August 2015 Newsletter
THE GREENE HILL FOOD COOP - AUGUST 2015 NEWSLETTER
Catching You Up on Co-op News
We might be in the quieter days of summer, but there’s a lot going on. The big, wonderful news this month is that we’ve been approved for a loan from the Park Slope’s Fund for New Coops. This will make a huge difference in helping the Co-op keep going, but we still need all hands on deck! Please show up for your shifts, and those of you who can, continue to sign up for extra open shifts and help out as you can to get us through this last month of the summer doldrums, in order to head strong into the fall. When you miss a shift, someone else has to pick up the slack--often someone who's already working extra hours each month. We all need to do our part!
We’ve been discussing lots of important topics in the monthly general meetings, such as our cash flow and how we can improve it, how to help out parents who have to juggle their work shift with caring for their kids and whether the Co-op should get a license to sell beer and wine. We’ve also got our annual elections for the Board of Directors coming up. Nominate yourself or someone else by September 9 to get in the running.
This month’s Co-op Q&A spotlights superstars Evan and Julia Flath, who (like some of us on the Newsletter team!) are members of both Greene Hill and the Park Slope Food Coop. Also, check out this tasty recipe for a practically no-cook summer salad.
Want more updates from the Co-op? Follow us on Facebook for news on events, what's in the store, open shifts and more. You can also follow us on Instagram for a fun look at what other members are doing with Co-op products (like these frozen banana-peanut butter-chocolate bites, whoa!) as well as what's going on in the store.
The next General Meeting will be held at the Co-op on Wednesday, August 26 at 7:30 pm. We’ll discuss our options for the rent increase requested by our landlords: either pay more or temporarily (hopefully) give up the expansion space which may allow us to keep our current low rent. We’ll also review the Co-op's tight financial situation, the next steps, and report on the progress of a suite of projects designed to bridge our cash flow, both short-term and long-term. Each of these projects urgently needs assistance, so we're calling out to all members to please help your co-op! If you think you might like to participate -- on any level -- or if you'd just like to learn more, please join the meeting. Meeting information and agenda can be found here.
And if you haven’t already, please take a moment to vote on whether the Co-op should sell beer and wine! Click here to vote now. Polls close at midnight on August 25, 2015.
$10,000 Loan Received from Park Slope’s Fund for New Coops! We’ve been working very closely with Park Slope’s Loan Committee over the past few months and just received the wonderful news that we have been approved for a $10,000 loan! This couldn’t come at a better time, as we are battling the annual summer dip in sales. While this allows us to breathe a sigh of relief, most of the loan money will be allocated to cover our current debts to vendors, so we still have our work cut out for us to keep the Co-op solvent. Luckily, more than just financial support, the PSFC loan committee is lending expertise by working closely with several committees (such as Finance, Merchandising, and Outreach) to improve buying practices, cash flow analysis and membership recruitment.
The Fund for New Food Coops supports start-up food coops that rely on member labor. Using donations from the Park Slope Food Coop, its members and other supporters, the Fund for New Food Coops offers low-cost loans to help new food coops pay for the critical items that enable them to grow and to generate income. The purpose of the Fund for New Food Coops is to expand the role of member-run cooperatives in bringing healthy food at low prices to residents across Brooklyn and beyond.
Call for Board of Directors NomineesIt’s time for the annual election of members to the Board of Directors! Of the nine director positions on the Board, six openings will be voted on in the September 23 General Meeting (GM).
Nominations are due by the morning of Wednesday, September 9 at the latest!
To be elected to the Board, a member-owner must have a minimum of one year in good standing at the Co-op. The candidate must commit to regular attendance at the monthly GM, serve as a liaison to a committee, participate in long-term projects/planning for the Co-op and, as needed, participate in decision-making regarding emergency matters. Terms are for two or three years.
Because the directors ratify the votes of the members, a quorum (five directors) must be at the GMs for voting purposes. While the Board does not meet in private, they discuss and take action on important issues between GMs via email. Being on the Board means taking a very active role in the business of the Co-op -- and you get work credit for your time! More info about directors’ responsibilities is here.
Sounds great. How do I submit a nomination? To nominate yourself or someone else to the Co-op’s Board of Directors, send a short email to email@example.com explaining why you or your nominee would make a good director. Ultimately, you’ll need to provide a brief biography and photo of anyone nominated as well as contact information. Good luck!
It is not required but highly recommended that nominees attend the September 23 GM, where they will have an opportunity to introduce themselves and give a small pitch about why they are running, before a final, in-person vote happens at the meeting. Officer positions (e.g. president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary) will be voted on in the following GM in October.
For more information about the way the Co-op runs, please refer to the Plain Language Summary of the Bylaws, copies of which are available at check-out in the store.
Parent Days at the Store A few members who are parents are addressing the dilemma that many young families face: how do you do your work shift and take care of your kids at the same time?
At the Co-op’s last general meeting, members discussed this issue and some potential solutions. One proposed idea is to create a daycare area in the store on designated “Parent Days.” Parents could sign up for a shift on these days, including helping with the daycare, and get work credit. (Parents would have to sign waivers indemnifying the Co-op.) Emily Wilbourne, long-time member and mom of two young ones, is taking the lead on this and says, “If you would like to help organize the first Parent Day or suggest other child-friendly solutions be in touch.” You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regardless, parents can always bring their highly cooperative child along for their shift, provided they can stay with them and do stationary tasks such as checking in members or cashiering.
If you are a parent member and can’t do a work shift during the summer, you can apply to the Membership Relief Counsel and explain your situation. If they approve, you can continue to shop without fulfilling the 2.5 hour work commitment. For more information, see our Membership Policies here. Have comments or questions? Please contact email@example.com.
| Summer Salad of Melon, Tomato, Grilled Corn, Avocado and Mint
by Molly Neuman
You hardly have to cook during the summer with access to such beautiful ingredients in season, like the ones used in this salad.
The preparation takes about 10 minutes and the tiniest elements are what make the whole thing sing. I would use this as a foundation for many different variations. Different kinds of fruits, vinegars, herbs and even a touch of spice can open up a new world.
Serves 2-4. Total cost of ingredients? $8.40.
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Add additional seasoning to taste. Enjoy!
|The Co-op Q&A with Evan and Julia Flath
by Aly Miller
The Park Slope Food Co-op has taught us a lot about what it means to be a member-owned and member-run co-op, and we're so thrilled that some of our members, like Evan and Julia, are members of both co-ops. Find out here what Julia and Evan love about Greene Hill and how they helped us get our new iPad-based checkout system!
Tell us about yourselves! What do you do, where are you from, where do you live now?
A: We have both lived in Brooklyn about ten years and got married a year ago. Julia works at an environmental non-profit, Rainforest Alliance, where she manages the fundraising database and more. Evan is a software developer for a start-up by day and a rock musician and hard cider aficionado by night. We joined the Co-op when we lived in Crown Heights, and have enjoyed the experience so much that we stayed involved despite moving to Park Slope two years ago.
Q: What were some reasons that you joined Greene Hill?
A: We really enjoy the Co-op's warm, welcoming community. We're also members of the Park Slope Food Coop, but we choose to do our work at Greene Hill and shop here as much as we can, not only because Greene Hill is a growing co-op that needs our shopping power and labor, but also because we like spending time with our fellow members!
Q: What are your current roles in the Co-op?
A: After a couple years as a cashier, Evan became a shift leader this spring. Julia also started out as a cashier, and then worked as an office assistant before joining the Finance Committee as a bill payer. She recently became a Finance Co-Chair, after our previous Finance Chair, Sean Mullane, stepped down.
Q: I heard that you helped organize the new POS system. Can you tell us the back story on that?
A: Prior to our involvement, a few co-op members had done the work of choosing Revel as our new iPad-based point-of-sale system. After the May General Meeting, Evan stepped up to project manage the installation, with the help of Julia and Susan Yeager. Julia used her database expertise to migrate the product list from our old system to Revel, and the three of us put together manuals and trained cashiers. Neither Evan nor Julia has much retail experience, so we were incredibly lucky that Susan joined the co-op when she did, and jumped right in to formalize the cashier procedures and spearhead the inventory process.
Q: How is the new system running so far? Any feedback from members that you'd like to share?
A: Cashiers seem to love using the new system! Now that Revel is up and running at the cashier stations, Susan is leading the next phase to use Revel for tracking inventory and product sales. The Merchandising Committee will be able to log on remotely to see what's in stock and what's selling well, in order to make informed buying decisions. Our previous system couldn't give us this information, so Revel is a really important tool that has great potential to increase the Co-op's profitability.
|Help WantedAll members work a 2 hour shift every 4 weeks. It's part of being a member/owner. Here are some opportunities to earn work credit.
Are you a good Note Taker?
We need you at the General Meetings! You’ll record all votes taken and upload minutes to the website. The Co-op provides a laptop. Exactly one shift every four weeks. General Meetings are every fourth Wednesday of the month from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the store. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Governance Committee seeks members
The Governance Committee is urgently in need of participating members to help us stay on top of licensing issues, regulatory compliance and safety codes, elections, and more. As a member of Governance you will have flexibility in your work schedule, as most of our work is permitting/license research and requests. We also participate heavily in the annual elections, as well as in monthly board meetings, to ensure that the board and membership are consistently in compliance with the bylaws.
You’ll have the opportunity to learn about local, state and federal laws as they apply to co-ops like ours, as well as help our organization stay successful and compliant in a world of complex laws and regulations. Please email email@example.com to join the committee!
Salad photo by Molly Neuman. Evan and Julia Flath photo by themselves. Shopping photo and voting pic courtesy of K. Chauvin via the Co-op Flickr page.
The Greene Hill Food Co-op Newsletter is edited and published by (in alphabetical order) Carola Burroughs, Sonia Garbes Putzel, DK Holland, Alexandra Miller, Amy Nazer, Molly Neuman, Sarah Wesseler and Gitta Zomorodi. Contact us with any feedback, suggestions, or requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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