Berry Road Food Co-op Newsletter

Update from Berry Road Food Co-op

Interior construction will begin in July, and job postings for several positions will be circulated in late July and early August.  If you want to be sure to receive job postings please keep keep your eyes out for our e-newsletters.  Berry Road Food Co-op will have a number of important volunteer positions, so if you'd like to volunteer in our kitchen, help with our product purchasing, or learn how to work a check-out, please sign up as a volunteer!  As a volunteer at the Co-op you will earn Co-op Credit that you can use to shop in the store!


"Food for Thought' Film Screening, Book Launch & Outdoor Market

'Food for Thought' Film Screening, Book Launch, Outdoor Market
Join us on a summer evening by the lake - Friday, July 5, 2019 - for a FREE documentary film screening of 'A Silent Transformation' and a book talk by Jon Steinman, author of Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants.

Shop for weekend treats at our outdoor food market. We are welcoming growers, producers and local business such as: 
  • Albion Hills Farm Artisan Meats
  • BlaBlaFoods PineCone Jam
  • Chiamigos Instant Chia Seed Pudding
  • Culcherd Vegan Cheeze
  • Fressy Bessie Ice Lollies
  • Go Macro samples from Planet Foods
  • Hound & Purr Pet Spa and Lounge
  • Humbervalley Honey
  • La Dee Da Gourmet Sauces
  • Lapapampa Organic Dried Mango
  • Miski Organics Premium Superfoods & Yacon Syrup
  • Sweets from the Earth – samples of S’Mores Cookies
  • Zawadi Farm
  • Zevia – samples of Zero Calorie Drinks
Location & Details:

Thank you Community Schools & Friends

A big thank you to the community schools and communities who graciously invited us to share space at their festivals and end of year student fun fairs - Étienne Brûlé Junior School, Park Lawn Junior Middle School, St. Mark Catholic School, Mimico Party in the Park at George R. Gauld Junior School and LAMP Community Health Centre.

We had a wonderful time meeting people in the community and talking to them about all things co-op and food related. A shout out to everyone who purchased a Co-op membership. Thank you for your support!


See you at the Stonegate Farmers' Market

We are really excited to be participating in the August 13th and September 3rd Stonegate Farmers' Market where we'll be sparking up the BBQ and flipping meat and veggie burgers for the community. If you haven't had a 'James Burger' yet you are in for a treat.

Founders’ Credit

You can help the Co-op get off to a financially healthy start by purchasing some Founders' Credit!  Founders' Credit is basically just buying groceries at Berry Road Food Co-op in advance.  For every $200.00 unit of Founders’ Credit you purchase, we will slowly over time, as the Co-op's finances permit, return that $200.00 to you as Co-op Credit associated with your membership.  When you shop at the store and you have Co-op Credit on your membership, it will automatically be applied to your bill at the checkout!  The rate at which Founders' Credit will be returned will be determined quarterly by the Co-op’s Finance Committee.  Since Founders' Credit purchasers must also be Co-op Members, anyone who is interested in how the rate of return is determined is welcome to attend the relevant committee meetings and participate in the discussion.
As an added bonus, when you use redeemed Founders' Credit to pay for groceries at the Co-op, we will give you a discount on your entire purchase as a way of saying thank you for helping us to get started!  And if it so happens that you don't use your redeemed Founders' Credit within 12 months, it will automatically be transferred to one of our Grocery Support Programs where it will be converted into reduced food prices for community members who need a helping hand!

Strawberry Fest Thank You

Thank you to everyone who supported us by purchasing Bizjak Farms strawberries, BBQ James Burgers and strawberry lemonade at Strawberry Fest. With the May/June weather not cooperating, it was touch and go as to whether the strawberries would be ready for June 15th, but Bizjak Farms pulled through! And they were delicious! We would also like to thank Zawadi Farms for bringing their super local greens to sell - they were absolutely beautiful. The beets sold out right away :) 


Margin Trading

Berry Road Food Co-op is going to provide quality, organic, local, and responsibly produced food to South Etobicoke.  But we also recognize the income diverse nature of our neighborhood, and have committed ourselves to providing a range of products at or very near bargain grocery prices.  Many people have asked how we are going to be able to do this!
One way is through Margin Trading   Before we explain Margin Trading, we just want to clarify what "at or very near bargain grocery prices" means.  We know that many people in the Stonegate area are without personal vehicles, and take TTC to purchase their groceries.  Our goal is to have our Basic Basket of income accessible products priced such that the cost of two grocery bags of Basic Basket items will be less expensive than if you took transit to and from a bargain grocery store and purchased equivalent items there.  For example, two grocery bags of Basic Basket items at Berry Road Food Co-op should cost less than six dollars more than purchasing the equivalent products at No Frills.  The Co-op’s Finance Committee will conduct periodic reviews to make sure we are meeting that goal. In terms of dollars and cents, our prices for Basic Basket items are expected to be within 10% of the cost of equivalent products at bargain grocery stores.
So how will we be able to bring quality products to our shelves at near-bargain prices?  By trading "margin" between different products that we sell.  Margin is the difference between what the Co-op pays for an item, and what we sell it for.  That difference helps pay our staff wages, and pay our rent and utility costs. 
Traditionally, grocery stores decide on a margin, and apply the same margin to almost all products (often using different fixed margins for different product departments).  Meanwhile, many of our natural food suppliers have top-tier products that sell for top-tier prices, but they also have quality products that sell for much less (but still more than no-name brands at traditional grocery stores).  In situations where we buy both top-tier products and less costly products from one supplier, we can make a deal with that supplier to trade margins.  We agree to let them charge us a little bit more for their top-tier product if they agree to charge us a little bit less for their less costly product.  Since the mark-up we apply at the Co-op is based on the cost to us, we will get more return on the top-tier product and will charge less for the more cost effective product. 
If the reduced price isn't enough to bring the cost of the cheaper product down to where it meets our Basic Basket goal, we can further trade margin on our own shelves.  Adding $0.50 to the cost of a top-tier product has relatively little impact on members who can afford to purchase them, but subtracting $0.50 from the cost of a Basic Basket item can have a significant impact on the cost of a week's groceries for someone on a fixed income.
Has this ever been done before, and how do we know it will work?  To our knowledge, this kind of margin trading and double shelving of income accessible products next to products priced similar to most natural or organic food stores has not been done before in Canada.  However, we are confident it is achievable. In the U.S.A., particularly Vermont, large co-ops use this method to satisfy their obligations to be accessible to everyone in the communities they serve.  Interestingly, informal research shows that very few members at these co-ops purchase only the cheapest products.  Almost every sale includes at least one organic or local product despite that product not being the cheapest on the store's shelves.  This shows the true value of margin trading and double shelving in that it maximizes the ability of everyone in the community to make the healthy food choices that are most important to them.

What you'll find at Berry Road Food Co-op

Berry Road Food Co-op's Purchasing Committee is committed to a process for product selection that is compliant with our established policy.  Purchases follow a basic set of criteria that require products be natural, contain whole ingredients, and are made locally.  For product purchases that are not locally sourced, we make our best effort to locate ethical and affordable producers. The Purchasing Committee's most significant endeavour is to consistently strike a balance in choosing products that are of high quality, sustainable, clean and budget-friendly.
The Committee has partnered closely with Stonegate Community Health Centre to create a community driven basic basket of important foods that not only fulfills these criteria, but also competes with other grocers in the local area.  In addition to foods, the Stonegate staff has identified 35 basic household items that will be stocked and priced comparatively.
At BRFC, we are working diligently with local vendors to bring you affordable, quality, healthy products in the very near future.
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Berry Road Food Co-op · 150 Berry Road · Etobicoke, Ontario M8Y 1W3 · Canada

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