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The Investment Shares team at the Co-op has been working diligently at preparing for this vital component of the Co-op’s relocation. The sale of Investment Shares will enable our owners to play a major part in funding the Co-op’s transition to a larger, more dynamic location, while also providing those same owners with the opportunity to earn a healthy dividend from their investment. Investment Shares are the preferred method for cooperatives across the nation to raise capital for large projects, and we are excited to be embarking on a campaign of our own in 2016.

Before the Co-op can start selling these shares, though, we need to have our entire Investment Share offering vetted by the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO). The DBO’s mandate is to protect consumers from misleading, fraudulent, or unsafe financial instruments and investments. The DBO application process is time-consuming and arduous, but entirely worthwhile. The Co-op’s team has taken great pleasure in preparing our offering for DBO inspection.

The Co-op was not alone in crafting the documents for our DBO application. We received thorough and penetrating legal advice from Therese Tuttle, an attorney whose family has specialized in cooperative law for three generations.  Her experienced hand guided us in crafting disclosures, memoranda, and a half-dozen other documents necessary to make a new financial offering to our owners. We also received invaluable advice from Ben Sandel of the CDS Consulting Co-op. CDS advises co-ops all over the country on how to expand and grow in healthy, sustainable ways.

Working together, we were able to create the dozens of pages of documents requested by the DBO. The whole process culminated in our submission last week to the DBO of our full and final application to sell Investment Shares. Our attorney, Ms. Tuttle, has advised us that the remainder of the application process can take anywhere from 1-3 months, as the DBO will go through all our documents with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that our plan is straightforward, feasible, and good for investors. We will keep you updated on all the developments in the Investment Share campaign through our newsletter, Facebook, and blog—so keep an eye out for communications from the Co-op!

Produce Spotlight

South Central Asia was the birthplace of the sweet cherry.  Cherries were first identified in the areas now known as Turkey, Iran and Azabaiijian. The Greeks cultivated cherry trees as early as 300 BC.  The area today known as Iraq became famous for cherry trees as well as peaches, pears and pomegranates, during the early years of Islam 600-900 AD.

Sour cherries grow on smaller trees than their sweet counterparts and are found wild in Central Asia The somewhat sour chokecherry is native to North America. These sour fruits were able to cross pollinate with the sweet cherry giving us the varieties we are familiar with today. The Romans spread the cherry tree throughout Southern and Western Europe, planting trees as far afield as the British Isles. Eventually, British and French colonists brought the cherry with them to New England as well as the areas around the Great Lakes. Michigan grew to become North America’s first sour cherry capital.

By the mid 1800’s cherry cultivation began in the Willamette Valley outside of Salem, Oregon. The popular varieties of Bing, Lambert, Royal Ann, and Rainier were developed there. Today California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho produce the majority of America’s sweet cherries.

Nutritionally, cherries are loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A. They contain an equal amount of fructose and glucose. They have trace amounts of B vitamins as well as a healthy amount of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and folic acid.

Medicinally, the choke cherry was the base for Smith’s cough drops. Native Americans used the cherry for chest pains, coughs and sore throats. The pit of the cherry contains prussic acid which can be a volatile poison, but when used in small amounts can treat intestinal and stomach spasms. Six cherry pits a day were said to get rid of kidney stones. The Ohio College of Medicine discovered the ellagic acid in cherries protected DNA from hazardous cancer causing chemicals.

In northern California we enjoy a sweet cherry season that begins in late April-Mid May and ends in early July. Cherry season in Washington and Oregon begins in Mid-June and continues through early August. Late season rains can cause the cherries to split. Thus far were expecting a moderately good cherry season here in California while Washington and Oregon are expecting a record bumper crop. Cherry cultivation continues to expand and grow year after year. 

Prices tend to be high initially, then dropping as the season progresses. Don’t let this discourage you from tasting this exotic and desirable fruit. In 1876, cherries were being sold for 3 cents each. In today’s money that would be about $4 a cherry. The Co-op will sell our cherries below our normal margin to make this year’s crop of cherries as affordable to as many people as possible.

Kevin Durkin
PRODUCE BUYER

With almost seven and a half billion people on our planet, space dedicated to crop production is becoming increasingly scarce. For people living in densely-packed urban areas, a personal garden may seem like an unattainable luxury.  Some households are able to plant rooftop and/or patio gardens, provided they have access to ample sunlight and unused space in which to plant. Even if one meets all the requirements necessary for an urban household’s garden, the harvest would merely supplement a food budget; it would not meaningfully augment the local area’s food production capabilities. New ideas will be necessary to feed a growing, increasingly urban world.


Fortunately, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Open Ag program is developing a small, fully automated self-contained garden, or Personal Food Computer (PFC), for indoor deployment. The PFC gives individuals total control over their garden’s environment. Climate variables such as carbon dioxide density, temperature, humidity, and dissolved oxygen amounts are entirely programmable by users. The smallest PFC would be able to fit on a small table-top, whereas large-scale “Food Datacenters” will be able on the scale of large warehouses.


Personal Food Computers will empower people who do not have the knowledge, infrastructure, or environment to grow a traditional garden. All the parts necessary to build a PFC cost approximately $900. Open Ag has made their research and build guides available online at http://openag.media.mit.edu/. Furthermore, people who build their own PFC can upload and share their ‘climate recipes’, further adding to a huge open-source pool of knowledge on the growing conditions of different plants.


Photos by: Open Ag MIT http://openag.media.mit.edu/
Controlled-Environment Agriculture (CEA) technologies such as Open Ag’s Personal Food Computers are scalable. One company already on this path is Local Roots of Los Angeles. Local Roots transforms used shipping containers into self-contained vertical farms, making local produce accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. Local Roots’s containers can produce about 3 – 5 acres worth of food in about half the time of conventional farming while still adhering to organic methods. CEA containers powered by sustainable technologies such as solar and wind will allow our food system to radically reduce the distance produce is shipped, easing agriculture’s environmental impact and improving access to healthy simultaneously. To find out more about Local Roots please visit them online at http://www.localrootsfarms.com/.

Photos by: Open Ag MIT http://openag.media.mit.edu/
Although the Personal Food Computer and Local Roots’s shipping containers are still in the cutting edge, experimental stage, they demonstrate that the best and brightest minds in agricultural science are moving away from the 20th Century’s reliance on ever-increasing amounts of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Instead, an intimate knowledge of the natural processes of plants wedded to a modern data-driven approach that values efficiency is moving into the vanguard. These new, eminently modern approaches will help shape the way we grow, sell, and eat food in the 21st Century.
Steve McClain
GRAPHIC DESIGN
May in Chico is special and this year is no exception. As the weather warms up we all crawl out of our caves and bask in the rays of the sun, which mere weeks from now will be baking us with oppressive heat. May is National Bike Month, and there are countless reasons to go out for a ride. The wildflowers are blooming in time for Mother’s Day (May 8 this year), there is an amazing community event almost every day of the week, there are tons of abundant fresh local foods, the tree lined streets are a bright and vibrant green, and the wonderful wildness that is our beloved Bidwell Park is coming alive with activity. I find myself at the Co-op a lot more this time of year, the bike racks call to me when I am riding by, “Come inside, get something cool to drink...need anything for dinner later?” 

I am excited about what is right around the corner for us. I know the rest of the Board is too. We are closing in on a new home and getting ready to launch into one of the biggest fundraising campaigns our Co-op has ever undertaken. This year the Board is focused on growth, improvement, and knowledge. At our monthly meetings we are taking time out to learn and connect with our Co-op and its mission. We are bringing our ends, the co-op’s guiding principles, to the foreground through monthly discussion. (Learn more about the ends on our website: http://www.chiconaturalfoods.coop/governing-documents). 

At the suggestion of our outstanding General Manager Liza Tedesco, we have also taken on a board study topic. Every month we are building our ability to understand and respond to the unique challenges facing cooperatives in an increasingly competitive market. The Board is committed to protecting the Co-op and propelling it into the future. So hold onto your handlebars folks, things are about to speed up.

Natalie Carter
PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD
Owner-Only Sales
GROCERY
Organic Traditional Ancient Grain Hot Cereal Ancient Harvest
Organic Banana Brown Sugar Ancient Grain Hot Cereal Ancient Harvest
Organic Maple Ancient Grain Hot Cereal Ancient Harvest
Gluten-Free Rice Pasta & White Cheddar Cheese Annie’s Homegrown
Gluten-Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar Cheese Annie’s Homegrown
Original Chewy Banana Bites Barnana
Peanut Butter Chewy Banana Bites Barnana
Apple Pie Larabar Larabar
Cashew Cookie Larabar Larabar
Cherry Pie Larabar Larabar
Chocolate Coconut Larabar Larabar
Lemon Larabar Larabar
Peanut Butter & Jelly Larabar Larabar
Pecan Pie Larabar Larabar
Fiesta Lime Rice Chips Lundberg Farms
Honey Dijon Rice Chips Lundberg Farms
Original Sea Salt Rice Chips Lundberg Farms
Pico De Gallo Rice Chips Lundberg Farms
Santa Fe Barbeque Rice Chips Lundberg Farms
Sesame Seaweed Rice Chips Lundberg Farms
Sriracha Rice Chips Lundberg Farms
Wasabi Rice Chips Lundberg Farms
Smoky Maple Rice Chips Lundberg Farms
Gluten-Free Sea Salt Baked Crackers Milton’s
Honey & Salt Almonds w/ Cranberries Snack Mix Sahale Snacks
Cashews With Pomegranate & Vanilla Snack Mix Sahale Snacks
Pomegranate Pistachio Snack Mix Sahale Snacks
Natural Cinnamon Gum Simply Gum
Natural Mint Gum Simply Gum
Natural Ginger Gum Simply Gum
Organic Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Theo Chocolate
Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Theo Chocolate


WELLNESS

Vitamin-C Cleansing Milk Avalon Organics
Vitamin-C Lip Balm Avalon Organics
Vitamin-C Oil-Free Moisturizer Avalon Organics
Vitamin-C Renewal Cream Avalon Organics
Organic Nettle Capsules Oregon’s Wild Harvest
Milk Thistle Dandelion Capsules Oregon’s Wild Harvest
Organic Turmeric Extract Oregon’s Wild Harvest
Aller-Aid w/Quercetin Capsules Oregon’s Wild Harvest
Turmeric Capsules Oregon’s Wild Harvest
Nettle Quercetin Capsules Oregon’s Wild Harvest
Organic Milk Thistle Elixir Oregon’s Wild Harvest
Turmeric Capsules Oregon’s Wild Harvest

DAIRY 

Organic Ashwagandha True Chai Elixir
Organic Maca Mocha Elixir
Organic Maca Cold Brew Elixir
Organic Matcha Latte Elixir
Organic Reishi Chocolate Elixir
Organic Turmeric Golden Milk Elixir


PRODUCE 

Organic Purple/Red Russian Kale
Organic Dino Kale
Organic Red Bore Kale
Organic Green Kale
Organic Garnet Sweet Potatoes
Organic Jewel Sweet Potatoes
Organic Hannah Sweet Potatoes
Organic Purple Sweet Potatoes
Organic Japanese Sweet Potatoes

CO-OP KITCHEN

Co-op Kitchen Made Hummus

CO-OP BULK

Bulk Organic Medjool Dates
Bulk Organic White Jasmine Rice



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