Shared Community means Weaver Street Market is a vibrant community hub for enjoyable work and shopping experiences, fun events, and connecting with the greater community. Two initiatives in this area continue to evolve and grow—WSM’s Cooperative Community Fund and our Food House Garden—and we have exciting plans for launching a Weaver Card, which will have a significant impact on our community outreach programs.
Cooperative Community Fund awards grants to TABLE and PORCH
Weaver Street Market’s Cooperative Community Fund (CCF) will award $3,020 in grants to two local nonprofit groups for their projects that address Access to Healthy Food. The CCF Committee, which is composed of consumer and worker owners, selected the two recipients for innovation, collaboration, and the benefits of the project to the community:
$2,000 for PORCH’s proposed nutritional education project—PORCH Eats Fresh. The one-year pilot project will provide education on healthy eating and lessons for developing cooking skills for the families who participate in PORCH’s Food for Families program. Many of the participating families are not fully benefiting from the fresh food that they receive because they are unsure of how to prepare it. PORCH Eats Fresh will provide families with healthy recipes for the food included in their monthly delivery and will hold cooking demonstrations at the food pickup sites. The grant will purchase basic spices and herbs used in the recipes and pay for printing the recipes and assembling them into binders for easy use in the kitchen. A team of nutrition professionals will collaborate on the project to ensure that the recipes are appropriate for the families’ food preferences, which vary widely based on their cultural group.
$1,020 for TABLE’s proposed field trip project—TABLE On the Go. The field trips will be designed so that children served by TABLE’s programs have the opportunity to visit farms where local food is grown and to participate in educational classes offered on the farms. The grant will be used to fund two pilot field trips to Maple View Farms in Hillsborough. The field trips will start with a healthy picnic lunch presented by TABLE’s SnackChef volunteers, who will demonstrate how to prepare the food and then send home the recipes and ingredients for the kids to prepare the food at home. The field trip will include several of Maple View’s activities for children, such as visiting (and petting!) some of the animals who live on the farm and a fun hayride all across the farm. The kids will take two farm classes about how their food grows—an “All about the Dairy” class, which is especially significant since Maple View Farms donates fresh milk to these children through TABLE’s Weekend Backpack program, and an “All about Autumn” class, through which the children will learn about life cycle of apples and pumpkins and how they grow.
Employees cultivate a community garden at the Food House
Weaver Street Market employees at the Food House have cultivated a beautiful garden that features a variety of fruits (blueberries, blackberries, apples, persimmons, kiwis), vegetables (tomatoes, beans, squash, peppers), herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, mint), as well as native plans and insects that build a healthy eco-system. The garden is tended by employee volunteers, who share the bounty from the garden. Employees from our stores have been so captivated by the gardens on their visits that some now return to volunteer in the gardens as well. The garden also provides a relaxing space for employee lunches.
New Weaver Card to keep money local and benefit community programs
Each year the co-op pays more than half a million dollars in credit and debit cards fees—that’s as much as an entire year’s profit! To reduce these fees, Weaver Street Market has promoted gift cards as a no-fee alternative to bank cards. At last year’s annual meeting, owners made a number of the suggestions for making gift cards easier to use and recharge.
This fall when our point of sale system is updated, we hope to implement a Weaver Card program that offers a no-fee alternative. Here’s how we think the program will work:
• Offer a Weaver Card—a gift card that we manage and that can be recharged online.
• Donate the first year’s savings in bank fees to community programs that promote access to healthy food, including the Cooperative Community Fund and Community Food Partnerships.
• Provide a $10 Weaver Card as a benefit for new owners and provide easy-steps for using the card and information on why using the card matters to the co-op.
• Promote the benefits of using the Weaver Card at the registers and on our website blog.