Keith Almon served on the board of the Greene Hill Food Co-op, but he wore many other hats as well. If a cashier was needed, he'd jump behind the counter. If there was an early morning emergency, he'd get the call. He also helped distribute the fish for Mermaid's Garden's CSF, with whom we have a cooperative arrangement. He cared deeply about the 100 percent working food co-op model and movement. He wanted to see what our co-op could become. Sadly, he died on January 12, 2017, at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Park Slope. The cause was a combination of pulmonary failure from pneumonia and kidney failure. Keith is survived by his partner Bruce Marr of 24 years, as well as his mother, his brother, and four sisters.
Keith was born on July 10, 1957, and grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He attended Harvard, where he majored in economics, and was very politically active. Professionally, Keith was a self-employed graphic designer.
Keith was passionate about food and cooking. He was also a member of the Park Slope Food Co-op. Along with Bruce, he frequented the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Clinton Hill, where he volunteered to stay overnight and cook for homeless men.
Bruce and Keith lived in the neighborhoods of Clinton Hill and Fort Greene, Brooklyn since 2002. They became members of Greene Hill Food Co-op as soon as it opened. Keith was devoted to the community and our Co-op, and helped build what is so great about our store, lending his hard work to our collective efforts. He will be remembered fondly by so many of us for his contributions, conviviality, and warmth.We will miss him tremendously.
A spontaneous memorial is already happening at the Co-op. We encourage everyone to contribute. And donations are being accepted at the store to help return his body to New Mexico for burial. You can access the PayPal account here. Members should look for an email shortly with details about another memorial which is in the planning stages for January 23 at The Hill Cafe. For more information please contact email@example.com
Catching You Up on Co-Op News
Our new store hours are paying off! Read on for a report on the store’s last quarter and trends that bode well for the Co-op’s future.
If you’re looking for a new shift, we’ve got lots of fun and interesting opportunities in the Help Wanted section. For example, at the moment, we’re in urgent need of some friendly people to serve as membership desk representatives. (Good news: we have a donated laptop for the check-in desk!) And the IT committee is in urgent need of help with the Co-op’s website and internal systems.
Our membership numbers are growing steadily. We ended 2016 with 10 new members and 33 trial members! Don’t forget, if you joined the Co-op recently, you are required to attend an orientation session. You’ll get work shift credit while learning about being a member-owner.
In our Social Justice spotlight: the Women’s Marches on Washington and New York City, peace and justice efforts close to home, and a reminder about Flint.
In our Co-op Q&A meet Dahlia Thompson, founding Co-op member, shift leader and granola-lover.
Interested in joining the Greene Hill Food Co-op? Know someone that might be? Check out our website to learn about membership, “like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. Or simply stop by our store at 18 Putnam Avenue (off Grand Avenue) with any questions!
Find out by coming to our next General meeting. It’s on Wednesday, January 25, from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, at the Co-op (18 Putnam Ave). You can access the agenda online a few days before the meeting. The Co-op is a valued community asset and space. Get involved! Meetings are open to all in our community— members and non-members alike. Bring a friend or two!
New Store Hours Bring Rewards and Promise
By Erika McGinty
We’re kicking off the New Year with good news for the Co-op in the form of a kind of quarterly sales report for Q4 2016. October added Tuesday and Thursday shopping hours to match those of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (3-9pm); Saturday and Sunday hours continue to be from 10am to 6pm. With the additional 12 hours of shopping time, October promptly registered a 34% increase in net sales over September, jumping to $66,879 from $49,767. Using the analytics dashboard of Revel Systems (the Co-op’s point-of-sale software), we can see that October 2016 also garnered a whopping 66% net sales increase over October 2015 (see the chart below).
A notable difference in year-over-year net sales is already apparent for September 2015/16; this reflects the Co-op’s launch of Friday shopping hours in Spring 2016. The significant year-over-year advantage continues through November and December, and the net sales drop in December—not unusual due to the holidays—is far less meaningful than in the year prior.
After our store hours increased to seven days a week in the Co-op’s last quarter, the value of the average transaction—or “basket”—dropped roughly two dollars, from about $38.50 to about $36.50. This is not necessarily a negative development. Instead, it indicates that Co-op member-owners are shopping more frequently and that some are buying slightly less during each visit. The week of January 2-8, 2017, provides a good example of this behavior (see the table below). Despite pouring rain followed by sub-freezing temperatures and snow, the Greene Hill Food Co-op witnessed a healthy first week after the holidays.
The store consistently sells more on Mondays, Saturdays, and Sundays, resulting in the largest amounts in the net sales column. However, Tuesday and Wednesday also witnessed over 60 transactions, even while the value of the average basket was lower than on the other five days. Marketers often note that it is much easier and cheaper to “upsell” an existing customer than to acquire a new one, and more visits mean that member-owners are taking advantage of our convenient, expanded hours. This is a promising trend for both our business and our community as the Co-op figures more prominently in our everyday lives.
Our Co-op, our Work Shifts
With the Co-op now open seven days a week, it’s more important than ever—for our long-term growth and success—that all member-owners work their shifts. We can’t order the goods, stock the shelves, track the finances or a million other things without you!
All member-owners are required to work a minimum of 2½ hours (one standard shift) every four weeks. If you’re behind on hours, please sign up now for a make-up shift or two. It’s easy and contributes to keeping the store running smoothly. We have plenty of shifts to choose from! Simply log into Shift Planning and find what works for you.
If you’re in good standing, consider banking hours by signing up to work red highlighted shifts on the Shift Coverage Sheet. Every shift helps!
Full details of work shift requirements, shift sign up and shift swapping can be found on the Greene Hill website. If you have any questions or problems finding a shift that’s right for you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you!
New to the Co-op? Get Oriented!
Orientations are a chance to learn more about the history of the Co-op and how it works. They’re also a great opportunity to meet fellow new member-owners! All new members are required to attend an orientation session. The next ones are coming up soon: February 5 and March 5. We’ve also now posted Facebook events for the orientations so you can see the dates several months out and RSVP. Check it out! Orientations last one hour, take place at the Co-op, and earn you a full work shift credit. You can also RSVP or direct any questions to email@example.com.
Shout Out to our Newest Co-op Members
Join us in a warm welcome to the latest additions to the Co-op family. The folks listed below joined us in December. We also added 33 trial members! (This does not include those who signed up at the Open House just last Saturday.) Overall, we increased our membership in 2016 by 26% with a net member change of 116 people.
Urgently Seeking Four Membership Desk Representatives
We need a total of four folks to fill this recurring, in-store shift on either Saturday or Sunday. You choose the day and the 2 ½ hour timeframe that works best for you! We’re looking to fill four shifts—one for each week in the work cycle.
Signing up new members
Answering member questions
Helping with Membership Committee administrative work (answering emails, updating membership records, etc.)
Training will be provided by a current Membership Committee member. Interested? Have questions? Contact Chad Donnick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recipe by Molly Neuman
When the weather is frigid and we've perhaps indulged a bit too much over the recent months, a hearty yet simple soup like minestrone hits the spot. This recipe could not be more satisfying and easy. It's also ripe for variations based on your preferences or what's in your pantry.
This recipe makes about 10 cups.
4 T olive oil
1 leek, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large carrot, cut into half-inch dice
1 rib of celery, cut into half-inch dice
1 zucchini, scrubbed and cut into half-inch dice
1 can Great Northern beans, drained but not rinsed
¼ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cups shredded green cabbage
1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed, with juice
4 cups vegetable stock
1 T sherry vinegar
1 t salt
1 t pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and olive oil to garnish
In large pot, saute leek until softened. Add garlic and continue sauteing about one minute. Add the carrots and celery and cook the mixture, stirring, for about four minutes. Add the zucchini and green beans and continue to cook, stirring, for about four minutes. Add Great Northern beans and stir well. Then add tomatoes and stock, stirring again, and bring to a simmer. Add cabbage and let pot simmer on low for at least 30 minutes or until the flavors are well married. Add sherry vinegar, salt and pepper (you can add more to taste). Ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.
Total cost estimate: $10 or about $1.25 per serving.
Social Justice in Brooklyn in Three Parts
The Women’s March on Washington will take place on Saturday, January 21. The mission of the march is to tell our new government and the world that women's rights are human rights. From the march’s website:
We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us. We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society.
Buses to D.C. are mostly sold out, but there is a bus travel organizing site, courtesy of Rally.
If you can’t make it to D.C., there are hundreds of sister marches being planned around the world. The Women’s March on NYC starts at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 833 1st Avenue at East 48th Street, New York, NY 10017. March times will be staggered, starting at 11 am, beginning there and ending at Trump Towers.
For those of you looking to join a truly local peace and social justice effort, consider Fort Greene Peace (FGP). It’s is a group of neighbors from the Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bed-Stuy communities that came together in 2006. Inspired by hope for a better world, they work for peace and for racial, social, and economic justice. FGP has focused on advocating for the end of the Iraq war, opposing U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Syria, calling for the U.S. to cut military aid to Israel after its invasion of Gaza in the summer of 2014, lobbying Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to support the Iran Nuclear Agreement, and advocating for federal spending to be re-oriented away from the Pentagon and toward our communities. FGP also supports environmental justice, truly affordable housing, opposes gentrification, and advocates for police accountability and against police violence. Currently, it’s leading a local campaign to welcome refugees and migrants into the U.S.
Last, a reminder that residents in Flint, Michigan, are living through a water crisis. Safe, clean water—they still don’t have it. You can find a timeline of the situation here, and Michael Moore’s take on the matter is here. “There but for fortune go you or go I.”
The Co-op Q&A With Dahlia Thompson
Dahlia Thompson is a shift leader and a founding member of the Co-op. Dahlia loves the sense of community that she finds here. Find out about her favorite bulk aisle finds below!
Q: What were some of your reasons for joining the Co-op? When did you join?
A: I was one of the founding members of the Co-op, and was involved in the early stages of planning for the Co-op, as the former chair of the lease location committee. I got involved because I was a member of the Park Slope Food Coop and was really eager to bring some better options for groceries closer to home.
Q: What are some things that you like about being a member of the Co-op?
A: I like the sense of community and knowing the people I see at the store.
Q: What are your favorite items at the Co-op right now?
A: The bulk granola—we go through pounds of the blueberry flax and the raspberry granola each week!
Q: What do you like to do outside of the Co-op?
A: I'm an environmental engineer and I oversee the planning and design of green infrastructure around New York City, as well as in other cities in the Northeast, to manage stormwater (rainfall) in a more sustainable way, reducing the stress on our sewer systems and improving the water quality in the surrounding water bodies.
When I'm not at work, I spend time with my family. My daughter was born just before the store opened, and now I have a two-year-old son, and shopping at the Co-op is one of our regular weekend activities that we all look forward to!
All members work a 2½ hour shift every 4 weeks. It's part of being a member/owner. Here are some opportunities to earn work credit.
PHP/LAMP Stack Developer Needed for IT Committee
The IT Committee is looking for help with the Co-op’s public-facing website (www.greenehillfood.coop) as well as our internal systems, including our CRM and Shift Planning. If you have skills with PHP, Drupal, MySQL and CRMs (we use CiviCRM), then we could use your expertise. This work can be done remotely and is critical to ongoing success of our co-op. For further information, email Chad Donnick at email@example.com.
Finance Committee Members Needed!
If you have an interest in being involved in the day-to-day financial operations or finance strategy for the Co-op, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finance Office Assistant Shifts Available
Interested in doing some office work at the store? Your role would focus on handling invoices and entering data into our accounting software. You'll get all the training and guidance you need, while working at a dedicated Finance desk and computer, and you'd be helping the Co-op produce financial statements on a regular basis. You can set your own hours! Please email email@example.com if you'd like to join us.
Membership Committee Seeks New Chairperson
Are you looking for a hugely rewarding opportunity to make change at the Co-op? We’re looking for an active and organized member to take over the Membership chair duties. As chair, you’ll steer initiatives to improve the overall membership experience. You’ll fine-tune existing processes, create new processes, help field member questions and work with the Membership Committee to ensure all tasks are being done and new ideas are given the chance to flourish.
The chair position will require more than the minimum 2½ hours of work every four weeks, but how much more is up to you, your initiatives and what you delegate. You’ll be trained by the current chairperson and given ample time to transition into the role. We ask for a one-year minimum commitment to this position. Please contact Membership@greenehillfood.coop if you’re interested.
Looking for Leaders: New Member Orientation
Do you know the Co-op in and out? Do you like speaking to others about the Co-op? We’re looking for new folks to help run the monthly orientations. You need only commit to a minimum of two orientations for an entire year. They last one hour, and you get a full work shift credit for conducting them. Help us educate the new generation of Co-op member-owners! Contact Membership@greenehillfood.coop if you
Credits: Keith Almon by JC Santore; Basket, shelf stocking and member support pictures by Kelsey Chauvin; minestrone soup photo by Molly Neuman; Women’s March to Versailles 1789 from “Illustration for La Révolution 1789-1882” by Charles D'Héricault Dumoulin 1883; picture of Dahlia Thompson courtesy of herself.
The Greene Hill Food Co-op Newsletter is edited and published by (in alphabetical order) Carola Burroughs, Sonia Garbes Putzel, DK Holland, Alexandra (Aly) Miller, Molly Neuman, Shannon Sodano Heffernan, Alejandro Varela, and Gitta Zomorodi. Contact us with any feedback, suggestions, or requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join and/or follow the Greene Hill Food-Op!
Interested in joining the Greene Hill Food Co-op? Check out our website to learn about membership, Like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. Or simply stop by our store at 18 Putnam Avenue (off Grand Avenue) with any questions!