Why the Zero Waste Community Needs More Inclusivity

Why The Zero Waste Community Needs More Inclusivity


        By now, most of us have heard the term “zero waste”, which one of the simple ways to put it, means to send little to no items to landfill. Zero waste living is about consuming less, being more conscious about our purchasing habits, supporting eco-friendly companies, and overall reducing our environmental impact. We’ve seen the zero waste community grow immensely over the past decade, especially as the Climate Crisis continues to rise.


        But the issue with this community, is the lack of inclusion for our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Big advocates tend to be White, seemingly middle-classed women. A typical day for them consists of them making their weekly batch of almond milk and placing it in their perfectly labeled jars, putting on their $350 dollar dress that was made completely out of plastic bottles, and the plastic free produce they just purchased from their local Farmer’s Market (which of course was only a five-minute bicycle ride from their house). For some, it comes off as an unattainable lifestyle if you are not White and not in the middle-upper class, but that simply is not true. 



BIPOC communities have been living zero waste lifestyles for thousands of years. Most cultures live this way without even identifying themselves as “zero waste”, as it’s just something they have always done; repurposing empty containers to store leftovers, hand-me-down clothing, using every part of an animal they just harvested, etc. Thrifting was once only for low-income communities and was only for “poor people” because it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing or “cool”. Now that it has become trendy, everyone is doing it.

Zero waste community members have a responsibility to ensure their environmental sustainability is working towards:

  1. Ending Fossil Fuel extractions and Fossil-Fuel based products like plastic.
  2. Getting commitment from agencies and local governments to stop funding false or short-term solutions like waste-to-energy.
  3. Addressing Food Insecurity and Food Deserts in BIPOC communities.
  4. Addressing Environmental Racism.
  •  While Indigenous people comprise 5% of the world population, Indigenous People protect about 80% of the Earth’s Biodiversity in the Forests, Deserts, Grasslands, and Marine Environments in which they have lived for centuries.
  • Studies have shown that White neighborhoods have at least 4 times as many grocery stores as predominately Black neighborhoods.

   These are just some of the many reasons      why this community has to be more             inclusive if it is to survive and achieve its     end goal in protecting Mother Earth.

The movement needs to better reflect more diverse experiences to broaden its audience. BIPOC struggle to resonate with the zero-waste movement when they do not see their own personal environmentalism experiences in conversations. It must go beyond the conversations of what zero waste products you are purchasing and consuming.         

To create a more inclusive Zero Waste community, we must follow/spotlight more BIPOC leaders, broaden the topics/issues within the Zero Waste Community, & have current advocates acknowledge how their portrayal of their lifestyle comes off as inaccessible to most people, especially within the BIPOC Community, and change the narrative of what it means to be Zero Waste.   

More Resources available here:

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives

Food Deserts

Environmental Justice for PFJ: BIPOC Communities Bear The Burden Of Plastic Pollution

65+ BIPOC Influencers and Creators in the Sustainable and Environmentalism Movement 

Environmental Justice Organizations

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5 Plastic Free DIY Recipes

makeup remover

-Glass Jar, with Sealable Lid

-2 Cups Filtered Water

-1-3 Tbsp. Jojoba Oil

-1 Tbsp. Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel

**Optional- 15 drops of essential oils (rose, lavender, & chamomile are great for sensitive skin)

Add all ingredients to a mason jar, or any glass reusable jar you have available and shake the mixture. Apply a quarter-sized amount to a reusable round and apply all over your face. Can be gently used over eyes.

Shake the jar before each use.  

All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner

-2 cups worth of peeled Citrus (Orange, Lemon, or Grapefruit. You can use more than one type if you’d like/have it)

-2 cups of White Vinegar

-2 cups of Water

-1 teaspoon of Castile Soap

-Mason Jar or Glass Spray Bottle

1. Add citrus peels and vinegar to a sealable jar. The citrus should be at least half full of the jar. Add vinegar (It should fill the whole jar. Add more vinegar if need be).

2. Seal the jar with a lid. (Avoid a metal lid, if possible, as the vinegar can corrode the metal)

3. Let this infuse for 2-3 weeks.

4. Once it has infused, strain the vinegar, discarding the peels and place the vinegar into a glass spray bottle. (If you have any leftovers, the vinegar mixture can be stored in a sealed jar, in a dark, cool spot.)

5. Add the water and castile soap.

6. Shake the bottle once all ingredients are in the spray bottle.

Shake before each use.


1 cup Filtered Water

1 Tsp Baking Soda

10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

1 tsp of Xylitol or Stevia

Combine all ingredients to a jar and shake.

Shake jar before each use.

         **Never swallow the mouth wash, always spit out.


Bentonite Tooth Paste

2 Tbsp Bentonite Clay

4 Tbsp Filtered Water

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1/4 Teaspoon Stevia or Xylitol

1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt

10 Drops Peppermint Essential Oils

5 Drops Clove Essential Oil

1. Mix powdered clay with water in a small, non-metal bowl, with a non-metal spoon (metal causes the clay to be less effective).

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended.

Store in a sealed jar, in a cool spot.

Bug Repellent

-8 drops of each Essential Oil:  Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, & Mint.

– 2 oz of Alcohol-free Witch Hazel

– 2 oz of Water

Add all items to a glass spray bottle, shake, and you are ready to go! Shake bottle before each use. Apply liberally, avoiding eyes.

Find all of the ingredients for these recipes at your Davis Food Co-op!

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Plastic Free July at the Co-op

What is Plastic Free July?

Plastic Free July® is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution. The movement has inspired 100+ million participants in 190 countries and our involvement in Plastic Free July is to help provide resources and ideas to help you reduce single-use plastic waste everyday in any way that you can. You making a small change will collectively make a massive difference to our communities and planet. You can start by choosing to refuse single-use plastics in July (and beyond!) when and where you can. Best of all, being part of Plastic Free July will help you to find great alternatives that can become new habits forever.

It is not lost on us that promoting Plastic Free July at the Co-op while we still carry so many plastic products could seem contradictory. Cutting out plastic entirely in today’s day and age is difficult for anyone, especially a grocery store. However, we believe in the change that can be made from people banding together. After all, we are a cooperatively owned business and that is the whole point of our foundation. The products that we carry are dependent on what our Owners and community shoppers choose to purchase and that is how we will always guide our decision making. With a focus on sustainability in our Ends, we will also always look for plastic free alternatives first in our purchases for the store. So while we may not be able to go fully plastic free, we vow to do all that we can this month to do so, and that is our pledge.

Learn more about Plastic Free July and ways that you can participate by clicking the PFJ button on this page!

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What is Natural Wine?

What is Natural Wine? 

Written by Beer, Wine, and Spirits Specialist Sterling Carlton

“Natural wine” has become a very broad term, you’ve likely heard it before. When the subject comes up, I’m often asked, “Isn’t all wine natural?” followed by, “…so it’s organic?” The answer is ultimately a little more complicated than a yes or no and a label from a government agency.

Occasionally you encounter the somewhat snarky, literal interpretation of the term “natural” from someone who says it’s all a fad: there isn’t anything natural about picking grapes, crushing them in a tank, and subsequently fermenting them in a controlled environment. Certainly when we refer to “natural wine” we aren’t asserting that the process employed to make wine is naturally occurring. While it is true fermentation will happen in grapes left unattended, no one in the natural wine space is saying that the planting of vineyards in neat contoured rows or that the actual collection and production is entirely a natural occurrence. Rather, natural wine makers are trying to make wines with as few outside inputs as possible and minimal, if not zero, sulfur use. The grapes are typically sourced from biodynamic, sustainable, or organic vineyards and frequently a combination of all three. A common thread is that people are farming mindfully for the sake of the long term health of the land with particular emphasis in maintaining high biodiversity within those contoured vine rows. 

Now, is this wine organic? Although the grapes are frequently grown in organic, biodynamic, or regenerative vineyards, practices diverge when the grapes hit the winery. First, you have the Zero/Zero camp. These folks believe in neither adding sulfur to their wine nor removing anything from the wine as well. Another cohort believes minimal additions of sulfur for stability are acceptable even if they still avoid manipulating the juice in too many other ways. These additions are just enough to arrest any fermentation and give some marginal protection from oxygen. Because of the sulfur additions, those wines may not be labeled as organic in the United States. This can lead to difficulty for some of the smaller labels who are making their wines in an extremely mindful way, as they won’t be certified organic. 

Winemakers in the United States who use organic grapes have two options for communicating this designation. The first is the USDA Organic certification and the second is the “Made with Organic Grapes” label.

Both labels require grapes be sourced from certified organic vineyards and made in a certified organic winery. However, the “Made with Organic Grapes” label allows for up to 100 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur additions. USDA Organic allows for zero additional sulfur. For comparison, conventional wines contain hundreds of parts per million of additional sulfur. Meanwhile in the European Union, organic red wines are allowed up to 100 ppm of additions, white and rosé wines 150 ppm, and 180 ppm for sweet wines. Canada allows up to 100 ppm of sulfur additions in its organic labeled wines. It is important to note that some folks are seriously allergic to the sulfites used as a preservative in wine, which is one reason why an easily discernible label is necessary, among others. Ultimately, the definition of organic wine and whether or not it currently stunts the growth of the organic wine category continues to be debated.

Given that sustainability is at the core of many natural wine making endeavors, there is a fairly large elephant, or perhaps oil tanker, in the room we must touch on. A question that runs along these lines has made its way around some of my natural wine circles and it is a question that deserves some time and thought: 

“What is sustainable about shipping a product to a warehouse, perhaps one across the world, and then re-shipping that product to another point, whether that be another point of distribution or the end consumer?”

This question is a tough one and perhaps one that doesn’t really have a great answer, at least not an answer that doesn’t make me sound like an apologist to some degree. For me, it comes down to the story behind each bottle. When you look at the level of intentionality some of these producers use in tending to their land you realize two things: one, doing it right takes an unbelievable amount of hard work and dedication and second, that most producers aren’t putting in that work for a wide variety of reasons. The challenge for natural wine producers is being able to tell their stories as they’re important for pushing the category forward.

I reached out to Alice Anderson (pictured below), the owner and winemaker at Amevive Wines in Santa Barbara and the caretaker at the historic Ibarra-Young vineyard, which they lease in the Los Olivos District. Land stewardship is central to many natural wine producers, including Alice. Taking care of the vines and the land that supports them is vital to the long term health of the industry and the planet. Alice is a serious practitioner of biodynamic farming. The care and attention it takes to effectively farm in that style shines through in the wines she makes. 

Here are a few thoughts from her about natural wine:

To me, first and foremost, the wine has to be grown holistically with intention. The vineyard need not be on a systematic spray schedule, but to be assessed and analyzed regularly based on how nature treats it each year. It’s best if you can repurpose what you have on your land to make homeopathic fungicides and foliar sprays; like growing your own herbs and making compost teas. 

In the cellar, nothing should be added other than tiny amounts of pure sulfur if needed. This is to not take away or alter any of the natural nuances coming from the vineyard. 

Wines should be unfined and unfiltered and shouldn’t contain more than 50ppm of total SO2 at bottling.”

 At the end of the day, growing and producing the highest quality wines as thoughtfully as possible is the goal for all of these natural winemakers, whether they can legally market their wines as organic or not.

Sterling recommends checking out these natural winemakers – all available at the Co-op. And he’s always happy to help you pick out the perfect bottle! You can usually find him in the Beer, Wine, & Spirits Department or ask the Customer Service Desk to page him for you.

Amevive Wines 

Martha Stoumen Wines

Haarmeyer Wine Cellars

Florez Wines 

Matthiasson Wines 

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Bring on the Bugs

You know, in a good way!

They’re called beneficial bugs, after all, because they’re a boon to your garden and the planet. Beneficial bugs fall into one or more of three categories

  • pollinators: these bugaboos are an essential component in the reproduction of about 80% of flowering plant species (150 food crops in the US, including most grains and fruits, rely on pollination!)
  • predators: some insects eliminate pests by eating them
  • parasitoids: these bugs lay their eggs in or on pests, which the larvae eventually eat

Predators and parasitoids keep populations of aphids, leafhoppers, mites, thrips, and more potentially damaging pests in your garden under control.


Pollinators are essential

You probably know that pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of most flowering plants (about $10 billion worth of food annually). But there are additional benefits to having these bugs around too.

  • clean air: pollinators are an essential part of the reproduction of flowering plants. These plants, which breath in carbon dioxide, are a vital part of Earth’s carbon cycle, drawing carbon out of the atmosphere and into our soils.
  • clean water: pollinators are similarly involved in Earth’s water cycle and in preventing erosion of Earth’s soils by maintaining plant populations.
  • ethnobotany: the role of pollinators in our lives is culturally important to many communities, including Indigenous communities. Pollinators play a role in food plants, medicinal plants, plant-based dyes, and in cultural symbolism.

Bees, butterflies, flies, and moths are the pollinators you want to bring to your yard.

Bring on the bugs!

There are a few steps you can take to make your yard attractive and safe for beneficial bugs.

1. Create habitat

These Beneficial Bug Houses provide insects a place to nest and rest. By placing these houses near existing insect hotspots (think hedges, nectar-rich flower beds, ponds or streams) you can give them a chance to thrive and, in return, they will maintain a healthy equilibrium in your yard. Look for these in the Green Patch and in-store. 

2. Plant the right plants

There are many pollinator-friendly plants at the Co-op. Floral Specialist Jennifer has brought in three varieties of sunflowers, foxglove, and herbs including Thai basil, culinary select sage, stevia, and French thyme just last week. 

Starts arriving this week (Thursday 5/5) include lavender, margarita yellow osteospermum, cosmos, asclepias red butterfly bush, marigolds, nasturtiums, zinnias, and more!

These five plant families will pack the most punch when it comes to attracting beneficial insects to your garden:

  • Aster Family (Asteraceae): ageratums, asters, chrysanthemums, cosmos, dahlias, marigolds, and zinnias
  • Carrot family (Apiaceae): Angelica, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, cowbane, cumin, fennel, parsley, parsnip, Queen Anne’s lace
  • Legume family (Fabaceae): green bean, lima bean, scarlet runner bean, chickpea, fenugreek, lentil, lupine, pagoda tree, smoke tree, soybean, tamarind, wisteria
  • Mustard family (Brassicaceae): arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnip, horseradish, rocket, shepherd’s purse, watercress, white mustard, wild radish
  • Verbena family (Verbenaceae): Verbena (also known as vervain) family, includes 31 genera and nearly 920 species including lemon verbena, blue vervain, lollipop, meteor shower, Greystone Daphne, homestead purple, and Texas rose.

3. Provide a water source

Most beneficial bugs have wings, so they’ll take off in search of water if they can’t find any in your garden. If you use sprinklers, the puddles that form from use should be enough to keep your garden friends hydrated. If you use a drip system or water by hand, you’ll need to provide additional water. Fill up a saucer with water and some rocks. Refill on dry days (maybe twice during scorching summer days). To keep these bugaboos working in your garden, be sure to maintain their water source!

4. Creepy crawlies need love too

Some beneficial bugs keep low to the ground in search of pests that live in the soil. During hot daytime hours, these insects need protection and rest. Mulching your garden beds gives them protection while keeping the soil moist (good for beneficial bugs and plants). Stepping stones, especially with flat surfaces, are a favorite of creepy crawlies too.

Questions? Ask Jennifer! 

Jennifer is our new Floral Specialist and an excellent resource for home gardeners! You can find her watering plants on the Green Patch most days or ask any Co-op employee if Jennifer is in. 

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Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day

Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day!

Learn Something New!

Learn a new skill that helps limit your impact on the Environment. 

Learn about our native landscape 


Spend Time Outside

Give Up a Less Sustainable Habit for the Day

  • Go Car-less for the Day. Ride your bike or take the bus.
  • Have a Veg Day! Check out our Recipes Page or 31 Days of Vegetable Guide for some meat-free ideas. 
  • Bring reusable (if you don’t already!). Bring a reusable cup for coffee, bags for groceries, and containers for take-out. 

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Container Gardening 101

Good news!

Davis is perfectly situated for a long and productive growing season. Even tiny apartment balcony gardens can be very productive with the right conditions. But container gardens aren’t just for folks with limited space. Here are the big beats when it comes to container gardens:

  • Most things can be planted in containers, but may require additional care
  • Great for small spaces like apartment patios and balconies
  • Ideal for beginning gardeners
  • Portable, but can be (very) heavy
  • Requires more watering as pots dry out quicker

To be clear, this blog will focus on growing edible fruits and vegetables in containers. 

Before we move on, consider your light

Although some plants do well in partial shade, you’ll want to “plant” your container garden in an area that receives bright sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. If you have a small space, this may mean placing your containers wherever you get good sun (on the balcony, on the side of the house, front porch, back porch, a perpetually open, sunny window, etc.). I have fruits and veggies in containers all over the place.

Step 1: Decide what you want to grow

Start by deciding what you want to eat. Then take into consideration what kind of light and space you have (see the chart at the end of the Edible Garden Guide for a complete list of edible plants to grow in our USDA Zone). 

If you’re still not sure, starting small is always a good idea. A tomato plant, a few containers with strawberries, and a trellis for pole beans is a great way to start your container garden. Unless you are an avid gardener, I recommend starting with plant starts (instead of seeds). You can purchase starts at the Co-op during the warmer months.

Step 2: Choose your containers

Your containers can vary in size, shape, and fanciness (a lot of my container garden is in plastic pots I got for free from a local nursery) as long as they allow for good draining. Let the plant’s needs determine the container. For example, multiple strawberry plants can be grown together in one large container, but each cabbage plant needs its own large container.

You can even plant trees in containers. Citrus is a popular container plant. I have a grafted stone fruit tree in a pot in my backyard. It’s about to bloom for the second time!

Here are some minimum soil depths for healthy growth in containers: 

4-5″: chives, lettuce, radishes, other salad greens, basil, coriander

6-7″: bush beans, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, Asian greens, peas, mint, thyme

8-9″: pole beans, carrots, chard, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leeks, peppers, spinach, parsley, rosemary

10-12″: beets, broccoli, okra, potatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, dill, lemongrass

Here are some minimum volume requirements for containers:

Step 3: Plant

When planting, fill containers with an organic outdoor raised bed/potting mixture. Create small wells for the starts. Loosen starts from their plastic containers and gently shake dirt from the roots (be careful not to damage the young, tender roots). Transfer to the new container, placing each start into a well. Fill with dirt and compact with your hands so that the plant is firmly “tucked in”. Water. 

Reference the Edible Garden Guide for specific watering instructions. Depending on your containers, your plants may need more watering as pots dry out faster than raised beds or planted rows, especially in the summer. 

I recommend using mulch to cover soil (cover soil only, not any part of the plant) in your containers as well. It helps prevent water loss to evaporation, mitigates splashing during watering which can spread pathogens from soil to leaves, and keeps soil surface temperatures down during hot summer months. 

DIY Mulch materials include herbicide and pesticide-free grass clippings, organic burlap, straw or hay, shredded newspaper, coconut coir, or similar natural materials.

Step 4: Maintain your Garden

Check on your containers everyday. Remove weeds, pests, leaf litter, and other waste. Water, remove dead growth, and prune as necessary. 

Treating your garden with compost, or fertilizer, is always a good idea, especially 2-6 weeks after planting. Make your own compost with our DIY Backyard Composting Guide.

Read our blog all about starting a strawberry container garden too! 

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From the Road: Trefethen Family Vineyards

From the Road: Trefethen Family Vineyards

Written by Sterling Carlton, Beer, Wine & Spirits Specialist

Another Monday, another scenic drive through meticulously contoured vineyards flanking either side of the Silverado Trail. Eventually making our way to Oak Knoll Ave, we found ourselves traveling down the drive of the largest family owned estate vineyard in the valley: Trefethen Family Vineyards. We passed the wonderful Pinot Noir blocks, my favorite Riesling block, and several Cabernet Sauvignon blocks; cover crops growing happily beneath the vines. 

We started our visit in the charming, rustic farmhouse turned winery and tasting room. An historic building for the Valley, it begged to be filled with the bustle of wine lunches and harvest crews. Built in 1886 and teeming through “Napa’s first Golden Age,” it lay empty for years following prohibition before Eugene and Catherine Trefethen arrived in 1968 and restored it to its former glory. In 1973 they hosted their first commercial harvest for both Trefethen Family Wines and Domaine Chandon, who’s wine facility would not be completed for at least five more years. They still sell fruit for sparkling wine to Chandon to this very day.

The Trefethen family is deeply committed to sustainability. Cover crops between the vines play several roles including preventing erosion, adding green matter into the soil, fixing micronutrients, and can even mitigate the effects of nematodes and pests in the vineyards. Looking out at the vines you notice several large and several small boxes on posts spaced throughout the vineyard. The boxes, housing important native owls, bluebirds, and bats, nod to the family’s commitment to balance within nature, as well as in the wine. This balance with nature guides the viticultural practices on the estate. From using natural predators, to utilizing extensive water recycling programs and even capturing and repurposing the CO2 gas thrown off by fermentations, the Trefethen estate is a leader of sustainability in the industry. 

Leaving the farmhouse tasting room and walking the grounds revealed how extensive the estate’s commitment to biodiversity is. We walked through lavender, rosemary, and daffodils just starting to reach for the sun. The path eventually led into a beautiful kitchen garden, usually overflowing with fresh produce in the summer growing months, to be utilized by the estate’s onsite chef.

We sat outside and tasted through the entire lineup of Trefethen wines. Elegant and tightly structured, they harkened back to the early days of Napa’s revival. Starting with the estate Riesling given the warm mid 70s day we had, we enjoyed the lean, high acid and solid fruit core of the wine. Bone dry and nicely textured, this wine can be had as an aperitif or with plenty of food. The Cabernet and Cabernet based blends were truly fantastic as well. Tight structured and rich, they opened into nuanced red wines that can be enjoyed now, or cellared for later drinking. Ultimately, I settled on their estate Chardonnay for a few reasons. First, it is delicious and a really excellent expression of what Chardonnay can be. Second, it comes with a great story: The early vintages of this cuvee won first place in the 1979 and 1980 World Wine Olympics organized by the French restaurant publication Gault & Millan’s Le Nouveau Guide. After having tasted the 1976 vintage, the judges proclaimed the Trefethen estate Chardonnay to be the “Best in the World.” That’s a serious boast, but I can say that it is truly delicious.

Find the following Trefethen Family Vineyards wines in the Wine Department.


Chardonnay – fresh and vibrant aromas of sliced green apple, white peach, and honeysuckle with integrated notes of baked apple and puff pastry on the palate

Harmony Chardonnay – fruit notes on the palate, with integrated flavors of apple blossom, honeysuckle, and brioche to round out the profile

Dry Riesling –  crisp and zesty, showing beautiful notes of lemon, lime, and spring flowers. The nose explodes with fresh aromas of lemongrass, ginger, and white pepper

Merlot – concentrated red fruit flavors are fresh and bright on the palate leading to expansive notes of spice and forest floor


Receive 10% off when you buy 6 or more bottles.

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