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Are you ready for a natural grocer in your community?

[ Tuesday, October 14, 2014 | 0 comments ]
By Thomas Spahr, NCCM Board Chair and Bluff Lake Resident

The Northeast Community Co-op Markety has made great strides since incorporating in late July. In just eleven weeks, we have grown to 392 members comprised of residents living in Stapleton, NW Aurora, Park Hill, Lowry, East Colfax, Montclair and beyond. Our team has been diligently finalizing the details of our business plan, building connections and partnerships with other food-based organizations in the Denver metro area, and exploring all opportunities for funding and viable locations. There is clearly enthusiasm and excitement for our project and we feel that we have an outstanding business concept that will meet the needs of our community while growing into a valuable neighborhood resource and institution.

The goal of our “Roots to Reality Fall Membership Drive” is to increase membership to over 850 and share the vision for our community-owned grocery store with a wider segment of the community. Achieving this goal is important so that all options remain on the table moving into next year. In order to open our doors by next fall, we expect that we will need a total of at least 1,500 members. Both of these benchmarks are within reach, we just need the full support of our community, which has repeatedly emphasized the want and desire for a natural grocer. If you or someone you know is on the fence about becoming a member of the food co-op, let me go over a few frequently asked questions with you.

What do I get as a member? Fame. Fortune. Bragging rights that you helped start one of the most innovative grocer concepts in the Denver Metro Area. Well…fame and fortune is probably a stretch, but you will get an ownership share of our co-op, which will help us obtain the capital we need to open. Besides the obvious benefit of finally having a grocery store that reflects the values of our community, our members will get to influence the store concept, vote on the Board of Directors, and down the road may get access to special discounts and end-of-the-year dividend shares that are not
available to non-members.

What is the ROI on my membership? There are many ways you can look at the return on investment for your membership. From a consumer standpoint, yes, you may get money back and savings over time. But there are more immediate ways to view the ROI on membership – I will identify three.

  1. If you are currently driving to Sprouts or Whole Foods once a week, you are likely spending        $100-200 a year on gas alone. Not to mention the additional time spent planning and travelling to these destinations. Regardless of income, time is everyone’s most finite resource. Why not invest in something that will free up more time to do things we enjoy?
  2. A study conducted in 2012 correlates an increase in walk score (see http://www.walkscore.com/) of 1 point into a $700-3,000 increase in property value. The logic is simple: homebuyers are attracted to access to unique, desirable, and walkable amenities. This is why homes prices in Highland, Wash Park, and Congress Park seem to have no ceiling. Since many of us will live within walking distance from the co-op, it is very possible that the co-op will increase our walk scores and affect an increase in our home values (see -http://www.ceosforcities.org/research/walking-the-walk/). Furthermore, every community in Denver can say they have good restaurants, shops and breweries, but we will be the only neighborhood that can tout its own community-owned grocery store.
  3.  A food co-op is a community wealth building strategy. It increases the ability of our community to increase asset ownership, anchor jobs locally, expand the provision of public services, and ensure local economic stability. Corporate chains come and go (Circuit City, anyone?), but a co-op can continue to adapt and address the needs of our community as time changes it, keeping our money and our wealth firmly rooted in our neighborhood. 
Where will the co-op locate? We don’t know yet. We intend to locate somewhere in the area along
Montview or Central Park Blvd. While we love the potential, vision, and alignment of values with the Stanley Marketplace, Flightline Ventures is running against an aggressive timeline for development
that may conflict with our timeline to become adequately capitalized to sign a lease. We are currently
on track, but we have also evaluated other sites and have talked with other developers.

What happens to my money if the co-op never opens? Failure is not an option. Seriously. If Plan A doesn’t work out, we have Plans B-Z ready to go. There is already enough support in our community that we are sure we will be able to open our doors at some point. The better question is:

How soon can we open the doors? This entirely depends on how quickly our community is willing to invest. We have 392 households that have stood up and said “Yes! Let’s do this!” However, we need more members. As members, it is everyone’s responsibility to recruit additional members. Maybe a neighbor is still sitting on the fence. Maybe your friend wants to wait and see what happens down the road before buying in. Maybe someone you know just doesn’t know about the co-op yet. Regardless of excuses, this will not happen unless we can effectively engage our community and
convince others to join us. If you are already a member, share this with your friends, neighbors, community groups, workout buddies and anyone you know that would be interested. If you are not a member, what are you waiting for? You can sign up online at http://www.northeastco-op.org/membership.html. Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NortheastCommunityCoOpMarketCafe Questions? Email thomas@northeastco-op.org Read the full story »
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Are You Helping your Kids to Cultivate a Healthy Relationship with Food – or Setting Them Up for Struggle?

[ Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | 0 comments ]
By Annette Sloan

As a health-conscious mom, you want the best for your kids. You work hard to make sure they eat well and get plenty of exercise, because you want them to live long, happy, healthy lives. This is certainly a laudable goal – but have you ever stopped to ask yourself if your approach might be doing more harm than good?

As a health coach who has been on her own journey with food, I’ve learned that sometimes our well-intentioned efforts to promote healthy eating can backfire on us. In this first post of a three-part series, I share an essential DON’T and DO for helping your kids to cultivate a healthy relationship with food.

DON’T: Label foods as good and bad. Kale. Cupcakes. Blueberries. Candy. Admit it – as you read these four words, you automatically labeled each of these foods as “good” or “bad” in your mind. Of course you did, because we all do. We’ve learned that healthy foods are good and unhealthy foods are bad – and most likely, we’re teaching our kids this same mentality. When I was a wellness teacher, I certainly did. Here’s the catch: when we label foods as good or bad, we’re associating our food choices with morality. As in, “I was good; I had a salad for lunch,” and “I was bad; I ate fries last night.” Yes, certain foods offer more nutritional value than others – but WE are not good or bad as a result of what we eat. Our self-worth has nothing to do with our food choices. Do you see how this is a dangerous belief to teach our children? Our kids need to learn that they are worthy no matter what. (For more on this, check out BrenĂ© Brown’s book Daring Greatly). Labeling foods as good or bad has another unintended consequence – it makes the “bad” foods much more appealing. We’ve all had the experience of wanting something just because it was off limits. By calling unhealthy foods “bad,” we give them more power. Food companies are already doing everything they can to make junk food highly desirable to kids. Let’s not make their job even easier.

DO: Emphasize how healthy food makes you feel great. Luckily, all you have to do to change your messaging around healthy eating is implement a simple shift in language. Instead of labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” talk with your kids about foods to eat more often and foods to eat less often. Explain that your family eats nourishing, whole foods most of the time because these foods help kids and adults to thrive. A healthy diet gives kids the energy to play and to do well in school. It puts them in a great mood so that they get along with their siblings and friends. It helps them to grow big and strong. Ultimately, a diet made up of mostly healthy foods allows their inner light to shine.
On the flip side, explain to your kids that there is nothing wrong with unhealthy foods. They taste great and give us pleasure. However, your family chooses to eat these foods less often because they don’t nourish us the way healthy foods do. By shifting our language to foods we eat more often and foods we less often, and removing morality from the picture, we put food in its proper place. It’s a source of nourishment and pleasure – nothing more, nothing less.

In Part II of this series, I will share another essential DO and DON’T for helping kids to cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Her business, (w)holehearted, specializes in compassionate health coaching for teen girls. Learn more (and download your free report, “The Savvy Parent: Five Essential Practices for Role-Modeling a Happy, Healthy Relationship with Food,”) at www.healthyteengirls.com

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To Do This Weekend : Stapleton Open Studios

[ Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | 0 comments ]

This week has been a whirlwind... if you're a Stapleton artist. That's because we've been working all summer making this weekend happen.  And now it's almost here! 

The second annual Stapleton Open Studios!

The (FREE!) self-guided tour will be September 27-28, 11AM – 5PM.  Drop in to any or all of the studios on the tour, and stop to listen to local musicians along the way.  There will be demonstrations, works-in-progress, and finished art pieces for you to see as the artists welcome you into their artistic process in an up close and personal way.  There are 20 different artists working in 10 different mediums from classic oil painting to mosaic to pottery to mixed media art jewelry.

Come get a start on your holiday gift lists, or just come see how we do it.  We can't wait to meet you!

Drop by Art & Framing At Stapleton in the 29th Avenue Town Center this week to grab your free official tour booklets and see a preview exhibit from many of the artists on the tour.

Or visit our website – StapletonOpenStudios.com – for a map.  

Katie Bradford Osborne is a Stapleton Mom and local professional artist.  She graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia with a degree in photography in 2009- the same year her daughter, Ana Gray, was born- and now pursues her passion of shooting women including maternity, boudoir, and her very favorite- Empower Her portraits- along with logo design and mixed media jewelry art under the umbrella of her business- The Roaring Artist.
Katie also offers Mamarazzi workshops and personal classes to local moms with DSLRs who are interested in more in-depth knowledge of their cameras and how to capture their children from behind the lens.  

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Looking for a Perfect Late-Summer/Fall Family Getaway? YMCA of the Rockies!

[ Monday, August 18, 2014 | 1 comments ]
By Jaime Travis

You know you're in the right place when your 5 year-old daughter tears up and tells you she is so sad to go home. Such was our recent and lovely stay at the YMCA of the Rockies in picturesque Estes Park.  If you've never been, the Y is situated above the town of Estes and is nestled right next to Rocky Mountain National Park--you truly can't ask for a more convenient or beautiful location.   This place has it all, and we did our best to experience as much as possible during our 3 day visit........hiking, fishing, horseback riding, crafts (tie-dyes!), outdoor fire pits and s'more making and a top-notch day camp for the kids.

Some think the YMCA isn't for them, but, this isn't just sleeping bags and hot dogs. We were lucky enough to stay in a 3 bedroom Summit Cabin, complete with a kitchen, fireplace, 2 bathrooms and a deck overlooking the mountains. If that doesn't fit your needs, there are many accommodation options, anything from hotel-style lodge rooms, to 4 bedroom vacation homes.  There are also sit-down dining options, a cafe, and did I mention all the free or extremely low cost activities available? These include:
  • Swimming
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • S'mores and campfires
  • Horseback riding
  • Sports (volleyball, tether ball, baseball, soccer, etc.)
  • Rafting
  • Mountaineering/Rock Climbing
  • Wildlife 
  • A library 

With all this to offer, by far the highlight for my kids, Jack who is 73/4, and Lucca, 5, was the day camp.  First off, it is beyond reasonable at $26/day per child for a full day (8:15am-3:15pm), I almost felt bad paying so little!  There is a very high counselor to camper ratio and the kids had a blast.  Swimming, shaving cream fights, giant game of capture the flag, and on certain days they also go horseback riding.  I wish we could have stayed longer, they had so much fun.

Now is a great time to start planning a visit to the YMCA of the Rockies, just a short drive away and located at 9,000+ feet, the temperature is cool enough to bring a sweater – and the fall activities will soon be underway. Things like the annual Elk Rut, the Harvest Festival and other family-friendly activities will be taking place in September and October. 

Right now rates are coming down as kids head back to school and the summer crowds start to pack it up. Which means it is the perfect time for Colorado families to get up there. With lodging starting as low as $79/night, the price is right. 

From basic hotel-style lodge rooms to private cabins with multiple bedrooms kitchens and wood-burning fireplaces, families can find the right accommodation for their needs. Cabins are great for families because you can bring your food, which is especially helpful for those who don't want to take all meals in the Y's large cafeteria-style dining room. Early morning coffee on the deck amid this scenery is the way to go.

To get to know more about the YMCA Of the Rockies at Estes Park, please visitwww.ymcarockies.org
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