Editors Reflection: Earth Day 2017

Coffee pot from a 1985 Coop Scoop.
Coffee pot from a 1985 Coop Scoop.

The commodification of Earth Day means that every business jumps on the green wagon to show how they are doing something for the planet. As a cooperative business, how are we at Honest Weight different from our competitors who may also use Earth Day as a marketing tool?

Concern for the Earth, and a call to all of us to be good stewards of it, is embedded in two of the Co-op’s seven principles, painted in large and bold font on our wall, as soon as you enter the store. Principle 5, Education, Training, and Information (and we’d love it if an artist could put the Oxford commas in there!); we strive to raise awareness about the environment and all it touches through workshops and community events, and Principle 7; Concern for Community, because the environment affects life in all its aspects. For a community to be healthy, it needs a healthy environment. How are we doing in living up to these ideals?

The Co-op tends to attract people with an awareness about food – where it comes from, how it’s made, and what effects it has on the body – and a larger concern for the environment as a whole. At Honest Weight we address these concerns as a community with extensive product labeling, support of local farmers and products, collaboration with environmentally-conscious film screenings at The Linda in Albany (such as The Cove and Gassed, to name two), and offering events and classes on things that leave a lighter footprint on the land, like solar power and vegan cooking. Are we doing enough?

Our Nutrition and Education Committee (NEC) reports this month that a whopping 95 percent of respondents answered “yes” to a question on the previous month’s survey asking if a committee at the Co-op, focused on going green, would have a positive role to play at the Co-op. The NEC suggests that this committee could be tasked with such things as improving signage at the Co-op Cafe, reducing the use of plastic bags in the bulk section and at check-out, re-using glass containers, and introducing a recycling program, so we don’t just talk the talk. In this issue of the Voice, Tracy Frisch further imagines what this type of committee could entail. Please read both the NEC survey and Tracy’s article Calling for an Environment Committee at Honest Weight Food Co-op and get in touch with Tracy to help if you wish.

If you aren’t ready to join a committee but have an idea to share, the NEC encourages you to consider presenting a proposal to the Board. If you need to talk through an idea, or need guidance or support in this, see Tom Gillespie in the Bulk Department. Dedicated to the idea of reducing our incredible amount of waste, he’d be happy to help you organize the effort. As for process, a brief statement summarizing your proposal should be submitted to boardadmin-AT-honestweight.coop by 6 PM, three days prior to a scheduled Board meeting. Be prepared to attend the meeting and explain your proposal.

On another note, we are gratefully indebted to the member owners who become involved in our Co-op in ways that aren’t committee-bound, and we call on shareholders to consider filling member owner positions in the store. If you are already currently serving on a committee, or are tired of sitting on those chairs all the time (particularly if you sit at your day job), you may just want to mix in a little physical work around the Co-op. Fronting is a great job for that purpose, for example, and you should see David Aube to find out more about working on the floor. Courtesy Clerking, at the Front End, is another way to meet other member owners and staff workers, all who strive together to make the Co-op experience what it is. You can find an extensive list of member owner opportunities to get involved here.

There’s much to work towards together during this time of renewal. Come out of your winter hibernaculum, and come to the Co-op. Let’s keep at it.