THE READER
November 2005

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Cover

Customer Comments

General Manager's Report

Board Report: The October Board Meeting

Deli News

Produce News

Book News

Health & Wellness News

Operations News

Specials Information

2005 Donations

Eastside Farmers Market News

This Year's Turkey Selections

Thanksgiving Shopping List

Producer Profile: Vermont Valley Community Farm

Alternative Thankgiving Celebrations

Recipes & Drink Recommendations

Newsbites

Community Calendar

 

CUSTOMER COMMENTS

Bathroom cleanings
Q: How about scheduling your bathroom cleanings before or after store hours? You have so much business it would really help.

A: Thanks for your comment! There are many things that the maintenance/janitorial staff would like to get done before the store opens, the bathrooms definitely being one of those. However, some mornings we cannot finish them before 8:00am, and throughout the day they are attended to as needed. Believe it or not, they need to be cleaned twice per day and checked/stocked constantly. Your comment has reminded me to re-look at our morning schedule to see if we can prioritize in a better manner. -Fred Knoch, Maintenance Coordinator

Recyclables
Q: Just wondering—what will the Co-op do now that the city will no longer recycle plastic deli containers, no matter what number it has. A cardboard option?

A: Thanks for writing. This is a popular question these days...I emailed George Dreckman of the city of Madison’s Streets and Recycling department to find out if there were any suitable options and was told that all they have a market for is plastic bottles. I thought about paper, but it isn’t airtight, it leaks, and no one can see the food. Plus, most options have a wax coating that renders them non-recyclable or compostable anyway. I’ve also looked into food-based containers, which have many of the same problems and cost two-to-three times as much (as well as being made by ConAgra and Dow Chemical, from GMO plants). For now, we’ll probably switch to our old containers like the ones in bulk and keep researching options. -Dan Moore, Deli Manager

Material distribution
Q: Please do not allow anti-animal research groups to distribute materials/propaganda (ie. PETA, etc). We need a wide range of approaches to cures for cancer, [AIDS], Parkinsons, MS, etc, including animal research with proper oversight for natural remedies.

A: Hello. The WSGC Tabling Policy states that we support providing opportunities for not-for-profit (501(c) 3) organizations to network with our community. Among other things, the policy also requires that “Individuals working or volunteering with the organization are requested NOT to directly approach people walking in/out of the Co-op or parking lot. Aggressive or “hard-sell” tactics are never allowed and may result in a suspension of that organization’s privilege to table on WSGC property.” In summary, we support a lot of types of tabling, but we leave it up to our members to decide whether to stop and review the materials. -Lynn Olson, Member Services Manager

Local labels
Q: I would really like to see local tags or Made in Wisconsin on EVERY item in your store. Please! It would be great for all, because I shop here because of that.

A: Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry that it’s taken so long to reply, but we’ve been discussing the best way to do this. We like the idea, but don’t want to cause visual overload - NEW tags, local signs, specials signs, etc. So, we will do this, it’s just a question of the best method and how soon. Please give us a few more weeks and we should have it figured out. Thanks. -Brendon Smith, Communications Manager

Easy on the exhaust
Q: I would like it if your delivery trucks would shut off their trucks for the ten-plus minutes it takes to unload them. I know people think they need to keep them going for the motor, but I think it’s more important that we have air in our bodies that is as clean as we can get. The exhaust is really offensive and builds to unacceptable levels in the time it takes y’all to unload and sign off. Thank you/Breathe deep and live.

A: We have a sign posted requesting this. We enforce this request due to the exhaust also drifting in to our delivery area. What you’re probably hearing is the refrigeration unit, which has to run because of obvious reasons. Thank you for your concern. -Wynston Estis, Assistant Store Manager.

More milk
Q: More Wisconsin Organic Skim milk.

A: Currently we receive Wisconsin Organics every Thursday. With close expiration dates we tend to keep the order tight so we don’t have out-of-date milk. We are looking into a distributor that will be able to deliver three-to-four times a week. Until then, I will up the ordering of skim milk. Thank you for your comment. -Jesse Jensen, Grocery Supervisor

Caring for kids
Q: I love, love, love to see staff working at the Co-op with their kids!! I know this may not be appropriate at all times, but what a cool and supportive workplace that supports parents and kids!

A: It can be a real support, as I need to be here for a meeting and kids are with, so I know firsthand. Thank you for acknowledging your support of what is a valuable perk for parents who work here. -Anya Firszt, General Manager

Cadmium concerns
Q: I am concerned that the “organic” label is not stringent enough now that FDA weakened it. People with toxic levels of cadmium in their body need to avoid green foods in particular that have been grown with natural phosphate fertilizer as the cadmium content is uptaken by the root into the green foods quite strongly. What can be done to label foods?

A: Hello. I’m not really sure how to answer this. The only thing I can clarify is this:
The USDA, not the FDA, has not “weakened” the organic requirements. However, major, greedy corporations have worked tirelessly to make swiss cheese of the standards to suit their money-grubbing fingers. A naive document, the National Organic Standards has been exploited, not weakened. -Lynn Olson, Member Services Manager

Not so conventional
Q: I read with interest
Wynston’s article on the effects of chemicals on our foods, but have one complaint. It’s a common mistake that many organic stakeholders continue to allow. That is, the use of the term “conventionally-produced” or just “conventional” when referring to chemically farmed crops. It has become a personal campaign of mine to point out that there is nothing conventional about chemically farmed foods. Synthetic petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides have been existent for barely 60 years, while humans have farmed organically for millenia. In fact, organic foods are the only true “conventional” foods.
Agribusiness has positioned organic as the alternative, when in fact non-organic, chemically-farmed crops are the alternative new-comer, and far from conventional. We as writers need to take back the term “conventional” for organic food. After all, the term has become a convention among writers only because we use it and allow it be the convention. So please, in the future, instead of using the term “conventional,” please say “non-organic” or even chemically-farmed. Please help spread this message if you wish.

A: Very good. Perhaps we all (I know I did) needed this re-education on the use of the word “conventional.” I agree with your point and will consider using the words “synthetically-produced” -Lynn Olson, Member Services Manager