April 2013 Newsletter



In this issue

Hello, Co-op members and fans. Welcome to our April newsletter. Here you’ll find information on this month’s General Meeting, learn how to get your hands on some free chocolate, and find the best way to make a spicy smoothie. Plus we tell you how the Co-op chooses products and how our prices compare, highlight some killer local granola, interview the artist behind the Co-op’s upcoming mural project, and share some novel ways to fulfill your work shift.

Greene Hill Newshealthy oils

Next General Meeting

Thursday, April 18, 2013, 7:00PM-9:00PM 138 South Oxford Street (between Fulton St. and Atlantic Ave.) At this month’s meeting, Stony Brook Wholehearted Foods will bring samples of some of their “naturally incredible” oils. And Greene Hill Food Co-op member Sarah Chinn will teach everyone the basics of home canning. We’ll elect a new secretary and board member, and review changes to the by-laws for restructuring the board of directors. See you there!

Board member position available

Do you have a vision for the Co-op's future? Are you skilled at long-term strategy? Do you have nonprofit leadership experience? Or maybe you just appreciate a good agenda? The Co-op needs to fill a vacancy on our newly revamped board. The board makes strategic plans, moves key missions forward, and fosters responsibility within the Co-op. This position is open to all members except current committee chairs. Please email governance@greenehillfood.coop ASAP to learn more about joining the Board -- elections will be on Thursday, April 18!

Lost and found: Claim your stuff while you can!

The Greene Hill Food Co-op is doing some spring cleaning, and is preparing to donate items in the Lost and Found to the Salvation Army.  If you think that you have lost something, please pick it up from the boxes located in the expansion space.  Hurry -- we will be making the donation at the end of April.


Chocolate tasting

chocolateCelebrate Earth Day with Equal Exchange on Saturday, April 20th at the Co-op from 2:00 - 4:00 pm, and enjoy organic, fair trade chocolate samples. Equal Exchange, a worker-owned co-op based in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, sources this chocolate directly from small farmer co-ops abroad. Supporting this chocolate means supporting a fully cooperative supply chain that is good for the producers, consumers, and the environment.

On the Shelfgranola

How we choose our products

The Merchandising Committee is the team that takes product requests and buys products for the store. Purchasing is a tricky process: ordering enough of any item so we don't run out, but not too much that it spoils is a balancing act. Please empathize as we change with the seasons and accommodate our changing membership.

Thanks to all who use the product request clipboard located at the front of the store. The committee reviews every product request and discusses them within the Product Subcommittee. It decides which products to carry based on availability from our current vendors, our current stock, price, space, store longevity, quality, health permits, and accordance with our mission. Please keep the requests coming, and know that we keep many of them in mind for when our store expands.

Product spotlight

If you're a granola buyer at the Co-op, you've probably noticed the granola marked with what look like labels from the periodic table. Welcome to the world of Granola Lab! Baking at the historic Leske's Bakery in Bay Ridge, the Lab is the brainchild of Brooklyn resident Alex Crosier, who began her mad science experiment in oats and dried fruits three years ago. The Co-op stocks a range of Granola Lab varieties, including Activation Energy (coffee, chocolate & hazelnuts),Cranberry-Cashew Compound (cranberries, cashews & cloves), Get Gingersnapping (spicy ginger, molasses & sultana raisins), and Tamarind Fusion (tamarind, walnuts & dried bananas). Founded in 2010, the lab is the official granola of the delicious Van Leuwen ice cream company. Find out more at granolalab.com.

New Item Update

We are happy to report that we have been able to stock some recent requests. For instance, look out for local sunflower oil, large bottles of Bragg's apple cider vinegar, Asherah veggie burgers, coconut Lara bars, Tulsi tea, more Rudi's bread and tortillas. We've gotten many requests for more bulk, but we are not yet eligible for the health permits that would allow us to carry raw bulk items.

Our Big Price Comparison

The results are in, and what many suspected is true: the prices at the Greene Hill Food Co-op are better than other grocery stores on most items!

Item Co-op Price Super Market Price Online Grocery Price Chain Grocery Price Gourmet Store Price
Whole Grain Spaghetti (Barilla, 13.25 oz) $1.44 $1.69 $1.69 $1.99 $3.29
Milk (1/2 gallon, whole) $3.14 $4.99 $3.99 $4.49 $3.99
Ground Beef (1 lb., grass fed) $6.02 $8.99 $8.59 $8.99 $9.99
Amy’s Frozen Burrito (1) $2.74 $3.49 $2.99 $3.49 N/A
Bananas (1 lb, organic) $0.88 $1.09 $0.99 $0.99 $1.25
Kale (1 bunch, organic) $2.60 $4.99 $3.49 $2.99 $3.49

Courtesy of the Merchandising Committee, compiled on March 25, 2013.  

Try This at Home berry spice smoothie

Berry Spice Smoothie

From the Local Palate


  • 8 ounces unsweetened milk of choice
  • 1 cup frozen dark berries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 Banana


Peel banana and drop all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.

The Co-op Q&A Rachel RobbinsThis month we interview Rachel Robbins, an artist working on the Greene Hill Food Co-op’s new community mural project for the Co-op’s back wall, which will debut this summer. We asked Rachel about her passion for the mural arts, and her plans for the Co-op Community Mural project.

Q: Where are you from originally? How did you end up in Brooklyn?

A: I'm originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I've always loved Brooklyn. There's a fierceness to the art, music, and community activism here. I came to NY in 2008 to go to Parsons, couch-surfed with a friend in Flatbush, and am now in Boerum Hill.

Q:  So how long have you been a member of the Greene Hill Food Co-op? What convinced you to join?

A: I joined in August of last year. A friend of mine was living on Putnam, and invited me to help work on the mural project.

Q: It's clear you have a passion for the mural arts. How did you come to become a mural artist?

A: Philadelphia experienced a public arts renaissance in the 80's & 90's in a large part due to the Mural Arts Program and founder Jane Golden. I began working with the Mural Arts Program in high school and by the time I finished undergrad had assisted on 5 murals, and worked as the lead artist on 3 murals nationwide. I attended a film screening when I was 15 at Taller Puertorriqueño, a community arts center in Philly, that was showing a film produced by a prolific graffiti writer at the time, Dan One. He was there for the screening, and afterward there was an interesting conversation between him and a life-long community organizer about graffiti. The organizer said that he appreciated Dan One's work, but in his eyes graffiti was a blight to the neighborhood and brought down morale. Dan One argued that it was the mark of the people that gave voice to their presence there, like leaving "footprints in the concrete." They were discussing civic responsibility in the context of how people use public space. It was this exchange that fueled my interest in public art and community discourse.

Q: You and several other Co-op members just won an award from the Brooklyn Arts Council for your mural project. Can you tell us a little about the project, and what inspired it?

A: Yes, it's exciting that we were granted funds through the Brooklyn Arts Council! The funds are coming through the Community Arts Fund and NY Department of Cultural Affairs. There was recently a re-granting awards ceremony hosted by BAC at Borough Hall on March 20th. The mural committee worked really hard to make the grant happen. Thanks to everyone who participated and especially to DK Holland, Josh Sarantitis, and the Co-op Mural Committee for all of your hard work. We also received generous support through Build It Green NYC's BIG Gives Back Program. The inspiration for the mural is to introduce the co-op to the community and partner with local residents and organizations to make a publicly funded, cooperatively produced piece of public art.

Q: Tell us more about your plans for the Community Mural.

A: The painting will be on the Co-op's back wall. We'll be working with the Fort Greene Center, neighborhood residents, and Co-opers. Facilitated by seasoned artist and activist Josh Sarantitis, the Mural Committee, and with open participation, there will be an art workshop and a painting day where the painting will be made together. It's likely that you'll also see us out back for several weekends too putting final touches on the wall. You're welcome to participate. The schedule will be posted on the Co-op website and will be happening this summer so please keep an eye out for the calendar and announcements. They'll be fun, family-friendly events that you can bring kids, pets, and friends to. Just come dressed to paint!

Q: What is the process of developing a community mural?

A: Every painting is somewhat different. For our mural we'll be working with both co-op and community members. We had a workshop at the fall festival that explored some themes that were important to people, and the major theme that was important to people was "community." We'll also be hosting art-making interactive workshops that involve photography and storytelling that will be major components of the mural.

Q: How do you decide what the mural will look like, etc. as the project unfolds?

A: Once the workshops are held, we'll create a design for the wall. This is a collaborative process, and will be lead by Josh Sarantitis. He's a mural artist with over 25 years of experience making publicly funded community art. He's also a member of the Co-op!

Q: What is one product you wished the Co-op carried?

A: Bulk Sprouted Almonds.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a member of Greene Hill?

A: Active, engaged community, and great food locally.

Easy Ways to Fulfill Your Shift

help wantedJoin the Floater Group

If your schedule doesn't accommodate working the same shift every month, consider joining the Floater group. This group of members does not work a recurring shift each cycle, but rather, receives a weekly email from Allison, our Store Coordinator, listing shifts that need coverage that week. Pick up one of these 2-hour shifts per cycle, and you'll stay current with your hours. Benefit to you? You choose your own schedule! Benefit to the greater good? We get better coverage, hence shorter lines, happier shoppers and workers, etc., etc. To join email shifts@greenehillfood.coop.

Use Your Banked Hours

Don't forget that over the course of this year, members who have banked hours can redeem 4 of them! Just apply online 2 weeks in advance here: banked hours request form

Don't have banked hours? Get some! Any hours over 2 hours per cycle are banked and you can use them for vacations or travel. Cover another member's shift (shift trade page) to spread good karma and put hours in your bank.

Make Up a Missed Shift

Can't make your shift? Email shifts@greenehillfood.coop. Confused about how to make up shifts? BEST way is to cover another member's shift. If you haven't already joined our google group for shift trades, join now! https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/greene-hill-shifts-trade. When you need to make up a shift, get online and see who's shift you can cover. Let that member know you can cover for them and don't need a swap since you're making up hours. When you arrive at the store for the shift you'll let the Shift Leader know who you're covering for, but will clock in as yourself. Please don't schedule makeup shifts through Shift Planning. Only recurring shifts should be scheduled through ShiftPlanning.com.

New Tabling Opportunities

It's springtime, time for our tabling season to begin again! Are you interested in a shift that's outdoors in the sun? Do you like to talk to people, engage with your community? Then this is the job for you!

Just sign up on ShiftPlanning (under the label, "community tabling") for the location of your choice.  Please make sure to review the tabling instructions and contact Amy at tabling@greenehillfood.coop before embarking on your shift!

Newly Available PositionsThe Greene Hill Food Co-op is always looking for more people to fill our volunteer work shifts during the week. Check out some of the most recent available positions:

Finance Committee Chairs (2 positions)

The Finance Committee co-chairs are both leaving their posts in the next few months and are recruiting new leaders to replace them. If you are interested in contributing to this important area of the co-op's work and/or have a background in finance/accounting, let us know by sending a message to finance@greenehillfood.coop. We look forward to hearing from you!

Price Update Liaison

Are you looking for a unique way to contribute to the co-op? Allison Stewart is looking for someone to help with price updating. This position is a great way to learn about all the products we sell here in the co-op. Its perfect for someone who loves the thorough work of data entry or someone who cannot lift heavy boxes. Contact allison@greenehillfood.coop if interested and to get trained.

Membership Desk Coordinator

The coop still needs a membership desk worker, who can help maintain procedures for members working in this role, in conjunction with Allison and a team of 3-4 other coordinators. There’s no need to be at the store every shopping day, but it would be great if this person could drop in regularly and coordinate from home. Contact Nick if interested in either role: nick@greenehillfood.coop

Refund Coordinator

Want to make sure your fellow Co-op members get refunds processed in a timely manner? Perhaps you’d like to be a refund coordinator. Step up to process refund and cancellation requests--a work-from-home role of major importance! Coordinators must commit to checking the refunds email inbox at minimum once per week. Contact Nick if interested: nick@greenehillfood.coop

Education Committee Administrative Co-Chair

The Education Committee is in need of a new administrative co-chair! This is a perfect job for someone who needs to work from home. Our committee consists of several sub-committees, headed by fabulous leaders, who keep things moving smoothly out in the field. We need a new person to take on basic administrative duties like email correspondence, drafting of committee agendas, etc. If you are interested, please email education@greenehillfood.coop.

Outreach and Food Justice Chairs (2-4 separate positions)

Are you interested in getting more involved with the Co-op? We need some additional leadership and new, fresh ideas to help expand and develop our Outreach and Food Justice Committees. The positions can be broken down to 2 areas (for both Outreach and Food Justice): one admin and one project manager. The admin answers/sends committee emails, approves hours and attends monthly meeting when possible. The project manager supervises and helps facilitate inner and cross committee projects, liaisons with the "steering committee" (basically the other committee chairs) and attends monthly meetings when possible (could tag team with co-chair). Most of the work is done from home (except meetings) so great for parents. These positions may require some time additional time (2-4 hours per month), so this is perfect for people wanting to bank hours for future time off (one year commitment is requested). Interested? Email: outreach@greenehillfood.coop.

Special Events Tabling Coordinator

We need someone to help recruit and schedule our special event tabling opportunities (festivals, one day events, screenings, etc). This work is done primarily via email, so an ideal job for someone who wants to work from home and that is a clear and prompt communicator. As winter is our downtime, the position runs roughly April-October. with the shifts being roughly 4 hours every 4 weeks (instead of the normal 2). This is perfect for someone that wants to bank hours during the warmer season in exchange for not working during the winter. Email: tabling@greenehillfood.coop.

Food demos at a local community gathering place

The Education Committee has been cultivating a relationship with our neighbors over at the Fort Greene Council on Fulton Street, aiming to share information and good food with members of our Bed-Stuy community. We recently made a second visit to the center, and our apple sandwiches with almond butter were a hit with tasters of all ages.

As the weather warms we'll be teaming up with Outreach to continue bringing food demos and informative discussions to several local organizations. If you're interested in joining our committee in these efforts, please contact education@greenehillfood.coop

Et cetera

Photo credits: Help Wanted sign, Matt Wetzler. Other images courtesy of the manufacturer/subject.

The Co-op newsletter is edited by Jenny Akchin, Debbie Grossman, and Matthew Hayes. Contact us with any feedback, suggestions, or requests at newsletter@greenehillfood.coop.