From the GM—October 2017

Dear Karma Members,

Karma is a recent (and the first!) member of the Local Food and Farm Co-ops (LFFC)! Among the benefits of our membership are that we have access to an array of tools relevant to co-ops, receive discounts on co-op conferences, and are also eligible for partnerships in funding applications where applicable. Karma was fortunate to be selected to participate in a local food marketing grant that the LFFC received. As part of this grant, a short video was made about our co-op! You may see some co-op and local food marketing material around the store. These are to help us promote our local products, suppliers, and producers, and hopefully to increase sales of these items.

I want to say a very big thank you to the anonymous member who gave Karma a generous monetary gift. I would also like to thank Woodsworth Housing Co-op who recently recognized Karma through a generous donation as well. These were both very big surprises and we are very appreciative for these gifts to our co-op! Thank you!

There are a few ideas in mind as to how to best spend this money. These include replacing some of our old bulk bins, posting a new sign at Follis Ave., and possibly helping to cover some of the cost of hiring a social media strategist to help us improve our online presence in order to improve member recruitment.

The article “Karma’s Future,” written by an anonymous member in last month’s e-news, has sparked a lot of conversation within the co-op. Members have approached me wondering about the state of the co-op. “Are things really that bad?” they ask. My answer has been that while we’ve been down this road before and that though things are not as bad as they were in 2012/2013, both sales and member recruitment are down. The reality is we cannot continue to operate in this way indefinitely.

To my knowledge, Karma has never advertised the acceptance of or solicited for donations. We are not a charity. That said, many of our members have strong connections and meaningful attachments to their co-op. Many of our founding members still shop at Karma. (For those newer members, that’s 45 years!) For many of us, Karma is more than its practical worth (i.e., the best place to shop!) — it is a place where important and meaningful interactions take place between our food, communities, and each other. It is a place we trust and that gives us a break from the rest of our busy worlds. It makes perfect sense to me that someone who adores their co-op and who is also in a position to do so would give to their co-op in this way. The spirit of the article was to present the option of donating and possibly to inspire other members. I hope, in saying this, I have clarified where Karma is at financially and the intent of the article. And I hope we continue have these important conversations. They are fundamental to the democratic process and transparency of our co-op.

Yours co-operatively,
Talia McGuire
General Manager
Karma Co-op