November 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to Greene Hill Food Co-Op's Newsletter


November 2017


Catching You Up on Co-Op News

Celebrate the season at our next

Open House

on Saturday, December 2!

The Co-op’s committee members have been brainstorming

ways to boost our sales

. Read on to learn about their big ideas and how you can help.

Three member-owners were recently voted onto the Co-op’s Board of Directors, filling all remaining empty seats and bringing a diverse set of experiences and skills to the team.

Meet one of our new members of the board of directors, Matthew Talmage, in this month’s Co-op Q&A.

Are you a people person? Do you love planning events or making new relationships?

Then the Outreach Committee could be the place for you. We’re looking for a few good people. And check out the

Help Wanted section, too, for some interesting workshift  opportunities.

There’s a story behind that delicious maple syrup from Green Wind Farm. And it involves horses!

Have you ever made borscht? It’s super easy and incredibly tasty, and especially good for chilly weather. Check out the recipe below!

Finally, it’s your last chance to benefit from one of our WIN WIN WIN (membership discount) partners, Red Lantern Bicycles —read about it in the Spotlight.

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Open House Saturday, December 2

Sarah Leitson and Sigourney Woodfork getting ready for the open house!

sarah and sigourney

Come celebrate the holiday season at the Co-op! Join us on Saturday, December 2, from 10 am to  6 pm.

We’ll have free food samples, music and festivities. These events are a great way for the Co-op to bring in new members. In fact, anyone that signs up for a membership at the Open House will save $25 on the admin fee! Help us spread the word by forwarding this email to friends and family. Be sure to let them know that ALL are welcome to shop -- even non-members!

New Merchandising Goals to Boost Our Sales - and How You Can Help

coop aisles

Our Co-op is many things to our member-owners: a store, a community, an opportunity to work together around shared values, and so much more. On October 28, members from several committees gathered to talk business and brainstorm a plan to boost our bottom line. Especially because we plan to relocate when we are able, increasing revenue to is essential to our survival.

The goal of the meeting was to identify ways we can increase our revenue by supporting the work of the Merchandising Committee. Here are some key projects we prioritized for the coming months:

  • Fill gaps in key roles in Merchandising and Inventory teams, such as working with small, local vendors.
  • More closely integrate our purchasing, receiving, and inventory procedures.
  • Continue to support member-owner labor by improving communication and training for receiving and stocking.
  • Expand product selection in the bulk aisle.
  • Submit our application for a beer license and begin stocking beer.
  • Improve frozen food section by purchasing and stocking new freezers.

If you are interested in supporting any of these projects, please get in touch with

and let them know how you want to be involved.

Welcome, Board of Directors and Chairs!

This past month, we voted in three member-owners to join the Board of Directors, filling all vacancies. The Board is a team of five who serve as liaisons to member committees, and help build a long-term vision for the Co-op. You can read their extended bios


on the Co-op website. Thanks to the following member-owners for stepping up!

Christopher Gollmar

is a member-owner and interim Board member who has been a member since 2014. Christopher is an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn with interests in co-ops, food, justice and labor.

christopher gollmar

Matthew Talmage

is a longtime member-owner who has been involved in several areas of the Co-op. Early on, he helped developed our shift-leader role. He lives in Crown Heights and writes jingles for a living. (Unfortunately, this great photo of him playing the drums had to be cropped so that we can’t see the drum set!)

matthew talmage

Christina Travers

is a founding member of the Greene Hill Food Co-op and happy to serve as a Board member. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who completed her service in Zambia, where she worked to provide a rural village with education on nutrition and aquaculture. She currently works at a social-justice oriented nonprofit and lives in Bed-Stuy.

Also welcome new

Committee Chairs: Renée Bergan with Membership and Amanda Pitts with Governance. Renée

, a long standing member (since the “Buying Club” days), has been very active with Greene Hill over the years: initially as Outreach Chair, then Board member, and now currently as the Investments liaison and Membership Chair. Renée has been a total behind-the-scenes gal who helps make our Co-op run smoothly!


, a former Bushwick Food Coop manager, joined Greene Hill a few years ago, helping with our Merchandise department.  Her specialized skills and knowledge from Bushwick Food Coop make her a natural candidate for the Governance Committee and we look forward to her leadership!

If anyone is interested in working with either one of these committees, please contact them:


Outreach Committee Seeking New Leadership

coop storefront

This is a great opportunity to get involved with the community by creating awareness about the Co-op! The Outreach Committee is seeking a new chair or chairs to lead outreach initiatives such as organizing quarterly open houses to welcome non-members to our store, organizing a team for tabling and canvassing, and collaborating with local organizations and businesses.

Click here

to learn more about the goals of the Outreach Committee.

Ideal candidates have some experience organizing events and a passion for connecting with the community and fostering relationships. Some administration/communications skills (email, Google docs, etc.) and the ability to collaborate with other Committees on specific projects are necessary. If you’re interested, please contact Jill Hoffman at

 for more information.

Product Spotlight on Green Wind Farm Maple Syrup


Did you know that Canada and the northern U.S. are the only regions in the world that produce maple syrup? Ours is as local as it gets, from a small organic farm in the mountains of Northwestern Vermont, 

Green Wind Farm

. This single-sourced pure Vermont maple syrup is sustainably harvested and produced by Seth Wolcott-MacCausland, who grew up on his family’s dairy and maple syrup farm in Vermont.

Seth and his family harvest the maple syrup from 1000 taps by hand, using as traditional a method as there is — gathering the syrup from buckets and transferring it to tubs, which their two Belgian horses pull back to the sugar house.

There, the sap boils low and slow to concentrate from 2-3% sugar to 66.9% sugar. The result is a translucent amber syrup, packed with bright and deep autumnal flavors — the perfect addition to your breakfasts, tea, marinades, salad dressings, and roasted sweet potatoes.

You can always find Green Wind Farm’s Grade A maple syrup at the Co-op, in charming 16 ounce or 8 ounce glass bottles.

Holiday Borscht

Recipe by Molly Neuman

celery root and beet borscht

A small bowl of this sharp, refreshing soup at the start of our holiday meal can really set the palate up for the rest of the feast. It's so bright, colorful and truly simple. I like to use shredded vegetables for good texture and I use the attachment on my Cuisinart to make it easy. If you don't have one, chopping the vegetables into small pieces works just as well. If you prefer a smoother soup, just puree with an immersion or regular blender. The real kicker is, of course, the horseradish. It can be optional but I find it so satisfying. If you aren't sure about it, leave it out and add it to your yogurt garnish.


  • 2 T olive or grapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large stalk celery, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ t cardamom seeds
  • ½ t cloves
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1 medium celery root, peeled and shredded
  • 6 small turnips, peeled and shredded
  • 4 - 5 beets (medium or small), peeled and shredded
  • 4 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
  • ½ t freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 t coarse sea salt, more to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon, or more to taste
  • 3 T bottled horseradish

Add oil to a large pot and saute the onions, carrots and celery until soft. Then add the garlic, spices and herbs. Add the shredded celery root, turnips and beets and mix well. Add the stock and simmer for 40 minutes to an hour. Remove from heat and add pepper, salt, lemon juice and horseradish to taste. Serve hot or cold. Garnish with yogurt and dill.

Q&A With Matthew Talmage

One of our new members of the board of directors, Matthew Talmage, answered our interview questions this month. Thanks for bringing your talents to the board, Matthew!

Q: What does it mean to serve on the Board of Directors? 

A: Well, I just got started as a board member, so although I've not had much practical experience yet, I became familiar with the board by going to meetings, seeing board members in action and having discussions/debates with past and current board members about the inner workings of our co-op.

The board is responsible for facilitating the growth of the co-op; we act as liaisons to the committees to help them function best, we ratify the decisions that are voted on by member/owners at general meetings, we keep the Co-op fixed on and help develop a long term vision, and we aim to have the Co-op reach its greatest potential in terms of community, food justice, and economics.

Q: What kinds of co-op projects have you enjoyed working on as a member-owner?

A: The projects I've enjoyed working on were what led me to accept the nomination to be a board member. I helped structure the in-store work positions, get the Point of Sale (Revel) system implemented and start the process of looking for a new co-op home. I look forward to continuing each of those projects as a board member and hope that I can encourage and then provide the support needed for others to step up and initiate a project that they feel will improve the coop.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a member-owner of Greene Hill?

The shopping experience; and I say “experience” because it's much more than choosing the best looking head of lettuce and then paying at the cashier and leaving. When I shop, I OWN this place and I feel like a member of a compassionate community. When the produce looks great, I'm proud. When it's not looking so good, I think how can we improve it? (and I'll grab the spritzer bottle and give the veggies some love!). The Co-op is where I can (literally!) put my money where my mouth is. I believe in a cooperative business model that emphasizes food justice, community and democracy as much as economic success and here at the Greene Hill Food Co-op, I get to take action on my beliefs.

Q: What do you like to do outside of the Co-op? 

To a large extent, my life revolves around music and friends. My day job consists of composing music and designing sounds for slot machines and in the evenings I'm rehearsing and performing in a couple of bands and doing pickup gigs as a percussionist/drummer. And when there's a break in that activity, I try to get into nature upstate for a hike or a bike ride. As much as I groove on the hustle bustle of the city, I appreciate the grace of nature and like to go there to recharge my battery.

WIN WIN WIN Spotlight:

As you may or may not know, being a member of Greene Hill Food Co-op gets you some perks around town with our 

Membership Discount Program

 (aka the WIN WIN WIN program). It is with heavy heart we relay this letter from one of our program partners, 

Red Lantern Bicycles

Please go support them before they close their doors on November 30. You can get 10% off bike parts or service!

Dear Friends and Neighbors

I regret to inform you that after 7 years of scrapping and fighting for survival on this block, Red Lantern Bicycles will be closing.

The block has changed a great deal since my family set up shop in July of 2011. We opened the bike shop and cafe to create a space to hang out, drink beers, and nerd-out about all things bike.

It's always been about the inclusivity of bike culture; a sense of freedom, independence, adventure, exploration, and identity.

I've observed this neighborhood and its inhabitants go about their business during the years we've been open. You can't really describe Fort Greene, it's an awesome hodge-podge of humanity; is eclectic the word? Rich, poor and in between. Young, old. Artists, professionals. Folks from all backgrounds and races mix and mingle in this wonderful community. It's not perfect and it's not utopia but it does make me consider where we are in the world today and how important it is to retain that sort of 'diversity'.

I remember when there was no Starbucks, Citibike, or Amazon Prime. I remember when the things I enjoyed weren't corporately sponsored. I wanted to be a part of that culture. I wanted to create something unique that I could share with folks. I imagined the Ramones in all their ugliness, weirdness, and non-conformity. They had a simple, powerful idea. On the outside it was modest but on the inside, it smashed you in the face.

Come by for a last hang before the cafe closes at the end of October. We'll endeavor to keep working and servicing your bicycling needs and desires until November 30.

One last request: please support your local small businesses and establishments. Without them, our shared future as a community will be more fragmented, much blander and poorer in ways it's hard to articulate in so few words. I wouldn't want to imagine it.

It's been an honor and privilege to serve you and get to know you.

Brian, Lena, and the Red Lantern crew.

Updates From Our Montréal Co-op Friends

In July of 2016, a small group from Montréal came to visit Greene Hill Food Co-op to research what makes our co-op work, and to film some of our everyday co-op life. We were one stop on their tour of independent food co-ops and markets.

This winter, they’ll start a neighborhood self-sustaining grocery store and nonprofit of their own called

Le Détour

at Bâtiment 7 in Montréal.

They’ve just been selected as a finalist for a contest to win a $50,000 loan to start their store. For them, that would mean they could start their business without loans—a huge win! We wish them the best of luck this month as they await the news.

Help Wanted

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.

Coordinator for The Monthly

Help the Co-op communicate with its member-owners and its communities. This job can be done from home and entails soliciting content from Co-op membership, sending reminders, organizing content, and some writing. If you would like to know more about this position, email (soon to be

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

 if you'd like to join us.

Governance Committee Seeks New Members

Feel strongly about the sustainability of this community? Interested in the how and why of organizations? Have any experience developing resilient groups? The Governance Committee in looking for new members with interest and experience in any of the above. We run the Co-op's elections, advise the Board of Directors on the by-laws, and work in the interest of fairness and transparency for all Co-op members. Upcoming projects include the Fall elections for the Board and re-working our bylaws to better suit this growing cooperative of member-owners. Anyone interested is encouraged to get in touch:

HR Committee seeking member(s)

The Co-op is looking for a member or members to join the human resources committee. Duties include: processing payroll one time a month, filing W-2s, and coordinator support (e.g. availability to discuss workplace concerns one-on-one, conduct evaluations and support work planning). Preferred qualifications: HR experience and a strong analysis of systems of oppression. Please email with a few sentences about why you’re interested in the role and what experience/skills you would bring to it!

Inventory Committee Members Needed!

The Inventory Committee links Merchandising and Finance, and has a foot in both worlds. This particular role involves becoming an expert in Revel systems.The data in Revel feeds into our financial reporting to help us keep the business sound, and provides important information and analysis to the Merchandising Committee when they make decisions about what to buy for our store. It also supports cashiers so that everything scans correctly at the point of sale.

The key to all of this is excellent data integrity—and we need a few more experts! The weekly receiving and counting tasks require a shift in the store, but it’s not a set time, so it’s also great if you need something slightly more flexible! This role requires sitting at the computer and is very detail oriented.

Please contact if you are interested.

PHP/LAMP Stack Developer Needed for IT Committee

The IT Committee is looking for help with the Co-op’s public-facing website ( 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


Et cetera

Photo credits: Coop line photo by Kelsey Chauvin, horse photo courtesy of

Pumpkin Village Foods

, borscht pic by Molly Neuman, board member photos courtesy themselves.

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


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