Market Musings Blog

Zero-Waste Shopping Tips

Celebrate Earth Day all year-round by reducing waste when shopping at the co-op.

Buy in Bulk — Great Taste, Less Waste

Buy only the amount of food you need by buying in bulk. Buying in bulk is also one of the best ways to save money, as some items, like flour and rice, are up to 50 percent cheaper in bulk compared to their packaged equivalent. When shopping in the bulk department, weigh your reusable container, fill it with the amount of bulk product you need, then record the PLU number from the bin. That’s it! By using your own reusable containers, you’ll reduce both food and packaging waste.

Shop Products with Minimal or Recyclable Packaging

Mississippi Market strives to use as little packaging as possible on Market Made items and purchases products for sale with minimal packaging. When purchasing items outside of the co-op’s Bulk and Produce departments, search for those with minimal packaging or recyclable or compostable packaging such as Alter Eco’s bagged quinoa.

BYOB — Bring Your Own Bags

By bringing in reusable grocery bags, you not only reduce waste but also save money! Each one is credited 10 cents that can either be taken off your total receipt or donated to a local nonprofit-of-the-month. Because of generous shoppers like you, an average of over $10,000 is raised monthly for local community partners through our Positive Change program.

OptOut of Paper Receipts/Opt-Into Electronic Ones

Did you know you can go completely receipt-less by opting out of paper copies? Alternatively, you can opt-into receiving electronic receipts from the co-op whenever you shop. Simply talk to your cashier about it the next time you’re here. You can always ask for a paper receipt if you need one in the future.

Reuse Milk Jars & Egg Cartons

Buy milk in reusable glass jugs from local farmers Autumnwood and Castlerock. When purchasing bottled milk, you’ll pay a $2.00 deposit that is refunded once empty bottles are returned to the co-op. Farmers pick up used jugs to clean and refill, then return them to the co-op filled with fresh milk. When buying eggs, bring in and reuse your egg cartons. By only packaging the number of local, organic Larry Schultz bulk eggs needed, you’ll save 10 cents off your purchase while reducing packaging waste.

Learn additional zero-waste bulk shopping tips.

Have great zero-waste ideas or tips? Share your thoughts.

Regenerative Agriculture, a Step Beyond

Photo courtesy of Frogtown Farm.

“Sustainable agriculture”—you’ve heard the term, but what does it mean? From a production and distribution standpoint, “sustainable” often refers to a three-tiered model focused on systemic social, environmental, and economic impacts. From an agricultural perspective, this can mean ensuring fair labor wages and working conditions, implementing ecologically-friendly farming practices such as the certified organic standards, and guaranteeing fair pricing for final goods to strengthen local food economies. While sustainable agriculture has many advantages over industrial agribusiness—which relies heavily on patented GMOs, vast monoculture cropping and feedlots, and repeated use of synthetic chemicals and antibiotics—there is still plenty of work to be done.

Read more …

Rebuilding Healthy Soil

For over 10,000 years humans have depended on soil. Today, soil depends on us. Due to industrial agriculture’s dependence on processes such as high-volume tillage and the heavy use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, the health of our planet’s soil is decreasing at an alarming rate. Without healthy soil, we face increased amounts of soil, water, and air pollution, along with less opportunity for agricultural cultivation, meaning a decreased ability to grow healthy foods.

By rebuilding healthy soil through regenerative practices such as cover cropping and on-site composting of organic matter, nutrient-poor soil can transform into fertile ground teeming with beneficial microbes, bacteria, and mycelium. Healthy, nutrient-rich soil aids in plant growth and on-site water retention. It also has a greater ability to resist pests and droughts and a greater capacity for sequestering atmospheric carbon, a leading contributor to our planet’s increasingly unstable climate.

From February 14-27, 3% of all Cascadian Farm sales at all three Mississippi Market locations will be donated to The Land Institute, supporting their efforts to regenerate healthy soil while positively impacting our climate. This includes Cascadian Farm’s cereals, frozen fruits and vegetables, and more.

Read more …

Standing Up for Organic

The certified organic seal is under attack. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced their intention to withdraw the animal welfare standards, known formally as the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule, from the certified organic standards. The OLPP final rule’s intent was to implement animal welfare standards that would ensure livestock have adequate access to fresh air and sun, humane indoor living conditions, and outdoor space for foraging and roaming.

This marks an extreme about-face for the federal agency under Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. 14 years in the making using a transparent public process, the OLPP final rule was scheduled for adoption into law on May 14, 2018, after having been delayed multiple times. However, since federal deregulation has become a top priority under our new administration, the USDA has stated its intent to abolish the OLPP final rule altogether. This action has dire consequences, from negating years of public process, to disregarding animal welfare in favor of Big Ag profits, to undermining consumer trust in the organic label and organically certified foods.

Towards the end of 2017, the USDA initiated a 30-day public comment period to gather feedback once again on the current status of the OLPP final rule. Prior to the public comment deadline last Wednesday, January 17th, Mississippi Market stood in solidarity with National Cooperative Grocers in opposing the action on behalf of our over 18,000 member-owners who trust the organic label. A copy of the formal comment submitted can be seen below. Mississippi Market Co-op member-owners and shoppers are encouraged to continue advocating for transparency and animal welfare implementation in the organic standards.

As a cooperatively-owned Minnesota retail business that prides itself on providing Twin Cities residents with access to certified organic food, including humanely-raised meat, poultry, egg, and dairy products, Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op opposes the USDA’s move to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule. This action goes against the overwhelming support of organic farmers, businesses, and consumers nationwide to advance animal welfare standards and undermines food system transparency, consumer trust in the organic seal, and the foundational values on which food cooperatives are based.

USDA’s failure to uphold this fully-vetted regulation calls into question the entire public process by which organic regulations are set and has the potential to not only undermine consumer trust, but diminish the livelihoods of organic family farmers while increasing organic products in the marketplace that don’t truly align with the standards. If passed, this decision will nullify 14 years of public, transparent policymaking developed and supported by the organic industry.

This attempt to unilaterally withdraw the animal care standards without consultation from the National Organic Standards Board – the very group of farmers, processors, scientists, and public representatives designated by Congress to advise USDA on the organic standards – sets a dangerous precedence in the natural foods industry. As organic business stakeholders, Mississippi Market and our over 18,000 invested member-owners urge the USDA to protect consumer trust in the certified organic seal. The future of the organic market, from farmers to retailers to consumers, depends on it.