Letters to the editor, November 2004

This article was originally published in November 2004

PCC and Farm Aid

I was disappointed that I did not see PCC represented at the Farm Aid 2004 concert at the White River Amphitheatre. As this was the first year Farm Aid has occurred on the West Coast, I’m sure I was not alone in being a “newbie” to the annual concert. Performers like Neil Young shared strong messages about the difficulties facing America’s family farms. Performers encouraged concert-goers to buy their food from local, non-factory farms.

I felt this could have been an ideal opportunity for PCC to introduce itself to concert-goers — many of whom may not be familiar with PCC and its guiding principles. If another Farm Aid concert takes place in the Puget Sound area in the future, please consider at least having an information booth.
— Julianne Lamsek

Editor: Thank you, Julie, for recognizing the common interests of PCC and Farm Aid. PCC was very involved with the organizational effort for Farm Aid, contributing significant publicity through Sound Consumer and in stores, providing farmer contacts, and many staff hours gladly given to support Farm Aid’s presence at the Pike Place Market over the 10 days prior to the concert. PCC staffed a table, arranged local food demos and provided experts for educational outreach. But, short of making a major $$ donation, which we could not do, we did not have a chance to get “our name up there” at the concert. An information booth at the concert was not allowed.

Supporting local farmers

I wanted to thank PCC in general for its support of local farmers. KCTS-TV showed an excellent movie on September 23 called “Broken Limbs,” www.brokenlimbs.org. It made me proud to be a PCC member knowing local farmers are supported and happy to be a supporter myself … not to mention that organic is best! I thought you might be interested in the link.
— Annie Moore

Women’s sex drive

I always enjoy reading Sound Consumer, and find a great deal of it to be useful and informative. However, October’s Health & Wellness “Expert Advice” column was cause for consternation. Ms. Vanderhaeghe made several statements that, as a psychiatric social worker and family therapist, I must take issue with. Her approach is simplistic, to put it kindly.

Her column purports to address the “problem” of diminished sex drive, but she seems to equate intimacy with sex: “Women are concerned that their desire for intimacy is diminished if not gone.” In my experience, which is borne out by the research data, many women lose sexual desire in part because of hormonal changes, but also and far more often because their desire for intimacy is very much alive, but it’s not being met by their partners, who also equate intimacy with sex and expect physical response when affection and emotional intimacy is largely absent.

Vanderhaeghe goes on to say that “Women also believe that a lack of interest in sex is a normal part of aging,” which she attempts to refute by quoting a publication called Women’s Health in Primary Care, to wit: “50 percent of women between 66 and 61 still desire sex and 29 percent over 78 are still active.” Those statistics actually indicate that diminished sex drive is indeed “normal,” since 50 percent no longer desire sex in that age range, and in the older group (I wonder what happened to the women between 71 and 78?), 71 percent are no longer active. (I presume they and she mean active sexually.)

While quick to prescribe topical testosterone to solve this “problem,” she fails completely to address its psychological causes and remedies. Lack of emotional intimacy is a huge cause of lack of interest in sex among older women; testosterone won’t help them.
— Joyce Quick, M.A., M.S.W.

Archived issues and seafood guidelines

I want to thank you for the many socially and environmentally aware articles in this newspaper. They are of such utmost value that when I get very busy I keep my back issues for as long as it takes to finally read them thoroughly. I was pleased to learn that the lead articles and many of the regular columns and features are available through the Web site, so now I can refer people there instead of cutting things out and/or copying for them. I suggest that you improve the Web site so there’s an obvious specific link on the home page to these archived articles and that in each issue you point out this accessibility to readers.

Also, I was struck by an unfortunate word choice in the August article about PCC’s new sustainable seafood guidelines (Bravo!) or perhaps it is an unfortunate choice in the guidelines themselves. The category “yellow-listed fish” is described as “good choices, but there are concerns with the way they are caught or farmed.” The article goes on to describe very serious issues like shrimp trawl fisheries having among the world’s highest level of by-catch and farmed shrimp largely destroying wetlands in southeast Asia. When advised to “proceed with caution” as was also stated for this category, I find the description of them as “good choices” to be confusing and inadequate.
— Susan Laughlin

Editor: Here’s some follow-up from experts in the two areas you ask about.

PCC Web Administrator Nancy Gagnat: The PCC Web site always has a link to Sound Consumer articles from the home page — either in the purple box on the right or as a feature item. Sound Consumer features and regular columns are archived online back to 2001. See page 3 of this Sound Consumer for a new reminder!

PCC Director of Merchandising Paul Schmidt on the word choice of the Seafood Watch guidelines: Seafood Watch categorizes yellow-listed fish under a header “proceed with caution” and says, “These are good choices, but there are some concerns with the way they are caught or farmed.” I’ve sent your comment on clarifying this to Seafood Watch to be taken under consideration for the next version of cards.

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