Your co-op newsletter is produced and edited by Jillian Jason and Pat Badani. Content is written entirely by the owners of RPFC. Want to contribute? Drop a line to: Jillian@rogersparkfoodcoop.com.
Scroll on for a quick update from the editors as the Board takes a month off for summer vacation, one of our Owner's tips for motivation, and an interview with Jessico, wellness buyer for the Dill Pickle Food Co-op. And as always, we can't do it if you don't....
Letter from the Editor
We’ve seen considerable growth this summer, with new owners recruited from Farmers Markets to the Glenwood Arts Fest this past weekend, and we want to take a moment to welcome all new owners, to say thanks to some of our legacy owners, and to share our excitement about fall plans.
If you just joined us, we’re so happy to have you! This co-op is built thanks to membership support and contributions, and we’d like you to join us in making a difference by volunteering your time and skills. Climbing aboard a new project can seem daunting and we’re here to help with resources and projects. If you have any bandwidth at all to volunteer, please step up! We need outreach volunteers, social media contributors, writers, designers, and IT folks. If you’re not sure what you would like to do, reply here and we'll get you set up with the Co-op Volunteer Coordinator (Cris) to work things out. Please note that if anyone would like to come to a Board meeting, all of our ownership is invited (owners only, please) and the next meeting is September 6th, 7pm at Unity at 1925 W. Thome. We also have open Board seats. Serving on the Board presents a fiduciary responsibility to the business, and also provides rewards in dividends.
Our legacy owners of the co-op are just as important as our new owners and I take this opportunity to thank all of you for your valued presence throughout the years. We’re closer than ever to building the store and it’s all thanks to your early and continued involvement. You might be interested in knowing that Owners 24 and 25 were out volunteering this weekend and telling tales from the front lines of community organizing. They couldn’t believe we’ve cracked 320 owners so far!
Fall is right around the corner and it’s always an exciting time for the co-op. Last September we saw continued, fast-paced, owner growth and began a recruitment cycle for Board elections. This fall we’ll be welcoming student interns from Loyola. We also have a few more events up our sleeves! So, stay connected, spread the word, and we welcome your thoughts and comments!
Jillian and Pat
CHANGE AND MOTIVATION:
GROWING THE CO-OP
By Lindy Stockton, owner #220 and owner of The Collage Cafe
I think one of the most challenging things anyone can do is to start something new.... to begin new behaviors.... to shift to a new way of thinking. Change is hard. Even when the change is something that we want to have happen. Even when we are part of bringing about that change. Even when we are the catalyst. And I think that's the part that surprises people.
You may be wondering what, exactly, commentary on change has to do with the co-op. Well, birthing the co-op is one of the biggest changes we could hope to be a part of. If you're reading this, then you are already more than a little interested in being part of that change. What may have caught you a little off your guard, might be feelings of resistance. Even when typing out that word.... r-e-s-i-s-t-a-n-c-e .... I could feel a little twinge. It's a word that can trigger a defensive stance. Especially with those who are driving the changes. None of us want to be resisting anything... . Rather, we're part of making this whole thing come to life.
For some reason we are led to believe that if it's something we WANT to change, then we should only feel happy and positive without any apprehension. The fact isthat there are predictable dynamics to change, and if we know what we can expect, then we can normalize and call out what we're feeling and move through it more quickly so that we can be a positive force for the change and help others through that change as well. In order to be successful in making this change happen we have to first understand our own reasons for doing this. Once we have our own 'what's in it for me' we can better influence and help our co-owners discover the 'what's in it for them'.... and then we can move into the community to gain their buy in for the change.
So, what does this all mean?
First, take your own pulse. Figure out where you are feeling a little stuck or resistant. Are there questions that are unanswered for you? What are you most excited about when you think of the RPFC? What is something that you're looking forward to?
Next, think about how this impacts the other owners and your shared interests. Collaboration with like-minded people is a strong force for change.... you aren't in this alone and neither am I. We can move forward together. What are ways we can connect to help keep one another motivated and help each other when we are feeling resistant or stuck?
And finally, how can we share this with our community and get them equallyexcited? What were some of the things that you hesitated over that someone else may relate to? How can we help them through their own resistance...?And, beyond helping them through resistance, get them to commitment?
WHAT IS IT REALLY LIKE TO WORK AT A CO-OP GROCERY STORE?
Brooke Langton, owner #249, finds out
|Jessico, Wellness Buyer at the Dill Pickle Food Co-op|
When Jessico isn’t helping the folks of Logan Square feel their best at the Dill Pickle, they’re giving the gift of laughter in the Circus Circuit as a Clown.
Jessico is the Health & Wellness Manager at the Dill Pickle Food Co- Op in Logan Square. They were kind enough to give some time to our newsletter, so that we can find out what is working for a Co- Op and see what’s new at the only store front Co- Op in Chicago.
In their 5 years employed by the Dill they have been given the chance to empower themselves by overcoming their fears of social anxiety and to try new roles within the store such as; Social Media Ambassador, Produce Assistant, and Meat Buyer. The Dill even co- sponsored Jessico to take a 6-month online course on health and wellness at Huntington College of Health with Nutracuticals.
At the old site, just a mile away from their new location, there were 15 employees. Now there are 34! The move was a lot of hard work (in the heat of August) for the team; there were 5 inspections to be passed along with a store to set up! Jessico’s advice to a Start-Up like ours is “to just expect the unexpected and [that] it will all work out in the end - even if you end up opening a day later than what was originally announced to the local press”.
The Dill’s Management Team and Board of Directors have worked to diversify their team members since the move. A core group of folks, including Jessico, challenged the GM and BoD to not onlyconsciously look for self-identifying People of Color and LGBTQ+, but folks who reside in the neighborhood. The Dill partnered with local non-profits to set goals and to meet diversity initiatives in the store.There are now 21 self-identifying POC employed at the Dill through community cooperation.
I was curious to know what roles owners played in Co- Ops that are open, so Jessico gave me the details. Owners can table at the Logan Square Farmers Market in exchange for a weekly discount. There are opportunities to hold events and workshops at the Co-Op for owners as well.
‘People over Profit’ is the governing rule all Co- Ops follow. Currently, the Dill is working towards getting to the point of paying folks what they’re worth and more. Paying a living wage is one of their biggest concerns and are finding solutions to find the best balance for their team. They are close to their projections for the year and are coming up to their one-year anniversary at the new store front in September. Jess is currently working with the Sugar Beet in hopes of expanding the Health and Wellness set.
If you’re interested in getting a deal at the Dill, attend the Wellness Wednesday and learn more! You will receive 10% off your Wellness Purchases. Jess suggests cooking your own food and cutting down on packaging to save a buck. It just so happens that the Dill has an aisle and a half of bulk cooking oil, dry good and spices. You’re even able to get Maple Syrup out of the Drum! Jessico’s favorite new product is Lemon Lavender CBD Seltzer Water. Don’t forget to stop by the wellness department to say hello to our favorite Co- Op clown!
Check out where to find us this fall
A Just Harvest: A service project to help serve dinner
Friday, August 31st, 4:30pm- 7pm at A Just Harvest (7653 N Paulina Street)
Board Meeting (owners only)
Thursday, September 6th, 7- p.m. at Unity (1925 W Thome Ave)
Streets Alive and Green Living Festival, Evanston
Sunday, September 9th, 1p.m.- 5p.m. Main Street in Evanston
Community Engagement Task Force Meeting
Thursday, September 20th, 7pm.- 8:30 p.m. at Unity (1925 W Thome Ave)
Fall into Compost: Presentation on Composting at Joe Beason and Nick Dorochoff’s Garden
Saturday, September 22nd, 10:30 a.m. – noon at Joe and Nick’s (1826 W. Morse)
Greenview Block Party
Saturday, September 22nd, 2-6 p.m, Greenview & Albion
New Owner Spotlight
|Michelle Grube, owner #319: "I'd love to have a co-op in the neighborhood!"|
Thank you, Michelle, and welcome to our community of neighbors who are building a grocery store together!