Posted by Laura Hagen, HWFC Member-Owner

Here are today’s Grassroots-Grows-Capacity Committees of Correspondence Action Steps (skip the Broadside part, if you’re in a hurry):

1.  Read this Broadside about communication being stifled;
2.  Develop your own email blast list: create a list of ALL the HWFC Member-Owner individuals, families and employees whom you know. Be ready – at a moment’s notice – to hit send when updates come in. Ask them to do same. This is your own personal “Committee of Correspondence;”
3.  Stay tuned: we are poised to hit send on our brand new member-owner email list. Once you get our 1st email, blast it to your Committee of Correspondence. Ask them to do same;
4.  Go here if you are a member-owner to provide your contact info;
5. Tell every co-op Member-Owner you know that we are organizing for an emergency Special Membership Meeting and we need help!


Here was my thought process this morning as I was waking up: a steaming, fragrant pot of jade oolong tea …the Boston Tea Party [1] …the Committees of Correspondence …us.

One the biggest problems we HWFC member-owner petitioners for an emergency Special Membership Meeting are having, is communication. We are being prevented from talking to you – fellow voting, working, Member-Owners – through official HWFC channels:

• we don’t have access to a list of who you are (we know there are 1,246 of you,
• we don’t have access to your home address or email address
• we are being prevented from utilizing any of HWFC’s e-communications
• we can’t get snailmail out to you
• we’ve been asked to leave the premises and been threatened with removal by the police – by our three-person Leadership Team (LT) (Management) – for simply wanting to peacefully inform other Member-Owners about our emergency Special Membership Meeting
• LT/Management thwarts our attempts to set up a table in the store
• our hands have just been tied with the board’s brand new onsite petitioning policy (which I had requested a copy of, turns out there wasn’t one), passed on November 3, 2015. It starts out very promising: “In recognition of the right of members to offer petitions pursuant to the Bylaws and to express issues of concern to members…

Two days later, after the Leadership Team / Management got done interpreting that Board policy, here’s how it shook down to us Member-Owners:

We Member-Owner’s have to make an appointmentthree days in advance, in writing to  Management (Lilly) or Morgaen – in order to talk to (petition) other member-owners, onsite, at our own co-operative!

Here’s the full text of that motion:

In recognition of the right of members to offer petitions pursuant to the Bylaws and to express issues of concern to members, the board will allow petitioning and leafleting on store premises subject to regulation of the times and location of such activity. The Co-op management shall make every reasonable accommodation to provide a room or location in the store or outside.

• we can’t afford an expensive Strategic PR team (hey, this is grassroots baby!) to sit in smoky back rooms, crafting cunning strategies & “controlling the message”
• we don’t have the strings to get some dig-into-it-reporters interested in our story
• we can’t get a bulletin board hung up right next to the board’s bulletin board over near the exit at HWFC…

…Wait. What? Wait a minute. Did you say bulletin board? Yes, you heard right …it has all come down to a cork board and whether that cork board gets hung up and where that cork board gets hung up and how big that cork board should be. A Member-Owner cork board, that is, so we can…

…communicate with each other. (More on this as this story unfolds. UPDATE: the Member-Owner cork board eventually ended up, weeks later, by the bathrooms …waaayyy in the back of the store …and is much smaller than the Board’s board, which is right next to the exit as you leave the store.) Any notices we post on our cork board keep disappearing.

They’ve sewn up the 21st c. e-communications agin’ us. Now, Board & Management are even fighting cork boards around here.

By the way, this whole thing started 19 days ago with The bulletin board board-notice incident, or The Board’s board incident as it’s now being referred to by members. See here for that story.

What we want to do is conduct legal, corporate business with you, the owners and voters of the co-operative corporation: to let you know that a legally-empowered, emergency Special Membership Meeting has been called for.

The Board and LT/Management of our own co-operative are actively preventing us from doing that. They are stopping us from talking to you.


Well, 18th c. people in the Thirteen Colonies responding to the tyranny of British policies had the exact same problems we are having: how to get timely information out. Distance separated city dwellers, townspeople & rural farm families from the patriots. They “…did not have modern means of communication at their disposal [sound at all familiar?]. To spread the power of the written word … Committees of Correspondence were established.” [2]   They recognized “…the power of correspondence, and more importantly the vital significance of town meetings.” [3]

They used leaflets & pamphlets like these here, here, here and here, broadsides (Hello there!), letters to the editor like these here and here, newspapers here, the Crown’s Post (We’re trying! Doesn’t look good for the colonists.), ships and a network of fast couriers on horseback carrying updated reports (can’t help you there).

“The first communication [of] the Boston Committee of Correspondence … [included] a request that asked for a free communication … of our common danger.” [4]


We HWFC member-owners petitioning for our own town meeting – an emergency Special Membership Meeting – simply want to be able to freely talk to other member-owners, alert you to official co-operative corporation business.

Since we are being prevented from “free communication” by both HWFC’s board of directors and its Management /LT, we are raising the alarm about our “common danger:” something is terribly, terribly wrong here at our food co-operative.


[1] For you tea lovers, it was “…the Boston Committee of Correspondence” [which] was charged with managing the ‘tea crisis’ and was the driving force of the December 16, 1773, Boston Tea Party…” Go to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
[2] The Independence Hall Association
[3] Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
[4] Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Grassroots Action: One HWFC member-owner individual, family, and employee at a time …we can reach every HWFC member-owner if we ALL work it
Build Capacity: If everybody does their little bit (or a bigger bit if they can),
we build our capacity day-by-day (…and build your Committees of Correspondence!)
Have faith: It simply works!
You are the PR: Be factual, be calm, don’t attack anyone personally, and please do be impassioned about saving our member-owned co-operative!

This is co-operative, in action! And Happy Veteran’s Day to all our HWFC vets & their families!



2 thoughts on “GRASSROOTS ACTION and Stifled Communication ARE POWERFUL!

  1. Pingback: GRASSROOTS ACTION IS POWERFUL! | hwfcinfohub

  2. Pingback: GRASSROOTS ACTION (and Petitioning) IS POWERFUL! | hwfcinfohub

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