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Honest Weight Food Co-op’s Community Newsletter for Membership • Staff • Governance • Management Published monthly by the Communications Committee to promote transparency, report without bias, and sustain community.

octoiber 2019

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Avenue, Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •

In this issue:

Love of Vegan Potluck Lunch Returns to Honest Weight

What are Honest Weight’s top-selling seeds? See page 5.

As of press time, 25 people had planned to attend a delicious event slated for Sat. Oct. 12! To sign up and learn more, read our story on page 2.

Who dared berate our bountiful bakery?? See page 6.

Previous LoV dishes included coconut macaroons, chickpea salad and chili by instructor Ariffa Bevin; lasagna, Thai curry vegetables, rice pilaf, mac & cheese, kale Caesar salad and cheesecake provided by the Co-op; and plantains, rice and beans and meatballs brought by attendees.

How can MOs help out at the Co-op this month? See page 12.

CONTENTS photo by Max Semoff


The next time

you go to pull that “weed” remember that monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed and cannot survive without it. The inclusion of all native plants in HWFC’s gardens is exactly why we were able to see the beauty of so many monarchs this season—and even find a cocoon entrusted to us among the gardens.

Milkweed Conservation!

Save the dates: Oct. 15 Oct. 16 Oct. 17 Oct. 23

Board Meeting Employee BBQ GRC application deadline Meet the Candidates

Oct. 26, Nov. 2: Bulb planting Oct. 27 Meet the Candidates Oct. 27 Membership Meeting Oct. 31 Halloween Help in-store

Details inside this issue

Viva the Vegan Lifestyle!............ 2 You Count: Take a Survey........... 3 EnviroToken Update................... 3 Weighing in with Bulk: Starting from Seed......................4 Co-op Partners with Troy Barn Dance Experience.......... 5 Q&A/Suggestion Box . ............... 6 GRC Election Information.......... 7 Double Feature: Reconsider “Quorum”! ......... 8 Homegrown Honesty................. 9 Board Decisions & Info............ 10 Do We Owe You? .................... 10 Ownership Equity ................... 11 We’re Over the Moon About Fair Trade Month! ................ 11 Care to Share: MO News ........ 12 Save the Dates! ....................... 12


Honest Slate

October 2019

Honest Weight to sponsor Love of Vegan potluck luncheon Oct. 12 From chickpeas and chili

“It worked out well,” the instructor offered. to brownies and beans; salads and sides to “The audience could see that although opinhearty staples like meatballs and mac ‘n’ ions differ, everyone was still able to respect cheese, Ariffa Bevin’s Love of Vegan dishes each other.” have attracted an enthusiastic following at Ariffa conducts classes and panel discussions HWFC. elsewhere locally, but her food-focused Readers can prepare and sample delicious events primarily have been at Honest Weight vegan fare at our next LoV potluck luncheon “because of their beautiful facility with their event Sat., Oct. 12 from 12–2pm. [To help teaching kitchen!” The number of potluck atensure a balance of dishes, advance signup tendees has averaged about 50 people per is encouraged but not required.] All are en- session, with 15–20 of those who sample couraged to attend, “whether established sticking around to engage in fellowship at vegans or simply considering dietary changes each of the previous events. to favor plant-based fare.”

Matching missions Ariffa Bevin’s message aligns closely with the Co-op’s mission. With a versatile background, she works as a health coach and teacher; practices martial arts and self-defense at the Storm Crow Dojo; has certification in meditation / mindfulness disciplines, and plans on integrating multiple disciplines into her career. The instructor emphasizes the importance of reading labels; looking for harmful ingredients; minimizing processed foods; and not only eating specific food types but also consciously charting a path to health.

“It’s important [for me] to offer something tailored to youth at home or in college.”

Whether instructional or hands-on, Ariffa frames every event with positive and empowering messages completely exempt of “Honest Weight is the closest pressure: the purpose being to learn and to relationship I have when it comes take what resonates without shame, guilt, or to community education.” even immediate action. “If you so choose to work this into your lifestyle, do your own reWho’s in the kitchen? What goes into search even though I give you information,” LoV prep? Ariffa cooks several dishes; par- she urges. ticipants prepare contributions; and Honest Weight Staff contribute items too. Ariffa Not “just” a shopper sources her ingredients from the Co-op; par- Our conversation revealed how important ticipants are not required to, but naturally it it is to value all community members with is encouraged. apt skills and passion—even if they are not

“What I really like is that you get a variety of vegan items from different cultures: baklava, baked ziti [by Honest Weight], and Asian-inspired dishes. It’s wonderful [to] have what people consider normal vegan items but also Ariffa offers presentations on plant-based a variety of new dishes” such as Indian and and healthy living at Capital Region librar- Mediterranean-influenced offerings. ies and schools. While more informational than participatory, her facilitated panel dis- What’s the most unusual dish brought so far? cussions have proven popular. Her recipe for “Something made with potato starch, tofu success? Gather 5–8 vegans with different and coconut. It was consumed entirely. Delifestyles; let audiences pose questions; sit licious!” back; enjoy a variety of panelist responses. Attendees include both children and adults. The instructor has dual career interests “It’s always exciting to...see how many peoas a nutrition and lifestyle coach ple come,” Ariffa commented. “They don’t and martial arts aficionado. just show up; they share fellowship.” Her panel discussions are nonjudgmental, stress mutual esteem and often revolve around the question “How did you come to choose this lifestyle?” Ariffa recalls a time when one panelist supported GMO products, whereas she opposes them. Rather than creating conflict, the difference in opinion became educational by presenting two perspectives.

about plant-based lifestyle choices. She developed content specifically for teens &or 18- to 24-year-olds who are planning to transition to their own household; or, if living at home, learning how to manage their dietary preferences while navigating other family members’ traditions and preferences.

Member-Owners or Staff. (The only reason she has not joined the Co-op, Ariffa explained, lies in the logistics of working the initial time commitment required into her busy workweek.) “I’m so happy to be a part of this regardless, to give back to the community and to teach, which is a passion of mine,” Ariffa said. “To be able to teach is an honor.”—Carol Ostrow Born in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Ariffa Bevin is a health coach who teaches and presents workshops in the Capital Region. She has lived in Clifton Park since 2007, maintains an active martial arts, kickboxing, and mindfulness practice, and envisions combining her interests for the foreseeable future.

“Last time ... everyone stayed; people didn’t just take a sample and leave; they asked All are welcome for our third plant-based questions. That’s what we like—to be a wel- potluck at Honest Weight to enjoy an afternoon of meal sharing, recipe swapping, and community! come and open environment.” Bring your favorite vegan dish! Honest Weight’s

skilled chefs will provide some special treats as well. Teaching Kitchen & Community Room. Sign When she’s not prepping provisions or pre- up at: senting panels, Ariffa devotes time to a educating young adults and teens an-fall-potluck-luncheon-tickets-65459622493

Youth focus

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •


Honest Slate

October 2019



This survey is for our entire community: Staff, Owners, and Member-Owners. To participate, please follow this link. To receive the link via email or submit a written version of your answers, please contact Yevette Buddeau at or 518-482-2667 ext. 104. Your input is greatly valued!

1. We are interested in meeting the needs of our membership. If you are comfortable, please tell us where you land in an age spectrum. a. Under 21 b. 21-40 c. 41-65 d. 65+ e. Prefer not to answer

If the answer to 3 is “b” or “d” 4. Please rank your reasons for being a Member-Owner or Dual Status from 1 to 5, with 1 being your top reason and 5 being least important. Answers will not be connected to individuals

2. Are you involved in community organizations? Tell us briefly about it, i.e. what organizations, how many hours, how long have you been involved? Answers will not be connected to

a. To vote on Co-op matters at Membership Meetings, i.e. Board of Directors and GRC elections, the Budget b. To participate in governing bodies at the Co-op, i.e. the Board of Directors, Governance Review Council (GRC), committees c. To receive discount, including the 5% extra on select local items d. To be involved in the community aspects, i.e. meetings, socials, networking e. Something else—tell us about it in the comment section f. Comment

individuals and all honest answers are fair:

a. Comment section

3. Which statement best describes your general role at the Co-op? a. Owner: One who has purchased an Ownership (formerly called a Share) and does not invest time in the store. b. Member-Owner: One who has purchased an Ownership (formerly called a Share) and invests time in the store, receiving an 8% or 24% discount at the Co-op. c. Staff Non-Owner: One who receives a paycheck for working at the Co-op but has not purchased an Ownership (formerly called a Share).

d. Dual Status Staff/Member-Owner: One who has purchased an Ownership (formerly called a share) and also receives a paycheck for working at the Co-op. e. Other and comment

EnviroTokens Update These organizations are designated

for potential donations every time you use your own bags at checkout now thru Dec. 31! Hunger Solutions New York is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger. We promote awareness of hunger, participation in federally funded nutrition assistance programs for all who are eligible, and public policies that contribute to ending hunger. We also raise awareness of the health, economic and educational benefits of anti-hunger programs. For more information, visit

and all honest answers are fair:

If the answer to 3 is “a” or “c” 5. Please suggest your reasons for not being a Member-Owner. Answers will not be connected to individuals and all honest answers are fair: a. Comment section

This question is for everyone: 6. What would you like to see the Co-op initiate to attract more involvement? a. Comment section

dents living with chronic conditions to advocate for their own success by providing supportive housing and services. https://www.

Since 1992 MHLC has protected over 12K acres in Albany, Montgomery, and Schenectady Counties, including 2,500+ acres accessible for public hiking, cross-country skiing, and more.

Red Robin Song Animal Sanctuary provides a forever home to domestic & farm animals in- Albany Civic Theater cluding dogs, cats, goats, equine, pigs, rabbits & Yaks. We also educate visitors about the many ways we can work together to make the world a better place for animals, people and the environment.

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC) is a nonprofit conservation organization that preserves the Mohawk and Hudson River valleys’ natural, scenic, agricultural and cultural landscapes; connects the Catskills to the Adirondacks via protected land to maintain our region’s character; protects food, water, and air resources; and provides green Support Ministries Inc., Capital Region: spaces for climate stability and future generSince 1987, we have empowered our resi- ations’ enjoyment.

What Honest are Weight’s top


seeds ? See page 5!

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •


Starting from Seed

Honest Slate by Tom Gillespie

As we learn about what we eat,

invariably we are drawn into a greater understanding of the natural world. For me, the simplest of things have proven confusing at times; e.g., realizing I had accepted vague definitions of food categories without clarifying their distinctions. Upon reading that quinoa was a seed (not a grain), I accepted this fact, pondered implications for the Bulk Department’s current layout, then moved on. I should instead have questioned my understanding of “seed,” or “grain”—or jeez, what about “nuts”? Seeds and nuts appear similar—both have hard shells—and they are not so different from the inedible hull of a grain. Understanding begins with yet another term, “fruit.” Not always soft and sweet, fruits are of course the swollen ovum of a fertilized female flower. Both grains and nuts are fruits with an embryonic plant embedded. That embryonic plant is a seed! So seeds offer us an elemental, irreducible, edible food item. Moreover, they offer a good starting point for a discussion of Bulk Department foods. For us, the leader of the pack in terms of both sales and units is the pepita, or pumpkin seed. Last year we sold over 2 tons (half, raw; half roasted and flavored varieties)! Packed with good nutrition, a mere ounce delivers 1.7 grams of fiber; good carb-to-protein ratio (5 to 7); and 13 grams of fat, over half being Omega 6. That single ounce also delivers 18% daily recommended vitamin K, 33% phosphorus, 42% manganese, 37% magnesium, 23% iron, 14% zinc, and 19% copper. A close second in sales is the small but mighty chia seed. Before Christopher McDougall returned from Mexico and wrote Born to Run, we had no five-toed shoes and thought chia seeds were for smearing over terracotta figurines. While the barefoot running shoe fad may be on

the skids, chia seed sales continue strong growth—expected to reach $2.95 billion globally by 2023. Some people might find chia’s slimy coating like eating raw eggs but others delight in puddings made from this superfood. Undeniably, chia brings heavy-duty nutrition to the table. A single ounce yields 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids, 18% of recommended calcium, 30% of manganese, 30% of magnesium, and 27% of recommended phosphorus— the last crucially figuring at 1% of total body weight! Phosphorus unites with hydrogen to neutralize acids in the blood and maintain healthy pH; combines with calcium to make calcium phosphate for bones and teeth; and is the linchpin in ATP: that is, every cell in the body needs phosphorus to enable energy transfer. We were Born to Eat Chia! Our third most popular seed is flax, literally dear to our hearts. By adopting the Standard American Diet replete with processed foods and oils high in Omega 6, we dramatically skewed the balance of the two essential fatty acids. Throughout human evolution, the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 was between 1:1 and 4:1. Now, we see ratios of about 16:1. This rapid, nearly three-fold increase in the Omega 6 content of American body fat occurred in the past 60 years. Over the same period we experienced a strikingly similar trajectory in the prevalence of heart disease. Despite the strong correlation between these two trends, pieces of the heart disease puzzle remain unexplained. What we do understand, however, are the benefits of elevating Omega 3 levels. The best sustainable source for Omega 3? The humble flax seed.

October 2019

The flexible flax seed offers up to 2.5 grams of Omega 3 per tablespoon. Though not all flax seeds are equal, differences here are small. You, gentle reader, have no doubt noticed that we sell both gold and brown flax seeds and may have asked, “Is the difference only skin deep?” The short answer is “no.” The long answer depends on Omega 3’s origin by latitude: the farther north the seed was grown, the higher the Omega 3 content. Surely one could grow either in the US or in Canada; yet most golden flax is grown in the US and most brown, in Canada. So on average, brown flax seeds have a slightly higher Omega 3 content! On the other hand, in terms of protein the tables are turned and golden flax has the upper hand. When it comes to taste, however, you decide!

Omega 6 and Omega 3 are the two essential fatty acids. Flax’s Omega 3 benefits go beyond countering Omega fatty acid intake imbalances. Research shows it also carries anti-inflammatory potential. Similarly, tests show that flax seed consumption can promote weight loss, likely due to significant soluble fiber content binding with water to suppress hunger. A final note on storage: all seeds and nuts should be stored in sealed, airtight containers, but longevity varies by type and storage method. Refrigerating pumpkin seeds can increase their life span from 8 months to over a year. Both chia seeds and flax seeds are extraordinarily stable and can last a year on the shelf. To best enjoy flax’s benefits, mill or grind into a meal. Oils degrade quickly after grinding and can go rancid within a week at room temperature; but when refrigerated, taste can remain stable over 6 months. My recommendation: use a coffee grinder to grind up a few weeks’ worth of seeds at a time and then refrigerate— the healthiest and most cost-effective method. See you in the aisles.—Tom

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •

October 2019 by Erin Donahue In partnership with Honest Weight Food Co-op, the DanceFlurry Organization (DFO) will host a monthly community dance series called the Troy Barn Dance Experience starting Fri., Oct. 18, 7-9:30 pm at the YWCA in downtown Troy. DFO founder Paul Rosenberg remembers a time before his dancing days—when music at parties and weddings was dominated by lively disco and funky beats. “I would hide in the bathroom when the DJ started playing,” he laughs. “I was terrified.” But everything changed when, at age 30, Paul discovered contra dance, a style of folk dancing with mixed European origins. A friend invited him to a monthly contra dance event at the Eighth Step in Albany, a nonprofit coffeehouse and concert venue now located at Proctors in Schenectady that has been bringing contemporary and traditional acoustic music to Upstate New York for over 50 years. Paul didn’t immediately shake his fear of dancing, but one New Year’s Eve in the early 1980s, he decided it was time to. Determined to learn, Paul danced for about six hours straight at an all-night contra dance event. Soon he wanted to encourage others to overcome their fear of dancing. With a background in organizing races and an interest in emceeing, Paul was drawn to the role of dance caller (the person who teaches and leads the steps). Paul put his new dance calling skills to work as a young member of Honest Weight Food Co-op at the Co-op’s first annual Contra Dance Party in 1986. At the time, the Co-op only had about 300 members, but the Contra Dance Party welcomed over 200 dancers. HWFC Contra Dance Parties eventually changed venues and downsized to a smaller monthly event. Paul began calling dances twice a month locally and in 1988, with a mission to connect and inspire people through traditional music and dance, he created a nonprofit organization that later became the DanceFlurry Organization. By the mid-90s, Paul’s


Honest Slate

Come One, Come All to the Troy Barn Dance Experience

dance calling career had taken him all over the Northeast to lead hundreds of community dance events. He has called dances at schools (elementary through college), weddings, fundraisers, family reunions, festivals, community events, and more. His events feature folk dances from the Hudson Valley, New England, Appalachia, and over 60 different countries around the world.

Can’t make it this month? Join the DanceFlurry Organization and Honest Weight for the Troy Barn Dance Experience (always with live music!) another time:

Five years ago, Paul partnered with Honest Weight again to rekindle the local love for community dancing with a monthly event called the Albany Shindig. This year, the monthly event hopped the Hudson to become the Troy Barn Dance Experience. The program is sure to feature Paul’s favorite dance, the Spiral — an exciting group dance that has been performed by communities for thousands of years across many different cultures. Dancers can expect to take part in circle dances, basic square dances, and beginner contra dances. The evening’s dance program is loosely planned and largely spontaneous as the caller, musicians, and dancers all get to know each other on the dance floor. “The emphasis in community dance is on community,” says Paul, “which is really what the Co-op is all about.” It’s also new to most participants, so everyone is “on an equal footing.” All are welcome to join for an evening of joyous dancing and live music. No dance skills or experience necessary.

Photo courtesy of Paul Rosenberg

Nov. 15, 2019 • Jan. 17, 2020 • Feb. 21, 2020 • Mar. 20, 2020 • Apr. 17, 2020

Troy Barn Dance Experience with Caller Paul Rosenberg Live music by Tamarack (Patricia Kernan playing the flute and penny whistle; Sue Mead playing the fiddle, mandolin, and banjo; and Jim Mead playing the guitar) When: Friday, Oct. 18, 7 - 9:30 pm Where: YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, Inc. 21 First Street, Troy, NY 12180 Suggested Donation: $8 for adults, $5 for students, and $2 for children Refreshments and samples sponsored by Honest Weight Food Co-op

For more about the DanceFlurry Organization: • Find out more about dance calling by Paul Rosenberg: Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •


Q &A

From the Suggestion Box Don’t see your comment here? Check the bulletin board in the cafÊ. Q: When it comes to product placement in milk why does a local product Byrne Dairy get the bottom and national milk brands are at eye level? A: In order to facilitate the flow of sales, it makes sense to have the higher volume items on the upper shelves.

Honest Slate Q: Seriously Spotless Products are Great! Can you stock the sugar body scrubs please? A: We recently started working with Seriously Spotless. We love the products. We plan on bringing in more of their products including the scrub. Q: Let Jess train everyone on customer service! Let Val train everyone on engaging people! ♼ A: Thank you for noticing their strengths and taking the time to comment! We appreciate them as well. Q: I’d like to file a complaint about the Bakery. The bakers do SUCH an awesome job and make SUCH Delicious treats, I can’t resist!! Super unfair‌đ&#x;˜Š A: Bakers gotta bake.

Q: Please text or email receipts!!! A: At this point we need printed receipts for our return policy. We have no current plans to change our return policy. Q: Would you consider adding a small sink in dining area? The plumbing is right there! Easy to add on to w/out seams, would be helpful for diners & cleaning up. đ&#x;˜Š ... We would be able to wash hands and fruits and wash out containers to recycle them. A: Thank you...We have no plans to remodel or add a hand washing sink to the cafĂŠ at this time. We will keep your suggestion in mind for future improvements. [EDITORS’ NOTE: In answer to a similar suggestion received Oct. 6, it was subsequently stated “We’ll be considering a sink for the cafe.â€?] Q: Can we get Julie’s organic ice cream back in? Thanks! It is delicious w/ healthy ingredients. A: It looks like Julie’s is now labeled as “Alden’sâ€?. We’re unsure if it’s an identical product. Q: Cashew salad dressing? A: Do you have a particular brand in mind? We have not seen a cashew salad dressing offered by any of our distributors. We have ingredients in stock that could be used to make your own dressings. There are many DIY recipes available online. You may find our cooking classes to be helpful in making your own salsas, sauces, broths, dressings and more from ingredients that can be found in our produce and bulk departments.

October 2019 Q: Plant Protein Supplement (by Honest Weight) has “Natural Flavors� in it. I’ve read those can be harmful, are we going to have a better recipe? A: We are also leery of natural flavors. Unfortunately they are hard to avoid. We trust our private label supplement provider and their proprietary blends. Q: Why don’t we take Plastic [Styrofoam] Containers for eggs anymore? A: Our farmers who supply us with blue and green eggs can use clear plastic containers that will hold 12 eggs. Clear plastic dozen containers and cardboard dozen egg cartons may be left at the service desk for re-use. Q: Less pork please. I feel that is on menu too often. Thank you. A: We’re sorry. We strive to provide other protein options as well when we serve pork. Q: Can we please stock individual dairy-free ice cream sandwiches? A: We’ll work on bringing some into our coolers. [UPDATE: Honest Slate team members report that we now have this item in stock.]

Q: The dish liquid bulk dispenser is really tough. You have to really want that liquid. Comes at out at a glacial pace + you have to bend over. Put it up higher so you can use it standing up. A: We completely agree. We’re looking to improve the entire bulk soap section in the near future.

Q: I was hoping Emily could find and/or acquire shaker lids for mason jars. Preferably larger jars for long term seasonings like onion powder. A: We have not seen large mouth shaker lids. We’ll watch to see if they become available. Q: Please stock low sodium tamari in bulk! A: We have not seen a low sodium bulk tamari available to us.

PATIO IMPROVEMENTS? Q: Please consider adding more seating to the patio. At lunch time it can be hard to find a spot —> plus the patio is HUGE. Why are there so few tables & chairs (and shady spots) in this vast space??? A: We plan on making major improvements to this area next year.

Q: Please consider eliminating plastic wrap, plastic straws, plastic cups and (maybe) also utensils. ♼ Save Our Planet. A: We have eliminated plastic straws and our single use utensils are compostable. We’re looking into alternatives to plastic throughout the store. We welcome your suggestions to reduce plastic throughout the store.

Q: Ezekiel Burger Rolls get moldy very quickly. A: We apologize. They have a 5-day shelf life after thawing. They arrive frozen. You may want to ask a worker to find one in our walkin freezer for you.

Management welcomes your suggestions for reducing plastic throughout the store.

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •

These are important positions, as the GRC provides advice, support, and analysis regarding HWFC’s policies, governance procedures, and other Bylaws-related matters. All GRC responsibilities are listed in the HWFC Bylaws at Section 470.2.

Find out why

GRC candidates are running at https://www.honestweight. coop/page/grc-elections-2019-394. html or at the service desk where you may read the candidates’ completed Nomination Forms. Introduce yourself to the candidates by attending a “Meet the Candidate” event on Oct. 23, 2019 between 5:30 and 7:30 pm or Oct. 27, 2019 between 4 and 5:15 pm. Both events are in HWFC’s Community Room.


for GRC Elections

HWFC Member-Owners Will Vote For Two Governance Review Council Candidates On October 27, 2019


seeking candi dates, calling all voters Voters at the Oct. 27, 2019 Membership Meeting will elect two Governance Review Council (GRC) members, each for a three-year term.


Honest Slate

October 2019

Oct. 17; either online at https://www. or by submitting a paper Nomination Form at the service desk. If you submit your Nomination Form by 9 pm the night before either of the two “Meet the Candidate” events, you can participate as a candidate. The deadline for a Nomination Form submission is 9 pm Oct. 26. Further instructions are available on the Nomination Form itself. Nominations from the floor may also be made at Oct. 27’s meeting.

Meet the grc

Candidates Wed. Oct. 23 • 5:30 – 7:30 pm Sun. Oct. 27 • 4 – 5:15 pm. For further information, please review the HWFC Bylaws at or contact a member of the Elections and Nominations Committee at

When casting ballots for these two important positions, you may want to look for qualities important to a well-functioning GRC. These include familiarity with HWFC values, goals, and issues, particularly acquired through active participation in HWFC committees; and familiarity with legal, regulatory, and governance issues. Good written and oral communication skills are also important factors. If you are a qualified Member-Owner thinking about running for the GRC, and would like to see your name on the pre-printed election ballot, complete your Nomination Form by 9 pm on Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •


Honest Slate

From the Board It’s about quorum… Under our Bylaws, which mirror Cooperative Law, the HWFC Board of Directors (BOD) seats up to nine members. In addition, our Bylaws [440.3] state: Five Directors shall constitute a quorum; also found in Cooperative Law. Few cooperatives have our level of Member-Owner involvement and have no need to hold monthly Board meetings. When Boards meet quarterly or annually, workloads are reduced, as are the demands on Directors’ time. Quorum presents no hindrance in such cases. In spite of our high-involvement BOD, for much of HWFC’s history our BOD has usually included nine Directors and, with nine Directors on hand, we easily and regularly reached a quorum of five. Last month, the Board could not make quorum at our meeting scheduled Sept. 3. We have had concerns about reaching quorum several times over the past few years.

Editor’s Note: On this page, we bring you two articles about the same topic. Why two? Why not combine it all into one story?

The answer is that although the authors (myself, writing as a Member-Owner, and the Board of Directors) happen to take the same position, we felt it was important to preserve our respective viewpoints. —Carol Ostrow “From the Board” and “Up Front” both appear periodically in Honest Slate. Anyone who belongs to our community, whether Staff, or Owner/Member-Owner, can write a column or letter to • express concerns • offer ideas for exploration • or pose larger questions. What’s your take on Co-op affairs? Contact Start important conversations. This is the place!

October 2019

Some of you may have noticed that since the Nov. 2015 Special Membership Meeting, recruiting candidates to run for the Board of Directors has become difficult. And, maintaining the number of Directors on our Board after election has presented a challenge. Various factors contribute, such as time commitment, workload, and nonHWFC related events and duties.

pursuit of HWFC’s best interests, will be able to hold official meetings to address important matters regardless of whether sickness, employment, or other unforeseen issues arise. And, it essentially preserves the mandate in our original quorum Bylaw requiring 5 of 9 Directors, or a simple majority, to be present in order to commence an official, public meeting of the Board.

The BOD believes the Co-op’s interests will best be served with a change to our quorum requirements. At our October Membership Meeting, you will be asked to vote on a proposal to change Bylaws 440.3, to read: A simple majority of sitting Directors shall constitute a quorum.

Perhaps you have considered running for the Board and decided against it for any number of reasons. Perhaps you are investing as much time at HWFC as you can right now. We understand. Many of us have “been there, done that.”

Currently, 7 Directors sit on the Board. If Membership approves this Bylaws change, four Directors would be needed for quorum. Such a change will ensure that the BOD, elected to serve the Membership in

up front at Board Meetings

dary! Quorum Quan We gathered on the first Tuesday as usual for the Co-op’s monthly Board meeting. Perhaps 20 or more Staff, MOs and managers had entered the large combined Community Room & Teaching Kitchen space and sat down expecting the meeting to convene at 6 pm. But something prevented that meeting from happening. The riddle: 4 of 5 sitting Board members —more than even a simple majority of three—were present, they yet could not call the meeting to order. Why? The short answer: Because our Bylaws require a quorum. HWFC’s current definition of a quorum: Five Directors. That number holds regardless of the number of Directors currently on the Board. Quorum math at many co-ops (and most other businesses): a simple majority equals quorum. Fact: at the time of September’s meeting,  THERE WERE ONLY 5 SITTING BOARD MEMBERS TOTAL. The logic: So half of 5 = 2.5, and since we can’t have half of a person, the law rounds up and

We ask that you please consider the Board’s critical need to function—to serve Honest Weight’s best interests—and give this Bylaws change your approval. That, or run for the Board!

Mathematically challenged rule needs to change makes 3—a simple majority. Right? We did have four Board members—even one more than a simple majority of three—in attendance, but due to our out-of-step Bylaw, the Board couldn’t conduct important business on behalf of HWFC, MOs and Staff; everyone who made time to attend was inconvenienced. The quorum requirement of “five” without any context has impeded us in the past, and will continue to hinder our Board and our business if we allow it to stand. The problem: this now-impractical clause still on the books makes it impossible to hold a meeting without five  members present—NO MATTER HOW MANY individuals sit on the Board at any given time. So if we have a full complement of 9, we’d need five to show up. And if we have only 5 on the Board, we’d still need 5 to show up! Where is the logic in that? The truth: Quorum rules need to change! This issue alone is reason enough to attend the upcoming Membership Meeting. Since there are in fact many more, we urge you to attend—even if you haven’t before—and participate in progress by marking your vote on the ballot to pass this change! Then sit back, observe the collaboration that goes into making our Co-op operate, and consider what your role might be.

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •

October 2019


Honest Slate

Homegrown Happening Honesty

A Tierra Farm representative served up samples of certified gluten free flavored nuts inside the store. My husband was over the moon for the Everything Bagel Cashews. Tierra Farm has been a part of the HWFC fami ly for years along with their event neighbor, Rad Soap. If anyone offered an extra special sale for this event it was Rad Soap with an “unheard of” buy 1 get 1 free promotion. That soap was flying off the table and when I finally made my way through the crowd and was able to smell these homemade bars I could absolutely see why.

On Saturday, Sept. 28 HWFC sponsored its fourth annual Homegrown Happening. The Co-op did an excellent job of targeting this event to families. Surrounded by happy children playing in the bounce castle—getting their faces painted and painting faces on their very own pumpkins—my daughter was engaged and thrilled by the happy energy in the air. I circulated through all the vendors and learned so much from them. Each was happy to talk at length about their products and experience. One vendor who was also a children’s book author showed me how you can realign your energy using a tuning fork! Her table mate, also a children’s book author, is extremely dedicated to teaching the benefits of a gluten free lifestyle. I have been gluten-free for five years and in five minutes she taught me something new.

This familiar banner presides over HWFC’s annual happenings.

Anchoring the raffle table. Did you win a prize?

Hop2O’s owner—who also doubles as an author—explained that hop soda is not only a non-alcoholic option, but that immense health benefits present in hops are actually destroyed during the fermentation process of creating alcohol. The full list of benefits can be found on their website. Be sure to try the blackberry! Yum!

Story & photos by Courtney Semoff

Bee Bevy Happy Bee Farm recently gave 10 HWFC Staff members the opportunity to suit up and enter their hives to meet the bees providing the wonderful honey available to all of us inside HWFC. I learned that if a honey bee lands on someone it means good things for them and that they will only sting in self defense. In comparison, hornets and yellow jackets sting but also scratch and bite! Yikes! Osbourne Mill Nursery featured an extremely polite young man selling their homegrown garlic, informative and passionate about sharing his family’s products. Along with marinated eggplant—which I thought had a fresh, light flavor—and peppers, this booth’s star was very much the well-priced, fresh-picked garlic.

Our Membership Committee occupied the patio with all the information anyone would need to become an Owner, Member-Owner, or more involved. The Co-op also set up a raffle to benefit the Radix Center (thank you for picking up my compost every week!) with sponsored items donated to be used as prizes including: an Honest Tea Beachcomber bike, Alteya Gift Basket, Tasty Bite Patagonia Backpack, General Mills Fire Pit, Renew Life Gift Basket, and Honest Weight Gift Cards. Attendees who participated in the raffle raised $158 to donate to Radix! Overall, it was an uplifting, informative, and family-friendly event enabling connection among people winning back a life nearly lost to technology and processed foods.

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •


Honest Slate

Board Decisions HWFC’s Board of Directors approved the following actions and decisions at the 11 a.m. Board Meeting on Sept. 28, 2019: • Accepted Chris Dorando’s letter of resignation from the Board of Directors. • Affirmed the unanimous decision to appoint Valdea Berrings & Avery Cotton to the Board of Directors. • Appointed Steve Holmes to the Bylaws Panel. • Scheduled the October Board of Directors meeting for Tues., Oct. 15 at 6 pm. • Moved the November Board meeting date from Tues., Nov. 5, Election Day, to Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 6 pm. • Affirmed its decision to retain as legal counsel HWFC’s attorneys who moved to a new law firm, Hodgson & Russ. • Edited the Notice for the Oct. 27 Membership Meeting and approved sending it to the GRC for their review.

Board Appoints 2 New Directors

Val Berrings

Avery Cotton

The next HWFC Board of Directors Meeting will be on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 6 pm. October Board Decisions will appear in November’s Honest Slate. Committee Corner will return next month.

I frequently shop at Honest Weight Co-op, recently saw your post for an expert in solar energy systems [and] work for NYCDEC in environmental remediation. I graduated from SUNY ESF and have worked as an engineer on remedial designs, wetland restoration, and water systems; am familiar with renewable energies and have friends working directly with solar.

proactive! I appreciate you letting me sit in on the meeting and introducing me to all the members. I was blown away by the enthusiasm and determination in each of you.

It’s very inspiring to know a group made up of such individuals are working behind the scenes at the Co-op. Thank you again for the opportunity to meet the team and Thanks for all the orientation information. see what your mission is. The work plan is very comprehensive and —Quinn Roesch, Albany

octoIber 2o19

Leigh Nowicki Carol Ostrow Courtney Semoff Max Semoff Janet Sorell Tyler Varese

• The approval process for minutes takes up to two months; decisions are also published monthly in Honest Slate.

HWFC’s Environment Committee received the following letter in Sept. 2019.

Yevette Buddeau Erin Donohue Elisa Grimm Morgaen Hansen Elaine Hills Don Kennison Annette Kramer

• To reach HWFC governance, email:

• All Board decisions and minutes are available to read online once approved.

local linking:

editors & contriibutors:

October 2019

Suibmissions Policy: We welcome

articles & contributions; desired maximum length is 500 words. Material is published at the discretion of the Honest Slate team; only signed work is accepted; and items are edited for length, grammar and style. We may consider unsolicited material but encourage individuals to submit ideas or outlines first. Letters to the Editors do not require pre-approval. Contact with questions, comments or suggestions.

do we owe you? The Co-op has money waiting for a number of individuals who we cannot find. If you or anyone you know appears on the following list, the Finance Department urges you to contact the Co-op at your earliest convenience:

Gillian Eastwood Eva Foitzik Timothy J. Cowper Maria Kuhsel Oliver Holecek Stephen Dornbush Hank Adams Alyssa Gallagher Estelle Fach Susan Fuss

Laurel Holden Druis Beasley Mark Pranys Nishi Beharry Lily Ringler Joseph Gietl Kimberly Truitt Elias Saifan Timothy Long

Statement of Purpose: Honest Slate is a platform for HWFC Membership, Staff, Management and Governance: promoting transparency, reporting news without bias and sustaining community. Honest Slate articles are for informational purposes and are not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Opinions expressed in Honest Slate do not necessarily represent the views or policies of Honest Slate or Honest Weight Food Co-op. All contents ©2019 Honest Weight Food Co-op; no material appearing in Honest Slate may be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of HWFC.

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •


Honest Slate

October 2019

Did you know... ...that our Honest Weight Anti-Harassment Policy is available to read on the website and in the store? For the online version, click here or go to the Member-Owner Resources tab under Membership at


is fair trade month! “Fair trade” at its core describes a trade system where goods are purchased from less economically developed countries, and their producers are paid a fair wage for their work. It’s a nice alternative economic model that puts more money directly in the hands of farmers and artisans.

ownership equity news In an effort to free up Ownership Equity for future Owners, the Co-op will make some changes to the current policy of allowing longstanding delinquent accounts to remain in default. Starting immediately, the Co-op will reach out to Owners who have been delinquent in their payments for 1 year or more. If delinquent accounts are not claimed, then they will be absorbed by the Co-op in accordance with the law. Options for Owners with accounts in default are:

• pay your Ownership off; • fill out a form to refund the amount you’ve paid and relinquish your Owne rship; or • fill out a form to donate the amount you’ve paid and relinquish your Ownership. If no action is taken by Owners with accounts in default for 1 year or more, the amount paid will be absorbed by the Coop and the Ownership will be considered relinquished. For questions reach out to

Opening Reception Join us on Sunday, October 20 from 2 pm - 4 pm in the community room. You’ll find the gallery just past the Juice & Java Bar, outside the community room. Refreshments will be provided. Email us at

Fair trade also has a huge and positive impact on communities. Here at the Co-op, we sell a number of fair trade items, including sugar, coffee, tea, chocolate, honey, olive oil and bananas; as well as houseware items. Next time you’re shopping, see if you can find a fair trade item or two to add to your cart! —Morgaen Hansen reprinted from HWFC Staff Newsletter 10/4/19

Co-opportunities: You can connect with October’s highlighted about signing up for shifts via email:


Bakery: Grocery: or


To help at upcoming email for:

Oct. 16 Employee BBQ Oct. 27 Membership Meeting Oct. 31 Halloween help

and for Oct. 26, Nov. 2: Bulb planting, email:

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •


Honest Slate

Care to share: Memiber-Owner Announcements Interested in joining Honest Weight Food Co-op’s Team as an Employee? Check out our Employment Page.


Here we are in We’re preparing for an exciting Membership Meeting on the 27th, during which will be our opportunity to vote to fill three seats on the Governance Review Council along with changes to the Bylaws and the Member-Owner Manual. We’ll hear an update of our Co-op’s finances and the GRC’s activities. We’ll get to come together to exercise our cooperative voting rights, and have an opportunity to sit and socialize with some of our fellow Member-Owners that we wish we saw more often. As we consider the topics on the ballots, let’s appreciate our population and participation. We have made it over 40 years as the Honest Weight Food Co-op—Hoorah!

Important dates to remember:

• Meet the Candidates Q&A sessions in the Community Room at the Co-op. ○ Wed., Oct. 23 from 5:30–7:30 pm and ○ Sun., Oct. 27 from 4:00–5:15 pm.

N e x t M e m ib e r s h i p M e e t i n g Sunday Oct. 27 • 6 pm • Ramada Inn Please Attend • Vote • Be part of self-governance! After Dessert Potluck & Meet the Candidates from 4 to 5:15 pm • at the Co-op

• October 27 is the Membership Meeting at the Ramada at 6 pm. Don’t forget to stop by the pre-meeting Dessert Potluck from 4:00–5:15 pm at the Co-op. We sure would love to see you at the Coop! Here are some highlighted opportunities to help out where we currently need the help. • The Bakery is looking for morning helpers on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 6–9 am. Morning Bakery duties include cleaning the bakery case, filling trays for the case, cutting the bars and generally helping the staff baker. No experience is necessary but Bakery Member-Owners will need strong multitasking skills and an ability to move consistently for the entire shift. Contact • The Grocery Department is in need of early morning stockers on Fridays from 6-11 am. Contact Alex at AlexM@honestweight. coop or Georgia at Thanks so much to all the Member-Owners who came out to help with the Homegrown Happening event! Your energy and dedication are amazing and you are part of what makes this event a success year after year. Do you love helping out for the events that come up at the Co-op? We have a couple in October that we would love to see you for! • Our Employee BBQ is Oct. 16 and we need Member-Owners to keep things running smoothly. Click here to sign up for a shift, or reach out to Yevette at • We need ballot box holders and others to help at the Oct. 27 Membership Meeting; click here to sign up or reach out to Yevette at

photo by Carol Ostrow

October 2019

• HALLOWEEN will be upon us in no time! We’ll be handing out surprises throughout the store on Oct. 31 from 3-6 pm and would LOVE for some kid-friendly costume-loving Member-Owners to come be part of the fun! Click here to sign up or…you guessed it! Contact Yevette at memberservices@ • We’ll be planting tulip bulbs in the garden beds on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2; this will be a ton of fun! Contact Paul Waters at to sign up for this one. • Looking forward, we will need extra help as the holidays get closer. If you would like to help out during the high-energy holiday times in November and December, reach out to the department you would like to invest time in or contact Yevette at

save the dates: Oct. 15 Board Meeting Oct. 16 Employee BBQ Oct. 17 GRC application deadline Oct. 23 Meet the Candidates Oct. 26, Nov. 2: Bulb planting Oct. 27 Meet the Candidates Oct. 27 Membership Meeting Oct. 31 Halloween Help in-store

Are you interested

in talking with the Board about serving? Appointments are possible and your time is appreciated!

Contact BoardAdmin@honestweightcoop or to start a conversation.

Honest Weight Food Co-op • 100 Watervliet Ave. Albany, NY 12206 • 518-482-2667 •

Profile for Honest Weight Food Co-op

October 2019 Honest Slate  

October 2019 Honest Slate

October 2019 Honest Slate  

October 2019 Honest Slate