This year was marked by the pandemic and a collective demand for racial justice. Faced with these pivotal moments in our community’s history, we pivoted as an organization to meet the increased community need, deepen our investment in our staff, and begin our journey to being an actively antiracist organization. This work continues as we move into our next fiscal year at Twin Cities Co-op Partners, but I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on key achievements of the past 12 months.
Last summer we committed to becoming aproactively antiracist organization. While it is a long journey, we are underway with definite progress in the past year. We hired Michael Hodges as our first DEI manager to build collective actions with the organization. Our employees engaged in training that focused on creating inclusive spaces, recognizing and accepting our differences, and conflict resolution. We are continuously working to establish hiring practices that are inclusive, equitable and reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. We’re also working to diversify our co-op vendors and community partners – and have brought in new products from 15 BIPOC vendors in the past year. Looking forward, we will continue to explore each entity of our organization from a lens of cultural competency, equity in action and intentional inclusion.
INVESTMENT IN EMPLOYEES
In October 2020, we increased all starting wages across TCCP to $15.25 per hour. Additionally, we addressed compression so that those with more experience also saw wage increases. We extended hazard pay into the beginning of January 2021— meaning we paid over $500,000 in hazard pay to employees in this fiscal year and over $800,000 overall. Our employees are a key part of what makes TCCP so special and unique, and we believe that deepening our investment in our staff is one of the most important actions we can take to retain and grow our talent and culture.
EXPANDING OUR COMMUNITY IMPACT
With the dislocation and challenges caused by Covid and civil unrest, the need in the community increased. I am proud of how we stepped up as an organization. Through Co-op Partners Warehouse, we donated over $265,000 in food to local hunger relief organizations. Through the generous donations of our customers and vendors, we will have collected over $140,000 for community organizations through Change Matters. Sales of Black Lives Matter signs have helped us raise almost $8,000 for the Du Nord Foundation (read more on page 14). And, finally, our kitchen prepared 100,000 healthful meals for those in need in partnership with Minnesota Central Kitchen. We have continued conversations with our BIPOC neighbors to listen and uncover ways to increase our impact moving into our next fiscal year.
As a socially-minded business, we take our mission of “Building Community by Developing a Strong Local Food System” very seriously. I am excited about the progress we have made in the past year and the plans ahead as we continue to positively
WEDGE TABLE AND COMMISSARY CLOSING
We ended this fiscal year with the difficult decision to permanently close the Wedge Table and Commissary. We are so grateful for the opportunity to bring the community together in that space and for all the amazing staff that have worked in our café, bakehouse and kitchen over the past six years. With slowed sales due to the pandemic, keeping the building open was not in the best interest of the co-op in the long term. It was a difficult decision and one we did not take lightly, but we are confident that it is the right one. We will be bringing food production back to our Wedge and Linden Hills stores, and we will partner with several local bakeries for our bread supply.