Monthly archives "September 2011"

Your order makes a difference

Our actions have consequences far beyond our awareness. Much of the time we’re blind to the effect we have. Our hurtful words, or our helpful actions, spread out leaving ripples behind us as we walk away. It’s usually towards those closest to us that our actions have the greatest impact, but sometimes we can impact those far away.

It’s why developing our mindfulness is so important – it’s much harder to be hurtful if we realise we are doing so, and if we can see the consequences in front of us. A solder finds it easier to mindlessly drop a bomb from a plane, killing thousands, than to shoot someone defenceless facing them.

We have a small team and our warehouse staff all work part-time, some three days a week, others two, some only one day, while two of the night staff are on rotation, only working every 2nd week. For some, this is the only work they have.

If we reach a certain number of orders, we call an extra person in to help with the packing. Last week we hit the target exactly. If any one order had not been placed, one of our night staff would have lost a days work, working one day in two weeks instead of two. A tiny action by those of us who ordered, but a large consequence for him.

So thank you to each and every one of you who placed an order with us. From the farms we support, the small suppliers and our own staff, your actions are gratefully accepted.

Coffee Company
Our blessings go to the family, friends and colleagues of Lucien Verrezen, who passed away earlier this month at a dinner party. Lucien was the founder, owner and energy source of the Coffee Company, who supply our superb Cafe Organic coffee. They’ve asked all coffee-lovers to make a good cup of coffee and drink with them to a man who lived his dream.

Water Collection Service
Our free promotional special for the water refills from the fabulous Newlands spring has come to an end, and we’re now charging R38 to collect your water for you. Remember, we need to get your bottle back first, so please make sure we have it before trying to order a refill. At the same time, we’ve reduced the price of the collection service with a new bottle, so if you haven’t yet tried it out, the price of water collection and a new bottle is now R10 less.

And while you’re returning your water bottles, please remember to return your flattened boxes, and rinsed 1 litre glass bottles – they’re all gratefully re-used.

New Collection Points
We have four more new collection points this week. Greencube Nursery in Noordhoek, the Kalk Bay Garden Centre, Leechi Designs in Retreat/Tokai, and Constantia Waldorf School. Don’t forget as well our other recent new collection points – Die Boord Pharmacy in Stellenbosch, Reddam Pharmacy in Tokai and the return of our Rosebank Collection Point in Thicket Road. We’re making it easier than ever to collect your box of organic goodness.

Facebook and Twitter
We have a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group. The Group has been around from well before Pages were a twinkling in a Facebook programmer’s eye, but it’s time to move to everything to the Page, which is better suited for business use. We’ll be closing down the Group shortly. If you’re a Facebook user, please visit and like our Facebook Page.

If you prefer Twitter, we’re also there, @ethical_co_op

Have a joyous spring week,
Ian and the Ethical team

To order, head on over to

Chesapeake and Wear

The River Wear in the north of England was once known as “The Black Sewer”. The area’s many collieries leached their waste into the river and it was canalised. Unsurprisingly, nothing much lived in it. But, with the death of the coal industry, and much stricter pollution laws stopping further harm, and then an active restoration plan, the river is now thriving, filled with salmon, and graced by kingfishers and otters.

Fish and wildlife, just like us, don’t thrive in a frenzied, one-dimensional canal that’s always in a hurry. They need variety, alternating speed and intensity and slow meanders. So part of the plan has involved de-canalising the river, and restoring meanders. I can think of a few local rivers that could do with the same treatment.

Another area being rehabilitated is Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States. Once home to great swathes of oysters, crabs and shellfish, most of them disappeared as the bay turned into one of the world’s first marine dead zones, its ecosystem collapsing as it became overloaded with runoff from residential, farm and industrial waste. While the bay’s water looks clean, nothing like the “Black Sewer”, Chesapeake is proving harder to rehabilitate as algal blooms caused in particular by excess phosphorus and nitrogen used on farms take all the oxygen from the water, killing the shellfish.

However, groups of “oyster gardeners“, focusing on the benchmark species, plan baby oyster in the late summer and autumn, before moving them out into the bay when they’re large enough.

Oysters are important because they filter pollution – they absorb high levels of pesticides and contaminants, keeping the water cleaner for other species. They’re also part of the history of the bay, as early settlers wrote of having to navigate huge oyster reefs.

Chesapeake Bay speaks of the difficulties when only tackling one side of the issue. Damage needs to stop and rehabilitation to begin. While industrial farms still continue their archaic and harmful practices, progress will be slow.

Old and New
Real Bread is back with their popular range of breads after taking a break for Eid last week, and after two week’s without we have been assured there will be avos this week. Unfortunately we’re unlikely to have bananas for the next month or so, as the winter frosts have taken their toll and the remaining stock is snapped up by the supermarkets.

As we head into spring some of the winter lines will be coming to an end, and new ones will start arriving. Kleinjongenskraal’s popular orange sweet potatoes will only be available for one more week. Their pumpkins have been growing steadily over the winter, and are now a hefty 2.5kg.

We’re also stocked up again with Gayleen’s chocolates, including the Brazil Nut Creme, which has been selling quickly.

New Collection Points
We have some new collection points this week. Our old collection point in Rosebank is open again, and we’ve also opened new points in Stellenbosch (Die Boord Pharmacy) and Tokai (Reddam Pharmacy).

New Distributor
We are looking for someone with their own vehicle to assist us with deliveries one day a week. If you know of someone who you think would be a great addition to our organisation, please pass on our details to them.