November 2012

Volume 28, Issue 5

The FireStarter

Co-op News

by Alice Simon, Store Manager

The Co-op’s new heating system is being installed and will be in use this winter; an electric heat pump/ ductless system, installed by Ideal Electric.

The heat pump has been purchased, in part, with proceeds from the Co-op’s recent Benefit Auction. The event grossed $4800, plus a generous donation from Claire Jeffko in Ed Jeffko’s name. Funding also came from the store’s Improvement Fund, which includes a percentage of daily cash register receipts and individual and grant donations among other sources.

The old woodstove, made long ago by Wizard Works, was auctioned off at the Co-op Benefit Auction. Co-op staff member, Melissa Calhoun was the lucky bidder, winning the stove as well as remaining firewood. The old stove, although much loved for its nostalgic place in Co-op history, was actually a liability due to insurance concerns.

In other store news, sales have been steadily rising and Co-op membership is strong and increasing every year. Store managers work hard at keeping store stock fresh, diverse and appealing for our customers. If there is a product that you would like to see the store carry, mention it to either Alice or Julie.

There is now a $5.00 minimum sale when using your debit or credit card for purchases. The cost for processing cards is over $600 per month and now we have no choice but to create this limit. We hope our customers understand!

A selection of various sized TURKEYS has been ordered for the holiday season. We expect the first batch to arrive on November 5th, and the second to come November 12th (Thanskgiving is early this year, Nov 22...whether we can get a third order remains to be seen.) Stop in to fill out the form at counter with the number and weights of birds, and place a deposit of at least $20 per turkey, to reserve yours. No phone reservations, please.

Our second 2013 Calendar order will be placed November 1. If we still don't have the one(s) you want, we will receive a third order in early December, and you can place a special order at the counter.

Action Alert! Sign the petition at the store!

The Natural Products Association NorthWest supports the Washington State initiative--WA I-522--to label Genetically Modified foods.

In early October the NPA NW board of directors made a $10,000 donation to to support this initiative in memory of Craig Winters. In support of this initiative the NPA Northwest also pledged to match donations--up to an additional $10,000--made before October 31 in celebration of Non-GMO Month. On your check add "NPA NW match" to be included in this incentive.

Over 300,000 signatures need to be gathered by December 31, 2012. Help spread the word!

To make a donation and get involved in the WA campaign that supports the consumers' right to know, or for more information on WA I-522 campaign go to:

If not you, who? If not now, when? Join us in this vital campaign!

Co-op at OK Family Faire

faire booth 1
Co-op cashier, Liz Phares, in our Okanogan Family Faire booth.

faire booth 2
“We had a nice presence at the fair”, said store manager, Alice Simon.

faire booth 3
Liz and Volunteers kept the shelves stocked, staffed the 'store' and greeted customers with a smile and warm welcome.

Be Informed on Foods You Eat--GMO Lowdown

The question of whether or not genetically modified foods (GMO's) are safe for human consumption is an ongoing debate that does not seem to see any resolution except in the arena of public opinion. Due to lack of labeling, Americans are still left at a loss as to whether or not what is on the table is genetically modified. This lack of information makes the avoiding and tracking of GM foods an exercise in futility. Below are just some of the food products popularly identified to be genetically modified:

Hot Off the Press: Rats Fed GMO Corn Die Young

What happens when rats are fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto’s GMO corn, or exposed to Monsanto’s top-selling weed killer, Roundup? It’s not pretty. Tumors. Kidney damage. Liver damage. In a study released yesterday – the first-ever long-term study of its kind – French scientists reported that rats fed a diet containing the herbicide-tolerant GM maize, or given water containing Roundup in amounts considered safe in drinking water and GM crops in the US, died sooner than the rats fed just the standard diet.

“Allegedly, there are reports of rice varieties containing human genes to be grown in the US.”

Not Eggsactly Free: ALDF Sues Egg Producers for False Advertising

source--Cornucopia Institute

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ADLF) filed a class-action lawsuit, on Oct. 1, alleging that packaging used for Judy’s Eggs mistakenly leads consumers to believe the eggs come from free-range hens.

The Cornucopia Institute had previously filed a formal legal complaint (pending) with the USDA regarding alleged violations of federal organic regulations by Petaluma Farms and the organic eggs they market as Judy’s Eggs.  They also produce and package eggs for the Organic Valley brand.

"We hope this new legal action will be a wake-up call for the Obama USDA and that they will now aggressively enforce the law, protecting ethical organic farmers from competitive injury and consumers from fraudulent exploitation," said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.

The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group with over 7,000 members, is thought to represent more certified organic farmers, including organic egg producers, than any other nonprofit in the nation.

"We will not tolerate ethical organic family farmers being placed at a competitive disadvantage because they are following the law," affirmed Kastel.

Organic standards state that organic livestock producers must "establish and maintain living conditions which accommodate the health and natural behavior of animals, including year-round access for all animals to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air and direct sunlight suitable to the species”.

Lacking enforcement action by the USDA Cornucopia's organic egg scorecard rates companies that market name-brand and private-label organic "shell" eggs based on 22 criteria that are important to organic consumers.  "The scorecard is designed to create marketplace pressure rewarding the heroes in the organic farming movement and enabling consumers and wholesale buyers to make discerning purchasing decisions in the marketplace,” Kastel added.

Evidence gathered by The Cornucopia Institute, including photos and satellite imagery, indicates that the laying hens at Petaluma's industrial-scale facility are confined indoors to their barns.  The owner of Petaluma, Steve Mahrt, has confirmed in media interviews that his birds are managed in confinement.  Although in conflict with federal law, he's quoted as saying, "What I’m doing is what I think is the safest system for our consumers and for our hens." 

In a similar consumer fraud class action, in early September, Aurora Organic Dairy paid $7.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit regarding fraudulent marketing claims concerning organic milk.  In that matter, during the Bush administration, although the USDA found 14 serious violations of the organic standards, and career civil servants at the agency recommended decertification, political appointees allowed Aurora to continue in business with modifications to their operations and a one-year probation.

"Although lobbyists and campaign contributions can have a discernible impact in Washington they obviously cannot buy off dedicated organic consumers, and their independent lawyers," Kastel lamented.  "With both Aurora and Petaluma we are seeing that there is a higher authority in this country than the USDA—and that's loyal and passionate families that buy organic food."

"We will not tolerate ethical organic family farmers being placed at a competitive disadvantage because they are following the law," affirmed Kastel.

Consumers beware! Products bearing the NPA Natural Seal are not as natural as you think.

The Natural Products Association (NPA) has certified more than 800 personal care products with its NPA Natural Seal--and many of those products contain genetically modified ingredients.

The NPA, whose members include DuPont, Bayer, and BASF--all of whom have contributed millions of dollars to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act--has sided with the biotech industry by publicly opposing Prop 37.

Tell the NPA to put the “natural” back in “natural” and stop deceiving consumers with its NPA Natural Seal on products that contain GMOs!

Co-op Staff “PICKS”

More picks next month :-)

Co-op Board of Directors meets at the Community Cultural Center on the first Tuesday of each month, beginning at 5:30pm

Web Notes

submitted by Patrice, Member and Webmonkey

Reminder: The Co-op's website has an online Classifieds section available to all at no charge. Use this web bulletin board for buying, selling, renting, sharing, and promoting your local events. Feel free to browse at

As of October 29th, 572 People 'Follow Us' on Facebook! You can, too, at


The Co-op News is edited by River Jones and published as a service to the members of the Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op.

Letters and articles are welcome from members. Please email your submission for consideration to us at .

Views expressed in The FireStarter are those of the author(s) 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 produce/ service offered.