THE READER
September 2005

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Cover

Customer Comments

General Manager's Report

Board Report

Election Information: Board Candidate Statements and Proposed Budget Details

2005 Annual Membership Meeting Recap

Produce News: The Effects of Chemicals on Our Foods

Specials Information

Eating Well, Being Well and Having Fun While You're At It!: The Food for Thought Festival

Book & Housewares News

Health & Wellness News: Teas

Recipes & Drink Recommendations

Organics: In Our Beds, On Our Bodies and On Our Minds

Producer Profile: Rishi Tea

Putting Your Organic Garden to Bed

Member Services News: Our Annual Farm Tour

Newsbites

Community Calendar

GENERAL MANAGER'S REPORT
Annual Membership Meeting & Input from Mifflin Street

by Anya Firszt, General Manager

Annual Membership Meeting
The annual membership meeting has become more than just your average business meeting—the meeting has turned into an annual membership party. The meeting is scheduled to perform a little necessary Co-op business by reporting on the year’s activities, proposing the next fiscal year’s operation and capital budgets, Board member election process, last call for candidates, and then it’s time to celebrate!

It was hard to be too upset at the rain forecast for the day, as we really needed that rain. But, in spite of the odds we set up with enough positive energy and mo-jo that at 5:00 pm the rain stopped and at 10 pm, the end of clean up, the rain really came down washing the lot surface clean.

Things to remember for next year...
It was said to me by many that it was good to use the entire parking lot for the event; however the closing of the lot was probably not marked or advertised as well as it should have been, and I apologize for any inconvenience we may have created for you.
The parking lot lights are automated (light-sensitive/sensored) and when it’s dark enough they turn on. It will negatively affect anything plugged into the shared outlet. And, as long as we can plan ahead, and more importantly know where the breaker is—we will be in good shape.

Despite the rain, Stoddard’s served 800 folks—that is 100 more than last year! The beer servers served 10 kegs of beer, and handed out 800 cans of root beer or bottled water. Next year, we will plan for that number and more. Beer and soda station should be more centralized for ease of access.

I would like to thank the staff that worked to make the event a success and run as smoothly as it could—from an early distribution of tickets, to the registration and food lines being better organized, to use of the lot, and clean up after the event—it was better than ever!

Expansion: Mifflin Street Community Co-op input
I need to try to clarify what Willy Street Co-op has offered to do to support Mifflin Street Community Co-op (MSCC) and to correct what I consider to be misinformation traveling through the rumor mill. It made most sense to me that I ask the MSCC representative to the WSGC opportunities committee, Seth Nowak, to make a statement. These are his words:

“I just wanted to put my two cents in here to add my perspective as a member of the Mifflin Co-op board (as a Willy St. member, too).

“Over the last 20 years or so, on and off, when I’m not deeply involved in a particular co-op’s decision making, it’ll seem as if major decisions and changes in direction kinda come out the blue. Makes me wonder what boards and staff are thinking. Okay, it happens a lot.
“But on these issues of Willy, Mifflin, expansion, and a possible Metro Place store in particular, I want everyone to know that the approach has been diligent and considered and that the boards, managers, and committees of both co-ops have been working carefully since at least Nov. 2004 to find the best approaches as circumstances unfold.

“Willy St. has initiated a lot over the last several years both to support Mifflin Co-op, and in some ways to prod Mifflin gently toward more grounded and industry-based business practices. When Mifflin remodeled our store, Willy St. loaned us money at a favorable interest rate. It might have been no interest at all, come to think of it. When that loan came due at the same time Johnson St. was shut down and Mifflin’s sales tanked, Willy St. didn’t push the default, as other co-ops and local groups stepped up to help. Mifflin could have closed at that time.

“Last fall, Mifflin had a general membership meeting vote to proceed with research on the Metro Place site and to ask Willy St. to help out and propose a plan. Willy St. did organize and pay for a market study that included parameters and scenarios for each co-op’s involvement, size of store and product line. We had a joint committee to work on the survey and propose next steps back to Mifflin’s membership.

“A few days ago, Mifflin Board consented to invite the Willy St. Board to our next meeting to talk about if, how, and how much we can work together on expansion of downtown natural foods co-ops. At a minimum, I’d at least like us to coordinate our efforts.
“Anyhow that is more than two cents, but I just want people to know that staff/boards/committees of both co-ops think about this stuff ‘like, all the time’ and we have been having meetings for almost a year now to work together as well as possible.” -Seth Nowak, Mifflin Street Board Member