March 2019 Newsletter

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Catching You Up on the Co-op

The Co-op has a new General Manager! Read on to find out how we whittled the list down from 150 applicants, to bring on our new GM Willa Sheikh. And a very warm welcome to Willa!

If you’ve ever looked at the Co-op’s website, we want to hear from you. Please take our quick user experience survey to let us know whether and how we can improve it.

Did you know the Co-op offers a wide variety of fresh and dried mushrooms? In this month’s Product Spotlight, learn about the different types and their health benefits, and get tips on how to cook with them.

You could also try out some mushrooms in our featured recipe: Congee with mushrooms and miso. Congee is a savory and soothing breakfast porridge made from rice that is easy to improvise upon.

In our Co-op Q&A, meet Ahmad Shaibabi, our newest board member! Initially a co-op skeptic, hear how he’s been converted.

Our next General Board Meeting is on Wednesday, March 27, from 7 pm to 9 pm at the store. Come learn about what's going on at the Co-op and participate! Anyone attending can take part in the discussion, and all Co-op members may vote. Members may receive work credit if they attend (allotted three times a year).

We are composting again, now through BK Rot which picks up our veggies by bike!

Product Spotlight: Mushrooms Abound!

By Pam Turczyn

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Mushrooms are the food of the gods is a Greek proverb that holds universal truth. Just imagining a skillet full of sliced mushrooms sizzling in olive oil and garlic can make your mouth water. Mmmmmm….add them to pizza, avocado toast, salad or soup and an ordinary meal becomes special. Not only are mushrooms flavorful, aromatic and low in calories, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein — many of the basic nutrients we need to maintain our bodies.

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The Co-op Q&A with Ahmad Shaibani

By Aly Miller


This month we’re proud to feature an interview with our newest board member Ahmad Shaibani. Thanks Ahmad, for all you do!

Q: How did you decide to join the Co-op, and when did you become a member?
A: I was first introduced to the Co-op in September of 2017 when I was invited to check out the Park Slope Food Coop. I was skeptical and maybe a little cynical of the co-op model, but I want to avoid judging things until I’ve been a part of it. I decided to join the co-op closest to my house, which is Greene Hill. And wow, after that first shift, I realized that something was different here. I had a lot of fun during my shift. Just working here alone was enough for me to come back. I love working here, feeling like I’m doing something good for the community. I enjoy unpacking the produce, putting it all away. There’s something so satisfying about this task-oriented work. And the good food, the lower prices and values happen to come later.

Q: You’ve played a huge role here during the past few years. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to recently?
A: Lately I’ve been doing everything I can to keep the Co-op running, which involves a lot of little things. The biggest thing has been helping hire the new manager. This was the first time I interviewed someone, and I discovered just how difficult the hiring process is. We tried to make it as holistic and thorough as possible, because the right person is more than their technical merits but also about how they relate to the neighborhood and our Co-op values.

Q: How has the Co-op impacted your life?
A: The Co-op has taught me patience because you have to cooperate with so many people. And that’s different from other jobs I’ve had, such as working at a restaurant, where there’s someone in charge, giving out orders. Here, everything you do has to first be negotiated within your head and then with others. This a learning process, but eventually it becomes second nature. So I think learning the democratic process, and adopting that value as my own, has been huge for me.

Q: Where would you like to see the Co-op in five years?
A: I’d like to see us become a fully self-sustaining and a well-oiled machine, where things keep working even if a part breaks down. We’ll be so adaptable. Right now, we’re learning how to walk. We need really active members to make it happen.

Q: What do you like to do outside of the Co-op?
A: I tutor at the spatial lab at Pratt Institute. I also map maps and provide research for the American Institute of Architects. I love walking around the city, visiting different neighborhoods. In the summer, I love walking, visiting Fort Greene Park and barbequing.

Recipe: Cacao-Nut & Seed Bites

Recipe by Pam Turczyn

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Congee is a savory rice porridge, cooked low and slow with vegetable or chicken broth. This traditional Asian and East Asian breakfast dish is easy to make, nutritious, and a great way to use up the odds and ends in your fridge. As a newcomer to this dish (I recently became obsessed with it at a congee pop-up in Queens), I take lots of liberties with the way I make it and how I garnish it. With the diversity of produce in our Co-op, you can do the same!

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An Awesome Process: Hiring A General Manager

By DK Holland

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Photo: Our brand new General Manager Willa Sheikh with members of the Co-op on her second day of work. Left to right: Serena Fu (cashier), Willa Sheikh, Ryan Scales (brand new member) and Michael Thorup. Willa is being trained by Michael and also JohnAugust Bridgeford who shared the responsibility of being our temporary GMs for many months.

Over the past months, we’ve been searching for a new General Manager (GM) for the store—a community-minded person to keep our operations running smoothly. In order to identify the best candidates for the position, we created a temporary hiring committee made up of member-owners, including board members Ahmad Shaibani, Matthew Talmage, and Chris Gollmar as well as former GM Lindsay Reichart, Shakima Williams-Jones and DK Holland. Hannah Weitzer, whose experience in related processes was indispensable, provided guidance and coaching. The team was also informed by Michael Thorup and JohnAugust Bridgeford’s experience as temporary GMs.

We posted the position in many places, such as Idealist and Good Food Jobs, and received over 150 applications. We knew the process of narrowing down candidates had to be respectful and, at the same time, efficient and speedy. The best applicants don’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring! We held first-round interviews with twelve very qualified individuals and then from among this group, did five in-person interviews. Our team decided, unanimously, to hire Willa Sheikh, our new GM.

This whole process was rigorous, sometimes complicated, and fast-paced but also joyful because we handled it in keeping with our guiding principles. Whether you’re working or shopping, please introduce yourself to Willa. She’s eager to get to know you and will be in the store on all weekdays. Next month we’ll be featuring Willa in the newsletter’s Co-op Q&A so you’ll have the chance to learn more about her.

How's Our New Website Working?

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We just spent about a year rethinking the Greene Hill Food Co-op website and are still working out the bugs. You can help us make our website even better! Please take a minute to fill out this quick eight-question user experience survey. Your input will help us understand if people are able to find the information they’re looking for easily. You can also share your impressions and suggestions for the website.

Let It Rot

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BK Rot, a locally owned compost company now picks up our spoiled once a week. BK Rot employees local youth who transport our spoiled produce by bicycle, and sell or give the compost they make to local farms. Read more about it in The New Yorker.

Here’s the new composting procedure: pull past its prime produce from the shelf. If you think someone might want it, the produce goes on the half-off shelf in the back of the store. If you don't think anyone wants to buy it, the produce goes up to the cashier to ring up and discount at 100%, and then the produce is placed in doubled black trash bags (which live in the bathroom). After bagging, the wrung-up produce is stored in black plastic bins with yellow top downstairs (they are often in the walk-in fridge). The BK Rot team will take it from there!