With publication deadlines being what they are, I am writing this update to you on a cloudy day in the middle of March. Although I’m looking forward to another week of warm spring temperatures, at this moment my heart is still heavy with the events of March 6th, 2015, and the loss of our neighbor, Tony Robinson. I stand by our statement from March 7th, and affirm that Willy Street Co-op is still moved by the outpouring of support for our grieving community and we continue to stand in solidarity with the family, friends, and neighbors of Anthony Robinson, Jr. We look forward to continuing to engage in the collective efforts to affirm that black lives matter. I hope to have new policy language from the Board to guide our efforts as a more inclusive organization, and look forward to recommendations from the work of our internal Committee for an Inclusive Co-op. For now, I wait with the rest of our community for the results from the independent investigation, and continue to hold the Robinson family in my thoughts.
The FY16 budget planning is coming along, and will be finalized by the Board in June. This work has been shaped by the current sales shortfall for FY15. We budgeted to break even this year, but sales have been considerably below budget. We are making adjustments and working on boosting sales while at the same time managing expenses. Although we will likely not break even this year, we will do our best to minimize the overall loss and its impacts.
The Co-op’s Strategic Plan work continues to move forward. The scope ofthis project has shifted as the Board revises our organization’s Ends policies. For those of you who are not familiar with the “Ends,” these policies are the highest-level policies that outline and define the impact our Co-op shall strive for in the world. This revision process is very important—keep an eye out for opportunities to weigh in over the spring and summer!
Have you noticed that your receipts look a little bit different lately? Thanks to multiple Owner requests, we are happy to announce that our receipt paper in both stores is now free of BPA, BPS and other phenols. The paper—made locally in Appleton, Wisconsin—uses vitamin C for thermal imaging. We had changed receipt paper a few years ago because of concerns about bisphenol A (BPA), but the only other option we could find that was free of BPA contained bisphenol S (BPS); we have now found a receipt paper that is free of both. If you want to go completely paperless, we can email you your receipt; see this link for details: www.willystreet.coop/email-receipt.
Mad urban bees
Mad Urban Bees, a local urban beekeeping company in Madison, is starting a Kickstarter campaign with the goals of raising queen bees in Wisconsin and pollinating local farms.
No one is currently raising queen bees commercially in Wisconsin. That means the majority of honeybees used for honey production and pollination in the state come from warmer states such as Florida, California and Texas. Nathan Clarke, owner of Mad Urban Bees, explains if we are going to keep our farms sustainable, we need to have a sustainable supply of local bees.
Honeybees help pollinate many locally grown crops. Without bees, our farmers’ markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and homes would be without many of the healthy foods we love.
The Mad Urban Bees Kickstarter will run from March 18 to April 15, 2015. More information can be found at their Facebook and website, www.madurbanbees.com.
Bon Voyage, Josh!
For nearly 10 years Josh Perkins has been an integral part of the prepared foods scene here at Willy Street Co-op. If you’ve eaten at the Co-op, Josh has probably had a hand in making the food as delicious as it is. During his time here Josh’s Bostonian straightforwardness has lead a number of innovations, including increasing our commitment to using locally sourced ingredients in our prepared foods and bakery, the development of the hot bars at East and West, and the creation of the Prepared Foods Director position. Josh is leaving us to continue to shake up the local food system, this time focusing on school food as the North Central Region Executive Chef for Chartwells (wow, that’s a mouthful!), a subsidiary of Compass, in their K-12 educational foodservice sector. The company does a lot of great things with local and sustainably produced food and also school gardens in the 550 school districts they serve—we think he’ll be a fantastic addition to their team. We’ll miss you Josh, and are excited to see what you accomplish next!