Co-op

New season, new look

Just as the changing seasons are reflected in our produce department, we felt the need to make a change to reflect the growth of our food co-op.

Over the last 45 years, we’ve grown from a tiny storefront open only a few days a week to a space that is triple in size with over 2,700 owners. Over the last five years, we’ve seen our organization grow to over 45 employees, expand our sales programs, and most recently, expand upon our food access programs and employee benefits.

But, with this growth, we’ve seen our fair share of growing pains. Our limited brand elements made it difficult to connect to the community and create a meaningful impact. Mariposa was often mistaken as a CSA (community supported agriculture) program, produce market, or exclusive buying club. Sometimes a combination of the three.

Over the past year, we’ve worked with a local branding consultant to update our brand guidelines to reflect our values, specifically creating and fostering a welcoming community space and providing access to healthy and sustainably-grown foods.

Over the next few months, you will see updated elements in our store and online. In the meantime, explore some of our new branding elements below.  

 
 
 

3 Reasons Why We Love Alaffia

We're excited to introduce Alaffia's new face care!

Alaffia's body care is not only an amazing product, but their mission is more than skin deep. Find three reasons why we love Alaffia below.

Coconut Reishi products use nutrient rich herbs to replenish the skin's moisture barrier for all skin types.

Neem Tumeric face care blends active herbs to sooth and clarify oily/acne prone skin.

1. Alaffia is a cooperative.

Alaffia works with Togolese women’s cooperatives that celebrate their members’ unique skills, traditions and knowledge.

Alaffia Cooperative, Togo

2. Fair wages are a priority.

Employees receive fair wages and are able to support their families, while maintaining traditions and managing a sustainable resource: shea butter. Fair for Life: Social & Fair Trade Certification confirms Alaffia meets standards concerning fair working conditions, environmental performance and community relations.

Togolese Women Alaffia.jpg

3. Empowerment is valued over profit.

Alaffia’s success is not simply measured by profit, but rather empowerment. Their goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality, through empowerment projects focusing on education, improving health and reforestation.

Alaffia Togolese Children.jpg

Patronage refunds: the cooperative way to share profits

The concept of sharing wealth and cooperative ownership is directly rooted in Cooperative Principle #3, Member Economic Participation. It states, “Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.”

Implementing patronage refunds strikes a balance between providing tangible benefits for our owners while maintaining a sustainable business model.


A cooperative way of business

Patronage refunds are directly tied to the health and profitability of the Co-op and to the essential role of the owner. The owner-elected Board decides to allocate earnings to the owners only after ensuring that Mariposa has actually made a profit. And since the business is more likely to show a profit if our owners shop, patronage refunds support a mutually beneficial relationship.

If we were to continue giving owner discounts, the Co-op’s earnings would be given away whether or not they actually exist. This year, the Co-op budgeted nearly $140,000 for the register discount. With the money we are saving by discontinuing the owner discount, we can increase staff compensation, expand our sales programs, and reinvest money in our community through our outreach initiatives. The important takeaway is that the money we save stays within the Co-op and our community.

How did we get here?

Discontinuing the owner discount was decided by management with support from the owner-elected Board. The decision required an in-depth knowledge of our financials and our day-to-day operations. The feedback we received from owners during the patronage info sessions and March owner meeting helped shape how we will reinvest the savings to meet the needs of our owners and neighborhood.

Membership is ownership

You may now be asking yourself, “Ok, so Mariposa is saving money, but why should I continue to be an owner?” There are so many reasons to be an owner at Mariposa! Beyond directly investing in your neighborhood and the opportunity to earn patronage refunds, owners (are):

  • Vote on Co-op decisions.
  • Eligible to run for the Board of Delegates.
  • Receive a 10% discount on bulk orders from our distributors.
  • Receive a 10% register discount for being a working owner.
  • Receive discounts at our Community Partners, many of which are just down the street.
  • Add credit to their accounts for convenience and/or budgeting.

2016 was a unique year for Mariposa and our owners. In addition to receiving an owner discount at the register, owners will receive a patronage dividend based on their spending throughout the year. While this year’s refunds may seem small, this is because refunds are being offered in addition to significant savings from the register discount during 2016. In future profitable years, patronage refunds may be significantly more.

What’s next?

Mariposa Food Co-op will discontinue the owner discount at the end of the day on Wednesday, May 31st. Our staff is working hard to begin expanding upon owner benefits and outreach initiatives. Owners should continue to shop on their accounts to track patronage for the future and receive new benefits that will be tied to owner accounts.

FAQ

 

Authored by Elise Greenberg, Owner Services Coordinator.

Celebrate our anniversary, donate to the International Refugee Assistance Project

As Cooperative Principle #7 states, "cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members." This is why we are celebrating our anniversary by hosting donation drives throughout the month of March.

Hand selected by Mariposa staff, each organization is important to the progression of our community. Donate at the register the next time you shop and check back each week to find more information about each organization.

International Refugee Assistance Project

MARCH 22 - MARCH 28

Total donated: $311

International Refugee Assistance Project

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) organizes law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid and systemic policy advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.

IRAP is on the frontlines of the fight against the discriminatory executive order signed by President Trump. By mobilizing an emergency taskforce of legal advocates and leading the fight in the courts and the press, IRAP is playing a critical role in protecting the rights of thousands of affected refugees and immigrants.

How to Help:

If you or someone you know needs legal help, please email info@refugeerights.org in any language with as much information as possible about your situation and any relevant documents. Please see the Get Legal Help page for more instructions on how to request assistance.

Celebrate our anniversary, donate to Project SAFE

As Cooperative Principle #7 states, "cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members." This is why we are celebrating our anniversary by hosting donation drives throughout the month of March.

Hand selected by Mariposa staff, each organization is important to the progression of our community. Donate at the register the next time you shop and check back each week to find more information about each organization.

Project Safe

March 8 - March 14

Total Donated: $1,752

Established in Philadelphia in 2004, Project SAFE is an all-volunteer grassroots organization providing advocacy and support for women working in street economies. SAFE’s mission is to promote human rights-based public health among women working in the sex and drug trades on the street in Philadelphia*. SAFE is an organization dedicated to ensuring the health, safety and survival of women on the street by providing advocacy, education and support using a harm reduction model. SAFE seeks to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis C and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among working women, promote health and safety by empowering women with relevant information and resources, and connect women to programs and services which are appropriate to their needs and interests.

The primary problem that SAFE seeks to ameliorate is the fact that women who work in street economies have many unmet medical and social service needs. Although there are many groups and organizations in Philadelphia that provide the very services women say they want, these organizations are often unknown to and/or inept at providing services to SAFE’s constituents. This is not a new problem. An overwhelming need for accessible and non-judgmental services for the women who are the most criminalized, stigmatized and ostracized in our city has existed for far too long. The population that we work with and for is largely at an economic, educational and social disadvantage. Barriers such as illiteracy, lack of health insurance, legal problems (such as bench warrants), mental illness, mistrust of authority figures and service providers, and chaotic drug use are all factors which prevent women from accessing services to meet their basic needs. SAFE acts as a supportive and educational resource for these women to begin closing the gap.

Become an owner, win free stuff

Mariposa's 4824 Baltimore location is turning 5 this month! In addition to hosting donation drives for organizations that progress our community, we're holding an Owner Drive during the month of March to celebrate.

What do you get for joining? A whole lot! This is an exciting time to join as our Board Elections are around the corner. Upon joining, you will also automatically be entered to win a raffle basket of our favorite products (baskets pictured below)

Celebrate our anniversary, donate to the Black & Brown Workers Collective

As Cooperative Principle #7 states, "cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities through policies and programs accepted by the members." This is why we are celebrating our anniversary by hosting donation drives throughout the month of March.

Hand selected by Mariposa staff, each organization is important to the progression of our community. Donate at the register the next time you shop and check back each week to find more information about each organization.

Black & Brown Workers Collective 

March 1 - March 7

Total Donated: $3,321

Black and Brown Workers Collective

The Black and Brown Workers Collective (BBWC) is a direct action social justice entity that combats injustices manifested in both in and out of the non-profit organizational structure and in the broader community of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our mission is to actively challenge, resist and dismantle, those colonialist, white supremacist and oppressive systems that impact our lives as Black and Brown workers. 

Most importantly, we seek to create our own spaces where Black and Brown labor and community will define the value of their own work while setting roots in communities that establish black and brown owned enterprise and collectively run spaces. Our philosophy is rooted in decolonization practices and organizing methodologies.

Our mission stands at the intersection of both the Worker's Right's movement and the Black Lives Matter movement. We see these two movements as inextricably connected as the lives of Black and Brown workers and community members are valued differently in a raced and classed system. Finally, as descendants of Warrior African/Indigenous peoples, we see it as our responsibility to continue the legacy of fighting for our Liberation. 

As a collective we recognize that true radical transformational work will not be funded by the government, but rather supported by community members like you. Because government funded initiatives control what organized community members and collectives can do on the ground, we have decided not to accept government money that silences our voices and stops the People’s Movement. 

Co-ops Grow Communities: Celebrating Co-op Month 2016

Co-ops around the world share a set of guiding principles, including “cooperation among cooperatives,” and “concern for community.” When you purchase delicious, healthy food at a locally-owned food co-op, you’re supporting a business that cares about people and contributes to a livable, sustainable community. And when you choose products from co-op farmers and companies, that impact grows and grows!

In October, nearly 150 food co-ops around the country are coming together to celebrate the many stories of how companies, suppliers, manufacturers and farmers are using the principles of cooperation to grow strong, healthy communities around the world. The October 5-18 promotion highlights companies that work with cooperative suppliers and manufacturers or are cooperatives themselves. Co-ops offer a way to transform how business is typically done; co-ops give you the opportunity to get the products and services you want and need on a daily basis while strengthening the community around you.

Here are just a few examples of how co-ops grow communities

Alaffia

Body care company Alaffia works with Togolese women’s cooperatives that celebrate their members’ unique skills, traditions and knowledge. The workers receive fair wages and are able to support their families, while maintaining traditions and managing a sustainable resource: shea butter. Fair for Life: Social & Fair Trade Certification confirms Alaffia meets standards concerning fair working conditions, environmental performance and community relations. Alaffia’s success is not simply measured by profit, but rather empowerment. Their goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality, through empowerment projects focusing on education, improving health and reforestation.

Divine Chocolate

Kuapa Kokoo, the cooperative of family farmers that owns Divine Chocolate, has prioritized equal participation and access for women since its founding in 1993.  Women have been learning a range of income-generating skills and are encouraged to take positions of responsibility throughout the organization. Trainings prioritize facilitating the advancement of women as recorders (elected buying clerks) for opportunities to earn additional income, ensuring that women’s groups are rolled out across all 58 cocoa farming districts and increasing literacy and numeracy training for women to enable them to earn income through selling vegetables, clothing or baked goods.

Equal Exchange

Fair Trade, worker-owned cooperative Equal Exchange, based on Cambridge, MA, partners with CESMACH co-op, which borders a UN-protected biosphere reserve in Mexico. Through thoughtful organic coffee farming, they strive to sustain rural communities while protecting incredible ecosystems. Their Sustainable Coffee Project is planting new coffee, citrus and other fruit-bearing trees. Their Women's Project teaches leadership development and cooperative management to women in the community, who are also working with organic gardens and domestic animals to diversify incomes and their families' nutrition.

During this promotion, NCG cooperatives and their partners are aiming to raise $80,000 for the La Riojana Co-op, an Argentinian producer of wine and olive oil. Through the cooperative business model, La Riojana has been able to significantly improve the well-being of their member communities. With the funds raised, La Riojana Co-op can obtain organic certification for almost two villages, which means 80-95 growers.

Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop.

Become an owner during National Co-op Month

In celebration of National Co-op Month, we’re holding an owner drive during the month of October!

What do you get for joining? Join Mariposa between October 1 and October 31 to be entered to win a 12-14/lb holiday turkey (or vegan/vegetarian equivalent)!

Mariposa Owner Drive

The first 50 owners to join during the month of October will also receive an exclusive “I Own It” reusable shopping bag filled with fair trade goodies (pictured above) in honor of National Fair Trade Month.

Already a member? Refer an owner during the month of October and you, too, will be entered to win a holiday turkey.

Ready to join?

Need more information? Read more about the benefits of ownership.