The Wedge Community Co-op has been receiving comments in the store and via social media regarding Eden Foods CEO's decision to challenge the Affordable Care Act's requirement to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives. Owners and other customers have inquired if the co-op would consider pulling Eden Foods products from the shelves. We wanted to take the time to respond to these requests and provide reasoning for the co-op's position on this matter. Please take the time to read if this issue is important to you.
This is the Wedge Community Co-op's official policy regarding political endorsements, as approved by the Board of Directors on August 14, 2008:
"The Wedge Community Co-op does not endorse candidates, parties or topics on any issues before voters in elections. The Co-op has a historical practice of neutrality on political issues. This practice reflects one of the original cooperative principles: No outside political or religious affiliations.
The Co-op does not engage in consumer boycotts. *
Efforts by staff and management to influence public leaders or government agencies through public comments, and the public through education, should be limited to those which affect our business of providing food and other products that meet our evolving standards of quality and sustainability. Staff and management may also engage on issues regarding food safety and the co-op's ability to offer transparency about our products, the processes used to produce and bring them to market.
*This policy shall not be construed as preventing staff or management from discontinuing products."
We are not a political organization. Our owners do not join the co-op to be spoken for in any arena other than (specifically) food, food production, and farming. The political endorsement policy by the board is our protection from both activist boards and owners who would seek to unilaterally make changes that would affect all owners and shoppers. Co-ops are not the economic arm of progressive politics. We do not fire weapons in the culture war and do not have a contraception position or an insurance coverage position.
We have owners on all sides of cultural, political, ethical issues and what they want from us is great food. They are capable of deciding if a company does not align with any of those value systems and taking action to choose different products. We are not an exclusive club where it can be assumed that everyone has the same world outlook. Voluntary and open membership is the 1st Cooperative Principle.
We are not in the business of not carrying products owners want. There are shoppers who prefer Eden products because of the company's 40+ year track record on organic integrity, domestic sourcing and BPA-free packaging. There are shoppers who just prefer the way those products taste. That is their choice. We are not in the habit of letting some owners decide what products other owners may purchase at their own co-op, other than that the products have to sell enough to earn their shelf space.
Our natural foods cooperative has limited the scope of ethics in which we deal to issues surrounding food, farming, and the health of the soil and other resources required to that grow that food. While we may support a fair trade wage for coffee farmers in Ecuador, we don't get involved in their reproductive rights. We make that same distinction on domestic terrain. Food, farming, the environment, those issues are our purview, and have been since the beginning.
And so, in this matter with Eden Foods, while we will not be engaging in a store-wide boycott (a move that would require Board action to change official policy), we are committing to the following actions:
And now, what can you do?
We encourage you to continue the dialogue and move it forward in constructive ways. Engage with other members and employees and keep open the lines of communication. This is the beauty of a co-op; we are here to serve the needs of our entire ownership and we want to hear what those needs are, no matter what side of the issue you come down on.
Make your feelings known with the dollars you spend and we will follow your lead. And then, do the work of convincing your fellow owners to stop buying the products. As we've said before, make your feelings known with your dollars and we will follow your lead.
For those of you who prefer to not buy Eden products, we offer a wide-variety of alternatives.
Apple Cider Vinegar:
Red wine vinegar:
Toasted sesame oil:
Brown rice vinegar:
The following deli products use Eden products (No Juice Bar or Deli Bakery items use Eden products)
Athenian Shrimp and Garbanzo Salad
Garbanzo Bean and Artichoke Heart Salad
Spanish Garbanzo Salad
Spinach Garbanzo Bean Salad
Organic Toasted Garbanzo Bean Salad
Organic Red Bean and Rice Soup
Reds and Greens
Organic Russian Red Bean Salad
Red Bean Gumbo with Greens
Three Bean Chli
Cauliflower, Bean, and Feta Salad
Organic Technicolor Salad
Organic Great American Bean Salad
Cannellini Bean and Tomato Saute with Sausage
Three Bean Chili
Fennel and Cannellini Salad
Chicken and Cannellini Salad
Udon with Spicy Meatballs
Udon Noodle Salad with Tofu
Mill City Spicy Udon Noodles with Kale
Spicy Ginger Noodles with Tofu