Win a Pair of Tickets to Harvest Picnic!

In case you haven’t seen the posters around town – big news! We are official sponsors of this year’s Greenbelt Harvest Picnic at Christie Lake in Dundas! It’s going to be a spectacular event, with a huge focus on sustainability and local agriculture.
1531919_687182098001874_630517280870072546_oWe were pleased to be the caterers for the official press conference, where we heard guest performances from Laura Cole, Sarah Harmer, and Daniel Lanois. Graham Cubitt (President of the Mustard Seed Board of Directors) also made an address, as did Chris Krucker, operator of Manorun Organic Farm (one of our dear suppliers).10549260_687182091335208_2148018368181101982_o

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Take a look at the Harvest Picnic website, as there are so many amazing elements to the festival this year. The day will include performances by Ray LaMontagne, Bruce Cockburn,The Sadies, and so many more great musicians, as well as eight farming seminars held throughout the day (led by Chris from Manorun, Graham Cubitt, Alvaro Venturelli from Plan B Organic Farms, Russ Ohrt of Backyard Harvest, and some other really interesting folks!), AND if that doesn’t convince you…there going to be alpacas. Yes, that’s right – alpacas! Check it all out here: www.harvestpicnic.ca
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We’ll be set up there for the day as well, and are looking forward to chatting with lots of new and old friends about The Mustard Seed, local food, Hamilton pride, and great music! We’ll have a really exciting interactive activity, so be sure to seek out our booth and join in! Tickets are on sale now, available online, or at Picks and Sticks and Dr. Disc Hamilton.

Other exciting news? We’ve got three pairs of tickets to give away! Each set (includes two tickets) has a $200 value, and there are three simple ways to win:

10455013_687470987972985_5865671656003827404_oCONTEST #1! Every purchase is a chance to win two tickets to Harvest Picnic! When you check out, just fill out a ballot, and we’ll announce the winner on Wednesday at 8pm. If you shop here every day, fill one out every day! Easy peasy!

10548216_687486217971462_1517509720427229721_oCONTEST #2! Become a member for a chance to win two tickets to Harvest Picnic! If you’ve been thinking about becoming a member, now’s the time. Sign up (with a one-time membership fee of $100), and you’ll have a chance to win a set of tickets (valued at $200). Find out more about what it means to be a member here. Sign up online or in-store between now and Wednesday evening, and we’ll announce a winner on Wednesday at 8pm.

10620572_687547434632007_989549486341028040_n CONTEST #3! Hashtag your Mustard Seed grocery haul or your Mustard Seed dinner creations, and tag us for a chance to win two tickets to Harvest Picnic! We would love to see what you’ve picked out, or what you’ve made with your purchases. First, use the hashtag #harvestpicnictix. Then, if you’re posting to Instagram or Twitter, tag us at @mustardseedcoop. If you’re posting to Facebook, just put the photo right on our wallYou’ve got until Wednesday at 8pm to share your photos, and then we’ll randomly choose a winner!

(Photos by Emma Cubitt and Alek Bromke)

Presenting: The Mustard Seed Kitchen!

It’s here! It’s finally here! We’ve got our in-store kitchen up and running, with the all proper gadgets and gizmos needed to bake pies, pickle beets, ferment cabbage, and pursue whatever other kitchen adventures might be up the collective Mustard Seed sleeve. KitchenSo we’ve got two questions for you:

1) WHAT DO YOU WANT TO LEARN?

Maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to do: can your own tomatoes, make your own cheese, or ferment some amazing kombucha! There are an unlimited number of skills present in our community, but we want to focus on the ones that capture your interest! Comment on this post, or on Facebook, with some of the things you’re excited to learn about. You can also email your ideas to info@mustardseed.coop. We’ll gather that info, look for themes, and develop workshops based on your interests!

2) WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SHARE?

This kitchen is a collective effort, where we hope learning, sharing, and growing will take place. As a grocery store that values community, we recognize that there are many voices, talents, gifts, and passions within our member and customer base, and we want to expand and highlight those as best we can. If you have a skill you’d like to share in a workshop setting, or know someone who does, please fill out this form, so it can be submitted to the Mustard Seed Kitchen Action Team. Here’s the link to the form: http://tinyurl.com/o29cy2o Lastly, we’re looking for a handful of people to join the Mustard Seed Kitchen Action Team. If all this talk of workshops and skill-sharing gives you excitement deep in your bones, and you have 2-3 hours a week to lend a hand, please let us know! We’re looking for some help with organizing, scheduling, feedback, followup, and other administrative tasks like that. You can email info@mustardseed.coop, or comment on Facebook, to let us know of your interest. Please spread the word about all this, and as we gather more information, workshops will be announced on our website and Facebook page – stay tuned!

The Mustard Seed is Sprouting!

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Winter means dormancy in Canadian fields, and so it has seemed with our blog postings.  But co-op development has ramped up since our membership launch party on November 29th.  So many details are coming together, it’s as though the lengthening days of January are making room for the Co-op to bloom in the spring. Here’s a brief overview of what we’ve been up to:

Membership means Ownership

Our membership is climbing every day towards our target of 800 by May (262 members as of today, or see the counter to the right).  Hamilton-area households are working together to create an alternative to big-box grocery stores. By co-owning a cooperative business, we meet our members’ needs while extending many benefits to our broader community.  Why not join us?  Become a Founding Member today and see your values affect our local food culture.

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Education and Events

Education – one of the 7 Co-op Principles – is central to the Mustard Seed.  Whether it’s been at Art Crawl each month, Mountain Equipment Co-op in December, Green Drinks at Artword Artbar, sharing with church groups or civic clubs, our Board and Action Team members have been at many local events sharing the vision of the Co-op.  Are you interested in having someone talk to your group? Invite us to a lunch-n-learn in your office or a house party for friends and neighbours.  Our on-line calendar lists upcoming events you’re welcome to attend.

We’re also had some great media help from the Spectator, CBC Hamilton, Raise the Hammer, and various other blogs. See our media mentions page for what others have been saying about The Mustard Seed.

“Where’s the store located?”

This is the first question everyone asks about the Mustard Seed Co-op. Our Location Team has narrowed down the potential sites, but we need to meet two benchmarks before signing a conditional lease: reaching 300 members and $150,000 in available equity.  By joining today, and making an additional investment in the Co-op (if you are able), we can reach these thresholds soon and firm up a location.

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With our top priority being proximity to Members, as seen on this map of current members, you can get a good idea of where we have been most diligently searching for a store location.

Job posting: General Manager  

The H.R. Team are developing  job descriptions for three positions: a part-time Admin Coordinator, a contract Project Manager, and a full-time General Manager.  We are seeking individuals with the necessary skills, a passion for cooperative enterprise, and a love of local food.  Keep your eye on this website for more details and the job postings in the weeks ahead.  Hiring staff will sure be a milestone in our Co-op’s development!

Bulk bins & peanut grinders

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Our first purchase of nearly-new bulk bins through Kijiji!

Our Operations Team has begun listing all the infrastructure needed for our store.  From shelving and coolers to data systems and signage, there a lot of details.  We’ve already bought our first supplies:  some nearly-new bulk bins and a classic peanut butter grinder. If you love online research and bargain hunting, why not join this team and help us get the best deals on everything we need? We are also seeking someone with a truck to help pick up future store equipment. Check the Tools and Talents page for other ways to help!

Local Food: more than we imagined

The twenty members of our Sourcing Team have compiled an amazingly extensive database of over 400 local food producers and processors.  And with each meeting starting off with a potluck, we’ve had opportunities to try much of our region’s bounty. This database will help our staff make purchasing decisions in line with our membership’s priorities.  We are fortunate that Hamilton is in the heart of Ontario’s food producing regions. We can’t wait for The Mustard Seed to be part of enriching our local food culture!

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A sound financial footing

Our Finance Team is working to ensure the Mustard Seed has a strong financial footing. Based on extensive research  of over 30 other food co-ops across North America, our business plan projects a strong, positive cash-flow through our first five years.  This is inspiring members to invest capital beyond their $100 household share.  Following our Investor Information night this week, we have over $60,000 in member loans towards capitalizing the Co-op.  This equity is on deposit with our partner co-op, First Ontario Credit Union, in anticipation of our $150,000 benchmark for the next phase of development.  If you are interested in “locavesting” in Hamilton’s revitalization, please consider our cooperative business. Read our Investing FAQ page for more information and let us know if you would like a copy of the business plan or if you would like to meet about investing in The Mustard Seed.

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Interested investors at our information night on January 16, 2013. We are still looking for members able to invest in the Co-op – see you FAQ page for more information (https://mustardseed.coop/investingfaq/)