Local co-ops take heat for selling products from anti-birth control company Eden Foods

Categories: Food, Health Care
coopprotester.jpg
Boycott Eden Foods on Facebook
A man identified as Todd Kolod protests outside St. Paul's Whole Foods and Mississippi Market.
:::: UPDATE :::: Mississippi Market's rationale for not dumping Eden Foods is similar to Seward Co-op's

On Friday, Steven Miles, a bioethicist at the University of Minnesota who we've previously written about because of his work on U.S. abuses in Iraqi prisons (among other issues), sent us correspondence he recently had with the the Seward Co-op regarding its decision to continue selling products from Eden Foods, a company with Catholic ownership that won't provide birth control to its employees in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling.

In an email to the co-op, Miles wrote, "Eden Organic Foods (with Hobby Lobby) is not providing insurance for contraceptives to women employees. I do not believe they should be stocked by any co-op and that they should be told of this decision."

See also:
Minnesota's own Hobby Lobby: MN businesses gain from SCOTUS ruling

In her reply, Allison Meyer, advocacy and governance specialist for the Seward Co-op, writes that while the co-op officials "share your concerns about Eden Foods' position" and "unconditionally [support] women's access to health care" -- they even communicated their concerns directly to Eden Foods' president, Michael Potter, last year -- "several other aspects of Eden Foods' practices align very well with Seward Co-op values."

"Many of our customers appreciate the fact that Eden Foods is an independent company rather than one owned by a large corporation," Meyer writes. "Eden Foods consistently supports strict organic standards, and their products were free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and packaging free of Bisphenol A (BPA) long before most other producers began to consider these issues. As often as possible, Eden Foods also sources crops locally to their business, keeping hundreds of small-scale, organic family farms in business."

"At this time, we believe that retaining Eden Foods products best serves our Ends Statement and our owners' needs," she concludes. "We provide alternatives to Eden Foods products whenever possible. We respect your purchasing decisions in this regard, and we strongly encourage you to vote with your dollars by making product choices that align with your values."

Miles, in reply, writes, "I respectfully disagree."

"Denying their women employees access to contraception is a basic denial of human rights which takes precedence over the use of organic substances," he adds. "It is as if the co-op would support serf farming just because it was organic or antibiotic free. I deeply disagree with the stand of the co-op and ask that it be reviewed by the Board."

After receiving Miles's correspondence, we called Seward Co-op officials and asked whether they've ever pulled a product from the shelves because of a company's stance on an issue.

Tom Vogel, marketing manager, tells us, "First of all, we don't have a boycott policy... nor do many other co-ops around the Twin Cities."

(For more, click to page two.)



Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
40 comments
TruDat
TruDat

Since when is one idiot with a dirty cardboard sign "heat?"

Get over it, we definitely want you to use birth-control, we just don't want to pay for it!

Sean Conroy
Sean Conroy

Interesting marriage...food is to white liberals as sex is to the religious right.

Kirsten Tonny Lid
Kirsten Tonny Lid

there are plenty others with good politics, the Wedge, Seward, etc...shop local!!!

Nicole Wagner
Nicole Wagner

There was an article that came out at the time of the Hobby Lobby decision saying that Eden also doesn't offer plans that cover birth control as a primarily Catholic business.

dekay5555555
dekay5555555

The confusion of what a co-operative is, is due to a lack of education.  Many think that co-ops are just progressively minded, health food stores.  Thus the lack of differentiation between Whole Foods and a retail health food co-operative.


I worked at a co-operative health food store in Los Angeles and we had some wealthy and famous member/customers.  I would ask them why they shopped at our store and they would say because it is a co-op, but when pressed for the meaning of a co-op, many would not have an answer.  The prices were very high and it alienated many.


After I helped get a Cesar Chevez grape boycott implemented in the store, we did not sell grapes, organic or not.  That was the end of my career at the co-op.  But it was effective.  Sacrifice is what it is all about.

Jasper12
Jasper12

I would like to know if they cover vasectomies because technically that is direct conflict with their views on procreation. Again everyone here misses the point, this isn't really about bc, it is about the court's assertion and affirmation of Citizens United that a corporation has more rights than an individual. As a woman it should freak you out that according to SCOTUS the order goes men, corporations then maybe women in terms of civil rights.


It starts here, for all you people who say what's the big deal. If you let a company deny this, then what's next? Blood transfusions, time and a half on Sundays, lifetime caps on medical coverage and preexisting conditions (both eliminated with Obamacare). The far right has done an excellent job of distracting you that the building you are in is on fire, by getting you to think only that your pants are on fire.

Sam Young
Sam Young

Birth control is cheap, whats the issue here? How about stop being floozies and pull out like the rest of us

Valerie Voeks
Valerie Voeks

Absolutely without question. I think it was High Times that stated if men could get pregnant, there would be free birth control worldwide!

pasioflora1
pasioflora1

What really kills me is that representatives from Seward keep maintaining that this is a political issue and that there are two sides.  "But when it comes to political viewpoints it's really very difficult to vet a product on something like that because there's such a myriad on either side."

This isn't political.  This is a human rights issue, plain and simple.  There are two sides to every argument (slavery, for example or creationism vs. fact)  That doesn't make all sides equally valid.

I should have listened to my instincts and raised awareness at their "groundbreaking ceremony".  I'll be waiting for the next high profile opportunity.

Kathy Wert
Kathy Wert

Lesi, so true. I've boycotted so many companies in the last 45 years I'm left with locally-grown raw ingredients or home-produced products. It's difficult and time-consuming but so worth it!

Kathy Wert
Kathy Wert

Wish I could say the same thing about smart men and their ED medication. Oh wait! Maybe there's an implication about male intelligence...

Jim Bjerke
Jim Bjerke

That may be but that wasn't the point of my comment.

Valerie Voeks
Valerie Voeks

I feel the same way about unsubscribing. Danger! Drama! Give it a rest! Smart women don't need someone else to pay for their birth control! Even if they should pay for it ! Smart women will take care of themselves no matter what our silly society wants to impose on us.

Matt Stanton
Matt Stanton

How come this issue isn't being pursued by a woman who is employed by one of these companies? Why is this such a civil rights issue? No one is forcing employees to work for Hoddy Lobby or Eden Foods. If you don't like their beliefs, find employment with a company that you feel comfortable with. The sense of entitlement among people is very unbecoming.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Corporations are people my friend and Eden Foods is a woman hating corporation.  If  Seward Co-op wants to support a woman hating corporation that is their right but it shocks me they would choose to spit in the face of their loyal progressive customers. 

Craig Viknx
Craig Viknx

Alot more to worry about then what somebody is selling or not, get a life protestors.

Lesi Lewis
Lesi Lewis

On top of this... Whole Foods is not a co-op.

Lesi Lewis
Lesi Lewis

As an employee of a local cooperative, I urge you all to VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS! It makes a huge difference, and change will take place. As for alternatives to Eden Foods, I don't know what to offer. The vast selection of organic, BPA free, non-GMO products that they offer are near invaluable in this day and age as an option to us who want to live a healthy life... This is a messy issue.

Jim Bjerke
Jim Bjerke

What is this man's interest in women's medical coverage? That question alone is part of the problem.

Darcy Lynn
Darcy Lynn

Vote with your money, end of story. I love my co-ops, and will not stop shopping there due to one product that May or may not have connection to this b/c debate.

Matt Stanton
Matt Stanton

These types of "activists" are chiseling away at every last freedom we have. What is this man's interest in women's medical coverage? I don't necessarily think that Eden Foods or Hobby Lobby are doing the right thing, but they shouldn't be demonized for following their beliefs. This is purely ridiculous.

Mike Hess
Mike Hess

If people don't like the company because of this, fine don't buy their products. Let's be clear though that the company not paying for something is not the same as 'denying access' which is a great dramatization of the issue. It would also be great to hear from employees.

Kyle Feldman
Kyle Feldman

I'm sort of shocked to see a conscientious and well-written article here. I came very close to unsubscribing after getting the "Local moms..." post 18-times. Keep it up, Aaron and CP.

Annie Mae
Annie Mae

The last sentance of this article basically admits City Pages doesn't know if Eden Food's health insurance for its employees covers birth control or not. That doesn't mean they do or don't or would share the information... but boycotts based on suspicion are not cool.

SteveMiles
SteveMiles

The average cost of contraceptive pills is $400 per year not counting the doctor's visit.  By the way, the are also used for endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, menorrhagia with iron deficiency--all also banned. Cheap? 
Do you think the cost of your insurance as a person on the same policy would be higher or lower if the women were insured for contraception?
Do you pay half of your partner(s) contraceptive costs (assuming you are straight)?

pasioflora1
pasioflora1

Smart women know that not everyone has the same opportunities.  Smart women know that not every woman lives in a metropolitan area with access.  Smart women don't think that human rights are "silly society" issues.

footnotegirl
footnotegirl

No, the entitlement of corporations to control their employees is very unbecoming and concerning. Health Insurance is part of your compensation, just as much as your direct pay, and an employer should not be able to tell you how you use the money that you earned which includes all of your compensation. And if you think for a moment that there aren't women who are pursuing this, you're wrong. But people of any gender certainly have a right to state how they feel about this topic and put their money where their mouth is. 

pasioflora1
pasioflora1

There are small companies out there waiting to be the next Eden Foods.  Co-ops could use our dollars to support someone interested in taking the place of Eden Foods. 

It's a messy issue, but the overarching issue of women being treated as equal human beings under the law seems to trump BPA free.

I'm vegan.  It's going to be hard for me to shop anywhere other than the co-op, but I'm going to have to figure it out.  And probably to my own physical detriment.  Some things are worth fighting for.

footnotegirl
footnotegirl

He might actually care about women as humans? At any rate, it's FAR less problematic than a CORPORATIONS interest in what medications their employees take. 

footnotegirl
footnotegirl

How is this man stating his opinion and informing companies of the actions he will take due to them (vis: not buying their goods and suggesting that stores he likes not sell them) chiseling away at any freedom you have? His interest in womens medical coverage is that 50% of the human race (actually, 51%) probably deserves to be treated like adults who shouldn't have their employer telling them how to use the compensation they earn with their work (health insurance is an earned benefit that is part of a whole pay package and restricting how women can use it is no different than telling them how they can spend their own money). 

So two corporations shouldn't be demonized for 'following their beliefs' (btw, Hobby Lobby invests in pharmaceutical corporations that make birth control pills, and that doesn't seem to bother them much when they're making a profit off of it...) where it restricts women, but this guy should be demonized for somehow taking away freedom for following his beliefs?

What's the logic in that?

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

They should be demonized for their belief that women should be treated differently than men. 

footnotegirl
footnotegirl

Except health insurance is part of the compensation package for workers, just as much as pay is, or vacation time, and restricting how women get to spend part of their earned compensation is no different than them telling people how they can spend their pay or where they can go on vacation. 

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...