Monday, November 15, 2010

I will stop at nothing to fight the good fight!  I traveled to the wilds of Northern Michigan this week to make a case for finding an answer to the problems listed in the article below.  If you have ever been to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shore in located in arguably one of the most beautiful counties in Michigan....Leelanau County.... to find the answer!
Hidden snugly in a small up north outpost of Glen Arbor Michigan you will find a very unique experience in a local business in Cherry Republic.  There is a long and interesting history to this company that was founded by Bob Sutherland way back in 1989.  The story is that Bob started by selling T-shirts out of the trunk of his car with a theme of "Cherry Republic: Life, Liberty, Beaches & Pie.  You can say Bob had vision because as the interest in the area grew.... so did the business.  Today it has grown to house 100's of cherry themed products throughout a complex of several buildings on site along with other locations in various towns throughout Michigan.  Why am I so fired up about Cherry Republic?  Because I love there products AND am working with the company to offer the best and healthiest products I can find on our GREENFUNDRAISERSTORE.COM store.  Remember... the GFS was created to offer alternative products used in the coarse of daily living.... and every day we have to make choices about nutrition.  What will we stock our shelves with at home?  What will we toss into the kids lunch bags for snack time? 

Put a halt to the Ho-Ho's, chuck the Cheetos's,,,, say good bye to fries!  We will soon be offering a nice variety of "Health Snacks" for your personal shopping needs AND for group fundraising.

Now.... why Cherry Republic?  How does a red fruit fit into a green company?  Simple... did you ever try and eat a green cherry... or a green banana for that matter (not to be confused with Banana Republic!)
Cherries are:  Grown in Michigan, full of natural nutrients, contain antioxidants, fun to eat, and have a great taste.  Bob's company simply took the best of what Michigan has to offer... and well.... when on a creative run of making just about anything and everything they could think of with.... CHERRIES!

So... visit  in the coming week to see what we have in mind!  If you can't beat um.... join em... with health, Michigan based and grown, sustainable packaging (more later), to stock your selves.

See you.... Don

I came across this article in this mornings Detroit News

This article sheds a bright light on a society problem of talking out of both sides of the mouth.  That is.... talking when we aren't stuffing some form of the endless forms of junk food into our mouths.  Almost weekly we hear or read about poor nutritional choices and childhood obesity.   Then why are we surprised with this outcome when we place items such as bagels, cookies, candy, soda pop, and pizza right there for kids.  Comfort food?  Its what they want?  Bull poop!  Suck it up kid (or maybe suck it in?).  The bottom line here is... we've created a generation of "soft" citizens.  It's no joke... and the statistics should bring a call to arms to stop the madness.

I visited a local public school last fall and was amazed at the number of vending machines in the school dining area.  From a distance the wall full of brightly colored graphics showed an assortment of offerings that appeared to be bottled water,  vitamin water, or juices.  Then... to my surprise upon closer inspection the contents of the machines were not what they appeared to be from a distance.  They had no water or juice at all.... in fact they were packed with national brand soda pop.  WHY?  Because... give the people what they want!    More disturbing news is who is in control of what goes in the machines and why?  It has become a major choice of school funding.

 Earlier this year I became alarmed over a story in the news touching on the coming economic cliff our public schools are facing with school financing.   Now as a parent of 4 children of various ages I'm no novice when it comes to what the schools are faced with and what they are doing to help close the funding gap.  It really comes down to one simple truth.... put the burden of filling the gap on the students.... aka.... parents.  GO OUT AND SELL KIDS!  Bring in major corporate brands and give them control of  what they put in front of our children.... in return for the "sole sponsorship/distributorship" of product to our children.  Is your school sponsored by Pepsi or Coke products?  Do they have franchised labels for sale such as Taco Bell in the lunch room?   Does this happen by accident or is there more to the story?  More.... in the sense that it is kind of like selling your sole for badly needed funding.  You can argue that its a great idea since kids need to eat right?  But... who is really in control of what goes on. 

Like in many schools today.... parents set up an account and fund it with a prepaid amount of money.  The kids walk down the line and have control over what they decide they want for their lunch.  But... it comes to find out that there are no checks and balances at all.  Kids can load up with ANYTHING with no gate keeper.  I don't know about you... but given a choice of between a healthy choice lunch and cookies, candy, or pizza.... well.... mom's not here.... and better yet... there is no reporting back as to what I'm choosing.... what a great deal!   And we wonder why kids can't concentrate for the rest o the day!

This is really just the beginning of a broader story of sending mixed messages to our kids.  The school year starts and the flyer's start coming home for the various groups needing your assistance in "fundraising".  Wait a minute... when I was a kid we pretty much needed a package of loose leaf, a couple of binders, pencils, and a lunch box.  We're not in Kansas anymore Toto!  Now expect a detailed list of things you are expected to bring to the class room  AND expect to add to the pool of items that the teacher has determined are needed to run an efficient school classroom.  Expect the list to include facial tissue, hand wipes, sanitizer, folders, keepers, binders, and much more.  Your dropping cash like its no problem.  You want to play sports or march in the band?  No problem.... write a check for $300 and johnny can get a chance to participate.  What the hell is going on here?   The public schools have figured it out.... shift the burdened of supporting the things we hold closest to our heart... and put a price tag on it!  Pay to play.  In the mean time.... What happened to the funds that used to pay for these things?  Ahhh.... shifted to other parts of the operating budget.... give the people what they want?

The last and most disturbing trend is the after school activities and their insatiable need for....MO MONEY!   Talk about sending a mixed message!  Fundraising with candy, cookie dough, pizza kits, pies, chocolate, pop corn..... Wow!   Now... I'm not gonna tell you that I don't like a enjoy any of these things from time to time.  But... please.... this is really confusing.  Report after report about nutritional problems and obesity.... but get out there and sell it!  We need MO MONEY!

This is one of the reasons I wrote about and implemented a new way forward.   What if we change the game and replace the choices with items that are not only healthier... but tie in with the school curriculum.   What if we provide kids with choices that don't have anything to do with poor nutrition and turn it around into a lesson?  How about we celebrate the learning and take it to the next level of "action"?   What if the lesson creates grass roots shifts that are better for the environment?  Wow what a great idea?  Right?  Wrong!  Here is what I've discovered... Good idea... but... we need to give the people what they want!  So... the concept is good... but maybe ahead of its time?  And the beat goes on.... we got another flyer for a pizza fund raising night.... it's easy... it fits in to today's desires.... soft... easy.... like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.... stick your finger in his belly.... and...."Huuuuuhhhh, huuuhhhh,huuhhhhh...." 

Who gets the last laugh?