From the GM—November 2019

We’re starting to gear up for the holiday season here at Karma, but don’t worry, you won’t even notice until December. ???? The first sign of the holidays for us is our annual shipment of Darn Tough socks, and yes, they have arrived and we will begin putting them out very soon! If you aren’t yet aware of these socks, check them out. They are amazing and make great gifts!  ????

The last couple of months have been big ones for Karma in terms of maintenance expenses. The drain saga of 2019 is one to go down into Karma’s history books. After careful investigative work and an initial dig in our members’ room, a major blockage was located in our neighbour’s front yard. The blockage has been removed and our store is now back to normal. Thank you for your patience as we underwent that work. I would like to say a big thank you to Yuill McGregor, Cathy Tafler, Chair of the Building Committee, her partner Doug Rylett, Mark Tholen, and Paul Dixon for all of their support, time, and expertise during this ordeal. I’d also like to say a big thank you to all the amazing Karma staff who took this big inconvenience in stride. I never heard a single complaint, and we were all able to approach it with a little humour. This made things bearable. Thanks you guys! 

We also just recently had our parking lot repaved. The lot was in a very bad state and was becoming dangerous for those using it. We are glad to have that repair completed. Thanks to Yuill McGregor and crew for working hard to get the lot repaved in the pouring rain. 

This month we will be rolling out the new process for taring container weights! We’re moving to a less wasteful process that won’t require you to print a label or juggle two four-digit numbers in your head! You’ll simply have to record your tare weight, fill up, and bring your filled jars to cash. This change will be happening soon, so stay tuned! 

I am happy to report the 2019 Annual General Meeting was a success. There was so much interest from members to be on the board of directors, that we actually voted! I am thrilled to welcome so many new faces to the board this year. Some have been Karma members for many years (some even with previous Karma board experience), and some are relatively new to the co-op. I am very much looking forward to working with you all in the coming year! 

In staff news, a new collective agreement was successfully negotiated for staff in September. Also, Robbie has been hired to take over the role of Member Records Secretary. Robbie comes to the role with experience as a Member Support Specialist at MEC. Congratulations on your new position at Karma, Robbie! You’ll be great! 

See you around the store!
Talia

Talia McGuire
General Manager
Karma Co-op
manager@karmacoop.org

Karma’s Annual General Meeting

When: Monday, October 28 6:30pm – 9:30pm (doors and registration at 6:00pm)

Where: Friends House, 60 Lowther Ave

What else?: To volunteer to set up or take down for member hours, please contact Reece at agm.arrangements@karmacoop.org. Light snacks and refreshments will be served. AGM packages will be available online and in store by October 15.

A friendly reminder that events are open to all (Karma members, Guest Shoppers, members of the community, family, and friends).

You can find all of the information here.

Yours co-operatively,

Talia McGuire
General Manager
Karma Co-op
manager@karmacoop.org

 

 

Report from the board

It’s easy to tell Fall has arrived, now that honeynut winter squash have once again appeared at Karma, and then disappeared into shopping baskets just as quickly! Local tomatoes are still ripening but the air is starting to get a bit crisp, and it’s the perfect time to reconnect with community, friends and neighbours.

The Karma AGM is one place to do this! Monday, October 28, 6:30pm at the Friends’ House will be our yearly gathering full of friends, snacks, hot beverages, Karma updates and other business. All members are encouraged to participate!

Thoughts about joining the Board? It’s a great opportunity to develop and share skills, and organize with community-minded, supportive folks. We are recruiting directors and would love to chat with you about it! Email board@karmacoop.org or read here to learn more about the duties of the Karma Board of Directors. While all skills are welcomed, in particular, we are looking for members with expertise in law, building/construction, sales, accounting, and HR.

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM!

Your Board

 

Recruiting for Karma’s Board of Directors

As many of you know, Karma is lead by a volunteer board of directors. This is a wonderful opportunity to shape the future of your food co-op.

Karma needs to fill seven positions on its board at the co-op’s Annual General Meeting later this month. Ideally we would see several two year positions be filled to ensure smooth board transitions every year, and some one year terms for those who are eager to work on special projects, and contribute valuable direction and guidance to the co-op.

This year, the board will begin the strategic work of looking back at Karma’s significant accomplishments to date and looking forward to assess the future needs of the organization as it approaches its 50th anniversary in 2022.

All skills are welcomed! In particular we are looking for members with expertise in Business/Organizational Management, Financial Management, Board Secretary, HR expertise, Legal expertise, Engineering/Construction expertise, and Real Estate expertise. New board members will receive training.

This is one of the best ways to make a difference and help shape the community at Karma Co-op, and you will earn 6-10 member labour hours per month.

Should you have any questions about becoming a board member, please feel free to contact Kristy van Beek at president@karmacoop.org.

I look forward to working with you!

 

 

Report from the board

Greetings Karma Owners!

It was exactly a year ago this month that I first discovered a hidden gem, our amazing little food store. 

I came to Karma initially, after watching videos by YouTuber, Fully Raw Kristina, on my quest to test out a raw vegan diet (diet result, #fail). In one video, Kristina takes a trip to her local food co-op, and I immediately wondered, “Why don’t I shop in a food co-op?” You see, I live in a co-op, and as such, I already shared the values which are innate to the fabric of many co-ops: community, responsibility, democracy, connection, co-operation. In just over a month, I attended an introductory orientation, joined as a member, ran for the board, attended my first AGM, and was elected. In just one short year I have learned so much about Karma — certainly more than I’d ever anticipated! And, I’m finally beginning to feel like I have a sense of what’s going on.

Let’s start with some of thing things that happened in July — the good, the bad, and the ugly

I’ll first clear up the bad, and the ugly. The bad news is that the store suffered two floods in the month of July, in addition to one in May. Our staff, and in particular our general manager, Talia, have been phenomenal and working tirelessly to minimize the impact of this. A huge thanks for all of your extra efforts! It seems some considerable repairs will be needed (that’s the ugly). The Building Committee have been working together with Talia to research our options. We will update members at our upcoming AGM on what work was done, and what costs were incurred. Please be patient, as there will be repairs underway this month.

The good (great!) this month was our visit from Jon Steinman — member-owner and former board member of Canada’s largest food co-op, The Kootenay Co-op in British Columbia, producer and host of the Deconstructing Dinner podcast, and author of Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants. Jon gave a great talk to approximately 60 people, where he shared the importance of food stores like ours. Food, as Jon reminded us, is a basic human necessity. We all inherently know this to be true, and, where we live, we are lucky enough to be able to easily forget and even take our access to food for granted. And yet, as basic a need as food is, most Canadians (roughly 81%) purchase their groceries from one of the top five Canadian grocers, who provide little to no information about where the food comes from, what went into its production, or who produced it. Consumers also have no control or influence over the food system — the grocers primarily dictate the producer’s standards and price and shape the competitive landscape, leaving small producers virtually unable to compete. One of the greatest benefits (joys?) of being a member of Karma, is that we too are owners of our co-op, and we can access food that has been vetted to ensure that our products meet the standards of our members, our producers receive equitable compensation for the products they supply, and smaller producers have a market for their products. To learn more, pick up a copy of Jon’s book next time you’re in the store. You can also follow Jon on Twitter (@Grocery_Story) or Instagram (@jonsteinman_grocerystory). 

On the horizon we have our next Annual General Meeting and election of new members to our board of directors. As owners of our co-op, it is vital that we attend to not only ensure a future for our co-op, but also to help shape it. I understand that our meetings usually fall on the first Monday following Thanksgiving weekend; however, since that is the date of our upcoming federal election, the date, and possibly the venue, will have to be shifted slightly this year. Please keep an eye out for a Save The Date coming soon announcing more details of this year’s meeting, and plan to attend. I am also putting a call out to you now to please consider running for a spot on the board. Currently, we are functioning with a board which is about half the size of what would be considered ideal. As you can imagine, this makes it challenging to truly thrive as an organization. Our board, our committees, our manager, our staff, and I’m sure many of you have amazing ideas to make Karma even better — but we can’t do it without you. I would ask you to think about what the future of Karma means to you, and if it’s in your heart to do so, please consider joining us next year so that we can continue to enjoy our special gem. 

Wishing you all the very best as you soak up these beautiful days of summer. 

Sincerely, 

Kristy van Beek

PS. I’d love to hear from you! Reach me on Twitter (@kikilynnrocks), or by email, president@karmacoop.org