October 2013

Volume 29, Issue 8

The FireStarter

Coop Staff Position in Deli/Produce Available

There is an opening at the Co-op for a COMBINATION PRODUCE & DELI STAFF MEMBER.

This position will require focus and attention to detail.

Must be efficient, and have an eye for merchandising.

Reliability, dedication, willingness to learn, being part of the team, and the ability to maintain a positive attitude while working well with others are the qualities we seek.

You must be available Monday-Friday, starting as early as 7am, be over 18 years old, and be able to lift 50 pounds.

The ability to prioritize duties and be pro-active in response to changes in business is required.

You will need excellent customer service skills and a great attitude.

Please apply in person.

Okanogan Family Faire Tickets for Camping and General Vending Available at the Co-op

"Brown paper tickets" for the barterfaire (October 18, 19, 20) are now available at your Co-op--how convenient!

From the OFF Tickets page "Speedier Entry with Pre-Purchased Tickets--Expect a line of vehicles getting tickets on entry...." Read more about Entry Tickets . More details also available at the front counter.

Camping $60.00
General Vending $100.00
(Food Vending tickets can ONLY be obtained through the OFF website Food Vendor's page and NOT at the Co-op.)

Stock up on all of your snacks and supplies at Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op on you way to the Faire and road food on your way back home. We have fresh organic fruits & veggies, great deli food, fresh baked cookies, chocolate, chips, coffee, cheese, and bottled water to satisfy all of your food needs at the Faire and on the road.

A Message from the Board of Directors

A Brief History of the Co-op
In the mid-1970s a man named Steven Berman started a little natural foods store in a little house just across the river from Tonasket.   In 1977 he decided to move on to other things and sold his business to a collective of interested local people. Thus was the birth of the Turning Point Co-op, which was incorporated as a non-profit organization run on a largely volunteer basis by its members.

Soon the store widened its offerings to include books, recycling, a free box, and information on who had what and who needed what. At our first large membership meeting by-laws were adopted and a Board of Directors was elected.   Within months we were several thousand dollars in debt and were asked to find another location for our business.

For a short time the store moved to a little fruit stand north on Highway 7 before hibernating for the winter. In the summer of 1978 we moved into the old laundromat in Ellisforde where we operated for two years. Back debts were paid off and we changed our name to the Okanogan River Co-op.

In the spring of 1980 we moved into our current location, which was then Teed's Pop Shop. Most of the renovation and preparation was done with volunteer labor. Over the next twenty-five years or so the Co-op was a source of many things to many people in the community. There is some truth in saying that it was a "hippie" venture. It moved between being a member involved and supported activity and being a break even business. There were many times when we were behind in our bills, and we had to turn to fundraising or turn to the Barter Faire for sustaining or operating funds. Somehow we made it through.

About five years ago we hired our current manager, Alice Simon. Through her good management, the store has changed markedly into a sustainable and thriving business with new equipment and with hundreds of new members. Over the years the nature of our member­ ship has changed as well. Whereas in years past we had many volunteers, now member volunteering is much more rare. It's not that it's a bad thing, but things have changed.

A Brief History of the Board of Directors
In the past, Boards of Directors of the Co-op have often had to deal with dismal finances--there was often lots of red ink. Board members were expected to put in physical work to help the co-op function. If the roof fell in it often fell in the lap of the Board. Inventory was spearheaded largely by the Board. Yearly fundraising events were organized and worked by the Board.

Things have changed. Over the past five years financial headaches have largely disappeared. Building maintenance and inventory are done increasingly by paid labor, and this year we did not do a yearly fundraiser. Because we are legally a membership co-operative we are required to have a Board of Directors, which is responsible for certain fiduciary matters, hiring and compensating management, keeping the membership informed, and holding a yearly membership meeting.

According to the by-laws we are supposed to have a Board of at least seven members but no more than nine. Currently we have four Board members, not even enough to satisfy our quorum for Board meetings. What to do?

We are going to have our yearly membership meeting on Sunday November 10, in the front room of the CCC. We will provide a good meal and have our meeting where we will look at our finances, elect new Board members, and vote on a proposed by-law change.

Members will have a chance to voice their opinions, ask questions, and enjoy being together with other members. Currently we have two or three members interested in joining the Board. Other nominations can be made at the meeting.  In light of the changing nature of the Co-op and the membership, we may want to discuss the size and function of the Board of Trustees.

Perhaps it should be smaller than 7-9 members. The by-law change we are proposing is to Article Three, Section 4 which currently reads:
A quorum shall be five (5) Board members present at all Board of Trustee meetings.
We want to change this to
A quorum of the Board shall be a simple majority of the current number of Board members.

We really want and need membership input if we are going to continue to be a membership co-operative. We hope you will plan to attend on November 10th.

Thank you,
Rob Thompson, Board of Directors


Sunday, November 10th at the CCC.
• Financial Data Reviewed
• Board Elections
• Proposed By-Laws Changes
• Dinner Served
Watch for notices on more details


October Deli Special

We are always trying new things. Right now we have a yummy whole-grain wrap filled with ham, herb cream cheese, sprouts, lettuce and dill pickles for $6.25 Mmmmm--check it out.

Val’s Famous Potato Salad, Viet Wah spicy Asian noodle salad, or our Tortellini Salad-- all sold by the pound.
(Order in bulk for your next holiday event or family gathering--just give us 48 hours notice)
see ingredients and pricing

Tonasket Campaign – in Dollars and Cents!

-Courtesy of the Tonasket Chamber of Commerce

A dollar spent locally generates $5-$14 in the local economy.

Every purchase triggers purchases by others within a community. For instance, a dollar spent on rent might be spent again by the property owners at the local grocer, who in turn pays an employee, who then buys dinner at a local restaurant. This phenomenon is what economists call “the multiplier”. The more times a dollar circulates within a defined geographic area and the faster it circulates without leaving that area, the more income, wealth and jobs it creates. This basic concept in community economics highlights the importance of maximizing the numbers of dollars being spent locally.

An estimate based on numbers from Civic Economics is that .68 of every dollar spent at a locally owned business stays in the community, while only .43 stays when spent at a chain.

Member Appreciation Day is the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
Members may bulk-order from the UNFI Catalog at 15% above wholesale.

Raffle Winners Announced

The drawing for the Co-op’s Benefit Raffle was held on July 22. Clare Paris drew the tickets.

The winners are: Pat Gauthier--a shoulder bag and earrings; Carol Lanigan--a beautiful bracelet, earrings, and a CD; Su Ianniello--two CDs and a pair of earrings.

Total earnings for the raffle were $91, which went to the store’s Improvement Fund.

We thank all who participated and contributed. Big thanks go to Lei Lotus, the company that makes the beautiful clothing, bags, etc. that the store carries, for donating the prizes.

Look for the SALES throughout the Co-op, displayed with white shelf tags below the items.

Members receive special discounts on these products.

Some are one-time deals, some are monthly sales, and others are introductory promotions.
Price tags show member prices and non-member prices, with the sales being for our Co-op Members only.

How About A Little Dose of POLITICS With Your Food?

CORNUCOPIA, WI:  Proposition I-522, a citizen’s initiative on the ballot on November 5 in Washington state, would mandate clear labeling of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients on food packages. It has become the latest battleground pitting consumer and farmer advocates against multi-billion-dollar agribusiness corporations. Recent polling indicates strong support for the Washington state informational labeling measure. But a flood of money to fight the ballot initiative has rolled in from Monsanto, DuPont, and other biotechnol­ogy interests and food manufacturers, now totaling over $11 million, according to Washington state election records.

“Consumers might be surprised to find out that some of their favorite organic and natural brands, hiding behind their lobbyist, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), are contributing bushel baskets of cash towards thwarting the consumer’s right to know what is in their food in Washington,” says Mark Kastel, Co-director of The Cornucopia Institute.

Cornucopia has released an infographic designed to inform consumers and let them make purchasing decisions reflecting their values. Many organic and natural food manufacturers are financially supporting the GMO labeling effort. They and other proponents are identified in Cornucopia’s infographic along with the biotech and agribusiness concerns fighting the labeling effort.

Last year, a similar GMO labeling measure was narrowly defeated in California, with Monsanto and its allies pouring more than $46 million into their campaign and outspending labeling supporters by five to one. Many prominent organic and natural brands were ousted in California by Cornucopia for their opposition to GMO food labeling.

Just recently, the powerful Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) publicly scrubbed its website of its members, a move thought by many to be an effort to mask which corporations/brands helped underwrite the $2.2 million already donated by the GMA against I-522. They haven’t, however, been able to remove this web archive detailing their membership.

“They are obviously trying to hide their membership,” says Trudy Bialic, Director of Public Affairs for PCC Natural Markets, a Seattle-based, member-owned grocery cooperative. PCC has been working on GMO issues since 1994 when rBGH--a genetically engineered growth hormone for dairy cattle--was a contentious issue.

Assessing the dollars fueling both campaigns, Bialic observes that “not one individual is listed as a contributor on the ‘No’ side, while the ‘Yes’ side is being funded by thou­ sands of individuals.” PCC itself has contributed $198,344 in support of I-522.

GMA spokesman Brain Kennedy told Politico, a Washington, DC publication covering politics, that “GMA fully supports the No on 522 Campaign in Washington State, and will continue to support the campaign’s effort to defeat this costly, confusing and unnecessary proposal.”

Mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food at the state level is viewed as a watershed event by many industry observers, given the inaction on the popular proposal at the federal level. Monsanto, its biotech allies, and GMA in particular, have been credited for bottlenecking the federal labeling law.

“Just as we’ve observed in Europe, where labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is mandatory, we fully expect that, when given a choice, consumers will choose organic or non-GMO products,” said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia. “And the industrial food lobby is fully cognizant of this--that’s why they’re fighting like hell against this grassroots effort.”

One leading organic manufacturer that has been actively promoting and funding a “yes on I-522″ vote is Nutiva. “We support I-522 because everyone has a right to know what’s in our food,” says John W Roulac, Nutiva’s Founder and CEO. Roulac has been working hard to convince other corpo­ rate executives to step up as well. He has committed Nutiva to donating $75,000.

Other prominent commercial backers of state citizen initiatives, viewed as heroes in the organic movement, include Nature’s Path, the prominent cereal manufacturer, and the soap manufacturer, Dr. Bronner’s. Additional organizations throwing their financial weight behind the consumer’s right to know include the health website Mercola.com and the Organic Consumers Association.

The biggest single donor to the “No” campaign is Monsanto. The biotech giant has contributed $4.8 million--an amount greater than all of the funds collected by the right-to-know forces.

“Consumers are increasingly interested in ‘voting with their forks,’ and many want to support companies that share their values,” notes Jason Cole, a researcher for Cornucopia who compiled the data for the infographic. “We know that many organic and ‘natural’ brands, owned by corporate agribusiness, fought the California food labeling effort. We believe, until it is shown otherwise, that many of these same companies are likely clandestinely supporting a defeat of the Washington state effort by funneling their dollars through the Grocery Manufacturers Association.


Field Roast Vegan Frankfurters--a Seattle company. Top with
Amy's Vegan Chili, 'Uncheesy' Sauce, & grilled onions for a yummy vegan dinner!
Hempler Uncured Beef Franks
Buddy Bear - children's laxative from Renew Life
Prenatal Multiple Vitamins from Nature's Life
Hylands Homeopathic Allergy Relief
Caleb Treeze Organic Farm Old Tyme Amish Remedies (liquid form)--may help with leg & foot cramps, and with acid reflux.

Rob Thompson on The Air We Breathe

I love wood heat--nothing like getting up against the stove and feeling real, high quality heat. For all the nostalgic, emotional, tradition-bound qualities of wood heat, there are some real down sides which are worth considering.

Most everyone knows the smell of a slow burning wood stove. It smells bad--acrid, even poisonous. Older stoves are particularly bad if they get "choked down," and wood smoke is particularly bad if there is an air inversion.

We've made a great change at the Co-op this year, as we have switched from the old basement wood stove to a high qual­ity, energy efficient heat pump.

  First, the downside: total cost of our new system was nearly $20,000, which was paid for out of our Improvement Fund, a generous Barter Faire grant, and fundraising; and our electricity usage will increase.  

Oh, but the upside. The heat pump can be used for cooling in the summer.  No more moldy smell from the swamp cooler and no more product damaging leaks. No more begging or buying wood for the stove. No more dumping cord after dirty cord down the chute into the basement. No more the staff having to build a fire or remember to check and load the stove. No more cleaning out the ashes--oh the dirt, oh the dust, oh the backaches. No more!   And no more driving by the Co-op and seeing our heat stove add its putrid plume of smoke into the air we breathe.

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


This edition of the Co-op News was 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.

Co-op Board of Directors:
Rob Thompson, Chair, Treasurer
Jere Gillespie, Secretary
Aaron Kester
Cassandra Schuler