Call for Artists for our 2018 Holiday Bag

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Deadline: May 20, 2018 @ midnight

Eligibility: Open to all artists in the Hamilton area, including Mustard Seed members, staff, and board members


The Mustard Seed is turning 5 next year – a big accomplishment that we want our co-op to be able to celebrate. One of our primary outreach tools over the past 5 years has been our annual Holiday Bag, each one designed by a different local artist. We are looking for an artist to donate an illustration for this year’s holiday bag.

Sketches or images, along with the application form, must be submitted by May 20, 2018. The artist(s) will receive significant recognition via communications to our members, social media, and CHCH news along with a 10 empty jute bags with their artwork and a $100 gift card as an honourarium.


  • Submissions should reflect or speak to the values of The Mustard Seed Co-op (health, community, environment, local economy). Recent examples are in the above image. Local food-related themes are preferred.
  • Submissions from artists working with any medium are acceptable, but the final artwork will need to be reproduced as an illustration (silk screen print) with no more than 2 colours.
  • Final illustration to be in vectorized format with 2 Pantone colours chosen for printer to work with
  • Image area to be max 14″w x 12″h (size of Mustard Seed jute bag)

How to Apply

Please submit the following via email to

  • An email with your name, whether you are a Co-op member (not required!) or are affiliated with The Mustard Seed in any way (i.e. farmer, staff)
  • Artist(s)’ statement, which should include:
    • Description of your work/style as an artist
    • what your proposed design for the illustration on this year’s holiday bag might look like
  • Maximum of 5 relevant digital images/sketches from artist’s portfolio

For more information, questions or concerns regarding your application, please contact Emma Cubitt for The Mustard Seed,

Anticipated Timeline of Project

May 20th, 2018: Deadline for Submission

May 25, 2018: Commissioning of Artists/Decision Communicated

June 15, 2018: Submission of Draft Artwork

June 30, 2018: Final draft of artwork to be sent to bag supplier/printer with 1000 bags printed (note: we need this much lead time to avoid the disappointment of not having our holiday bags until after December, as was the case 2 years ago)


Welcome to the Co-op!


You do not need to be a member to shop at the Co-op, but there are benefits to membership if you choose to join in the ownership of our community-owned business. We buy from nearly 300 local producers to offer the best our community has to offer. Our mission is to be good for the environment, our health, our community, and our local economy. You can read more about The Mustard Seed on this site  this great article on the blog The Good Local – but be sure to come in and check us out! We are open 7 days a week, making it simple to buy local.

Local Doesn’t Need to Cost More: Comparing Grocery Carts with the Supermarket

Some people tell us that the Co-op has a price perception problem, that The Mustard Seed seems expensive. The fact is, when you compare shopping carts 🛒 we really are competitive in price. And local! In the coming weeks we are going to try to #mythbust this misconception with a series of cost comparisons with the local supermarket.

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This grocery cart comparison of vegetarian & vegan products was 5% LESS expensive at The Mustard Seed compared to the local supermarket, and 10 of the 14 products were the same price or less.

In this first image, you can see a comparison of a typical grocery cart of vegetarian (or vegan) products at The Mustard Seed (top image) vs. the same or similar products from a nearby supermarket (lower image). While we did not know what the results would be before doing the comparison, we are happy to share that the Co-op shopping cart costs 5% LESS, and 10 out of the 14 products were the same price OR LESS at The Mustard Seed. In addition, many of the products were more local, or had another value i.e. Fairtrade Canada certified organic bananas vs. just organic.

Items in the comparison included: artisan multiseed bread loaf, corn tortillas, fair trade coffee, vegan cheese (Gusta vs. Earth Island), organic tofu, hummus, hemp seeds (Richardo’s are from Ontario and no spray), vegetarian sausage (Gusta vs. Tofurky), Veggemo plant-based milk, organic bananas, local apples, sweet potatoes, organic kale, & local peppers.


Produce in the Local Bounty Box for the sample week of March 15th was 30% LESS than the same selection from the local supermarket.

The image above is a comparison of a small #localbountybox with the same produce from the supermarket. The supermarket was 30.2% MORE than the Local Bounty Box at The Mustard Seed —and that was with conventional celery and broccoflower (instead of Romanesco cauliflower) as they didn’t stock #organic

The small Local Bounty Box for the week of March 15 ($24.99) included the following:
Organic Celery, 3lb bag of Local Bosc Pears, 2 Avocados, Organic Golden Bunch of Beets, Local Green Cabbage, Organic Black Kale, Organic Romanesco Cauliflower, 2 Sweet Mangoes, Organic Green Leaf Lettuce, & Organic Green Onions.

There was actually a bonus pineapple , melon & mango that were added later and not part if the comparison, so in fact the savings would be even GREATER.

The #localbountybox was also much fuller, fresher, with more #local produce. Remember, you don’t need to be a member to shop at The Mustard Seed – so come check us out and support local.

Please share this post to help us continue to spread that word that local does not mean more expensive. Our local food options are often more delicious and certainly unique. Come check us out if you have not been the the Co-op in a while – you don’t need to be a member to shop at The Mustard Seed! Stay tuned for our next cost comparison of pantry basics.