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

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

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,

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 and would be happy to share his spreadsheet with you if you wish to start the journey to rainwater usage.