From the GM—April 2018

Dear Karma Members,

Having just received the first delivery of the 2018 Ontario spinach and lettuce, we’re getting excited about what’s on the horizon for local food! March and April are some of the more difficult months for sourcing local food as the last of the storage crops get used up and we wait for warmer temperatures.

At Karma, we do our best to source local ingredients as much as possible even during these months. Our small size and way of doing business means we are able to provide members with more local options throughout the year than larger grocers. Currently, we have 30 produce items grown in Ontario and Quebec, including cucumbers, cabbage, loose carrots, mushrooms, garlic, onions, and apples.

It only gets better from here! Keep your eye on our social media pages to keep informed about what’s fresh and in season.  You’ll also find some great tips and recipes for living more sustainably!

Happy Spring!!

Yours co-operatively,

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

From the GM—March 2018

Dear Karma Members,

It has been a very busy month at the Co-op! We’ve been working hard to bring in some great new products for you with a real focus on reducing plastic and waste. We hope you love the new additions as much as we do. We had a lot of fun researching them and getting to know the people who make them.

As many of you have noticed, we moved some things around in the produce section. The reviews have been overwhelming positive. We’re thrilled you love the new space! We are also finishing up work in the bathroom. Soon it will have a fresh coat of paint and new backsplash!

We’ve also been working hard on getting our social media team and campaign off the ground. Thanks to some hard-working and creative members and our social media consultants at The Enabling City, we will be sharing our best content and spreading the word about Karma. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (click on “Follow Us” at the top of the page on the right) and to like and share our posts. The more things get shared, the more people will find out about our co-op!

We recently got news that Kathryn Camfield has decided to lay some roots in Victoria and stay beyond her leave of absence. Though we will miss her, we’re happy and excited for her. There have been rumours that she is keen to start up a food co-op in Victoria! ???? We’ll all be rooting for you Kat!

Join Karma’s Social Media Team!

Are you social media savvy? Do you love to create engaging content for the world to see? Are you passionate about environmental, food, or sustainability issues? Are you passionate about your co-op? We’re looking to up our social media game and need people with skills and passion in these areas to help us increase our social media presence. We need to fill various roles including team liaisons, content creators, editors, and schedulers. If you are interested in getting your member labour hours by helping Karma reach our social media goals, please contact Talia.

Yours co-operatively,

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

From the GM—February 2018

Dear Karma Members,

We have been busy working with our social media consultant from Enabling City over the past two months to launch Karma’s first social media campaign! The purpose of the campaign is to help get the word out about Karma and to ultimately drive traffic to the store. We’ll need your help to make the campaign successful since a big part of its success relies on how much they are viewed and shared among our networks. If you “like,” comment on and share our campaign posts, the more visibility we’ll get, and, with that, more traffic to the store! Keep your eyes peeled for the campaign launch! You may see someone you know…

Another way you can help to promote Karma is by rating us on Yelp. Yelp is a site to help people find local businesses. If someone is searching for “Organic Grocery Stores,” we want to make sure Karma is at the top of the list. The more reviews we have, the more likely we are to come up in people’s Yelp searches. And of course, positive reviews are even better! 😉  It’s a simple way members can help boost the co-op’s visibility and get more people shopping at Karma.

We’ve been doing some rearranging again! Our new bulk cleaner section has been turning heads! We’ve placed all our bulk cleaning products in one convenient location for you to refill your containers. We even brought in some exciting new products like white vinegar, dishwasher tabs, and hand soap, all in bulk!

We are also reorganizing the members’ room! This space has historically been a graveyard for unwanted books and forgotten items, as well as used as extra storage for the store. I will be working with Karma member Tonia Cordi, owner of Time and Space Solutions, to revision the space so that it is more welcoming and functional for members’ use. I hope you enjoy the changes!

Join Karma’s Social Media Team!

Are you social media savvy? Do you love creating engaging content for the world to see? Are you passionate about environmental issues, food politics, and sustainable living? Are you passionate about your co-op? We’re looking to up our social media game and need people with skills and passion in these areas to help us increase our social media presence. We need to fill various roles including team liaisons, content creators, editors, and schedulers. If you are interested in getting your member labour hours by helping Karma reach our social media goals, please contact Talia.

Yours co-operatively,

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

From the GM—December 2017

Dear Karma Members,

You know it’s the holidays at Karma when the Darn Tough socks arrive! And they have! As the holidays quickly approach, we are busy preparing for the festivities! We are busy ordering new products and deciding which items our members will enjoy throughout the season. You will be able to find all that you need for your holiday entertaining and, of course, great gift ideas!

To make your holiday shopping easier this year, we are offering our first ever assembled holiday gift bags! These bags feature some of our favourite products and come packaged in Karma totes and reusable bulk bags. You can even order online for quick pick up in store!

You’ll be happy to know that we are once again taking pre-orders for Southbrook Vineyards organic wines. Don’t forget that 10% of wine orders goes back to Karma! So stock up for your holiday entertaining at Karma!

After the positive feedback we received about the West End Food Co-op (WEFC) tourtières last year, we will be taking pre-orders again this year! Handmade in the WEFC kitchen, these traditional Québecois meat pies are made with grass-fed organic ground beef and pork from Hoffnung and Beretta Farms. You can order in store or by emailing me at manager@karmacoop.org.

Enjoy the holidays, Karma members!

Yours co-operatively,

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

From the GM — November 2017

Dear Karma Members,

Thanks to all who attended this year’s AGM. It was a well-attended meeting complete with AGM regulars and some new faces as well! We welcomed four new faces to the Board of Directors and said goodbye to several members as well. I wanted to sincerely thank all the board members who left the board this year. Being on the Board of Directors is a big commitment and very important work. I truly enjoyed and learned so much in working with each one of you. Thank you for your commitment to Karma and in helping your co-op move forward.

On a related note, I realize I wrongfully neglected to mention a very important topic and thank you at the AGM — a topic I am sure would have sparked discussion around the room, especially since I had received so much input on the topic from members individually. That was in regards to the member who generously gave a monetary gift to help Karma in whatever way the board and myself saw appropriate. As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, this was a gift given from someone who adores their co-op and who is also in a position to give. This gift is so greatly appreciated and will surely do good for our co-op. I want to offer my deepest gratitude and thanks to that individual.

The donation and article, Karma’s Future, had members talking. The spirit of the article was to present the option of donating and to inspire other members who might find themselves in a similar position to give in a monetary way.

You will be happy to know that the article has inspired others. Since the article was written, another member contacted me to find out how their money could be of use to Karma. After some discussion, this member decided they would like to fund Karma’s social media strategy — a project that will be commencing mid-November for approximately four months, and that will see us hiring a social media professional to help boost Karma’s social media and online presence in order to increase membership.  So another very big and grateful thank you needs to be expressed to this member, a long-time member to whom Karma means a great deal. Your generosity is very appreciated by myself and fellow members. Thank you, thank you.

If any of this resonates with you, please feel free to connect with me to chat about the possibilities. I would be happy to explore any ideas you might have or share with you some of mine.

FREE Vermicompost!

Karma’s worms and vermicompost team have been working hard to produce and harvest this year’s worm compost! Help yourselves to the compost for use in your gardens or houseplants. The compost is in blue rubbermaid bins just outside the front doors. Vermicompost is a wonderful soil amendment full of vital nutrients to keep your plants (and soil!) healthy. Use as is as a top dressing or make into a tea for fast absorption by plants.

Changes to cashing out

In the very near future, we will be asking for your last name, instead of household number, when cashing out. This is to resolve some issues we’ve been having with members being cashed out under the wrong accounts. We hope that in asking for member’s names, we will alleviate this issue and be more personable in the process!

Yours co-operatively,
Talia McGuire
General Manager
Karma Co-op
manager@karmacoop.org

Karma’s future

I am not naming myself, because this is about Karma, not me.

If all your dollars know what they have to do, you might skip this article.

If you’ve been reading all the reports, you know that Karma’s losing money, which can’t go on indefinitely. However, the infusion of some “free money” might, if used creatively, turn things around.

I don’t subscribe to the economic principle that something has to make money to be worthwhile. Often the opposite is true.

I have been a Karma member from the beginning, tho’ I left for some years. That was a mistake. I want to remain a part of this community for the rest of my life. Sure, I could shop at Fiesta, or Noah’s, but I don’t want to. I bet you’ve never gone to one of them because you’d like some good conversation, even if what you buy could have waited.

Life has gone better for me than I imagined, and while we’re not fabulously wealthy, we have more money than we need. How about you?

My spouse and I are giving Karma a chunk of “free money,” for Talia and the board to use as they think best. Talia mentioned some possible uses for the money (completing the bulk bin renovations; hiring a social media/marketing person; small building projects), all of which sound good to us. There is just no slush fund to finance them.

I want the downward drift to end before it’s too late.

Remember the point behind Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi: “…you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone…”

So, take Talia aside, in the member’s room, and ask her what the amount of money you can spare might be used for.

If you can, GIVE so Karma may LIVE!

From the GM—September 2017

Dear Karma Members,

I hope you have all enjoyed the summer. Though summer is not technically over, gears start to shift as we all get back to the regular grind at work or school.  At the store, we start to see more faces and have more regular committee meetings which drive our vision and mission, and, of course, we see more fresh local produce coming through the doors. Fall is always an exciting time at Karma. I look forward to catching up with all of you and getting back to moving our co-op forward.  If you are interested in knowing more about how to get involved with your co-op, please feel free to contact me to discuss where we can best put your skills and energy to use.

We have brought some new and exciting products to the store this month which I hope you enjoy! As with all of the products we carry, we take time in selecting new products for our shelves to ensure we are offering members the best products available. Our purchasing decisions are guided by Karma’s Product Policy, a wonderful resource for our purchasing staff and members alike, created by our hardworking Food Issues Committee. If this is the first you’ve heard of this Karma trademark, you should definitely check it out!

Don’t forget, Karma has a wide selection of containers for those litterless lunches for back to school, as well as some tasty, healthy, and school-safe snack and meal options!

In late August we said goodbye to Sadie Goldstein. Though Sadie has left the Karma team, thankfully we know she will continue to be a regular working member and familiar face at the store. All the best to you and all that you take on Sadie. We will miss your thoughtful heart and positive spirit. You are a gem.

Cheyenne Spence was hired to take on Sadie’s responsibilities. Cheyenne is a keen locavore and urban farmer. We know she will be a great addition to the Karma team. Welcome Cheyenne!

Yours co-operatively,
Talia McGuire
General Manager
Karma Co-op
manager@karmacoop.org

From the GM — August 2017

Dear Karma Members,

We hope you are enjoying the summer! As people are enjoying vacations and cottages, things tend to slow down here at the store and we experience our usual summer sales slump. That said, we still have lots of exciting things happening around the store for those of you who are staycationing and enjoying the Toronto summer!

We have some great workshops this month, including a repeat of last month’s DIY Sunscreen (back by popular demand) and How to Home Brew! Also, the growing is in full swing, so we are fully stocked with the freshest local produce of the season.

Enjoy!
Yours co-operatively,

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

From the GM — July 2017

Dear Karma Members,

Thank you to all who helped us celebrate our 45th anniversary; it was an uplifting and energizing day filled with great company, food, and drink. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

I would like to say a very big thank you to the sponsors who made our day extra special. Thanks to: Acropolis Organics, AllYum Onion Chips, Auggie’s Pops, Black River Juices, Dale Wilson, Laneway Project, Montforte Dairy, Neal Brothers, ONFC, Pfennings Organics, Southbrook Vineyards, Sunflower Kitchen, Sweets From the Earth, TWB Brewing Co-operative, Urbane Cyclist, and Zara’s Kitchen. Our connections with all of our suppliers have very deep roots, and we’re so grateful for your work and for sharing your products with us over the years.

Also a very big thank you to the Planning Committee and all of the members and staff who helped on the day of. Our 45th anniversary celebration would not have been possible without all of you and your devotion.

I also want to acknowledge Richard Haney, Karma’s founding President, for making the trek to Toronto from Ottawa. It was wonderful to hear his stories of our early years as an organization. It was such a pleasure to have you Richard!

For those of you who weren’t able to join us, don’t worry, we’ll see you at the 50th, if not before!

Yours co-operatively,

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

From the GM — June 2017

Dear Karma Members,

It’s time to celebrate! If you haven’t already heard, Karma turned 45 on May 16 and we’re having a party to mark our co-op’s milestone! The big day is set for Saturday, June 24 from 2 to 6 pm in our parking lot and along Karma Lane. There are lots of fun activities scheduled and lots of great food and drink to be enjoyed. It is sure to be a great time! We hope you can join us to celebrate 45 years of co-operative action and sustainable food in our community!

In addition to the 45th celebrations, there are lots of other events happening around the store in June. Please see the events listings for more details on the 45th and other events.

Later this month we will be saying a temporary goodbye to Health and Beauty Buyer, Kat Camfield as she embarks on a one-year journey to Victoria, BC. We will miss Kat’s unwavering positivity, compassion, and cheery self. Best of luck to you Kat! We hope the year ahead has many great things in store for you. We look forward to having you back!

Yours co-operatively,
Talia McGuire
General Manager
Karma Co-op
manager@karmacoop.org