News

—by Lois Braun, HPC Member (October/November 2006)

About 45% of all land in this country is used for agriculture, more than for any other single activity. Thus agricultural policy is everybody’s business, not just that of farmers. Farm policy affects you even though you live in a city, and even though you might not have any family left on the farm. It affects you because, not only do you eat food, but you drink water, breathe air, and pay taxes. It affects you if you like to fish, canoe, or swim in natural bodies of water.

As a human being, you deserve safe nourishing food, clean air, and clean water. The farm bill should deliver these, but it doesn’t; and thus it is wasting taxpayers’ money—YOUR money. In the farm bill we are not getting what we pay for. Discussions are starting now about the next farm bill, which will come out in 2007. It is time for city people to get involved.

Origins of the Farm Program

The original idea of the farm program was good. It started at a time when the majority of our nation’s population were farmers, and a majority of farmers were poor due in part to wildly fluctuating crop prices. So price support systems were enacted that made up the difference to farmers when prices of “commodity crops” (corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, cotton) fell below a baseline.

Why It Hasn't Worked

2006 2005 2004 2003
Department Income 1,678,399 1,595,619 1,500,240 1,509,478
Cost of Sales 1,092,056 1,058,675 1,013,677 999,109
Member Discounts 122,433 120,466 113,643 109,850
Gross Profit 464,184 416,832 373,336 410,174
Operating Expenses 456,404 407,290 403,154 384,061
Operating Ordinary Income 7,780 9,543 -29,819 26,113
Net Income 9,878 -13,241 -22,788 7,834
Co-op Net Worth 435,407 394,209 398,525 429,341
Inventory (Wholesale) 119,531 101,829 94,503 90,601
Credit Card Fees 17,046

Our fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30.

Department Income—the total rung through the register.

Cost of Sales—the amount HPC paid for merchandise.

Member Discounts—discount given to working members.

Operating Expenses—includes payroll, utilities, supplies, credit card fees.

Operating Ordinary Income—amount left after paying operating costs.

Board Development

The Board Development Committee, most often over delicious mugs of coffee and tea at the local Dunn Bros coffee, discussed how to best develop our board of directors. In addition to rather mundane tasks, such as policy monitoring, our committee:

  • Planned a board social so that we could all get to know one another,
  • Created and implemented a self-evaluation process for board members,
  • Worked to recruit qualified candidates to run for the board, and u Prepared for the annual board elections.

In the coming month, we will plan and conduct an orientation for new board members.

—Kjersti Hanneman, Chair

Long Range Planning

The Long Range Planning Committee organized a strategic planning retreat in February of this year, facilitated by Bill Gessner of Cooperative Development Services. The main outcome of the retreat was a set of Five Strategic Directions, intended to shape the work of the board and the committees for the rest of the year, as well as providing a framework for goals for coming years. The Five Strategic Directions adopted by the board were:

Book Review: The Way We Eat: Why our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason

—by Katie Dahl, HPC Member

What does it mean to eat ethically? If you are reading this newsletter, the chances are great that you’ve considered this question. Peter Singer and Jim Mason’s 2006 book, The Way We Eat, addresses ethical eating from farm to grocery store to dinner plate.

The book is divided into three sections, each tracking the food choices made by a different US family. As Singer and Mason describe, family number one follows the most common American diet. They shop at big box stores that promise low-cost food and eat some type of meat or fish at most meals. Ultimately, the factors of affordability and convenience shape their food choices.

Family number two is categorized as the “conscientious omnivores.” They are careful to buy food from companies or farms that uphold certain standards in their production or farming practices. This family relies on terms like organic, fair trade certified, free range, or grass fed to inform their food choices.

And finally, family number three is a vegan household, opposing human consumption of any animal-based products. They live by the conviction that all animal farming practices lead to the undeserved suffering of animals.

—by Naomi Jackson, Membership Coordinator

Yep, it’s that time again. Time for volunteers to trade in their 2006 wallet and Rolodex cards for brand new ones. New cards will be available at the cash register from mid-December until late January. This is what you need to do:

  • Take your new wallet card from the file box by the Rolodex file.
  • Check for errors. If something is wrong, fill out a “New Card Request” form, available at the check-out counter, and put it in the membership coordinator envelope on the entryway bulletin board under the calendars.
  • Fill out a new Rolodex card, found at the back of the Rolodex file.
  • Have a coordinator transfer your credit to the new Rolodex card.
  • Put your old Rolodex card in the back of the Rolodex file.
  • Throw away your old wallet card.

If you do not plan to continue volunteering in 2007, or if you have not been volunteering and would like to start again, fill out a “New Card Request” form, add a note indicating your intentions, and put it in the membership coordinator envelope in the entryway.

Thanks for another good year of working together!

New Year’s celebrations in the US are marked by parties (including the accompanying drunkenness and revelry), champagne, Times Square, the Macy’s and Rose Bowl parades, and football. They are a sort of antidote to the hype of Christmas.

—by Katharine Holden, HPC Member

Hampden Park Co-op is packed with products you may not have tried before. Here’s the screech on a few of them:

Dagoba Unsweetened Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate mixes are usually more sugar than chocolate. Lots more sugar. Dagoba is different. You make it just like any other hot chocolate mix but you add your own sweetener, should you need it. Instead of a huge infusion of high fructose corn syrup or other nasties, you are free to add just a touch of sugar or alternative sweeteners such as stevia or agave nectar. Or enjoy the chocolate flavor on its own. Dagoba is gluten-free, non-alkalized, and Fair Trade. It comes in eight-ounce canisters.

—by Katharine Holden, HPC Member

—by Katharine Holden, HPC Member

—by Katharine Holden, HPC Member

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