Gaining Ground Film

A new film on growing food, empowering communities & changing lives

Sunday October 9 at 4 p.m.
Columbian Theater 1114 Marine Drive Astoria

sf-march-against-monsanto-2The negative impacts of industrial agriculture are everywhere. The increasing threat of genetically engineered food and the destruction of local communities can make us feel powerless to effect change. GAINING GROUND, a new documentary film by Elaine Velazquez and Barbara Bernstein, is an intimate view of rural and urban farmers embracing this challenge.

GAINING GROUND is coming to communities around Oregon this fall. This
film presents the personal stories of farmers and activists confronting the challenges of
feeding their local communities sustainably grown food. The documentary interweaves
experiences of Urban Tilth’s farmer-activists transforming corners of Richmond,
California’s inner city food desert into vibrant community gardens; Sun Gold Farm, a
small family farm in rural Oregon converting from commodity dairy to sustainably
grown produce and Stalford Seed Farms in the Willamette Valley transitioning from
growing grass seed to organic grains. As the film explores these paradigm shifts, it
personalizes class, gender, race and environmental justice issues by rooting them
within narratives of compelling individuals. While the film is sober about the obstacles
to creating change, it points the way toward hope.

ut-greenway-teresa-and-internsThe screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and people featured in the film. View the GAINING GROUND trailer:

Local sponsors: Astoria Co-op Grocery, Columbia Riverkeeper, North Coast Food Web, Coast Community Radio and CREATE

Learn about Local Food

RetzlaffFor those who love the freshness of local food and the concept of supporting the growth of more small farms in the area, then this event is for you. Farmer Teresa Retzlaff—Owner of 46 North Farm in Olney—will be the presenter for our monthly food and wellness talk “Beers to Your Health” at Fort George Brewery.

Retzlaff’s talk will focus on things you can do, big and small, to help change the way food is produced and consumed in our region. Retzlaff says there are ways we can all support local farmers and grow the local food system; such as thinking about what “local” means, eating seasonally, and learning about how your food is produced. For example, ask questions about where your food comes from when you go out.

“That lets the restaurants know that you care. That’s why more farms are getting inquiries from restaurants, because their customers are asking questions. Consumers have so much power,” Retzlaff said.

Retzlaff hopes everyone can try and shift some food purchasing to local and support people who are trying to grow food in our coastal area.

Retzlaff’s local food presentation at Beers to Your Health happens on Thursday April 14 at the Fort George Lovell Showroom in Astoria (corner of 14th and Duane) at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. and food and drinks are available from the Taproom. The event is free and open to all ages.

Learn about Circulatory Health

We’re really hoping to get your blood pumping with our next monthly food and wellness talk in March. The circulatory system is important to everybody and a local naturopath will teach why. Dr. Tracy Erfling’s talk is titled, “Head to Toes Circulatory Health”.

erfling“This is a great time of year for a circulatory review since we’re moving out of the cold and dark; we can plan ways to boost things we’re doing for our circulatory system. People might not be moving as much, and with the passing of that sedentary heavy-food time of year, we want to start a clearing process. This should be a refreshing talk to get people excited about movement, activity, and health,” Dr. Erfling said.

All cells in the body need oxygen and nutrients as well as waste removal. This is an important role of the circulatory system. The heart, blood vessels, lymphatic system and blood itself work together to service the cells of the body. Using the network of arteries, veins and capillaries, blood carries carbon dioxide to the lungs (for exhalation) and picks up oxygen. From the small intestine, the blood gathers food nutrients and delivers them to our cells.

Dr. Erfling will review this system, problems that can affect its function and therapeutic ideas for health and healing. There are many ways to naturally boost your circulatory system and exercise is one example.

“When we move our muscles it assists the pumping of blood around the body. Generally we rely on the heart to do the work, but when we exercise it helps the whole circulatory system function more smoothly,” Dr. Erfling said.

Dr. Erfling graduated from the National College of Natural Medicine in 2000. She has been practicing natural medicine in Astoria for 15 years (at a shared office with Astoria Chiropractic) and works at the health department doing family planning. Outside of medicine Dr. Erfling enjoys yoga, swimming, dog walking, the occasional “delicious” beer, and shopping at the Co-op (she served on our board for many years).

You can attend Dr. Erfling’s presentation on circulatory health on Thursday March 10 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) at the Fort George Lovell Showroom on 14th and Duane Street in Astoria. The talk is free and open to all ages.

Beers Made by Walking

A unique-style of wildcraft brewing takes the spotlight at our monthly talk

Beers Made by Walking is a program that invites brewers onto nature hikes to make beer inspired by the plants they find and the proceeds go toward environmental non-profits. Founder Eric Steen, who works as a communications specialist at Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, will share these adventures at our  monthly talk on Thursday February 11.

Photo: Duplex Gallery

Photo: Duplex Gallery

“What’s exciting about Beers Made by Walking is people that go on hikes get to learn what’s growing in their region. They learn either about native plants or invasive and how it affects the land,” Steen said.

BMBW Seward Park- Credit to FCRW
Steen will show a history of Beers Made by Walking and images of different hikes and beers as well as pop-up pubs and other unorthodox beer events he’s been organizing since 2008. For example, he worked with the Portland Art Museum to have local brewers make beer inspired by an 18th century French painting called the “Drunken Cobbler”.
“You’ll learn a little bit about how beer can be inspired by place and specifically learn about how a lot of Oregon breweries have approached place-making and beer-making as a united concept,” Steen said.

Steen says it’s not unusual to identify up to 30 medicinal plants on a walk that can be used for tea, beer, or food. A local example is Salal. Steen says the berry grows all over the coast, but you don’t see anyone using it, until recently a couple brewers used it in their beer.

Fort George Brewery is co-sponsoring Steen’s talk with us (Astoria Co-op Grocery). We hold monthly food and wellness talks called “Beers to Your Health” at the Fort George monthly. The event happens in the Fort George Lovell Showroom at 426 14th Street in Astoria. Doors open at 6 p.m. and food and drinks are available from the taproom. The presentation begins at 7 p.m. and lasts about an hour. It is free and open to all ages.

Learn Yoga Philosophy

Our monthly talk, Beers to Your Health, at Fort George Brewery

The main philosophy of yoga: body, mind, and spirit are one and cannot be separated. There is much more to yoga than the physical postures (asanas), which is the most widely practiced yoga technique in the Western World. In fact there are entire historic philosophies behind these exercises—one of such is called Tantra Yoga, offering meditation, mantra (sound), visualization, lifestyle changes, and other tools that help lead one to enlightenment and ultimately a better self.

Dawn Hanson for Web

Yoga Teacher Dawn Hanson will be giving a talk to help others understand the roots of yoga. Hanson own and operates Sitka Yoga Studio in Astoria. Hanson’s yoga practice began as a haven from a hectic life schedule. She has studied a wide variety of yoga disciplines, with several world-renowned instructors, receiving her formal 500 hour yoga teacher certification from Yandara Yoga Institute.

“Once you know the philosophy, it’s easier to tap into the techniques to be able to enhance or spark your spiritual practice. A spiritual practice, in a yoga context, is about becoming your best/highest Self,” Hanson said.

Hanson says you don’t have to be a yogi to gain from her presentation; it’s for anyone who’s interested in philosophy, history, or finding a greater purpose in life. The timing of this talk is in line with the idea in yoga philosophy that winter to summer solstice is a time for awakening consciousness—becoming aware of how we’re living and progressing in the journey of life.

You can learn about yoga philosophy at Astoria Co-op Grocery’s monthly talk—Beers to Your Health—at the Fort George Brewery Lovell Showroom (located at 14th and Duane in Astoria) on Thursday January 14 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. and food and drink is available from the taproom. The event is free and open to all ages.

Astoria Parks & Recreation Talk

Co-op’s Monthly Talk “Beers to Your Health” at Fort George Brewery

Angela, Rosemary & John

The places and programs that Astoria Parks and Recreation manages are as vast and intriguing as the historic city that it’s a part of. “Astoria Parks & Recreation: Past and Future” is the theme for the next Beers to Your Health, Astoria Co-op Grocery’s monthly food and wellness talk at Fort George Brewery. The presenters include Historian John Goodenberger, Former City Planner/Special Projects Manager Rosemary Johnson and Parks and Recreation Director Angela Cosby.

“The parks and recreation department is a vital and essential public service. It improves everyone’s health weather you’re utilizing the pool, taking fitness classes, walking through a park, or even driving by. The presence of greenery and children playing can have significant health impacts for everyone,” Cosby said.

The presenters will describe some of the unique history of local parks. Shively Park is one of the oldest, built in the late 1800’s and then hugely developed for the city’s centennial in 1911 with a zoo, amphitheater, replicas of Fort Astoria and a native American village, botanical gardens, and one of the largest flag poles in the world. Ocean View Cemetery in Warrenton was adopted by Astoria in 1897. Caskets would be floated up river and stored until family members could gather.

Many historic sites in Astoria are parks in order to keep them accessible to the public. A walkway at the foot of 14th Street is where a ferry picked people up to take them across the river before there was a bridge. Parks commemorate sites of the west coast’s first post and customs offices and Fort Astoria.

Some of the most popular places and programs of today’s Parks and Recreation Department include the aquatic center, Fred Lindstrom and Tapiola Parks, and maritime memorial. The city’s Little Sprouts daycare is so popular it has a waiting list. There are also little-known amenities, such as community gardens, the Alderbrook lagoon area, and Alameda Park.
A master planning process to shape the future of Astoria Parks and Recreation is underway. There will be an opportunity to provide feedback on the future of parks at Beers to Your Health. An online survey is also available at

“I want folks to come to the event, to learn about park history and then tell us what they want to see in the future. This is a key time for the community to get involved,” Cosby said.

The talk happens on Thursday December 10 at 7 p.m. at the Fort George Lovell Showroom. Doors open at 6 p.m. and food and drinks are available from the Taproom. The event is free and open to all ages.

Where Does Wellness Begin?

Local wellness coach tackles that question at our monthly talk in November

“Where Does Wellness Begin?” That’s the title of a talk Wellness Coach Angela Sidlo will be giving as she answers that question. Her presentation will begin with the concept of primary food and secondary food and focus on soil, organics and how to choose the best way to nourish one’s self to create healthy bodies, families and ultimately healthy communities.

011Sidlo has been out and about in the community conducting interviews, getting to the root of wellness. For example, Dr. Jennifer File, a local pediatrician, feels that wellness begins first as a mindset, while Farmer Teresa Retzlaff believes wellness begins in the soil. Sidlo will bring her findings and knowledge to the public in a talk titled “Where Does Wellness Begin”.

“I personally believe that wellness begins with awareness: just the simple act of being aware of what you put on your plate, what you choose at the grocery store, where you spend your restaurant dollars,” Sidlo said.

Sidlo says food is only one aspect of wellness. Also important are your choices when it comes to exercise such as allocating some of your budget to a gym membership, a tai chi class or a meditation group.

“By raising awareness about wellness we all begin to start making better choices about food, exercise, relationships and all the things that create a healthy mind, body and spirit. It is what I am passionate about and what I love to teach the most,” Sidlo said.

Sidlo is a wellness coach, licensed reflexologist, certified holistic aromatherapist, certified tai chi instructor, and Usui Reiki Master Teacher. She owns Waves of Change Wellness Center. Sidlo is also a member of Astoria Co-op Grocery’s board of directors.

Learn more from Sidlo on Thursday November 12 at 7 p.m. at our food and wellness talk “Beers to Your Health” at Fort George Brewery. It happens in the brewery’s Lovell Showroom, located at the corner of 14th and Duane Street in downtown Astoria. Doors open at 6 p.m. for food and drinks (available from the Taproom). The talk lasts about an hour, with an opportunity for questions and answers. This is a free community event open to all ages.

Breast Cancer Awareness from a Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient’s Perspective

Astoria Co-op Grocery Lecture Series Season Kick-off

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and an upcoming talk sponsored by Astoria Co-op Grocery brings the issue into focus with a different take “pink ribbon” messages you typically hear. Speaker Laura Snyder says there are pervasive myths surrounding breast cancer. With data and statistics Snyder will suggest much different action plans for individuals and groups concerned about breast cancer.

laura snyderSnyder is a 52-year-old proud mother of two teenagers. She is a former bookseller and Astoria school board member. These days, she is a full-time metastatic breast cancer patient. This includes medical appointments, medication, scans, waiting for results; the usual for the estimated 155,000 metastatic breast cancer patients living in the U.S. today. Part of it is educating herself and others and advocating for action to channel public and private money to scientific research that can make a difference in patients’ lives.

“The goal of this talk is to change the entire paradigm of breast cancer awareness in our community to a new awareness of what is actually needed to end breast cancer. No one dies of early stage breast cancer. It is only when it spreads, or metastasizes beyond the primary site to bones, the lymphatic system, and vital organs, that it becomes a terminal illness,” Snyder said.

Snyder says awareness has taken on an iconic tone, when in fact it does not save lives.
“I would like to debunk these myths and challenge the sexualization and commercialization of the breast cancer cause. I hope that the talk will give people tools and ideas to change awareness to action,” Snyder said.

Snyder’s lecture is on Thursday October 8 at the Fort George Lovell Showroom at 426 14th Street in Astoria. The talk begins at 7 p.m. and goes until 8 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. and food and drinks are available for purchase from the Taproom. There will be time for questions and answers. The event is free and open to all ages. It is part of Astoria Co-op Grocery’s food and wellness lecture series, Beers to Your Health, ever second Thursday of the month at Fort George.

Spring Farm to Fork Dinner


The Chef. Marco Davis!

Thanks so much for the enthusiasm for local food, Folks!  The event is sold out.

When: Wednesday June 3 at 6 p.m.

Where: Columbia Center Coho Room 2021 Marine Drive Astoria, OR 97103

Event Details:

Some of the first local food crops of the season will be the highlight of a Farm to Fork Demonstration Cooking Class & Dinner in June. Astoria Co-op Grocery, Columbia Memorial Hospital’s Nutritional Department, and Chef Marco Davis have been working together to do a series of these local food events, in an effort to inspire people to eat fresh and healthy foods, with an emphasis on seasonal vegetables. And this time the class will be offered at a new lower price. In the past the cost was $50 and now it is being offered for $35 each or two for $60.

“This is an amazing deal for such a high quality four course meal and wine pairings plus cooking instruction, but we’re going to try and work within a slightly smaller budget this time, because we want to make this accessible for everyone. It is our desire to expose as many people as we can to healthy foods through this event,” Astoria Co-op Grocery Marketing Director Zetty Nemlowill said.


Columbia Memorial Hospital’s Nutrition Services Manager Vann Lovett echoes this desire to connect food, health and the community.

“Good food is so essential to health and well-being. We are excited to have another opportunity to collaborate with the Co-op in providing education to help build a healthy community,” Lovett said.

The Co-op will use its relationships with local farmers and other vendors to provide local and organic ingredients. Foods are harvested just before the class and the menu is designed based on what’s freshest and in season. Chef Marco is currently reaching out to local farmers to see what will be available. He says he will for sure be doing a rhubarb and strawberry dessert. He’s been experimenting with a new recipe for kale pesto, and he’s hoping that salmon will be plentiful. All of Chef Marco’s Farm to Fork dinners just so happen to be gluten free meals. Chef Marco will provide recipes and explain his cooking process as he prepares dinner before your eyes. Many of the growers will also be guests of the dinner, providing information about their farms and the food.



Our Parking Lot Gardener at May Lecture

034When our General Manager Matt Stanley asked Horticulturist Becky Graham to take over our parking lot garden, Becky says she had a feeling this would be a very special job, due to the special people who shop and are a part of the Co-op. Becky wants to express what a pleasure it is sharing her skills and passion and we at the Co-op feel the same! We get so many wonderful comments about our garden that makes the parking lot a welcoming space.

“I’ve met hundreds of people who tell me how they’ve appreciated the garden. The fact they make a point to let me know how they appreciate I, that they went up and touched it and smelled it is even better, or asking about a plant. It is kind of an instant connection. That has brought so much joy to me. It’s been a gift. Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” Becky said.

Our May lecture at Fort George Brewery will feature Becky. She has a business called Harvest Moon Designs, and has not only helped transform the Co-op’s outdoor space, but she takes her knowledge and passion about plants all over the community; from the rooftop of the Hotel Elliot to a healing garden that’s in the works at Columbia Memorial Hospital, for example. “Nature inspires, art follows” is a guiding principal in Becky’s designs.

One might imagine finding Becky’s home garden in Knappa on the pages of Sunset magazine. It is made up of raised beds that include an artful combination of edibles, ornamentals, and found objects such as rusty pipes that have been converted into planters.


“I hunt and gather for things that make me weak in the knees. Sometimes I don’t have any idea of how I will use it, but I know I will. I have an old copper washing machine and I know I’m either going to make a water feature out of it or a planter. I play with colors, texture, and materials I love,” Becky said.










Becky calls the garden her classroom, sanctuary, and playground. Part of her career includes garden coaching, helping others design their own gardens. Becky’s lecture will include photos and information to provide examples of things you can do with raised beds, containers, and art, similar to the Co-op’s garden.

“Mixing food you can grow locally in containers as well as ornamental and plants good for pollinators. I think about birds, honey bees, and butterflies. Some art happens naturally. You look and you see a combination of foliage and there’s a butterfly that lands there… that’s art as well as the things you bring in,” Becky said.

You can meet Becky and learn about gardening and design at the Co-op’s monthly food and wellness lecture, “Beers to Your Health” at the Fort George Lovell Showroom located at 426 14th Street in Astoria on Thursday May 14th at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. There are food and drinks available for purchase. The event is free and open to all ages.