We welcome your comments and give each one attention and serious consideration. Send them to or fill out a Customer Comment form in the Owner Resources area. Each month a small selection is printed in the Reader. The rest can be found in the commons or in the binder near Customer Service. Thank you!
No vegans were harmed
Q: I joined the Co-op this year and have enjoyed the food, the classes, and the community building that you do. I also enjoy the newsletter, and had quite a laugh when I read the title of this recipe in “Creative Recipes for Getting More Vegetables in Your Diet,” on page 20: “Creamy Broccoli Soup: Vegan and Gluten-Free”
It’s such a relief to know that no vegans were harmed in the making of this soup! Cannibalism would have put a bit of a dent in your reputation.
You obviously put a lot of work into the creation of the newsletter, and have much to be proud of. I’m glad that one missing comma slipped past your many keen eyes. Thanks for all you do!
A: I love it. Thanks for pointing this out. I could argue that since there wasn’t a dash after the “vegan,” it might be okay, but I’m not sure. I prefer to think of it as vegan-free. It reminds me of this magazine cover: www.happyplace.com/3500/eat-ray-love-magazine-cover-rachael-ray-tails-magazine. Thanks for the kind words and the laugh! –Liz Wermcrantz, Reader Editor
Q: You stopped carrying the Response toilet paper that usually cost 79¢ per roll. This is a good quality single-ply tp that lasts a long time. Instead you are carrying the treeless double ply tp that is soft. We found that this tp rips easily and is difficult to unwind.
A: Thank you for your comment. I apologize for the inconvenience with the current ESP toilet paper. We had decided to find an alternative to the Response brand because the price had jumped up so high, to $1.29 a roll I believe. I will pass your comment on to our Purchasing Manager and see if there are any other affordable alternatives. Thank you again for your comment. –Patrick Humiston, Grocery Manager–East
Kudos to Jim Green
Q: Just wanted to mention that Jim Green in the bulk aisle was extremely helpful and accommodating! He is, I would think, a valued employee. I will be buying all my spices here (and other things) because of him.
A: Thank you for writing. I am glad to hear you received some excellent customer service from Jim. He’s very valued and, as you can attest, knowledgeable staff member. Thanks again for writing and I hope all of your interactions with all of our staff are as productive and enjoyable as this was. –Patrick Humiston, Grocery Manager–East
Q: Hooray for the new stoneground cornmeal—wonderful, local, green—we love it! Unfortunately it doesn’t work for all recipes and it’s hard on people with teeth problems. How about stocking the previous brand also—cheaper too—alongside the stoneground? So those members don’t have to go to the multinationals. Thank you.
A: Thank you for your comment. I’m glad that you like the new Lonesome Stone cornmeal. We have just added a new local blue variety that I would recommend trying. It is much more finely ground and has a delicious taste. That said, we’ll keep in mind bringing back our old variety if neither of these prove popular. Thank you again for your comment. –Patrick Humiston, Grocery Manager–East
Q: I love you but I wish you could turn your restrooms in two single-stall gender-neutral bathrooms. As a trans member it would make using your restrooms a lot less stressful of an experience. Gender-segregated bathrooms are tricky things from gender-non-conforming folks and it would be so rad if your restrooms were gender-neutral!
A: I like and appreciate the idea of making both bathrooms gender neutral. However, because the men’s room has two stalls, we do not feel we could make it gender neutral and because the women’s room often has lines, I am reticent to encourage men to use it too. We hope to be planning significant renovations to East over the coming year. I will make sure this change is on the wish list. –Dan Frost, Store Manager–East
Kudos to Ian
Q: Ian was very helpful. He was summoned in coffee, took me to medicinal teas and answered all my questions. Efficient, cheerful and covered the points I, a middle-aged woman, needed to know. Thanks, Ian!
A: Thank you for your comment. I am very glad to hear how helpful Ian was. He is one of our newer staff members but he is obviously doing well with his customer service. Thanks again for writing and I hope all of our staff are as productive and enjoyable. –Patrick Humiston, Grocery Manager–East
Q: The freezer doors for the seafood and bagels all had broken seals. There was condensation on the inside of the glass door and outside of the door. This will affect energy use. Just an observation.
A: Thanks for the reminder. The condition of the seals is on our radar and replacement is the solution we have planned as a project for this summer. -Wynston Estis, Operations Manager
Food Chain Workers
Q: The “Food Chain Workers: From Fields to Fairness” article by Dawn Matlak provides an important outline of steps towards worker justice in the food industry. But, ironically, it addresses the issues too much from the top-down. By the end of the article, a reader might find reference to the important work of Madison’s own Worker Justice Center. But even there, readers never learn about all kinds of direct, hands-on action they can participate in—immediately! Through the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice, you can also sign on to press these justice issues through the faith community. Don’t just visit the web pages—you can call both organizations at the same number, 608-255-0376, and get involved right now. (And next time, editors, write this kind of story from the grassroots-up!)
A: Thanks for your feedback about the article I wrote for July’s newsletter. I am super interested in what kind of information you can provide to connect folks to the local efforts of the Worker Justice Center. Admittedly, I wrote the article from a “big picture” perspective, with a lot less focus on local efforts. My intention was to create broader awareness of the larger issues of human rights within the food system, but I never intended this to be comprehensive or final words on this subject.
Rather, I hoped it would open up the potential for people to get interested and involved in local efforts to support food workers, while including worker justice in our definitions of “sustainability.” Within my role as a Co-op employee, I intend to write more about this subject (and other local food justice efforts) in the future, as well as facilitate classes about this. I hope you will consider bringing your knowledge and experience to one of the upcoming “Human Rights from Field to Fork” classes at Willy East and West.
I also want to acknowledge that I am both a small vegetable farmer and a grocery store employee, and have worked in the food service industry for over 15 years. My personal perspective is very specifically as a white, working class food system worker and grassroots food justice activist. I am privileged to work in the U.S., and be employed by a successful cooperative business, so I can understand that there is quite a difference between my experiences and those of many, many others within the food system. I truly appreciate your critique of the article, and personally look forward to supporting the ongoing work of the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice. Thanks again, Dawn Matlak, Newsletter Writer & Cooperative Services Assistant–West