Wednesday, July 30, 2014

RSVP for the September 28th Vegan Eating Workshop!

Are you interested in vegan eating?

In recent years, there has been an increased interest in vegan eating, with people like Bill Clinton and Ellen DeGeneres touting the benefits of their plant-based diets. Growing evidence shows that vegan diets have positive impacts on human health and are better for the planet.

Whether you want to commit to a vegan diet or start eating more plant foods, this workshop will help.

Join us Sunday, September 28, at 12:00 p.m. in the PSFC's upstairs meeting room for an introduction to vegan eating. We will discuss recipes, shopping staples, and basic nutrition.

Space is limited. Please RSVP now to reserve your seat.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Coop Supplier D’Artagnan Represents Foie Gras Producer


Two Coop vendors recently went head-to-head in a lawsuit over the meaning of the word "humane." For members who want to know more about the meat they buy, here is the story.


In 2003 Coop members voted to stop buying foie gras, which consists of the diseased livers of ducks and geese who were force-fed through long, hard pipes to swell their livers eight or more times their normal size. Before 2003 we bout foie gras from vendor D'Artagnan, which sold foie gras made by Hudson Valley Foie Gras (HVFG). The Coop still sells meat from chickens, pigs, lambs, rabbits, cows, turkeys, wild boars, and ducks from D’Artagnan

HVFG has been calling its foie gras humane, which stuck in the craw of another Coop provider, Regal Vegan, which makes Faux Gras. Regal Vegan made an unfair competition claim, arguing that by calling its product humane, Hudson Valley was stealing business from Regal Vegan’s Faux Gras -- which is free of animal products and so indisputably the more humane of the two.

HVFG eventually surrendered to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, agreeing to stop calling and labeling foie gras “humane.” Here’s how foie gras is made -- you be the judge of the accuracy of its original claim.

Producers start force-feeding ducks when they are two to three months old. Several times a day they pin each baby bird down and force a hard pipe ten inches into her esophagus. The pipe delivers way too much corn mash straight into the duck’s stomach. Every day they up the dosage, cramming more and more food into the bird. Between feedings, HVFG stuffs up to twelve birds into pens measuring four by six feet each, according to The Huffington Post. There is no water for the aquatic birds to swim or bathe in.

The force-feeding technique is hard on a duck’s body. It causes broken bones, aspiration pneumonia, infections, and a long list of other injuries.

The massive amount of nutritionally deficient food also causes problems. The producers’ goal is to induce a disease called fatty liver (which is what “foie gras” means in French), so by definition force-feeders are making the birds sick. Side effects of force-feeding include neurological damage, liver rupture, seizures, and bowel obstruction. The swollen livers compress other organs, leaving little room for the ducks to take in oxygen.

After four weeks of this, HVFG kills the surviving ducks – but 15,000 birds don’t live that long every year at HVFG alone.

D’Artagnan founder Ariane Daguin is one of foie gras’s fiercest defenders, according to GrubStreet.com. Her company distributed “Save The Foie” buttons at the James Beard Awards in 2012. D’Artagnan has gotten into foie gras trouble on its own in the past: a few years ago the New Jersey Better Business Bureau had to force D’Artagnan to stop claiming that the foie gras it supplied came from “enlarged” rather than “diseased” livers.

 

Yet Daguin staunchly defends the product, on ethical, cultural and culinary grounds. Her website describes it as “produced from Moulard ducks raised in a low-stress environment on 200 acres in the lush valley formed by the Hudson River of New York State. Their wholegrain diet consists of corn and soy and fresh clean water; no hormones or antibiotics are ever used.”

 

The recent legal victory against Hudson Valley Foie Gras shows that, despite the appealing language on her website, in the ten years since the Coop voted to boycott foie gras, the product hasn’t gotten any less horrific for the fatty livers’ owners. Nevertheless, Daguin would love for the Coop to sell her foie gras.

 

“The Coop is one of my best customers,” she told the Linewaiters’ Gazette in 2010. “I was kind of upset that they never ordered my foie gras. I guess I should be grateful for what we have here.”

Piper, on behalf of the Animal Welfare Committee

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Eating Vegan Workshop

The Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) conducted a workshop for co-op members about Vegan Eating on January 12th. We covered a number of subjects, including the AWC’s mission, reasons for eating vegan, the basics of vegan nutrition, and tips for shopping for vegan food at the co-op. We plan to offer the workshop again, so if you would like to attend please be on the lookout for an announcement.

Links to our handouts are attached here:


This four-pager addresses vegan sources of protein, calcium, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin D3. Disclaimer: we are not doctors or nutritionists. In this handout we share our understanding of our nutritional needs and list resources that offer more definitive and detailed information.


If you’re looking for ways to replace specific animal products in your diet, this is a good place to start. We list vegan analogs for dairy milk, eggs, butter, yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, a variety of cheeses and meats, stuffed pasta, and chocolate. Many products include a description of where to find them in the coop.


A list of products we use often, including several vegan breads and a number of sweeteners.


The ingredient lists on food products can be pretty impenetrable. This handout notes some ingredients to keep an eye out for that may not jump out as non-vegan, like L-Cystine and casein.


Each member of the AWC listed some of our favorite vegan foods to buy at the co-op. Delicacies include So Delicious Coconut Milk Cookie Dough Frozen Dessert, Artisan Tofurkey Chik’n and Apple Sausage, and Regal Vegan Faux Gras.


So you want to eat more vegan foods – but which ones? Here are seven pages of inspiration for every meal, complete with recipes.

Piper, on behalf of the Animal Welfare Committee

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New Member Squad Application - and overview if you missed today's session!

Hello PSFC members!

Thank you to the folks who joined Piper and me this afternoon to hear about what the Animal Welfare Committee's work entails and how to apply for the Animal Welfare Squad as your co-op workshift.

All applications are due by 4/20 and we are hoping to meet with candidates who are a good fit during our 5/5 meeting (7-8:30pm) if possible.

[THE APPLICATION PERIOD IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks for your applications!]

If you were NOT able to join us this afternoon and are interested in joining the committee, please review the following points before applying. 
  • Please know our mission before applying.  The Animal Welfare Committee provides transparent animal welfare information about the co-op’s products.  Please take a look at the info sheets we produce.  This is a large part of what this committee's work is...and what the new members will be researching and creating as well!  Research involves calling PSFC vendors (farmers) and asking them questions about the welfare of the animals they raise.  Research can also include using external sources to provide transparent information about broader issues (e.g. animal testing information).  
  • You must be able to attend Monday C week squad meetings from 7-8:30pm without missing more than two to three in a calendar year.
  • Squad work is flexible based on current projects.  There is the opportunity to log additional co-op workshifts either to share with your co-op household members or to bank and use in future months when you might have less time for extra projects.  All squad members are required to log the 2.75 hours required to be a co-op member per cycle.
  • Areas we cover
Animal testing as it relates to personal care and household products

Farmed animal welfare (currently laying hens, cow and goat dairy, turkeys during Thanksgiving season and in the future chicken, pigs, cow/beef, etc.)
  • We are currently seeking two new members and have identified a need for the following skills.  The application will give you space to explain any experience you have in these areas or other relevant experience that would benefit the committee:
- Design (graphic design or layout for info sheets)
- Publicity (social media, print media, tabling - spreading news of squad's work)
- Branding (to make our deliverables easily identifiable)
- Journalism (ability to get transparent info and communicate it in a succinct way)
  • Apply online!  All applications will be done online.  Our committee communicates largely via email and Google Drive when not meeting so a comfort level (or a willingness to get comfortable with!) both would be great!  
Please include any relevant experience in the areas of skill sets we’re looking for
Please include any experience you believe is relevant to the squad’s work
AWC will post the due date of the applications and when we’ll be calling people in for interviews

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you!  If you have any questions, please don't hestiate to email us at psfcanimals@gmail.com

Jesse, on behalf of the Animal Welfare Committee

Sunday, March 9, 2014

4/6 - Join the Animal Welfare Committee Session! (or just learn about us!)

Whether you want to learn what the Animal Welfare Committee does or you'd like to join the committee, this workshop is for you!  Please join us for an overview of what the committee does for the Park Slope Food Co-Op membership!  

If you'd like to join the squad, we'll be reviewing what skill sets we're looking for and letting you know how to apply!  If you can't make it and you'd like to join the squad, please keep an eye out here (or @psfcanimals on twitter) as we'll be hosting the online application on this blog.


Jesse, on behalf of the Animal Welfare Committee

Thursday, December 12, 2013

RSVP for the January 12 Vegan Eating Workshop!

Are you interested in vegan eating?

In the New Year, many Coop members will resolve to change their eating habits. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in vegan eating, with people like Bill Clinton and Ellen DeGeneres touting the benefits of their plant-based diets. Growing evidence shows that vegan diets have positive impacts on human health and are better for the planet.

Whether you want to commit to a vegan diet or start eating more plant foods, this workshop will help.

Join us Sunday, January 12, at 12:00 p.m. in the PSFC's upstairs meeting room for an introduction to vegan eating. We will discuss recipes, shopping staples, and basic nutrition.

Space is limited. Please RSVP now to reserve your seat.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

11/23/13 Turkey Guide Now Available at Coop!

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the Animal Welfare Committee's 2013 Turkey Guide is here! We contacted the Coop's turkey vendors and interviewed them about the conditions their birds live in, then organized the information in a handy chart for members.

The Guide also explains the labels commonly found on meat products, like free-range and pasture-raised, and describes the festive turkey alternatives that the Coop carries.

The Turkey Guide is laminated next to the turkeys, and take-home versions are also available there. You can find a larger version of the Guide online by clicking on the AWC Guides tab at the top of this page, and then clicking on Buying Turkeys at the Coop.


Piper on behalf of the Animal Welfare Committee