Plastic Free July 2023 Recap at the Davis Food Co-op

With the end of Plastic Free July, we wanted to give a quick recap of how it impacted the Davis Food Co-op

As you can see in the charts below:

  • We reduced the number of plastic products carried at the Co-op by 2.2% in the month of July, compared to the month of June.
  • Plastic product sales decreased by 2.1% for the month of July, compared to the month of June.
  • For our Fiscal Year of 2023, we have reduced the number of plastic products carried by 0.6% compared to FY 2022.
  • For our Fiscal Year of 2022, plastic product sales have decreased by 12.5% compared to FY 2022.

For the month of July, we offered 2X rewards for Owners who purchased items from the Bulk Department.

 

Owners increased their bulk purchases for the month of July by 106.44%, compared to 2022.

Research shows that 88% of participants made one or more changes that have become new habits and a way of life.

The Davis Food Co-op encourages customers to go beyond the month of July and continue their plastic-free journey.

By consistently making seemingly small changes, we accumulate significant impacts over time.

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Ujamaa Farmer Collective – DFC’s 2023 Apple-a-Day Recipient

Each year, the Co-op donates $0.10 for every pound of apples sold over the course of a year through our “Apple-a-Day” program. With 61,959 lbs of apples sold from July 2022 – June 2023, we were left with $6,196 to donate to a local organization.

For this year’s donation, we have chosen Ujamaa Farmer Collective
as our recipient.

The $6,196 donation will directly support the Collective’s fundraising efforts to “build a Black-led, BIPOC-centered agriculture business cooperative committed to providing long-term, affordable land access for multiple existing BIPOC farmers/ranchers struggling with land security” here in Yolo County. In this blog we will tell you more about the vision of the Ujamaa Farmer Collective and how you can help them achieve their goals.

Ujamaa Farmer Collective Leadership Team
(pictured from left to right):
Keith Hudson (Grocery Croppers, LLC),
Brian Pinkney (We Grow Urban Farm),
Nathaniel Brown (Brown Sugar Farm),
Nelson Hawkins (We Grow Urban Farm)

 

To best understand these goals, we must first consider some historical context. In 1910, around 14% of farmers* in the US were Black and they owned more than 16 million acres across the country. Today only around 1% of US farmers are Black while nearly 95% are White. Many factors over the past 100 years have led to such a sharp decline.

* It should be noted that “farmer” is also known as “producer” in these counts and consists of a farm’s owner, a member of the owner’s family, a manager, a tenant, a renter, or a sharecropper and does not include the employees (known as farmworkers).

Since the early 20th century, Black farmers have faced a long history of injustices including unequal access to credit and federal aid. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has faced multiple lawsuits, including the landmark case of Pigford v. Glickman in 1999, for its history of discriminatory practices that have limited Black farmers’ abilities to invest in their farms and acquire land. Compounding these economic challenges, many Black farmers deal with the complex issue of heirs’ property – a form of land ownership that arises when a landowner dies without a will, leading to the vulnerable division of property amongst the deceased’s heirs. This precarious situation resulted in a 90% decline in Black-owned farmland nationwide between 1910 and 1997, resulting in an estimated capital loss of $326 billion . In addition to these systemic inequities, Black landowners have also faced intimidation, violence, and illegal land seizures, all furthering the gap in land access for Black farmers.

Enter the Ujamaa Farmer Collective. Meaning “fraternity or familyhood” in Swahili, the term “Ujamaa” is the fourth principle of Kwanzaa created through cooperative economics as a practice of shared social wealth and the work necessary to achieve it.This is at the root of what the Ujamaa Farmer Collective hopes to achieve. Created by a compassionate group of advocates within the CDFA BIPOC Advisory Committee, the Collective has been created to work towards addressing the challenge of land tenure amongst historically underserved farmers.

Built upon the work of AB 1348: The Farmer Equity Act,  the Collective notes in a blog on the Kitchen Table Advisors website that their focus is “to provide land for BIPOC farm businesses to steward through long-term, affordable leases. These leasing opportunities, ranging from ½ acre to 20-acre plots owned by the collective, will enable existing farm business owners to grow their operations on secure land parcels. The collective also aims to provide on-site housing for the farmers, allowing these business owners to fully immerse themselves in their farms while also raising and tending to their families”

The Collective has already successfully advocated for state funding to acquire a 50-100 acre parcel of land in Yolo County and recently attained counsel to aid them in establishing their 501(c)(3). They have raised $1.25 million towards their campaign goal of $2.5 million so far and are working with Possibility Labs as their fiscal sponsor to make this dream a reality. The work to choose and develop a site is underway as they continue to fundraise to build these equitable opportunities for Black and BIPOC farmers. While the Collective has made great progress, and the Co-op is happy to contribute towards that progress, the work is far from complete to reach their campaign goal of $2.5 million. That is where we are calling on our Co-op community to help support these continued efforts. 

As a co-op in our community for the past 50 years, we know the power of collective effort to make changes in our local food systems. In recognizing that, we must also recognize that the changes that our co-op has influenced during that time have largely benefitted only White communities. As noted in an article on the Cool Davis website, supporting this project “is a once in a generation opportunity to do something well within our grasp that will have a significant positive impact right here at home. The impact will reverberate in all aspects of Yolo county racial equity lived experience, in our sustainable food system, in the resilience of our community”.

Co-op shoppers are encouraged to visit the Ujamaa Farmer Collective’s website to learn more or get involved and make a donation through either GoFundMe or Raisly.

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Avoiding Plastic is a Privilege

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.

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Plastic Free July Self Care DIY Recipes

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.

Lotion Bars

Ingredients:
• 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

Instructions:
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.

Notes
• ** 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

Ingredients:
• 1/4 cup ground organic coffee
• 1/3 cup sweet almond oil
• 2 Tbsp castor oil
• dropper bottle
• cheesecloth or nut milk bag

Instructions:
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.

Notes:
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

Ingredients:
• Organic rose petals (4 stems total)

• 1.5 liters of distilled water

Instructions:
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.

Facial Cleanser

Ingredients
• 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!)

Instructions:
Add ingredients in glass jar and Shake.
Boom, done! Shake jar right before each use.

Notes
• 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.

Deodorant

Ingredients
• 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)*

Instructions
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.

Note
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!

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EWG’s 2023 Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 List

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.

1. Strawberries

2. Spinach

3. Kale, Collards, & Mustard Greens

4. Peaches

5. Pears

6. Nectarines

7. Apples

8. Grapes

9.Bell/Hot Peppers

10. Cherries

11. Blueberries

12. Green Beans

Clean 15

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.

1. Avocados

2. Sweet Corn

3. Pineapple

4. Onions

5. Papayas

6. Sweet Peas (frozen)

7. Asparagus

8. Honeydew Melons

9. Kiwi

10. Cabbage

11. Mushrooms

12.Mangoes

13. Sweet Potatoes

14. Watermelon

15. Carrots

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
  • Colander
  • 1 Cup White Vinegar
  • 4 Cups of Water
  • 1 Tbsp of Lemon Juice
  • Gentle Scrub Brush
  • Paper Towels


Instructions
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


Instructions
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.

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2022 Plastic Free July Recap at the Co-op

 

With the end of Plastic Free July, we wanted to give a quick recap of how it impacted the Davis Food Co-op

As you can see in the charts below, at the Co-op:

  • We reduced the number of plastic products carried at the Co-op by 1.3% in the month of July, compared to the month of June.
  • Plastic product sales decreased by 6.3% for the month of July, compared to the month of June.
  • For our Fiscal Year of 2022, we have reduced the number of plastic products carried by 12% compared to FY 2021.
  • For our Fiscal Year of 2022, plastic product sales have decreased by 3.3% compared to FY 2021.

 While Plastic Free July is over, for many, the journey of reducing plastic waste is just beginning. Research shows that 87% of participants made one or more changes that have become new habits and a way of life.

The Davis Food Co-op encourages you to try something new and stick to it beyond Plastic Free July. With some minor lifestyle changes, we can make a bigger collective difference than we think.

 

Resources to continue plastic-reducing habits:

Co-op Owner waste reduction tips

Plastic Free Tour of the Co-op 

 

If you have any suggestions or feedback on how we can reduce our plastic consumption at the Co-op, please fill out a Suggestion Form

 

 

 

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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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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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