Comments on Alberta Minimum Wage

This blog post is in response to an article in the Edmonton Journal on June 29th, 2015 (Impact of unprecedented Alberta minimum wage increase disputed). I was not able to post there since my response was too long.

Being a small business owner since 1991 and a business that I believe is more socially based than most I would like to offer my perspective on the Alberta minimum wage.

Over the past ten years I have paid myself an average of about 36-48K a year. It was much less the years before. I also work about 5 thousand hours a year for this salary. I love doing what I do and know I could be making 2 to three times more money working in my trade (which I also love doing) but that would not provide me with the fulfillment that owning my business provides to me, my community/customers and the planet.

30 for 30 Ice Cream EVENT

It is predicted that on Saturday the temperature will reach 30C the first time this year. That is quite hot for around here.

 

When the temperature reached 20C earlier this year Earth’s General Store marked the occasion by putting our ice cream on sale for 20% off for the whole day.

Well guess what we are going to do on Saturday?

That’s right – Ice Cream will 30% off.

So if you are looking to stock up on ice cream for a few days or just want to indulge in one of the single servings then open up our ice cream freezer and be faced with the task of deciding between Almond and chocolate covered plain ice cream, strawberry, cookie dough, salted chocolate caramel, Neapolitan, banana sandwiches… and the list goes on. The choice is yours and so is the savings.

I use the term ice cream to describe our frozen coconut, soy, and/or cashew products. Most people won’t notice the difference.

Our Gnome Loves #yegDT

We received a shipment of our bicycle riding gnome stickers today and to celebrate we want to do a fun and rewarding competition. Looking good!

We are giving the stickers away for free and want people to stick them up somewhere fun – on their coffee mug, on their bicycle frames, on their wallets, or wherever. This is where the competition comes in.

We want you to pick up a sticker next time you are in the store, stick it up somewhere interesting, take a photograph, and tweet about it.

You will have to include the hashtag #gnomeonabike and @EGSCafe Twitter handle so we can track the entries. This will allow Twitter to sort and collect the entries.

The stickers are only available for pick up at the downtown store (10150 – 104th Street)

Rules

  • Tweet your photograph only once
  • Anyone found to use multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible
  • Include the hashtag #gnomeonabike and @EGSCafe

Prizes

Dandelion Season is Here!

Dandelions can evoke quite passion in people.

Some people love seeing the bright yellow flower heads, especially children, and who hasn’t picked a fragile dandelion seed head and blown on it and watch the seeds float away on the breeze.

Some people hate them and see them as a blot on the landscape – something that needs to be destroyed and controlled.

I am somewhere in the middle. I don’t need to eradicate them but I like to reduce their numbers so that other vegetation and plants I do want to have growing are not competing against the dandelions for nutrients.

Dandelions are in many ways the perfect plant. They are asexual and therefore produce clones of themselves. They arrive early in the spring providing food for bees. They have tap roots that break up the soil and bring nutrients up to the surface from lower soil levels. The roots can be dried and roasted into a coffee substitute. The leaves can be used in salads (use young leaves) or steamed (significant levels of Vitamin A and K, and sources of Vitamin C and calcium).

In the pioneer days early settlers would welcome the dandelions since they would be one of the first edible plants in the spring. They knew that they were healthy for them – possibly for the Vitamin C source since most diets from the winter would be low in this vitamin.

Growing Organically

Organic cultivation is about doing no harm and feeding the soil so the plants that grow are healthier and will resist disease and insects.

It is the same with our bodies. A healthy robust body can more withstand exposure to viruses, bacteria, illnesses, etc than a body that has a weaker or compromised immune system. When we feed our bodies healthy organic whole foods, have adequate sleep, get the right nutrients, have enough water, exercise our bodies (walking, bicycling, etc), receive and give love, feel content, feel valued, etc we will create the best conditions in our bodies to fend off environmental, diet and societal attacks on our immune system.

The same is true for the plants we grow. Growing organically is about reducing the exposure to insects, paying attention to the plants that you want to grow, reduce competition from unwanted plants, and feeding the soil.

The way I do all this is to insert certain plants throughout the garden that confuses insects or attracts beneficial (predatory) insects, have a walk through the garden twice a day (there is nothing like checking on their progress, snipping this plant, pulling a few weeds, etc first thing in the morning or in the evening), and providing a healthy bed for the plant to set its roots in.

Fair Trade Month - Tea!

Tea is an extremely popular beverage. It is consumed throughout the world. Every culture had some kind of leaf that they infused in water. When we ‘normally’ use the term tea though we mean a hot liquid made from the Camellia sinensis plant. All Black, green, white, oolong, etc teas come from this plant. It matters where the plant is grown, how it is harvested and how it is processed afterwards that imparts the subtle flavours. This is the same for wines and coffees.

When we choose Fair Trade teas we support a process that provides more equitable payment for their labour and production.

Fair Trade tea criteria is different than for coffee since most tea is grown in large tea plantations owned by a small number of people or a family. The plantation owners hires labourers to work the fields, the processing plant and packaging operation so it is somewhat different process to the coop relationship that Fair Trade coffee has.

Earth’s General Store offers a large variety of packaged and bulk teas. The vast majority of them are Fair Trade Certified and Certified Organic – respect for the people and the planet.

For more information please visit FairTrade Canada.

- Posted May 15th, 2015 

City Market to Open on Saturday

City Market will be moving back onto 104th Street this coming Saturday (May 16th, 2015). To mark their return to the street Earth’s General Store will be having a 15% off Sale.

So come down to Edmonton’s most vibrant downtown street, stroll and talk with the local producers, mingle, pick up some great products and drop into Earth’s General Store for those products that you can’t purchase at the market. Bananas, pears, celery, strawberries, artichokes, turmeric, rice, kombucha, milk, yogurt, flour, chocolate bars, coffee, supplements, nuts/seeds, dried fruit and hundreds of other products.

Check out our event Facebook page.

Shop Local also means shopping at independent local businesses.

- May 12th, 2015 

Fair Trade Month - Coffee!

Ah Coffee! A very popular beverage in most of the world. Coffee is the second most valued commodity traded around the world. Only the trade in petroleum commodities is of higher value. (Of course this is legally traded commodities since it is estimated that there could be some drug that are valued higher).

There are only two types of coffee plants – Arabica and Robusta. The Arabica is grown at higher elevations and it is this coffee that is prized for its nuances of flavours. Robusta is usually grown on larger plantation, has a higher level of caffeine content than Arabica, stronger coffee flavour, and the plants handles more mechanization than the more delicate Arabica plant. Robusta is used in flavourings, in lower grades of coffee (think of the industrial coffee dispense in many machines or fast food businesses), and in many instant coffee. It is quite often added to espresso mixes to bolster the flavor profile.

Fair Trade Month - Bananas

Several years ago Bananas became the most popular fruit in North America replacing the apple. They are popular, they are tasty, they are inexpensive, and they come with a hidden price tag.

Bananas are big business. Large corporations have controlled banana production, marketing, distribution and, directly and indirectly, the welfare of the people and environment where they are grown. Check out the term ‘Banana Republic’ (and it is not about a clothing store) and the history of exploitation around commodities and the workers in the field/jungle.

Two videos I particularly like regarding Bananas are ‘Banana Split’ and ‘Bananas’. Check them up and I am sure you will not look at another banana the same way. Non-organic and non-Fair Trade bananas are extremely disrespectful to the planet (non-organic bananas are doused in pesticides encased in their traditional toxic blue bags) and to the growers.

Looking for the BEST Price for Certified Organic Meat?

Certified Organic Meat is expensive when compared to the meat coming from the industrial meat system. It is expensive because there is more respect given to the animal (better care, better food, no GMO feed, no hormones, no regular antibiotics, smaller herds, etc), to the land and for the consumer - providing the BEST meat for your body!

So it is great when you can save some money on excellent Certified Organic meat that is also localley raised and processed. On Sunday, May 10th we are having our monthly 15% off sale. You can save 15% off your meat purchases.

Wait - there is more. Frozen meat products from our local supplier are an extra 10%. This works out to about 23% savings!

Meat is available only at our downtown store.

- Posted May 9th, 2015