Vegan Blogger Conference in Philly: DIY Style… and a Week of Wonderful

Hello! Hello hello hello. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so excited for a Monday. I stumbled around the house a few minutes before remembering: I don’t have to do anything but awesome things ALL WEEK.

Photo by Momota.M

Starting today! But for now, let me tell you the rest of the week Ryan and I will finally be taking that getaway trip  we tried to take a few weeks ago. Our goal is “no work” but there is so much to be done, SO MUCH TO TELL, I’m not sure we’ll comply. In any case, it’s supposed to rain and I’m perfectly content (happy, even) to take my book-pile and computer to a coffee shop for several hours and put a dent in what needs to be done. Or maybe I’ll just take a lot of baths. We’ll see.

On Friday, I’ll be speaking at Northampton Community College about the inspiration and forward progress of The Bethlehem Food Co-op. I love public speaking and I love the co-op! Win-win. There were be will a few other great people on the panel from other projects and initiatives, and a question and answer session. Yay, learning!

When secrets are no longer secrets

Saturday I’ll be at the Spring Home Show at Stabler Arena. I can’t tell you why just yet, but I can tell you it’ll be to officially announce The Big Secret. Which means by the end of this week, I’ll be able to tell everybody which feels both exciting and overwhelming. If you’re in town and want to learn about local companies that can help with home improvement projects, etc… come visit! I’ll be there between 2pm-4pm.

So today… ah, today. Just as I am working to squish the last of the anxieties I have about The Big Secret, I can finally talk to just the people who can offer the best advice and understanding.

They are none other than Christy Morgan from The Blissful Chef:

Christy Morgan aka The Blissful Chef

AND Allyson Kramer from Manifest Vegan:

Allyson Kramer and Manifest Vegan book

I cannot tell you the amount of respect and adoration I have for these two, not only for their hard working ethos and the fact that they are published authors (Allyson’s book comes out in a few months!), but because I have had the pleasure to know them as friends thanks to the internet, and they have been excellent role models and even at times, support systems.

I’ll blabber on about them after today, WITH PHOTOS, because Christy is in Philly this week for a book tour. Tonight she will be doing a book signing and cooking demo at the Whole Foods in Jenkintown, PA. Give them a call if you want to reserve a spot (it’s free!), and maybe I’ll see you there from 6-7:30pm.

But once I get myself dressed, I am off to Philly to Allyson’s house where I hear rumors that the three of us will make cooking videos together. And maybe shopping! And Allyson made lunch! And and and… ?

So if you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and check out their websites, Christy’s here and Allyson’s here.  They are masterful! Oh, and gluten-free folks – Allyson has been cooking only gluten-free (vegan) food for the past few years. Something for everyone, just as it should be. 

Coming up tomorrow…  DIY raw “Larabars”, you will pinch yourself when you see how easy and affordable these are. Also coming soon, piles of smokey baba ganoush and a review of a swanky farm to table pop-up restaurant (minus the pretentiousness).

Until then, here’s where I spent my morning. Isn’t it beautiful?

Prettiest thing I ever did see.

AND don’t forget: The next Bethlehem Food Co-op meeting is TOMORROW, Thursday March 22, at 7pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley (424 Center Street  Bethlehem, PA 18018).

We’ll be deciding on a logo, talkin’ t-shirts and cookbooks, exploring ways to get involved with the new Bethlehem Farmer’s Market, and more. Get involved!

BETHLEHEM GROCERY FOOD CO-OP THIS WEDNESDAY!

So, so exciting. In case you missed my post that explains the heart (and dare I say, community-based soul?) of a what a Food Co-op actually is, please read this.

I’m happy to say the first meeting got some press in one of the local papers today as the Express Times ran an article about the idea and the meeting, as well. This is important because this is going to be a lot of work. The fact that we are going to need a lot of volunteers, staff, lawyers, accountants, folks with experience, etc… is not lost on us and the more we spread the word, the more we can find those people. So keep telling everyone!

This Wednesday meeting is also a vegetarian/vegan potluck. You don’t have to bring food, but if you feel inclined, please do! Everyone is always happier then they are eating. Pair that with community involvement and the Library might start to shoot out actual beacons of light this Wednesday.

Read the Express Times article HERE.

I hope to see you Wednesday, Dec. 1st, at the Bethlehem Public Library (Northside location), between 7pm-9pm!

CO-OP UPDATE: Official Meeting Time/Location Info

The response to the idea of having a Co-op in Bethlehem has been OVERWHELMING. To say the very least. Whether you have reached out, offered networking/advice, volunteered time or “whatever it takes!”, or simply support the idea — THANK YOU.

This sounds pretty sappy but for real — we are the ones who will make this happen — and I am happy to report it’s pretty unanimous that we all WANT this to happen and make it really, really good.

Let me first say that the official time/location of the first general meeting has been set up. This has CHANGED from the original proposed date due to room availability. *PLEASE NOTE: If you cannot make this meeting, let me know because we will plan a second meeting after the first to accomodate (as much as possible) those who cannot attend the first meeting. </br>

BETHLEHEM CO-OP FIRST MEETING

  • Wednesday, November 30th
  • 7:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Bethlehem Area Public Library (Main/Northside location)
  • signs will direct you to the room location
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… And again, stay tuned as a second meeting will be planned for those unable to attend this one.
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EXCITING NEWS: We had planned to get a more tangible idea of the vision for the Co-op before we went to the City of Bethlehem to present the idea and ask for advice and help. BUT! They caught wind of it and contacted us first because they were excited to learn more!
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I just got back from an impromptu meeting with folks from the Economic and Development council who were able to answer some questions, offer insight, and say they are on board with the idea. Before I left I said, “I just have to ask, perhaps off the record, in your general opinions… do you think this could work? Is there any outstanding reason why it couldn’t?” And the short answer was: Yes it could work. No, there is no reason right now why it couldn’t.
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Very encouraging. Can I oreiterate that I love living here?
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Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to once again visit GreenStar in Ithaca, NY. I spent some time, took a lot of photos, made notes, grabbed some newsletters, talked to some folks in the town about how they felt it did/didn’t meet their needs, etc… All good info.</br>
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I’ll make an update here very soon with the photos, which at the very least can get all of us excited about buying gluten-free pasta from bulk bins. Or whatever.
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If you care to use your magical social networking skills, please join/repost the following links. If YOU are interested, chances are people you are friends with would also be interested. The more the merrier. Spread the word: </br>

FACEBOOK Grocery Co-op Group: general info/updates

EVENT PAGE: for the first meeting on Nov. 30th </br>

BETHLEHEM GROCERY CO-OP: Let’s Do This

 

Bethlehem is a very walkable city, with two “sides” joined by a river, each boasting their own personalities and local characters.

Unfortunately, at the moment the gaping hole in what this community needs is a grocery store downtown. It’s something the residents have been talking about for years. We are all trying to learn more – is there a reason why there is no local store in walking distance of the rest of the shops and businesses? (At the moment signs point to insufficient parking being an issue. More needs to be looked at here.)

 Some residents and folks in the area are coming together to talk about the wonderful idea of a Grocery Co-op in Bethlehem. I have been working with Cathy Frankenberg, local environmental activist and all-around wonderful person, to organize a plan to learn more about the possibility of bringing this to our town and carry it out.

A food Co-op existed here in the 1980's!

A Grocery Co-op, in simplest terms for anyone not familiar with them, is essentially a grocery store that focuses on selling local/organic foods and environmentally friendly products. They often have (and our vision does) a community room to hold a cooking class or a movie screening/discussion. They often have a small cafe/prepared foods area so you can pick up some lunch or dinner and a fair trade coffee.

About the size of a Trader Joes – bigger than a small health food store but smaller than a large grocery chain – Co-ops are member owned: which means once you join as a member, you are now an owner of shares and this means you get to vote on issues and policies. (It also means you get a nice discount!)

Peoples Co-op

Essentially a non-profit, Co-ops also mean prices reflect just enough revenue to cover the cost of operation and it’s staff, meaning items are affordable and use of extra revenue generated is voted upon by owners (see above!) to determine how best to use the money.

This also means quality foods and environmentally friendly products are affordable for most income levels. You should not have to make a lot of money to afford good, healthy food.

Real Food Co-op

This could be an invaluable assest to our community and local farmers and anyone who would like to keep their dollars recycled among local businesses and community efforts.

JOIN THE FACEBOOK GROUP HERE: Bethlehem Grocery Co-op

A meeting open to ANYONE interested in learning more, with ideas to share, or experience or knowledge of moving forward is invited to come to a meeting (after which we can organize a steering committee):

  • Bethlehem Grocery Co-op Meeting
  • Wednesday, November 30th
  • 7:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Bethlehem Area Public Library (Main/Northside location)

Davis Food Co-op

You can look at a few websites of co-ops in the United States that serve as models for what we hope to do:  GreenStar in Ithaca, NY.  East End Co-op in Pittsburgh, PA. Rainbow Co-op in San Francisco, CA. Tacoma Food Co-op in Tacoma, Washington. … and there are so many more!
I urge you to spread the word about the meeting and the Facebook Group!