Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Responsibilities of an Aspiring Post-petroleum Citizenry

Green Transportation
by Jeanne McHale, Co-op Newsletter Volunteer

It would be nice if this month’s Green Transportation column were a laundry list of simple things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of getting around: bike, walk, carpool, etc.  But none of these healthy practices matter in the long run, if Exxon-Mobile and its Canadian subsidiary Imperial Oil are allowed to imperil the planet with their climate-killing mining practices.  The massive Kearl Tar Sands project (250 square miles mined so far, with a possible scope of 54,000 square miles), poses threats to the environment on a geological scale.  In a climate-bashing triple-whammy, this environmental obscenity wastes natural gas to fluidize  a nasty carcinogenic precursor, scrapes off the boreal forest and nullifies its capacity for absorbing CO2, and would ship the end-product to China where it will be subject to fewer regulations when it’s burned. Leaking tailings ponds are fouling the Athabasca River, causing deformed fish and ruining livelihoods.  Rare cancers are inflicting whole families of people who live near the tar sands.
               Earlier this year, Big Oil had its slimy tentacles stretched toward the scenic Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers.  Now the loads, which were earlier deemed to be “impossible to reduce in size,” have been sliced lengthwise to fit under freeway overpasses, and these stubby behemoths have the green light from the Idaho Department of Imperial Oil Transportation (I.D.I.O.T.) to pound Highway 95 on their way north to the ecological freak show. 

            The night of Aug. 25, six brave Moscow citizens were arrested and hundreds more protested the passage of a half-height Exxon-Mobile megaload. Since then, a handful of additional loads bound for Alberta have been met by robust gatherings of resistors. At least 60 more stubby megaloads are idling in Lewiston while B.O. and I.D.I.O.T. rework their travel plan to try to minimize opportunities for free speech, much of which has been expressed within blocks of our food co-op. 
            Biking and walking are small contributions made by individuals.  Massive social change to prevent dire environmental consequences, on the other hand, requires a lot of people acting together to affect policy. Come downtown and participate in peaceful demonstrations against megaload madness.   Reject Moscow’s participation in genocide and climate change.    

                Jeanne McHale thanks the members of Wild Idaho Rising Tide for their hard work and recommends friending them on Facebook to keep abreast of tar sands resistance work.   

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Sustainability Review – Rainwater Geometry

By Mike Forbes, Co-op Volunteer Writer

I’ve written about rainwater systems for several years now, specifically about our experience with installing, filtering, and using it.  I’ve received many questions in that time regarding everything about our system.  There is one question that keeps rearing its head.  How much water can I collect off of my roof?

I remember doing the calculations years ago and quickly realized that in our circumstance that we would have more water falling on our roof than we could easily store.  Storage became our issue but for you it might not be since our roof is rather large.  My point in writing this is that it’s important to know what your water capture potential is and design your storage and useage accordingly.  I’m not going to go through any of the techniques or roof materials of rainwater collection as I’ve done that in the past, this article is purely theoretical.  Previous articles can be found on the Co-op website or from me directly.

Let’s walk through the math with an imaginary 20’ x 20’ small house.  Time to put on your high school geometry thinking cap. The most important thing here is to visualize the roof area that the rain is falling on, not the length of the roof line. The slope of the roof isn’t important here. The dimensions we are looking for are the lengths of the walls plus any overhang, ultimately the total roof area that the rain will see.  With our house we have a 20’ x 20’ roof giving us an area of 400 sq. ft.

Next we need to know how much rain comes out of the sky.  Where do you find this data? www.weatherbase.com.  There are various sites out there with specific data for a location but this one is a simple to use and easy to decipher.  Many other sources require you to dig a bit and don’t give a good overview.  Simply input your zip code and scroll down to Average Precipitation.  For Moscow, Idaho this is 23.7 inches. 

Imagine a roof of 400 square feet with 23.7 inches (1.97 feet) of water sitting on top of it.  This is our potential rain resource.  In order to get to something we understand better we must convert to gallons.  To do this, we must convert those numbers to a volume like cubic feet by multiplying our area by the depth of water.  Everything must be in feet to do this so the equation looks like this:  Area (in square feet) x depth (in feet) = cubic feet.  Our example: 400 square feet x 1.97 feet = 788 cubic feet.

Now we can convert this cubic foot measurement to gallons.  Looking this up we find that there are 7.48 gallons per cubic foot.  Multiplying we get a grand total of 5,894 gallons falling on our roof. This is a lot more than most people can easily store and this is for a small roof.   

What do we do with this number? We start the design process of storage and useage.  In our next article we’ll talk about the design process and walk through the steps.  I’ve created a spreadsheet that looks at monthly rainfall and useage to assist in this process.
I think it is common to think we live in a dry area and that rainfall isn’t a significant source of water for us on the Palouse.  The math doesn’t lie and it will become quite apparent after doing the math that we do have a good resource by which we can offset our use of precious groundwater.

Mike enjoyed the cool summer and can be reached at mike@technicalrescue.net.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Has been hot Green Transportation: Jim LaFortune and the MAMBA Challenge

By Jeanne McHale, Co-op Volunteer Writer
This column is written with a divided heart.  It features a man who left a wonderful legacy of trails enjoyed by hikers, bikers and skiers on Moscow Mountain.  In his 51 years, Jim LaFortune had more fun outdoors than three normal people. I am obliged to tell you about his generosity and the continuation of his trail-building work, and yet I want you to keep it secret. A web of well-maintained trails laces Moscow Mountain, accessible from Foothill or Moscow Mt. Rd. and roughly centered at Four Corners.   The trails are the work of Moscow Area Mountain Bike Association, with co-operation from Bennett Lumber and private landowners. Moscow cyclists love these trails and drive their cars to use them. How do I work that into a column about Green Transportation?

In the early 90s Jim and Kathie LaFortune were new to the area. Jim and his dog Bones began to explore Moscow Mountain looking for trails. In those days, the land was littered with shotgun shells and beer cans. The first trail Jim and friends cleared was North Contour in 1991, now a 1 mile “beginner” run. Soon he was collecting money for trail-building tools and developing a partnership with Bennett. Thanks to this groundwork, cyclists are now seen as good stewards of the mountain, and so is Bennett lumber.  But Kathie says Jim’s devotion to carving these trails was really a selfish act.  “He realized that Moscow was going to be his home for quite a while and needed a place to ride.”

The popular Headwaters Trail makes a roly-poly loop above Pond 9 on the west side. Its meandering switchbacks suggest a trail built for entertainment rather than transportation. Some of the trails are obscenely difficult to bike. The ridge road, which I used to climb on my road bike, is tame compared to Deep Vee.  I wonder if I could ever be as good a biker as Jim was, even in the last few months of his too-short life. I can’t handle the black diamonds on MAMBA trails, but I’m not scared of a little gravel and regularly cycle-commute from our home near the west parking area to town.  

I would like to thank the 500 or so MAMBA members who maintain the trails for all to enjoy.  

If you’d like to help, meet at Rosauers at 8:45 am on Aug. 6 or 27, bringing water, snacks, and gloves.   I would also like to issue this Green Transportation challenge.  Consider designating Foothill Road one of the official trails, call it “Washboard,” and letting your Moscow Mountain adventure begin right in your driveway.

Jeanne McHale looks forward to circumnavigating the wild Weitas Roadless area by bicycle on her upcoming vacation.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Green Transportation- The Thermodynamics of Bicycle Commuting

Jeanne McHale, Newsletter Volunteer

            Bicycling is an extremely efficient form of transportation.  A typical cyclist burns about 400 calories per hour, less than is required for swimming, jogging, or cross-country skiing.  Those calories must be replenished, or cyclists would literally vanish into the sunset.  In this column, I consider the energy cost of bicycle transportation as opposed to driving a personal vehicle.  You may find some of this data rather shocking, but please read on before you make out your shopping list.

             Food calories as a unit of energy are actually kilocalories (kcal). When converted to units of kilojoules (kJ), they must be multiplied by 4,184.  So the apple I just munched, nominally 80 calories, provided me with 335 kJ of energy.  But the apple didn’t grow in my yard, it had to be transported.  Agriculture accounts for a considerable portion of our fossil fuel consumption.  According to Barbara Kingsolver, author of “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” a typical food item travels 1,500 miles to reach your dinner plate, and the average American’s food consumption accounts for about 400 gallons of oil per year.  My husband and I rack up about 3,000 mile per year on our Toyota, which translates to about 100 gallons of gas per year.  Yikes, could we be burning more oil by eating then by driving?

            Let’s look at this more closely.  As often as I can, I commute to work on my bicycle, a 32 mile round trip.  This takes me about two and half hours, consuming about 1,000 food calories or 4,200 kJ. The same trip in my car would burn a gallon of gas, which provides about 125,000 kJ, based on the heat of combustion of isooctane. This is 30 times as much energy as that required to fuel the engine of my bike, which burns “fat” instead of “oil.”   Sounds better to bike, right? But according to Kingsolver, each food calorie consumed requires dozens or even hundreds of calories from fossil fuel to raise, market, and transport it.  So unless I make local food choices, replenishing those food calories spent cycling could actually increase rather than decrease my fossil fuel consumption!

            The solution to the problem is to cycle and eat locally.  The Co-op, the Growers Market, and the Moscow Farmer’s Market provide many tasty alternatives to petroleum-intensive food products.  Food tastes so much better when it’s been raised locally and even better after an appetite-stimulating bike ride.  See you on the trail.

Green Transportation is written by Jeanne McHale, who notes that her own efforts to grow food this Spring have required petroleum input in the form of polyethylene sheets to protect seedlings from frost.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Sustainability Review - The Hay Box

By Mike Forbes, Co-op Volunteer Writer

When you cook food much of the heat energy from your stove is used to overcome heat loss from your food to it’s surroundings.  Couldn’t we insulate our food so heat isn’t lost as rapidly thereby using less energy to cook it? Definitely.

Rice. Theoretically, once the rice boils the heat energy needed to complete cooking is present.  The heat leaves the rice because the food is insulated poorly. We overcome this loss by turning the burner down low and simmering it for 30-40 minutes, wasting electricity or fuel. 

What if we boiled the rice and then quickly put it in an insulated box where the heat energy couldn’t escape and the rice would then finish cooking? 

The catch is building a box that heat can’t escape from. What I’ve done successfully for years is build various insulated boxes from commonly available items.

I use them primarily for keeping food hot for a LONG period of time and cooking beans, millet and quinoa.  I’ve also been known to use it for steeping grains and preparing yeast in the beer making process…  If I put a hot food into the box I can pull it out 2-4 hours later still piping hot.

The trick to maximizing efficiency is to build a box that has as little air in it as possible with the largest pot you expect to use. My boxes are built from rigid foam insulation with a radiant barrier (shiny aluminum coating toward the inside).  I glue them together with hobby glue or foam adhesive (Natural Abode and MBS both carry non-toxic, low VOC glues that work well).  I put little strips of wood on the inside bottom to keep the hot pots directly off the insulation.  The door is just a rectangle of foam that wedge fits into the box. It is critical to make the door tight fitting, if you put a slight bevel to the door it will create a much better seal.  Using a table saw to make your cuts makes the process very easy and accurate.  Options for dressing up your box cosmetically are endless.  I typically wrap them in wood to make them more visually appealing but for years had a silver box wrapped in duct tape sitting on top my refrigerator.

If you build the box to your largest pot you can still use smaller pots with good success if you add more thermal mass to the box.  I found that filling small jars with hot water works well to eliminate these air spaces.

Currently we are planning on converting one of our kitchen cabinets into a haybox.  We’ll incorporate insulation into the door with the taper fit foam as mentioned earlier.   It is my understanding that this concept is old and that traditionally hay was used in the boxes as insulation, hence the name hay box.

Mike welcomes questions.  He can be reached at mike@technicalrescue.net.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Green Transportation

By Jeanne McHale

Not In My Backyard –Un-green transportation in the Pacific Northwest

             Lately I’ve been thinking about the size of the proverbial backyard. Our planet is small and easily perturbed by our energy dependencies.  A careless decision creates an oil slick visible from space.  A nuclear reactor survives an earthquake, but not the tsunami.  Politicians permit the conversion of scenic byways into industrial corridors, and our neighbors to the north find their drinking water polluted.  

            Highway 12 skirts the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers in parallel to the Nez Perce Historic Trail and the path of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Throngs of visitors find solace in the syringa and soaring eagles here.  Part of the proposed route from Lewiston to the tar sands of Canada, Route 12 also parallels the TransAmerica Bike Trail. This popular bike route follows the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway on route to Missoula, the headquarters for Adventure Cycling.
Outspoken critics of the industrialization of Idaho and Montana bike routes, Adventure Cycling grew from an idealistic bicycle tour of the US that took place in 1976.  We could use a little of that bicentennial spirit these days.     

            At the Alberta tar sands, two tons of earth are excavated to get one barrel of tar. Pollution associated with the bitumen extraction process has led to increased cancer rates among First Nations people. Gooey tailings ponds are death traps for wildlife.  Clean natural gas is being burned to make the dirty tar, and a criminal amount of CO2 is being released.  Making the equation even worse, a huge swath of the CO2-absorbing boreal forest has been clearcut. Our governor, who recently told Congress that Idahoans don’t care much for wilderness, made us an unwitting partner to this planet-wrecking project by secretly approving the corporate takeover of Idaho roads by Big Oil.

            On March 20, a group of Nez Perce and non-tribal members from our backyard gathered in Kamiah for the Heart of the Monster Solidarity March, a show of unity for the First Nations people of Canada who are impacted by the Tar Sands.  At the Nez Perce National Historic Park, we gathered to hear an elder’s prayer, and people spoke of their local and global concerns. The struggle straddles numerous cultural divides: cyclists, fisherman and women, tour guides, and all who are spiritually connected to the land.  Not in our backyard, not in anybody’s backyard.

Green Transportation is written by Jeanne McHale, a lifetime member of Adventure Cycling and a veteran of the Northwest Passage Route. 

GM Search Update

By Andrika Kuhle

And the search continues…………….. The search committee is hard at work, with little exciting news to report. We are getting the word out that Moscow Food Co-op is hiring a new GM. We’ve posted announcements in numerous venues such as our local and regional newspapers, and organizations such as Tilth Producers, Sustainable Food Jobs and Cooperative Grocers’ Information Network. Do you know of a strong candidate that you would like to nominate? If so, please let the search committee know by sending an email to search@moscowfood.coop. We will begin screening applicants April 18. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Sustainability Review – LED and Dimmable Efficient Lighting

By Mike Forbes, Co-op volunteer writer

I’ve owned every sort of efficient lighting that has existed in the recent past. Always I am searching for a dimmable light bulb that closely emulates the standard incandescent light but offers lower energy use. Recently there have been large improvements in design that make these bulbs worth looking at but still there are issues. In this article I’ll talk about what is readily available and my perception of the technology.

First, LED lighting is making a step into lighting market. Until recently LED lights cast a very blue light and were very expensive ($50-$100/bulb). The advantage they have is the lowest energy use and ridiculously long life (50,000 hours+, that’s 5-1/2 years of continuous 24hr/day use). They currently cost approximately $18/bulb and use about ½ the power a compact fluorescent (CFL) does and 80% less than an incandescent. As a bonus, many are dimmable and are not affected by the cold as CFLs can be.

Let’s talk dimming. Incandescent bulbs are known for their smooth dimming, where as CFL and LED bulbs tend to be a bit more “jerky” in their dimming. This is due to the CFL & LED using electronics to control the light output. Older CFLs were horrible at dimming, they’d buzz loudly and cast a purplish, cold light unless they were on full. There is talk out there that you need a special dimmer for CFL/LED bulbs yet Consumer Reports did some testing on this with various bulbs and found no difference in performance.

The newer CFLs don’t buzz as much and dim much smoother but still don’t provide that infinite adjustment that the incandescent does. The light quality is good however on the whiter side. It is common to have the typical warm-up time that most CFLs have in varying degrees, gone is the startup flicker.

I purchased several LED dimmable bulbs and found them to behave and look very similar. There was a slight buzz, noticeable only when your head was next to the lamp, and they exhibited some of the jerky dimming but easily adjustable to various levels. The biggest drawback is that they don’t provide the warm, glow of the incandescent even thought the package claims to provide that color (soft white). I found the color of the bulb to be very cold, similar to the daylight bulbs out there.

Are they worth it? If you are concerned about energy use then you cannot beat the LED. If you are more concerned about nice, warm ambiance of a dimly lit room you might want to pass at this time. If I were looking for lights in my office, workroom, or any place I wanted a good, bright worklight, I’d definitely consider the LED lights. I think you’ll continue to see the price of these lights drop in the near future.

Mike welcomes questions and can be reached at mike@technicalrescue.net

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How many things can we do with old newspapers?

“How many?”
By Miriam Kent, pre-cycling czaress

How many things can we do with old newspapers?
· Line the bottom of a bird cage.
· Twist them into “logs” for the fireplace.
· Rip them in to strips for paper mache.
· Wrap breakables when you move.
· Use the colorful funnies to wrap a gift.
· Protect the table for arts and crafts projects.
· Use them with a hot iron to absorb spilled wax from the rug.
· Fold a paper hat for your grandchild.
· If the ink is soy-based, use it to mulch your garden.
· Line cardboard boxes for storing fruits and veggies.

That’s ten, number eleven is your job.

March 2011 Suggestion Box

Dana was my cashier today. He was very meticulous with the bagging. He was friendly and professional. What a treat! – Mercedes

Thank you for your kind comments. We are certainly lucky to have Dana be part of the Front End Team. Annie H, Front End Manager

Gluten-free lasagna noodles, please!!! Anonymous

They are located on the bottom shelf in the pasta section of aisle one. We have two brands of rice lasagna noodles to choose from. Julie, Grocery Buyer

For the second time after I’ve identified a product that you sell cheaper than other stores YOU TURN AROUND AND JACK THE PRICE WTF - Eric

We set our prices by what we pay for products. Oftentimes we can offer lower prices on items, but when the manufacturer raises their prices, it necessitates that we follow suit to stay in business. Joan, Grocery Manager

Please resume carrying Green & Black Cocoa for baking – the powdered kind. It makes the best hot chocolate & baked goods. G&B Chocolate has a varietal taste like coffee beans or wine. Jaqueline

That product is located in the baking section of aisle two. We too enjoy it and plan to continue carrying it. Julie

Katie gave me excellent customer service. – Sridurga
Thank you for the comment. I too am proud of the Front End Team and Katie in particular. Annie H

Please always have at least one brand of org. coffee on sale. This has been the case until recently. Anonymous

When our sales specials went to a twice monthly cycle, the Equal Exchange coffee was affected by this change. We have worked with them and will happily be able to offer one EE coffee at a sale price every month. Seth, Bulk Buyer

I would like to know if you would go back to carrying (1) Israeli paprika (it is fabulous) (2) mayonnaise with wasabi (I bought some about a month ago and now there is none!!) Cynthia

The Israeli paprika is available in the spice jars in the bulk department. Unfortunately the wasabi mayonnaise was discontinued by the manufacturer. Julie

Can you carry “Cravens” brand gluten free products. They are the best I have ever eaten. Thanks. – Polly

We now carry 3 varieties of The Craving Place gluten free baking products in the baking section. We hope these suit your needs. Julie

Need more de-caf coffee choices. Ernest

We offer 5 varieties of de-caf coffee from 4 different roasters. Is there a blend in particular that you are looking for that we don’t carry? Seth, Bulk Buyer

I was just wondering if you could sell the Reeds ginger chews that the deli gives with your fantastic sandwiches? The ginger chews you can buy in bulk hold no contest to the Reeds! Thanks so much. Kenzie

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The Reeds ginger chews are now available in the bulk bin. Seth

Kenna's Party

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Breakfast with the Board January 22, 2011

What would you like to see in your Co-op’s next GM?
Responses compiled by Christine Locker, BOD admin. asst., boardadmin@moscowfood.coop

What would you like to see in your Co-op’s next GM?

· Maintain product consistency and variety

· Entrepreneurial and personal connection to the community

· Continue the salad bar

· Looking ahead

· Firm but not in an abrasive manner

· Enthusiastic/can attitude; expresses self positively when saying no

· Communicate clearly, thoughtfully, and incrementally regarding changes

· Maintain a good relationship with management, staff, customers, and community

· Open-mindedness

· Willing to be an enthusiastic leader

· Try new things

· I would like to see a GM with a vision for greater sustainability here in Moscow.

· Restoration projects

· Having a champion that would inspire change

· Someone who is good at bringing out the best in others and who can help other managers work together in a generous and cooperative way

· Open to, and willing to listen to, all opposing ideas

· Promote from within; if not from within, then somebody local or at least from the Pacific NW

· Open to constructive advice

· Humility

· Friendly

· Easy to approach

· Knowledgeable about products

Please list or describe qualities Kenna has that you would like us to retain in a new GM.

· Pragmatic

· Female

· Savvy

· Thick skin

· Community involvement

· Outgoing nature

· Cuteness

· Works in the front end

· Energetic

· Passionate

· Committed to mission of the Co-op

· Cares for the Co-op

· Friendly (x4)

· Positive attitude

· Resilience

· Dedicated

· Dependable

· Cooperative

· Easy-going

· Problem solving

· Patient

· Open-minded

· British accent (though not a deal breaker)

· Willingness to try new things

· Communicates with staff

· Reviews prices to meet the economy

Please let us know any other information or concerns you have about the GM search process.

· Don’t want a short-term GM

· GMs with long established patterns (otherwise may try to change the Co-op unnecessarily)

· The Co-op naturally resists change, so a good persuader may be needed to tackle divisive issues.

· Please hire from within the Co-op. If there aren’t any current Co-op managers qualified to take Kenna’s place, then have Kenna start training them or offer to pay for management classes. For continuity’s sake, I’d prefer a current or past MFC employee to become our new GM. (And thanks to Kenna for helping to transform the Co-op from the size of a 7-11 to a full grocery store, and good luck in Washington!)

Carol Price Spurling
Outreach and Ownership Coordinator

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

GM Search Committee Weekly Summaries

Moscow Food Co-op

Week of Jan. 11, 2011:
• Communications: The committee chair will provide monthly updates in the newsletter that focus on process, not specific content such as candidate names, in order to respect confidentiality of applicants. After each meeting, a committee member will come up with bulleted points of interest; this information will be posted on the BOD board, on the website, and in the bi-weekly staff newsletter.

• The group developed a committee charter, to explicitly detail responsibilities and commitment to appropriate confidentiality.

• GM Job Description: There is nobody better to write the GM job description than the GM herself because nobody knows it better. The search committee will solicit input from Kenna regarding a job description. The BOD may need to make some changes. A discussion of the importance of job qualifications versus personal qualities then followed. The group will also solicit feedback from staff about GM qualifications. Will also get input from membership via Breakfast with the Board.

• Hiring Timeline/Job Descriptions: The committee would like to have the first box of the timeline, including the job description, completed by the February BOD meeting (on the 8th). The sample job description in the toolbox is a good place to start; focus on the minimum and preferred requirements, as well as knowledge and skills. It is best to limit minimum qualifications to a few yes/no questions; preferred qualifications can be ranked by priority. Management should be included in the process. Will solicit input from membership via Breakfast with the Board.

• January 19th –Fill out qualification worksheets; read job description in consultant packet and think about how we want to make it our own
• January 24th – Create job description & summary by next BOD meeting OR second week of February
• January 31st – Timeline and budget
• February 8th – Take it to the BOD for approval

Week of Jan. 18, 2011
• The committee looked at input from Kenna regarding the GM Job Summary. The job description itself is the governance policies. The qualifications can be listed in the summary. The committee will also have to decide what information they want from potential candidates – a complete resume, names and phone numbers of all supervisors, as well as people who worked with and under them, etc.

• Timeline: The committee hopes to have a GM in place within the next 3-6 months, but experience shows that it may take longer than that. The membership will be kept regularly up to date on the process in order to keep them from becoming frustrated.

Week of Jan 25, 2011
• We were in contact with our NCGA consultant. She stressed that formulating clear and specific qualifications is crucial so as to prevent struggles near the end of the GM hiring process. It also helps design intelligent interview questions and prevents subjectivity.

• GM Job Description: The committee discussed the results of the GM qualifications worksheet and decided that it will be easiest to have a few minimum requirements with a longer list of prioritized preferred qualifications. The “soft” qualities, which are hardest to evaluate are very important, and dominate the highly desired qualities.

Week of Jan. 31, 2011
• We discussed Highly Desired Qualifications at length.
o We will keep the Required Qualifications to a minimum, and have many “Highly Desired Qualifications”, most of which relate to character, effective and cooperative management style, and systems thinking.
o We will group our highly desired qualifications into four categories, including Cooperative Principles, Critical Thinking, Interpersonal Skills, and Operational Skills.
• We will solicit board feedback and approval in early February.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Green Transportation

City of Moscow to Have an Intermodal Transportation Center
By Jeanne McHale, Newsletter Volunteer

The perils of big oil have been hitting pretty close to home lately. The idling megaloads poised in the Port of Lewiston right now show that you don’t have to live along the Gulf Coast to be impacted by the wealthiest corporations in the world. None of us are immune to the environmental consequences of oil addiction. What can an individual living in Moscow do to reduce this dependency?

You can ride the bus instead of driving. Yes, Moscow has busses that can take you where you need to go locally and regionally, and you may be surprised at the low-cost and no-cost transportation options we have in our community. In a move that should enable travelers to take better advantage of these options, the City of Moscow is making plans to build an Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC). This facility will serve as a base of operations for local and regional transit providers and providing a link for pedestrians and cyclists. The ITC will be a hub for routes provided by Moscow Valley Transit, the Moscow-Pullman commuter bus, the Vandal Access Shuttle which traverses the UI campus, and Northwest Stage Lines which runs the Greyhound bus connecting Moscow to Lewiston, Spokane, and Boise. Though the site for the ITC has yet to be determined, I’m pleased to note that one of the selection criteria is “ease and safety of site access by pedestrian and bike transit users.” Covered bike parking is planned, and many of the transit providers that will use the ITC offer bike racks for riders.
The Moscow Valley Transit buses are an example. You can ride the MVT bus for free, thanks to federal funding. There are two fixed routes both of which originate at the SUB on the UI campus. The west route gets you to the Palouse Mall, Gritman Hospital, and downtown Moscow. The east route includes stops at City Hall, the 1912 Center, Latah Fairgrounds, and Eastside Marketplace.
The free Vandal Access Shuttle is a dedicated disability shuttle, though anyone can ride. It operates weekdays from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM and is 5% biodiesel-powered. It has room for 10-12 passengers and two wheelchairs. The shuttles lack bike racks.
The Moscow-Pullman commuter bus connects the UI and WSU campuses, except on weekends, during the summer, and evenings. If you (and your bike) want to take the bus between Moscow and Pullman, you will need a mere $2 each way unless you’re a UI or WSU student, in which case it’s free. But you better hurry. Hatchet-wielding administrators at both universities are constantly threatening to discontinue funding for the commuter bus.
The ITC will also be used by the City of Moscow Van Pool and the MVT bus that connects Moscow to Elk River one day a week. What is missing in all of this? Obviously, service on nights and weekends would greatly enhance intermodal transportation options. Maybe if more of us would take advantage of these transit options, the hours of service would be extended. Let’s make that a goal.

Jeanne McHale is excited about her new newsletter assignment. Stay tuned for more tips on Green Transportation.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

GMO and PLU code

With the rise of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - particularly soy, corn, and tomatoes - here's how to know what you're really getting in the produce aisle: Start by looking at the PLU code. GMO fruit PLU codes have numbers that begin with the number 8, whereas organically grown fruit PLUs have five numbers beginning with 9. Non-GMO, non-organic fruit PLUs have only four numbers. - from deliciousliving.com

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Search for a new General Manager

Dear Moscow Food Co-Op Members,

As the news of Kenna's departure has settled in, and we have all grappled with our own sense of loss and yet excitement for Kenna, you may be wondering what's next?

The board of directors established a search committee that consists of four board members and a staff person. We are committed to hiring an excellent GM, and although we will never be able to replace Kenna, we are optimistic that we can find a person that brings the right heart, philosophy and skills to the position. Kenna is leaving behind a very large pair of shoes to fill, and we hope to cast a wide net that allows us to consider candidates from near and far, and with varying skill sets. We hope to conduct a search in a timely fashion, but there will be an interim period without a GM, and we are completely confident that our interim GM Team, Theresa Nuhn, Joan McDougall and Deb Reynolds, will carry everyone through the transition smoothly.

The search committee comprises Andrika Kuhle, Theresa Nuhn, Kimberly Vincent, Donal Wilkinson and Sheryl Hagen-Zakarison. This group is diverse, has varying degrees of experience with search committees, and will provide stability through the next board election. We also intend to draw on expertise provided by the National Cooperative Growers Association.

The committee will meet weekly, beginning January 10. Our first order of business will be to develop a timeline for the search process and a job description. We'll keep members informed of our efforts with posts on the MFC website, the Board bulletin board in the store, and our monthly newsletter. If you have questions or want to provide input, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the group at search@moscowfood.coop.

We intend to make the process as transparent as possible, and of course, our goal is to hire an excellent GM.

In cooperation,
Andrika Kuhle
GM Search Committee Chairperson

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Co-op blood donors are the best

by Carol Spurling, outreach and ownership coordinator, outreach@moscowfood.coop

The Inland Northwest Blood Center recently congratulated the Moscow Food Co-op for having the largest blood drives in 2010. Plus, we had an increase of almost 48 percent in blood collected compared to the year before. Congratulations and a huge thank you to everyone who donates blood at the Moscow Food Co-op.

Altogether we had five blood drives, and collected 121 units of blood. Let's keep up the good work, and double our collected units in 2011!

Comment Card Responses February 2011

Written by, Annie Pollard, kitchen manager
February 2011

The beard guards are ridiculous, humiliating, and obviously discriminating and one more sign that our Co-op has adopted a full on corporate philosophy. At least make all men in every department wear them- and to be extra safe everyone’s hair ought to be in hair nets too. Extremely disappointing to see the Co-op adopt this policy.

Requiring kitchen staff to wear beard covers seems an inappropriately strong action. It is extremely off-putting, a waste of resources and must be physically and emotionally uncomfortable for staff. Clean and well groomed is good- this is too much.

The beard net requirement is mandated by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for all staff who prepare or work with food.

Hi, just wondering if the deli could make more pizza rolls. My son loves them in his lunch, but they are usually not available during the times of day I am at the Co-op. We would even buy day old pizza rolls if they were available because they keep well. Thanks for considering.

Thank you for your feedback. The pizza rolls are freshly made each morning and are generally regarded as a lunch item, so we make just enough to last through the lunch hours. We’ve recently increased our production in hopes of having them available later in the afternoon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Moscow Food Co-op is putting on a Local Farmer Mixer this Friday Jan. 14th to celebrate an great year of increased local goods (purchases and sales). If you would like to let our producers know what you would like to purchase on shelves around the Palouse, please take a few minutes and fill out the Local Goods Survey. We are sharing the results at the Mixer and the more community members we have that voice their opinion the better. Please spread the word, and thanks for supporting local.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Sustainability Review – Rainwater Calculations

By Mike Forbes, Co-op Volunteer Writer

Break out your thinking caps, actually just your middle school math skills for this month’s article. We are going to figure out your actual water usage and see if rainwater can supply your household needs (or agricultural needs).

One realistic caveat to supplying your house with rainwater, you must be committed to using water wisely and installing efficient water using appliances in your home.  This doesn’t mean living like you are on a boat but it does mean buying low flush toilets (dual flush preferably), low flow showerheads and faucets, a modern dishwasher, and a front loading clothes washer.  It also entails using those appliances wisely. No expectation of 2 minute lather/rinse shower is being made just not the 30 minute shower experience or daily 60 gallon bath.

Our goal is to find out how much water we use per day on average (we’ll put a fudge factor in at the end to cover unexpected extra use). First we need to make a list of all the water-using devices in your home and how much water they use measured by use or time.  I created a spreadsheet for this that helped dramatically with the calculations.  Let’s look at your shower as an example.  On the showerhead there is most likely going to be a marking that shows the flow rate in gallons per minute or gpm.  Ours is 1.5 gpm.  For every minute our shower is on 1.5 gallons are coming out of it.  If I take a 10 minute shower I can conclude that 15 gallons of water were used (10 min x 1.5 gpm = 15 gallons).  Many appliances it isn’t that simple.  Let’s take the dishwasher for example.  In the owner’s manual there is probably a table that shows water consumption per load for each different cycle.  This is the number you are looking for.  Some dishwashers adjust the water based on how dirty the dishes are so I’d use the higher number to be safe.  If there isn’t a number you can test the usage by running the appliance and capturing the water in buckets and measuring the discharge.  Not the most convenient of methods but it does work and I’ve found the published numbers to be remarkably close to my tests.

Once you know the water usages for all devices you’ll need to make some estimates as to how often you use them.  I would recommend erring on the high side but also keep it realistic.  You could even track your usage before making this calculation on a notepad for several days or weeks.  The longer you track your usage the more accurate the number.  For example, I estimated that each person in our household will flush the toilet 4 times on the #1 flush (.8 gpm) and 2 times on the #2 flush (1.6 gpm).  Doing the math I get (4 flushes x .8 gpm) + (2 flushes x 1.6 gpm) = 3.2 gal + 3.2 gal which totals to 6.4 gal/person/day.  For the four of us our total toilet water use equals 25.6 gal/day.  This is probably high and over the years I’ve found it to be but for estimations sake it is a safe figure to use.  Do this for each device and you’ll get a total water use per day for your household. To account for waste, guests, and unexpected water use I add 10-20% to this number to get my daily household water use figure.  Hopefully you’ll find that your daily usage is much lower than the US average at 80-100 gallons per person. 

All of these calculations above refer to using rainwater for indoor domestic water use.  There is no reason why these calculations can’t be used in the garden.  Drip systems are generally rated in gpm per dripper and water meters can be purchased affordably to measure total water flow through a sprinkler system.

Once we have obtained our daily water usage we can then come together with our expected annual rainfall figure we estimated in the September article.  With these two numbers in hand we’ll start the discussion on water storage.  It however will have to wait until January.

Mike is can be reached at mike@technicalrescue.net and would be happy to share his spreadsheet with you if you wish to start the journey to rainwater usage.