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Pesach (Passover): April 3-11, 2015

For the past four years I’ve been happy to write that we Wheatsville product procurers have been able to source Kosher for Passover items in the Grocery Department. We’ve received some great feedback from owners and other customers about the past selections, which help us make our decisions for planning this year’s Passover offerings. The theme that’s emerging is a dedication to tradition, with some updates to include organic and gluten free.

For instance, classic Streit’s Matzo Crackers are popular as well as Streit’s Organic Matzos, Whole Wheat Matzos and Yehuda Gluten Free Matzo Style Crackers. Classic Streit’s Matzo Ball Soup Mix is complimented by a gluten free option as well. Traditional favorites such as Streit’s Coconut Macaroons, Manischewitz Premium Gefilte Fish and Kedem Organic Grape Juice round out the selection.

All items are certified Kosher for Passover and will be located independently on their own display apart from other items. The shelves will be wrapped with white paper, as is the custom. We will have some nice sales and discounts on many of the Passover foods. Look for this display starting Wednesday March 18th through the end of Passover. All items are available while supplies last, since we are only able to get one large order from our distributor. I hope you enjoy this year’s Passover foods and if there’s anything you would like to see next year, let us know on the Wheatsville Wish List, located at the front Hospitality Desk and online wheatsville.coop/shop/request-a-product

Chag Pesach Sameach!

by Jordana Hoffman, Guadalupe Operations Lead

Passover has always been my favorite holiday of the year. Even as a child, I preferred Passover matza to Hanukkah gelt, and I was always happy to help rid the house of Chametz, or leavened bread, which is forbidden during the holiday, even though that meant cleaning the whole house from top to bottom. I have always loved how different it is, a week like no other week of the year, that tells of an event unlike any other in Jewish history.

Perhaps another reason for my love of Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, comes from the story of the exodus itself. Every year at the Passover seder, we recall the Jews’ exodus from Egypt and their escape from slavery under Pharaoh. We talk about the ten plagues, Moses and Pharaoh, and of course, the parting of the Red Sea.

There is a story from a biblical commentator, about two men, freshly emancipated from Egyptian slavery, who were present at the splitting of the sea. They witnessed this amazing miracle and yet as they crossed the ocean floor to freedom, all they could do was complain about the mud in their sandals. These men were so blessed, yet so unaware of it because of a little mud.

It’s so easy to get caught up these days, there’s work or school, cellphones and Facebook; there are a million things to distract us from the beauty, to be the mud in our sandals. But when Passover comes, we get to step back. This Passover, celebrate the holiday by stopping the distractions and embracing all of your blessings. Have a Chag Pesach Sameach!

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Recruiting Local

Wheatsville is always looking for amazing staff to help us stock, cook, merchandise and sell all of our great products. As the Recruiting and Development Coordinator at the co-op, I have the fun job of reaching out to our community to talk about Wheatsville employment opportunities.

This February we visited the Career Expo hosted by Huston-Tillotson College. I was happy to meet many capable, confident candidates that were excited to learn about the grocery industry and what makes Wheatsville special as a cooperative business.  Some people had questions about whether we offer part-time employment that will fit into their school schedule. (We do!) .

People were most excited about our benefits. (They’re awesome!) Health, dental, vision, and life  insurance, bike to work reimbursement program, 401 K Plan, 15% discount on purchases, positive work culture, and so much more. Wheatsville will be attending more events with Huston-Tillotson, as well as with UT in the upcoming months.

I am also very proud of our other community partnerships with Austin Clubhouse, Marbridge Foundation, and Texas School for the Deaf (just to name a few!)  Do you know a friendly, cheerful, customer service superstar who is looking for a fun and engaging workplace? Let them know they can apply in person at either of our locations or online at www.Wheatsville.coop.

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Eden Foods Decision

The results of our annual election are in and as of January 1st, 2015, Wheatsville Food Co-op will no longer sell any Eden Foods products or use them in our recipes. The issue of whether or not to remove Eden Foods products was decided by a democratic vote as outlined in our bylaws. Below is the final verified vote tally from our Annual Election.

We know that some of our customers have been enjoying Eden Foods products for years and will be disappointed to learn that we will no longer stock that brand. As a cooperatively owned retail grocery, we abide by the rules mutually agreed upon in our bylaws and the collective decision reached by our owners.  We appreciate the effort and time it took members of the co-op to bring this issue to a vote and are very proud of the cooperative and democratic process used to make the final decision.

We have included a recap outline of the petition process that led to this decision and have included answers to frequently asked questions below.



Summary of the Issue

Eden Foods is one of the oldest natural and organic food companies in North America and has been an industry leader in maintaining organic standards, directly supporting North American family farms, and providing Non-GMO assurance on all products. The brand’s line of BPA-free canned beans, condiments, soymilk and pastas has been carried at Wheatsville Food Co-op since the 80’s.

On March 20, 2013, Eden Foods filed suit against the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, which administers the Affordable Care Act, for the right to opt out of contraceptive coverage for its employees.  Eden Foods objects to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires companies, if they choose to offer health insurance to their employees, to include coverage of a wide array of contraceptive choices.

Here’s an excerpt from Eden Foods’ statement on the issue:
We believe in a woman's right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management. This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone's access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to the HHS [Health & Human Services] mandate and its government overreach.

Wheatsville’s Response

In response to Eden’s stance, some customers inquired if the co-op would stop selling Eden Foods products. As a cooperative grocery, Wheatsville doesn't stop selling product in response to any political issues. The co-op serves a very diverse customer base and there are individuals on both sides of any issue. We believe that we can best serve our community by continuing to focus on providing healthy foods.

The co-op encourages customers to vote, on this and other issues, with their dollars by supporting those companies they like and believe in.  When (for any reason) products don’t sell, the co-op stops carrying them.

If the products in question, such as Eden Foods, continue to sell and see no significant decrease in support, the decision on whether or not to stop selling the product must be made through the petition process. This process is outlined in our bylaws as a way for owners to address issues like these in an open and democratic manner.

Petition and Election

By August 1st, 2014 Wheatsville members had gathered the necessary 500 owner signatures to submit the petition to the Board of  Directors. The required signatures were received and verified and so the issue was put to a vote in our recent election.

The co-op presented both sides of the issue and asked  owners whether or not the co-op should stop selling Eden Foods products.

After all the votes were verified and tabulated, the final vote was in favor of removing Eden Foods products from the co-op.


FAQ

  • When will Eden Foods stop being available?
    The co-op will sell down current stock and not place any reorders. The co-op will stop purchasing Eden Foods products for sale or use in recipes by 1/1/15.

  • Can a shopper still place special orders for the product?
    No. The co-op will no longer place special orders for Eden Foods products.

  • Will the co-op still cook with Eden products?
    No. The co-op will not use Eden Foods for ingredients in any of our housemade products.

  • Will the co-op have replacement products available?
    The co-op has identified all the items that would be affected by the vote and have made accommodations to find comparable replacements as available.

  • Can Eden Foods ever come back?
    The brand may come back to the co-op by the same process that took it off. A member petition would have to filed and endorsed by 500+ owners. The issue would then be put back on the general election ballot for a vote.

  • Have any other similar petitions been passed by owner election?
    Back in the 1980’s a petition was launched to not stock any wellness or bodycare products that were tested on animals. The petition passed and we can now say that we have a 100% cruelty-free wellness department.
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Eden Organics

Wheatsville Food Co-op has been receiving comments in the store and via social media regarding Eden Foods CEO's position on the Supreme Court's "Hobby Lobby" decision on June 30th, 2014. Eden Foods has expressed support for the Hobby Lobby ruling, and filed a similar complaint of its own against the U.S. government.

In response, some customers have inquired if the co-op would consider pulling Eden Foods products from our shelves. As a cooperative grocery, Wheatsville doesn't pull product in response to any political issues.  Our co-op serves a very diverse customer base and there are individuals on both sides of any issue. Instead, decisions on whether or not to pull products are made through the petition process, outlined in our bylaws, as a way for owners to address these issues in an open and democratic manner. Below is the section in our cooperative bylaws that pertains to this process:

3.3.3 Petitions Any matter that the owners wish to put before the ownership via a Co-op Vote may be placed on the ballot by a petition signed by at least 500 or five percent (5%) of the total number of owners in good standing, whichever is fewer. Proposals initiated by such a petition shall be included in the next regularly scheduled Co-op Vote, except that if a petition is signed by at least 1,000 or ten percent (10%) of the total number of owners in good standing, whichever is fewer, then the Co-op Vote shall be scheduled to commence no sooner than thirty days and no later than 60 days from the date the petition is submitted.

In order to have this, or any other matter considered on the next ballot, Wheatsville members would need to submit a petition to the Board of Directors by August 1st, 2014 with the next election cycle beginning September 1st, 2014.

As always, we encourage our customers and members to vote, on this and other issues, with their dollars by supporting those companies they like and believe in.  When (for any reason) products don’t sell, the co-op stops carrying them.

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