Thank you to those of you who’ve contacted the Food Conspiracy Co-op and shared your thoughts regarding Eden Foods and the Affordable Care Act. When a few owners called for the co-op to take action on this issue it presented an opportunity for a conversation. On Tuesday, July 23rd, 8 owners, two Board members and three Food Conspiracy staff met in an open meeting in the Hoff building. The intention of this meeting was not vote on whether or not to remove Eden Foods from the store. It was an opportunity to meet in a safe space, share and create a better understanding of the issues, and to share the co-op’s history and philosophy on requests for boycotts. Our policy is to focus on providing choices and information so our customers can choose which companies and products they believe in and want to support. We did agree that more educational information that may impact customers shopping choices needs to be provided and available in the store. If you are an owner and would like to have more conversation with other owners about Eden Foods, the next discussion will be at the Owner Linkage Committee meeting on Saturday, September 20 at 10:00 a.m. in the Hoff Building behind the co-op.
Unfamiliar with the Issue?
Eden Foods appears on track to win its fight with the federal government over funding insurance coverage of contraception in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Hobby Lobby ruling. This has upset some of our shoppers who don’t agree with Eden Foods’ politics. A few have called for the Co-op to boycott the company’s products.
Food Conspiracy Co-op serves a diverse customer base and there are individuals on both sides of this debate. As a result, we feel that we can best serve our community by continuing to focus on providing healthy foods without taking a stance on the politics of this particular issue.
It is important to consider that Eden Foods has been an industry leader in maintaining organic standards and bringing BPA-free packaging to the U.S. market. Eden’s offerings are amongst the most high quality products available at the Co-op due to their commitment to organics, GMO labeling, and using BPA-free cans. Eden has been an industry leader in organics and maintaining standards in the face of corporate attacks. They have fought to maintain organic standards in the face numerous attempts to water them down. They also almost singlehandedly brought BPA-free lining into cans to the U.S. market and raised the bar, so that BPA-free cans are becoming or have become the industry standard for natural/organics.
What does the Hobby Lobby case have to do with Eden Foods?
Eden Foods was not a plaintiff in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, meaning the Supreme Court has not made a ruling specific to Eden Foods. However, in their Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court ordered the lower courts to reconsider their earlier decisions against Eden Foods.
What is Eden Foods’ stance on the Affordable Care Act as it relates to women’s health care?
Eden Foods objects to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires companies, if they choose to offer health insurance to their employees, to include coverage of a wide array of contraceptive choices. Here’s an excerpt from Eden Foods’ statement on the issue:
We believe in a woman’s right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management. This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone’s access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to the HHS [Health & Human Services] mandate and its government overreach.
Some people are calling for a boycott of all Eden Foods products. What is our co-op’s stance on this issue?
Our co-op serves a very diverse customer base and there are individuals on both sides of any issue. We believe that we can best serve our community by continuing to focus on providing healthy foods without taking a stance on the politics of this particular issue.
We also encourage our customers to vote, on this and other issues, with their dollars by supporting those companies they like and believe in. When (for any reason) products don’t sell, the co-op stops carrying them. As always, consumers can and should choose to purchase the products that meet their own needs. Consumers can choose to personally not buy the product, but we will not be discontinuing our sales of Eden Organics at this time.
We are, as members and shoppers of a co-op, united in a common set of principles. We are also individuals with differing views on a multitude issues. It is not when we all agree that makes the Co-op stronger, it is when we all have a voice.
Owners wishing to have a deeper discussion about Eden Foods are invited to the next Owner Linkage committee meeting on Saturday, September 20th at 10:00 a.m. at the Hoff Building behind the co-op at 425 East 7th Street.
There is a provision for an owner to start a petition to have a special meeting called or a have a proper issue presented to a vote of the owners. Here are the by-laws and links to Food Conspiracy Co-op bylaws.
Section 3.2 – Special meetings. Special meetings of owners may be called by the Board. Special meetings shall be called by the President as soon as possible after the receipt of petitions signed by ten percent of owners, such petitions stating any proper business to be brought before the meeting.
Section 3.9 – Issues submitted by owners. Notices of a meeting of owners shall include any proper issues submitted by petition of at least five percent of owners. Petitions must be received by the co-op not less than one hundred and twenty days before the date of the meeting at which or in connection with which they are to be presented to a vote of owners.
Statements from Eden Foods July 11
On response to Affordable Care Act Heath and Human Services Mandate April 2013
Salon Article Organic Eden Foods’ quiet right-wing agenda (April 11, 2013)
Salon Article Eden Foods doubles down in birth control flap (April 15, 2013)
Salon Article Eden Foods CEO’s bad week continues (April 18, 2013)
Philidelphia Inquirer Co-op’s Quandary: Boycott or Not? September 2, 2014