GHFC GM Notes from 10/29/13

Giselle: FacilitatorDK: Timekeeper Michael: Notes Introduction:

Last Meetings Activities;

Meeting minutes approved

Finance Report (Sean) Amended for web posting

  • Finance has set up a binder in the Store for any member-owner to look at.  The binder will contain the latest financial information, such as: this report; weekly, monthly, annual and year-to-date sales (soon); and, eventually, the Co-op quarterly financial reports: income statements and balance sheets.  GHFC could also place the Board Minutes in this binder (from the General Meetings and the Board Work Meetings).  The general consensus is that the Minutes posted to the Web Site should not have Co-op financial data (as a safety precaution), but that the full Minutes with financial data will be available in the Store. The binder is labeled "Greene Hill Food Co-op: Meeting Minutes and Financial Reports."

Membership Report (Nick)

  • Low turnout at October GM because wrong date on the website
  • Current membership stats:
    • 1,299 members
    • 261 on leave
    • 528 who are deactivated (have not worked since August 23)
    • 510 active members
    • 836 shifts available; therefore we needed to trim shifts; determine what’s essential
  • Recruitment: 38 new members for September; 25 (so far) for October
  • Recruitment in 2013 has been lower; less people coming by – have to be creative to be more effective in recruiting
  • Recruits bring in equity, members, and labor
  • Putting together content for in-house orientation for new members; for early 2014; would not be mandatory but would be a useful way to bring together folks who struggle with their role in the office
  • UpShift project: Jonathan Landau interviewed 25 - 35 members, some who have left GHFC but also current members. Responses/concerns:
    • Highest was lack of training/orientation when working a (new) shift
    • Nothing to do on shift
    • Shift scheduling or rescheduling issues
    • Daunted by number of make-up shifts
  • Jonathan + wife joining GHFC; he’ll be part of membership to do data issues.

Officer Elections – will be held at next GM.

  • Sean – Treasurer + Michael – Secretary both elected because running uncontested

Motion to Increase Number of Board Members (Discuss this month; vote at Dec GM)

  • DK: in the original by-laws board positions would not have specific authority (outside of Secretary and Treasurer)
    • Number of members was a sticking point; not too few or unwieldy; seven was the number
    • Now: have disbanded the steering committee and increased board responsibilities and each board chair is expected to be a liaison with a specific committee: a lot of additional responsibility for the board
    • There is enough new candidates for the board; so would like to expand to nine
  • Gisele; opposition points:
    • Smaller number of board members is better for efficiency/discussion
    • Nine seats may be a lot to consistently sustain
  • DK: a co-chair of a committee is now required to attend Board Work Sessions; with 12 committees this means up to 24 folks; 9 board members means it will be less exhausting for board to function effectively
  • Sean: Park Slope board is guided by membership but they have nine fulltime positions with nine general coordinators; GHFC is not a typical board; takes on general management functions as well as oversight. This is burdensome and additional members will assist.
  • Giselle: Committee co-chairs should have more authority;
  • Christine: upcoming Work Session meeting for heads of all the committees and any other members can discuss this new structure.
  • Lawrence: not enough board representation at recent BOD WS; we don’t want the board to be overwhelmed; if the additional members are unwieldy can adjust
  • Nick: having additional members will assist in the transition to a new process for working with committees. Work with Governance as to who will be acceptable as candidates. Be strategic regarding which members are selected.
  • Andrew (member): put attention into developing individual interest in the coop for liaison with specific committees.
  • DK: because they do not have to attend meetings, committee members may believe they are satellites/ancillary to the regular operation of the GHFC; board liaisons will keep committee members grounded/in touch with the basic functions of the coop.
  • Christine: questions of coordination and a strategic approach to managing the operation; how to quantify (goal and price) what each committee needs to execute their mission.
  • Kate: put in a range of members in the by-laws – referencing that there are 11 committees and might need more
  • Giselle: will bring the issue of a range of board members to Governance



Discussion: DK – What will make people want to come to a GM?

  • New member; came to the GM to understand the basic functioning of the GHFC
  • Alex (new outreach co-chair): here to learn what the GHFC does
  • Giselle: having a back story about the GHFC for an orientation (video) impress a positive message into people’s memory
  • Alex (new member): emphasis should be on connecting people with the organization and with other members. Orientation for new members at 7pm and other members open at 7:30; new people get in early; at the GM there’s a lot of info that’s hard to grasp without context; background is important
  • Other new member – came b/c she’s new; list on the website so that new members know what this meeting is for.
  • Nick: put together membership orientation dates from January until June at the store; beware that we already have packed GM meeting agendas.
  • Christine: 15 minutes of what we do and how the GM agenda is created
  • Kate (new finance co-chair): objective is to bring in new members; the GM as constituted appears too closed to the casual member. Get business done but emphasize the larger purpose of the coop (our community)
  • Sean: develop “cheat sheets” explaining the various functions and history of the GHFC
  • Lawrence: make sure that the meeting does start at 7pm; all need to attend the entire meeting so as to build relationships between old and new members. Open forum / meet and greet to make connections


Presentation: Alexander Gillet one of the co-founders and a majority owner of HowGood

Looking to bring a rating system/analytics to products GHFC stocks

  • Benchmark for the standard practices in the food industry; looking to provide clear information that can be casually read at point of purchase; more information to be available from a GHFC in-store kiosk
  • Examining issues that are not easily marketed; taking complex info and demystify this to determine what distinguishes best practices in food industry
  • Built company through stimulus $ and with help from Serious Change/others that want to support creating a healthy, beneficial food movement
  • A triple bottom line company – positive social and environmental impact; a legal position about the goals/integrity of the company
  • To be judging companies you should have as the same standards for your business practices as you expect from those you are reviewing
  • Working with GHFC: apply “tags” to identify what the best products by practice might be; GHFC is the youngest coop they have worked with
  • In practice: tags on food throughout the store as well as pamphlets (at cash register); hope to have an app in the next month to look up ratings of a particular company
  • Set up viewing on a web-enabled computer to look up HowGood info; typically interested parties do their research outside of POS / at home
  • 27% increase in sales for products rated “best value” by HowGood
  • Consumers vote with $$; how to quantify what “better” means in terms of practice vs. cost
  • Prioritize food selection by specific issues both in regards to environmental and social impacts
  • Giselle: how do you distinguish between regional companies not in your DB and larger, more established companies?
  • Gillet: look to have 25% regional products; always looking to expand database and to be educated
    • Build confidence in the rating by presenting consistent evaluations
    • 7-year old national company, generate revenue by selling programs to stores; spend more time on creating new indicators and expanding their DB
  • Nick: cost to GHFC?
  • Gillet all but wipe out licensing fee; standard licensing fee is $1,200 but is knocking the price down to $100 for GHFC
  • Gillet: relationship with companies that HowGood rates: no interaction with food companies; do not license ratings to food companies; want to be neutral in regards to the companies they rate
  • Lawrence: HowGood works at Park Slope FC; doing the thinking so that consumers can make easy, smart choices; can inform Merchandising about what products are best to purchase
  • GHFC monthly newsletter/website the HowGood product of the month; for more info, go to
  • Kate: what is the problem GHFC is looking to address by brining in HowGood? Have a discussion about the issues and then determine what/why this should be a useful solution
  • DK: selling quality and education in our mission


Apple Investment Plan Revision (Renee)

  • Food Justice committee in desire to create more diversity for the store/bring in more local members; look at Apple Plan (assisted living/SSI) tiered membership plan which is the easiest point of entry
  • Looked at Park Slope which has a low-entry plan; revised Apple plan would be $25 in total ($5 permanent fee); subsidies for lower income individuals. Then check in annually about a change in member’s financial status
  • Current Apple plan is to pay $150 in $5 monthly increments. $150 can be daunting; want to lower the barrier to entry
  • Like the GHFC buying club; will not affect existing Apple plan members (approximately 40 members).
  • DK: an additional burden to membership to double back on existing Apple members
  • Renee: this price point change will likely double the number of Apple members; mention the change to existing Apple members
  • Nick: will help to review with certain members who are now working and should be transitioning into the Carrot plan.
  • Park Slope FC also has a low price membership option
  • Kate: any data about efficacy of PSFC subsidy plan?
  • Nick: no data on anything; they’re such a massive operation that it’s not important to understand membership trends.
  • Kate: where is data about the value of this plan to the targeted individuals
  • Renee: not expecting the floodgates to open with this new plan; this initiative gets the conversation going among our neighbors about joining the GHFC
  • DK: do more research with existing Apple members to get further data; clear that we plan to have reviews of member work status
  • Giselle: let’s bring to a formal vote and then separate data issue as a separate conversation
  • Vote is to change existing Apple plan; joining fee is still $5; full membership fee is $25 to be paid over 5 months
  • Vote passed the GM
  • Board vote: 6 in favor of the revised Apple plan


BOD WS on Nov 5th at GHFC store: all are welcome to attend


Next GM: December 5th