October Membership Drive

October is Co-op Month and we’re having a membership drive!
If we reach our goal of 75 new members during the month of October, we will donate $500 to the Co-op Community Fund. (Members vote during next year’s Board election to determine which non-profits receive the funds.) Plus, receive a free Co-op tote bag made from organic cotton. And, if you invest the full amount up-front, we’ll wave the $10 admin fee.

Refer-a-Friend
Already a member? Spread the word to your friends, family and neighbors! If someone you know signs up for a membership during October and fills in your name on a special in-store coupon, you’ll receive a $5 Co-op gift card as a thank you.

Watershed Management Group’s Fall Water Harvesting Certification Course

Watershed Management Group (WMG) is accepting applications for its WMG Water Harvesting Certification course to be held November 12 – 21, 2010, in Tucson, Arizona. Applications are accepted until October 11, with priority given to the earliest applicants.

The WMG Water Harvesting Certification program is a hands-on training course that provides certification in water harvesting system design and implementation. WMG’s goal is to transfer water harvesting knowledge to those who will utilize them in their professions and teach these practices to others. Their program provides the highest quality and greatest depth of training in integrative water harvesting offered in the nation.

More information is available on the Watershed Management Group website, including a detailed program description, registration information, requirements, qualifications and certification information.

Local Food Workshop & Tours

Interested in learning more about local foods and visiting area growers? Local Food Concepts presents the Fall 2010 Local Food Workshop & Tours. Come and spend the afternoon!  The experience starts with the Local Foods Workshop for an hour of local food inspiration and learning, followed with a presentation by the Tour Host. After a snack, the Hosts will take you on a walking tour of their growing operations. Add in a light, local food supper with a chance for more questions and local food networking. That’s your afternoon under the bright blue skies of the Arizona autumn.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.  SPACE IS LIMITED.
For Tour Fees and information, email LocalFoodConcepts@comcast.net or call 520.395.0663

Saturday, September 18: Walking J Farm (Double Check Ranch South), Amado
Sunday, October 3: Sunizona Family Farms, Willcox
Saturday, October 16: San Xavier Co-op Farm, Tucson
Saturday, October 30: Chiva Risa Goat Ranch, Hereford
Saturday, November 13: Sleeping Frog Farms, Cascabel

Please note that these are not Co-op events.

LFC Workshop Tour Flyer

We have new Wellness products at the Co-op!

In alignment with our commitment to providing access to safe, healthy, sustainably-produced products, as well as being conscious of social, ecological and economic impacts, Food Conspiracy is adding a few new product lines to our Wellness department.

Alaffia: Fair Trade Skin Care

Alaffia was founded as a way to empower communities in West Africa through the fair trade of shea butter. The Alaffia Shea Butter Cooperative in Togo, West Africa handcrafts the indigenous raw ingredients, and Alaffia Sustainable Skin Care in Olympia, Washington creates the finished products. Proceeds from sales of their products are then returned to communities in Togo to fund community empowerment and gender equity through school projects, women’s equality and health care, bicycles for education and reforestation. For more information please visit Alaffia’s website.

Nordic Naturals: Pure and Great Tasting Omega Oils

Nordic Naturals’ mission is to deliver pure and great-tasting omega fish oils that promote optimal health and wellness. Through sustainability, science + research, education, and social responsibility they initiate standards of integrity that apply not only to their product line but to all of their business practices worldwide. As an industry leader and innovator, Nordic Naturals strives to lead individuals to a better quality of life while maintaining a deep respect for the environment. For more information please visit Nordic Naturals’ website.

Trace Minerals Research (coming next month)

For over 35 years, Trace Minerals Research branded products have been recognized around the world as the pioneer of ionic trace mineral products that have supported consumers in living healthy lives. During that time, they have remained committed to six core values: quality, service, innovation + product development, education, leadership, and loyalty + fairness. They stand by these principles and believe they will help us improve the world we live in. For more information please visit Trace Minerals Research’s website.

Street Feast!

Community Food Bank’s Youth Farm Project:
Takin’ Food and Art to the Streets!

July 15th from 7-9pm, on 7th st. between 4th ave. and 5th ave.

A Community Celebration With:
~A unique and delectable Local Foods Dinner, supplied by local growers, and prepared by Café 54.
~Art Performances, Displays, and Presentations on Food Systems and Food Justice by the Youth Farm Project’s Street Team members.

The Youth Farm Project’s summer Street Team is a three week intensive program for youth ages 15-20. It is an in depth investigation into sustainable agriculture, food systems, and food justice. Street team members will be visiting many sites throughout Tucson and southern Arizona and using what they learn to create art that will entertain, enthrall, and educate our community. A delectable local foods dinner will be served in a community-style atmosphere in beautiful downtown Tucson. Dinner will be prepared by community chefs, using local ingredients which support and benefit our Arizona farmers. The art performances and exhibitions are free and open to anyone interested in celebrating youth empowerment and food in our community.

This celebration of food and art is brought to you by the Youth Farm project, a program of the Community Food Resource Center, a department of the Community Food Bank. Food Conspiracy Co-op is proud to be a partner in this event.

Dinner = $25
Art = Free!

Tickets Available At:

Antigone Books.
411 N 4th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705

Or

Call the Youth Farm Project
520-820-4513

Street Feast Flyer

4th Avenue Merchants’ Sale

July 31st
Street-wide savings along 4th Avenue. At Food Conspiracy Co-op, buy one Avenue Deli item and get the second half off*
(*second item of equal or lesser value)

First Friday Sale

Join us for First Fridays this summer!
Members save 10% on all purchases. New members sign up and receive a $10 gift card. Plus, from 6 to 8 p.m. enjoy live music and free food from The Avenue Deli.

Featured artists
August 6: Salvador Duran
September 3: Balkan Spirit

2010 Election Results Announced

Long time members are probably used to an election cycle that begins with voting in January and ends with an election results announcement in the March newsletter. This year, we did things a bit differently in an effort to adhere more closely to the election schedule that our bylaws spell out.  For the 2010 election, balloting took place from February 1st through the Annual Meeting on March 6th. Election results were announced at the Annual Meeting and then published in the April newsletter.

This new schedule worked well for several reasons, the most important of which is that it increased voter turnout with 11 additional ballots cast at the Annual Meeting of owners. This year 70 ballots were cast making this the highest voter turnout election since our 2006 election when owners were asked to approve a switch to a patronage rebate system and increase the total equity investment for memberships.

And so, without further ado, we are very please to announce that this year, 67 owners voted to approve our new bylaws. This 96% approval rating means that the co-op is now officially operating under the updated version of our bylaws. These new bylaws can be viewed at the Co-op on the bulletin board next to the ramp that leads into the grocery and bulk areas of the store.

We are also very please to announce that Megan Hartman, Linda Laev, and Cody Witham have been elected to serve on the Co-op’s Board. All three of these individuals have shown great dedication to our Co-op and I know they will continue to provide leadership to our organization in the future.

At the Annual Meeting we also announced the results of the Co-op Community Fund grant elections. This year, we are proud to be able to support the following organizations with a CCF Grant: BICAS, Native Seeds/SEARCH, Sky Island Alliance, Tucson Village Farm and Watershed Management Group. Each of these deserving organizations received a check for $352. To learn more about any of them, please check out the February 2010 issue of Community News in our newsletter archive online at www.foodconspiracy.org/events/newsletters/.

Donating to the Cooperative Community Fund is a great way to stretch your dollars and make a long term difference. At the Annual Meeting, the Co-op’s General Manager Ben announced the George Milan Round Up, a new program that will allow shoppers to round up their purchases at the register and donate the change from each purchase to the Co-op Community Fund. During the month of April the Co-op will be matching any rounded up donations that come in so come on in and tell your cashier you’d like to “round up.”

Thanks so much to all the members who participated in this election process and to the volunteers who helped to count ballots. Co-ops thrive on community participation.

Bylaw Changes Proposed

[A copy of the proposed bylaws can be downloaded here and at the end of this article]

By Paula Wilk, Board President

The Co-op is on the move:

  • Sales over $3 million during the fiscal year ending last September 30th, up 9.5% from last year
  • Sales high enough to keep our discount from our primary grocery supplier for all 4 quarters of last year – a first!
  • More locally-produced products – including produce, olive oil, beans and raw milk
  • Sponsorship of local farm tours and testifying at a USDA hearing in support of local growers (see www.foodconspiracy.org)
  • Support of community sustainability efforts, including the City Chickens Coop Tour, Solar Rock, and regular contributions to Tucson non-profits.

The Co-op Board is proud of the hard work and successes of Co-op staff and volunteers. The progress made in the last few years confirms our potential to grow and be of greater service to our community.  This offers opportunities for Co-op owners who wish to participate.

Do you want to help shape your Co-op’s future? A Co-op election is right around the corner.  Not only are there several board vacancies, but this election owners will decide whether to make proposed changes to the current bylaws.

It has been a couple of years since the Co-op gave up its Arizona non-profit status to reincorporate as a Minnesota cooperative.  With the reincorporation came a new set of bylaws.   Now that the Co-op has had a chance to work with these bylaws, it is a good time to consider possible changes and clarifications and to simplify and add flexibility where feasible.

Over the summer a committee worked with the Co-op’s attorney to review the current bylaws. Initially the focus was on operational and administrative issues, but all bylaws were examined. In October the board voted to submit proposed bylaw amendments to the owners at the 2010 election.

In order to change the bylaws, at least 50 owners must vote on the bylaws and a majority of those voting must vote in favor of amending the bylaws.  This means that nothing happens unless owners make it happen.

Please read the proposed bylaw amendments and the accompanying explanations for each change. Then let us know if you have questions or think that something is unclear.  Please also remember to vote in the coming election.  Your vote can make a difference.

The proposed changes are primarily of a housekeeping nature. Some changes are intended to reflect and support some of the Co-op’s continuing practices.  Examples of these include:

  • Prohibiting illegal and arbitrary discrimination, while recognizing that an action claimed to be discriminatory may be permissible if legal and reasonable or necessary in the specific circumstances;
  • Reinforcing the Co-op’s practice of allowing owners to vote by mail and at the store, rather than limiting voting to persons who attend the annual meeting;
  • Clarifying that ownership participation is limited to members of a common household or those associated with an owner organization;
  • Requiring, in keeping with the Co-op’s current practice, appointed members of the board of directors to run for the board at the first annual meeting following appointment;

Other changes are intended to eliminate requirements which are not legally necessary and have proved inefficient or burdensome to administer.  Examples of these changes include:

  • Eliminating a thirty- day advance written notice requirement to suspend participation rights of an owner who fails to meet the share purchase obligation or patronage requirement.  Advance notice constitutes a significant administrative burden, and is unnecessary because an owner can regain full rights upon paying the amount an owner previously agreed upon or by resuming patronage at the store;
  • Eliminating stock certificates, a vestige of a bygone time.  In our digital age, stock certificates are cumbersome and an unnecessary cost; and
  • Eliminating allocation of net losses to owners, and instead requiring net losses to be carried back or forward in accordance with their patronage or nonpatronage character.

There are some changes that extend or modify current provisions.  Examples of these are:

  • Providing notice of the kind of conduct that might be cause for expulsion;
  • Allowing the board of directors to change the fiscal year (currently running from October1, through September 30);
  • Preventing any significant action from being taken by a small number of owners without notice to all owners;
  • Eliminating “fullest extent” indemnification language, which might be subject to attempted misuse;
  • Clarifying how board meetings are called;
  • Providing that a minority of directors (3) may refer an action of potentially serious consequence to a vote of owners;
  • Requiring that all Co-op operations be combined into a single unit for purposes of allocating patronage rebates; and
  • Making deferred patronage rebate amounts subject to offset by assessments resulting from tax audit adjustments.

These are most, but not all of the changes. The bylaws with all proposed changes noted, together with an explanation for each change, are available in several locations:

  1. As a downloadable pdf;
  2. Posted on the bulletin board at the Co-op at the entry to the grocery section
  3. In the February 2010 Newsletter.

What if an owner has questions?  Questions may be submitted by email to Outreach Coordinator, Torey Ligon.  In addition, I will be at the Co-op on Sunday, Feb. 1st from 11 to 1 p.m. to answer questions about the bylaw changes. And questions may be brought to the Meet the Candidates Forum on Saturday, Feb. 6th from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association office at 434 E 9th St. (SW corner of 9th St. & 3rd Ave.) Please note that the Merchants Association office has moved and it is now several blocks south of the Co-op.

Again, please let us know if you have questions or want to discuss the proposed changes.  And, please vote – it’s an easy way that you can help your Co-op make good decisions, and we need your help.

Co-op Annual Meeting Celebration

Save the date…

The Co-op’s Annual Meeting Celebration will take place on Saturday, March 6th, from 2 to 5:30 pm.

The meeting will take place at St. Mark’s Church at 3809 E 3rd St (between Dodge and Alvernon).

A delicious organic dinner from the Avenue Deli will be served along with musical entertainment from The Out of Kilters, a keynote address by Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona, an annual report from the Co-op’s Board and a presentation of the Co-op Community Fund grants.

This event is free for all Co-op members and members are enthusiastically encouraged to attend. Children are welcome and childcare will be provided from 2 p.m. until dinner.

Be one of the first 25 people to arrive and get a free heirloom tomato start. Arrive by 2:45 p.m. and get entered in a free raffle to win a solar oven ($300 value).