Shrinking My Feet

<p><a href=""><img class="left" src="/images/website/parkslopefoodcoop.jpg"></a>At 19:29:55, I plonked down in a plastic chair beside my sister at the <a href="">Park Slope Food Co-op</a> after riding straight there from work &mdash; "latecomers will not be allowed" the website said of the orientation session, so my timing was most superb. </p> <p>My sister tells me that, as they went over the various rules of the co-op working system I was nodding vigorously at their excellent policy choices, though I don't remember doing so. Every co-op member has to work 2.75 hours every four weeks. You have to pick a fixed shift (mine is 7am Wednesdays on week B of the four-week schedule), and some shift schedules are popular and thus full, and if you can't take an open one you have to plonk your name on a waiting list before you can join. If you travel a lot they have an alternative, more flexible system; if you don't like your shift schedule you can change to any other open one; if you can't make a specific shift you can trade, but if you just don't show up you owe two. If you fall behind you get suspended, but you have 10 days from the first time you're told you're suspended (at the door of the co-op, to get in) to correct clerical errors or make up your shifts. All very excellent, fair, and accommodating without needing a lot of flexible judgement calls. Apparently it used to be a lot more lax, and the co-op nearly collapsed. </p> <p>They now have 15,000 members and do $27M/y in business, so nearly $2000 per member per year, though it was unclear to me if that number included suspended and inactive members. It's the largest food co-op in the US, if I recall correctly. </p> <p>They have a strong <a href="">environmental policy</a>, and thus this attacks one major prong of the food issue for me: where it comes from, how it's grown, and how it gets to me. The co-op is at a large enough that it's unlikely to suffer from small-scale issues like some farmers' market purchases can (driving a small truck of tomatoes is more expensive per tomato-mile than a large one), and it's careful enough that I hope I can shop there almost without thinking.</p> <p>The other prong is what I'm actually eating. Thus, complementing this, I've now spent three days dabbling in the diet I've had in mind for a while: vegan plus eggs and dairy only if they're organic and only inasmuch as I "need" to enjoy my food. (You can also call this lacto-ovo vegetarian with all animal products being organic, but I think that description, while perhaps more honest, would result in more confused times when people kind enough to try to match my dietary preferences misunderstand the parameters &mdash; "vegan", despite being incorrect, sets the scene better.) My sister has been buying a lot of "know the farmer" meat and I've been dabbling (bacon is yum!), but the aesthetic (and, somewhat, environmental) arguments just won't go away &mdash; this is descriptive, not prescriptive, though: I support what she's doing, it's just not the diet for me. But it forced my hand, somewhat: I've never really felt okay about eating factory-farmed eggs and cheese, but I've ignored it as too inconvenient. However, if my sister is managing to find this stuff enough to be eating it reasonably regularly, there's really no excuse any more. </p> <p>(Hah, I thought this "living alone" stuff might make me stop being a night owl, since the first couple "normal" nights were pretty early for me, but it's 2am and I'm blogging about feet.) </p>
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