Blog Archive

A blog can be a place to express a first-person narrative about something related to the main purpose or mission of the web site, without being part of the official content. Currently, in mid-May, 2016, the role of web site editor has a volunteer Member-Owner (MO) doing most of the work to maintain the web site. I am not a member of the Board of Directors, but I work closely with members of the BoD, hoping thereby to accurately reflect their policies and attitudes. At the same time, I am looking for ways to persuade more member-owners to get involved by contributing to the web site. We are preparing to enter the next phase of our grocery store development. We will choose a site, we will hire a General Manager, and we will undertake the capital campaign, though not necessarily in that order. No time frame has been established, but with every passing day we’re getting closer. There will be much work for we who are volunteer MOs. For example, we can contribute photographs and illustrations, write articles, and maybe even take on responsibility for a page on the web site.

 

We humans are all making it up as we go along. Earth has no operating manual. If we truly have freedom, we can invent the future. We need to tell stories. We need to share our vision of the future of a better world which will support life and remain sustainable for many thousands of years. Many people don’t understand what a co-operative enterprise is. We can explain it in technical terms, but there is nothing like a story, a first-person narrative, to help make it easier for many people to begin to understand what we’re doing. And if we don’t tell our stories, we can be sure that other people will tell their stories, hoping to maintain their investments in the status quo. The food co-op movement and the good food movement are leading the way to a healthier way of living for many people. There is a lot at stake. Naomi Klein put it very well in her most recent book, “This Changes Everything”. If we don’t change the way we do business, the planet will eventually be utterly destroyed. If “maximizing shareholder value” remains the sole criterion by which business decisions are made, Earth will be doomed. An economy based on extraction will last only as long as there remains something to extract. Our natural resources are not infinite. Co-operative businesses offer a better way. Instead of an economy based on extracting natural resources and money, an economy based on co-operation is regenerative, leaving irreplaceable natural resources in the ground, and leaving money in the community who got together to build a co-operative grocery store.

 

If you already understand our purpose in building a co-operative grocery store, please consider looking for ways to tell stories that will explain and give examples, to help educate our community. Until there is widespread understanding of Wild Root Market in our community, we will look like just another grocery store. If we cannot find ways to set our store apart from the rest, we can’t expect people to go out of their way to shop at our store instead of the other stores around here who have begun to offer organically-grown produce, for example. Help us tell our story.

 

Fill out my online form.

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Traditionally, a Blog is a place to express a first-person narrative about something related to the main purpose or mission of the web site, without being part of the official content. For my first foray into the development of this blog page on the Wild Root Market web site, I offer an article I found on Grist.com about restoring the soil. And there was an article in a recent issue of the Racine Journal Times about a Wisconsin farmer who is engaged in restoring the soil on his farm.

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Empty Bowls 2015 was another huge success. We arrived at Festival Hall around 5:30 pm yesterday evening, March 2, and had to drive around looking for a place to park. The hall was crowded, people were waiting in line to choose a bowl, to get their bowls washed, and then to get the first helping of soup.

The atmosphere was at least as happy as it was last year, perhaps even exuberant. There is a very palpable sense of community at Empty Bowls. It’s easy to talk to strangers, and to invite oneself to sit at a table with people you’ve never met before.

The soup was delicious, although we only sampled the vegetarian fare, of which there were several from area restaurants. I had several bowls of potato-rutabaga, and two bowls of tomato bisque, and one bowl of black bean soup.

It’s for a good cause. I like everything about the event, except for one thing: we are asked to get our bowls washed between refills, but the bowl-washing lines were long, which slows down getting refills.

Toward the end of the evening they began to run out of soup, and it’s always the same, everybody likes the vegetarian food, so what’s left at the end is the non-vegetarian fare. But it’s all good. By the time they began to run out, around 6:45 pm, I had already had at least seven bowls of fine soup.

One could go early — the event began at 11 am — to get the first pick of the bowls. We could eat hearty until 2 pm, and then go back at 4 pm and eat and socialize until 7 pm.  But I suppose if everyone lingered, there wouldn’t be enough room for everybody.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event. I heartily recommend it to everyone.

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The secret to richer, carbon-capturing soil? Treat your microbes well.

This article by Nathanael Johnson appeared on Grist.com on June 30.  The story discusses what it takes to give the microbes and bugs in the soil what they need to thrive.

Farmer committed to restoring the land

This recent article reprinted in the Racine Journal Times was written by Allison Geyer of the La Crosse Tribune, about a farmer in Viola, Wisconsin who is restoring the soil on his farm.

It happens that I’m reading Slow Money by Woody Tasch. He writes about, among other things, restoring the soil. If you are concerned about how your food is grown (to put it as succinctly as I can) I highly recommend reading Slow Money. It’s relatively short, at 200 pages, but it is thoughtful, and rich in ideas. I’ve been taking a long time to read it, reading only a few pages each day, like lingering over a delicious meal with friends, savoring every bite. Definitely not a page turner. And that’s the heart of the idea of slow money and slow food, to slow down and do it the way it was always done, up until about half a century ago, when industrial farming began to ascend to what it is today. Industrial farming is depleting the soil in a much shorter time than it took to build the rich humus the European settlers found in North America. These stories show that the trend can be reversed and the soil can be restored to health in just a few years.

David Hewitt, web site volunteer