patrons is that you do not have to be a full co-op member in order to purchase from Azure. We simply ask that you contribute to the building fund each time that you order. Without our entire club, and the work involved to get Azure deliveries here in the beginning, we wouldn’t have this option available.

Azure also offers UPS deliveries of non-perishable items to people outside of their delivery zones.

Thanks to our contributing member, Deanna M., for suggesting this article and sharing this video!

 

Whole Foods, What’s the Deal?

By Club Member Brandi Monson

Whole Foods has been in the news lately concerning Agro-giant Monsanto. Along with Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley, they tried to offer a working solution to the USDA concerning genetically modified alfalfa as it concerns organic farmers.

The USDA gave Whole Foods two options or else they would not be able to be in the negotiations any more. The options are:

  1. To allow monsanto to have full control to do as they want to, completely unregulated.
  2. To allow monsanto to do what they want with GM food, but implement some regulation and attempt to control genetically modified organisms (GMO) so that it can co-exist with non-GMO foods.

Other outlets have reported that Whole Foods had “caved” to Monsanto, or that they had reached a compromise that would protect organic farmers via a compensation plan. Neither of these articles sounds very optimistic to me.

The Whole Foods Blog states that they are very disappointed in the USDA’s decision and had hoped that the outcome would have been different. Whole Foods maintains that their position all along was that of the need to coexist with GE crops via governmental regulations since an outright ban on GE crops “was not an option in Washington”.

Whole Foods Market advocated strongly for deregulation with restrictions to preserve the ability of non-GE and organic growers to avoid contamination. It seemed that the USDA was finally recognizing that cross-contamination of GE alfalfa could potentially impact organic and non-GE farmers and consumers, both domestically and for our export markets. In fact, by inviting non-GE industry members to D.C. to discuss this issue, it appeared as though the USDA was acknowledging that organic and non-GE agriculture has the right to not only survive, but to thrive alongside GE agriculture.

Once again the government disappoints when it comes to food integrity in the USA.

2012 Annual Meeting Minutes

Minutes for SE KS Buying Club Annual Meeting

January 20, 2012

The meeting was called to order by Julia V at 8:30 am. She brought
forth an idea to separate Azure Standard from SEKSBC because it is its own thing and the club does not really need the money from their dues.

Deanna M made a motion to disband Azure from SEKSBC. After much discussion, the motion failed.

Deanna M made a new motion to amend the due structure for Azure
Standard only members from $12 annually to a donation for the building fund.
Margaret G seconded. Ayes 10 Nays 0 Motion passed.

The next order of business was discussion regarding the SEKSBC public blog. There was concern about having full names and/or email addresses listed on the blog due to its public nature. It was also discussed about having outside vendors become members of the club in order to have their
information listed upon the group blog, and that the blog be reformatted to
offer separate information regarding the individual ordering options of our
club.
Brandi M made a motion to revamp the SEKSBC blog to have an overview page, with separate pages for each individual section of the club, and that links for UNFI, Frontier, Azure, Albert’s Organics, and Facebook would be added to the blog.
April N seconded. Ayes 12 Nays 0 Motion passed.

Deanna M made a motion to offer the option to outside vendors to
become members in order to be listed on the SEKSBC public blog.
Margaret G seconded. Ayes 12 Nays 0 Motion passed.

Deanna M made a motion to remove any person’s full names, phone
numbers, or email addresses upon the blog. She also stated that we should use filled/open for any job postings, and that only first names would be listed on the blog unless otherwise requested.
April N seconded. Ayes 12 Nays 0 Motion passed.

The next item of business to discuss was about Albert’s organics. The
concerns were that the job had gotten too large for one person to do, and
that the future was uncertain if we could not find a new coordinator or
separate the jobs out.
Teresa C made a motion to drop the group bags in order to be able to still keep the produce option available within the club.
Rachel U seconded. Ayes 12 Nays 0 Motion passed.

The final order of business up for discussion before going into the jobs was
the dues structure for the club. There was much discussion as far as working members, non-working members, and the different factions of the club. The due structure was already amended for Azure Standard only members. The due structure for working members was not to be amended at this time, and was to stay the same at $12 annually.
Deanna M made a motion to change the due structures as follows.
Non-working member dues would change from $24 annually to $48 annually. She also stated that the club executive committee would handle any hardship pleas on a case-by-case basis.
Teresa C seconded. Ayes 12 Nays 0 Motion passed.

The job positions were now open (and filled) for the New Year. These can be viewed on the Yahoo Group for club members.

There is still a huge need for people to help with the distribution crew. At
least 2 people are needed to be on the Distribution Crew for Bulk Divide. At
least 3 people are needed to be on the Distribution Crew for UNFI. Staging
was not discussed at this meeting. Is this position now open?

Club Dues for 2012 as voted by club members

Azure Standard ONLY Members – no annual dues – small donation for building fund. 25¢ per order or $3.00 annually.

Working Members – $12 annually

Non-working Members – $48 annually

Meeting was adjourned by Julia V because the UNFI truck was here.

Minutes written by April N

Neti Pot Safety

by member Brandi Monson

Neti pots have been in the news recently for causing two deaths in Louisiana. I would note that the neti pots were not the actual offending cause, the tap water was. (hello! don’t drink the stuff!!) So health authorities are stressing the use of sterilized water (distilled or boiled) in your neti pot as a precaution.

Nasal Irrigation

 

I use a neti pot occasionally as do several of our club members. I thought that it would be a good refresher to go over proper use and care of the neti pot.  You can read a good written instructional here or view a video here.
Most of the instructions for usage I could find on the internet suggest tap water however, it was unsafe tap water that led to the infection of these two individuals in Louisiana with naegleria fowleri. I use RO filtered water in my neti pot. The pores in a reverse osmosis membrane are only approximately 0.0005 micron in size (bacteria are 0.2 to 1 micron & viruses are 0.02 to 0.4 microns).  Otherwise, I would use distilled water, or boiled tap water.

This nasty little critter can be found in fresh water lakes, swimming pools and soil.  It is not found in sea water however, thus the importance of using salt in your neti solution.  N. fowleri invades the body of the host usually through the nasal passages and attacks the nervous system. Thus the sensational name of  “the brain-eating amoeba”. Death is certain once infected, with a mortality rate of 98%. Yikes!

To clean your neti pot, you should hand wash in warm soapy water, or if you have a porcelain pot you can wash it in the dishwasher. And let it air dry before using again. It’s important that you don’t share your neti pot. At least sterilize it if you have had to share yours.

So be safe when irrigating your sinuses!