Giving Back for Random Acts of Kindness Week

At Organic Grocer we’re so pleased to be blessed enough to be giving back often and generously!  During Random Acts of Kindness Week we’re reminded why we do what we do – and we hope we can inspire you to give back kindness wherever and however you can too!

 

When you shop at Organic Grocer you’re doing more than supporting a 25 year old local business owned and operated by Surrey residents – you’re supporting LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL charities that make a real impact.

Every year the owners of Organic Grocer, located in the Newton neighbourhood of Surrey BC, donate generously to several local charities that directly impact their community’s most vulnerable residents.  Without these charities the owners believe that Surrey would be a much poorer and meaner place to live.  We hope that you’ll consider supporting them too during Random Acts of Kindness Week – and all throughout the year!

The owners also support international charities that are inspiring significant change around the world and moving industry forward ethically.  Finally, Garth & Deb also encourage their staff to find forward thinking companies that are making a difference through their products and services so that we can feature them in our store!  We hope that you find this article inspiring and that you will feel even better about shopping with Organic Grocer knowing that your hard earned dollars are doing good all around the world.

 

SOME AMAZING LOCAL COMMUNITY CHARITIES:

 

Surrey Women’s Centre 

The Surrey Women’s Centre protects and empowers women and girls.  It is a crisis centre for women and girls escaping domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence.  The Surrey Women’s Centre is the only women’s Centre in Surrey, BC. They are often the first and sometimes the only place women and girls in need call for help.

It is only because of generous daily donations that these women and girls have a safe place to turn.

The Centre is open 24 hours per day. 7 days per week. 365 days per year.

 

Surrey Food Bank 

Hunger affects us all; it knows no age, it knows no race and it knows no season. At the Surrey Food Bank they have created specialised programs to ensure they are providing food assistance to everyone who needs a hand up in our community.  

Hungry clients may visit the Surrey Food Bank and receive a nutritious supply of food every 14 days. The Food Bank’s goal is to provide sufficient food for 3 to 4 days, offering vegetarian and non-vegetarian options based on Canada’s Food Guide for Healthy Eating.   However, the Food Bank is limited in what they can offer as they can only supply what has been donated.

 

 SOURCES BC (at Peace Arch Hospital)

In 1978, Peace Arch Community Services (PACS) was formed to serve the Surrey and White Rock community. Only a few thousand people sought its services and referral information; but as family and social challenges intensified, so did the need for PACS volunteers and professionals to help others overcome adversity and build a better life. In 2008 the organization provided direct service to approximately 12,300 individuals. SOURCES was born in 2010 as other agencies consolidated their services with PACS; these included Gateway Autism Society and Gateway Autism Foundation (2010), Newton Advocacy Group Society (2011), South Fraser Women’s Services Society (2012) and Cornerstone Care Society (2015).

SOURCES now strives to create more vibrant and resilient communities by offering support to children, youth, families, persons with disabilities, seniors, and others who are coping with isolation, addiction, poverty, disability and conflict. We also support our communities through leadership, education and volunteerism.

 

Covenant House 

Covenant House provides love and hope to Vancouver’s street youth. Covenant House helps youth aged 16 to 24 who have fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse; those who have been forced from their homes; and those who have aged out of foster care.  Covenant House is a premier provider of shelter as well as other services for homeless youth thanks to the hard work and dedication of their staff and volunteers and generous donor’s support.

 

We at the Organic Grocer believe that once a person’s basic needs for food, shelter, and safety are taken care of a beautiful and healthy environment will enrich their lives.

A healthy and vibrant environment doesn’t just create a better place for our animal friends to live, but also creates a healthy and supportive environment for us humans to thrive in as well.  Keeping that in mind, we support several environmental and agrarian charities across the country every year:

 

SOME AMAZING ENVIRONMENTAL CHARITIES: 

 

Burns Bog Conservation Society

The Burns Bog Conservation Society networks with leading scientists to give and distribute accurate and up-to-date information on peatlands. In 1995 Dr David Bellemy discovered that Burns Bog was regenerating after the peat harvesting. He told the Society “you have proved by accident in Burns Bog the theory that the bog will regenerate within 40 years!”

When you give to the Burns Bog Conservation Society, you become part of a powerful movement to save one of our country’s most fragile and precious ecosystems – Burns Bog. Thank you for protecting “the lungs of the Lower Mainland.”

 

Did you know that you can Adopt an Animal for your Valentine?

 

Young Agrarians

Young Agrarians (YA) is a network for new and young ecological and organic farmers. Since they started January 2012, the network has grown across Canada from coast to coast because of farmers who have organized events (mixers, farm tours & potlucks, apprentice meet-ups, etc.)  The network is made up of a diverse array of food growers and lovers: rural and urban farmers, market gardeners, seed savers, food activists, bee keepers, community gardeners, food/farmer organizations and more.  All of who are working to steward land and soil, and grow our local food systems.

Young Agrarians recognises Indigenous title to all lands in Canada. They feel it is their responsibility to care for and respect the land that we all live on and depend upon for water, food and shelter. In a time of climate change, we must all do our part to nurture resilient food systems (local, ecological and equitably produced) choosing with our dollars, values and hands to consume and produce foods that are healthy for us and future generations.

 

Canadian Organic Growers 

COG’s mission is to lead local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources.

Not all COG members run certified organic operations, but they share a vision for a sustainable bioregionally-based organic food system. COG members believe that organic food production is the best choice for the health of consumers and producers, for the protection and enhancement of the environment, and for the sustainability of the food production system. In fact we believe that the survival of our country and even of the planet depends on it!

 

FarmFolk CityFolk 

FarmFolk CityFolk is a not for profit society that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. Their projects provide access to & protection of foodlands; support local growers and producers; and engage communities in the celebration of local food.

“Something happens to people who plant seeds–it is impossible to watch a plant grow and flourish without getting a sense of the miracle of all life.”

-Herb Barbolet, Co-founder of FarmFolk CityFolk

 

Certified Organic Association of BC  

COABC’s approach to food production is based on care for the earth. They recognize that as human beings, we are one creature among many which are all inter-related and interdependent. The COABC is part of an organic movement that embraces a wide diversity of activities and enterprises related to the organic production of food and encompass all sizes of operations.

One of the tools the COABC uses is a regulatory framework to permit exports.  Their priority is the establishment and maintenance of local food systems. They accept the principles of organic farming and processing identified by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) and engage in research of appropriate techniques to enable us to put them all into practice.

 

We know that donating directly to charities is meaningful and changes lives daily – but sometimes it’s best to support initiatives that are run by companies and organisations which we trust and which we know will direct funds into the most needy hands and environments.

Because we want our dollars to make a meaningful impact we look for products that we can carry brought to us by companies and organisations doing really meaningful work!  Two such companies come to mind (below), but don’t forget that any of the fair trade products we carry make a difference in the lives of people around the world!  That’s why we strive to carry a fair trade option wherever possible.

 

 

Alaffia Body Care Products

Buy an Alafffia product and contribute to their Empowerment initiatives in Africa with every purchase.  Empowerment Projects are Alaffia’s mission in action, funded by the sales of Alaffia products.  Alaffia invests in their communities because they believe it is their moral responsibility to ensure African resources empower African communities. Their goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality.  Alaffia’s Empowerment Projects include several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, FGM Eradication, Eyeglasses and Reforestation. All of Alaffia’s projects empower Togolese communities to provide their skills and knowledge to the rest of the world and to rise out of poverty.

As of 2017 Alfaffia’s Empowerment Initiatives have:
•• DISTRIBUTED 7,482 BIKES ••  •• GIVEN 32,842 CHILDREN SCHOOL SUPPLIES ••  •• BUILT 2,261 SCHOOL BENCHES ••  •• CONSTRUCTED 10 SCHOOLS ••  •• FUNDED 4,463 BIRTHS ••  •• PLANTED 57,575 TREES ••  •• DONATED 24,927 EYEGLASSES ••

Learn more here:  https://alaffia.com/empowerment/

 

Natural Calm Magnesium & Calcium Products

Every purchase of Natural Calm Products supports the Organics 4 Orphans Charity which supports organic gardening, nutritional training, natural medicine and income generation in communities across Africa.

 

Natural Factors and the Plant a Seed and See What Grows Foundation

Every purchase of a Whole Earth & Sea Supplement sends $2 directly to the Plant a Seed and See What Grows Foundation – a local charity that creates a lot of buzz around food and the interconnectedness that unites us all.   We are all interconnected with one another, with our food, with our environment and with our communities. And we are what we eat. And we are stewards of our land. And we are what we contribute to our communities.  At Plant a Seed Foundation, they nurture a sense of interconnectivity with one another, with our food, our land and our communities. They are committed to helping others to:

They further support our local communities by:

We hope that knowing the hard earned dollars you spend at Organic Grocer are making a significant difference every day in both local lives and lives across the globe brings warmth to your heart and a smile to your face. 

Now get out there and make a difference in someone’s life!

RECIPE: GLUTEN FREE VEGAN CHOCOLATE PROTEIN BALLS

vegan gluten free chocolate protein bites

These gluten free vegan balls are the perfect protein packed snack for all occasions

This is a guest post written by Erica Streick, CNP  from Organika’s Blog

These gluten free vegan protein balls are a great way to get a kick of energy during you midday slump without overloading on processed sugars and empty calories.

The cacao nibs add a nice crunch while providing high amounts of antioxidants like polyphenols, which are great for anti-aging and cardiovascular health. This snack is fiber rich making it great for blood sugar regulation, colon health, as well as keeping you satiated for longer. I added a scoop of Organika® Vege Pro plant-based protein powder to offer 21g of plant-based protein. This protein has a unique blend of 8 medicinal mushrooms containing adaptogenic and immune-modulating properties to give your immune system a boost.

Not only are these energy balls full of nutrients but they taste like a treat and satisfy any sweet cravings you may have. I make these ahead of time and keep them in the freezer since they are great for work, pre workout snacks and sweet cravings alike!

gluten free vegan chocolate protein balls

Chocolate Protein Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop of Organika® Vege Pro
  • 1/4 cup organic gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup organic nut butter of choice (pecan butter is amazing)
  • 5 organic medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp organic cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp organic cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp water (if required)

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or high speed blender, and blend until the mixture becomes a dough-like consistency.
  2. Roll the dough in 1-inch balls and place in a container in the fridge or freezer.

Key Lime Kefir Pudding

Avocado and chia meal flour make healthy fibre rich alternatives to conventional starch and eggs in puddings. If chia meal flour is not available, simply blend chia seeds in a high powered blender or spice grinder to a flour texture. Find coconut chips in the healthy snack aisle of the health food store.

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Yields: 6 servings

 

3 (750ml) cups kefir

1 medium avocado, chopped (about 1 cup, 250ml)

1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice

1/4 cup (60ml) honey

Key Lime Kefir

1 tbsp (15ml) chia meal flour

1 tsp (5ml) lime zest

2 tbsp (30ml) coconut chips

2 tbsp (30ml) roasted almonds

 

Coconut whipped cream (optional)

 

Directions:

In a blender, combine kefir, avocado, lime juice, honey, chia flour and lime zest and blend to a smooth texture. Pour into 6 glasses or bowls and chill covered for 20 minutes to set. Crush or process coconut chips and almonds together to a coarse crumb. Top puddings with coconut whipped cream and coconut almond crumbs to serve.

 

Nutritional analysis per serving:

Calories: 192 kcal

Protein: 6 grams
Fat: 10 grams
Carbohydrate: 21 grams
Fibre: 3 grams
Sodium: 60 mg

Lisa’s First Gluten Free Stuffing

Wild Rice with Apple & Seeds Stuffing

I found this recipe on line and made a few alterations, but unfortunately I never recorded the original source.  But we send our collective thanks to the original cook!  This was the first stuffing I served in our newly gluten-free home.  It was a huge success!

 

½ Cup Organic Wild Rice

½ Cup Organic Brown Rice

2 Cups Water (alkaline if you’ve got it!)

1 TBSP Vegetable Oil (try Camelina or MCT oil for added nutrients)

Cook the rice in the water and oil.  While the rice is cooking move onto the next step.

 

1 Stalk Organic Celery – chopped

4 Organic Green Onions – chopped

2 Cloves Organic Garlic – chopped

I just toss these all into my hand powered food processor – then sauté them in a little oil or butter, and set them aside to cool.

 

1 Organic (& Local!) Red Apple – peeled & diced
(then set aside in lemon water to prevent browning)

 

½ Cup Organic (& Local!) Dried Cranberries

½ Cup Organic Raisins

2TBSP Organic Lemon Zest

Combine the drained apple, cranberries, raisins, and lemon zest with the cooked onions, celery and garlic and set aside.

 

3TBSP freshly squeezed Organic Lemon Juice

½ tsp Himalayan Salt

1/3 Cup Organic, Cold Pressed Olive Oil

Freshly Ground Organic Black Pepper to taste

Wisk together & pour over the cooked rice.

 

Finally mix everything together and serve hot or cold.

Lisa’s Gluten Free Stuffing

This is a traditional stuffing with a gluten free twist.  Honestly – the simplest thing to do is to grab a loaf of gluten free bread, chop or rip it up into bite sized bits, then toast it.

If you have more time to plan ahead, you can save your bread ends, dry them out (just leave them out to dry on your counter, covered with a cloth so the flies don’t get to it), and then crumble them day the day you make your stuffing.

You can also buy gluten free croutons that are pre-seasoned.

If you want to create a vegan gluten free stuffing – that’s easy too – just a few tweaks to the recipe.

Here we go:

 

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Organic Onion, diced

2 Cloves Organic Garlic, minced

1/2 Cup Organic Celery, diced

1/2 Cup Organic Mushrooms, diced very small
(I put mine in the hand powered food processor so the bits are TINY)
(try button, shitake, or portabella for different flavours)

1/3 Cup Grass Fed Butter / Buttery Spread (You’ll likely need more later)

4 Cups Gluten Free Bread Crumbs

1 tsp Freshly Ground Organic Black Pepper (or try white pepper for a different taste)

1/2 tsp Himalayan Salt

1/2 tsp Dried Organic Sage, Powdered

1/2 tsp Dried Organic Rosemary, Powdered

1/2 tsp Dried Organic Parsley, Powdered

4 Cups Organic Chicken or Vegetable Stock (make sure this is gluten free too!)

1 Package Bacon of your choice (optional)

 

Method:

Have your bread crumbs ready in a very large bowl, or the pot from your crock pot.

If you’re using bacon, cook the bacon first in a pan until crispy.  Pull out the bacon, and save the grease in a container put aside.  When the bacon cools, break it into small pieces.

Sauté the veggies in the bacon pan, add some butter if needed.

Once the veggies are fully cooked, remove the pan from heat, and add the herbs, salt and pepper.   At this point the seasoning should be very strong.

Next stir in your bacon bits.  Now you’re ready to season your bread crumbs.

Pour the veggie mix over your bread crumbs and mix it up well.

Finally, stir in the broth until your stuffing is well moistened – this will be personal preference.

Now you do the taste test!  Does it need more butter?  Does it need more bacon grease?  Add more as you see fit.

Now you’re stuffing is ready to cook.  Stuff it into your bird, or for a fully vegan option, cook it in your crock pot.  If you just want  a lot of extra stuffing, bake it out of the bird covered at 325 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes.

Enjoy!

~Lisa

Baked Acorn Squash

Cut your organic acorn squash in half and remove the seeds.

Bake your squash , flesh side down, in the oven (350 degrees) in a 1/4 cup of water until fully cooked; soft throughout.

Warm a mixture of 1 cup of dried fruit cut into bite sized pieces in  1/2 a cup of brandy or wine.
Spoon this mixture into each half of the squash.
(try apricots, cranberries, raisins, goji berries, prunes … you’ve got al kinds of options!)

Serve warm.

Alternatively – bake your squash flesh side up with grass fed butter and organic & fair trade brown sugar / maple syrup in the middle.  Baked until soft and the syrup glazes.

 

Great side dish!

~Lisa

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