Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released their 2023 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list. EWG is a non-profit organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants, and corporate accountability.
Since 2004, EWG has released a Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list of the most and least pesticide-contaminated non-organic fresh fruits and vegetables, respectively, based on the latest tests by the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.
Pesticides are toxic by design
Although they’re intended to kill pests such as fungi, insects, and plants, many pesticides are also linked to serious human health issues, including hormone disruption, brain and nervous system toxicity, and cancer.
Many pesticides are still legal for use in the U.S. but have been banned in the EU because of the science showing threats to human health and wildlife. Four toxic neonicotinoids – imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin and dinotefuran – remain legal for use here, even though the EPA has acknowledged their danger to insects like honeybees.
For their 2023 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, the EWG used data that tested over 46,569 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables, covering 251 different pesticides.
The goal of these lists is to educate consumers so they can make the best decisions for their families while navigating the produce sections of their grocery stores.
Dirty Dozen List
These conventional fruits and vegetables were tested and found high traces of pesticides. It is recommended to get these fruits and veggies organic, whenever possible.
3. Kale, Collards, & Mustard Greens
12. Green Beans
These conventional fruits and vegetables were tested and this year, almost 65% of Clean Fifteen samples had no detectable pesticide residues. If purchasing organic produce is not an option, these are the safest recommended conventional produce.
2. Sweet Corn
6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
8. Honeydew Melons
13. Sweet Potatoes
Let’s be clear though..
Organic foods may still have small amounts of chemical residue, mainly due to contamination from nearby conventional farms, as well as having trace amounts of organic pesticides. Most organic pesticides are not synthetic and are derived from natural sources, such as minerals, plants, and bacteria. One of the best ways to know exactly how the produce you are consuming is grown, is to do some research on the farm which the produce is coming from. Or, if it is a local farm, you might have the opportunity to talk to the farmers directly and be told exactly what their farming practices are.
Below are two natural fruit and veggie washes that you can use on your organic and/or conventional produce.
Fruit and Veggie Wash
What You’ll Need
- Spray Bottle
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 1 Cup White Vinegar
- 4 Cups of Water
- 1 Tbsp of Lemon Juice
- Gentle Scrub Brush
- Paper Towels
1. Make your solution: To clean most fruits and vegetables, mix a solution of the cup vinegar and water inside your spray bottle, then add a tablespoon of lemon juice. Shake well to combine.
2. Place your fruit or vegetable in a colander in the sink. Spray it liberally with the mixture, then let it sit for two to five minutes.
3. Rinse off the mixture thoroughly with cool water, using a vegetable scrub brush on thicker-skinned produce.
4. Pat dry with paper towels.
Veggie Wash for Leafy Greens*
What You’ll Need
- Glass or metal Bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 1 cup White Vinegar
- 4 Cups of Water
- 1 tbsp Salt
- colander or salad spinner
- Paper Towels
1. Make your solution: Fill the bowl with the solution of vinegar and water, then add the salt.
2. Let the greens sit in the solution for two to five minutes, then remove.
3. Rinse off the mixture thoroughly with cold water either in a colander or the basket of a salad spinner.
4. Dry the greens with paper towels or give them in a run through a salad spinner.
* It’s recommended to do this right before you eat the greens, since any excess moisture can lead to decay in the fridge.
The Dfc PRoduce Department
At the Davis Food Co-op, you can be assured that the produce you purchase is either Certified Organic or Certified Naturally Grown*. We do not carry conventional produce, as we believe in supporting sustainable farming practices that prioritize the health of our planet and its inhabitants.
*Certified Naturally Grown is a US-based farm assurance program certifying produce, livestock, and apiaries for organic producers who sell locally and directly to their customers. CNG farmers must commit to not using synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, or genetically modified organisms.
All of our local farms are held to the same standards, and the Produce Department takes the time to visit them in person to witness their sustainable practices in action. By doing so, our Produce Department is able to develop a deep understanding of the produce we sell and answer any questions our customers may have to the best of their abilities.
We believe in providing high-quality, responsibly sourced produce to our community, and we take pride in supporting local farms and promoting sustainable agriculture.
Did you Know that March 22nd is
World Water Day?
Nearly 60% of our bodies and around 70% of our planet are water. As a necessity for life on our planet, it should go without saying that water is pretty important. And yet, many of us are unaware of the fragility of our water systems and some of the global issues surrounding water, and access to it.
World Water Day is an annual event held on March 22nd that raises awareness about the importance of freshwater and the need to manage it sustainably. The event was established by the United Nations in 1993 and has been recognized every year since. Each year a theme is selected as an area of focus to bring attention to a particular issue in the world of water. The theme for World Water Day in 2023 is to strive towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. Unfortunately, according to the UN, this is a goal that we are collectively far behind on.
Global Water Sanitation
The hard reality is that the availability of freshwater is becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world. According to the United Nations, over 2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and by 2025, half of the world’s population could be living in water-stressed areas. This makes World Water Day an important opportunity to focus attention on the urgent need to protect and conserve our freshwater resources.
While it is important for us to continue putting pressure on our world leaders to take steps towards creating a world with clean water for everyone, we must also focus on the small day-to-day tasks that we can do to promote the practice of ensuring clean water and sanitation for all.
This checklist was created in conjunction with the Water Action Plan as easy to implement to-dos for people across the world. You can see how others are taking more direct action on their Be the Change site here.
How about here at home?
Yolo County and Central California are both heavily reliant on water for agriculture, with the Central Valley being one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. However, our region is also facing significant challenges related to water scarcity and water quality. Groundwater overdraft, recent droughts, and contamination from agricultural runoff are just some of the issues that are affecting our region’s water resources.
An immediate way that the Co-op can help combat these issues is by the continued sourcing of products from local, organic and sustainable producers, which can help to support more responsible water use and quality practices. However, by understanding the impacts of water use in agriculture and other sectors nearby, we can all can make more informed choices and help to promote sustainable water management practices in our communities. We can also support advocacy efforts aimed at protecting and conserving freshwater resources locally and beyond.
While recent rainfall to start 2023 feels promising in alleviating some of the drought-related stress surrounding our water supply, it is important to continue water conservation efforts and stay up-to-date with information on the state of our water directly from Yolo County.
The importance of clean water and the issues surrounding its access cannot be overstated and are far from covered comprehensively in this short blog. For more information, we encourage you to visit the UN’s dedicated page to World Water Day here
Black people became the fastest growing vegan demographic in the country in 2022. It’s no wonder then that Black vegan chefs are expanding the boundaries of both Black and vegan cuisine in the US, with aims to practice a veganism that uplifts people and planet.
Veganism as environmental justice as racial justice
Let’s explore some of the reasons why Black folks and Black chefs are turning to veganism.
But first, let’s talk about intersectionality. Intersectionality is a relatively new concept in Western thought and describes “the ways in which systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, class and other forms of discrimination ‘intersect’ to create unique dynamics and effects.”
For example, Black Americans are more likely to live in food deserts than white Americans. Is race the sole determining factor? Most certainly not. We know that food deserts are also more likely in communities with small populations, lower incomes, low levels of education, and higher rates of unemployment. Using the intersectional approach, we can see then that race, socio-economic status, education level, and other dimensions of identity overlap here to create and sustain a system in which certain folks seriously lack access to healthy, fresh, and affordable foods.
So, veganism, environmental justice and racial justice…intersect? Yes they do! Let’s look at exactly how. Take one common reason for going vegan: reducing cruelty and harm to animals. You’ve done away with meat, dairy, eggs, honey, cheese and you’re filling your shopping cart with so many vegetables. Before you check out, consider: Was the Latinx farmworker who harvested your food paid a fair wage? Do they work in safe conditions? Does the farmer own the DNA inside the seeds they plant or does a chemical company? Were the fields sprayed with pesticides that will end up in our rivers and oceans? If you don’t know, can you really say your veganism reduces cruelty?
While there are many individual health benefits to eating more plants, going vegan is also an opportunity to engage more deeply with the social, political and environmental sides of what we eat. For the Black community, which is disproportionately affected by climate change and health conditions associated with racism, many see veganism as an opportunity to fight against these inequalities.
We should also mention that communities in Asia, Latin America, and Africa have been “eating vegan” – plant-based – for thousands of years. Trendy vegan foods like quinoa and sweet potatoes made popular by wealthy, white social media influencers have been staple crops for millions across recorded time. In fact, these days non-white Americans are more likely to be vegetarian or vegan than white Americans.
Okay, now let’s meet some of the Black vegan chefs changing the game.
Tracye McQuirter earned her Masters in Public Health from NYU and has over 36 years of experience eating and cooking vegan. She directed the first federally funded, community-based vegan nutrition program; co-created the first vegan-themed website specifically for Black Americans; launched the first Black American vegan starter guide; wrote two vegan how-to/recipe books; and previously served as a nutrition advisor for Black Women’s Health Imperative. Purchase her cookbooks and guides here.
Aisha “Pinky” Cole
Aisha Cole is the brilliance behind Atlanta’s Slutty Vegan restaurant which regularly attracts an hour-long line of folks dreaming of her incredible vegan burgers at accessible prices. She opened the first Slutty Vegan in the majority Black neighborhood of West End, where there were previously zero plant based options. When Cole isn’t running multiple locations throughout Georgia or hosting Slutty Vegan pop-ups around the country, she’s donating funds to help local college students pay off their debts and stay in school.
Yes, Bryant Terry is a big deal. He’s won a James Beard Award and Fast Company named him one of 9 People Who Are Changing the Future of Food. He has also worked as Chef-in-Residence at San Francisco’s Museum of African Diaspora, authored best-selling cookbooks, and founded 4 Color Books, an imprint creating visually stunning books with BIPOC chefs and writers. In other words, he’s a fierce food justice advocate.
The United Nations declared 2023 the International Year of Millets, which got us pretty excited about this little grain. There are a number of reasons why the United Nations is shining a spotlight on this little-known nutri-cereal including millets’ suitability for cultivation under adverse and changing climate conditions.
Wait, what is millet?
Millets are a group of grains referred to as “nutri-cereals” because of their high nutrition content compared to more common cereal grains like wheat, rice and corn. Millets are a genetically diverse group including pearl, proso, foxtail, barnyard, little, kodo, browntop, finger and Guinea millets as well as fonio, sorghum (or great millet) and teff. Millets were some of the first plants to be domesticated and serve as a staple crop for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to this day. These grains can grow in poor soil with few inputs, are resistant to many crop diseases and pests, and can survive harsh climatic conditions. So far, everything is coming up millets!
Millet is a nutritional powerhouse
- Gluten free
- Low Glycemic Index
- Good source of fiber and protein
- Excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, phosphorus, potassium, antioxidants, niacin, calcium and iron
More Reasons to Love Millets
- Adaptable to different production environments, without high fertilizer or pesticide needs
- Deeply tied to ancestral traditions, cultures and Indigenous knowledge
- Good for animal health as feed
- Diverse in taste and applications in the kitchen (recipes follow)
- Quick cooking time
- A source of income for marginal production areas in rural, urban, regional and
You can read more about the International Year of the Millets here.
Find millet products including whole grain millet and millet flour on Co-op shelves year round! Not sure what to do with it? You can swap it out for rice or quinoa in most recipes. I like to toast it and add it to granola, chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods. Check out some of our favorite recipes below.
Perfect Stovetop Millet
- 1 cup whole grain millet
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
Rinse millet under cold running water for about 30 seconds. Add to a pot with 2 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat but DO NOT remove the lid. Set a time for 10 more minutes for the millet to steam. When the timer goes off, remove lid and fluff with a fork.
Vegan Millet Pancakes
- 1 cup millet flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
- ½ cup nondairy milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- vegan butter
- For serving: maple syrup, fresh or stewed berries, peanut butter, toasted coconut, banana slices, etc.
Combine millet flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk and vanilla. Add the dry to the wet and whisk until no lumps remain.
Heat vegan butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. You can do more than one at a time, but don’t crowd the pan. Reduce heat and cook until you see bubbles coming to the pancake’s surface and the bottom is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook another 2-4 minutes. Keep pancakes warm in a 180 degree F oven until ready to serve then top with your favorite things!
Maple Pecan Breakfast Bowl
- 1 cup cooked millet
- roasted pumpkin or squash
- maple pecans*
- ground flaxseeds
- pumpkin seeds
- hemp seeds
- ground cinnamon
- maple syrup
- ½ cup warmed milk of choice
*To make maple pecans preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss raw pecans with a little maple syrup, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool at room temperature before eating or using in a recipe. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Heat milk over low heat until steaming (hot but not boiling). Add cooked millet to a bowl. Top with roasted pumpkin, maple pecans, seeds, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup. Finish by pouring warmed milk over everything.
Spiced Millet and Dried Apricot Salad
- ½ cup uncooked millet (or 2 cups cooked millet)
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup pistachios, chopped
- 6 dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
- ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons walnut oil (or EVOO)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon ras el hanout seasoning blend
- ¼ teaspoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- a grind of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Rinse millet in a strainer until the water runs clear. Add to a small pan with 1 cup of clean water and a pinch of salt, put the lid on, bring to the boil and turn the heat right down to low. Leave the millet simmering for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Remove from the heat but do not remove the lid. Set a time for 10 more minutes for the millet to steam. When the timer goes off, remove lid and fluff with a fork. Cool at room temperature for about an hour or in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Sweet Potato and Millet Falafel
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed*
- ½ cup red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup cooked millet, at room temperature
- Avocado or grapeseed oil for frying
*Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cube 1 medium sweet potato (no need to peel – lots of nutrients in the skin) and toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly then mash with a fork.
Place the chickpeas, sweet potato, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, coriander, salt, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper into the bowl of a food processor and pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until all of the ingredients are uniform in size, but still slightly grainy in texture. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and fold in the cooked millet. Roll 2-3 tablespoons of the falafel mixture into a small patty with your hands. Repeat with the rest of the falafel mixture placing the uncooked falafel on a large plate or baking sheet until ready to cook.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of frying oil in the skillet and swirl to coat. Place the patties in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until crispy and brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil and sprinkle with salt.
A 2022 study finds fair trade farmers experience increased economic resilience, social wellbeing, environmental sustainability and governance of their cooperatives, particularly in times of global crisis.
The Fairtrade System uses 2 price mechanisms, the minimum price and the premium, to ensure farmers earn a reliable and, well, fair income. These price mechanisms represent a safety net not only for the farmers who grow the food, but for their co-ops and communities more broadly. From 2012 to 2022 Fairtrade farmers experienced increased earnings, the ability to withstand periods of financial instability and boosted savings. In the case of Fairtrade certified La Florida cooperative in Peru, farmers reported incomes 50% higher than those of non-Fairtrade farmers.
The study also found Fairtrade cooperatives enjoy
more democratic decision-making
increased gender equality
improved workplace health and safety
80% of the world’s food comes from 608 million family farms, with one third of those farming less than 5 acres of land. Not surpisingly, the overlapping global crises of recent years have hit smallholder farms in Global South countries the hardest. With pressure from consumers to keep prices low in the United States, costs are often passed back to small farmers and the land itself. Renato Alvarado, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock in Costa Rica, explains, “producers bear the production costs on our shoulders and the profits remain in the hands of others.”
Carmen is a member of the CONACADO cooperative, and by joining the Fairtrade certified co-op, she has been able to tap into their collective bargaining power when it comes to pricing. Through the co-op, she has secured a better price for her cocoa making it possible to achieve her goals of scaling production and diversifying her crops. And for Carmen, cocoa isn’t just about her own business. It’s about the community working and thriving together. Shoppers in the US are directly participating in this community by purchasing products made with ingredients from Fairtrade certified farms like Carmen’s.
The findings of this study underscore our continued commitment to carrying and promoting as many fair trade products as possible at the Co-op. Purchasing fair trade products at the Davis Food Co-op not only helps support our store and local economy, but ensures that we are also being good global stewards by supporting the fair treatment of small farmers and producers worldwide.
Find gifts for everyone on your list at the Co-op! Check out our ideas for budget-friendly gifting or go for a sure thing: a Co-op gift card! You can purchase in store or online here.
Salt Crystal Tea Light Holder $6.49
Aside from glowing in stunning sunset hues, salt lamps release negatine ions into the air which studies show may help lessen anxiety and stress.
Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Foam Bath 2/$5 thru 12/13 (reg. $3.99 ea)
Instant Plant Food $8.99 for 2 tablets
The perfect gift for plant parents, green thumb not necessary.
Rishi Teas $8.99
Delicious? Check. Beautiful packaging? Check! Tea is a great gift to pair with a mug or insulated tumbler. To keep costs down, choose a tea on sale!
Assorted Enamel Pins $9.99 and Assorted Stickers $3.99
Mini Calendars $7.99
Pocket Sized Decomposition Book $5.99
House Plants $17.99+
We have a good variety of house plants in the store, including easy to grow ZZ plants and succulents and this stunning rattlesnake calathea.
Maggie’s Organic Socks $9.99+
Maggie’s Organic Socks are the BEST. And there’s something for everyone: urban hiker socks, mountain hiker socks, hand-dyed rainbow socks, extra thick cozy socks, etc.
Aura Cacia Essential Oil Kits $12.49 thru 12/13 (reg. $19.99)
Pachamama Coffee Beans $15.99
Bonus: Pachamama’s new packaging is compostable!
Assorted Books $15.99+
Fat and the Moon Bath Soak $18.99
Herbalist crafted, small batch skincare made in Grass Valley, CA.
Assorted Puzzles $18.99
We have tons of puzzles from 400 to 1000 pieces.
Truffle Honey $14.99
For the gourmand in your life~
Silicone Baking Mat $13.99
This is perfect for the person on your list who loves to bake or for the person trying to go zero-waste.
Felted Wool Animal Kits $19.99
For the crafty person in your life. Or for the person who wants to get crafty – these kits are pretty easy to do! We have a variety of animals to choose from.
Assorted Calendars $14.99
Teaching Kitchen Cooking Class $30-45
Gift someone on your list a cooking classes from the Davis Food Co-op. Our classes are highly rated and often sell out weeks in advance. Get info and buy tickets here!
Crystal Witch Earrings $39.99
Made by local artist and Co-op Owner Jen of Davis, CA.
Essential Oil Diffuser $33.99
Get this for the person on your list who loves making their home/space luxurious and cozy or for someone who works from home to make their space better. If you have the budget, get an essential oil to go with the diffuser. Peppermint is a festive pick!
Fair Trade Headband $23.99
Gift warmth and cuteness with these fairly traded headbands.
Faux-sherpa lined for coziness with hard soles for indoor and outdoor wear!
Prickly Pear Body Whip $27.99
Made locally with ethically sourced ingredients!
What was once a rare disease, type two diabetes is now the highest amongst Native American and Alaskan Native adults and children than any other racial and ethnic group in the United States. Those children, particularly living on or near reservation and tribal lands, are more likely to experience type 2 diabetes, food insecurity, and obesity in comparison to all other children in the United States. Food access is an issue at multiple levels: access to seasonally available wild foods, financial access to fresh, whole foods, and access to the cultural knowledge to prepare and preserve traditional foods. The biggest contributors to this loss in food access were forced removals from native lands onto barren reservations, forced assimilation in Native American Boarding Schools, and the government-provided commodity food that was then distributed to those on reservations. Those foods commonly included white flour, lard, sugar, dairy products, and canned meats- a major contrast from the unprocessed, whole, traditional foods they were use to.
It is because of this epidemic, people within the Indigenous communities are working towards an indigenous foods movement as a means of cultural renewal, environmental sustainability, and a way to reclaim Food Sovereignty.
“Indigenous food sovereignty is the act of going back to our roots as Indigenous peoples and using the knowledge and wisdom of our people that they used when they oversaw their own survival. This includes the ability to define one’s own food sources and processes, such as the decision to hunt, trap, fish, gather, harvest, grow and eat based on Indigenous culture and ways of life.”
Below, is a TedxTalk from Sean Sherman, who further discusses where the traditional knowledge got lost, and how himself and many other indigenous folks are taking matters into their own hands, reclaiming their Indigenous Food Sovereignty.
Here, we will be listing just a few of the many Indigenous people/ Indigenous-led Organizations reclaiming Food Sovereignty within the United States.
An online cooking show dedicated to re-indigenizing diets using digital media. Using foods native to their Americas, Indigikitchen gives viewers the important tools they need to find and prepare food in their own communities. Beyond that, it strengthens the ties to their cultures and reminds them of the inherent worth of their identities while fueling their physical bodies.
Brian Yazzie “Yazzie the Chef”
A Diné/Navajo chef and food justice activist from Dennehotso, Arizona and based out of Saint Paul, MN. He is the founder of Intertribal Foodways catering company, a YouTube creator under Yazzie The Chef TV, a delegate of Slow Food Turtle Island Association, and a member at I-Collective. Yazzie’s career is devoted to the betterment of tribal communities, wellness, and health.
Sean Sherman, The Sioux Chef
Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, SD, has been cooking across the US and World for the last 30 years. His main culinary focus has been on the revitalization and awareness of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context. Sean has studied on his own extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems which include the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, salt and sugar making, hunting and fishing, food preservation, Native American migrational histories, elemental cooking techniques, and Native culture and history in general to gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world.
The Sioux Chef team works to make indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible. To open opportunities for more people to learn about Native cuisine and develop food enterprises in their tribal communities.
Three Sisters Gardens
Farmer Alfred Melbourne is the owner and operator of Three Sisters Gardens and a long time resident of West Sacramento. Based on traditional native teachings, Three Sisters Gardens is an Indidgenous-led organization with a mission to teach at risk youth how to grow/harvest/distribute organic vegetables, connect Native youth back to the land, build connections with community elders, and reclaim food sovereignty. They donate food to the Yolo Food Bank, and also hold a “Free Farm” stand where they offer their veggies free to to the community.
Linda Black Elk
Linda Black Elk is an ethnobotanist who serves as the Food Sovereignty Coordinator at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota. She specializes in teaching about Indigenous plants and their uses as food and medicine. She teaches classes like “Food Preservation and Storage” and “From Farm and Forage to Fork.” She also uses her wealth of knowledge and charismatic ways of connecting through her YouTube channel, covering topics like making homemade cedar blueberry cough syrup, drying squash varieties, and how to make plant-based medicines at home for various health support.
Black Elk’s drive to make wild plants and plant medicine accessible, applicable, and relevant is so strong it resonates throughout all she does. She is also a founding board member of the Mni Wichoni Health Circle, an organization devoted to decolonized medicines.
Reclaiming control over local food systems is an important step toward ensuring the long-lasting health and economic well-being of Native people and communities. Native food system control has proven to increase food production, improve health and nutrition, and eliminate food insecurity in rural and reservation-based communities, while also promoting entrepreneurship and economic development.
This is Indigenous resilience, moving through the era of disconnection to their foods and traditions and reclaiming their intergenerational knowledge.
The Davis Food Co-op occupies land that belongs to three federally recognized Patwin tribes: Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
Since 1880, Earth’s temperature has risen by 0.14° Fahrenheit per decade, increasing to more than twice that (0.32° F) per decade since 1981. Each of us sees and feels the effects of climate change nearly every day with BIPOC, low income, and migrant communities feeling the effects more deeply. Co-ops offer a path forward. The cooperative business model, a solution that is tried and tested, addresses climate change while also confronting inequality, advancing democracy, building resilient economies, and confronting poverty.
Since it’s Co-op Month, we’d like to explore ways in which co-ops are climate leaders and how our co-op addresses environmental sustainability.
We’re not just bragging; co-ops are special. At the most basic level, cooperative businesses serve the needs of their Owners, whatever those needs might be, rather than delivering profit to investors. All cooperatives follow the 7 Cooperative Principles which serve as the model’s code of ethics. Let’s look at how these Principles affect the fight against climate change.
|1. Voluntary and open membership||
|4. Autonomy and independence||
|5. Education, training and information||
|7. Concern for community||
Co-ops know how to plan for the long term
Cooperative businesses have no requirement for delivering short-term profits other than remaining commercially viable, which allows them to better plan for the long term. Co-ops are more likely to consider intergenerational solutions to climate change.
Co-ops are the most resilient form of enterprise
Co-ops survive, often finding creative solutions, when other businesses would simply close. As a result they are more stable businesses in communities. Stability and resilience will be key in communities increasingly affected by extreme weather. Similarly, co-ops establish their own supply chains which further insulate their communities from market shocks.
What does this look like at the Davis Food Co-op?
“The production, transportation, sale and consumption of food are significant contributors to global climate change and the degradation of our collective land, air, and water resources. For this reason, it is incumbent upon DFC to become a local leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship.” – Davis Food Co-op Strategic Plan
As laid out by the Co-op’s Board of Directors in the Strategic Plan, Strategic Priority #5 is “Be a Model for Environmental Sustainability.” Together our Board and General Manager work to implement changes in store to meet these priorities. Here are just a few ways the Strategic Plan made the co-op more sustainable.
|Greenhouse Gas Emissions||
In addition to baking sustainability into our co-op’s Strategic Plan, Ends, and Principles, our staff, owners and shoppers are, let’s say, deeply passionate about the survival of the planet.
The DFC will continue to implement changes which make the store and our community more sustainable.