What to do with all those tomatoes?

Glorious summer tomatoes offer many possibilities to be enjoyed throughout the year.  Consider freezing and roasting in addition to canning as ways to bring these treasures to your table in all seasons.

 

Freezing is a quick and easy option for tomatoes that can be added to soups, stews and sauces.  Just wash, dry and chop tomatoes into the size that you will use most, put into freezer bags or other freezer hardy containers.  They will be juicy when rethawing, but surprisingly delicious. (You can do the same for peppers, and they are just as wonderful!).

 

Roasting provides an entirely different taste experience.   This recipe for Roasted Tomatoes with Onion, Garlic and Saffron originally appeared in the Star a number of years ago.  You may roast these on an outdoor grill or in the oven.

 

 

Ingredients:

12×17 inch baking tray (with lip)

A variety of tomatoes (6-8 depending on size), including cherry tomatoes, sliced approximately 1/4-1/3 inch thick, cherry tomatoes in half

1-2 large onions, sliced thinly

1 large clove garlic, peeled and if large, cut in half

1/4-1/3 cup of good quality olive oil

Salt and pepper

Generous pinch of saffron (if you don’t like saffron, other herbs or spices are also fine)

Preparation:

Slice enough tomatoes so that they cover the bottom of the baking tray.  Add a layer of sliced onions with the garlic cloves.  Generously salt and pepper.  Pour olive oil over it all and mix with a wide spatula.  Ensure everything is completely coated with olive oil and some of the oil is pooling slightly on the bottom of the tray. Amounts of each can be adjusted to your personal preferences and what you have on hand.

Roast in a preheated grill turned to low or oven at 350 F, for about ½ hour (time is approximate).  Check 2-3 times to stir and ensure it is not burning at the edges.  It will go through a watery phase, but this will boil off.  You know the sauce is done when the garlic cloves are easily mashed, and the oil and juices have created a slightly thickened base with the cooked tomatoes and onions. 

Take out of grill or oven, stir saffron into sauce.  Let cool, then freeze.

This has become my ‘go to’ tomato sauce.  For a little extra interest, I add homemade pesto for an incredible taste experience.  Enjoy!

 

Submitted by Daria Love, Food Issues Committee

September Report from the Board

Fall is in the air with cooler nights and shorter days, and the bounty of summer is filling our produce area. Autumn is one of my favourite times to shop at Karma, and I invite you to come in and fill your basket with the season’s freshest apples, squash, and cooler-weather greens.

September is also when Karma’s Board prepares to welcome newly elected Board members to join us following our October 19th AGM. This past year has been one of remarkable change, growth, and development for our food co-op.  The combined efforts of all the hardworking staff and Board of Directors has made this possible. The leadership and energy of Kristy Van Beek, Karma’s President for the last two years, should be celebrated. She has led us with warmth, enthusiasm, creativity, intelligence and passion. 

Last year, when a few of us were considering joining Kristy and Karma’s 2019-20 Board, we couldn’t foresee it would also be the year we would fundamentally reimagine how we shopped at Karma. Thank you, Kristy, fellow Board members, and our General Manager, Talia, for your tremendous work this past year! And thank you Karma members, shoppers, and staff for supporting us all through so much change.

Food for People, Not for Profit! 

Bob Biderman, long-time member and Karma legacy donor, shares his story and connection to our community

Karma is embarking on a fundraising campaign to raise much-needed reserves for repairs and renovations to the store. We are currently investigating the possibility of gaining charitable status, which would enable Karma to issue tax receipts. We also hope to have members designate Karma as a recipient of donations in their wills. With that in mind, here is a short interview with Bob Biderman, a long-time Karma member, who has set aside funds in his will for Karma:

I read about a food co-op called Karma 2 on Parliament Street, and joined. I quickly became heavily involved, but in 1978—when it became obvious that Karma 2 was not viable—I joined Karma just as we moved into our building on Palmerston.

I was greatly attracted to the idea of a store that didn’t make a profit from selling something as essential as food. I saw a member-owned co-operative as an alternative, a challenge—albeit a small one—to the existing food system. The slogan for food co-ops across North America at the time was “Food for people, not for profit.” A community of people working together seemed wonderful too.  

Karma’s politics matched my own.  I come from a family that strongly supported unions, wanted working people to be compensated fairly for their labour, and to be treated with dignity and respect. Karma wanted that too. I was also volunteering for the United Farm Workers, and Karma was one of very few stores in Toronto that was supporting the UFW boycotts. Karma also supported the South African boycott. Our co-op has been such a major part of my life that I would absolutely be lost if it ceased to exist.  

Years ago, my wife at the time asked me why I’d go to Karma on Saturdays when the store was so busy.  The fact that the store was busy was precisely why I’d go then. I enjoy the schmoozing that goes on between members, children shopping with their parents, hard-working staff members, who take time to warmly greet members by name, and the generally warm ambience that I think you’d have to look long and hard to find in another grocery store. I watch the sales figures too, since I am well aware that we have to be viable as a business, and feel pleased when sales are strong. 

I enjoy chatting with and showing around people who are new to the co-op as well as conducting more formal orientations. And it feels good to know that we are supporting farmers, small businesses, and other co-ops by selling their products. I also email board and staff members with ideas and requests to help improve Karma, so it can grow.

As you can see, Karma has meant a great deal to me for much of my adult life. I want Karma to carry on, giving others as much pleasure and providing terrific service to members after I am gone. I am fortunate enough to be in a position where I’m able to leave inheritances to family as well as bequests to both Karma and Common Thread Community Choir, a social justice choir I helped found.

If Karma continues to make improvements in the coming years in the way it has done recently, it will be truly a remarkable place. I would love to see the membership and sales grow substantially and find ways for us to provide exceptional service to all our members. Could we expand our sales or storage facilities?  Is moving to another location an option? I don’t know, but I don’t think we should dismiss those ideas out-of-hand. If there are ways of Karma encouraging and supporting emerging food co-ops, I would hope we would be right there! COVID has expedited many of the services that I’ve dreamed of for Karma like grocery deliveries and shopping online—and I am so happy to see these things are here.

Members, if you are in a position to give, and if Karma has been a significant part of your life, then I would urge you to consider putting our very special community food co-op in your will.

 

    —Bob Biderman, Karma Member since 1978, and legacy donor to Karma Co-op

Karma Introduces Mandatory Mask-Wearing Policy

In April, on the basis of Canadian and Ontario public health advice and instructions, Karma implemented practices to protect its staff, its members, and admitted guests from COVID-19. These included increased cleaning and sanitation, limiting the number of shoppers in the store at any one time, physical distancing, hand washing, and mask-wearing among others.  

Since then, the City of Toronto introduced a mandatory mask-wearing policy in July that requires all establishments open to the public, like Karma, to also set a mandatory mask-wearing policy in accordance with the City of Toronto By-Law 541-2020.

As of September 2, 2020, Karma’s Board of Directors adopted a mandatory mask-wearing policy to ensure that no person is permitted entry to, or otherwise remains within, Karma’s premises unless the person is wearing a mask or face covering, in a manner which covers their mouth, nose and chin. This policy is posted at the entrance, and anyone entering the store will be required to comply.  See full policy here.

Karma recognizes that there may be members with conditions that impede or inhibit their ability to wear a mask, and will continue to provide service to these members with grocery pickup and delivery options to keep everyone safe and protected. 

Thank you all for your co-operation in continuing to keep our community safe and healthy.

Report from the General Manager – August 2020

Dear Members,

It’s hard to believe we’re already in August! 5 months ago we were scrambling to make shopping at Karma a safe place to shop and work. Since my last store update in May, things have settled somewhat into a new “normal”for us here at the store. We’ve settled into a routine with new cleaning protocols, increased sales and packing orders for people for curbside pick up and delivery. We’ve reworked member labour opportunities so they allow for proper distancing so members can once again actively work at the store. If you haven’t yet, you can sign up for your shifts here!

We’ve begun accepting new members and trial shoppers again! Tell the world! We feel we have the appropriate measures in place to safely spend time talking with new members about our co-op and signing them up to join our community. New members are now able to sign up online to avoid signing up in store, if desired. While orientations continue to be suspended, the Orientation Committee and myself, have been working hard on getting a virtual process in place.  Orientations will be led virtually, complete with a virtual tour of the store! A very big thank you to Dave Bell, Paul DeCampo and Adam Seelig for helping shape this project. We hope to have virtual orientations in place by September. 

Our community continues to be a huge source of encouragement and co-operation. A true testament to the strength of co-ops in the face of adversity. Thank you everyone for your flexibility and support as we navigate through this changing world together.

As orders for curbside pick up and delivery continue to be a reality now and into the foreseeable future, a priority for me has been working on getting an online ordering platform up and ready. This will facilitate ordering on the shopper’s end, who, at the moment, simply email their orders in. With the new platform, members will be able to see product, their costs and any new items that come in. I know the last point will be especially appreciated by those of you who have been ordering online and love local and seasonal produce. With the new platform, you’ll be able to see what new produce is available!  

Most importantly, in response to the murder of George Floyd in May and with encouragement from members, the Karma Board of Directors started the important work of addressing anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, as well as other forms of oppression, in our organization. In June, the Anti-Oppression Committee was created. The first goal of this committee is to “Ensure Karma policies and practices set the organization up to be in opposition to and to do the work of dismantling white supremacy, patriarchy, cis and heteronormativity, settler colonialism, capitalism, ableism, and other forms of oppression deemed relevant by the committee.”  The first order of business for the committee is to work with outside facilitators to complete an anti-oppression audit of all Karma policies and practices. This audit will inform recommendations for change to the Board and management.  As an organization, we have a lot of self reflection to do. I hope that with our new committee in place, we will be able to assess, recognize and address the various types of oppression that exist within our co-op. It is long overdue.  Please see the Committee’s official statement to members here. We will keep you updated on the long journey ahead. Please hold us accountable to our goals.

 

In solidarity, love and co-operation,

 

Talia McGuire 

General Manager

Donations program to support Karma’s long-term sustainability and capital needs

Karma’s Board of Directors established a Donation Policy at our July 8th, 2020 meeting to support the development and implementation of a donations program. The goal of the new policy and program is to support the long-term sustainability of our co-operative and enable us to respond to the capital needs of our aging building, mechanical systems, and equipment. Special projects that further the mission of the co-op will also be eligible to access funding through this program; however, day-to-day operational needs and expenditures will not be eligible for this funding. 

The Donation Policy is posted on Karma’s website and can be viewed here. To further support the Donation Policy and donor program, an improved Privacy Policy is being developed to take into account the needs for securely managing donor information. The Board hopes to share a revised Privacy Policy in the September issue of the Chronicle.

Long-time Karma members, Caitlin Smith and Andrea Dawber, are working together to launch Karma’s first Donations Program this fall. If you would like to work with Caitlin and Andrea, or learn more about the donation program, please email Andrea at vicepresident@karmacoop.org

Board of Directors – Call for Nominations

Karma’s Board Welcomes Nominees to Join Us for 2020-21 

 

Dear Karma Members,

The Board of Directors is preparing for our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Monday, October 19, 7-9pm, and we’re hoping for our best turn out yet!  We’ll be using Zoom for our first-ever virtual AGM.

I am chairing the Board Nominations process for the upcoming election at the AGM, and the Board is seeking nominees to fill 4 or 5 vacancies for our 2020-21 Board. We are actively encouraging members of marginalized identities to apply, as well as members with their Human Resources Professional designation (HRPA), and/or legal expertise in the areas of employment, human rights, and contract law. 

Board members commit 6-8 hours per month, which includes preparing for and attending Board meetings, and sitting on one Karma Committee as a Board liaison. A greater time commitment is required for members who take on executive positions such as President, Vice-President, Treasurer, or Secretary, which carry additional duties and responsibilities.

To apply to be a nominee for Karma’s 2020-21 Board of Directors positions, please submit a brief biography highlighting your relevant governance skills, Board experience, and engagement with/commitment to Karma Co-op. The Nominations Committee will compile a nominees list to be circulated to co-op members in advance of the election. Interested candidates are encouraged to attend and observe the September 30th Board meeting. 

All Board meetings are open to Karma members. However, due to current physical distancing requirements, advance notice is required to provide you with the online access information. 

The Board will be engaged in the following strategic projects for 2020-21:

  • Anti-oppression and inclusion strategy to ensure all members, visitors, shoppers, and staff feel safe, respected and welcomed to participate in all aspects of our co-op;
  • Succession planning for Karma’s Board and GM to ensure continuity; 
  • Launching an integrated communications and marketing strategy that addresses the key findings of the recent member surveys and supports Karma in achieving its budgeted revenue growth targets; 
  • Improving Health & Safety training for staff and working members; 
  • Prioritizing capital improvements to our building and property; 
  • Establishing Karma’s donation program to support the long-term sustainability and capital needs of our co-op; 
  • Developing a participatory budget process for 2021-22;
  • Revising Karma’s Product Policy and corresponding procedures; 
  • Planning Karma’s 50th Anniversary celebrations for 2022, and
  • Continuing to review and revise member labour deployment to best support the ongoing operational needs of our food co-op.

All interested nominees, please email your biography to Andrea Dawber, Chair of the Nominations Committee for Karma Co-op’s 2020-21 Board, at vicepresident@karmacoop.org

____________________________________________________________________________

Anti-Oppression Committee Statement to Members

Statement to membership 

Some of you may have noticed Karma’s silence in the wake of the horrifying instances of police violence against Black and Indigenous people, which, since the murder of George Floyd on May 25th, have been the subject of popular uprisings around the world.

Many of you have also expressed your desire for Karma to be more active on this front and to be more engaged in matters of social justice and equity. Social justice is part of the fabric of our organization and, as a democratically run co-op, the values of our membership need to be reflected in how we operate. 

While the Karma board did not release a statement following George Floyd’s murder, it did take the following action: At the June 3rd Board meeting, the Board decided to create a committee to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion within our co-op and assigned the task of defining the terms of reference to a subset of Board members. The Terms of Reference of the “Anti Oppression” Committee were passed at the July 8th Board meeting. The change of name from “Diversity and Inclusion” to “Anti-Oppression” reflects an intention to focus on confronting systems of oppression, both within our co-op and in our broader society. 

The founding members of the Anti-Oppression Committee recognize that anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism is deeply embedded within our society. We also recognize that institutional violence against Black and Indigenous communities is a reality across our city, country and continent. We also recognize that addressing systemic racism and oppression at Karma starts with recognizing that our membership is substantially less racially and economically diverse than the city in which we exist.

The first goal of the committee is toEnsure Karma policies and practices set the organization up to be in opposition to and to do the work of dismantling white supremacy, patriarchy, cis and heteronormativity, settler colonialism, capitalism, ableism, and other forms of oppression deemed relevant by the committee.”

In order to achieve these goals, the committee intends to carry out research, in the form of an “anti-oppression audit within Karma, to determine how systems of oppression are present and function within Karma”, and then to make recommendations for training and education, as well as changes to policies and practices within Karma. 

Please see the linked Terms of Reference document for more details on the committee’s goals and strategies. The founding committee members recognize that this document will forever be a work-in-progress. We have set things moving in a direction that we believe to be a good one, but we also recognize that we ourselves embody many of the privileges which we see over-distributed within the Karma membership. We welcome everyone, but especially folks from marginalized groups, to join the committee and work with us towards our goals. 

If you would like to join us on this committee, or if you feel comfortable sharing your experiences or information about racism or other forms of oppression within Karma, please contact us antioppression@karmacoop.org 

With you in love and solidarity. 

 

Anti-Oppression Committee

 

DIY Moisturizing Cream, January 14, 7-830 pm

Photo courtesy of Sophi Robertson.

Tuesday, January 14, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Suggested $10 donation

Space is limited! Please RSVP to manager@karmacoop.org or 416-534-1470.

‘Tis the season for dry skin! In this workshop, you will create a luxurious moisturizing cream using a vegan base, cocoa or shea butter, and exquisite essential oils. You’ll leave with a custom cream handmade by you. Purchase jars at the event or bring your own.

DIY Spa Gift Making, December 10, 7 – 8:30 pm

 

DIY Spa Gift Making

Tuesday, December 10, 7:00 to 8:30 pm
Suggested donation $10.00
Space is limited! RSVP to manager@karmacoop.org or 416-534-1470.

Make it a DIY holiday this holiday season at our Spa Gift Making workshop! Make body scrubs, bath salts, and face masks for your family and friends while learning about hydrotherapy and the therapeutic properties of clays, salts, and carrier and essential oils. Leave with three custom-made and natural products to gift to family and friends or to keep for yourself! Bring your own containers to put your gifts in or choose from what we have available.