Auburn, CA – The Tibetan Buddhist Monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery will come to BriarPatch Food Co-op on January 23rd to bless the new grocery store, which opened on August 10th, 2023. It is the second location of the food co-op, originally opened in 1976 in Grass Valley as a buying club. With the second location, total annual sales of the community-owned natural foods store will now reach close to $60M.

The monks are being sponsored by Sierra Friends of Tibet, a foothills-based organization dedicated to raising awareness of the culture, history and social and political challenges of Tibet. SFOT is all volunteer run and solely operates on donations. They have been inviting the monks to the area since 1997.

Tibetan monks at the Joerschke location
Tibetan monks at the Joerschke location

When the Grass Valley location of BriarPatch opened at its Sierra College Drive and Joerschke Drive locations, the monks came to the sites and blessed the store, as well as when it was renovated in 2016.

“We’re thrilled they are coming to create a sense of peace, harmony and love in the new space. It means a lot to our employees, and that will surely carry over to our shoppers and their experience in the store. The monks mean a lot to our community and we’re so happy they’re offering this special honor to us,” says BriarPatch Food Co-op Director of Marketing Rebecca Torpie.

The blessing will begin at the Co-op’s Community Room, where they will don golden robes and begin by taking out their ritual objects and then hear requests from BriarPatch General Manager Chris Maher. They will continue the blessing throughout the store and return to the Community Room to finish the blessing, after which they will change into maroon robes. They will be available to answer any questions after.

Learn more about Sierra Friends of Tibet (SFOT): HOME | joseph (

Learn more about The Monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery: The Monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery - Way of Compassion Dharma Center (  

WHAT: Tibetan Monk Blessing at BriarPatch Food Co-op Auburn

WHEN: January 23rd, 9:30am

WHAT: Briarpatch Auburn Community Room, 2505 Bell Road, Auburn