Hello Co-operator!

The Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance (PACA) recently published a great interview with the South Philly Food Co-op's President of the Board Allison Fritz. You can read it here. In the interview, Ms. Fritz shares her ideas about how cooperatives can help establish stronger community ties as well as bring resiliency and necessary services to communities. If you are curious about what the South Philly Food Co-op is, or if you are wondering what being a member entails, this is a great, short piece that can help to answer any of your questions. You can also check out our home page for any other information, updates, events, or new opportunities to get involved with the Co-op.
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Join the Co-op as Music In The Park Returns

Summer time is hopping in South Philly and brings with it the return of Gold Star Park's "Music In The Park" series of family-friendly concerts. If you went to the Hot Dog Happy Hour last Thursday you may have noticed it raining cats and dogs for about 45 minutes. That rain postponed last week's Music event to THIS COMING THURSDAY (6/20) at 7 PM. This week Gold Star Park welcomes Johnnie Verbal's Enablers with their blend of classic rock, covers, some originals, all done in a very smart and very enjoyable way. The Co-op will also be there - as we are every year. We'll be providing sidewalk chalk for the kids to practice their own visual arts on the asphalt surface on the Wharton Street side of the park. If you've never been to one of these events before, they are a lot of fun and a great way to meet up with some neighbors you may not have seen in a while. The event is FREE. Just bring your blanket or beach chair. In fact, make a picnic out of it. (But bring enough to share!) Of course, this is also a great opportunity to help out our "growing season" this summer by becoming a member-owner of the Co-op. The chalk is for the kids. The member-owner application is for you! And keep your fingers crossed that Johnnie Verbal doesn't get rained out a second time!  
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A VERY Happy Hot Dog Happy Hour


The official South Philly Food Co-op hot dog. Pictured is vegetarian style. Beef also available.

Yesterday evening over 70 people came through Underdogs from 5:30 to 8:30 as part of the Co-op's Hot Dog Happy Hour. We just may have stumbled onto something with this great hot dogs and free beer idea! Even a brief downpour from about 6pm to 6:20pm couldn't hold back an torrent of Co-op members and fans that may have caught the Underdogs folks just a little off guard. Hey... that's how we roll, baby.

Attendees caught up with folks they hadn't seen in a while, which continues to show how the social aspect is one of the best parts about the Co-op.

And, of course, the best news of all was that three more member-owner households joined up last night bringing our total to 479!

Thanks again to Underdogs for hosting and making that great, special hot dog in our honor with a family ratatouille recipe that was simply great. And  thanks to Victory Brewing Company for donating five (!) cases of beer for the occasion. If you missed the event we put a few photos up on our Facebook page. Stay tuned for the next great happy hour event. We hope to see you there!

 

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Sarah's Garden: Rain

I don't have that many new pictures because it's been raining so much and I am loathe to go out in the rain just to take some blurry pictures of tomato plants.  But rest assured they are growing fast and are enjoying the rain.  So let's take a look at all the other plants that I tend to neglect in favor of vegetables in the summer.



Above is lavender and what I assumed was Lamb's Ear until these bright magenta flower showed up.  Turns out it's rose campion and I'm not entirely sure where it came from!  On the left side of the picture is a blackberry (or possibly raspberry) from Bartram's Garden.  I get it last summer and it's starting to flower so maybe I will get some berries?  We'll see.



The excitement of this week was when I harvested some beans...11 of them, to be exact.  They seem a little small but the pods were turning yellow so I looked in one and hey!  beans.  I'm letting these dry and hopefully I will get more so I can make something with them.  Next year I promise I'll plant more than one bean plant.

Other than that I've been frantically staking my tomato plants to keep up with all this growth.  More pictures next week, once things dry up a bit!
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Let's party our way to 600 members!

House party hosted by the Knapp-Bazis member-owner household.

One of the Co-op's most successful member recruitment tools this year has been the house parties and get togethers organized by members who invite small  groups of friends who might be interested in joining. During our recent 75in75 campaign, over a half dozen different members hosted this parties which were attended collectively by dozens of prospective members. It's a great way to help recruit new members while showing off your party-hosting skills.

And with summer upon us and the season of backyard barbecues, roof-deck gatherings and small group picnics with pick-up softball games, there are plenty of opportunities to gather a bunch of your friends without worrying about them making a mess in your home!

Here's how it works.

1. Let us know you want to one of these by emailing membership@southphillyfoodcoop.org.

2. You pick a date, invite a bunch of friends and do all of the other things you'd normally do when organizing a party: putting together a menu, getting your iTunes playlist together, practicing your flip cup and beer pong skills, etc.

3. We will arrange for one of the volunteers in our Speakers Bureau to attend the party prepared with a 5-minute pitch about why joining the Co-op would be such a great idea.  You can feel free to chime in - since they're your friends - about why you joined, or just leave the talking to us. The speaker will also have plenty of forms on hand for people to join on the spot.

4. Make sure to take plenty of pictures and let us know how the event went so we can post them to our Facebook page and put on our blog. The more pictures of people eating great food and having a good time, the better!

If you have any questions or if you're new in town and want to know when the next house party is happening, send an email to membership@southphillyfoodcoop.org. We'll answer your questions or check with the host to see if he or she has room for more guests.

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Pallet Gardening Workshop: June 1, 2013

What better way to spend a sweltering early summer afternoon that keeping cool in the newly designed gardens of South Philadelphia High School? More than 30 people participated in the first Pallet Gardening Workshop, organized and presented by Molly Devinney. Not only is Ms. Devinney a skilled gardener who is ready to impart her green thumb skills to eager urban agrarians, but she is also the coordinator for the student gardening program at South Philadelphia High School.

Judging from our pictures taken by Co-op member Stefania Patrizio, the attendees didn’t mind the heat. In fact, many of them found the program informative and helpful. One participant, Josh Satinoff, shared how this event gave him the opportunity to create a garden for his house and that the event was “awesome”. The Co-op helped to provide pallets and other materials for pallet gardening.

Although this event quickly filled up, the South Philadelphia Food Co-op hopes to host more events that will focus on creating more green space in South Philadelphia. Whether it is creating your own verdant oasis with a pallet garden or touring the various community gardens of South Philadelphia in September, the Co-op is ready to provide more opportunities for residents of South Philadelphia to explore how urban gardening can enhance our community’s aesthetics and bonds. Interestingly enough, South Philadelphia High School’s parking lot, which served as the site for Saturday’s workshop, will also serve as the hub for this fall’s Community Garden Tour. The Co-op is on the lookout for gardens in South Philadelphia to feature for the Community Garden Tour. If you have a garden that you want to show off, or if you just want more information about the Garden Tour this fall, you can go here.


 

Event organizer and workshop leader Molly Devinney helps participants transform their pallets into gardens.



Participants Josh Satinoff and Ari Packer show off their handiwork at the Pallet Gardening Workshop.
Other participants enjoyed working with their gardens. Attendees described the workshop as really helpful and "Awesome".


 

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Sarah's Garden: Growth

Hello!  My plants have now been outside for a month and besides some cold nights about a week ago it's been smooth sailing.  Let's look back and see how much these cuties have grown.

Here they are on May 2nd after having survived the first night outside:




Here's the next day...looking quite bedraggled from all the sun (note to self:  next year don't worry about hardening off but do give them a few days of partial sun before going all in):




But then things started looking up.  Here they are on May 7th, growing well:




Here's the whole bed on May 8th, still looking pretty sparse:




Here are some baby beets on May 10th:




Here's the whole bed on May 16th, getting a little greener.  I actually had too much room and had to go out and buy some more veggies (starts cause I was too late for seeds) from Greensgrow.  I got an eggplant (still trying to get just one eggplant, maybe the third time's the charm?), Green Zebra tomato, yellow pear tomato, some lemon cucumbers and zucchini:




May 20th:


are we getting sick of the same picture yet??

May 22nd:


hey, slightly different angle!

Which brings us to today, the last day of May:


lots of growth thanks to all that rain!

Almost all of the tomatoes are staked (or, uh, should be...) and last night I made myself a very little salad of arugula, beet greens and baby chard.  Pretty good!  My father came down and helped me with those trellises, which are just from the South Philly Lowe's painted with leftover paint from the trim of my house.  I think I may paint the raised bed that color, too.  The wall is my neighbor's garage and he graciously told me to do whatever I wanted with it, including drilling things into it.  Thanks, Matt!

So here's what it all looks like now that the back is cleared:




That back patch of dirt will hopefully be grass soon and next year I'd like to get some of the concrete out of there, but for now the concrete is integral in keeping the weeds away.  And I think my plants are loving the raised bed!  They should, there are like 40 gallons of Bennett Compost in there.

And now it's June (almost) and the real growing will begin.  And the real test of the irrigation system.  But one month in the raised bed is looking good!

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Show off your garden on the South Philly Garden Tour!

Hello South Philadelphia gardeners! You've been working hard this spring, digging in the dirt of your planters, pots, raised beds, community garden plots...Now it's time to show off all the fruits (and vegetables, and herbs, and flowers, and...) of your labors! For the third year in a row, the South Philly Food Co-op invites you to exhibit your garden! The Co-op is organizing its Third Annual South Philadelphia Garden Tour and we would love to have your participation. Due to growing turn-out and garden participation, we've decided to focus on the south Broad Street corridor, showcasing home gardens from Washington to Snyder, 11th-17th street for this year's tour. Check out photos of last year's tour here. For those who are not familiar with the Co-op, our mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that makes good  food available at a fair price to all residents of South Philadelphia, while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building. We are 470 members strong, and the Garden Tour is our biggest fundraiser of the year to help us raise the funds for opening our grocery store (we're looking for locations now!). The Garden Tour will be a self-guided ticketed event, featuring private home gardens throughout South Philadelphia. The tour date is set for Saturday, September 7th with gardens open from 1pm to 5pm and has a rain date of Sunday September 8th. If you'd like to participate and show off all the beauty that the hard working and loving green thumbs of you and neighbors have created please submit the following information to events@southphillyfoodcoop.org by July 1, 2013: 1. a brief description of your garden (as you would like it to be published in the pamphlet). Please limit the description to 50-75 words. 2. an interesting fact about your garden (i.e. how it all started, a unique plant you are growing, an interesting technique you are using to grow, etc.) 3. a photo or two- be proud! We'll be hosting a voluntary pre-tour meet-up on Tuesday August 20th at 7pm to answer any questions, distribute information, discuss day-of details, and get you connected with fellow home garden enthusiasts! To learn more about the South Philly Food Co-op, please visit our website and Facebook page. Thank you in advance! We really look forward to your participation.
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Take a look "behind the scenes" at the Co-op

As we've been doing for a few months now, we want to share our monthly committee reports with our membership and those who are thinking of becoming members. We have several active committees staffed by dedicated, hard-working volunteers whose one goal is get this Co-op built. As you can see from the reports below, we've all been pretty busy trying to accomplish that goal. But we need help. If you're a member who wants to make a HUGE difference in how fast we can get to the ribbon cutting for the Co-op, please consider volunteering to serve on one of these committees. The report below - which was available in hard copy at our Spring General Membership Meeting - will help you determine which activities fit with your skill set or are among skills that you're hoping to learn. (You can also download the report here.) May 2013 Committee Updates Submitted to the general membership on 5/17/13 Treasury (Jay Tarlecki)
  • Statement of Activities and Statement of Financial Position and bank reconciliation submitted to the board on a monthly basis.
  • Still awaiting final CPA approval of FY13 final numbers
  • Reviewed outstanding member equity numbers as briefly discussed in April board meeting.  Pledged but not received for all calendar years = $26,647. Of that total, $5,050 is currently past due.

 Upcoming:

  • Develop new bank deposit form, in progress
  • Treasurer playbook
  • Looking for CPA to handle taxes moving forward, no luck finding one that handles co-op so far
Bookkeeping (Molly Peterman)
  • Move from member records in excel to QuickBooks for accounting and tracking needs
    • Begin using QuickBooks at start of FY14 - Not implemented
    •  Begin transition of past FYs to QuickBooks on 6/1/13 after FY13 is officially closed out- Soliciting quotes for support in implementing QB
  • Provide reliable and accurate financial stewardship to people who have trusted us with their money records are reconciled
  • Written policy and procedure manual for member tracking, CRM entry, and bookkeeping practices. DEADLINE TBD based on CRM selection Pending
  • Monthly reconciliation for banking Records reconciled as of 5/16. Current active member count is 466 (members in good standing = 411 and equity past-due = 55). Cash on hand = $67,602. (excluding $1,750 transferred to Fair Food account). Non-equity cash = $1,270.
  • CRM database and QuickBooks to be updated twice a month. Done
  • Membership cards and welcome letters to be mailed once a month mailed at least once every calendar month
  • Assist with development and conversion to the Co-op’s CRM system. Pending
  • Distribute membership certificate shares at each general meeting list provided for 5/19 meeting
Business Outreach (Dana Mitchell) Business Outreach successfully rounded up some sweet swag for the 100 in 75 campaign, thank you to all who helped in that endeavor! Please welcome The Yoga Garden, our newest Shop South Philly Partner (#22). BO responded to inquiries and contacted Shot Tower Coffee, Blackbird Pizza, and Dig Yoga about SSP and are awaiting their reply.  BO contacted Girls Can Tell regarding their new company Occassionette, and whether changes to the SSP page needed to be made. BO received a request to change the offer for Wake Up Yoga and has submitted it to marketing/communications. If anyone knows of a business that may be interested in participating in SSP, please email danammitch@gmail.com so BO can contact them. Finally, BO will be focusing on recruiting business sponsorships for the Garden Tour and other upcoming events. Any help with recruiting sponsors will be greatly appreciated! Grants (Maria Sourbeer (formerly Camoratto)) CCMA application was approved and we were awarded two scholarships to the Austin conference June 6 - 8. TRF, Community Design Collaborative and Clif Family Foundation applications are still pending response. We worked to get the Philadelphia Activity Fund grant application submitted this month and we're pending response.  Last year's Philadelphia Activities Fund report due in June 2013; working with Programs and Events to submit final report.  We continue to research and update our database. On our radar are: Philadelphia Foundation which has a rolling application for technical assistance, NIFA, Del. Valley Grant Makers, Bank of America Foundation, Wallace Center and Impact 100. IT Committee (Melanie Myers) The committee has moved forward with the migration of our existing website to NationBuilder. Veracity has access to our website and design files, and they will be working on the site design over the next two weeks.  At that point they will be ready to show us the design and start discussing moving our data on the site. The new site won't go live until we are done with everything, therefore we keep our current site live until then.  Melanie sent the invoice to Jay to see if the form needs to be filled out for payment. Leadership (Aubrey Jones) Prepared for 5/19 board elections and will be developing more comprehensive recruitment and succession planning for future. Legal (Josh Richards) The legal committee has had no substantive tasks this month, but is working to organize and begin work with the Member Loan Committee. The first Member Loan Committee meeting was rescheduled to May 21. Marketing and Communication (Dan Pohlig) The Marketing and Communications Committee is in the process of completing a revised draft of messaging documents to be used by senior volunteers and members of the Speakers Bureau. The Committee just completed the design of promotional posters that use testimonials from current members to tell several stories about why people have chosen to join the Co-op. Posters are in final QC and will be sent to print by end of May. The Committee has also put forward its chair to be liaison to the working group that is executing the transition of the website to the Nation Builder platform. Finally, the Committee has begun a push for new volunteers. The chair has received a set of contact information from survey respondents who indicated interest in doing communications work for the Co-op. The Marketing and Communications Committee is looking for a few of our member-owners to step up and help out with our efforts to spread the word about the Co-op to new people and create compelling messaging that convinces those who are aware of us to take the next step and join. If you can string together a few sentences about what made you want to join the Co-op and have an idea of what might make others want to join, then this is the committee for you! Specific tasks include: posting to our Facebook page and Twitter account, drafting press releases and media advisories, advising other committees on messaging and language for external communications and creating promotional materials.  If interested in helping out, the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 6:30pm.  Or email dan.pohlig@gmail.com Membership (Cassie Plummer) The Membership Committee oversees co-op member-owner relationships. We manage volunteers, new member-owner welcomes, membership account tracking and a whole lot more! We’re a behind the scenes group that collaborates with Programs and Events Committee and the Marketing and Communications committee to develop and execute new member recruitment initiatives. We are currently working on developing the next stage of recruitment tactics and volunteer program development. In the upcoming months, we plan to mobilize our current members to recruit new Co-op members – we want you to host Eat and Greet House Parties, invite us to your block party, and participate in our training for neighborhood outreach (coming soon). We are also looking to use some new database technology to help us target highly engaged not-yet members, people newly added to mailing list, and neighborhood networks. We could use help in the following areas:
  • volunteer management (you can do this all by email)
  • neighborhood outreach (we’ll provide the training!)
  • hosting Eat and Greet Potluck dinners or other creative events for your neighborhood/friend network
Please come join us and help us reach our next membership goal! Operations Committee (Alison Fritz) Operations continues to work on the business plan with CDS consultant Mel Braverman.  We have all of the components and are going to be doing a major edit over the next two weeks.  The pro forma is a work in progress and numbers are adjusted regularly as new information is available.  Operations is working closely with Real Estate and will update the financial with site specific numbers as we continue to vet potential locations.  Upcoming work includes: 1.)developing programing model for the Co-op (ie. What products and services will we offer/will we have room for in the proposed 3,000sqft retail space), 2.) guidelines for electronic documentation storage, 3.) a primer on the Co-op’s sources and uses so committee members understand the basics. Operations also oversees outreach to potential lenders; Alison and Maria will meet with representatives from LEAF and NCDF at the CCMA conference in Austen June 6 – 8.  Plan to approach Philadelphia based lenders is in process and some initial contacts have been made. Programs and Events   (Leigh Goldenberg) Programs and Events wrapped up a busy spring season with a celebration of our 75 Members in 75 Days campaign at Fountain Porter. We welcomed nearly 40 guests and gave away prizes from our generous Shop South Philly Partners. Last week, we took a small group on a tour of Mariposa Co-op and hope to continue tours of local Co-ops throughout the summer and fall in tandem with the Real Estate Committee. In June, the committee has scheduled two free events - a pallet gardening workshop at South Philly High School and a happy hour at Underdogs, sponsored by Victory Brewing Company. The committee's focus is turning to the 3rd Annual South Philadelphia Garden Tour on Saturday, September 7. The tour will focus on Broad Street and surrounding blocks. In the coming month, they will focus on securing gardens to participate and local businesses to sponsor the event. Volunteers are welcome to assist in this event, the Co-op's largest fundraiser of the year. Real Estate (Megan Kiesel) The real estate committee has narrowed down our real estate agent search to two agents. We interviewed both by phone and in person. We are currently investigating a couple of opportunities and getting our pro forma and business plan finalized before we make a final decision on which agent should represent us. In the meantime we continue to compile a list of potential spaces and have two member real estate agents who will help us to schedule visits. We worked with the grants committee to submit an application for the Community Design Collaborative and participated in a follow up meeting. We expect to hear an update shortly. Speakers Bureau (Katy Travaline) The Speakers Bureau has presented at a total of 5 events in 2013 and has been helping to coordinate speakers for Co-op House Parties and other events, which are not included in this total. The Bureau coordinated with the Marketing and Communications Committee on updating the talking points and materials to be used at speaking events on April 24.  The Speakers Bureau outreach binders will now be updated once the talking points are finalized. The goals for May and June are as follows: We are actively seeking more speaking opportunities and more speakers. All suggestions and volunteers are welcome. Toward this goal, the following steps have been taken: 1) a number of civic organizations and community contacts (four, at the time of this committee report) have been contacted to schedule speaking events; 2) current members of the Speakers Bureau have been contacted to encourage them to review the list of potential speaking engagements and make recommendations for additions as well as to reach out to organizations to schedule events themselves; 3) a few potential speaking events have been added to the list; and 4) plans have been made to recruit speakers at the General Membership Meeting on May 19, 2013. We will also plan to hold a Speakers Training Workshop. Details to follow.
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Happy Hour at Underdogs -- Plus, a Contest

Thursday June 13th, 2013, 5:30-8:30p Underdogs, 1205 S. 9th Street Join the Co-op for happy hour and amazing hot dogs at Underdogs! A special garden-themed hot dog--named in honor of the Co-op--will be a featured special. Plus, free beer, thanks to Victory Brewing Company! It is BYOHD (Buy Your Own Hot Dog), though. Help us out by coming up with a great name for our garden-themed dog. We'll be accepting submissions via Facebook starting June 1 and closing June 8. The top 5 names, as chosen by the same supercomputer that powers the Hubble Telescope, will be announced on Facebook on June 10. We'll count "likes" to crown the winner. Contest will close on June 11. After all that you'll need a beer and a hot dog! The winning name will be given to the hot dog at the Happy Hour on June 13. And the person that named the winning dog will receive free hot dogs for themselves and their friends at the Happy Hour, June 13 from 5:3-8:30pm (Limit $25 value of hot dogs)    
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