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Note from the Board

Thank you members who came out to the meeting on January 12th at Manson's Hall. It was a chance to get up to date with all the changes that have happened at the Coop, listen to feedback from the members and learn about the next steps that the Coop is taking to become financially secure.

We are turning the corner but have to remain very diligent to ensure we do not overspend on stock or staffing as our store sales are down for a second year in a row, reflecting the tougher economic times on the island.

We will be able to have a much better understanding of our financial situation once we have completed our physical inventory at the end of February. A physical inventory is the only way to know how much profit or loss occurred during the year, and is an essential component of an accurate balance sheet as of our fiscal year end. Most likely it will show a loss for the year. The better news is that with the changes we have made to store operations, it is likely that we will stem that outflow and set the stages for a better year ahead.

That said, the most important change still needed is an electronic point of sale (POS) system. The benefits are many:

• always current inventory levels on all stock
• much better ordering quantity management
• easier pricing control
• savings from better information flow
• ability to institute member accounts and rewards
• ability to offer member only discounts
• ability to track membership benefits
• much more efficient financial and accounting systems
• timely ability to track changes, make HST remittances, and more

It is a current goal of the Board to find a donor to help us purchase a POS system. Please do not be shy if you can help us! We will find a way to reward you!

We also discussed the idea of reinstating the annual membership fee but it would be best if we could do that when we have our POS system in place. Stay tuned for info on this.

We're also in search of a donor, or donors, to help with the $5000 required for the first step of the re-opening the café as a bakery. See more about this below.

We also talked about the land purchase negotiations with the School Board et al. and will let you know more as things unfold. If you can help out please let us know.

The fact that meat sales have gone so well in the past two months speaks to the importance of responding to the needs of our members. We are here to serve!

We urge you to shop at your Coop because your financial support makes the wheels turn! Do let us know any positive ideas that you have, ways to improve and items that we could order if enough members would buy it.

Lastly we have a wonderful volunteer Eva Boucek who is heading up our volunteer liaison. Please see below for more information about this.

Local Vendors! If you want to get paid for "non-consignment" deliveries that have sold at the Coop, you no longer need to wait to the end of the month. As soon as a Local Vendor Representative (Tanya or Kelly) is available to update your Local Vendor Invoice for wastage or unsold items , they will submit it for payment. Try to avoid seeking approval on Fridays - it is our busiest day. Normally, a cheque will be issued and available within a week.

A GINORMOUS Thank You to Membership, Staff Volunteers!

Jason would like to say a big thanks for all the messages of support that he, and  the board generally, received from people after the meeting. It was heartening.

The staff continues to rock the Co-op with their dedication and donations of many hours every week to make the place beautiful and well-stocked. 

THANK YOU from your board: Jason Andrews - Finance Committee; Julian Ayers - Bakery Committee; Ron Bazar - President; Jude Marentette - Secretary; Jasmine Lawrence - Staff Rep; and, Richard Andrews - Property Purchase Committee.

Did I Hear You Say 'In-store Bakery'?!

Yes, it’s true...

We are planning to have our in-store bakery open in February, hopefully by Valentine’s Day!

To keep within our financial parameters, the re-opening of the café is going to be a gradual process. As a 3-phase project, it’ll start with an increased selection of freshly-baked goods to be sold at the store’s bakery table, just inside the main door. In addition to coffee, we will offer bread, cookies, bars, scones, phyllo pastries and muffins.

Lisa Jo's Baking The café seating will remained closed for the first two phases. The second phase begins in April. To the great selection of baked goods, more savoury fare will be available for take-out and home consumption. Also, bread production will be increased to sell to other bakeries and suppliers, as well as flatbreads, ethnic breads, etc.

Lastly (drum roll please!), by the May long weekend, or sooner if it is busy, the seating area, patio and coffee bar inside the café will be re-opened. Because we have no indoor toilets, we will qualify for a “take-out”, with limited seating and no public washrooms required for a Health Operating Permit.

You’ll be able to enjoy the juice bar, baked goods, prepared foods, specialty coffees and take out, with full service at the bar. As the summer market increases, so will the menu.

If we are better prepared to weather next winter’s slow season, the board is optimistic we can afford to operate the coffee bar/bakery on a year-round basis, until such times as the land is purchased, we install a septic system, and re-open the café.

Many things are still needed for the bakery to open on time, including volunteer help, and donations of labor, money and materials. If you would like to help the Bakery Committee get the job done and have some fun this winter, please contact our new Volunteer Coordinator, Eva Boucek, or talk to store staff.

We know many of you really want to enjoy the space and the food again, and we heartily welcome you to be a part of making this happen!

New Bi-Monthly Member Draw!

Congratulations to Nori Fletcher and Bill Andrews!! They were winners of our bi-monthly draws for a $25 gift certificate & free movie. You could win too!
Place your name & phone number on your receipt and into the beautiful and colourful (AND larger) box with happy faces all over it. It begs for your receipts of over $25. We draw names every  two weeks. Thanks Cortes!

Member Specials on NOW!

Happy Planet JuicesHappy Planet Juices 2L carton - Now $4.65 (reg. $5.55) Enjoy the sweetness of organice juices made with tree-ripe and local fruit – and veggies – whenever possible. The 'Art & Craft of Juice' without artificial additives! Made in Vancouver. Read more >>>
Four O'clock Tea - All Flavours - Now $3.20  (reg. $3.80) - Four O'Clock offers a delicious assortment of herb and spice teas, organic and fair trade. Take your palate on an adventure with these high-quality ingredients. This is also a Canadian company - de Québec! Read more >>>

sign.jpgAnnie's Homegrown Pasta all kinds! 20% off - Now $2.05 (reg. $2.60) Make it a pasta night with rice or whole wheat organic petite shells and family size! Annie's delicious organic and natural comfort food made with simple ingredients. All of Annie's foods use only non-GMO ingredients. Good for the environment and good for the belly! Read More >>>
Health and Beauty Aids
Health and Beauty Aids PRE-INVENTORY SALE! 
10% off everything - WOW! Vitamins, supplements and immune boosters can help you stay healthy for the rest of the cold and flu season. This sale applies only through the month of February and to everything except locally-made products.

New & Local Products!

ChocolateiChoc by Vivani Don't pass up these bars because of their trendy name. This is chocolate for all styles and ages! Vivani's latest Gold award, by the German Agriculture Association, was for all of the iChoc chocolates in which they use the finest organic chocolate. When you purchase iChoc products you are benefiting not only your own well-being, but also giving Latin American and African farmers the chance to engage in healthy agricultural techniques. Read More >>>

Bob's Red Mill Wheat-free Oats are produced using time-honored techniques, like grinding whole grains at cool temperatures with a traditional stone mill. The oats are higher quality and taste fresher! Read More >>>

Skinny Chips

Skinny Chips are baked, natural and delicious! And this tasty snack is guilt-free: no extra calories, cholesterol, or a whole lot of fat - especially those undesirable trans fats found in so many snacks. You can eat 1 serving of Skinny Chips (approx. 2 cups) and feel more satisfied than after eating an entire bag of most snacks.

Nancy's Yogurt

Nancy's Non-Fat Yogurt is made with fresh, non-fat milk and live  cultures. It's unsweetened and is fully cultured with billions of live probiotics per spoonful. Simple, rich, real food!
Read More >>>

ONE kids

O.N.E. Kids Coconut Raspberry Lemonade Drink Boxes are great tasting, super hydrating and nutritious beverages. With a coconut water base and fruit juice added for extra flavour, it has less sugar than typical fruit juices. The cool, slightly sweet water from inside a young, green coconut contains some of the same electrolytes found in blood, and is a good source of potassium. It's also one of the best ways to hydrate. They're great for active kids! Read More >>>

Job Postings at the Co-op!

Natural Foods Store Manager Wanted

CNFC requires the talents of a full-time natural foods store manager. The successful applicant will have proven experience in, and would eventually oversee the following areas: personnel, budgeting, financial reporting, facility maintenance, purchasing, inventory system management, sales, promotions, pricing, and merchandising. Prior experience administrating a Point of Sales system would be an advantage.

Your excellent communication and inter-personal skills would help establish and maintain good relations with staff, membership, board, community, local producers, vendors and agencies. You have the ability to attend to a wide variety of operational details, while working toward long-term goals for the improved overall efficiency of the coop. Your interest in, and ability to research related issues, such as nutrition, health, food security, food politics, natural food trends and the development of local food resources would improve and expand the coop’s offerings to the community.

Natural food/grocery/co-op store work experience is a definite asset. Salary negotiable, dependent upon skills and experience.

Please apply with a resume and 3 references to the Co-op Board by Jan 31st, 2012.

Keeper of the Books

The Cortes Natural Food Coop is looking for a permanent, Full-Charge Bookkeeper to work a basic 1-3 days/weeks, varying by season. Appropriate experience is essential.

Additional periodic effort required for end of current year processing, HST remittances re-statements and revising last year's end of year statements.

Pay rates will vary between $20-$25/hr depending upon experience and qualifications.

The suitable applicant must have a detailed understanding of double entry bookkeeping. In addition to entering all current financial transactions on a weekly basis, responsibilities will include running payroll , weekly reconciliation of accounting records with bank statements, and producing detailed financial statements weekly and monthly.

Applicants please contact Jason.

A Message from Tanya about Produce

How are we doing? Let us know! Produce

There are many ways to give me your thoughts. As always, we have a Suggestions Box at the Co-op.

Any feedback specifically about produce can be directed there or addressed to me, Tanya, personally when you see me. I can also be emailed.

Returns are easy and any feedback, positive and/or constructive, is welcome.

And, just a reminder, that during the winter months, the Co-op only has one delivery per week, on Wednesdays. So, in other words, for the freshest veggies  come in on a Wednesday or Thursday, rather than a Tuesday! We are doing our best with those limitations. Thanks for understanding!

Photo Contest: Show Us Your Co-op!

As you may know, the United Nations proclaimed 2012 UN LogoInternational Year of  Co-operatives in order to recognize the important contribution of this business model to socio-economic development. One of the key objectives for this year is to raise awareness of co-operatives throughout the world and in Canada.

We invite you to participate in the photo contest: "Show Us Your Co-op!"

For more information, visit this site.

Local Profile: SolBella - Truly Organic Skincare!

SolBella offers a line of all-organic, chemical-free, locally-made and fun, nourishing moisturizers, massage oils, body butter, foot cream, lip balm, bath products and more!

SolBellaOriginally, SolBella began many years ago as a hobby by Island local, Lara. Her wish was to give the highest quality gifts as possible to family and friends, and for them to an alternative to the preservative and chemical-filled moisturizers found on most store shelves. SolBella received an enthusiastic welcome at Farmers' Markets on the Islands this past summer. We are now excited to be able to offer these products year round at the co-op.

With a deep and lifelong commitment to organics and sustainability, and for the health of ourselves and our families, we use only the best quality organic and fair trade ingredients. We source as many local ingredients as possible, specifically home-grown calendula and roses, as well as beeswax. We also utilize some of the wonderful products offered by Gathering Place Trading Company.

To be as pure as we can, we package our products in beautiful glass bottles and jars when possible. Custom creations and gift baskets available. Enquiries, comments and suggestions are always welcome! solbellaorganics@gmail.com 250-830-4300

Staff Profile: ♪ Hey Jude! ♪

How long have you been working at the Co-op?
Last summer I started volunteering, then began to work on the till. I was asked to replace an outgoing director on the previous Board. In the Co-op’s first few years, I worked on systems, policies, purchasing, receiving and merchandising, and attended countless endless, mostly-friendly meetings.

What are your roles at the Co-op?
I joined the current Board at the last AGM because I was extremely concerned about the financial nose-dive as well as the low morale and divisiveness the café project had Judegenerated. In the short time the remaining Board members have been together, (and not dealing with other crises), some crucial cost control and bookkeeping practices have been established.

However, with our eyes on the bottom-line and catastrophe avoidance, we have over-looked some basic tenets of co-operative ventures and the pre-existing Co-op culture. Most obvious of these omissions has been consultation and inclusive communication.

Given the luxury of time and skill-development and help, I’m confident the Board, staff and membership can co-create a healthy, co-operative and sustainable business together. That nearly 90 members are available and willing to gather, some for almost 4 hours, on a cold January night to have a conversation about the Co-op is incredibly encouraging, or at least, incredible. Does no one have cable TV?

What do you like most about working at the Co-op?
Walking there.

What are your other interests or hobbies or work?
I play heavy-metal nose harp and Baroque Theremin music, and enjoy fly-tying.

What does your ideal Co-op look like?
My fantasy Co-op would be FULL of local produce and value-added goods originating from local gardens and fields and greenhouses and pastures and orchards and vineyards and waters. Oh! And there would be a year-round, carbon-neutral, chlorine-free swimming pool and sauna and Japanese bath house, world peace and clean air, water, nourishment and justice for all! And Bambi’s mother would never die.

RAW Recipes: Coconut Cheese

By Tanya Krahn

1/2 cup soaked macadamia nuts 
1/2 cup fresh coconut meat
2 tbls soaked irish moss seaweed (thickener)
1 tsp sea salt

Blend on high until thick and creamy.
Add two capsules opened acidophilus (optional).
Put into a cheese cloth-lined colander overnight in a warm place. The next day, place in the fridge to firm. Add spices or lemon juice.

Eat with sauerkraut, or stuff into marinated mushrooms, or draw a wintery scene on kale trees. It tastes like rain clouds soaked in sunshine.

Volunteers and Committees

As a result of the January 12th meeting, several people have stepped forward to help. Here’s an update on committees:

More About Our Distributors: Discovery Organics

Every year we receive a Holiday Letter from Discovery Organics in Vancouver. We'd like to share a little of 2011's letter with you, to give you a glimpse of why we love working with Discovery.

You have paid a little extra for bananas, apples, pears, kiwi, passion fruit, blueberries, mangos, avocados and grapefruit. Over the past two years your purchases of Fair Trade produce bought from Discovery have guaranteed literally thousands of farm families a secure and reasonable income – for many of them it’s the first time in their lives. You have also, through you and your customers’ purchases over the past 2 years, provided an additional $380,000 to social projects all through the Americas, funded by Fair Trade Social Premiums we pay, above and beyond the cost of the produce.

Free Trade Farmers You’ve built the “Discovery Organics Summer School” in Salitral, brought potable water to a remote village in central Mexico, and an elementary school in Peru. You paid for elders to learn to write Spanish in Piura, and hire specialized teachers to work with mentally challenged children in Tambo Grande in Peru and Michoacan in Mexico. You have helped support a first-of-its-kind micro-finance system for 1200 farm families and workers, in the poorest area of South America in Sullana, Peru, operated jointly by a banana and a mango cooperative. You have funded new remote medical centers in both Peru and Argentina. You alone have paid to rebuild or replace 80 homes for farm workers in earthquake stricken Concepcion, Chile, and 100 more through a special earthquake fund many of you supported 20 months ago.

The letter went on and on with heartwarming tales. Amazing what you can do by just shopping at the Co-op! Read More >>>

DVDs at the Co-op

Please return your movies on time, your fellow Co-op members are waiting for them, especially the new releases. You owe $1.00 per day per DVD for every late day. If you are not sure, ask the staff to check whether it's overdue.

Irene is busily checking out lists of the best films of 2011 and ordering them as they come available on DVD.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Werner Herzog documentary about the most ancient cave paintings ever found, Chauvet Cave in France, discovered in the 1990's. This is the first time a film crew was allowed inside. Archeology and artistry from 30,000 years ago, in pristine condition.
Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen comedy about a modern day writer who discovers a portal into the bohemian Paris of the 1920's and meets his creative idols: Hemingway, Picasso, Salvador Dali, andPoetry their cronies. 

Poetry: Korean drama and winner Best Screenplay at Cannes. A  woman in her mid-60s, who is raising her grandson, enrolls in a poetry class at the local community center. Her desire is to write one poem. Crazy Stupid Love

Crazy Stupid Love: Romantic comedy with a big heart starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone. The Help

The Help: Based on best-selling novel set in southern USA in the  early 60's: young white woman befriends the black women who work as maids for her friends and family.

Another EarthAnother Earth: A new planet appears, close by, in the sky. In fact, it is another Earth, identical to our own. Special Jury Prize, Sundance.

Phil Ochs There But For Fortune: Documentary about politically-minded singer/songwriter of the 1960's who commit suicide at age 35.

Margin Call: Human drama of the beginning of the 2008 financial meltdown as it affects the employees of a Wall Street investment firm.

Trust: Psychological thriller, very well done. A 14-year old girl falls for an internet predator, an older man, and her father is really upset.

Terri: Quirky edgy comedy about a sensitive obese teenage boy, his school counsellor and his misfit friends.

Sarah's Key: Based on the popular novel about the eviction of Jewish families in Paris during WW2 and a modern-day journalist who investigates the history of her husband's family apartment.

Brand New Day: Feel-good Australian flick.

Breaking Bad Season 2: TV black humour (Season 1 available, too!)

Gruffalo: A family film.

In case you missed last week's screening of Velcrow Ripper's powerful documentary Fierce Light, it is available for rent.

Articles of Interest

The Big Questions - A Personal Dilemma
Dianne Bersea, Discovery Islander
This is a beautiful piece of prose written by artist and Cortes Islander, Dianne Bersea about where - and how - to stand on divisive community issues. Read More >>>

A Lantzville Couple’s Fight for the Right to Grow Food
Dirk Becker and Nicole Shaw, Synergy Magazine
An article about how those 2 authors are fighting municipal by-laws about urban agriculture on their 2.5 acres of residentially-zoned land on a quiet, dead-end street. Read More >>>

Sixteen months later, here's the follow-up.

Soil and Trouble: Vancouver Island Agriculture
Andrew Findlay, BC Business
As land values and demographics threaten the future of small-scale agriculture on Vancouver Island, a new generation of farmers is finding innovative ways to put down roots. Read More >>>