—by Joel Krogstad, HPC Board Chair

Do you have a great idea on how to make volunteer time more productive and enjoyable? Do you have experience with building restoration? Do you enjoy creating slogans and posters for events or campaigns?

I spent my first five years at HPC stocking shelves, cutting cheese, and writing newsletter articles; and never once did I know that much of the co-op’s planning work is accomplished through committees that any member can participate in for volunteer credit. If you are someone who has been volunteering for a while, you may want to consider giving your talents to the co-op in a new way this coming year.

There are seven committees that HPC members can serve on:

—by Naomi Jackson, Membership Coordinator

The change of seasons brings changes at the co-op, too. We have a new general manager and we’ve hired some new storekeepers. Our annual meeting was much earlier than it has been in the past, in an effort to expand member participation on the board and on board committees.

Fall means that many of last year’s student volunteers have moved on, leaving many volunteer positions open for new arrivals. If you’d like to become a volunteer at Hampden Park Co-op, buy a share of stock for $30 (a one-time purchase), and sign up for volunteer orientation on the big bulletin board in the entryway. Volunteering is fun, and it gets you a discount on your groceries and giftware.

—by Anne Holzman

There’s a math lesson waiting to be discovered against the back wall of the co-op’s newer half—a grid with coordinates, perhaps, or an exercise in probability and fractions.

We’ve been working hard at discovering those principles lately while sampling our way through much of the chips section.

If it sounds like a lame excuse, just think of the potential. What are the odds, if you reached into the chips section blindfolded, that you’d come up with something that has barbecue flavoring? Sour cream and onion? Jalapeño? Lime?

Then consider the odds that the flavoring would be carried by cassava root (slim odds); lentils or rice (both a little better); corn (quite good); or potatoes (probably still leading the pack most days).

For more information and a showing, e-mail or call Michael McKenna at or 612-568-6564.

You can purchase items at Hampden Park Co-op at a 28% discount for the Midway Foodshelf. Tell the cashier that your items are for the food shelf and they will be held at the cash register for our food shelf volunteer to pick up.

The Minnesota Theatre Alliance is offering free theater tickets to shows all over the state for people who are interested in trying out a theater they've never visited before, and are giving HPC shoppers preferred status in their lottery.

—by Heather Brian

The world’s food security could be threatened by the failure to conserve the wild plant species that are genetically related to the crops grown by mankind for food.

— United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report, October 2010

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimated last year that seventy-five percent of crop diversity present in 1900 was lost during the 20th century. This process has only accelerated with the introduction of new genetically modified (GM) crops, specialty hybrids, and more potent varieties of pesticides and herbicides.

Although considered a pest, nettles are among the most versatile plants in the world, being used to make sheets, tablecloths, menus, emergency fishing lines, ropes, beer and as an enrichment for steaks.

Dandelions have been used therapeutically in Europe and Asia for centuries—the root is used to stimulate the liver and cleanse the bloodstream. See Emma Owana's article on edible weeds.