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An affordable organic option

Dear Editors,

This letter is in response to recent letters urging us to boycott the new Natural Grocers store in Durango. The arguments of the authors are that they are a corporation, are not “local,” and did not check the Peanut Company plant status before buying their products. My response to these arguments is multilayered: First, there are MANY great corporations in the U.S. that sell great products; among the grocers are Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Thus, it’s not because they are a national company that we should boycott them.

Second, if we were to boycott corporate grocers, we should never shop at City Market and Albertson’s, and even less at Wal-Mart. Who in Durango can say that they never shopped at these stores? Probably no one.

Third, many people are struggling financially in Durango, and a natural store that sells natural and organic food at AFFORDABLE prices is very welcome to most of us. I have definitely seen more people who I would expect seeing at Nature’s Oasis or DNF now shopping at Wal-Mart since the latter now carries a lot more natural and organic foods (such as Kashi, Newman’s, Nature’s Path, Bear Naked, etc). Who is willing to pay $75 instead of $50 for the SAME grocery basket? Not a lot of Durangoans!

Fourth, blaming the peanut butter poisoning on ANY grocers is ludicrous; grocers SELL products (bars, granola, cereal, cookies, etc) that OTHERS (Clif bar, Bear Naked, Nature’s Path, etc.) manufacture. So, if there are some to blame they are the food regulatory authorities who are responsible for inspecting food plants for quality and sanitary status and the manufacturers of products that directly USE the Peanut Company’s products as an ingredient. Among those, there are – unfortunately – some of our favorite natural foods manufacturers: Clif Bar, Bear Naked, Nature’s Path, Kashi (see http: //www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html)… Nobody is perfect!

So, I invite readers to check the Natural Grocers for themselves instead of following propaganda. I have been very impressed with the products’ quality, variety and the fact that they also sell fresh produces (meats, fruits and veggies) at affordable prices. I have also received outstanding service and advice on skin care products. I have been impressed by their price. When I compared prices, I found that some natural products were even cheaper than at Wal-Mart.4

Needless to say, I have no financial interest in this store nor work with them or any of their affiliates.  Moreover, I am a very savvy food shopper, and I take advantage of ALL the food stores in Durango (DNF, Nature’s Oasis, City Market and Wal-Mart) for different food items. Natural Grocers should always be welcome: all in all it’s about eating and living better. (Would we rather have another convenient store or a cash-advance store instead?). So, let’s be more open to GOOD change in Durango.

– Flo Paillard, Durango

Recipe for disaster

Dear Editors,

I read with great interest Megan Scully’s April 9 letter (“The Future of Food”) about food safety. She seems quite informed and it was a great letter. The food that we eat in this country is an issue that interests me greatly.

I agree with her that rather than spending so much money and energy on such a “food tagging scheme” why not “direct our efforts at producing naturally healthy and thus nutrient rich” food products. The food supply issues such as unlabeled and untested GMOs, processed “foods” that are little more than packages of chemicals, growth hormones, overuse of pesticides, and other things that have complete disregard for the environment, our health  and other living beings, are, to me, quite dire.

Well, get ready for unlabeled cloned meat and milk products as well. Unless and until we quit torturing farm animals from birth to their scary deaths, quit feeding calves cow’s blood, quit feeding cows chicken droppings and dead chickens, quit feeding chickens dead cows, etc., etc., and quit looking at living creatures as units of production solely for our use and our use only, I think we are all in great danger. I fear – and I’m not a generally fearful person – for our physical health, our

mental health and our spiritual health from living and eating in this way. It’s the usual American way, to focus all this effort on tracking down which diseased animals poisoned someone, rather than doing things in the first place in a more forward thinking and wholistic way.

And talk about your own fiscal stimulus package – go vegetarian! Beans, rice and all kinds of extremely healthy and lowfat foods are very inexpensive and delicious.You can save all sorts of money and save your health at the same time.

– Julie Mehan, Durango

The perfect parental storm 

Dear Editors,

Many times, we are unaware of things that will change our life until those events have already occurred or those laws have been passed. Today you have the opportunity to know beforehand about changes that may affect you so you can make a difference in a very important issue with long-lasting consequences.

At every stage of life, there is no greater resource and refuge for a child than the love of a parent. Time and time again, studies have found and affirmed that the nurture and love of parents plays a crucial role in positively shaping the future of their children. For our entire history as a nation, we have understood and valued the importance of a parent’s right to direct their child’s upbringing and education. While this parental liberty to handle their own children’s care, custody and management has been consistently upheld by the Supreme Court, there has been a shift in recent years that is causing “The Perfect Storm” to form against your rights as a parent. Federal judges and state agencies have issued rulings that have gone as far as to order a West Virginia mother to share custody of her daughter with two babysitters who the court called “psychological co-parents,” to seize a 6-week old Nebraska baby because his parents objected to a blood screening because it violated their religious convictions, and to accuse a Connecticut mom of fabricating her hospitalized infant’s symptoms although medical per

sonnel had also observed the symptoms. Through law and policy, government actors are establishing a new tradition that views government – not parents – as the authority in determining what is in the best interests of children.

There is also another part of this “Perfect Storm” that may be even more dismissing of your rights as a parent. This is the threat of international law. Most immediately, there is a United Nations treaty known as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that our Senate is considering ratifying. This document includes such requirements as:

Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.

The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision.A child’s “right to be heard” would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.

While this may seem to some to be impossible in our country, there is a small part of our Constitution known as the “Supremacy Clause” which makes any treaties our country enters into the supreme law of the land unless something is prohibited by our Constitution.

There is something you can do, however, if this threat to your freedom concerns you. On March 31, an amendment to the Constitution was introduced into the House of Representatives. This amendment would return our country to her historic respect for parents. You can read and support this amendment by visiting www.parentalrights.org and signing a petition of support and calling Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., and urging him to protect your children by supporting your parental rights.

– Terri White, via e-mail