santa fe community coop

ethical food

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santa fe community coop

a new grocery store that bridges the South and North sides

high quality, affordable food

it’s for everyone!

if you’re ready to join, click SIGN UP

if you want to learn more, click LEARN MORE

Community Gathering, Tuesday, November 26,  5:30 – 7:00

La Farge Branch Library, 1730 Llano Street


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Community Gathering, Sunday, November 10, 5:30 – 7:00


Come learn about the NEW Santa Fe Community Coop

Old Las Vegas Hwy and 285, i25 Exit 290

cafe FINA

We’ll be serving our delicious empanadas and hibiscus ice tea!

Bring your favorite guacamole and win the Coop’s Santa Fe Guacamole Award!

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Birthing A Great Good Place

images-3I invite Members and those who are considering becoming Members to see the cooperative as the birth of a great good place. This “third place”, a sacred space, a fellowship, a coffee shop, perhaps, or an occasional restaurant is where community lives. In The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenberg argues that “third places” – where people can gather, put aside the concerns of work and home, and hang out simply for the pleasures of good company and lively conversation – are the heart of a community’s social vitality and the grassroots of democracy. This is a place where people feel comfortable with one another, where differences in social and cultural backgrounds recede into the background, a place that is frequently framed by good food and easy chairs. This is a place where folks feel comfortable talking with someone they’ve never met before. These spaces heal the isolation many of us feel, the rifts between cultures, generations, and income levels that divide us from ourselves and each other.

Some of the divides in Santa Fe are old divides, divides that have existed for generations and have not been healed. Many of us want our organizations and communities to harness the collaboration and innovation that comes from wide-ranging expertise, diverse experiences, and varied identities. All too often, however, the boundaries are borders— barriers that limit, confine, and lead to wasteful conflicts and counterproductive divides.

Why do some of us feel a sense of isolation? A theory proposed by some scholars is that Americans have an intuitive sense of individualism. In nearly every aspect of our lives we try to assert our independence as we proclaim our desire to be independent. Goodwin, the author of the book titled, “The American Condition” states that the American condition is one of “unfreedom, alienation, and fragmentation” and that condition comes from “the dissolution of community, shared social consciousness, and moral authority”.

In Spanning Boundaries, consultants at the Center for Creative Leadership argue that here are two fundamental, universal, and powerful human forces: the need for differentiation, divergence, and uniqueness and the need for integration, convergence, and belonging. Each of us must establish our own positive identity. A positive identity grows from respect for ourselves; respect for ourselves fosters respect for others. A positive identify allows us to be unique and, at the same time, belong. This is at the core of democracy. For only by respectfully listening to our own inner voice and allowing our voice to be heard, will we learn to respect the other’s voice. We may not fully understand the roots of our isolation, but many of us recognize that boundaries can be limiting and separating. They also may represent frontiers: the location where breakthrough possibilities reside. What explains the difference between limiting borders and limitless frontiers? In a word, leadership, our leadership, leadership that fosters engagement and empowerment. I believe that it is only by participating that we create value. As we create value, real value, our sense of self-worth is bolstered. We become people who are worthy of receiving gifts, the gifts of family, of friends, of our community. The gift of community is the joy we feel when we engage in meaningful civic activity

I come from Brooklyn. Some call it a melting pot, others a mosaic. Whatever it is called, it is a place where peoples of many cultures, generations, and incomes come together and live in close proximity to one another, joyfully, respectfully. Where Chinese Norwegian restaurants and block parties flourish, where people who live in houses that have sheltered many generations of a family’s Brooklyn lineage join with newcomers to host Halloween parties and sing Christmas carols, together. Brooklyn’s eclectic culture allows its residents to cultivate deep personal and social vitality. Santa Fe strives to be such place, but we are divided by the city’s geography, divergent incomes, and patterns of immigration.  Too much is unspoken, too much is unhealed. Let us come together to heal the divide, let’s bridge the North and South sides in a “third place”, a place where all can enjoy the pleasure of good health and the bounty of good food and good fellowship.

Join with me in celebrating the birth of a great good place, the Santa Fe Community Coop.

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Fixing Food Deserts in Santa Fe

Like Tom Philpott of Mother Jones, I believe that community projects like Brooklyn’s Added Value, Oakland’s People’s Grocery, and Boston’s Food Project, will have to play a role in countermanding the food industry’s $4.2 billion marketing effort to sell cheap, profitable food at the expense of people’s health. You have a role to play in Santa Fe. Our new Community Coop will enrich your life and help our community by building a locally owned grocery store with high quality, affordable food for everyone!

Read what Tom has to say about

Supermarkets, Food Deserts, and School Lunch

Fri Apr. 20, 2012 4:00 AM PDT

Supermarkets: part of the solution, or part of the problem? Noodle Pie/Flickr

My colleague Kevin Drum has a good post rounding up recent research on the problem of food deserts—neighborhoods that lack access to large supermarkets and are instead served largely by corner stores.

Food deserts have come under scrutiny as a possible cause of obesity and other diet-related health problems in low-income neighborhoods. But as Kevin shows in his post, there’s no evidence that adding a supermarket to a neighborhood automatically changes people’s diets or improves their health outcomes.

I can’t say I’m surprised. If I don’t know how to swim, it’s highly unlikely that plunking a pool down in my neighborhood will suddenly have me doing laps. If I’m not accustomed to exercise, it’s highly doubtful that sudden access to a state-of-the-art gym is going to turn me into a fitness nut. Daily practices like eating form out of habit, and habits don’t change quickly or easily.

And the food industry has plenty of resources to encourage people to develop habits that engorge its bottom line at the expense of people’s health. In the latest numbers I’ve seen, from 2010, fast-food restaurants alone were spending $4.2 billion per year on marketing—much of it to children (an earlier study pegged the number at $1.6 billion). Fresh-vegetable interests simply can’t compete with that juggernaut.

Moreover, it isn’t as though supermarkets are emporiums of fresh, healthy food. True, a supermarket will offer more abundant and likely fresher produce than, say, a corner store. But produce sections are largely an afterthought—supermarkets mainly profit from selling aisles and aisles of boxed, pre-fab food. I can easily see how someone with a poor diet could switch from shopping at the corner to shopping at at big-box grocer without undergoing much of a diet change.

I agree with Kevin that if we want to improve the American diet, “we need to look elsewhere.” Efforts like Michelle Obama’s push to get Walmart and other big boxes into low-income areas are likely to benefit few but shareholders in those companies.

Where I propose we look first is to the National School Lunch Program, which remains drastically underfunded even after last year’s reauthorization. [See what New Mexico’s  Farm to Table is doing to support healthy school lunches.] I stand by what I wrote two years ago:

School lunches are our society’s most concrete, tangible way of transmitting foodways to rising generations. Sure, we pass on foodways in home kitchens and in our built infrastructure of restaurants/eateries, and well as through advertising; but those are in the private sphere. The public-school cafeteria is where we create a public vision of what the food system should be like. In short, it’s the public contribution to the formation of kids’ eating habits. And the eating habits we develop as kids largely determine the food choices we make as adults. If that weren’t true, the food industry wouldn’t be dropping $1.6 billion every year marketing to kids.

What we’re doing in public-school cafeterias is helping brutalize the palates of today’s children. We’re helping mint literally millions of customers for a food industry that generates tremendous profit selling cheap, abysmal, and ecologically ruinous food. We are helping to shape the food system that we’ll have in 10 years and beyond: a food system that builds health within communities and ecosystems–or one that does the opposite.

But as I emphasized in that piece, transforming the cafeteria alone will not likely transform the food system. The food industry has built up tremendous cultural and economic momentum over decades; having seized control of school lunches is only one facet of its domination over our food culture. I suspect that community-organizing projects—like Brooklyn’s Added Value, Oakland’s People’s Grocery , Boston’s Food Project, and the many other bubbling up across the country—will also have to play a role. Joining the Santa Fe Community Coop will enrich your life and help our community build a locally owned grocery with high quality, affordable food for everyone!


Do I Have to Work? What if . . .

IMG_0021Yes. Working is part of the way we all participate in the life of the cooperative. It’s something to embrace, a chance to connect with friends who share your shift, and a way to meet, greet and get to know  other members of the Coop. It’s fun! It is also an important way we keep food prices low.

When we launch, we will each work two 2 3/4 hour shifts every four weeks. As we grow, we will each have to work less.

There are three ways to fulfill your work requirement.

1. Work a regular shift, two shifts every month

2. Work a flex shift, four shifts every two months – work when you’re available and there are available work slots

3. Hire someone from our list to work your shift

We encourage you to work a regular shift if you’re able as it makes it a lot easier to stock shelves, receive inventory, cut cheese, bag spices, and checkout shoppers. You can always trade shifts or hire someone to work for you if you can’t make it. But remember, the Coop counts on you to work your shift. If you miss a shift, you’ll have to make up two!

There are also three ways to join:

1. Become a regular member

2. Join as a 12X Shop, that is work two shifts and shop 12 times = a great option if you live in Albuquerque, counties North or South of Santa Fe,, or Taos, or if you spend two or three months a year here

3. Join as a regular member with the option to take up to a 6 month leave each year – good for snowbirds and people with second homes

We welcome all! Everyone who wants to join will be able to join. We invite those with disabilities and those who are unable to pay the membership pledge or annual fee, along with those who have special circumstances, to please email or call us. We’ll work out a way for you to join.

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You Own It!

It’s a simple and quite wonderful concept, a cooperative.

urlYou own the coop based on your patronage, how much you shop. At the end of each year, 20% of the profits get returned to you based on dollars spent at the coop, your patronage. This refund is  called a Patronage Dividend or a Patronage Refund. The other 80% is allocated to each Member, also in proportion to your patronage.

Much of the allocated equity will be reinvested in the coop, either by further reducing the price of food or making capital improvements. The rest will be retained as a capital reserve.

As an incorporated Sub-Chapter T Cooperative, once the Coop distributes 20% of its profits, the Coop will not pay any state or federal taxes. Also, you will not need to pay state or local taxes on your refund.

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Buzz About Bees

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Scientists discover what’s killing the bees. Todd Woody @ greenwombat writes:

. . . the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite called Nosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.

Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.

Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.

Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.

“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”

The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying.

“It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” says vanEngelsdorp.

What can we do?  Buzz About Bees has some suggestions.


There is much you can do in your own gardens to help save the bees! Ensure you have flowers and plants in bloom for as long as possible in the garden. Some bee species may come out early, and will be looking for much needed pollen and nectar sources provided by spring bulbs such as daffodils and crocuses. Pussy willow and herbs such as rosemary are also useful. Remember, some bees will continue foraging late into the season too, so try to ensure you include late flowering blooms in your garden, such as winter heathers. Check out the following link (opens new window) featuring calendarised lists of great bee plants.

You could also make efforts to purchase plants, bulbs and seeds free of neonicotinoid and systemic insecticides – more about this below. These pesticides are used widely in Holland, a major supplier to garden centers, grocery multiples and other plant sellers. Why not establish a relationship with a local nursery or grower you can trust, and ask them whether or not they are using these products.  Many conservation charities are asking for a suspension of these pesticides, and for an overhaul of the regulatory system.  As of August 2013, I’m not aware of a full ban on any of these produces – merely some temporary restrictions to some of these chemicals in certain circumstances.  This applies particularly to the EU and you can read more about it here and the global scenario here.

Another option is to purchase your plants, bulbs and seeds from organic suppliers.

Remember too that a supply of water and mud are useful. Some bees, such as Mason bees, use mud for constructing their nests.


When selecting plants for your garden, always remember that simple, old-fashioned varieties are better than highly cultivated ones. Herbs and heathers are generally great for bees, as well as traditional cottage style flowers (and whatever anyone says, they NEVER go out of fashion!).


Plant wildflowers in your garden, or even create a small meadow. There are several ways you could do this:

– allow a patch of lawn to grow, only mowing twice during the year (early and at the end of the season). Wait and see what comes up.

– sow seeds, or buy potted wildflowers (some may be difficult to establish otherwise).

– many grassy areas will not convert easily to meadow, because of resilient grasses that prevent wildflowers establishing themselves. If this is the case for you, sow a wildflower that is parasitic on tough grasses such as Yellow Rattle, which is loved by bees, and will out-compete the grass.

Take a look at these ideas for your lawn, including incorporating wildflowers.


If you want to help save the bees, try natural methods of pest control – such as putting up bird boxes and blasting aphids with water.

Many well-known garden pesticides contain neonicotinoids. The same applies to lawn care products.

The fact is, most insect species are beneficial or harmless.

Neonicotinoid pesticides can remain in the soil for years, and continue to be taken up by the plant (and the bees). Neonicoitinoids include imidacloprid, Acetimacloprid,Clothianidin, Thiacloprid, Thiamethoxam, Dinotefuran and Nitenpyram. To read more, follow this interesting link looking at patents for pesticides and what they reveal, go to this link to look at how neonicotinoids work, and this link about organic gardening.


A bundle of hollow canes could make a home for solitary bees. Some bumblebee species will take up residence in bird boxes, or an upturned plant pot (with holes) provisioned with bedding, and located in a secure, shady area. Take a look at this useful bees nest Q&A.

If you come across a bee nest or swarm, try not to disturb it. If it’s a solitary or bumblebee nest, they only last a season – and be careful not to mistake solitary bees for wasps, as some look alike. Most bees rarely sting unless provoked – see may page about bee sting facts.

Meanwhile, if you are concerned about a swarm or honey bee nest, contact a local beekeeper. Take a look at my information page about bee swarm removal.


Spread the word about the need to help save the bees! This could range from sharing these tips to chatting with your neighbour or giving a talk about bees to your gardening groups.


If you are going to buy honey, buy local honey from a beekeeper you trust who cares about their bees.

See these honey buying tips.


There are lots of ‘Save the Bees’ types of initiatives, from signing petitions to ban suspect pesticides and GMO crops, to asking governments for more funds for positive action into helping bees and pollinators. Participate where you can.

Social media is great for raising awareness.  Why not share these ‘Bee Menus’, or general gardening pages?


Write to your local council or political representative. Tell them about the need to save our bees, and ask them to stop the use of pesticides in public spaces (from parklands to community planting schemes), to plant more bee-friendly plants, and to make space for wildflowers along verges etc.

For further information about how councils can help to prevent bee decline,  see these ideas.


Neonicotinoid and systemic pesticides are used in agriculture on food crops – and these of course, end up on the shelves of supermarkets.

Perhaps now is the time to start growing your own pesticide-free fruit & veg? You’ll be surprised just how many corgettes and green beans you can grow – even in a few pots outside!

If you cannot grow your own, then try to select as much organic produce as you can when you are buying your shopping.

When you spend your cash, you cast a vote.

If you buy at least some organic produce, your purchases, along with those of others, will send a signal to retailers, which will ultimately send a signal to farmers.

It’s as simple as that!

If you want to read more, check out Lisa Law’s Save the Bees Hysterical Historical Parade handout, BUMBLE_beerackƒ

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Santa Fe’s New Social, Economic and Environmental Cooperative Model

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We want to get the word out about our new social, economic, and environmental cooperative model. Bridging the North and South sides of Santa Fe, our new cooperative provides high quality, affordable food to everyone. It brings food & health equity and new farming models together, growing more local food and creating more local jobs in Santa Fe, while preserving our most vulnerable resource, water.

The Coop offers one-stop-shopping for healthy, nutritious, mostly organic and non-GMO, local whenever possible, food; along with nutritional supplements, basic housewares, some hardware, beauty products, and select gourmet. It will be home to a rich and progressive culture where Santa Feans actively participate in improving their own lives and lives of others . . . where we, together, deliver on our commitment to live a life of meaning.

The Coop is family-oriented, with childcare and desks for homework, cooking and nutritional classes, and high quality prepared food for seniors and singles. Built on a solid ecological model, the backbone of the coop is an energy efficient system that optimizes thermal outputs, recycles grey water, deploys solar energy, and uses proven and emerging agricultural technologies in a model, economically and environmentally viable, grocery store replete with high-yield, water-efficient urban farming. Working with La Familia Medical Center, Youthbuild job corp and other community NGO’s we are marshaling our community’s economic and social resources to empower Santa Fe’s growth and health.

The Coop uses a proven business model, the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn, which has been in business for 40 years . . . with whom we have strong and active strategic alliance. Located in a walking community of 73,595, the PSFC is one of the top five independent grocery stores in the country. It is highly efficient, with $6,500 annual sales per square foot compared to Whole Foods’ $777. It has 16,000 working members, and charges 21% mark-up compared with most natural grocers’ mark-up of 65% and more. The Coop saves shoppers 20%-40% on food, selling organic Yukon Golds for $.57 lb and organic leeks for $2.37. They take healthy food to a new level, stocking 85% organic compared to Whole Foods’ 26%. The Coop will launch with a 29% mark-up.

The Coop needs your help. We cannot do this without you. You are the foundation of the cooperative . . . its owners, its cheerleaders, its heart and soul. We encourage you to join and to let your friends know about the Coop so they can join. The Coop needs 400 Founding Members to secure our site and our financing; we will not spend your pledge or move forward until we have 400 Members. By joining now, you will save your first year’s $25 membership fee, and you will have the pleasure of knowing that you have helped make an outstanding contribution to our community, a contribution that delivers on Santa Fe’s promise of citizen engagement, cultural diversity, and ecological stewardship.

To join, click here. If you want to learn more, you will find lots of information on the Coop’s web site and Facebook page. We invite you to attend a community gathering where you can meet Members and newcomers. Our next meeting is Monday, September 23, 5:30 – 7:00, at La Farge Branch Library, 1730 Llano Street.