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  • Writer's picturestephanieraffelock

The Characters at the Co-Op


I’ve been eating a lot of my meals at the food co-op. Fresh green drinks and kim-che, the kind of stuff that makes some of my friends think that I am slightly bat-shit crazy and the kind of stuff that I love. Coming of age in the late 1960’s, I learned to cook from an Adel Davis book and held Jethro Kloss to be my bible for healthy living. I still eat basically the same way and now there is a whole new generation of health-food foodies that do the same, and I see them come and go at the food co-op.

Some of the folks at the food co-op, especially the younger ones, like to dress up. It makes me smile, because I used to “dress up” too. There was nothing like being 19 years old and struttin’ your self in fringed leather boots and a beaded headband, arms covered in silver bangles and a chunk of turquoise hanging from your neck. Now I look like any other middle-aged woman in shorts and running shoes, sipping green drink, but I have great appreciation for the costumes that make a statement of creative identities, parading in front of me, checking out today’s tofu casserole in the hot section of the co-op deli.

Yesterday my husband and I met a young man, who wasn’t in costume, who drove a car plastered with anti-GMO slogans and adorned with a large, misshapen fish on it’s roof. He called it a “sugar beet fish.” He is an activist collecting signatures to keep GMO foods out of our valley. It’s a big issue right now and I am not sure if small voters like me who cannot afford to buy their congressperson will really make a difference in stopping the evil of Monsanto. Monsanto Corporation is apparently by definition a person, who has more than enough money to purchase our leaders so that they can continue with their experiment of genetically messing with our food, and of course, that includes my green drink.

I have a lot of respect for anyone who takes up a cause and tries to facilitate change. We talked to him for a while and signed his petition, which will put a non-GMO initiative on the ballot this fall.

In addition to the hot deli, the thing I like best about the food co-op is it represents this little slice of the idealistic life. It’s a part of myself that I don’t want to lose. I’ve been blessed to have my own businesses over the years. I get paid well these days for consulting work and up until my recent move, I had a closet full of power suits. I like that world, but the world of the co-op, where people want to dress in feathers and beads to separate themselves from the masses; where young activists believe that they can and will make a difference; where the woman behind that counter that takes my order for green drink never looks at me like some of my friends do when I ask for more cucumber instead of apple; this slice of life is dear to my heart. Health food, personal creativity, social justice and acceptance–these are things that I have valued since my youth and continue to be a part of my moral fiber. Plus, I really like the woman who wears the rainbow pants, ears and a pony tail–no literally a pony’s tale, like hanging from her yaya pony place.

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