May 2019 Newsletter
Catching You Up on The Co-op
Plan ahead! The Co-op will be closed on Memorial Day — that’s Monday, May 27.
We’ve got a new feature this month: Farmer Hot Takes! Member-owner Christopher Kennedy gives us the skinny on eggs. Ever wondered if there’s a real difference between “cage free” and “free range”? Read on for the answer and to learn about where the Co-op’s eggs come from.
After you get smart about eggs, come into the Co-op to buy a dozen. You can use some to make a tasty meal with member-owner Emily Nachazel’s veggie frittata recipe. It’s a great way to use those leftover vegetables you’re not so excited about.
We have a few changes to the Greene Hill Board of Directors lately. See below for more and mark your calendar for our next Board Working Meeting on Wednesday, May 22.
Did you always wonder why Park Slope Food Coop members could shop at Greene Hill? We’ve got the answer below.
Also, take action to help a neighbor out! The Weeksville Heritage Center is a truly unique museum of Black history and culture located in Crown Heights, and it’s future is in jeopardy. Learn more about it and how to donate below.
Last but definitely not least, get to know our new general manager, Willa Sheikh, in our Co-op Q&A! There are so many things that make her a great match for this position — and some of them may surprise you.
Farmer Hot Takes: The Skinny on the Co-op’s Eggs from Red Gate Grocer and Scenic Vista Farm
By Christopher Kennedy
I don’t know about y’all, but I love a good egg. Hard boiled, scrambled, over-easy, frittata, a benedict situation. If it has an egg on top, sign me up.
Transitions on Board
At the Co-op’s April board meeting, Lindsay Reichart was unanimously voted in as interim board member, filling the chair left vacant by outgoing member Cecile Arnaud-Gbongbro. The whole board would like to raise a glass and invite Co-op members to toast Cecile in recognition of the years of dedicated work that she devoted to the Greene Hill Food Co-op. She played an integral part in our transition from Co-op-in-distress to carrying forward a focused, constructive and realistic effort to relocate. We wish her all continued success in her artistic work, which has blossomed of late and demanded so much of her attention.
And before you put your glasses down, let’s also toast Lindsay! She has stepped up once again to help lead the Co-op to a stronger future. As the previous General Manager of the store, she brings a vast knowledge of our operations to the table and will be an amazing asset to the board.
If you’re interested in learning more about how the board operates and what’s on our minds, come to the next Board working meeting on Wednesday, May 22, from 7 pm to 9 pm at the store. 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).
The Co-op Q&A with General Manager Willa Sheikh
By Aly Miller
We’re so excited to welcome our new General Manager Willa to the Greene Hill Co-op family. Willa’s passions for nature, social justice, and cooperatives are just a few things that led her on the path to our Co-op community.
Q: Where are you from and how did you find yourself here in this corner of Brooklyn?
A: I’m from Southern Maine and grew up on my mother’s permi-homestead where minimalism, living outside as much as possible, contributing to building community and revering nature was the natural fit. My love for the outdoors and permaculture inspired me to invest my time into exploring one hike after another, snowshoe excursions, always on the lookout for epic mountain vistas, wild food foraging, birding, and so on. I became especially drawn to climbing mountains; they challenge me, reward me and most importantly require the utmost respect from me. I combined my love for nature and food, and studied food policy and international development in a rural town in Northern Maine. My most memorable moments in graduate school included guiding backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail and wwoofing. Before moving to New York I was working on diversity and inclusion initiatives in higher education, which was fulfilling, but I needed a new canvas to explore. I wanted to work on community-driven food — and Brooklyn met the standard.
Q: How did you discover the Co-op?
A: I first heard about Greene Hill at the Park Slope Food Coop, and then discovered that Greene Hill’s old location was around the corner from my apartment in Bed-Stuy.
Q: What attracted you to the general manager position and co-op models in general?
A: As long as I can remember, my family and basically everyone I knew growing up were part of a food buyers club. According to my mother, this way of shopping made the most sense for working-class folks and anyone who loathes big agriculture and supermarket chains. The idea of members of a community — not outside investors — working together to meet the needs of their community, along with the spirit of cooperation, sustainability, ethical sourcing, community ownership, strong farm-to-store relationships, and deep gratitude toward farmers are all aspects of the model I value. The general manager position combines my experiences, skills and love for social justice, sustainability, and project management, with my active lifestyle, creative nature and appreciation for community building, into this awesome role.
Q: What do you like about working at the Co-op so far? Is there anything you’re looking forward to here?
A: I really love how warm, vibrant, and interesting the community is. It’s diverse and filled with great storytellers, artists, co-op kids, educators and more. It’s been a blast meeting everyone and collecting members’ visions for the Co-op. I am super-impressed and inspired by how dedicated members are, and how tirelessly committee members work to support my role, working members, and the sustainability of the store. I look forward to meeting all member-owners, growing with the community, and supporting the successful expansion of the business.
Recipe: Simple Veggie Frittata
Recipe by Emily Nachazel
A frittata is such a versatile dish. It’s simple enough to whip up for breakfast or brunch, but elegant enough to serve for dinner, and leftovers are amazing for packed lunches (yay for meal prep!).
We are a 100% working co-op. That means that everyone works in order to be able to shop. Yet Park Slope Food Coop (PSFC) members could shop at Greene Hill without working. Why?
The principle of cooperation among co-ops is one that all co-ops follow — and PSFC, which has 18,000 members of its own, has helped many new co-ops get off the ground. Way back in 2007, before we even knew we could actually become a food co-op, PSFC began to help us in any way they could. They gave us advice, access to their records and processes and low-interest loans. They also let PSFC members get work credit (through their FTOP program) at Greene Hill to help make our co-op a reality. This meant those PSFC members could still shop at Park Slope even though their labor was not benefiting their co-op.
In gratitude to PSFC, Greene Hill let those members shop at our store as well. Last year, after almost 11 years, PSFC discontinued their Greene Hill FTOP program because we are now an established co-op. It was a bittersweet milestone! Just as PSFC helped us, GreeneHill also helps other co-ops to grow. And as we grow stronger, we’ll be able to do even more.
A Call to Help Weeksville Thrive
The Weeksville Heritage Center — a unique museum located in neighboring Crown Heights — -preserves the history of one of the largest free black communities in pre-Civil War America. Since it was restored 50 years ago, it’s been an incredible community resource. But Weeksville is now facing a serious budget gap. They put out an urgent call to raise $200,000 to stay open till the fall and figure out a path forward. While they met that crucial crowdsourcing goal, they need much more to thrive and avoid this kind of funding shortfall in the future. You can learn more and donate here.