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.

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.

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.

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.

March Lecture: Maternal Nutrition

What’s affecting local women’s food choices and its impact on future generations

“Eat healthy,” you hear it all the time; doctors, media, and friends encourage us to eat better for our health. It is easy to say, but it is not always easy to do. A group of community members participated in a project; taking pictures of things that help them eat healthy as well as things that make it harder.

Oregon Health and Science University’s Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network recently finished a research project on what affects maternal nutrition in Clatsop County. This was a “Photo Voice” project where 10 women took pictures of their food environment, in an attempt to identify the barriers and facilitators to good nutrition.

OHSU Research Assistant and Community Liaison Julia Mabry, is taking the resulting presentation around Clatsop County to those interested in food, medicine, and health. She will be the speaker at our lecture this month (March 2015).

“The results are moving, compelling and personal. The women’s stories about healthy eating are important for the public to hear,” Mabry said.

The presentation will cover why it’s important to study maternal nutrition and its effect on epigenetics, or chronic illness in the future. It will also address how personal behavior fits into the larger context of our environment. How our society’s food environment could change for the better will be up for discussion.

Beers to Your Health, our monthly food and wellness lecture happens Thursday March 12 at the Fort George Brewery Lovell Showroom, located at 14th and Exchange Street in downtown Astoria. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the talk starts at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to all ages.

Food and the Future