March/Spring 2014

Volume 30, Issue 2

Coming Up At The Co-op

With spring right around the corner, your Co-op is gearing up for the upcoming season with several undertakings in the works.

For starters, Heart of the Highlands seeds, will be available at the store throughout the planting season, usually through late spring. The local company uses and produces only heirloom and open pollinated seeds – no hybrids or GMOs. Seeds are grown using organic practices, hand collected and hand processed. Even seed packets are compostable! Proprietor Mariah Cornwoman will have old favorites and interesting new seed choices on the display this year. As always in nature there have been some crop failures so some usual seeds may be missing this year, but new offerings will take their place.

We are also gearing up for a little building upgrade project, which should render a big improvement to the store’s energy efficiency. The plan is to install new front windows and outside awnings. We are in the process of obtaining bids from local construction companies, and the work is slated to be completed before fall. Double paned windows will keep us warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The awnings will protect us from the product damage we experience every year when that wonderful Okanogan sunshine pours into our windows. Fading labels, bleached out products such as candles and clothing, melting soaps and chocolate are all casualties that cost the store unnecessarily. We are looking at retractable awnings so that we can have all the available light on cloudy days and during the winter months.

The little gazebo garden area will soon begin to need tending. Our devoted garden maven, Jessica McNamara, has been diligently working in the space for nearly two decades and would love to have some assistance. It is a well-established garden and mostly needs weeding and watering. The potential volunteer could learn a lot from Jessica’s expertise and help alleviate some of the burden. Any interested parties should talk to store managers Alice Simon or Julie Greenwood. This is a volunteer position that could result in a store discount during the working months.

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

“The Okanogan Community Consciousness Fund is a revolving loan fund that depends on repayments to loan money to others.”

A Note from Okanogan Community Consciousness Fund

~submitted by Julie Greenwood

Okanogan Community Consciousness Fund (OCCF)
Annual Membership Meeting
Tuesday, February 25th, 6:00pm, 118 Yarnell Road, Tonasket
Anyone May Attend

Members Of The Tonasket Natural Foods Co-op Or OCCF Loan Recipients In Good Standing May Be A Member And Is Eligible To Be On The Loan Committee Call 486-2064 or 486-1045 For Information.

The Okanogan Community Consciousness Fund is a revolving loan fund that depends on repayments to loan money to others. The original money for OCCF came from an elderly Co-op member named Roger Lorenz, who refused to pay taxes to the government for war. He wanted the money to go instead to his community in the form of small loans to conscious businesses that were for the community good.

The first loan was to the Okanogan River Natural Foods Co-op to purchase the present building and land. The Co-op has utilized the loan fund several times to help make improvements. The Fund had doubled in value in 20 years. It started at $27,000, now it is $52,752.

The total loans as of February 2013 – 167 loans for $217,506.87. The Accounts Receivable is now about $38,000 (which includes interest); a large portion of that amount is not being repaid.

In poor countries like Bangladesh, where micro loans help very poor people, the loans are almost always repaid. The community knows of these loans and the borrowers would lose complete respect in the community if they did not repay their loan.

Our loans have done fairly well and most have been repaid. Occasionally a borrower has faced financial difficulties and we have worked with them when they stayed in contact with their loan officer.

However, we have some people who are not paying their loans and will not make arrangements to work with us. That is not in keeping with the conscious intent of this fund.

To those with an outstanding loan: please consider seriously the commitment you made to your community when you received your loan. This fund is a precious, limited, Community Resource. It is extremely important to fulfill your commitment to pay back this loan. This will enable others to utilize this fund.

Payments, inquiries, and donations can be made to OCCF, P0 Box 267, Tonasket, WA 98855. For more information, please attend the membership meeting on February 25th.

FDA Expands Irradiation Uses for Meat and Poultry

source: Cornucopia Institute

Producers who use ionized radiation to kill pathogens in meat and poultry now have expanded options, thanks to two rules published by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last fall.

The FDA’s first rule allows for the irradiation of unrefrigerated raw meat. Previously, only refrigerated or frozen meats could be irradiated. The second rule ups the dose of absorbed ionizing radiation in poultry from 3.0 kilogray (kGy) to 4.5 kGy. While this higher dose is already allowed in meat and molluscan shellfish, the limit had remained at 3.0 kGy for poultry until now.

The two rules were issued in response to two petitions filed in 1999 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The FDA says that since that time, it has received many comments from consumer advocacy groups requesting the denial of both petitions. However, these comments “were of a general nature” and “did not contain any substantive information that could be used in a safety evaluation,” said the FDA.

Irradiation exposes food to high doses of ionizing radiation to kill bacteria. In the process it depletes vitamins and nutrients and causes the creation of known toxins and new chemicals. Research has shown health problems in lab animals fed irradiated food, including genetic damage and cancer.

The use of irradiation is prohibited in organic food production.

Please note: the next issue of The Firestarter will be coming out in May of 2014. Watch for it online and at the Co-op!

Healthy Tidbits

White House Urged to Require Labels on Genetically Engineered Foods
Source: Natural products INSIDER
More than 200 businesses and organizations have urged President Barack Obama to require food companies to disclose GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on labels. The businesses and groups referenced a 2007 speech from the Illinois senator-turned-president that pledged he would grant consumers the right to know if GMOs are present in their food.

Natural Products Day 2014 Raises Industry Voice on Capitol Hill
Source: Natural Products Association
High-profile members of Congress will speak and be honored during Natural Products Day 2014 hosted by the Natural Products Association (NPA), the nation’s leading nonprofit trade organization representing the entire natural products industry. The 17th annual advocacy day for natural products held April 8 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., provides all NPA members and industry stakeholders with the opportunity to meet with members of Congress.

USDA Email Reveals Poultry Industry Plans to Monitor Pathogens
Source: Food Safety News
U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors should not interfere with poultry industry efforts to collect chicken samples from processing facilities for a program intended to set pathogen reduction goals, according to an internal email from an administrator within the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Study Shows Vitamin D May Slow Multiple Sclerosis
Source: HealthDay via WebMD
Vitamin D may slow the progression of multiple sclerosis and also reduce harmful brain activity, a new study suggests. Correcting vitamin D deficiency early in the course of the disease is important, according to the report, published online in JAMA Neurology.

Vitamin E Beneficial to Asthmatics, Alzheimer's Patients
Source: Whole Foods Magazine
Two recent studies have shown vitamin E may be effective against oxidative stress, allergic asthma and functional decline in those with Alzheimer's disease. The first study, published in Allergy, the official journal of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, set out to see if natural-source vitamin E could reduce allergic asthma.

Virgin Olive Oil Greatly Reduces Risk of Circulation Problems in the Limbs
Source: Basque Research
Spanish researchers, led by Dr. Miguel Ruiz-Canela and Professor Miguel A. Martínez-González from the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Navarra, have carried out the first clinical trial that demonstrates that dietary intervention can reduce the risk of peripheral arteriopathy.

Ingredients in Chocolate, Tea, Berries Could Guard Against Diabetes
Source: ScienceDaily
Eating high levels of flavonoids including anthocyanins and other compounds (found in berries, tea, and chocolate) could offer protection from type 2 diabetes — according to research from the University of East Anglia and King's College London. Findings published today in the Journal of Nutrition reveal that high intakes of these dietary compounds are associated with lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation.

Remember to 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.

New Biotech GMO Apple Could Be Approved in US Soon

source: Food Democracy Now!

A Canadian firm has created a new GMO apple, using a new “gene silencing” technique that could interfere with the expression of genes in humans, even silencing vital human genes, potentially causing serious health problems.

Right now, the Obama administration is considering the approval of the world’s first genetically engineered apple, known as the ArcticApple®, which has been engineered to silence the natural browning enzyme that may help apples fight disease and pests.

Currently, the Canadian firm, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, is hoping its GMO apple will be approved for Golden Delicious and Granny Smith varieties, despite the fact that it faces opposition from consumers, apple growers and some of the nation’s leading apple growing associations.

Apple growers fear the real likelihood that approving an unlabeled GMO apple will be the elimination of foreign exports and consumer rejection in the U.S., and that organic and conventional apple orchards will face genetic contamination from Okanagan’s GMO Arctic apple pollen, which will be difficult, if not impossible to control.

Apple growers in Canada are so concerned about consumer rejection and genetic contamination they’re calling for a moratorium.

 “There is potential market damage caused to apple markets if this GM apple is approved. Indeed, it seems the damage is occurring even while the apple is in the regulatory process and a decision on its approval is still pending,” said Jeet Dukhia, BCFGA president and a Vernon grower.“The public thinks of apples as a pure, natural, healthy and nutritional fruit. GM apples are a risk to our market image.”

Even the apple industry across the U.S. opposes the GMO apple, with the U.S. Apple Association, the Washington State Horticul­tural Association, the Washington Apple Commission and the Northwest Horticultural Council all weighing in against its approval.

Unlabeled and unregulated...

If approved, this new GMO apple will appear on shelves as early as the end of 2014 and will be unlabeled and unregulated, since the agency responsible for its approval, the USDA, is not required to look into the health impacts of this new technology, but rather the possibility that the new genetically engineered fruit simply poses a “plant pest risk” for other crops.

According to Chemical & Engineering News, “no [genetically engineered] crop has ever been denied deregulation”, but we need your help today to let the Obama administration know that you won’t accept GMO apples on the market.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits is also working on getting GMO cherries, peaches and pears onto the market if the USDA approves their new GMO apples.

Even worse than the silly cosmetic artificial genetic alteration of the GMO apple, is the new genetic engineering technique, known as RNA interference (RNAi), which has undergone no rigorous safety assessments and has scientists concerned about serious unpredictable environmental and human health food safety risks. Recent scientific studies have shown that double stranded RNA (dsRNA) used in RNA can remain intact through the digestive process, enter the bloodstream and cells and effect gene expression in ways that have not been thoroughly investigated.

WEB UPDATE: While some of this info was from January and the FDA comment period closed Jan 30th, FDA approval has not yet been given (see this March 8th article) and people are still signing petitions.
Sign DFN's Petition against GMO Apples

You can also sign's

And see all current food-related actions at Food Democracy Now!

Co-op Board of Directors meets on the THIRD MONDAY of each month, at 5:30 pm in the North Valley Hospital Board Room in Tonasket, at 126 S Whitcomb, in the Administration Building. (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:
Steve 'Sundog' Lanigan, Chair
Cassandra Schuler, Vice Chair
Rob Thompson, Treasurer
Ron Jones-Edwards, Secretary
Jere Gillespie
Peter James
Aaron Kester