Monthly archives "April 2008"

Holidays and Camphill Village

It’s a public holiday on Thursday, so please note that some of our usual collection points will be closed, and some hours will change. Sage Organics in Gardens, and the Hout Bay community centre will be closed. The Ethical Co-op warehouse in Diep River will be open on Wednesday afternoon, but not on Thursday, and the same applies to Go Natural in Somerset West.

Camphill Village is an eco-village up the west coast that aims to provide care and employment for adults with disabilities, particularly those at risk within their families and communities. In the past they mainly saw children with autism, while now it’s mostly children who have suffered abuse or neglect.

It’s a eco-village in the real sense, as the residents work on the land, consume what they produce, recycle much of their minimal waste, and produce products for sale from this seasonal produce.

Like most communities, things don’t always run according to plan. Last month their borehole collapsed, and the loss of their main water supply resulted in their cows taking strain, with an impact on their milk production, as well as some large expenses as they organised a new borehole. They also grow lettuce, but the guinea fowl gobbled up a recent batch, and the cows broke through the fence and ate the next one.

Camphill Farm is run on biodynamic principles, as it has been for over 30 years. So, the guinea fowl aren’t kept away with poisons or timed explosions – rather they use a fence made of old audio tape. Apparently the shimmering light reflecting off the tape scares them away.

Camphill supply us with a large range of products. There are seeds (peas and beans in the featured and new section, as well as coriander, dill, fennel and swiss chard in the garden section), 100% rye bread and rye biscuits in the bakery section, creme fraiche, milk and yoghurt in the dairy section, dried sage, dried coriander and herb salts in the dried herbs section, wheat and sugar-free muesli in the breakfast section, and jams and chutneys made from, amongst others, kei apple, lemon, orange, guava, as well as body products such as lavendar bath milk and deodorants.

And finally, after last week’s lengthy and serious video, Star Wars fans might enjoy this week’s one – Grocery Store Wars.

To order of course, head on over to

Enjoy the break if you’re having one,
the Co-op team

Grocery Store Wars

Grocery Store Wars is a Star Wars parody created to spread the seeds of the organic rebellion.

Increasing food prices, and the World According to Monsanto

Recently there have been an increasing number of food riots worldwide. Egypt, Haiti, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Bolivia and Indonesia have all faced protests and riots, and South Africa too has seen threats of unrest as more and more people struggle to afford food.

Food prices globally have risen 40% since last year, and staple foods seen an 80% price increase in three years. Wheat prices have risen 130% percent since March 2007. There are now an average of 400 ‘global disasters’ annually, up from 200, exacerbating food shortages.

We’re often told this is ‘out of our control’, as the main causes of rocketing food prices are increasing oil prices, climate change, biofuels, and increased food consumption, especially meat, as populations grow and become wealthier. It’s true that many of these factors do seem out of our control, as oil prices will continue to increase, and climate change continue to occur. Hopefully at least the insane policies encouraging converting food crops to biofuels will be reversed. Nevertheless, if we continue the way we’re going, things look quite gloomy.

All of which tells us we can’t continue in the same direction. Food production will become more localised, and more organic, so that we don’t have to ship our food across the globe, or use vast amounts of energy manufacturing and transporting chemical pesticides and fertilisers.

The solutions aren’t difficult, and we can all help in working towards them.

What better way to do this than to convert that stretch of lawn into a food garden – take a look at the organic and biodynamic seeds in our garden section to get you started.

Don’t forget too that it’s Vondis pet food week. We have them available every every second week, so stock up if you need.

You can also view the acclaimed French documentary, ‘The World According to Monsanto‘, on our blog this week. The documentary paints a grim picture of the company, its health scandals and record of environmental crimes. Note that the documentary is 1h49 minutes long, and requires a fast broadband connection to view properly.

To order, visit

Have a great week,
The Co-op team

The World According to Monsanto

The notorious company that gave the world PCBs, Agent Orange, biotech crops and rBGH has more control over global politics, laws and the future of food and water than most people realize.

This investigative video analyzes the inner workings, history and secrets of one of the world’s most powerful corporations – Monsanto.

Quality capsicums


Not many people know that red, yellow and green peppers are actually the same plant. Commonly called bell peppers elsewhere in the world, and sometimes capsicum, the red and yellow varieties are simply riper versions of green peppers, with their colour determined by the cultivar. Rarely, white, purple, brown, and, strangely, blue cultivars are found.

Compared with other related plants, bell peppers are not hot. They contain a recessive gene that eliminates capsaisin, which is responsible for the heat in other peppers.

As peppers age, their flavour becomes sweeter and milder. Red peppers left to ripen on the vine are sweeter than red peppers harvested when green, and both are much sweeter than green peppers. They also become more nutritious as they age. Red peppers contain 11 times more beta-carotene than green peppers, and are a great source of Vitamin A generally. For smokers, this is particularly useful, as benzo(a)pyrene, a carcinogen in cigarette smoke, induces Vitamin A deficiency. There’s much research happening now around speculation that some smokers live longer than others primarily because of diets rich in Vitamin A.

Peppers are an even better source of Vitamin C, with green pepper containing 50% more than navel oranges, and red peppers contain twice as much.

It’s particularly important to eat organic peppers, as they’re one of the foods on which pesticide residues are most readily found.

Peppers stay fresh for about a week, the green, being younger, lasting longer than the others.

This week we’re offering green peppers from Abalimi, and red and yellow peppers from Funky Greens

Quality Produce – we want your feedback!

We are constantly working on getting great produce to you that is high quality, delicious and fresh. We really value your feedback regarding this, as it helps us to constantly improve.

If you are ever unhappy about the quality of something you have received from us, please let us know! In return we will give you a full refund on your item, in the form of credit on your account.

When you email us, please supply us with the following:
1. What produce was it?
2. What was wrong with it?
3. What supplier was it from?
4. What condition was your box in?

To order, head on over to

The Co-op team.

rBGH takes another knock

Good news from the US is that rBGH, Monsanto’s Bovine Growth Hormone, has taken another knock. Last year I mentioned that California Dairies, which produces 8% of the US milk supply had stopped dosing their cows with it. And now, following the lead of so many smaller outlets, the giant corporation Wal-Mart have announced that their store brand of milk will also be rBGH-free.

While rBGH is banned in much of the world, it’s available in South Africa and the US. It’s given to cows to make them produce more milk, but shortens their lives, and results in an increased likelihood of mastitis, an infection of the udder. This is then treated with antibiotics, which end up in the milk. Treated cows also produce milk containing elevated levels of another hormone, IGF-1, associated with increased likelihood of human cancers (source).

A campaign that came up against huge amounts of money, marketing and misinformation, may now finally be reaching an end. rBGH was approved in the US in 1993 amidst much controversy. In 1998 Monsanto put pressure on Fox TV to pull a documentary, the result of a year’s investigation, highlighting the harmful effects, and the journalists were fired. But, 15 years later, the truth has prevailed, and Americans are catching up to the rest of the world in their opposition to rBGH.

Unfortunately cows are still routinely administered rBGH in South Africa.

This week we have a whole host of new products. These include a range of incense from Rare Earth. Unlike many brands of incense, these contain no synthetic matter. All the packaging of the products is derived from recycled paper and the manufacturers belong to the Fair Trade Organisation. None of the products are tested on animals and child labour is not used.

There are two ranges on offer, the Classic range, which includes traditional fragrances such as jasmine and cedarwood, and the Ayurvedic range, formulated according to Ayurvedic principles. Click on the product name for more details about each one.

More new products include essential oils from Last Thyme. Last Thyme have just got their official organic certification, and besides the traditional herbs of lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus and tea tree, they’re also offering essential oils from indigenous herbs, including cape rosemary, confetti bush, african wormwood, cape chamomile and rose geranium.

To order, go to

Have a great week!

The Co-op team.