Introducing the Doylestown Food Co-Op

Doylestown Co-Op

We recently checked out the Doylestown Food Co-Op, where we found a whole new way to think about local food…and popcorn (more on that in a minute). The co-op opened its doors earlier this month in a storefront at 29 West State Street, Doylestown, Pa. The official grand opening will take place on February 8. For details, check out http://www.doylestown.coop.org.

So, What Is a Co-Op?

A co-op is a business that’s owned and governed collectively by a group of people who are members. While most co-ops start as food businesses, some have eventually branched out, providing other services of value to the community. Like other co-ops, the Doylestown Food Co-Op offers the opportunity to become a member by purchasing equity shares of the grocery. In exchange, member-owners have a say in decisions about the business, receive discounts on some of their food purchases and enjoy a variety of other benefits. Read on

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Localism in the DelVal: Two Communities Consider ‘Import Replacement’

 

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If you’re already a locavore, you won’t be surprised to know that eating local is a trend that’s on the rise, as noted by various surveys, including one from North Dakota’s Center for Rural Affairs.*  This is great news for those of us who believe localism can give rise to a greener, lower-carbon lifestyle AND lay the groundwork for a stronger, job-producing economy. But to realize localism’s full benefits, we’ll need to do more than just buy food from neighborhood farms.

According to localists, we’ll also need to adopt something called “import replacement.” While that term may not be as widely known as “sustainable,” two Delaware River Valley towns, Solebury Township, PA, and Lambertville, NJ, are considering sustainably minded proposals that are great examples of import replacement. Read on!

Don’t Miss the Annual Herb Society Sale at Holcombe-Jimison, Saturday, May 18

???????????????????????????????Each May, the Delaware Valley Unit of the Herb Society of America holds its annual herb sale at the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead Museum, on Route 29 in Lambertville, NJ. Whether you’re just starting an herb garden or adding to one you’ve tended for years, this sale is a wonderful opportunity to find a wide variety of hearty, healthy plants at reasonable prices.

Once you pull into the Holcombe-Jimison Farmstead, you’ll find the herbs on display inside one of the museum’s many historic barns. The plants are arranged in alphabetical order on tables, just in front of a collection of antique farm vehicles. If you have questions about a particular plant, the Herb Society volunteers are always happy to share their substantial knowledge. Read more

Connecting the Sustainability Dots, Part II: Going Local

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Fresh’s March 27 post explored how a single activity, such as edible gardening, can help us become more sustainable in a variety of ways. Something else that connects a lot of sustainability dots is “going local.” 

For some, localism is about “transitioning” to a post-carbon world, buying and making things locally so we don’t need to expend lots of fossil fuel importing and transporting goods from other places. For others, localism is a way to rebuild resilient, people-centered economies in an impersonal globalized world. Still others see in localism an opportunity to create lifestyles that are centered around place and strong, interconnected communities.

Going local can help us do all of those things and more. Here are a few examples. Read more

Love Letters from Vermont: The Arts Help Build Strong Local Economies

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When we last visited Brattleboro, VT, more than a dozen years ago, we thought: “Cool town, good bones, lots of potential.” But beyond a small number of off-beat shops and tiny bistros, there didn’t seem to be much happening, especially compared with “our” river towns, Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA. Here in the Delaware River Valley, Chamber of Commerce members, politicians and other interested parties had long since grasped that one of the area’s greatest economic resources was its large supply of artists. It’s that type of insight — understanding the power of a creative, arts-driven LOCAL economy — that has transformed Brattleboro and other Vermont towns into thriving destinations, despite the ongoing downturn.

Localism at Work

Vermonters apparently began recognizing the potential of art to revitalize local economies sometime in the early 1980s. The transformation didn’t happen overnight. But, over time, the efforts of state and local arts councils, renovators, business owners and, of course, artists, began to pay off. Brattleboro and many other Vermont towns and villages now complement outdoor recreational attractions (skiing, hiking, mountain biking) with a vibrant mix of small, independent shops, galleries and sophisticated restaurants showcasing locally produced foods. Read more

Green (Old-Fashioned) Popcorn

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With Oscar night upon us, thoughts turn to the movies … and their perfect accompaniment, popcorn. In case you haven’t heard, the microwaveable kind is loaded with health hazards. In addition to the sodium and trans fats in the popcorn itself, the lining of the microwaveable bags contains something called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been linked to infertility and cancer. And a common artificial flavoring agent, diacetyl, has apparently caused lung cancer in popcorn factory workers. 

If you need further convincing that it’s time to change your popcorn habits, check out:

Sustainability as easy as 1-2-3

The good news, of course, is that a much better alternative, old-fashioned (non-microwaveable) popcorn, is easy to find in local food stores. If you’ve forgotten how to pop the stuff on the stove top after years of microwaving, just follow these simple steps. Read more

Greening the Lunchbox: Six Easy Steps

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Whether you’re packing school lunches or brown-bagging it to your job, the lunch box can be a Pandora’s box of environmental hazards.

Here are a few alternatives for making lunch more sustainable.

1. Reusable sandwich bags. If you or your kids eat sandwiches, you may want to consider this popular green alternative to plastic wrap or freezer bags. Of course, you can also use the bags to hold pretzels, carrots, cookies or any other dry food item you pack each day. Read more