Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sunday at the Co-op

A co-operative recognizes the reinforcing roles of consumer and producer.  I discovered something of truism that at any marketplace with high cultural context, such as a hardware store or fabric store, you could take the people on one side of the counter and switch them with the people on the other side and get the same result.  Co-ops are like that.  A co-operative is a community of providers and users, buyers and sellers, all of whom share a common interest in mutual profit.  Here are the vendors whom I met last Sunday at the Wheatsville Co-operative store on South Lamar  in Austin.

In Austin, Central Texas Bee Rescue (CTBR) sells wild honey and rescued honey.  Wild honey is collected from feral bees.  
They also sell crayons.
 "CTBR has led classes in beekeeping and other agricultural sciences in two Austin Charter schools (grades 1-9) and the Austin Montessori School.  They have also led workshops with Master Gardener Associations, libraries, and other institutions dedicated to education about the environment. They have noticed that beekeeping and caring for other animals has a positive effect on kids who grew up in the city and previously had no experience nurturing and caring. It melts your heart to watch."

Karen (right) suffered several small but significant bone injury accidents
over a few years.  Having tried many products,
she became a supporter of SunWarrior

"I can't say enough good things about them," she said. 
SunWarrior mineral-rich plant proteins sells a broad and deep range of “super green”  products.  Most are glutine-free.  All are vegan.  Typical ingredients include nrown rice, quinoa, and fermented bio-barley. 
Ismar and Daniel came to Wheatsville to
run taste tests and give out drinking cups.
I first drank Topo Chico about a year after I moved to Austin.  I was guarding a residential high-rise downtown and one of the residents – a serial entrepreneur – treated me to a bottle.  As mineral waters go, I found it to be high quality, richer, more satisfying than the other brands I usually buy, Crystal Geyer, and Whole Foods’ (Italian) Mineral Water. In this product, the sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and manganese come directly from the geology of the spring.  They are not blasted in at a factory.

The legend of Topo Chico tells of an Aztec princess, a daughter of Moctezuma I who was cured of a mysterious ailment by bathing in the mineral spring.  Apparently, the entire royal troup all came home invigorated and refreshed.  
Topo Chico is great in cocktails (no surprise there) and, according to the AustinAmerican-Statesman, Topo Chico makes a heck of a coffee.  The company has its fan base, that's for sure.

"There are a plethera of records of co-operatives started out as small grassroots organisations in Western Europe, North America and Japan in the middle of the nineteenth century, however, it is the Rochdale Pioneers that are generally regarded as the prototype of the modern co-operative society and the founders of the Co-operative Movement in 1844.(International Co-operative Association.)


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