Report from the Board

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to our incredible staff team whose flexibility, creativity, commitment and hard work have kept our doors open during these incredibly challenging times. We are so very proud of you!

We are also very proud of our General Manager, Talia, whose leadership throughout this crisis has protected our health and safety. Our sanitizing and cleaning protocols exceed the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Guidelines for Food Premises. We continue to assess risks, and to improve and refine our best practices to ensure that we are protecting staff and members to the best of our ability.

In March, our sales were 40% higher than usual, which was great financially; however, staff became overwhelmed trying to keep pace with additional ordering, deliveries, and restocking while also implementing the many new and necessary cleaning protocols. To create a more manageable work environment for staff and to ensure the store is safe for members, our opening hours have now been reduced by one hour per day:
Tues-Sun vulnerable members’ shopping: 11am – 12 Noon
Tues-Sun regular members’ shopping: 12 Noon – 6pm

Our new schedule will provide staff with more time to attend to store operations. For these same reasons, we are also temporarily suspending new memberships and trial shopping. Non-members can still shop at Karma, paying a 15% surcharge as usual. We hope to welcome new members and trial shoppers back in the near future.

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Karma members love to socialize in the store and are actively engaged in our community. However, at this time, it is absolutely critical to practice physical distancing. When shopping, let’s do our best to protect ourselves, our family and community by following these simple practices:

  • wash our hands before we enter 
  • wear a mask while shopping
  • do not socialize in the store 
  • maintain physical distancing of 2 metres
  • come with a list to limit our shopping time and exposure to others
  • inform staff if we or someone we have been in contact with has or suspects having COVID-19. Staff will share the date and time of exposure with one another and with any members that may have been present at that time, emphasizing the need for self-isolation as per the City of Toronto orders. Members communicating a possible COVID exposure can rest assured that their identity will be kept in the strictest confidence, and will not be communicated in any manner.

If you can help with grocery deliveries to members who are vulnerable or self-isolating, please email Talia manager@karmacoop.org.

~~~

Outside of COVID-related news, there have been a few changes to our 2019–2020 Board members and officers. Here is our updated Board complement, including our new Treasurer:

  • Kristy van Beek, President
  • Andrea Dawber, Vice President
  • Jim O’Reilly, Secretary
  • Mike Paduada, Treasurer
  • Reece Steinberg
  • Lindsey Shorser
  • Mandy Hindle
  • Lev Jaeger
  • Tristan Laing

We would like to thank our past Secretary and Board member Brayden Lowery, as well as Jocelynn Rodrigues, for their many contributions. We welcome your suggestions and feedback at board@karmacoop.org.

In May, we will improve Board transparency by sharing Board minutes on the website. Unfortunately, because the Board was under capacity last year, there have been many tasks required to institute a series of standard practices to support the Board’s functioning and improve Board transitions in the future. As you might imagine, there has also been much work behind the scenes to support Karma staff and operations during these unprecedented times of COVID-19.

Let’s continue to do our part to #flattenthecurve, support our vulnerable community members and encourage one another to do the same.

Submitted by Andrea Dawber for the Board of Directors

 

 

2018 – 2019 Board of Directors

Kristy van Beek, President

Kristy van Beek comes to Karma with 13 years of retail expertise, having worked with many professional retail skin care brands. Kristy is known professionally for having strong skills in sales, marketing, training, merchandising, and strategic business planning. 
In her spare time, Kristy dedicates her time to her two rescue dogs, and many volunteer organizations including Karma, METTA Housing Cooperative, Canadian Ski Patrol, Redemption Paws, and vegan outreach activities. 


Jocelynn Rodrigues, Vice President

Hey. My name is Jocelynn and my pronouns are they/them.

I have been a Karma member since moving to Tkaronto in 2017. Collaboration and cooperation are my jam. What I love about co-ops is that they are vibrant, resilient, and deeply rooted in/informed by community.

The Dish With One Spoon Wampum belt, a covenant between the Haudenosaunee and the Anishnaabe to peaceably share the Land and nature’s gifts, espouses deep cooperativism and I reflect on what it might mean to be a food co-op on these lands. How might we uphold and strengthen this covenant, together? I seek to engage with what it means to live and do work as a settler upon the traditional and contemporary unceded territories of the Haudenosaunee (Huron-Wendat, Seneca), Ojibwe (Mississaugas of the Credit river) and Métis peoples. I give thanks to the many Indigenous communities throughout the world who have brought forth and continue to steward cooperative energy since time immemorial. Chi Miigwetch. I am equally grateful to the many visionary African Americans who demonstrated, and continue to do so, the loving and liberatory nature of cooperatives. Check out Jessica Gordon Nemhard’s foundational work and book Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. I exist in the space I do today because of all those who held space before me. And for that, I am deeply grateful and perpetually inspired.

I am passionate about life, nature, vibrational living, and the brilliantly deep interconnectedness within and beyond this planet. I bring an eclectic mix of skills from accounting, to social work, to Reiki, to Permaculture (recognizing and honouring the contemporary and traditional Indigenous wisdoms that these teachings stem from), and beyond. I love to cook and eat plant-based foods, brew kombucha, laugh, play soccer, smell soil, connect and learn from plants, sing, create music, and dance in all the ways. I am into DIY vibes and repairing/up-cycling objects; founding the Vancouver Fix-It Collective in 2015, and I make my own household products, among other things. Nature and the cosmos are my teacher. I am continually inspired by, and in awe of, nature and the built-in abundance that it operates from and I wonder how we can translate this abundance into our experience in this now moment – particularly within co-ops. I currently work as a Reiki energy healer, holding space for folks to remember who they have always been. Each day I continue to dive deeper into remembering who I am, and why I am here. It is a journey of love. I am thankful to all those who came before me (and will continue after me) to co-create Karma into what it is – thank-you to everyone – your efforts inspire me. I am excited to serve on the Karma Board and I look forward to more collaborating. Come say hi!


Rosemary Frei, Secretary

Rosemary has a BSc in agriculture from the University of Alberta and an MSc in molecular biology from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary She retired in 2016 from a long career as a medical journalist and pivoted to become a full-time volunteer, activist and journalist. Her articles appear in outlets ranging from Rabble.ca to BoingBoing.com. She does Kundalini yoga regularly to keep up her joy quotient. Rosemary has served on boards for other organizations ranging from the Canadian Science Writers’ Association to the Wilderness Adventurers of Ontario. She joined Karma Coop in January 2018 and looks forward to contributing to Karma’s double-stranded DNA of strengthening both social consciousness and food security.


Donald Altman, Treasurer

I first joined a food co-op store – Don Vale (Karma II) – in the fall of 1976. Very early on I became involved in the volunteer management of the co-op which has been the pattern for all my involvements. Then, when it folded, I joined Bain Food Co-op around 1980; and when it folded, I joined Karma around 1986 or so. As well, I was amongst a group which tried to start a supermarket co-op in the Regent Park area of Toronto in the early 1980’s. I have taken a leadership role – mostly treasurer – in all these organizations. At Karma Food Co-op I have been a board member and treasurer, and I have been on the Finance Committee continuously since 1991. Most recently I was the Finance Committee Chair.

At the ONFC, trade name of the OFFCC (Ontario Federation of Food Co-operatives and Clubs, Inc.), I have been on the finance committee since 1979 serving as member, treasurer and mostly as chair. I have also served several terms on the board.  

I also have many years’ experience on the boards of other co-operatives and credit union including what is now Alterna Savings and Credit Union, the Worker Ownership Development Foundation, the Church Isabella Residents Co-operative, and The Co-operators Group Limited. I have a lifetime achievement award from the Ontario Co-operative Association, am a life member of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto, and a 25-year achievement award from the Ontario credit union system. I also have been awarded the Gary Gillam Award for social responsibility from the credit union system.   I passionately believe that co-operation is the business model between capitalism and state socialism that provides the best alternate model for people involvement and the control and the distribution of surplus. I want to change the system, and I do that by volunteering and supporting co-operative organizations. Karma is one of these organizations.


Reece Steinberg, Strategic Planning

Reece is a college librarian, winter squash enthusiast, amateur cabin-builder, occasional advice columnist, and several-times-weekly shopper at Karma. He joined the Co-op as a working member shortly after moving to Toronto in 2015, and has participated in store cash and opening, outreach, events, strategic planning, inventory and other activities. As Planning Secretary, he is interested in working with other members and staff to build upon Karma’s strengths, focusing on effective strategies for keeping Karma a sustainable and community-minded cooperative with a solid future.


Lindsey Shorser, Technology Secretary

Lindsey is a sessional instructor at the University of Toronto, an avid cyclist, and amateur drummer. Since joining Karma last year, she has enjoyed using Karma’s products to make sourdoughs and fermented vegetable dishes. Her previous board experience includes various university-based organizations and committees of the Canadian Mathematics Society. She has also been involved with non-profits such as Ve’ahavta, the Daily Bread Food Bank, and the Kensington Market-based Who’s Emma Collective. Currently, Lindsey is serving as Technology Secretary on the Karma Board of Directors and coordinating the website redesign project.


Tom Smarda, Director

Tom Smarda spent ten years during the ’70s hitch-hiking around North America, playing music from the Yukon to Guatemala, from the east coast to the west coast, in Canada, as well as the United States. Exposed to many cultures, witnessing the ongoing destruction of the Earth, hand-in-hand with increasing poverty and injustice, inspired him to write songs that hopefully can constructively and compassionately address some important universal concerns. He believes that we can house, clothe and feed one another without destroying the Earth in the process for future generations.


Jocelynn Rodrigues

Vice President, 2018-2019 Board of Directors

Hey. My name is Jocelynn and my pronouns are they/them.

I have been a Karma member since moving to Tkaronto in 2017. Collaboration and cooperation are my jam. What I love about co-ops is that they are vibrant, resilient, and deeply rooted in/informed by community.

The Dish With One Spoon Wampum belt, a covenant between the Haudenosaunee and the Anishnaabe to peaceably share the Land and nature’s gifts, espouses deep cooperativism and I reflect on what it might mean to be a food co-op on these lands. How might we uphold and strengthen this covenant, together? I seek to engage with what it means to live and do work as a settler upon the traditional and contemporary unceded territories of the Haudenosaunee (Huron-Wendat, Seneca), Ojibwe (Mississaugas of the Credit river) and Métis peoples. I give thanks to the many Indigenous communities throughout the world who have brought forth and continue to steward cooperative energy since time immemorial. Chi Miigwetch. I am equally grateful to the many visionary African Americans who demonstrated, and continue to do so, the loving and liberatory nature of cooperatives. Check out Jessica Gordon Nemhard’s foundational work and book Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. I exist in the space I do today because of all those who held space before me. And for that, I am deeply grateful and perpetually inspired.

I am passionate about life, nature, vibrational living, and the brilliantly deep interconnectedness within and beyond this planet. I bring an eclectic mix of skills from accounting, to social work, to Reiki, to Permaculture (recognizing and honouring the contemporary and traditional Indigenous wisdoms that these teachings stem from), and beyond. I love to cook and eat plant-based foods, brew kombucha, laugh, play soccer, smell soil, connect and learn from plants, sing, create music, and dance in all the ways. I am into DIY vibes and repairing/up-cycling objects; founding the Vancouver Fix-It Collective in 2015, and I make my own household products, among other things. Nature and the cosmos are my teacher. I am continually inspired by, and in awe of, nature and the built-in abundance that it operates from and I wonder how we can translate this abundance into our experience in this now moment – particularly within co-ops. I currently work as a Reiki energy healer, holding space for folks to remember who they have always been. Each day I continue to dive deeper into remembering who I am, and why I am here. It is a journey of love. I am thankful to all those who came before me (and will continue after me) to co-create Karma into what it is – thank-you to everyone – your efforts inspire me. I am excited to serve on the Karma Board and I look forward to more collaborating. Come say hi!

Report from the board—June 2018

Happy spring! Or is it summer? All of the lovely weather has brought many of us out and about and ushers in a flurry of activities as we relish warm, sunshine-filled days. Your Karma Board of Directors is no exception. We recently welcomed three new board members, Kat Biondi, Julie McKernan, and Rebecca Waterhouse into our ranks. Kat and Rebecca will serve the remainder of the term with the possibility of extending their terms beyond this year’s Annual General Meeting and Julie has committed to a two-year term. Read on to learn a bit more about your new board members.

Kat Biondi’s passion for community engagement and community building led her to join the board, where she hopes to engage in more conversations around food systems, environmental impact, and food security issues. Kat has been working in the not-for-profit sector for over a decade, in areas of fundraising, operations and administrative management, and volunteer and human resource management.

Julie McKernan is a new Karma member and decided to join the co-op and the board to become a more engaged and respectful local and global community member. Her interests are around waste reduction, supporting organic growing practices, and buying local and in-season products. While she currently works in operations and project management in the insurance field, Julie also brings retail, events coordination, communications, planning, and marketing experience to the mix.

Rebecca Waterhouse is also a new co-op member looking to engage and connect with ethical and sustainable food movement champions. She brings over five years of experience in the not-for-profit and social entrepreneur sectors, and work in a variety of areas including data evaluation and analytics, program development, and strategic planning. Rebecca is interested in helping communities reclaim ownership of their food systems and creating and maintaining resilient communities.

The board has also recently formed a Strategic Planning Committee and is currently recruiting interested members to join the committee and assist in research and data collection to form the basis for the creation of a Strategic Plan. Within the co-op (and the broader food sector), member sales and engagement continue to decline and engaging in strategic planning will help the co-op take more proactive steps to better position itself within this climate and strengthen its longevity. Those interested in learning more or joining the Strategic Planning Committee, please see the call out below. A member survey will also be circulated over the summer as part of this process, so keep your eyes peeled on your inboxes! We know summer is a busy time for everyone and we would really appreciate member engagement and support of this process. We look forward to sharing more at our upcoming Annual General Meeting.

Spring is often a time of change and there are some exciting changes on the horizon for Karma’s storefront! The co-op is already well-known for this fantastic bulk section, featuring a wide range of unique dry, refrigerated, and frozen items, including organic Ontario popping corn kernels (my favourite), hulled hemp, parmesan, wild blueberries, and cranberries, to name a few. New bulk bins and shelving are coming! They will be installed in the coming weeks, and we can’t wait to see the new and improved bulk section! Be sure to swing by the co-op after the 18th to check out the changes and load up on your favourite bulk items! This time of year means lots of outdoor barbecuing, entertaining, and picnicking in the park. No better place to find everything you need to make a memorable meal than your local food co-op!

Co-operatively Yours,

Alli Floroff (Board President)
on behalf of Board of Directors, Karma Food Co-op

Strategic Planning Committee Call-Out

Are you a self-reliant Karma member looking to

  • Gain member hours?
  • Acquire research and interview skills?
  • Contribute to the co-op?

If so, the newly-formed Strategic Planning Committee wants to hear from you! We’re looking for members with spare time over the summer to engage in research and interviewing, which would form the basis for the creation of a Strategic Plan. No experience is needed, interested members would be supported by board member, Dayna Stein, throughout the data collection process, though they would be responsible for conducting their work independently and meeting specific timelines. If you’re interested in learning more or joining the Committee, please contact Dayna at board@karmacoop.org, subject line: Strategic Planning Committee.

Meet your 2017–2018 board members

Alli Floroff (President)

Alli is excited to be returning to the board for a second one-year term as board President. Over the next year, she hopes to provide a strong anchoring point in the coordination of strategic processes and grow her leadership and facilitation experience. Alli has been a member for three years, joining while she was a Masters in Environmental Studies student at York University, where she specialized in sustainable food systems and procurement and  co-operatives

Professionally, Alli has worked extensively in the food sector for co-operatives, small business, and not-for-profits and currently works at Stasis Preserves in the Roncesvalles area. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking, exploring the city on her bike, working out, practicing yoga, and taking in the city’s arts and culture scenes.

Kate Rusnak (Vice-President)

This will be Kate’s fourth year on Karma’s board. She joined Karma in 2009 and works with members interested in improving the co-op’s sales through marketing and communications efforts. In her professional life, Kate is a communications strategist for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. This year, she’s excited about special social media campaigns the co-op is undertaking to raise Karma’s profile and bring in new members.

 

 

Alice Barton (Treasurer)

Alice Barton has been a Karma member for about 12 years, and on the board as Treasurer, returning for a one-year term after completing a two-year term in the same position.  A self-employed small business owner in the practice of criminal defence law, Alice came to the law through studies in earth sciences and a combined MES/LLB from York University. Alice’s commitment to environmental and community responsibility keeps her busy: she was an active member of the Toronto Public Space Committee, a member of the board of the Community Bicycle Network, and a founding member of Bixi (now Bikeshare Toronto). She plays ultimate, and she is a mediocre and enthusiastic cook.

 

Aidan Nulman (Corporate Secretary)

Aidan is a serial entrepreneur and software developer, specializing in Javascript (including Electron, Ember.js, and Cordova), Ruby (Rails + beyond), and Swift. He was a founding partner of Isle of Code, a leading software development studio based in Toronto + Houston.

Aidan joined Karma in 2016, as he values cooking and serving organic, GMO-free, sustainable foods. He is excited to grow and improve the community as Corporate Secretary, and by working on strategic projects like a website update + social media campaigns.

Dayna Stein

Dayna Stein is a food systems and sustainability planning consultant who has worked extensively with municipalities, universities, public schools, for profits, non-profits and a First Nation community to do food system planning, impact evaluation research, market research, strategic planning, and social enterprise development. Dayna sits on the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council as co-chair of the networking committee, and before that, the education committee. She also sits on the Board of Directors for a newly formed charity called Feeding Canadian Kids. Dayna focused her academic career on sustainable and socially just food systems and their impact on nutrition, health, and community development. She graduated with a Master’s of Science in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability, focusing her Thesis on cross-sector collaboration around food waste mitigation. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems from UBC and is currently pursuing a certificate from U of T in Entrepreneurship. Dayna is an eager learner, an artist, an advocate, a world traveler, and a zero-waste enthusiast. She is excited to grow within and grow out the Karma Community.

Donald Altman

I first joined a food co-op store — Don Vale (Karma II) — in the fall of 1976. Very early on I became involved in the volunteer management of the co-op, which has been the pattern for all my involvements. Then, when it folded, I joined Bain Food Co-op around 1980; and when it folded, I joined Karma around 1986. As well, I was amongst a group that tried to start a supermarket co-op in the Regent Park area of Toronto in the early 1980s. I have taken a leadership role — mostly treasurer — in all of these organizations. At Karma Co-op I have been a board member and treasurer, and I have been on the Finance Committee continuously since 1991. Most recently I was the Finance Committee chair.

At the Ontario Natural Food Company (ONFC), the trade name of the Ontario Federation of Food Co-operatives and Clubs, I have been on the Finance Committee since 1979, serving as member, treasurer, and mostly as chair. I have also served several terms on the board.

I also have many years’ experience on the boards of other co-ops and credit unions including what is now Alterna Savings and Credit Union, the Worker Ownership Development Foundation, the Church Isabella Residents Co-operative, and The Co-operators Group Limited. I have a lifetime achievement award from the Ontario Co-operative Association, a 25-year achievement award from the Ontario credit union system, and am a life member of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto. I also have been awarded the Gary Gillam Award for social responsibility from the credit union system.

I passionately believe that co-operation is the business model between capitalism and state socialism that provides the best alternate model for people involvement and the control and the distribution of surplus. I want to change the system, and I do that by volunteering and supporting co-op organizations. Karma is one of these organizations.