We Are What We Eat

If we are what we eat (and we are), is it any wonder we have disease and general ill-health nearing epidemic proportion in the U.S.?

We have gotten used to trusting the foods stocked on grocery store shelves.  We are used to paying low prices for our food without thinking about why that food is so cheap.  We are used to not thinking at all about the big picture when it comes to our food.  If it looks good, smells good and comes at a good price, it must be good.

Sadly, this is no longer the case.  There are thousands of entry points to this conversation and not enough room on this page to paint the big picture.   To simplify things for a moment, consider one of our favorite national spring foods; ham.  Spring and Easter are just around the corner.  Let’s take a moment to consider the pig.

The majority of pork available for purchase these days comes from animals raised on CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).  The animals raised in factory farms live in horrifying conditions. Yes, ethical issues abound.  The animals are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones, and fed beyond substandard diets.  Basically, they aren’t allowed to be pigs and do what pigs do. The result is a product that is bad for your health, bad for the earth and destructive to local economies.

When an animal, (be they pigs, chickens, sheep or cows) spends their days in the sunshine and fresh air, drinking clean water, free to express their natural tendencies with access to appropriate food for their breed; something very interesting happens.  The meats from these animals exhibit superior flavor, texture and nutrient values than meats from animals raised in confinement, indoors with cocktails of antibiotics and growth hormones.

When compared to pork raised indoors in confinement, pastured pork has been show to have:

  1. More omega-3 fatty acids (heart healthy & reduces inflammation)
  2. More Vitamin E
  3. More Vitamin D (in the pork fat)
  4. Higher levels of other beneficial nutrients.
  5. Noticeable flavor and texture improvement compared to pork from confined animals.

Just Local Food Cooperative has been selling locally raised and pastured, chemical/hormone free meats for over ten years.  We have developed deep relationships with our local farmers and know exactly where our pork, lamb, beef and poultry products come from.  We know how these animals have been treated, raised, fed, processed and brought to market.  And we only work with local and regional processors to ensure the quality of the product we sell is high.  Supporting these small businesses bolsters our local and regional economies.

What does this mean for you?

  1. You enjoy a more delicious & healthful meal.
  2. You gain more nutrition for your money.
  3. More money stays in our local or regional community.
  4. Local farmers are receiving fair prices and access to market, allowing them to continue to steward the land.
  5. Healthy land is the key to good, nourishing food since it is the land that feeds the animals.

When considering where you Easter ham will come from this year, take a moment to think about the true cost of what you choose to feed your family.   Just Local Food Cooperative is proud to offer an excellent selection of locally pastured ham and pork products from Deutsch Family Farm in Osseo.  Our knowledgeable staff are available to answer any questions you might have.

Getting to Know – Sunrider International

Sunrider SunnyDewSince 1982, Sunrider International has helped people around the world improve their lifestyle and well-being. Sunrider researches, develops, and self-manufactures over 400 earth-friendly products in the areas of nutrition, cosmetics, skin care, personal care, and household products. As a “product of the product” for seventeen years, I can personally attest to the high quality of the company and their products and the life-changing responses I have experienced.

Sunrider’s approach to health is to use the right combination of foods to nourish and cleanse the body—to keep a balance between yin and yang.

All Sunrider products, be it the foods, cosmetics, or toothpaste, are based on the Philosophy of Regeneration. By using this philosophy as a blueprint, Sunrider products help keep the systems of the body—endocrine, respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and immune—in balance, just as the five elements—fire, metal, earth, water, wood—keep the universe in harmony.

An excellent example of Sunrider’s quality and philosophy is the product Sunny Dew. Many companies are marketing Stevia products, but Sunrider’s Sunny Dew is very different. Other brands commonly use a chemical reaction to process Stevia, altering its natural structure. However, Sunrider uses a special extraction and concentration process to preserve the natural structure found in its whole food form and therefore enhance its benefits Containing zero calories, the natural extract makes an excellent flavor enhancer and is also used to help maintain normal blood-sugar levels.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or preve

Do the Solar Math

By:  Joe Maurer, Next Step Energy LLC

Why install a solar PV system? You can hedge against rising fuel costs! You can own your energy up front! You can offset your own fossil fuel consumption! You can have energy independence!

You probably have heard some of what a solar PV system can do for you, but what about the costs? What does the math of a solar PV system say? A baseline PV costing exercise usually begins by looking at your kWh/per year usage. Here is a sample exercise you can do at home.At our home business, the energy usage is 8,300 kWh per year. To estimate my PV system size, I will begin by dividing my kWh per year by 1.2. This gives me an estimated PV system size of 6,917 watts or a 6.9kW system. To calculate my installed cost, I multiply the PV system size by the cost per watt for a roof mounted system, which in this case is $4.00. This gives me an installed cost of $27,988. Not exactly chump change, I know. But wait! There is more to this equation.

If I am a rural business owner, I can apply for a 25 percent USDA REAP grant. To figure this amount, I multiply myinstalled cost by 0.25. This puts me at $20,991. If my utility participates with Focus on Energy, I can take an additional $2,400 dollars. This Focus on Energy grant is taxed at 33 percent (-$792), so the cost of the system is now at  $19,383. The federal tax credit is considerable at 30 percent. To calculate this, I simply multiply my installed cost minus the USDA grant by 0.30. This puts me at $14,693.70! I know exciting, right? We are not done—let’s look at depreciation. Depreciation indicates how much of an asset’s value has changed. For tax purposes, businesses can deduct the cost of the tangible assets they purchase as business expenses. To figure depreciation, multiply your installed cost ($27,988) by 0.21. Our net solar system cost is $8,816.22! This isn’t chump change either—but it’s a considerable difference from where we started.

So, what’s the payback time? To calculate this, divide the net solar system cost by the solar energy value in year one and multiply by 1.35. To calculate your solar energy value in year one, multiply your annual electric load by your utility rate. For example, for my solar energy value in year one, I multiply $0.11 x 8,300 to get $913. So to find payback, I divide my net system cost ($8,816.22) by solar energy value ($913) and multiply by 1.35 to give weight to module degradation, property insurance escalation, inverter replacement etc. My payback time is 13 years. Or I could say after 13 years, I make money with my system! System life is expected to last at least 30 years.

Check with your tax professional and solar site assessor to find out if you qualify for solar enegy tax incentives.

Keep It Simple, and Make a Huge Change

By:  Molly Enright, True Blue Housekeeping

clean-green-housePeople often want to know what my all time favorite cleaner is, the secret green weapon. I’d like to share this, and a few other really simple things to do around the house to save you time and energy, and to keep you from getting buildup in places that might lead you to use harsh chemicals to get it back to normal.

When it comes down to it, the one thing I cannot clean without would have to be rags. I keep a bunch of them in the kitchen and the bathroom and use them for everything. I throw one on the floor while I am cooking or doing the dishes and clean up spills with my feet as they happen. Then I throw it in a small laundry bin. I run one under the shower water while it’s warming up and wipe down the sink and the toilet, dry it with another, and throw them in a bin. By keeping a little bit of soap or your favorite green cleanser, a toothbrush, and a slew of rags accessible, you can eliminate ever really needing to scrub the places that usually get the worst.

A couple of other things that help would be to keep a squeegee in the shower and get the water and soap residue off of the walls and doors before it hardens. Wiping just the shower fixtures dry and never giving soap and hard water a chance to leave residue. Not using bar soap is a huge help too. All-natural soap does not seem to be as problematic, but if you are noticing soap caked on your shower walls, you may want to look into treating yourself to an all-natural body wash and living a life of healthy leisure, or else succumbing to the never-ending battle of using half a bar of soap and scraping the rest off of your shower wall. This new habit will help with the plumbing too and keep you from a six-month Drano dump ritual.

I’ve also switched from plastic shower curtains to fabric ones. I’ve noticed this getting marketed as a specific thing now, but you can actually just use any shower curtain cover. The thinner the better actually, because then it will dry quicker, but the water won’t go through. The trick is to get two and switch one out to be washed with all of your used rags.  These could be the last shower curtains you ever buy, and think of the ridiculous amount of plastic used to make the regular ones, and where all of the ones you have used are now. It’s so awful. So next time you take yours down to replace it, throw the outer liner inside the tub and try a shower to see what I mean. I like to keep what I can out of the landfill and the water system, and these simple things have allowed me to do that in a great many ways.