Currently up at the 4th and B location in Eureka is an art show focused on sustainable agriculture. The Lexicon of Sustainability is a set of 24 full color prints of photo collages that depict the nature of food systems. Sponsored by Consolidated Graphics (CGX), this groundbreaking exhibition of large format photo collages takes art out of its traditional museum and gallery setting and allows individuals and local groups to host their own Pop Up Art Show; these temporary, mobile, personalized art events will be held directly in the community, spurring dialog about how people can have a positive impact on their local food systems.
From the Lexicon website, “The Lexicon project is based on a simple premise: people can’t be expected to live more sustainable lives if they don’t even know the most basic terms and principles that define sustainability.
For the past three years Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard-Gayeton have crisscrossed the USA to learn this new language of sustainability from its foremost practitioners in food and farming; Alice Waters on edible schoolyards, Wes Jackson on reinventing wheat farming, Joel Salatin on embracing the value of saner farming practices, Vandana Shiva on the global imperative of protecting seeds, Paul Stamets on how mushrooms can save the world, Will Allen on food security, Temple Grandin on the humane slaughter of animals, Farmer John on the revolutionary idea of community-supported agriculture.
By illuminating the vocabulary of sustainable agriculture, and with it, the conversation about America’s rapidly evolving food culture, the Lexicon project will educate, engage and activate people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and their responsibility for creating a healthier, safer food system in America. And it all begins with learning a few words.”
The show will be up at the Eureka location until Feb. 5, at which time it will move to the 8th and I location in Arcata until Feb. 20. Along with the art pieces is a conversation board where viewers can comment on the prints. Co-op employees and board members will be engaging the community in dialog about the Lexicon art show at both of the receptions; one during Arts Alive on Saturday, Feb. 4 and one during Arts Arcata on Friday, Feb. 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
In addition to the Lexicon of Sustainability art shows, the Co-op is bringing Mark Kastel to the D Street Neighborhood Center in Arcata this Saturday at 10 a.m. to speak on the topic of protecting organic integrity.
Mark Kastel is co-founder of The Cornucopia Institute, a populist farm policy research group based in Wisconsin. It is dedicated to the fight for economic justice for the family-scale farming community. Through research, advocacy and economic development its goal is to empower farmers, industry participants and consumers both politically and through marketplace initiatives. It acts as a corporate and governmental watchdog assuring that no compromises to the credibility of organic farming methods and the food it produces are made in the pursuit of profit, actively resisting regulatory rollbacks and weakening of organic standards to protect and maintain consumer confidence in organics.
A third component of the Co-op’s Conversations in Sustainable Agriculture is bringing awareness to the need for GMOs to be labled. GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, are already in our food chain-some sources say 99 percent of soy is GMO-and the Co-op feels strongly that GMO foods should be clearly labeled so consumers have a choice. The Co-op supports the California Ballot Initiative to Label GMOs and the work of the local chapter. Volunteers will be at each of the Dirt on Food events to inform the community about the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. A petition to get the act on the 2012 ballot will begin circulating in mid-February.
For the past few years, the North Coast Co-op has engaged the community in dialog each February with events such as the Food Security Forum 2010 and last year’s Sustainable Ag Expo with guest speaker Joel Salatin and has posed the Eat Local Challenge for the last four years each September to bring awareness to and strengthen the local food system.
“The Co-op is truly a community owned grocery store,” says outreach director Melanie Bettenhausen, “Everything we do is centered around what is best for our community, and that means building a strong local food system as the foundation for healthy citizens and environment.”
Like other consumer co-ops in this country, North Coast Co-op has led the way in promoting organic farming, the importance of supporting local products, the advantages of buying bulk foods, the benefits of recycling and reducing waste, the importance of accurate product information, and the buying power of consumers informed about the food they eat and the impacts of their choices.
The North Coast Cooperative is a member-owned community market guided by cooperative principles emphasizing a diverse selection of organic, bulk, and local food products. The Co-op provides consumer education so that shoppers can make informed choices. The Co-op promotes community building and environmental sustainability while maintaining financial stability. The foundation of our work is meeting member needs.
To purchase tickets for Mark Kastel, please visit www.northcoastco-op.com or come in to the North Coast Co-op in Arcata or Eureka.
For further information, please contact Melanie Bettenhausen at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 826-8670 ext. 132.