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!

Karma Co-op Building Committee Report

If you haven’t been in the Karma office this year you might not have noticed the changes that have taken place. Have a look the next time you are in the store!

After Talia and the staff did a great job rearranging the desks and shelving, a group of members had a few work sessions to cut down some desks and paint some shelves and walls. The old electric baseboard in the office, which was no longer functioning, was replaced with a smaller unit by an electrician.

If you are shopping at night, you probably noticed the new LED motion-detector light beside the entrance and the new string of LED lights mounted on the fence.

In the washroom, the doorknob was replaced with a lever handle. The taps and cracked sink were replaced, the surface-mounted hot water supply was hidden in the wall, and the drywall was repaired.

Karma members also built a new roof on the outside shed, trimmed branches that were overhanging the roof of the store, and installed additional weather stripping on the front door.

The annual oiling of the reclaimed-wood exterior doors with Penofin Verde was also done back in the fall.

Thank you to all the members who participated in these projects to help keep Karma beautiful!

If you have any ideas for projects that need to be done around Karma please contact the Building Committee. Everyone is welcome to help out with and/or coordinate any of the projects — please contact building@karmacoop.org.

Thanks,
Cathy Tafler
Chair, Building Committee

Good Karma, good vibrations

My journey at Karma began with a search for miso paste.

I was researching where to buy miso paste in Toronto, and came across several familiar store names. Karma Co-op was also on the list, but I had never heard of it. I dug into their (our!) website and I liked what I saw. One of my interests is community development, and I noticed there’s a committee devoted to this. I wanted to contribute but had to join as a member first. So on February 1, I had my member orientation at Karma.

Among the first things that struck me about the quaint, cozy, and intimate co-op were the friendly staff and members who all seemed to know each other’s names and faces as they effortlessly made conversation. It endowed me with a wonderful sense of community to be surrounded by like-minded people who share common values, such as environmental sustainability, health, community-building, and organic and ethical products.

One of my favourite things about Karma is that it does not feel overcrowded—there are no excessive products, no waste—just the right amount to keep you satisfied. It all started with miso paste but I will continue to be a member at Karma because, as an organization, its values align well with my own. Here at Karma, it is not just organic produce that is cultivated—a conspicuous attempt at cultivating relationships with food and people is also present. I feel closer to the people, and closer to the food that will nourish the cells of my body.

Another major factor for me is democracy. Walking around Karma and being introduced to this non-profit organization immediately set Karma apart from mainstream, big-box grocery stores. As a member, I can participate in how the co-op is managed, including which products it stocks.

Ultimately, I leave feeling like an empowered consumer—someone who has a say in shaping my relationship with food and who is equipped with more information than I can find at a big-box store. That feeling alone makes it worth being a member at Karma. I wholeheartedly support food co-ops; and since finding one for myself, I feel it is the only way of grocery shopping that makes sense.

Simmy Saini lives in Mississauga and commutes to Toronto for work, after graduating last summer from University of Toronto with a major in environmental studies.

Read more articles from the spring 2017 issue of Karma’s printed newsletter, The Chronicle.