July 2013 Newsletter
THE GREENE HILL FOOD COOP - JULY 2013 NEWSLETTER
In this issue
Find out what you need to know to attend our next meeting, get an update on the incredible transformation to the store during our current renovations, and learn all about our relationship with the amazing Lancaster Fresh Food Co-operative. This month, try making a Cashew-Sunflower Dip, which will cost you only $2.62 at the Co-op’s great prices. Wondering what’s up with the Milk Not Jails stickers on some of our dairy products? Read this month’s Q&A with one of its founders and Co-op member Lauren Melodia. And of course, check out the latest opportunities to work your hours.
|Greene Hill News
The next GM is this coming Tuesday, July 16, 2013, from 7:00PM-9:00PM at 138 South Oxford Street (between Fulton St and Atlantic Ave). On the agenda, among other items, we’ll discuss the state of Co-op finances plus strategize further collaborative efforts to fulfill our membership and labor needs. We’ll discuss the now completed construction and follow-up. Marketing will present their strategy for engaging/increasing members, the Member Relief Council recommendations and the Letter to Members. Check out the full agenda here. As usual, there will be an open forum, so bring your thoughts and questions. Note that there is no General Meeting in August.
Read the Board’s Important Letter to Members
The Greene Hill Food Co-op needs you! The only way for our Co-op to succeed and rise to its potential is through the help of you, our members. The Co-op has come a long way since its inception, but there is a lot left to be done. Please read the Letter to Members from the Board of Directors, discussing the future of our organization, and realize the vital role that you, our members, play in the decision making process and the day-to-day activities at our store. We will discuss the letter at the General Meeting.
Board Elections Coming in September and October
This September, the members of the Greene Hill Food Co-op will have the opportunity to nominate two members to the 7-member board of directors. Officers are then elected in October. If you are interested in becoming more involved with the Co-op and/or to nominate someone, speak with some of our current board members or the Governance committee. Information about nominations will be sent out shortly.
Karen Shore of the Food Trust (left), along with DK Holland (standing, right) of the Greene Hill Food Co-op and members of Lefferts Gardens, Windor Terrace, Bay Ridge, and Queens Harvest food coops.
The Greene Hill Food Co-op has been participating in a series of workshops to help fledgling coops in the five boroughs successfully launch. The workshops are sponsored by the New York City Council through the Food Trust. Aaron Zueck, Giselle Sperber and DK Holland have been participating on behalf of Greene Hill, which to date is the only Co-op that has opened a store. Other groups are either operating or have begun building buying clubs, and all are relying on each other for helpful advice and encouragement.
A Heartfelt Thanks from the Finance Committee
Best wishes to Greene Hill Food Co-op Finance Committee co-chairs Christina Travers and Jeff Frankovic as they move on to new opportunities. Christina will continue to serve on our Board of Directors, and will coordinate the important work of Co-op committees. Jeff is relocating to Chicago, where he has enrolled in the Northwestern MBA program. Christina has been a co-chair for 5 years, and Jeff for 3; Jeff also served as the Co-op’s first treasurer, from 2010 through May of this year. Both have worked tirelessly to oversee bookkeeping, prepare accurate tax returns, and keep the Co-op current in all payments. Without them our Store would not be open today. Their critical work will enable us to build an even better co-op in the future.
We'd also like to give an overdue thank you to Doug Warren, who served as Finance co-chair with Christina and Jeff until last year and oversaw the successful launch and closing of our loan program, which raised a significant amount of long-term capital for Greene Hill. Doug also served on our Board until earlier this year, when the demands of his exciting new job required all his attention. Good luck to all, and thank you for your service!
|Special Update: Store Renovations
The expansion space, after preliminary construction. The windows and walls have been sealed, and the raised platform areas are gone.
The stockroom post re-seal.
There’s great news on the charge to spruce up our store: The expansion space (currently used as our “office”) has been fully rebuilt and re-sealed. Remember the insulation that used to hang down from the ceiling? Gone. Those elevated concrete slabs? Demolished. The back door? Bricked up. Wood paneling? Removed to reveal stylin’ exposed brick. The expansion space is now finished and looks authentically industrial-chic. Be sure to peek your head in next time you come to shop or work.
The construction crew worked hard during the week of July 8th to wrap up similar work in the stockroom and in the area above the walk-in cooler, which is now completed. In order to complete this much-needed renovation, the Co-op has postponed the purchase of refrigeration equipment. Refrigeration will be prioritized now that construction is completed.
Thanks to Pablo, April, Nick, and so many others who worked tirelessly to help make our store even better!
|On the ShelfDid you ever wonder where all our beautiful local produce comes from? How about our super-cheap milk, cream, and buttermilk? Or the delicious beef and pork products? Most of it is produced by the farmers who belong to the Lancaster Fresh Food Co-operative, a non-profit organic farmers' co-op in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania. LFFC supports farmers that are looking to make their farms sustainable, by avoiding pesticides, raising antibiotic-free animals, and using Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.) techniques. LFFC's meats are from small family farms with small herds and flocks. These animals always have access to pasture and enjoy the freedom of foraging through the grasses with the earth under their feet: very different from the factory farmed meat and supposedly "cage-free" chickens available in most supermarkets. We've been working with LFFC since the Co-op was just a buying club and they're our primary supplier of locally farmed food. So when you pick up a quart of milk or a crisp head of lettuce or (coming soon!) a luscious tomato, thank the farmers of Lancaster County for the high quality and low prices!|
| Try This at Home for $2.62 In recognition of the summer’s oppressive heat, we present a cooling, no-cook and healthy cashew-sunflower dip, that can also double as a mayonnaise and a healthy sandwich spread, and with the Co-op’s excellent prices, it costs less than $3 (see below).Cashew-Sunflower Dip
Grind seeds and nuts first if your blender is not very strong. Place all ingredients except oil into blender and process on high until smooth. As blender is running pour olive oil slowly and process until thickened. Use immediately as a dip or spread on sandwiches or refrigerate for future use.
Greene Hill Food Co-op members can make this recipe for an amazing $2.62! Assuming that there is water in the tap and salt on hand:
| The Co-op Q&A: Meet a Purchaser This month, the Greene Hill Co-op interviews Co-op member Lauren Melodia, Founder and Co-Organizer of Milk Not Jails. If you’ve ever perused the dairy refrigerators at the Co-op, you’ve seen their yogurt and cheeses.Q: How did you connect with Greene Hill Co-op?
A: I am a member of the Greene Hill Food Co-op. I heard about it from my friend Diane Haines, who I met years and years ago when I worked at the Fort Greene Farmers Market. Diane has been involved in the Co-op since the beginning.
Q: What is your relationship with Milk Not Jails?
A: I am a Founder and Co-Organizer.
Q: Milk Not Jails is a novel project that links food justice, urban-rural geographies, and criminal justice. When and where did your passions for these seemingly disparate concerns originate?
A: I have been working on various community food projects, civil rights, and community organizing projects for the past 10 years. While simultaneously working with prison families at the Center for Constitutional Rights to demand justice and organizing the Bed-Stuy Farm Share, a community-supported agriculture project, I began to notice that these very different movements involved the same geographical spaces. For example, we would take trips to our CSA farm and many members would mention that they only time they'd ever been upstate was to visit a loved one in prison. Meanwhile all of the food deserts happen to be the neighborhoods with the greatest police occupation and incarceration rates. Then if you look at the party and geographic breakdown of urban and rural spaces in New York and nationally its no wonder our current urban-rural dynamic is so dysfunctional and why we can't seem win social justice in general. I thought that perhaps there was a way that these two disparate communities could become each other's strategic allies.
Q: What exactly happens when Greene Hill members purchase Milk Not Jails yogurt and cheese at the Co-op? Where does the money flow?
A: You can currently buy yogurt (Hawthorne Valley Farm cups and quarts), yogurt drinks (Ronnybrook), ice cream (Ronnybrook), and cheese (Hawthorne Valley Farm) from Milk Not Jails at Greene Hill. The majority of the money goes to the farmers, who set their prices with us. This is very different than national wholesale dairy distribution, where dairy farmers are given the federal price of milk, determined by the federal government on a quarterly basis. The federal price often doesn't meet the costs of dairy farming in New York State, so many farmers are going bankrupt maintaining their family farms. Because our farmers set their prices with us, the majority of what you pay at the Co-op goes to them. We have a small mark-up, which goes to our employees (and eventually worker-owners) who are all formerly incarcerated, and to gas and the rental of our cold storage warehouse. We're hoping that with more sales we can build Milk Not Jails into a worker- and producer-owned business and that we'll be able to cover all of our operating costs and set aside a percentage of profits to the political advocacy and organizing work that we do statewide.
Q: What campaign goal is most pressing right now?
A: This year we worked really hard to end racist marijuana arrests with some of our allies, the Drug Policy Alliance, VOCAL-NY and the Center for NuLeadership. Unfortunately, we didn't secure enough support from rural Republican State Senators to pass this bill before the legislative session ended two weeks ago. So right now we're trying to equally push forward all of our political demands (there are 8 of them), so that we can be in a powerful position to make them happen when the legislature reconvenes in January 2014.
Q: What is your long term vision for Milk Not Jails?
A: Our long-term vision is to end the prison-industrial complex and repair a broken food system where federal subsidies and international trade policies make it more cost effective for people to eat food grown 5,000 miles away from them. We want to preserve and expand rural New York's agricultural base to truly feed New York City. And we want the state to stop feeding people's bodies and spirits through the prison system in order to stabilize a devastated rural economy. It is absolutely appalling how the government (city, state and federal) pumps billions of dollars into policing and corrections when they could be taking those same hard-earned tax dollars to build a better education system, facilitate regional economic growth and the creation of jobs that are socially just.
Q: If you were governor of the State of New York, what three changes would you make?
A: 1. Require all public institutions to purchase food for their clients/students from New York farmers. Think of how many new jobs and revenue this would create!
2. Pass the SAFE Parole Act (see www.milknotjails.org/policy for more info)
3. Cut public funding for police departments and create a program that would incentivize our cities and counties to dramatically shrink their police forces and fire any police officer that kills or permanently harms a human being.
|Work & Shift Opportunities
Interested in Social Media . . .
The Outreach Committee seeks 2 members to join the Social Media team. The ideal candidate would have some social media marketing experience, or at least a passion for Facebook and Twitter. Leadership skills are a plus. If you’re a tireless Tweeter, or a Facebook fanatic, and want to be more involved in the Co-op, please email email@example.com for more info and #getstarted.
. . . Or How About Socializing in Real time . . .
Love to party? Low on hours? Help the events committee plan the upcoming fall celebration. We need members to help with promotion, organizing, and working at the event. If you are interested please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
. . . Or is Accounting More Your Style?
The Finance Committee is upgrading the Co-op’s bookkeeping this summer, so that members can receive financial statements on a regular basis. The committee needs help from members with experience in accounting and/or bookkeeping, or even from members interested in learning about these areas. We could use more assistance for the next few months. Our excellent bookkeeping team would also welcome more assistance on an ongoing basis. Please email email@example.com if you’re able to help.
Plus, tabling opportunities are still available
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
|Et ceteraPhoto credits: “Greene Hill News” photograph courtesy of DK Holland. Renovations photograph courtesy of Kelsy Chauvin. Lauren Melodia courtesy Milk Not Jails. Cashew photo from TooFarNorth.
The Greene Hill Food Co-op Newsletter is edited by Debbie Grossman, Matthew Hayes, Anna Altman, and Alexandra Miller. Contact us with any feedback, suggestions, or requests at email@example.com.