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The Matter of What You Eat

By: Lynn Gannon, Board President

I recently attended an event where Polar explorer and climate advocate Will Steger and Minnesota food writer Beth Dooley teamed up to promote Climate Generation and talk about the importance of carbon-friendly food choices. By making carbon-friendly food choices, individuals can promote environmental health and sustainability and support their local economy, all while having tasty, nutritious food on their plates at mealtime! Listening to Beth Dooley talk, I thought about how grateful I am that my community has Spiral Co-op (not every community is so lucky) and how easy Spiral Co-op makes it for all of us to make carbon-friendly food choices.

Even in the dead of winter, Spiral’s produce department is well stocked with local root vegetables grown by Wisconsin Amish farmers. There are a great many main-dish dinner recipes where rutabagas, turnips, sweet potatoes, yams, and beets are the stars of the show. How does roasted root vegetables tossed with Minnesota wild rice and topped with a fried egg sound? Add a salad made from locally grown lettuces and micro-greens and serving up a delicious locally sourced weeknight dinner really isn’t hard at all. More so than any other store in Hastings, Spiral Co-op’s shelves are stocked with local foods and products. From salsas to soaps and dog treats to dinner rolls, shopping at Spiral supports carbon-friendly food choices and our local economy.

But making carbon-friendly food choices is so much more than buying locally grown foods. Just by shopping at the Co-op, you are supporting carbon-friendly food production and sustainable, humane agriculture practices everywhere. Sustainability is built into Spiral Co-op’s mission statement, which places an imperative on “healthy, local, natural, and organic food” and “environmental health.” Every decision by our General Manager and Spiral’s department buyers is guided by those imperatives. Even when you buy things that aren’t necessarily local, you can trust that if Spiral is carrying the product, the product was grown or produced in an environmentally friendly manner and packaged to minimize plastics and waste. Additionally, in 2019, Spiral implemented a store composting program and expanded its recycling effort.

As Spiral Co-op prepares itself for a store expansion/relocation this year, shopping at Spiral Co-op is more important now than ever before. During 2019 Spiral’s sales grew steadily, and we must continue growing sales to keep our balance sheet strong. As you plan your carbon-friendly meals, set a goal for yourself to buy as much of your weekly grocery needs as possible at Spiral Co-op. Shopping at Spiral Co-op is a triple win --

  • First, Spiral wins your shopping dollars, which helps our store stay strong and prepares us for growth.

  • Second, Hastings wins because, on average, every dollar spent at food cooperatives has an economic impact of 1.6 as that dollar ripples through the local economy (versus conventional groceries at 1.36). Plus, each month Spiral Co-op shoppers raise $300 to $500 for Hastings nonprofits, such as Animal Ark and Hastings Family Services.

  • Third, the environment wins because your shopping dollars are maximized for sustainability.

  • Spiral Co-op can help you on your path to a more carbon-friendly lifestyle.


About Beth Dooley: Beth Dooley has covered the local food scene in the Northern Heartland for thirty years: she writes for the Taste section of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, and appears regularly on KARE 11 (NBC) television and MPR Appetites with Tom Crann. She co-authored The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen with Sean Sherman, winner of the James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook.  Other titles include: Savory Sweet: Preserves from a Northern KitchenIn Winter's Kitchen: Growing Roots and Breaking Bread in the Northern HeartlandMinnesota's Bounty: The Farmers Market CookbookThe Northern Heartland Kitchen  and coauthored Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland with Lucia Watson, among other books.

In addition to writing about local food in the Northern Heartland, Beth guides local food trips for Wilderness Inquiry via Taste of the Apostles.

Beth currently serves as an endowed chair for MISA at the University of Minnesota. Her next project is The Perennial Kitchen Cookbook, A Field Guide to Creating a Sustainable Kitchen.

See more information about Beth, her recipes, and cookbooks on her website:

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