Monthly archives "June 2008"

Bloublommetjies home care products, and the end of cheap oil

Bloublommetjies Home Care products

Those of you who got an order last Thursday would have seen the sample products from Bloublommetjies in your box. Bloublommetjies have a whole range of certified organic and biodynamic home care products, from dishwashing paste and liquid, all purpose cleaner, disinfectant, fabric softener, laundry products and even a pet shampoo.

Ingredients are almost entirely grown on Bloublommetjies farm, resulting in minimal waste and, being a local farm, a very low carbon footprint.

Biodegradeable packaging

This week we have a number of new packaging products available from Green Home. They’re made from plant starch material, instead of oil-based plastic. We’ve had some vibrant internal debates on the merits of oil-based plastic against plant-based materials, but have come to the conclusion that the plant-based packaging is a big step forward. Unlike biofuels, no land is devoted to growing plants for packaging materials – rather they’re derived from materials usually wasted during processing. With oil now over $140 a barrel, and on an inevitable upward trend, the era of cheap oil, with all its attendant waste, and plastics as an important component, is coming to an end.

What’s sometimes listed as ‘biodegradeable’ is simply ‘degradeable’, meaning that the product breaks down, but toxic chemicals are still leached into the soil. Green Home products are completely plant-based, so are truly biodegradeable.

Green Home have a wide range of products, including biodegradeable forks, spoons, cups and plates. We’re encouraging our own suppliers to use them, as it pains us to be distributing oil-based plastics. Now, after numerous requests, they’re available for everyone to buy.

As with all of our products, you can click on the product name for more details, and an explanation of ideal composting conditions.

Windup radios, torches and lanterns

Freeplay windup radios, lanterns and torches, which never require you to buy extra batteries, are back in stock at last. If you’re planning to order, head down to the ‘Other’ section, although you’ll need to move quickly, as they rapidly go out of stock, and take a while to return.

Distributors wanted

Thanks to everyone who responded to our ad a few weeks ago for distributors. Apologies that we haven’t responded yet – we will do so soon.

New collection point in Lakeside, Hout Bay

We have a new collection point in Lakeside – Zest Health Shop. Near the Woolworths and Sostanza Bakery, we hope the shop’s calm and light atmosphere will keep your veggies relaxed while they wait for you!

They also stock health foods, supplements such as Solgar and Viridian, Chinese and Homeopathic remedies, gluten and sugar-free products, goats milk products and various body care items. Their store manager, Lisa, will be happy to give you more information about any of their products.

We also have a new collection point in Hout Bay – the Health Path, in Victoria Road.

To order,

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Full moon fever

This week it’s only a short newsletter, as I’m suffering from some full moon fever!

It’s good to know that prices can go down as well as up. Rozendal biodynamic farm have announced price cuts to their vinegars. The large bottles are now R65, and the mixed vinegar pack is reduced by R14 to R70.

New products on the site include raw cacoa butter, and new soaps from Kalyan Herbal.

To order, go to

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Party like it’s 2005

Youth Day

It’s Youth Day on Monday, a public holiday, and since most people leave their orders to the last minute, here’s a reminder to place your order now, before it’s too late.

METAVarsity Winter School

If you ordered last week, you would have seen a pamphlet with the METAVarsity Winter School programme in your box. METAVarsity are hosting 11 talks, from 30 June to 5 July, including workshops by some of our suppliers.

Journey to the Earth, sees Liz Eglington of Blue Sky Organics discussing her journey from successful corporate executive and athlete, to organic farmer, working with the sacredness and connection of nature. Anthea Torr, from Biophile and Enchantrix, presents Sacred Activism for the 21st Century, on how ordinary people can make a profound difference. Pat Featherstone, of Soil for Life, presents Live your Life Organically, providing practical ideas and inspiration for an organic lifestyle.

Booking is essential, and contact details are available at

Party like it’s 2005

Can you remember back to 2005? George Bush began his second term as US president, Spain became the 3rd country to permit same-sex marriages, oil rocketed to its highest-ever level of $70 a barrel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (it’s almost double that today), and the world saw the launch of two new websites – YouTube, and the Ethical Co-op.

2005 also happened to be when we last adjusted the prices of our great value mixed boxes. On reflection though, the value was a little too good, so from next week we’ll be putting up the prices. A small mixed box will cost R75, and a large mixed box R120. We’ve looked around, and we hope you’ll agree with us that this is still some of the best value around.

Baby Cereal

We’re very pleased to be able to offer certified organic baby cereal, produced right here in Cape Town. Olli Babyfoods have created a rice and banana cereal, suitable for babies from 8 months old, and a plain rice cereal, which can be given from 4-5 months. However, we, and Olli, recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months. Both cereals are free of any soya, dairy, wheat, gluten, egg, and sugar, and contain nothing but organic rice and banana.

A seasonal break

Supply of cows and goats products are erratic right now, as the cold weather reduces milk production. Zeekoegat have ceased all production of their cheeses for the season, so stock will be unavailable shortly. The gentle Rambo, Zeekoegat’s new ram we mentioned in March, has been hard at work, and 42 ewes are pregnant!

To order, go to

Have a great week,
the Co-op team

Ethics, a change in perspective, and a host of new products

Business ethics?

I came across a quote today by John C. Maxwell, a bestselling author, successful businessman and former pastor. When asked for his thoughts on business ethics his response was “there’s no such thing – only ethics!”.

We’re often asked why we call ourselves the Ethical Co-op, and people wonder if it’s just a marketing term, or whether we’re attempting to put us on a pedestal in relation to other organisations.

The answer is quite simple – it’s a reflection of the way we want to live our lives. When in doubt about a decision, it’s the intention we return to. Everything stems from this intention, whether it’s the choice of a local supplier over an international one, the packaging we use, or our relations with our customers, suppliers and staff.

The great thing is that this attracts like-minded people, who are quick to tell us when they disagree with a decision, or are unhappy with something. Feedback from our customers has been fantastic, and has often sparked an internal debate leading us to acknowledge a mistake, make improvements, or gain a greater understanding and clarity on a decision. Please keep the feedback coming – our blog is a great way to talk to us, and share with others at the same time.

A change in perspective

I was at a party recently where the main topic of discussion was the recent violence. The talk was of ‘us and them’, of plans to leave to find somewhere better, of inevitable decline. I left feeling tired and drained. The very next day, I joined other co-op members on a visit to Camphill Farm. Some of the talk also centred on the violence, but it focused on what people were doing to help, and what was still needed. The situation remains what it is, but the change in perspective, from helplessness, to empowerment, was uplifting and inspiring. I am blessed to be involved with such a positive group of people.

There’s been a flurry of new products in recent weeks, culminating in a whole host of new and returning products this week.

Raw Chocolate spread

If you ordered last week, you may have seen a complementary jar of raw chocolate spread. Supplied by Go Wild Gourmet, and produced here in Cape Town, it contains raw chocolate, raw coconut oil, and raw honey. Spread it on anything you can, drizzle it over desserts, or just eat it raw. Being raw chocolate, with no sugar, and a healthy dose of oil to offset the honey, it’s safe for use in a low GI-diet, and won’t give you the brief highs, followed by a crash, associated with sugar. It’s available in 125ml and 250ml jars.


You may also have received a complementary copy of an old issue of Biophile magazine. Biophile has a mission statement of imparting knowledge with truth and integrity for the highest good of all, and the new edition continues in this vein with a variety of articles. Issue 22, now available, covers amongst other things, the link between autism and vaccines, Mayan prophecy, and the perversion of mass consumerism, and as always has a lively letters section.

The South African Journal of Natural Medicine

Also new on the site is The South African Journal of Natural Medicine. The June edition contains articles on the endangered honeybee, probiotics, and the overestimated benefits of the flu vaccine.

Camphill Farm

We have a new range of products from Camphill Farm (although old regulars may recognise some of them), including teas, jam and herbal deodorant.

New formula Enchantrix

The new formula Enchantrix cleaning products have been released. These include fabric softener, germ buster and toilet cleaner, laundry liquid, stain remover and whitener, and a general cleaner. They’re available in 500ml or bulk 5kg offerings. Buying in bulk if you can saves packaging, energy, and is much better value.

African Coffee

Finally, coffee fans would have noticed a new range of coffees on the site for the last few weeks. We’ve consciously been searching for coffee from the African continent as an alternative to coffee imported from afar. We’re excited to offer coffee from Beaver Creek, the southernmost coffee-growing region in the world, situated in the foothills above Port Edward in Kwazulu-Natal. The estate is not yet certified organic, but is in the process of doing so. There’s also a certified organic, Fair Trade coffee grown at high altitude in Ethiopia. Look for them under the Redberry brand in our coffee section. As with all our produces, you can click on the item for more information.

Co-op deliveries

Thanks to all for the overwhelming response to last week’s call for people to help us with home deliveries. We’ll be in contact shortly!

Visit to order.

Have a great week,
the Co-op team