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expanded meat offerings; elect Huttner, Lawrence, Roth to board
|Report from the Annual
|by Deborah Trupin
|On Sunday evening, April 5
about 120 Honest Weight Food Co-op members gathered in Albany for the
Before the formal meeting, members mingled and enjoyed tea and desserts
brought by HWFC staff and members. Board president Jim Monsonis called
the meeting to order when the required quorum of 10% of members was
first order of business was the election of new Board members. Jim
announced that there were three openings, with two candidates standing
He called for nominations from the floor, and soon after, a third
candidate agreed to stand for election. The three candidates then
has served on the HWFC Board for a year, having been elected to
complete the term of a Board member who had resigned. He has been an
HWFC member for a few years and a shopper for many years. The managing
partner in a local law firm, Huttner said that he has experience
working with consensus from his time as a member of the Albany Friends
Meeting, that he is on the Board of his synagogue and has served as its
president. During his year on the HWFC Board, Huttner has served as the
liaison to the Governance Review Council and has been organizing the
501(c)3 for HWFC—the non-profit organization that will take over some
HWFC education and outreach programs.
was appointed to the Board in January to fill a vacancy. In accordance
with the Bylaws, an appointed Board member only serves until the next
membership meeting and Kyle had decided to run for a full term. He said
that he had been a member of co-ops in Boston and Roanoke (Va.). He
worked on a CSA farm in Roanoke and was involved in community
organizations as part of that work. He joined HWFC in 2004 and has
worked on the Finance committee. Since he was appointed to the Board he
has been working with the Communications committee and on fund raising
for the new store.
said she has participated in the planning meetings for the new store.
She is a member worker in the Cheese department. She is excited about
the Co-op as an organization and recognizes that the balance between a
for-profit business and a cooperative business is a huge challenge. Now
a teacher, she was formerly a bio-medical researcher.
HWFC members then questioned the candidates. The questions reviewed the
candidates' experience with Co-op and explored their outlooks for the
store, including their views on the meat issue (see below), their ideas
about farmers markets and other co-ops developing in the area, and the
challenges that HWFC faces. Their responses focused on HWFC as a
community and as an organization helping to build community and support
local farmers. All recognized the challenges and opportunities of the
After about 40 minutes, members voted by paper ballot. Later in the
meeting, it was announced that all three candidates were elected to the
Board for three-year terms.
next order of business was discussion and voting on a proposal to
change HWFC's policy on meat buying. The existing policy on meat,
approved by the members in a 2005 referendum, said that meat is to be
"…separately stocked when available from local (regional) certified
organic suppliers, if possible, as close as possible if not,
free-range, healthily fed without hormones or antibiotics, packaged
without additives or preservatives including nitrites…"
Jim introduced the issue and facilitated the discussion. He said that
the proposal was initiated by the Collective Management Team, in
response to perceived demand from shoppers and members. The proposed
change asked members:
"While continuing our focus on and preference for its local/ regional
and organic first, should the co-op expand its offerings to include
certified organic meat products?"
Jim noted that the proposal would amend and expand the current policy,
not to revoke it; it would let HWFC purchase products that local
suppliers do not make, such as cold cuts, broth, and prepared foods
that contain some meat or meat broth. Jim then led a long
question-and-answer session about the proposal. Members asked questions
to clarify the reasons behind the proposal, the goals for it, and its
impact, if passed, on HWFC's support for local farmers. Other members
made statements in support of and against the proposal. These
statements focused again on local agriculture, as well as on health and
After the serious and polite discussion, members voted by paper ballot.
The proposed change was defeated, 67 No to 54 Yes.
end of the meeting included an update on fund raising and planning for
the new store, presented by Facilities committee chair Lynne Lekakis.
Jim Monsonis then opened the floor to open discussion, as required by
the Bylaws. Members did not raise any new issues, but continued a short
discussion on the new store.
The next membership meeting, to be held on May 3, will include a vote
on the budget for constructing and opening the new store. Work your
hours so you can vote, and plan to attend this meeting. As all of the
speakers at this meeting emphasized, the success of HWFC depends on
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