In conversations about environmental sustainability, it’s common for plastic to play the part as a universal villain.
Indeed, the harmful environmental impacts of plastic pollution are well-documented and significant. And while we spend the month of July recognizing Plastic Free July with calls to reduce our reliance on plastic, it’s critical to remember that the ability to completely avoid plastic consumption is a privilege that not everyone shares.
Plastic pollution not only disproportionately affects marginalized communities, it also greatly affects their ability to reduce plastic use due to socioeconomic circumstances. Undeniably, plastic has been so deeply woven into the fabric of our societies because it’s cheap, durable, and convenient. Because of this, communities in economically distressed regions often depend on plastic for its accessibility and affordability. To expect these communities to prioritize plastic reduction over immediate economic concerns is not only unfair, but also unfeasible.
This begs us to question – Who truly has the ability to avoid plastic use? The answer shouldn’t be surprising. Those who are best suited to afford to live a plastic-free lifestyle typically enjoy a certain level of economic stability and live in environments where plastic-free alternatives are readily available. They have the privilege to make this choice – a choice that is not universally accessible.
This is not a justification for complacency. Rather, it is a call to broaden our understanding and work towards true inclusive sustainability. Just as with our discussions on climate change and its disproportionate effects on marginalized groups, the dialogue on plastic consumption should also include its social and economic dimensions.
The discourse around plastic use reduction must include plastic-free options that are affordable and accessible to all communities. Green initiatives need to extend their reach beyond the privileged and include those on the front lines of plastic consumption. And most importantly, we should never shame people who make the decision to purchase plastic products. While we may be in a position to avoid plastic consumption, it is unfair to assume that everyone has that same luxury.
Inclusion is a key to a truly sustainable future. This blog serves as an invitation for us to widen our lens and recognize the privilege inherent in our consumption choices. It calls upon us to be advocates for change not just in our actions, but in our understanding of sustainability and the challenges faced by others in achieving it. The pursuit of sustainability should not be a luxury, but a necessity, and it must be done so through a process that holds those in power accountable so that it can be a pursuit that includes us all.
There are many excellent organizations that work at the intersection of environmental justice and social equity. Here are a few that you can learn more about:
Green For All is an organization that fights for a world that is green for all, not green for some. They work at the intersection of the environmental, economic, and racial justice movements to advance solutions to poverty and pollution.
The Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice Program, one of the oldest environmental organizations in the U.S., has a program specifically dedicated to promoting environmental justice and reducing health disparities by engaging leaders in communities that are most affected by pollution.
WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that People of Color and/or low income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices.
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders aims to serve as a resource to increase the capacity of philanthropy to support just and sustainable food and agriculture systems. They offer various resources and avenues for involvement.
Indigenous Environmental Network was established by grassroots Indigenous peoples to address environmental and economic justice issues, and to empower Indigenous communities towards sustainable livelihoods and preserving their cultures.
The Davis Food Co-op is more than a grocery store, it is a collective of people who have the power to shape local, national, and global food systems.
Right now in the United States, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment in the journey to redefine our food system. The future of our food is being decided by lawmakers right now.
The best part? You have the power to voice your opinion to help shape it.
The Farm Bill, a crucial piece of legislation that can set the tone for our nation’s food and agriculture policy, is currently under review. Our elected officials are considering which proposals will be included in this year’s bill – decisions that will impact our food system for the next five years. We believe it’s time for a more equitable food system that puts farmworkers first and is more just, resilient, and regenerative, and that’s where you come in. By familiarizing yourself with the Bill and Acts that accompany it, you can put yourself in a position to advocate for that which you feel most strongly about.
A recent blog from National Co+op Grocers (NCG) provides you with a detailed list of current (and growing) proposed bills, outlining what they aim to achieve and who supports them. Whether it’s a bill that champions small-scale farmers or one that incentivizes organic farming, you can find the ones that you resonate with and lend them your support.
As part of NCG, we strive to advocate for our communities’ shared priorities for the food system. Together, we can make our voices heard and play a role in shaping a sustainable and equitable food landscape. Want to get involved but not sure where to start? No worries, the blog post above has you covered with easy instructions on how to contact Congress, whether you prefer to make a phone call or write an email. You’ll also find some tips to help you articulate your support.
The changes we want to see in the world often start from the grassroots. By raising our voices in numbers to our elected officials, we can influence policies that impact our food, our farmers, and ultimately, our communities. Let’s work together to create the food system we all deserve. Let’s act now, the food future depends on it!
In a world where corporate giants dictate our choices, where every dollar we spend seems to feed into a system that values profit over people, it’s easy to feel like just another cog in the machine as you make your purchases. This feeling may become most prevalent with our most frequent purchases, food and groceries. But what if your grocery store was more than an obligatory stop? What if it could be a statement of your values, a contribution to your community, and a step towards a more equitable and sustainable world?
Let us welcome to the Davis Food Co-op, a grocery store that’s about so much more than just food.
As a college student, you’re not just learning, you’re actively shaping your world. Every decision you make, from your field of study to where you shop, is a reflection of your values and the future you want to create. Are you passionate about environmental sustainability? We prioritize local, organic produce and work hard to minimize waste. Concerned about workers’ rights? We’re committed to fair wages and good working conditions, both for our own employees and for the employees of our vendors. Want to support your local economy? We source seasonally from local farmers and producers whenever possible and carry products from over 500 local brands in store. The Co-op is made of a group of individuals who believe in the power of collective action, who care about fostering a sustainable food system, supporting local farmers, and promoting healthy, ethical choices. We are your neighbors. We are the people you see every time you go for a walk, a bike ride or a trip to the farmers market early on a Saturday morning. We are your community.
When you walk into the Davis Food Co-op, you’re not walking into a sterile, impersonal supermarket. You’re walking into a community hub.
You’re likely to see familiar faces, maybe even friends. You’ll find staff who are more than just employees – they’re individuals who care about their work, their community, and their world.
But the sense of community goes beyond the walls of our store. As a co-op, we’re deeply connected to our local community. We host events and classes, fostering connections and shared learning.
We give back to our community, supporting local causes and initiatives. And most importantly, we listen to the feedback of our customers, most of whom are Member-Owners who not only shop with us, but also own a piece of our business.
Anyone can shop at the Davis Food Co-op but joining as a Member-Owner means you’re not just talking about these ideals, you’re living them. Being an Owner means that you are making a small investment ($15 to start) to be extended rights, responsibilities, and influence to thrive as part of our store and community. You gain access to a myriad of extra promotions and programs, access to issued dividends, and the right to help choose the direction of the cooperative. You can vote, attend meetings, serve on the Board of Directors, track all of your purchases online, and much more. As part of the Co-op, you have an even greater say in our practices and policies. You can help us decide what products we stock, what initiatives we support, and how we can better serve our community. You become part of a cooperative that values transparency and mutual respect. Unlike traditional grocery stores, our goal isn’t to maximize profits. Our goal is to use our profit to serve our Members and our community in the ways that they best see fit. And since we understand that not everyone can stay in Davis long-term, we offer the ability to Member-Owners to be refunded their investment at any time, no questions asked.
Let’s take a moment to contrast this with your typical corporate grocery store. When you shop at one of these stores, your money goes towards lining the pockets of distant shareholders. Your choices are dictated by what will maximize their profits, not what’s best for everyone as a whole. The products on the shelves are there because they’re cheap to produce and yield high profit margins, not because they’re good for your health or the environment. The workers you see in the store are often paid minimum wage, with little regard for their well-being or job satisfaction. In these stores, you’re not a valued member of a community, you’re a consumer. Your value is measured in dollars, your voice is systematically silenced through purposefully inept and complex bureaucracy. There your values are only considered while planning their exploitation, and your community is slowly drained.
Now, imagine a different kind of grocery store. Imagine a store where your voice matters, where your values are reflected in the products on the shelves, where your money goes towards supporting your local store and community rather than distant shareholders. Imagine a store where your value is intrinsic to you for simply being. That’s the Davis Food Co-op. When you join us, you’re not just joining a grocery store. You’re joining a community. You’re working towards creating a better, more sustainable world. So, if you’re ready to keep moving forward, to align your actions with your values, we invite you to join us. Join the Davis Food Co-op, and let’s make a difference together.
For more information on how to become a Member-Owner, visit https://davisfood.coop/ownership-info/
or the Customer Service Desk in store.
We believe that taking care of yourself and the planet can go hand in hand. Below are five easy, zero waste self-care recipes that can be easily added to your daily routine.
• 4 tbsp organic cocoa butter
• 2 tbsp pure refined organic shea butter
• 1 and a half tsp safflower oil
• 1 ½ tbsp tapioca starch
• 5-15 drops of essential oil(s) of your choice
1. Melt the cocoa butter and shea butter on low heat.
2. Then, add the safflower oil and the tapioca starch, and mix well.
3. Once the mixture cools down, add your preferred essential oil. (To cool it down faster, you can transfer it to another container or add it to the fridge for 5 minutes)
4. Next, pour the mixture into a silicone mold, or if you don’t have it, you can use metal tins.**
5. Put in the freezer for an hour and a half (or a bit longer, if you put it in the fridge), and then take out of the silicone mold/tins.
• ** Make sure to line the tins with paper, so you can easily take the lotion bars out, once they get solid.
• It’s best to store it in a tin, in the fridge.
• This recipe makes 2 medium bars or 3 smaller. Adjust recipe as needed.
Caffeine Eye Serum
• 1/4 cup ground organic coffee
• 1/3 cup sweet almond oil
• 2 Tbsp castor oil
• dropper bottle
• cheesecloth or nut milk bag
1. Combine the sweet almond oil and the coffee in a glass jar.
2. Cover with a lid and let sit on the counter for a week to infuse.
3. Using your cheesecloth or nut milk bag (that’s what I used), strain the infused oil into a bowl, you might have some small coffee residue that gets through and that’s just fine.
4. Add the castor oil to the bowl and stir to combine.
5. Use a funnel to pour the oil into your dropper or roller ball bottle.
If you use a roller ball, store it in the fridge so the roller ball gets cold and then use it as needed for puffiness — the cold ball will increase effects! Perfect to use first thing in the morning!
Rose Water Toner
• Organic rose petals (4 stems total)
• 1.5 liters of distilled water
1. Remove petals from stems and run them under lukewarm water to remove any leftover residue.
2. Add petals to a large pot and top with enough distilled water to just cover (no more or you’ll dilute your rosewater).
3. Over medium-low heat, bring the water to a simmer and cover.
4. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until petals have lost their color.
5. Strain the mixture into a large bowl to separate the petals from the water.
6. Discard petals and pour water in a clean glass jar to store.
7. Add rose water to a spray bottle and spray mist directly onto face throughout the day or use a reusable cotton round to remove dirt and other residue.
• 2 Tbsp Fractionated Coconut Oil
• 1 Tsp Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap – Unscented Baby
• Few Drops of Vitamin E Oil (optional)
• 1/3 Cup Distilled Water
• Reusable Cotton Rounds
• Small Glass Jar (I like a wide-mouth pint-sized mason jar!)
Add ingredients in glass jar and Shake.
Boom, done! Shake jar right before each use.
• Some folks find that coconut oil can clog their pores, so feel free to swap that out with jojoba oil.
• I prefer to use rose scented Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. Rose is gentle and hydrating for the skin and it smells delicious!
• Keep your reusable cotton rounds in the container so they are ready to go or simply dunk one when you are ready to use the cleanser.
• You can also add a few of your favorite essential oil drops. Lavender, rose, jasmine, and/or chamomile are great for sensitive skin.
• 2 1/2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
• 2 1/2 tbsp unrefined shea butter
• 1/4 cup arrowroot starch/flour
• 1 1/2 tbsp baking soda
• 10 drops lavender essential oil
• 2 drop tea tree essential oil (optional)*
1. Place coconut oil and shea butter in a glass bowl or jar and place the bowl/jar inside a medium sauce pan.
2. Add water to the saucepan (enough to surround bowl/jar but not to overflow it) and bring to a boil.
3. As water is heating up, stir coconut oil and shea butter and continue to do so until it melts.
4. Once melted, add in arrowroot starch, baking soda and essential oils.
5. Place in a small glass jar (or pour into empty deodorant stick(s)) and allow to cool at room temp or in fridge until it’s reached a solid state.
6. Cover with lid until use.
7. Spoon out a pea-sized amount with a wooden scoop or with fingers and rub between fingers before applying directly to underarms.
If this is your first time around using natural deodorant, your armpits may require an adjustment period while making the switch. Start by using this DIY Natural Deodorant 1-2 days a week and slowly increase.
Find all of these ingredients at the Davis Food Co-op!
Our society should work for everyone
This should not be as lofty of a goal as it is made out to be. And yet, this simple idea must work through a web of institutional failures that we are tasked with undoing and fixing in order to become a reality. This work requires, among many other aspects, a firm commitment to democracy on both a national and local level.
A strong democratic society ensures that all voices are heard, resources are allocated equitably and decisions are made in the best interest of the entire community instead of just a select few. The ways in which a community can uphold democracy are extensive. Quality education and information sharing, political representation that reflects the identity of the community, and open public forums that encourage healthy debate are a few of the examples that may come to mind first. In addition, (and we may be biased on this) one of the most effective ways for a community to practice democracy is through the building and sustaining of local cooperatives.
Cooperatives (aka co-ops) are community-owned and operated groups and businesses that are democratic by nature. Whether they are a consumer, producer, agricultural, worker, housing, or any other type of co-op, their democratic processes prioritize shared decision-making which ultimately creates a more equitable distribution of resources. By giving Members/Owners a say in how the business or group is run, cooperatives ensure that the community’s needs are met in a way that benefits everyone in the collective.
Consumer grocery co-ops (like us!), in particular, can play a significant role in keeping communities democratic. These stores not only provide access to fresh, local, and healthy food, they operate under a cooperative model that give Owners a say in how the business is run, ensuring that it always serves the needs of the community. This means that a grocery co-op can be more than just a grocery store; it can be a pillar in their city that makes decisions around philanthropy, sustainable practices, inclusion, and more that help define the community in a way that traditional corporations often cannot, or will not.
As a community-owned store that started as a buying club in 1972, the Davis Food Co-op is proud to play a significant role in promoting democracy and equity throughout our organization as well as in the City of Davis and Yolo County at large. We believe that democracy is an essential part of establishing a just and equitable society and we know that process begins in our own community. By giving our Owners the ability to vote and run for our Board of Directors, we ensure that the entire community’s needs are addressed in the business decisions that we make. By promoting shared decision-making and a commitment to the greater good, our co-op can continue to build a future where our community works to serve everyone and can hopefully inspire others to strive for more control over their resources and decision-making as well.
As of the posting of this blog on 5/11/23, we are currently in the process of our Annual Elections. From now until 5/20/23, Davis Food Co-op Owners have the opportunity to vote online for three new Board Members as well as four new Round Up at the Register recipients. To sweeten the deal even more this year, we will be raffling off a $100 gift card to a lucky Owner simply for voting. For more information, visit our Elections page here.
Not yet an Owner but want to learn how you can become one? Visit us in store at the Customer Service Desk or at our Ownership page here.