Spring Fever at the Co-op

 

March 22/14 - Maple syrup demonstration with Mustard Seed producer Shawn Groen of Tree to Table Maple Syrup just outside of Dundas in Troy, Ontario.

March 22/14 – Maple syrup demonstration with Mustard Seed producer Shawn Groen of Tree to Table Maple Syrup just outside of Dundas in Troy, Ontario.

Our First Annual General Meeting is coming up!

We’re hosting our first AGM on April 16th, and all members are encouraged to attend. The AGM will include a presentation of our financial reports, ratification of bylaws, and updates on co-op operations. We will also be electing two new Directors. Don’t worry, though, it’s not just all business, this is a party to celebrate our success in opening Hamilton’s only community-owned grocery store! Come celebrate with us.

Please pre-register online by following this link if you plan to attend the AGM. Online registrations can happen through April 15th, and you can also register in-person before the start of the AGM. We will email the AGM package with agenda, financial info, Director nominee bios, etc. closer to the date.

When: Wednesday, April 16, 7-9pm. Doors open at 6:30pm.
Where: First Unitarian Church, 170 Dundurn St S, Hamilton (south of Main). Parking available, but please walk/cycle/carpool if you can.
What to bring: Your member card & passport (to get stamped).
Who: The AGM is open to everyone, but only member-households can vote.

Board Nominations close April 6th

We are looking for two positive, hard-working, and committed individuals preferably with some board-level experience and a passion for local food and co-operation. We are specifically interested in candidates with the following skills and experience to build on our current strengths:

  1. Financial Management
  2. Producer OR Retail Grocery Experience

Read more about what it means to be a Director of the Co-op on our website. Board nominations from the floor will close at 7pm on April 16, 2014.

Local Food Fund

We are thrilled to launch our Local Food Networks Strategy two-year pilot project thanks to a $117,603 grant from Ontario’s Local Food Fund! The grant covers 50% of the expenses for the two year development phase, with the other 50% coming from The Mustard Seed Co-op budget. This strategy will allow us to undertake parts of co-op vision that otherwise would have been delayed as we establish the business.

Key components of the strategy include:

  • Two full-time positions : Local Food Manager and Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Proactive relationship development with local farmers and producers with a goal to work with 200 by the end of the pilot phase
  • Develop clear and effective communication methods on availability and benefits of local food
  • Help producers gauge and understand consumer demand for broad spectrum of local foods
  • Create and host education sessions, cooking classes, farm tours, and other food culture events
  • Develop, implement, and track strategies for effectively promoting local food with knowledge to be shared with partners and funders
  • Empower members and community to align their purchasing priorities for local by finding and stocking a full spectrum of local grocery products

Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator

As part of The Mustard Seed’s Local Foods Strategy, we will be hiring a Marketing and Community Engagement Coordinator. This individual will be responsible for engaging Co-op members & consumers influencing them to demand and choose more local food. This position will work closely with the Local Food Manager to communicate The Mustard Seed’s relationships with local producers, and share their stories with our membership. These dynamic relationships will be documented, with Best Practices to be shared with partner networks & funders. Interested, or know someone who might be? Read more here.

Save the Date: June 7 – Grand Opening

We are excited that Spring is finally coming, and we look forward to our Grand Opening. Save the date for Saturday, June 7, 2014. It’s going to be a huge celebration of Local Food & Community.

 

$117,603 from the Local Food Fund! Hooray!

LocalFoodFundAnnounce

Everybody was smiling after the big announcement! From L to R: Emma Cubitt (Board), Damian Wills (Local Food Manager), Graham Cubitt (Board), Ted McMeekin (MPP), Richard Adshead (General Manager), Nrinder Nann (Board), & Sarah Botham (Board).

March 14, 2014  -  A huge thanks to the government of Ontario for establishing the Local Food Act last year, along with the Local Food Fund!  The Local Food Fund is designed to support innovative local food projects that celebrate local food, and help create jobs and economic growth in Ontario.

The Mustard Seed has been chosen to develop our Local Food Networks Strategy through a two-year pilot project. The $117,603 grant covers 50% of the expenses for the two year development phase, with the other 50% coming from The Mustard Seed Co-op budget.

Key components of the strategy include:

  • Two full-time positions : Local Food Manager and Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Proactive relationship development with local farmers and producers with a goal to work with 200 by the end of the pilot phase
  • Develop clear and effective communication methods on availability and benefits of local food
  • Help producers gauge and understand consumer demand for broad spectrum of local foods
  • Create and host education sessions, cooking classes, farm tours, and other food culture events
  • Develop, implement, and track strategies for effectively promoting local food with knowledge to be shared with partners and funders
  • Empower members and community to align their purchasing priorities for local by finding and stocking a full spectrum of local grocery products

We expect the Strategy to result in 4 new full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions + the two direct jobs in addition to the Co-op’s base operational staffing. This will help grow FTE employment at The Mustard Seed to 18 after five years.

The big announcement of our successful grant proposal happened at the co-op on Friday, March 14th. Our local MPP Ted McMeekin was kind enough to come out to the store to share the good news with a crowd of about 50 members and staff. We are so excited to see how these added resources will help our local food networks flourish!

Media coverage of our announcement:

Hamilton Spectator – Local grocery co-op nabs tasty grant

CBC Hamilton – Mustard Seed Co-op receives $100K in provincial funding

AM900 CHML radio – Interview between Graham Cubitt & Rick Zamperin

Big steps ahead

AGM

Come out for a Big Announcement this Friday!

The Mustard Seed Co-op is all about cultivating a sustainable, local food system.  We will have a big announcement this Friday, March 14 at 10am at The Mustard Seed about how we can better build producer-consumer relationships. Come to the Co-op to hear the big news in person, or stay tuned to hear more about this after the event.

AGM – Save the Date

Mark your calendars for the Mustard Seed’s first Annual General Meeting (AGM) set for the evening of Wednesday, April 16th, 2014. The details of where, when, and an agenda will be sent in the upcoming weeks. At our first AGM we will celebrate the opening of Hamilton’s only food co-operative, share how our co-op is doing financially, and elect new board members along with other business. Co-ops are democratically controlled, so attending the AGM is one of the best ways for our members to have a voice in how our store functions. Please plan on coming out to learn more about The Mustard Seed and show your support!

Only members can participate by voting at The Mustard Seed AGM, so join the Co-op before the meeting if you have been waiting. Remember to bring your member card and passport to get a stamp from our first AGM. Read our Articles of Incorporation and  Bylaws.

Board Nominations

One of the important things that we do at every Annual General Meeting is elect members to serve as our Board of Directors. This is a very important role, as our Board’s responsibility is to ensure that the needs and vision of our members are being met, including fiscal responsibility and upholding our Co-op’s values. You can read more about the roles & responsibilities of the Board here.

We are looking for two positive, hard-working, and committed individuals preferably with some board-level experience and a passion for local food and co-operation. We are specifically interested in candidates with the following skills and experience to build on our current strengths:

  1. Financial Management
  2. Producer OR Retail Grocery Experience

We will be filling two new Board positions and the five hardworking members of our current Board will also be standing for another term. Positions are open to all members of The Mustard Seed over 18 years of age.

If you are interested in putting your name forward for the Board, please email your resume, a cover letter, and a photo of yourself* (optional) by noon on Sunday, April 6, 2014 (note new date) to The Mustard Seed Board Nominations Committee at AGM@mustardseed.coop. You can also request a copy of our business plan by writing to this email. We’ll see you on April 16th!

It’s been 6 1/2 weeks since our winter soft launch and we are all eager for Spring and the start of the growing season! Be sure to come out to the Co-op if you haven’t been in lately to check out all our new local products. We will keep the chalkboard by the front door up to date so you can see what new local foods to look out for on your next visit.

*note: a photo submission is optional. The co-op’s intention is to publish photos along with Board candidate profiles prior to voting at the AGM for member information. A photo helps our members put a face to your name. The Mustard Seed encourages nominations from qualified candidates that reflect the diverse populations of Hamilton, Ontario.

Great news! We have organic seeds in the store from Hawthorne Farm (Palmerston) and Urban harvest (Toronto). Also, save teh date for Saturday, May 17th when we will have a Spring Seedling Sale with several of our co-op's local growers. Try planting a garden this year!

Great news! We have organic seeds in the store from Hawthorn Farm (Palmerston) and Urban harvest (Toronto). Also, save the date for Saturday, May 17th when we will have a Spring Seedling Sale with several of our co-op’s local growers. Try planting a garden this year!