Vote for us in the National Co-op Challenge!


Screen shot of Jenn Friesen – The Mustard Seed video was filmed in a variety of locations all across Hamilton

The Mustard Seed has been named as a finalist in The National Co-op Challenge, a national social media contest created by The Co-operators, with $200,000 in prize money to be won. Anyone with a Facebook account or email address can vote between now and October 18, 2013.  Two finalists in each of four regions across Canada will take home $25,000. We hope our local community will help The Mustard Seed Co-op rise to the top!

The Mustard Seed is a community-owned grocery store that offers a bountiful selection of wholesome foods, prioritizes local producers, and creates an educational environment which nurtures the relationship between people and the food they eat. We can’t wait to open our doors before the end of 2013!

Watch & Vote!

Watch our 90-second video and vote for The Mustard Seed! Then please share with your friends, family, colleagues – anyone you think would be excited about The Mustard Seed opening in Hamilton! We have a strong chance of winning $25,000 so please VOTE today!NatCoopChallenge

Follow this link to the National Co-op Challenge / Co-operators Facebook app

If you don’t have a Facebook account, click here to go to the voting microsite. Note: you can vote for The Mustard Seed in the Ontario region. After that, please pick a co-op from the Atlantic & Pacific regions as well. You must select 3 videos (1 from each region) in order to validate your vote. This helps give more exposure to other co-ops.

Membership means Ownership

Once you vote, check out our website for details on the benefits of membership, how you can invest for impact through the Co-op, and our next steps towards opening.  Are you Interested in volunteering? There are many ways to get involved.

A Big Thanks to our Production Team!

We could not have become a finalist in the National Co-op Challenge without an amazing group of community volunteers supporting us.  In particular, we would like to thank everyone involved in making this video – even if you didn’t make it into this 90-second version.  In particular, thanks to our production team of Board member Sarah Botham (producer/writer), Jonathon & Ashleigh Patterson (filming/editing), and Jenn Friesen (narrator) from our Membership Action Team for volunteering hundreds of hours to create a very professional video!

About the National Co-op Challenge

The National Co-op Challenge was created in 2012 to engage Canadians in supporting emerging and expanding co-ops across Canada.  Funded by The Co-operators, the format reflects co-ops’ commitment to democratic control of their organizations by their members.  The sixteen finalists chosen from amongst the national applicants each created a short video to share how their co-operative can impact their community. Two co-ops in each region will each win $25,000, enabling them to expand their businesses.  Good luck to everyone involved in the National Co-op Challenge!


Investigations & Inspirations

Today we have been considering some of the dynamics of developing a local supplier network.  We met with local grower and farm-shop operator Ann Lanigan at Simpler Thyme Farm for an early morning conversation about her experiences.  Ann’s been a grower in this area for a long time using more-than-organic and permaculture practices, had a popular CSA box program, operated local general shops in Freelton and Killbride, and sold through farmers’ markets across the region.  She continues to mentor young farmer interns, sharing her love for food and the soil with a new generation of growers.

Ann stressed the importance of farmers having local outlets for their products beyond just fresh produce.  One challenge is having a market for value-added products (canned, fermented, & frozen produce and other things like soups, etc).  She also encouraged us to find a small flour mill for the store so that flour can be milled on site, since grains stay fresh longer. She has noticed a trend towards customers buying staples in larger bulk volumes, which is great.  Freshness, quality, and regional economic impact are important factors she hears from customers coming to her farm shop in Freelton.

Hamilton has just welcomed the CBC in the last couple of days.  They have featured a number of articles on local food issues, like this one about how local food can be affordable.  While there’s some skepticism about the prospects of Hamilton (and Ontario) being able to rely on local food, what’s the harm in trying to strengthen our economy by valuing local producers?  In the end, we’ll all benefit if we can promote equity for producers, workers, and consumers.  Ann challenged us to do just that. Thanks to everyone at Simpler Thyme for their encouragement!