Tips to Stay Safe and Limit Waste
By Mahlea Rasmussen, Education Coordinator
Inspired by Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home
We are in uncertain times and some of you may be second-guessing some of your zero waste practices and replacing them with safety measures for you and your family. I was proud not to have chemical cleaners in my home and never used plastic gloves - but now those products are being suggested for staying clean and safe. Here are some tips to keep your home safe while working towards more sustainability.
Switch to on-line banking and billing as common practice
Most companies have switched to online methods for billing and banking. Take advantage of these services to limit your contact with outside materials that could be contaminated.
Zero Waste Home, p. 176
You can also go to the following websites to stop some mail from cluttering up your mailbox and limit your contact with outside materials entering your home:
Stop direct mail
Stop credit card and insurance offers
Zero Waste Home, p. 173
Turn off the TV and digital media
In these times of isolation and quarantine, it is easy to turn on the TV and turn off life. Make sure you are taking time away from electronic distractions. Save a little energy and get creative. Take this chance to connect with your family or partner you find yourself quarantined with. A game night, hike or making dinner together are all activities that do not require a screen.
Zero Waste Home, p. 185
For the time being, a lot of stores are closed and it is important to limit one's trips out of the home. This takes away the option of simply throwing a needed item away and replacing it. This is a good opportunity to see if you can fix it! If you don't know how to fix the item, there are tons of how-to videos on YouTube and ifixit.com for electronics.
Zero Waste Home, p. 23
Learn how to make it
Due to recent food shortages, and with all of us trying to limit our trips to the grocery store, it may be a more economical option to buy ingredients to make things, like bread. Here are a couple of links for homemade bread from my favorite bloggers, along with a recipe for flour tortillas from Zero Waste Home (p. 71).
Sourdough Tips for the Occasional User
No Knead Artisan Bread
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup warm water
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Incorporate the butter into the mixture and mix with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbles.
- Add the water and combine until soft dough forms.
- Separate into 12 small balls.
- Roll out each ball as thinly as possible and cook in a pan over medium heat for 20 seconds on each side.
To help make your trip to the grocery store a little more worthwhile and avoid waste, there are a few things you can do to preserve your perishables.
Dry it - if you are lucky enough to own a dehydrator this is the time to bust it out. Use it to make things like dried fruit, kale chips or jerky. You can also use your oven at a low setting. Check out food-hacks.wonderhowto.com to learn how, and for other great ideas.
Freeze it - Along with soups, broth and berries did you know you could freeze avocado and eggs? Respectfood.com has a list of 15 uncommon and surprising things you can freeze for later.
Refrigerator pickles - if canning intimidates you, try making small batches of pickles. You can also use this method of preserving for other vegetables. I like carrots, jalapeños, and cauliflower. Here is a simple recipe from www.simplyrecipes.com to get you started.
1 small sweet yellow onion
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice, homemade or store-bought
- Wash and dry the jars and cucumbers: Wash 2 wide-mouth pint jars and their lids in hot, soapy water. Set them aside to dry.
- Rinse the cucumbers well under cold water, pat them dry, and then set them on a towel to dry completely.
- Slice the cucumbers and onion, then pack them in the jars: With a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, slice the cucumbers and onion into slices 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick.
- Firmly pack the cucumbers and onions into the jars, fitting in as many as you can without smashing the vegetables. Leave 1/2-inch or so of headspace at the top of the jars.
- Make the brine: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice up to a simmer. Stir occasionally and continue simmering until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Pour the brine over the vegetables: If you have a canning funnel, use it here to make it easier to fill the jars. Carefully pour or ladle the hot brine into each jar, filling the jars until the cucumbers and onions are covered. It's ok if a few small pieces poke out the top.
- Cool and refrigerate for 24 hours: Screw on the lids, then let the jars cool to room temperature (about an hour). The cucumbers will start bright green but will become darker and more "pickle-colored" as they cool.
- Place them in the refrigerator. Wait at least 24 hours before eating the pickles to let the flavors develop. Use them within one month.
I hope this inspires you to continue on your sustainable journey and helps keep you and yours safe.
More Co-op News
2020 Co-op Election Results
Ashland Food Co-op owners voted for three open seats on the Board of Directors, and for ten non-profit organizations for the Change for Good register round-up program.
Click a name below to read more about that Co-op Board member.
Dear Ashland Food Cooperative Family and Community,
AFC and AEFB Press Release - Local Strength!
Release Date: 5-26-2020
In April, the Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors announced to the community that the Co-op would be returning 100% of the 2019 Patronage Dividend to its owners. The 100% Patronage Dividend return to Co-op owners converted to over $628,000.
The Co-op Board felt in this time of great need it was not the right time for the Co-op to put away funds for the future, but rather to support owners fully so they may have more strength to weather these stormy times.
Thanks to the many agile and adaptable experts in the Rogue Valley, the much-loved Free Monday Night Lectures live on - even if everything is moving online.
While we miss seeing community members with a joy of learning showing up at the Co-op Classroom, we hope these recordings teach and inspire you.
By Nina Friedman, Strategic Energy Management intern
The Ashland Food Co-op has played a critical role supporting our community for nearly 50 years by providing healthy food and a safe place to shop. With the recent COVID-19 shutdown, this support has been even more important and has stretched our organization in ways that we could not have anticipated. We have endeavored to address the needs of both our staff and our customers, hopefully in the most cooperative manner.
The Ashland Food Co-op acknowledges and shares our community’s concerns about protecting against the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The safety and health of staff and customers is a top priority for the Co-op. We are taking proactive steps throughout our store to maintain a clean atmosphere to work and shop.
We have consolidated store changes below.
As an owner of the Ashland Food Co-op, you are an important decision-maker in the leadership of the Co-op! A vital part of your ownership is voting for the Board of Directors.
On the ballot: Vote for Board Candidates and Change for Good Organizations
Vote for Board Candidates
This year, four candidates are nominated for three Board positions: each elected Board director will serve a three-year term. The candidates are Ed Claassen, Mark Gibbs, Carolina Livi and Julie O'Dywer.
Mark the evening of May 13 at 5pm on your calendar and join us for the 2020 AFC Annual Meeting. We’ll host the meeting online using Google Hangouts. Please click here to join the meeting, or call in at this number:
PIN: 719 680 293 2056#
The Co-op has always had a focus on supporting the strong local scene of growers and producers - and in these times, it's even more important. Here is just a small selection of some of our favorites from the area. Help support local businesses next time you stop by the Co-op by picking one of these products.
By Emile Amarotico, General Manager
It’s been two months since my last update on our Co-op community, but it could just as well have been two years ago, or from an alternate reality! Needless to say, life at the Co-op has changed, and it hasn’t been easy for employees or shoppers. But despite the challenges, it has been an inspiring and reaffirming time that reminds us why we love the cooperative enterprise.
By Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator
In the midst of a health crisis, how can we focus on sustainability? Let’s be real - these are tough times!
What does sustainability look like now? I like to refer to the definition of sustainability - meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. How can we meet the needs of the present, while keeping the future in mind?
By Annie Hoy, Board Director
This month, AFC Owners will democratically elect a slate of board candidates. These candidates are co-op owners, just like you and me. By holding annual elections, co-ops around the world and close to home are expressing Cooperative Principle 2: Democratic Member Control.
From the Board of Directors:
This year, the Co-op Board of Directors is taking unprecedented action to distribute 100% of the over $628,000 2019 Patronage Dividend to our owners. In this time of great need, there is no holding back. This is not the moment to put away funds for the future, but rather to support our owners fully so that we may all have more strength to weather the storm.
Michelle isn't serving up samples right now, so she's serving up kitchen tips instead! Here's her tried and true approach to cooking dry beans, plus some extra tips for upping your flavor, saving time, and cook other legumes. (Ingredients and modifications are below the video.)