May-June 2009

Volume 25, Issue 4
The FireStarter

Thoughts on the Value of What We Buy

~by Mary Vaughn

As we are affected by the changing economy, there is naturally more focus on what things cost. Many of us need to choose carefully how we spend our resources of all kinds. But there is a more subtle element of the economy that is worth factoring in: the value of what we buy.  Money is energy- you are exchanging your energy for other forms of energy.  Does what you are buying contain the kind of energy you want to trade it for?

Food that is grown respectfully, locally, from intentional growers contains its life energy that in turn nourishes you.  Spending your money locally circulates it many times over in our own community.  Buying from local producers supports them to continue to produce, reducing our ‘carbon footprint’ on the earth. How does that compare with anonymous mass production, packaged and trucked from miles away?  How does making minimum wage, or less, affect the products, and those who are producing, harvesting, packaging and transporting those goods?  On many levels it is becoming very clear what price we are all paying for mass production.

When was the last time you bought something that was not right, or soon broke? Do you remember when the standard was pride in what was made well?  Our remarkably creative community holds artisans, farmers and trades people who create products of all kinds, which contain the energy of their care and pride in what they bring forth.  The Chamber of Commerce’s new slogan “Love Tonasket, Buy Local” is intended to protect and sustain why we choose to live in this small community.

When you take in the Value of what you buy, you may spend a bit more in terms of cash on any one purchase.  But as you pay attention to where you want the energy of your money to go, you may find yourself making different choices that actually equalize the higher prices. You may find you choose those items that represent dollars-off-to-elsewhere less often, since they hold little ‘life’ in them for you locally. Intentionality opens up all kinds of new possibilities.

Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op
The Other Grocery Store
Open 7 Days a week

Tonasket Farmers’ Market Resumes

~by Greg McGriff (thanks to River)

The Tonasket Farmers’ Market returns to its usual Thursday schedule beginning June 4th. Hours are 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, and the Farmers’ Market will continue until October. Location is at the Triangle Park at the north end of Tonasket, and will be marked by a new sign by Jeremy Jewell (who also designed the new front sign and interior signs at the Co-op). The Farmers’ Market is sponsored by our friends at the Community Cultural Center.

The Market vendors sell a variety of products, including locally grown produce, plant starts, and crafts. The Market is an excellent way to meet the people (your neighbors) who produce our food, and is an excellent way to financially support those producers. Buying locally has a host of benefits. There are environmental benefits from decreasing transportation costs and carbon footprint, to the clear economic benefits of supporting our local economy, to the nutritional benefits of fresh foods.

Booths are available for vendors for $5.00 per booth per day. Contact Matt at 486-8803 for further vendor information.

FireStarter to Accept Advertisements

The FireStarter will be accepting advertisements for local businesses and professional services in upcoming issues. These will be business card size advertisements similar to those in The Center News (the CCC newsletter). All interested please call Greg at 846-5758.

Update on the New Construction

~by Mary Vaughn

The area where the ‘Old Cooler’ was is being turned into retail space, however slowly, even with the distractions of Spring.  A HUGE THANK YOU to Bob and Jane Thompson for keeping this project moving, and to Bob for the design. Bob made the space to be easily converted to a larger, more efficient kitchen in the future, when time and money allow.

THANK YOU also to Jere Shaub, Jim Wells, Peter James, Michael Simon and Dan Vaughn for the work that has been completed so far (thanks also to anyone I may have omitted!)  Plans in the near future include wiring the space for more light, finishing the ceiling, mudding and taping the drywall, and then painting.  (By the way, is anyone else still disoriented when they come out of the bathroom to find a wall ?!)

Many THANK YOUs to John Jones, as well, for donating new ceiling tiles to the Co-op, which looks to be enough to do the entire ceiling! There are also plans for painting and rehabilitating the rest of the store. 

The Decorating Committee has worked on the color scheme, which will continue with the colors from the Garden Room and the new Co-op signs. There will be cream color on most of the walls, with the red/orange on the new wall in back and the front door. A bright green trim will be used near the front windows and miscellaneous other trim.  We also plan to finish the wall around the basement door (yes, really), and close the space above the deli to the full height of the ceilings.  It will be sooo bright and fresh! 

Obviously this is work that could use many hands to make it happen.  Paint and a list of what to do next will soon be available at the Co-op, if you have some time and feel like pitching in on your own.  There will also be scheduled work parties regularly beginning in May.  What a wonderful way to bring in the Spring!

Again, THANK YOU to all who have helped with ALL of the remodeling so far!  Also, this is YOUR Co-op; if you have opinions about how you want the store to look, let us know before it’s too late!  Speak with the Managers, leave a note in the Suggestion Box, talk with Mary Vaughn at 486-4423, or join the Decorating Committee!  We welcome your input!

Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op Online (it's dial-up friendly :-)

by Greg McGriff

This is a reminder to all that the Co-op has a website at where you can view online versions of the FireStarter newsletter, the deli menu, along with Co-op and other local event and meeting announcements. Refer to the article further down regarding the new Co-op CorkBoards, an electronic version of a traditional corkboard, with ride shares, job opportunities, housing arrangements, goods and services, etc.

Hey, can you help us connect with you online so we can save some trees plus keep our contact timelier? We have been working on updated the membership records to include email addresses and need your help in making sure our information is accurate. This will also allow us to send out emails when the FireStarter is ready, let you know about volunteer opportunities, etc.

Of course, we never want to "spam" you, so choose only the categories you want to see in your inbox. Then add to your address book as you tell us, so Co-op mail doesn't get stuck in your spam filter. Choose:

(privacy policy: your email address will never be sold, given, or otherwise shared with any other group or individual, and your information will never be visible to other recipients in the email itself.)

Thanks for your help! This will make us all be a little Greener and use less paper in printing notices. Remember, there will always be an ‘In-Store’ copy of the FireStarter you can read whenever you visit the Co-op!

Many thanks as usual to Patrice, for all of her work building and maintaining our website. She is also responsible for the website at the Community Cultural Center (see I particularly like the CCC site for the online version of the CCC events calendar. Bookmark both of these sites!

Peter James
Sunstar Computer Services
416 Whitcomb Ave #3, Tonasket
(509) 846-5800
When you need to get it done
I can teach you how--or do it for you!

The Spring Barter Faire Returns

~by Greg McGriff

The Tonasket Barter Faire (officially the Okanogan Family Faire) has been a Fall event in our community for many years. Peter James, Manager for the Barter Faire, informs us that a Spring Barter Faire will also be held this year. He recalls about ten Spring events intermittently over the years, in addition the regular Fall event.

The Spring Barter Faire will be held Friday May 22nd through Sunday May 24th, with admission for vendors at Noon on Thursday May 21st. The Barter Faire, as is the case with many events in our community, is the result of the volunteer energy from our community. Peter estimates that there are about 1000 volunteers on an average year that make the Barter Faires a reality. Our readers have a variety of skills and strengths that can benefit the Barter Faire.

Volunteers are still needed, and Peter can steer volunteers to the right coordinators. For more info, contact Peter James at 509-486-2173 or 846-5800 or at; or check the OFF website at

Peter refers to the barter faires as our own economic stimulus package. Some past barter faires have brought an estimated one million dollars in cash flow to the local economy. The barter faires have had further economic benefits for our community. The Okanogan Family Faire spends money locally with businesses, suppliers, and contractors. Grants and scholarships from Okanogan Family Faire monies provide further stimulus for both organizations and individuals in our community. Peter estimates there have been about $94 thousand in such funds in the last two years.

Alice’s Co-op News

~by Alice Simon, Store Manager

Attention: Local Produce Growers As always the Co-op is interested in showcasing local growers’ products. We are always interested in offering top quality produce. We have a new set of standards and policies for our growers. A copy of the revised Produce Policies is available at the management office. Please come by and pick this up and discuss your projected products with the management.

New Skin Care Products Now in Stock We have introduced Derma-E skin products and will be expanding our lines of other skin/body care items in the month of May. Prevent damage from the sun or help to correct previous damage with these fine products.

Susan Working Towards Masters Degree Susan Coates, our long time cook and deli supervisor will be leaving us at the end of May. Stop in to wish her well as she heads back to school to obtain a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology. We thank Susan for her dedication, enthusiasm, and wonderful cooking! 

Susan will be training her replacement starting on May 12. Sandi Sunda will be joining our staff as our new cook and deli supervisor. She brings many years of experience to the job and we are excited about the possibilities ahead.

Peter James, Ubiquitous Volunteer, Honored by AmeriCorps

~by Greg McGriff (thanks to Alice and Loreen)

Volunteers from various organizations in the community were honored for their work at the recent AmeriCorps Volunteer Dinner. Peter James was selected as the Adult Volunteer of the Year. Peter was nominated by the Co-op. Picking one person was a difficult process as many people have contributed and continue to contribute volunteer energy to the Co-op, but Peter was recommended quite frequently.

Needless to say Peter is certainly deserving of the recognition for all that he does and for his great devotion to the needs of the Co-op. He is a consummate and ubiquitous volunteer throughout our community. Besides his contributions to the Co-op, Peter's other volunteer efforts have included the Okanogan Democrats, the CCC, the Okanogan Neighbors, the Okanogan Family Faire (aka the Tonasket Barter Faire), Green Okanogan and the related GO Recycle project, and the Okanogan Community Consciousness Fund.

Congratulations to you, Peter! Stop by Peter’s office to see his award. The AmeriCorps folks did a very nice job with the event. I am sure most of you know that Peter was a member of AmeriCorps a few years back. The Co-op certainly appreciates all of the many volunteers who do so much for the store and the community. Where would we be without you!???

Second Annual Green Okanogan Conference Successful

~by Loreen (The Recycling Chick) and Greg McGriff

The 2nd Annual Green Okanogan Conference on the weekend of April 18th and 19th at the CCC was well attended, and proved a good indication of the interest in our community for a green approach to living.

Saturday April 18th featured presentations, demonstrations, and discussions of native plants, soil analysis, local food production, permaculture, and recycling. Sunday April 19th featured an EcoHousing Tour of local sites using innovative and environmentally friendly materials and methods. Dosch and Tory, Lisa and Jason, and Sandy and Harris all opened their homes to share their accomplishments with their community.

Green Okanogan and GO Recycle are continuing to work on a recycling center, and hope to update us soon with their progress in that regard. Congratulations to all for your work on this conference!

Scholarship Money Available

~by Greg McGriff

The Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op has scholarship money available for students pursuing their educational goals. Applications are available from Alice Simon, Store Manager. Completed applications are due May 22nd (this due date draws near, so apply soon).

Peter James also wishes to remind readers that the Okanogan Family Faire has yearly scholarship money available. This year’s due date has passed, but students and their families should keep this source in mind for next year. Applications are available through local schools throughout Okanogan County.

A Call to Action ~ Three Additional Board of Directors Needed

~by Loreen M. Felstet

I would like to share a little of what I have learned through my involvement with the co-op including serving on the Board of Directors (BOD). The information is not entirely original, you may recognize the analogy used to use it to illustrate my point….

We have all become so good at being able to pinpoint what is wrong in the world, yet we know all problems are reflections of our actions and behaviors. With so much of our cultural and natural world being destroyed, mutilated and oppressed, everywhere we look we can catalog the issues that urgently need to be addressed and ‘before it is too late’! But every time we point out the damage being done, there are still three fingers pointing right back at us. When we point to what is wrong, we must take responsibility and try to embody and enact what it right.

For me, the digits which point back at me stand for power; responsibility; and love in daily life, community life and global life.

The first finger represents power. We are all powerful beyond our own wildest imaginations. We have been conditioned, numbed and manipulated over time into giving our power away to name brands, corporations, and governmental officials, and that’s just for starters. It’s time we take our power back! We have the power to change to world. Everything we do and say does change the world. Consider this; even our inactions have impact. By continuing to be complacent about my issue with recycling, my inaction would have just as much of an adverse impact as my decision to work toward a solution. Every moment of every day we make choices, and every choice has an impact, + or -; we either move toward the problem or toward the solution.

The second finger stands for responsibility. Because we are beings of tremendous power and energy, we have the responsibility to choose carefully, compassionately, courageously and consciously. We have become addicted to, and transfixed by, our right and freedom to choose. Yet, all the while, we accept less and less of the responsibility for the impact of our decisions and how those decisions ripple out and affect the planet, its people, and our future. Every time we do not take responsibility for our choices, some other person or place is paying the price for it – and that price is high. Compound interest is not just an economic reality; it’s inherent in the equation of life.

The third finger symbolizes love. Why love? Why not! What else would we want to do with our lives than offer them in joyous loving service to the Earth and all of its inhabitants? With love, hatred and anger transform into fierce compassion, struggles and challenges become opportunities for growth and strength. Responsibility transforms from drudgery and necessary evil into a newfound happiness in our ability to respond. The longest-lasting, most positive, and greatest change will always come from a shift in consciousness in the heart.

As we find ourselves pointing to all that is wrong in the world and see the three fingers – power, responsibility, and love – pointing back, we realize they lie in the palms of our own hands. It’s not only that we can make a difference; it’s that we do make a difference, each and every one of us! The best part is the kind of change we make is up to us. Here’s that power again; each and every one of us has the power to heal or to hurt, to be the hero or the destroyer – with every moment, with every choice, with every breath of every day.

My hope in sharing this message is that you will have found the information, inspiration, and connections you need to make your choice to be ‘one’ who joins the Board. That your heart will be open to your courage, compassion, respect, and most important, to the love that lies within your highest self. And that you will step boldly and joyously into the healer and hero that you already are within. I put ‘one’ in quotes so you could also think about turning your hand upwards in the symbol of ‘one’, as in ‘we are all one’; those three fingers still point back at you indicating where power, responsibility and love reside! I would normally prefer to sit at the back of the room and not be noticed. Serving on the TNFC BOD for me was a bold choice to stand up, to learn and grow, share and receive. Thank you for this opportunity to be a part of the Co-op community. My goal has always been toward this ReCycling project when I accepted nomination to serve on the board and complete the remaining year of another member’s term. I am eager to dedicate more time to the GO Recycle Center.

Please consider your choice to be one of the TNFC BODs; it’s your opportunity to take responsibility, and offer your power and love to your co-op. These open positions will be filled as interim until next year’s annual membership meeting. It is your turn now; this is your chance to make a difference!

Common Sense Approach to Virus Fears

~by Julie Greenwood

The FDA and the Natural Products Association have said that dietary supplements are not effective against the Swine Flu. But they say they are not effective against any disease otherwise any supplement would need to be classified as a drug. You can still build your immune system and use common sense to stay healthy. Rely on your own research, eliminating toxins wherever possible and wash your hands frequently. We do not want to get caught up in fears, so positive thoughts will help carry us through.

Community Classifieds Online

~by Patrice

Need a ride somewhere? Have livestock or produce for sale? Want to put out the word on a party? Looking for a used car? Have a washer you want to trade for a dryer? Try the Co-op CorkBoards. They're an online version of the old Tonasket Natural Food Co-op bulletin board, where we've been posting notices with needs and offerings for years. This is a handy solution for those folks who don’t drive into town as much as they log-in online (and for those who get overwhelmed when in town running errands on ‘town day’ and miss half the posters….)

The online ‘cork boards’ are organized by category, from goods to services to gatherings and trying to find people – check them all out. No registration is required to read or post, but anyone can (and should) email the boards about inappropriate messages (spam, profanity, or anything injurious to another will be deleted.) as it's all for folks looking to sell, buy, trade and connect locally. You can find the link to these online classifieds at the bottom of every page here at

Due to increasing processing fees, the Co-op will only accept
credit or debit cards for purchases of $5.00 or more.
Thank you for your continued support.

Green Jobs You Need To Know About

Information collected by the Recycling Chick

Are you interested to know the ‘Seven green jobs to get you through the recession’ as touted by Mother Nature Network, also known as MNN? By the way, MNN is an on-line news source whose Director of Environmental Affairs is Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for the Rolling Stones since 1972.

In addition to being a well-known musical artist, Leavell is an avid environmentalist and the author of Forever Green and The Tree Farmer. He and his wife Rose Lane were named National Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year in 1999 for their management of Charlane Plantation in Macon, Ga. He is a board member of the U.S. Endowment for Forest Communities and he was the keynote speaker at The Presidential Seminar and Fortune Magazine’s Green Summit.

Oh, here are MNN’s Seven green jobs to get you through the recession:

Check it out! Log onto to learn more.

Please tell the cashier if you would like to forego your discount
and contribute to the Operating Fund or give it back to the Improvement Fund.

Plant and Seed Exchange Well Done

~by Greg McGriff

The Okanogan County Plant and Seed Exchange was held Saturday April 25th at the Farmer’s Market site. It was well attended, and many gardeners left with hands full. Skeeter had a large variety of plants including berries, potatoes, and asparagus, to name only a few of my personal purchases. (Skeeter, also known as Michael Pilarski, also has an excellent website at, with a variety of plant, tree, and gardening resources).

Mariah Cornwoman had both her usual abundance of local seeds, as well as some starts. Other vendors had a range of starts for sale, and other community members, including Peggy Tofte, brought many donations from their own gardens.

The Plant and Seed Exchange has been valuable to all of us eager to get our gardens going!

Other Co-op and Community News

~by Greg McGriff

Green Okanogan ~ The Co-op will soon be setting aside an area in the Garden Room for information on Green Okanogan and its activities and projects (see elsewhere in this issue). GO has many ambitious plans for recycling and 'greening' of our Okanogan Highlands, and your support is greatly desired and appreciated. See their website at

Heart of the Highlands Garden Tour ~ Mariah Cornwoman, owner of Heart of the Highlands, has been an excellent resource for all things of a gardening nature, as well as a source for seeds proven to do well in the Okanogan Highlands. Heart of the Highlands seeds are available at the Co-op. Mariah will have a garden tour at her property on June 20th. More details will be available in upcoming issues of the FireStarter.

Community Cultural Center ~ The Community Cultural Center brings Louie Fox, magician and comedian, to Tonasket for a performance on Friday May 8th. An excellent choice of dinner, with selections for both vegetarians and omnivores, will be served at 6:00 PM in the front meeting room. Seating is limited. Mr. Foxx will also hold a magic workshop on Saturday May 9th at 10:00 AM. Check the CCC newsletter (or its online version at for more details (and more the CCC's variety of ongoing events, from dance classes to Tai Chi classes to the Buddhist study group.)

What is Your Group Doing?
The FireStarter is always eager to make our readers aware of events in the community that would be of interest. There is a box at the Co-op for submissions, or feel free to call Greg at 846-5758, or email . Please submit contributions by the 24th of the month for the next month’s issue.

Water News ~ Drink the healthiest water available today

The Co-op has ionized water, which makes it alkaline, available for purchase. Bring in your own containers to fill at a rate of $.75 per gallon, .50 for ½ gallons, and .25 for quarts.

Most tap and bottled water is acid. Alkaline water contains a super abundant supply of powerful antioxidants, up to 6 times more hydrating power than other water, provides a rich source of extra oxygen, plus helps restore your body to its natural pH balance boosting your vitality!

See the in-store display for details and to fill up your containers.


The Co-op News is published as a service to the members of the Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op.
Editing, Typesetting & Layout – Greg McGriff with assistance from Loreen M. Felstet Printing – Sunstar Computer Services. Online version layout by web'trice

Letters and articles are welcome from members. Deadline for articles is the 24th of each month. Please email your submission for consideration to us at .

Views expressed in The FireStarter are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the co-op management, directors, or membership. Acceptance of advertising does not indicate endorsement by the Co-op of the product or service offered.