Governance

Who is The Mustard Seed?

The Mustard Seed is made up of over 2,700 co-op owners. If you are not already, please consider becoming an owner today!

We have some particularly hard working owners who have collectively volunteered thousands of hours for The Mustard Seed, in particular on our Board of Directors. In addition, we have a fantastic staff team, led by our Operations Team including Stacey Allen Cillis and Frank Quaranta who oversee the general day to day running of the store.

Annual General Meetings & Board Meetings

Mustard Seed Annual General Meetings take place every year in late February/early March and are a great way to meet other owners and hear how what our Co-op has been up to. A notice of the AGM will be given to all owners via email ahead of time, including an AGM package at least 10 days before the meeting.

The Board also meets monthly, generally on the third Monday of the month. Meetings are shown on the calendar on our website. Owners are welcome to come to the monthly board meeting but are asked to contact the Secretary first to confirm the location, especially if you would like some time on the agenda. Owners are also welcome to contact the Board with specific questions, etc. with the follow email: board@mustardseed.coop.

Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation

The Mustard Seed Co-operative Inc. was established on November 23, 2012 under the Co-operative Corporations Act of Ontario. Read our Articles of Incorporation.

Our Co-operative’s bylaws were developed by the Board during 2012/2013 based on owner input and reflect our co-op’s vision. Read the General Bylaws of the Mustard Seed Co-operative.

Read our Governance Policies.

The Mustard Seed Co-op Donations Policy – 2016

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Our 2018 Board of Directors (from L to R): Dan Douma, Paul Boynett (stepped down), Chris Carey, Kate Brown, Erin Pratt, Mary Lou Tanner, Emma Cubitt, Graham Cubitt, & Kathleen Myers.

Our Current Board of Directors

The Mustard Seed Co-op’s Board has guided the development of the Co-op through the various stages of development. Board member elections are held at each Annual General Meeting. Below are brief bios of The Mustard Seed’s current Board of Directors:

Ian Borsuk

Ian has a lifelong commitment to sustainable living and currently works at Environment Hamilton as the Climate Campaign
Coordinator. He has extensive non-profit and board experience and hopes to contribute his skills and passion to benefiting the co-op
for the benefit of Hamilton. When not working on local environmental issues at Environment Hamilton, he can be found
involved in other organisations and campaigns working towards environmental, social, and economic justice.

Kate Brown

Kate lives in Hamilton, ON. Having recently completed her BA Honours in Linguistics and Indigenous Studies, she works several jobs, including developing materials for the German department at McMaster University, coordinating a Mohawk language grant with McMaster Indigenous Studies students and Six Nations members, and serving as the Accessibility Projects Coordinator within the Office of Equity and Inclusion at McMaster. Kate has been involved with food justice projects and organizations for nearly a decade and in her free time loves to invent and test recipes in her awkwardly shaped kitchen.

Chris Carey

Chris is involved in environmental causes, and is starting to get more involved in community causes. His background, through both employment and spiritual pursuits, gives him a different and unique perspective and approach to solving problems. Both wild foods and clean foods are of great interest to Chris, as well as food security and environmental sustainability. Having lived in different cities, especially Winnipeg, where co-ops are increasingly common, Chris hopes to be able to help the Mustard Seed both to succeed and continue to pave the way for other co-ops to set up and thrive here in Hamilton.

Emma Cubitt   – Chair & Vice President Mustard Seed Co-op, 3rd term BOD

Emma was the driving force and visionary behind The Mustard Seed Co-op where she has been involved with every aspect of developing the Co-op’s vision, business plan, and community networks. Emma chaired the Sourcing Team which connected the Co-op with hundreds of local producers. She has planned many of the events at the Co-op including the annual Seedling Sale and summer festivals. She was the original communications and social media lead for the Co-op and in recent years has provided guidance to marketing efforts. Most recently, Emma has overseen the development of the Producer Profiles that you will soon see throughout the store. She offers the board unsurpassed commitment to the success of the Co-op.

As a professional architect and Associate at Invizij Architects, Emma brings professional experience in running a successful business, including financial management and the importance of robust organization and systems.

Graham Cubitt   Operations Team member Mustard Seed Co-op, 3rd term BOD

Raised on a farm outside Creemore, Graham’s passion for agriculture, food, and environmental sustainability runs deep.  Having led the Mustard Seed as President since its inception, Graham oversaw the Co-op’s initial business plan development, including capitalizing the business with owner and community loans.  Graham’s professional responsibility developing affordable housing at Indwell provides experience for undertaking significant capital-intensive and complex projects.  

Graham has been involved with all areas of the Co-op’s development, including the Operations Management Team.  He offers his unwavering commitment to the Co-op, combined with steady leadership and diverse skills to provide critical continuity for the Co-op. 

Jane Depraitere

Jane is an entrepreneurial business professional with over 25 years of diverse business experience. Jane holds an LL.B. and called to the Bar of Ontario in 1984. She completed her CGA designation in 1998 followed by an MBA in 2005. In 2015 she completed the Level 3 Sommelier designation from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Jane returned to Aldershot to live full time having sold her wine importing and distribution business based in Alberta in 2018.

Jane has held various directorship and membership positions on the boards of several not for profit and for profit organizations from 1995 to present.  Originally from Norfolk County an area whose agriculture has benefited from the Mustard Seed’s support, she looks forward to meaningfully and sustainably engaging more in her community from the quality and source of the food supply and the beverages we enjoy to the art and architecture in the environment that surrounds us all.

Erin Pratt   Treasurer, The Mustard Seed Co-op

Erin is a Hamiltonian, born and raised. She loves this city and the diversity that it encompasses. She remembers the old co-op on Locke St South and always wanted to be a part of something like that. Erin has diverse experience in HR, retail, bookkeeping, and marketing and would like to use that to enhance the board of directors. She would like to continue being part of a great neighbourhood and community experience in a more hands on way.

Bethany Osborne

Bethany J. Osborne is a Professor of Community Studies at Sheridan College. She has a PhD in Adult Education and Community Development and has worked extensively with non-profit organizations as a researcher, educator and facilitator supporting community transformation through innovative and creative program and service design, and resource generation. Since moving to Hamilton, Bethany has been involved in East Hamilton establishing and working with various arts based initiatives and establishing pollinator gardens on the Pipeline Trail. Bethany has been an owner/member of the Mustard Seed for the past two years, has enjoyed volunteering at different events and for the past year has been a part of the Education Team.

Ellie Quinn

Ellie would like to help the Co-op be more visible and valuable in our community. She is a holistic nutritionist with a passion for wellness and affordable,quality nutrition. Ellie is also a small business owner with almost 30 years experience in operations, customer relations, human resources, technology, marketing and finance. In addition to nutrition and wellness, she is a beginner at minimalism, zero waste, and playing the guitar.

Mary Lou Tanner  President, The Mustard Seed Co-op – 2nd term BOD

Mary Lou Tanner is the Deputy City Manager for the City of Burlington and has worked in municipal management and leadership for over 25 years.  Mary Lou was previously with the City of Hamilton, authoring downtown and waterfront plans including Putting People First and Setting Sail.

Mary Lou has strong roots in Hamilton’s non-profit community with board membership in Phoenix Place, Interval House, and YWCA Hamilton.   Mary Lou brings to the Mustard Seed leadership her strong support for democratic decision-making, passion for farmers and their economic sustainability, and a commitment to the long-term viability of the Co-op.  Mary Lou loves include golf, dogs, board governance, politics, and Hamilton.

Jason Zhu

Jason joined the co-op in 2017 as a way to strengthen connections to his community. In his day job, he is a physician who witnesses the benefits of access to healthy foods and reducing social isolation. Jason is curious about food systems and accessibility, building community and sustainable business practices. On a smaller scale, he is anxious to learn more about plants and the most delicious ways to prepare them. Jason’s interest in nature extends to conservation, hiking and cycling. He grew up in Hamilton and considers it a privilege to live in and contribute to this beautiful city.

Nearly 200 member-households attended our first-ever Annual General Meeting on April 16, 2014.

Our second Annual General Meeting on Feb 24, 2015 at the Hamilton Public Library - Central Branch - with around 150 members present

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Snap shots from some of our past Annual General Meetings

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