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Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference 2005 Staff Reflections, Part II
Q: Willy Street Co-op is now javable! Thank you—WOW thank you so much for improving the coffee!!! It is so fascinating...it tastes much better. Hurray!!! Thanks to anyone involved in this long-needed change. I’ve noticed it helps my actual perception and communications. Perhaps now that we have genuinely good coffee, maybe now I am more loving of the human experience—and will perhaps realize profound insights of bright significant subconscious allegories obscured myriads…
A: Thanks for the positive feedback. As the Juice/Coffee Bar Manager I’m hoping we can continue to improve all our products! -Dan Moore, Deli Manager
Q: Please consider changing the 2 parking spaces labeled “for the differently-abled.” As a disability rights advocate, I appreciate the sentiment intended, but those that have a disability or mobility need can qualify for a regular disabled parking spot. With parking in short supply here and conscientious customers feeling guilty using the spots as is, unless they have a disability I suggest considering changing this...
A: Thank you for your thoughtful comments about our unconventional parking stalls. As you probably already know, our legally required accessible parking is located on the south side of the lot, near the fire station. When we moved to this site, the stalls currently designated for differently-abled persons where not wide enough to be classified legally as accessible parking, so a decision was made by the management to still reserve those spots for folks who, for whatever reason, either permanently or temporarily, are differently-abled. If a person or vehicle possesses a permit to legally park in accessible parking but wanted to use that stall instead of the other stalls, we would be happy to see them enjoying the access. If a shopper were to need better access because of a temporary injury or special circumstances, we’d like them to have that stall as well. Or, if the lot’s full and parking on the street isn’t an option, that driver has the option of using the stall as well, although we would discourage it. So, the way I look at it, the term differently-abled, while it may be commonly uttered in conversations about folks who need accessible parking, is not a label at all, but a prediction that at some time someone is going to have a need for accessible parking and those two random spots are there for their needs. -Lynn Olson, Member Services Manager
Q: I was wondering if the Produce people would not cut off the stems on the organic artichokes. I steam them, and the stem tastes as good as the heart.
A: Thanks for your comment. I will remind the folks to not cut the entire stem off. We do trim the ends to keep the artichokes hydrated and cut the brown end off for freshness. We are coming into artichoke season! Keep steaming and eating! -Crystel Wienendt, Assistant Produce Manager
Q: Please urge pregnant women to NEVER drink raw milk (re: your midwife column). There can be a bacteria in it called campylobacter. It can cause bloody diarrhea, loss of baby, vomiting, and even death of the mom-to-be. I know all this because I visited a relative (a dairy farmer) while pregnant and drank milk while there. I got SO sick. Doctors here in Madison thought I would lose the baby. I was lucky to only miss several days of work...and the baby did survive. If you are visiting a farm and pregnant, be sure to ask before drinking their milk. A farmer might not buy milk when it’s fresh and unpasteurized right from the barn. You might have been okay drinking it before—but a pregnant body reacts differently to raw (unpasteurized) milk. I should know, I was the only one to get sick there—even elderly relatives were okay. Campylobacter is now the most common cause of foodborne illness. It surpassed Salmonella. It also isn’t just found in raw milk. Web sites about campylobacter will say that no one is safe from drinking raw milk. It also can cause paralysis and other disorders.
A: Thanks so much for sharing your story and possibly helping prevent other women from experiencing the severe and frightening illness you had. Your letter highlights for me the need for a whole column to discuss the controversy and complexity of drinking raw milk versus pasteurized milk and related milk products in pregnancy (stay tuned to future issues!).
Raw milk has been shown to be a source of various gastrointestinal and systemic infections that can cause severe disease, especially in immunocompromised persons. As I said in my column, I generally agree with recommendations that women should not drink raw milk in pregnancy.
However, while public health guidelines promote the greatest good for the greatest number of people, they do not address specific individuals’ or families’ contexts or needs. There are subpopulations throughout our area who drink only raw milk. Pregnant women in these families consume fresh milk and cultured milk products from their own cows or goats or from a familiar local farmer. This is a time-honored and global practice that begs the question, why does it appear safe for them and not for others? Why did one of the worst known salmonella outbreaks—affecting 14,000 people in Illinois—occur in pasteurized milk? There are all kinds of speculations, but not nearly enough research acknowledging the crucial balance of flora and fauna within and around us, our abuse of the animals who sustain us, and how bacterial counts in animal populations, land, and groundwater affect our own health.
Campylobacter is a common bacteria, certain strains of which are thought to inhabit 20% of humans at any given time. I have not heard of it found in raw milk before. If it was indeed the milk that made you sick, this seems to me another alarming aspect of your experience. Thanks again for sharing it. -Ingrid Andersson, CNM