We are sharing a series of profiles to introduce some of the volunteers who have put their time and energy into The Mustard Seed Cooperative Grocery. Enjoy this glimpse into our Co-op community!
Name: Emma Cubitt
Action Team (s): I am the Secretary on the Board of Directors, and I’m also active on the Membership, Sourcing, Operations, Finance, and Location teams.
What roles have you had in the development of The Mustard Seed? I have been involved with The Mustard Seed Co-op from its beginning. I visited many other food co-ops in our early research, helped create the business plan, and organized the early stages of development. I’ve been The Mustard Seed’s Creative Director, helping create the Co-op’s overall message and style with our Membership team and Factor[e]. I help keep people informed & inspired with our website and Facebook pages, have shared the vision of The Mustard Seed at various events, with the media. I also organize our team of amazing group of volunteers. Lately I have been dreaming about the store design and can’t wait to make those ideas a reality in our store!
What drew to The Mustard Seed, and why do you volunteer? Graham and I discovered food co-ops on a trip through Vermont in the winter of 2011 after happening upon the Buffalo Mountain Co-op. We started talking about starting a food co-op in Hamilton and were blown away by the positive response from Hamiltonians. We decided to “go for it” in March 2012 with the help of our friend Lynda, and since then life’s been very busy!
My main motivation for starting The Mustard Seed is because I believe the Co-op will be a catalyst for nourishing a more vibrant, flourishing community. So many of us really want to know where our food comes from and by working together through The Mustard Seed Co-op, we can create a resilient food system benefiting our own health and the well-being of our local producers, the land, and our community – hopefully for many generations.
“Without a prosperous local economy the people have no power and the land no voice.” – Wendell Berry
Day Job: I am an architect with Invizij Architects in Hamilton, and my particular interests are adaptive re-use of old buildings, affordable housing & sustainability.
What element of The Mustard Seed are you most excited about? I am excited that it will be a co-operative, governed and led by us, its members. I look forward to seeing members working together in the kitchen, teaching and learning skills like canning and making affordable meals with local ingredients. I can’t wait to go to a store where people know my name and everyone that visits the co-op feels like they belong. I can’t wait to have a store where local producers are celebrated, where fair trade is normal, and where you know that everything on the shelf is good having already been vetted by our sourcing team according to the Co-op’s sourcing values.
What is your favourite local food? I love anything foraged: elderberries, blueberries, raspberries, herbs, mushrooms, fiddle heads, rhubarb, asparagus… and of course Ontario’s artisanal cheeses.
Why should people join the Co-op today? It takes determination and cooperation to change our food system for the better. When you become a member today, your $100 is a meaningful investment in Hamilton’s only community-owned grocery. Each membership is a vote for our local food economy and a boost of encouragement to our hardworking volunteers. We are so blessed by our 565 members who have joined so far, but if you have been putting off joining, don’t – just do it now. Besides getting a founding member sticker for your car, you’ll be helping us move closer to opening our doors this year. And Membership fees are even refundable, so there really is no good reason not to join if you love local food!
We hope to announce the Co-op’s location very shortly. During this time of waiting, everything else has been coming together: financing, the general manager search, local food sourcing. We are so close! Thanks for your patience as we make The Mustard Seed move from an idea to reality!