Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Final Reflection

Well, our presentation went well I think and we have a project that our group can really be proud of.... It is our hope it will be used, over and over again, by many people. Below you will find some powerful things I've learned, after a few thoughts and a short word from our sponsor... my business.

Our website reflecting our project is up at: http://www.speakingbadger.com/peoples. I will be uploading the final PDF later tonight or sometime tomorrow morning.

I was going back over all the many, many emails that we emailed back and forth to each other and in the last month, I have spent an average of 5 hours per week just writing back forth with ideas, solutions and updates. This has been an amazing process and I have learned a lot. Not only was I able to learn more about non-profits and 501(c)(3)'s, but I also learned a lot about the natural food industry. I'm aslo very fortunate, because much of the non-profit information I will use later in my own business. We are setting up an association, actually eventually more than one. Anyway, this research will become invaluable to me.

We are setting up a TRUE assocaition that has the main goal of really helping those who join with REAL benefits. We will have a very inexpensive membership that will be packed with benefits that range from roadside assitance to medical benefits like those offered by AFLAC, except much less expensive. On the bottom of our website I have a link for any non-profit or large association or just any group of people such as coops, that want to add benefits for their memberships. We have about 30 different individual benefits that can be tailored to meet any groups goals, with both price and value.

Something I learned in this class, partly because of my own personal digestive situation, because of my own sensitivies that I've developed with food but also from our reading, It is really sticking with me is and I think it will have a long lasting effect, and it is mostly in regards to the book Omnivores Dilemma It has completely changed the way I view food, sometimes now, when I walk around a food court or look at certain restaurants I'm way more conscious of the food on the menu and where it comes from or how it came to be.... The corn part jsut got to me... I mean I knew there were problems and things to watch out for before, but now... it is etched on my brain. Sometimes just reading the names or thinking about the foods, makes me start to get sick to my stomach.

Admittedly, I do crave certain things like a burger and fries or a big juicy steak from some restaurant, it is just how sometimes, I crave sugar, normally I don't really like a lot of sweet things and I avoid them, but sometimes the sweet tooth kicks in and I really want something... until I do actually eat it and then I can't handle it and I get sick and don't touch it for another couple months usually....

I'll be a meat eater the rest of my life, there is no doubt, but I still feel strongly about waste not, want not... I can't handle waste... I will probably always eat very little meat and lot of veggies... But now, I'll be much more conscious of being sure that I'm actually eating stuff that is healthy, more natural and that means it will taste A LOT BETTER!!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Website

Last minute stuff.... Today, I have spent the last 3 or 4 hours working on the website, before heading out the door to go meet other people to study for finals.... and I also worked on any final changes before the printing actually occurred on a section that I perhaps screwed up.... it seems, I got a bit over zealous in my editing process and did not really think about how others can sometimes feel a bit possessive about the hard work they put into something... Today I had to correct that... It was probably as much my fault as anyone's, because I'm not really used to having to ask someone to make changes to something.. I just edit it. My business often times puts me in charge of projects... when you are an entreprenuer you do a lot of your own work and wear many hats. A lot of responsibilities lie on your shoulders and other people involved in your business really depend on you. I allowed this to get in the way... I did apologize, even if it was not my fault.. but I still felt bad about it... I just really wanted to have a great project that would actually be used... To me as for at least one other member of our group, this was really about more than just a grade, it was about doing something for a client that is meaningful and useful.

Today I also spent a couple more hours updating everything for the website.... Hopefully by Wednesday, I will have all the documents uploaded in their final state... Some of our paper was piecemailed together, so it isn't as easy as just a conversion.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

More Editing

Nothing ever goes as planned... so this morning after being up late last night...I finally got the copy from Corrisa, that was going to be the final draft and read through it... in total I spent another 5 hours today, between emails and reading and editing... We still didn't finish it all either....

Began Editing Process

Today I spent about 4 hours going through the entire document, as we were planning to get it printed over the weekend. Plus we met as a group for 2 hours again last night on the First to finalize more details and get any last minute stuff done regarding our presentation, who was doing what and any last minute research that we needed to add....

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

29 November 2006

Today I dedicated to writing as much as possbile on my section of the report. As my portion of the report had a lot to do with summarizing, for the beginning and ending sections, I was a bit dependent on everyone else's sections.

My day was as follows: I woke up at 8 AM and went directly to work... with the exception of about a half an hour for lunch and a couple of bathroom and water breaks I worked on the paper until about 10:30 PM when I just could not handle looking at the computer any more and I began experiencing writers block... I'm very tired at this point and it was a long day, but very worth getting things done...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Website - the Beginning

As it was Thanksgiving weekend and I didn't have anywhere to go, I spent a nice quiet weekend at home... I spent most of my time watching old movies and catching up on TV shows that I had saved.... I did put a little time into other homework, in fact for our paper, today and yesterday, I spent a couple of hours setting up and laying out a website for all of our research... I will be updating as we go and eventually will put all of our project with links to PDF and HTML copies of our report. Plus, I'm going to put all of our resources online for everyone in the area or for anyone interested in non-profit work... I hope this website gets used...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday

Today I spent about 5 hours reading and sorting though information that we had all gathered... I also spent a little more time claryfying any questions or information we had gathered.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

16 November 2006

Today as a group we met for about two hours to pass material around from our research from the previous weeks.... It worked out well and we all had lots of packets of information. In addition to this, I spent an additial 3 hours beginning the process of reading everything that was in my packet.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Collaboration Tool

Today I took some time to set up a collaboration tool for easier sharing of our writing, so we can all collaborate in real time and not have to re-edit the same parts by emailing every day... to eliminate the need to duplicate or triplicate things....
_________________________________________________
Below is the copy of the email setting it all up:

OK... in case any of you can’t log into the site for collaboration, here is the direct links... you will probably have to log in using your email address that you just received this email from....

Here is the first one for Rough Draft - Non-Profit: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddtnkwhq_2dpmm92 ...this link is for the whole document that will eventually turn into the final draft... I’ll start working on implementing as each of you continues with your parts... Feel free to look, add, etc... OK...

This is the link for Corrisa and her portion of the report: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddtnkwhq_4f36qwd

This is for Ayumi and her portion: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddtnkwhq_3g5cwcd

This is for Emile and his portion: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddtnkwhq_5hsqkqt

If any of you want, we can remove the ability to collaborate or change your work online by others for your individual section and then it we can have it be viewable only to others in the group, without the ability to make any changes... Let me know and I can do it... or I think you can also do it without my help... just invite whomever as viewers... and if they are already listed as collaborators it will automatically change them to viewers only.... But either way, I can make it happen if it makes you more comfortable... I just think this is good for all of us to see... so we can give input along the way without several emails... and attachments all the time...

Corrisa, since you made it pretty clear, you didn’t want anyone messing with your work before you were done with it, yours is only viewable by Emile and Ayumi and now only you (or me, which I wont) can make changes to your work on your section... so if anyone else wants to give her your opinions or thoughts on her section, just email her and let her know... OK...? If the other two of you wants the same thing... let me know.....or follow the directions in the previous paragraph....

As soon as any of you start doing your portions, please start putting it online... or just let me know if you have problems and only want to deal with traditional email.... but this program is designed for students to collaborate on group projects online... so it should be pretty helpful.... Your opinions are valued and if we as a group don’t like this method, just say you don’t like it and we can revert to email only... I know for me, this will be helpful when I’m doing the summaries that come from all the work... Please be sure, if any of you start writing or organizing your stuff prior to Thursday that you put it on here... OK.

Corrisa is going to send out a list of the breakdown of who is doing what..... In fact, if Corrisa is unable to, I’ll paste your section that you are responsible for onto your corresponding link above, into the beginning of your document as a reminder of where to start... Plus, we may want to consider the exact questions in the executive summary we turned in today and whose areas cover those, since a few of them are a bit different.... Do you think we should do this, anyone??

This is mostly for Emile, but don’t forget we are meeting at the Coffee People that is on the north end of campus off of Jackson, I think it was, and 6th Avenue at 4 PM on Thursday, November 16th. If anyone knows or can get the exact address for Emile that would be great... And Emile, we don’t have class this Wednesday, just work on the project... Email with any questions....

Talk to you all soon... let me know if anything in this email confuses you or if you have any problems... Feel free to call or email anytime..... Just as an FYI, I’ll be entrenched in a paper that is a major portion of one of my class grades and is due this Thursday, for the next couple of days... so I may not be quite as talkative or harder to reach... but I will help you.... After that, life will get better and I’ll focus more on this project..... Thanks and good luck....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

8 November 2006, Wednesday

Today Andy Parker came to speak with us about Oregon Tilth a non-profit organization that helps educate people on organic farming and green practices. It was interesting and I think he had a lot of good things to share. Along with some great books for the person who wants to learn how to have a green thumb. Oregon Tilth is a certifier of Organic foods. So they are very successful. They certify anyone from manufacturers, to farmers, to stores with an organic classification, as long as they are using methods that follow the organic principles. I thought it was interesting that even a place like People's could be certified Organic... if they were following all the principles necessary for a store...

After class I was able to take a few minutes to talk with him about the memberships that they have with their non-profit. He gave me a good contact from their organization that knows a lot of legal information about non-profits and 501(c)3's. She is either a lawyer already or in the process of studying to pass the bar... at any rate, I'm planning to contact her soon to find out more. Another interesting tidbit, is because they are successful as a certifier, they are bringing in a lot of money, which makes it more difficult to obtain grants and money for projects that they want to do under the non-profit... They are milling over ideas of what to do about all the money they bring in and have thought about possibly starting a foundation, that could help fund many projects out there in the organic and cooperative industries... but we'll see what happens. Potential source of assistance financially to build something useful here in the Portland area. Intriguing...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Food Front Coop

Today we met at Food Front Coop, it was my first time there... I was very impressed with the usage of space and with their business model, it did different quite a bit from Peoples, for one thing they had meat. In fact when I left that day, I had to head out of town, so I bought a sandwich from the Deli and some healthy snack type chips... the Sandwich was really good... Now I did spend more than I would like to have spent, but overall for better food, it was well worth it....

Assignment Four

Our proposal is going to center around creating a Non-Profit arm for the cooperative. It will probably be related to education within the community, but this is still up in the air...

We plan to research first by looking into what other coops have done already, then we plan to talk to local attorneys to find out more about 501(c)3's and the processes to do one, plus we plan to some of our own reading and research to help us gain a better understanding of what they can do....

I expect to find a very worthwhile project that will be costly and very time-consuming. But I also expect that it will clearly show that any pros will far outweigh the cons. But it is going to be a project. Another area I've thought to look further into that could be potentially just as beneficial to Peoples and the cooperative movement, is possible using the local food coops in conjunction with each other to create a non-profit arm... but it will greatly depend on what People's wants to do with it and how far they want to go and how long they are willing to wait for it... plus, it will also depend on how many resources they have to put towards the entire project. But to make it more of reality that will benefit them sooner rather than later, it may be a way for them to look.... We plan to make our final project into a report with plenty of references in the end and to have recommendations based on our findings. Plus, we will probably prepare a basic presentation in PowerPoint in order to highlight the important parts.

I'm going to focus my time on studying and reading through all the information I can on non-profits of all kinds and talking to some attorneys to find out what all is involved in Oregon. Plus, I've found that the most valuable skill I have for our team is to help keep things and ideas on track or in reality. I seem to be the one that comes up with the little things that help give us direction. We have a couple of people that seem to have some great research skills and they really enjoy doing it... so it is my plan to stay out of their way and to assist them as much as possible with they are doing, so as to not slow any momentum that has come along. I will be more involved in the final product and the presentation, so it will be my responsibility to know as much as possible about the whole process. We have already designated someone to work with me on preparing the PowerPoint after the report part is done. Plus I assume I'll do a fair amount of editing, when we get to the final product.

We will know more about who is doing what as we go along... but for now, we are gathering information left and right and soon we will start the sifting process.

I think our inquiry relates to the goals by allowing our group to do something that is both time-consuming and valuable to our community partner. It may very well set the stage for many future projects that could be done by students. I feel it will not only be valuable to People's, but it will be valuable to PSU and to future students.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday, 3 November 2006

Yesterday and today I spent nearly 4 or more hours reading through Oregon Law on Non-Profits, it was interesting and very tiring.. But nothing really new to report. Now I just need talk to some lawyers to help me put it all together...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Today I spent a few hours sifting through all the material we already have from some listserves and from websites we have come across. It is giving me a better and better picture of what other organizations have done and what we might be able to do.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday, 27 October 2006

Today I spent a few hours researching coops and reading through material that Corrisa had started gathering. I also took some time to look up the people's coop on the web to find out if if the original entity still existed or not. What I found was the original entity is the entity that still exists. It has just changed several times over the years.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Assignment Three

1. This is a rather tough question to answer, since it deals with so many controversial issues. What I think should happen or what others think should happen vs. the reality of the world we live in are stark contrasts. There is no simple, quick and easy solution. Although I am in agreement with Michael Pollan and with my brother who is a chef... people need to turn back to food, care more about it and go back to the kitchen. Learn to cook what we eat, learn to eat with the seasons, learn to value the food we have and we need to make food more of an experience in our lives, much like Europeans do or people in most other countries do. We need to slow down, the proverbial "Stop and smell the roses" really fits here....

My brother always trys to point out how simple it is too cook, quick and conveniently while still eating healthy... in fact that is the premise to a whole business concept we have and for a line of natural foods we hope to market someday in the not too distant future. The premise is teaching people, what to buy, when to buy and how to prepare simple, quick, easy and convenient meals. Bringing food, family and our health back to the table...

There are many possible answers to the question, but a start is places like COOP's, education and other "natural" style food places. Having strong and sucessful farmers markets is another way to begin to solve this growing problem. But the number one goal is to give people a reason to want to change, which will give grocery stores a reason to want to change their methods... Money is what drives the industrial food place and as long as the industry is making money, it will never change. As "Omnivores Dilemma" points out,

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday 23 October 2006

More reading today, to catch up on the lost time I had... Yesterday on Sunday as I was coming home, I read for a couple of hours while in flight on the Omnivores Dilemma to finish it up and I'm still struggling with Food Politics... I find my mind wondering so much that I have to read parts over more than once just to remember what I've read... it is pretty rough...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Out of town for Education Conference

Just a quick blog to make up for when I was out of town for 5 days... I read on my flight up to Anchorage, Alaska as much as I could, since my light was out and it was very dark on the plane. While there I didn't have too much time to do anything and due to having issues with my immune system right now, I was exhausted most of the time so I didn't get anything other than conference and sleep accomplished. On Sunday I spent most of the day traveling and again I read more of the book Food Politics, which I'm having a very difficult time getting into and not trying to sleep through. It often times seemed to be repetitive. I know the food system is a mess and I kept waiting for suggestions on ways to solve it, instead of complaining.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

Assignment Two

Answering these questions for me was a bit different due to a few personal health issues that I'm currently dealing with. To give a bit of a recap, for the last two years eating hasn't been exactly a "Fun" or enjoyable activity. I tried changing my diet quite drastically 2 years ago when I had several tests done to find out what was wrong with my digestive system. There wasn't anything that was absolutely conclusive, other than I had some problems. GERD was one of them, so after trying several different things, I was finally put on Nexium, to help combat the acid damage that was happening to my insides. IBS was another issue, which of course anyone who knows anything knows that IBS is just a way of saying we don't know what or why you have a problem, so we'll just classify it this way for now.... By trying to get these under control it was thought I could get everything else under control.... Well, nearly two years later after learning to live with the problems I had, my conditioned worsened to the point that I once again, needed the assistance of a doctor.

This time around we found my immune system had basically just quit working, because it was being overworked. Also, I have been found to have Epstein Bar Syndrome, which is not uncommon, but my strain is active right now and probably has been for quite some time. As it is a Virus, my body has to just fight it off, but my immune system is overworked already, so I just stay the same. My other problem is I have extremely high levels of Yeast in my stomach and that is most likely why my stomach knots up when I eat sweets or any form of carbs. Another issue is I have allergies now, but we don't know what allergies yet. I know I'm lactose intolerant and have began to develop a small allergy to apples, but as of yet, we don't know what other foods or environmental allergens I may have developed over the last 34 years of life...

This means, that once again my food choices have had to change even more drastically, while we are trying to basically get my immune system to start working again.

What kind of food do I eat? Mostly natural foods, low in sugars usually and preferably from places I know about if it is meat. I eat fresh vegetables as much as I can, which are usually organic in nature. I spend about 5 or 6 nights a week at a New Seasons that is located at Cedar Hills Crossing. There isn't a coop located anywhere near me. Sometimes I eat at New Seasons as much as 7 nights a week... I'm single and often it is real pain to prepare meals that I have to eat leftovers from for more than one meal and then I'm in school almost every day, so it will sometimes rot if I don't eat it fast enough. I find that eating fresh foods is a bit more money out of my pocket and it also does not last as long at home. So when I shop for fresher food, I need to know I'll be eating it within the next couple of days. If not, it goes bad on me... This means, when I buy food, I am stuck eating exactly whatever I bought or I end up spending more money, to replace it. It is just cheaper to buy meals, since there is a wide variety of choices. Price wise it is not much different than eating at any other fast food or restaurant, depending on how "Fine" a meal I really want.

I eat meat very infrequently... I find myself eating fresh veggies and lots of soup made from fresh veggies that are sold in the store. I eat fresh breads from the bakery quite frequently and also noodle soups from the "Ramen Bar" they have.

From a business perspective it is interesting to me and it makes a lot of sense, that many items that are not organic or 100% natural are available along side the items that are... I believe this is a smart choice, because not everyone is going to be "Core" with how they eat, yet some people are more picky than others mostly due to choice but some, like me, it is because of necessity. There are many gluten free products and everything seems to be clearly marked. I think that by having the choices available to the consumer they attract a much more diverse group of people to the store. If they did not have meats or some of the other products that I know cost a dollar or so more to buy them at New Seasons, I would probably not frequent the store quite as much, when actually doing my shopping. The store is not too big, yet it offers quite a remarkable array of products.

Again, I'm going to give a general response to how I shop for foods or products. Most of them are based on taste, price being a big factor and what is listed on the labels, sometimes, when I'm being very picky. At the end of a day of eating foods from New Seasons or after having only ate fresh vegetables and very few "acidic" items and fresh breads too... I feel very well... when I don't, I feel the food making me feel even worse than normal... It sucks when you can feel food go through the entire digestive process. What is worse is when you know, after having eaten something that it is not going to settle well, immediately that it will not digest correctly. Foods that don't digest well, digest faster in me... when the food is a good choice, it will take a much longer time to get through my entire system and it makes me feel comfortable the whole way through.

5a. What sucks is food politics have created a food pyramid based on who whines the most... What do we need to stay healthy, most educated people would agree that eating veggies, most fruits, very little meat or having items that will give us a lot of protein and keeping many nutrients in our bodies are some of the ways to stay healthy. Plus it isn't always about what we eat, it is even about our lifestyles, how active we are, the sorts of exercise we get, genetics also plays a factor.

It is interesting how the politics have caused wording changes to an otherwise good model. Or even how saying eat less is bad in our society, instead the food giants want to advocate more, more, more. It is about money or better yet, lining someones pockets with money. It is not about health and wellness. Although I know it is not the money that inherently causes things to be bad, it is what is done with the money. Is it helping people or is is hurting them? Is it being made at the expense of good people or for the benefit of people with maybe not so many good values? Is it creating a power vacuum, where the elite keep the less elite under control...?? Is it intentional or is it a byproduct of the mantra "Maximize Profits" and just don't care who it hurts? Another question, is it a mirror of our society of our wants and needs? Who are we to blame for the politics that surround us, particularly the politics that control our most basic functions in life, Food Politics?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Today we watched "Super Size Me" in Class. It was very good and it was quite entertaining as well. The only time I ever liked to eat at McDonalds was while in the military and overseas... One reason was in many countries they had cuisine that was local to that country and the other reason is it often reminded us of home... it was American Food and sometimes when you are gone for any length of time it is nice to have something that reminds you of home.

How someone could eat McDonalds for 3 meals in one day is beyond me, but for 30... wow! I especially liked the part in the program where they talked with an alternative school that had a fresh and nutritional food program. That showed how many behavioral issues are not as big an issue as they should be... They acted better and had clearer heads. To find out more about this program you can watch this video. Of course you can get to the link on the "Super Size Me" site as well. Another link on that site that could be really useful for any parents that have children in school, whose school doesn't already have a program like this is this packet. It has the whole program outlined.

Another subject that came up today mostly after class was in regards to meat and eating meat. It seams many people become Vegan or Vegetarian because of the slaughtering of animals. I know how they are slaughtered and how sometimes it is done in mass and it is not done in the most ethical way. But other times it is not done in such a way. Man was intended to eat meat as part of his diet. Any Vegan will tell you that if they don't take the right supplements then they would get very sick. Because a vegan diet is missing some of the very important nutrient components that are necessary for life.

There are places that you can buy good meat that is killed via humane means and even ceremonial means. Such as Naturally Native Meats, located in Dallas, Oregon. It is all natural, grass fed, free roaming with no antibiotics or anything like that and it is Buffalo Meat, which is far better for you... it has high concentrations of Omega-3's and other nutrients. The only food with higher amounts is Fish, which are questionable in many ways too... as we read in Omnivore's Dilemma, fish from farms, may be safe from the dangerous and poisonous metals found in much of seafood, but they may be corn fed. No fish was ever meant to eat that way, so it does make you wonder, what other harm will eating it to us....

Anyway, this film was quite eye-opening.. I did take some additional time today (nearly 3 hours) to read from our books and to also go over more of the course packet.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

More Reading..

Over the last few days and this weekend, since my last post, I've spent many hours, in fact a total of about 14 hours or perhaps more, just reading... getting through more of Omnivores, Dilemma and reading Food Politics. It is very hard getting through the Food Politics book. I know politics plays a part in everything these days, so nothing is really that shocking any more. It is like I understand that the current system has problems and is messed up. Now all I want to do is exam and find ways to solve the problem. I'm tired or reading more and more about how messed up in is already.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Today we had a chance to hear more about the overall cooperative movement from Andrew McLeod from the NW cooperative Development Center... Then we went to the Harvest Festival... I was there until about 5 PM... I had a chance to talk to several members and booth operators. I asked them several questions about how long they had been members and what they thought of it... Plus questions about growth and alternative benefits to just food... It was very positive and it gave me some insight into some potential ways that we might be able to help.

In addition I was able to make a few business contacts, as a business man and if things go right, we will probably be speaking with Andrew more at length on ways to solve a couple of problems that he was wondering how to solve, until we talked, that could potentially be very helpful to not only peoples but also other cooperatives... I'm pretty excited about doing something that benefits a lot of people.

Did more reading today as well... so I spent perhaps 3 and half hours outside of class, talking, researching, studying and reading... not including the 2 hours I spent late last night and early this morning finishing or at least working on Assignment One...

Things I've learned... I need to mark pages better, for reference to questions that we may need to answer and leave examples of for our assignments... I just realized that I did not email our Instructor (Pedro) yet... and I'm so tired from reading in all my classes that I'm unable to actually finish in more detail the other questions tonight... but I'll get more answers completed later as I read or just do better on the next assignment....

Assignment One

1a. The different motivations that drive Americans to make their food choices are not even what most Americans think they are. Most American say, I buy this or that because I like it, I think it tastes good. According to the books, many of our decisions are made because of marketing and convenience. Some are even made because of how we were raised.

b. My motivations to buy food are based in part on price, particularly when I'm on a budget. But more and more when I make food purchases, it is about how food tastes, how nutritious is it and will it cause me some sort of personal problems if I do eat it. I've got all sorts of digestive issues and really bad acid reflux disease. On top of that I'm lactose intolerant, so there are many things I'm not supposed to eat and many things that if I do, I regret it later. Sometimes I shop for food too out of convenience too, not only what is cheap for the here and now, but what I can get with the least amount of disruption to my day. I'm a single guy and there is a reason why single guys don't live as healthy of lives as married men. Who wants to cook a meal for one and then have leftovers? Plus, I live a fairly busy lifestyle, which means often times I forget to eat or I just don't want to take the time to do it, because of other more pressing things on my mind.

Another thing, personally, I'm trying to become more active, with my busy lifestyle and lose a few pounds from having not been active enough. That means eating better and more correctly is at the top of my list. But I'm pretty atypical as a person anyway, I research and study things all the time. As a professionally trained massage therapist, I take the time to know what is good and bad, so when I work with a client I can truly help them make correct decisions. That means I get tons of newsletters on health, I'm always reading about it online or in the news, I get a couple of magazines, I have books and I'm always on the lookout for anything related to health and wellness, whether it be books, magazines or something else. I get so much stuff, that I don't even scratch the surface of it all.

2a. The movie The Future of Food is one that raises many questions and I feel overall it does show a very pessimistic point of view, yet it ends with an optimistic overtone. This is the second time I have watched this film in a University Studies Class. In my first term at PSU, this last Spring we watched it in my Biology class because we were studying the controversies around GMO's (Genetically Modified Foods). Of course I felt the same then as I do now. It upsets me and really helps point out, just one more thing that is wrong with our current political system. Now the film overall was a bit biased in areas and there are perhaps other more optimistic approaches to being fair on all sides, but Truth is Truth... and some of these things are not just a matter of perspective. If we don't as a society pay attention to the things that are going on around us, like patenting of living organisms and the consequences of it, we may find ourselves facing a crisis when it is too late.

Lets face it, big corporate business is inherently evil by design. Imperfect people, that can be greedy, selfish and displaced in their moral ethics and values. This makes it easier for people with those qualities to avoid any real consequences and not think about anything other than the bottom line or their shareholders equity. If not ran with a strict set of morals and ethics and with someone or something to act as Quality Control it can quickly get out of control.

b. Yes, I do agree with Michael Pollan's suggestion that Organic Food is not overpriced. He hit the nail right on the head, that the costs are not just what you pay out of your pocket today. In business and in economics you always have to look at other costs associated with a project, project or service such as opportunity costs. The long term costs have to be added in and it is apparent that in our society there are many ills to our children, adults and even to the environment. It really comes down to perspective.

3. A cooperative business structure is a co-ownership, or larger partnership, where each member/owner of the cooperative has a say and it is ran with the Utopian ideal of all chiefs and all Indians. No one is higher or lower, everyone is equal and everyone's opinion counts. They cooperate, rather than dictate or rule from a single standpoint. This has many advantages and disadvantages, depending on how you look at it.

4. As for People's business model, I think they have a solid foundation to start from, but there is definitely room for improvement. The hardest part about answering this question, is it is too early to really say one way or the other. There are many concepts that are sound and very appealing, even unique, outside of cooperatives. Yet, it still seems that there are some limitations to the business model, that could prevent it from really growing. Yet, as I found in the first day, this is an answer we don't know yet. No one knows whether growth is even in the future of the cooperative ownership... and if so, what kind of growth.

5. Earthy, Organic, environmental, Community and Friendly, those are the main words that come to mind when I think of People's identity. It makes you feel welcome with everything in their literature, the store and even the people that work there. It is remarkably clean and there is a lot of pride in what people do.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Today we watched a film I had seen before in a previous University Studies course, called The Future of Food. It is a good movie, a bit one sided over all, but still acurate and necassary to show many people what is really happening. Sometimes having very blunt and one sided stories is what is needed to shake people out of their stupor... Ignorance is in great abundance, when you consider we are the most educated society in the world and in history.... Patenting of living organisms, that has so many issues, that I could probably write pages and pages of information about it. Not something I really have room or time for right now. Just the very obstinence of our own government and some of the corporations that control our food is staggering. They are destroying peoples lives, many of societies lives and they are doing it all in the name of the almighty dollar.. no wonder so many people in the world hate Americans and what many in power stand for...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday, 1 October 2006

Wow, today I spent about 7 hours reading... on both books. Omnivores Dilemma really sickened me... although some of the stuff I already knew, it put it into a nice organized fashion with a bow on top about how bad it really is... made me not want to eat processed food ever again. Although as even the author, Michael Polllan said, Time will pass and eventually the memory will fade and I'll once again eat some things that I know right now, I shouldn't. I've been trying to eat more organic and fresh foods anyway, because of health reasons and because I really, really like the taste.

What's interesting is over where I live in Beaverton, less than 5 minutes away, a New Seasons just opened up and I had never been to one before. Well, my business partner and I fell in love with the restaurant portion, because it is pretty much the same prices as buying food anywhere else, yet it is so much healthier and tastier. Now we go between 3 and 5 days a week. Haven't been out to another restaurant since... and we are not spending any more money doing it... so many choices....

Anyway, I could not believe some of the government stupidity, well, not true I could believe it, yet it was still shocking... The USDA really pisses me off... but anyway...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday, 30 September 2006

Today I was able to start the Omnivores Dilemma and Read some in the Food Politics book. I read for perhaps an hour and a half today. I'm starting to think that I like Omnivores Dilemma the best and it is a very easy book to read, interesting and in some parts more shocking than I thought it would be.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday, 29 September 2006

Today, in between and while waiting on a Doctors and a Dentist appointment, I was able to begin reading Food Politics. Interesting book for me, as I'm interested in both politics and how it pertains to our health. Not too difficult of a read either. I'm sure as I read I will find things to talk about. I think I read for about and hour or so today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Today we went to the Peoples Coop for the first time. My joy was getting there... got out of my house a few minutes late, then couldn't remember the address exactly so I wasn't sure what bus I needed to catch... once I found out what bus it was it didn't take too long to get to peoples, but perhaps longer than if I had known exactly how to get there. Once I found the room and went in it was a great experience.

I noticed much of what was being talked about when I first arrived was in our coursepack so that was very helpful to know I might not have missed to much. There were several questions that came to mind almost immediately, but since I was late, I didn't want to ask, if the question had been answered. As a consultant in my every day life, I think I may have looked at the opportunity to talk with a business different than others would have. I focused on space, comfort and just the general atmosphere as it related to business. I wanted to know the overall goals of the business, what they hope to accomplish, such as long term and short term goals. What I found was no one really knows. I think this surprised me considering they did finish an expansion project nearly 3 years ago. It seems there is a lot to do, so that is a good feeling, to know we are needed in some capacity.

My next concern was the structure overall. Lori mentioned how constrictive the cooperative legal structure is and this began an investigation on my part, because as a consultant it is one of the first areas we look at... What is the legal business entity? Then of course we look at the goals of the business overall all, this helps us to assess what is best for them and then decide on how best to help them save money and spend what money they have in a more effective way.

As I learn more and study more of the legal aspects, I'll get a better grasp on this whole concept, hopefully.

After class, I spent about an hour talking to people and walking around looking at everything that Peoples had to offer. Nice place. Too far from my home to go there except for class and also it doesn't have everything I would need to satisfy all of my needs as a consumer, some limitations for me personally. I talked to some non-members and asked why they were not members... it was mostly for the same reasons I wouldn't be... but they really liked it. The other comment I got from a couple of people that were not yet members was the limited amount of services. One comment in regards to that was, 4%, that doesn't seem like a lot. I did ask, if there were other services or benefits to membership that had nothing to do with food that made it worthwhile to even spend money on a monthly basis, if they would consider a membership and they didn't even hesitate in saying yes.

Of course, this was a small sampling but it did confirm my suspicious that people do want more and of course loyalty and growth are truly earned when you have bundled services that benefit all...

I did buy some things both in the store and at the farmers market before I left. My next task was finding my books... after a little bit of searching at books stores and finding my way around I went to the main Powell's bookstore, which I had never been to before and I found both books and a couple of additional books I did not originally intend to buy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Today I read for about an hour and a half, to become familiar with the guidelines for the Capstone project and I also thumbed through and began familiarizing myself with the Coursepack.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

First Post...

This is the first post to this blog... as we are in the development stages for a new organization that we have found a great need for in our area... Many people, including myself and my business partner have found that in Washington County or the Saint George area as you be more familiar with, is a unique community. Saint George has approximately 50,000 people and growing, where Washington County has a little more than 100,000 people... so, this is not a small town, by any sense of the word. Yet the people from the area, don't seem to want this place to go... yet, it is growing whether anyone here likes it or not and Planned growth is definitely better than unplanned growth.

This new organization is going to be a non-profit organization that is designed primarily for businesses and individuals that desire to grow. The attitude of those from outside the area is that, "Hey, that is awesome that you are starting a business, good luck, can I do anything for you?" Yet, they don't actually use those businesses or help them to stay in business... Things are not happening liek they should be and there is not organization that is really helping business to expand and network in way that is useful... The people in this area are alienating those who are from outside the area, that may think differently or believe differently. I think that most people that are from here, don't realize the difference in attitudes, perhaps they have not lived outside the state, or in a big city, or something.. or they have been here for too long and have just become like everyone else...

Work ethic?? What is that...?? I fail to find it in most people here... Why is that?? Why aren't more businesses capitalizing on the built in tourist industry this area has... we need to be catering to the people who visit our communities... it is possible to maintain values and morals, much like Provo has done and still have lots of things to do and attract visitors... this leads to other issues that I will address at a later time that deal with the lack of things to do for young people or single people in this area and all the problems that causes... we are a growing college town and very close to another large university SUU, up in Cedar City and still, what are people to do....??

The pupose of this blog is going to be just that.... Try and help people who are wanting to visit Saint George or the surrounding areas to find things to do, to help inspire those that live here to do things that will help the community to grow, by planning more and capitalizing on the natural markets that this area has and then most importantly to try and get others to understand how business is the lifeblood of any community.

Those who fail to plan correctly, are just planning to fail... yes an old cliche but true nonetheless... There are many areas that I would like to address in this blog and for the first few weeks or maybe even months, it may seem to jump around a bit as I get everything out, that not only bothers me, but my associates and many other individuals that I speak with.

Until next time... Smile always... and be active in your community.