Mississippi Market's rationale for not dumping Eden Foods is similar to Seward Co-op's [UPDATE]

Categories: Food, Health Care
toddkolodmissmarket.jpg
Courtesy of Todd Kolod
Kolod (pictured) says Mississippi Market only carries a few Eden Foods products, but even one is too many for him.
-- Update, including comments from Mississippi Market, at bottom --

Earlier this week, we shared the Seward Co-op's reasons for continuing to sell products made by Eden Foods, a Michigan-based company with Catholic ownership that's under fire for refusing to provide birth control to its employees on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling.

As you'd probably expect, the rationale invoked by at least one other Twin Cities co-op that continues to sell Eden products is largely similar. More specifically, consider how Liz McMann, Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op's consumer affairs manager, responded to Todd Kolod (pictured at top of this post) when Kolod wrote her expressing his concerns about the co-op's decision not to dump Eden.

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Here's her email, which Kolod shared with us:
Hi Todd-
Hope you're doing well! This is definitely a hot topic now, but one that we are leaving open for our shoppers to vote with their dollars. Here is our position on the matter:

Personally, Eden's position is disturbing to many of our shoppers and staff (though not all).

Mississippi Market is committed to educating consumers about food controversies, such as GMO labeling, organic certification and fairly traded goods. Eden Foods decision to sue the Obama administration for exemption from the mandate to cover contraception for its employees under the Affordable Care Act is a health care issue, not a food issue. The co-op believes that everyone has a right and an obligation to vote with their dollars and encourages those that are against Eden's decision to find a product that fits better with their values - we have many other options on our shelves.

Mississippi Market prefers not to take part in product boycotts because we serve a diverse community with a wide range of beliefs. We don't take sides on political issues unless they directly relate to our mission. Rather, we hope that our customers will make educated product choices that work best for them. Check out website to view our product policy: http://msmarket.coop/products/policy/

Your decision to not purchase Eden products is an excellent way to vote with your dollars!

Thanks,

Liz McMann
Consumer Affairs Manager
Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op
www.msmarket.coop
In a followup conversation, Kolod said he was actually more bothered by what McMann said to him later while he held an anti-Eden sign outside the Mississippi Market at Selby and Dale in St. Paul.

"Liz McMann came out to me when I was picketing," Kolod says. "She seemed irritated. She said it 'didn't look good.'"

(For more, including an update, click to page two.)


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53 comments
henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0 topcommenter

Claiming not to take a stand on political issues "...unless they directly relate to our mission." is short sighted at best and dishonest at worst. As someone mentioned Fair Trade is a human rights issue, not a food issue and so is access to medication. In this case its a Woman's rights issue. " GMO labeling, organic certification [especially more recently with the undue influence Corporate Organics has on the agency charged with organics labeling and monitoring NOP}, fairly traded goods and the buy local movement are all political issues. These are social justice issues and people join Co-ops as a way to be part of that Social Justice movement. In this day and age where all the major national chains carry Organics, Fair trade and Local products at a much cheaper price than those sold at the Co-ops its the Social Justice aspect that sets Co-ops apart, its what gets people in the door and what gives them justification for paying that extra amount. If these Co-ops go the "centrist" Milquetoast route, claiming to be above politics, they are going to lose the Social Justice aspect of their organizations and become just like their competitors, except that they are much more expensive. If they choose not to differentiate themselves and go head to head with the chains they are going to lose. Not standing up for woman's rights is souring me on the whole co-op thing. Now I am off the Costco to buy some grass fed beef, at several dollars a pound cheaper than any of the Co-ops sell it. 

Jeremy Deysach
Jeremy Deysach

We finally found them! After several posts! The person who gives a shit!!!

Dan Engelhart
Dan Engelhart

I care and am never going to pay for Eden products again.

Jeremy Deysach
Jeremy Deysach

(I support economic empowerment of anyone - but then again, that is because I am not a sexist)

Francis Godzilla-White
Francis Godzilla-White

But it's actually a compensation-for-labor issue. Access to health care services is not restricted to the employees of Hobby Lobby or Eden Foods, per se. Access to insurance that pays for certain health care practices is restricted. Insurance is a financial service to help people pay for health care services, and shouldn't be conflated with the health care services for which it is used to pay. Even if you agree that Eden Foods should be exempt, it is clearly exempted from what is otherwise considered a baseline for fair compensation for full time employment. Letting the rhetoric of the debate remain in the realm of "health care" or "religious freedom" dangerously devalues labor for employed people everywhere.

Herb Mikel
Herb Mikel

The update of this article is great news. If you support economic empowerment of women don't by Eden products.

Jeremy Deysach
Jeremy Deysach

How many times are you going to post this same picture of this same individual protesting? Not giving a fuck doesn't even BEGIN to describe what your readers think of this.

davidmpls5
davidmpls5

The Left is seeking to establish atheistic secularism as the American state religion.  Forcing us to pay for morning-after pills is just the start, followed soon by a requirement to pay for other peoples abortions, followed by the government ordering abortions.  We are not automatons. Human beings need freedom to realize their individual destinies. 

Jeremy Deysach
Jeremy Deysach

I wouldn't exactly call the citipages headlines... unless breakfast is crucial breaking news

Jess Zamora-Weiss
Jess Zamora-Weiss

I agree with Liz: birth control is a health care issue not a food issue. This is a complex situation because while I agree with the boycott, I also agree with how MS Market is handling it. The co-op is there to make healthy food available for people on both sides of the issue. Kudos to Todd for educating people. And kudos to Liz for trying to protect the co-op from bad press. It's not a black and white issue here so stop trying to find the villain.

Lesi Lewis
Lesi Lewis

This is incredibly disappointing to read. Todd is putting words into the mouth of a woman who spreads nothing but kindness and support... No Market employee would ever, EVER shame ANYONE for protesting on public property, no matter what their cause. The Market's stance is smart, and a lot of its members and employees share the same views as Todd when it comes to Eden- but some do not. Todd turning this into an issue with a very wonderful cooperative is shameful. We should be promoting our co-ops, not hurting them! VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS.

Vanessa Grausam
Vanessa Grausam

I am wondering why they are concerned about fair trade practices, and not concerned about women's rights issues. Neither will relate directly to the food product, but are both practices relating to the employees of the business producing the food.

Jeremy Deysach
Jeremy Deysach

With a robust turnout like this, this protest is sure to shake eden foods to the core!

NormBorlogg
NormBorlogg

Sorry to bust his bubble, but the farmers who produce all this food in the first place are almost universally conservative religious people who are opposed to pretty much anything in the liberal canon. Beyond that, many farmers are simply downright disagreeable and antisocial human beings. (they prefer to live out by themselves on farms, after all) 


 He can protest Eden Foods if he wants, but in every link of the global  food production chain there's likely someone who has a world view diametrically opposed to his own.

Carrie Graf
Carrie Graf

Well good for you Missy. I believe that we should praise local activisim, not judge it. He may very well do other things that would fall into your category for praise, you have no idea.

Missy Roberts
Missy Roberts

Thanks Carrie for the passion. I like to work a bit more upstream in my actions - not really one to picket. Good point, he got us talking! I stand by mine though - there's more we can do with retired teachers.

Missy Roberts
Missy Roberts

Thanks Jamie, did you mean to send a different link? This is about Steven Miles and what he does, not Todd Kolod.

Carrie Graf
Carrie Graf

He's doing more than most, Missy. And here we are, discussing it on social media. Who knows how many people have been informed about Eden Foods restriction of contraception coverage by reading this article. How do you know that this is all he does? What do YOU do?

Tyler Chip Moody Suter
Tyler Chip Moody Suter

Not a bad take on your part, Missy, but if this is what stokes his passion I say so be it..

Missy Roberts
Missy Roberts

Really? This is the battle he chooses? And the action? This is it? There's nothing more potent this educated man can do to better his community than reduce the sale of beans and soy milk at individual grocery stores on a given morning or afternoon? What a bummer. We need people with his kind of fervor for so much more.

Jamie Larson
Jamie Larson

yes, and they're saying women's reproductive rights are a political issue and not a health issue, if I'm reading it correctly.

Tyler Chip Moody Suter
Tyler Chip Moody Suter

Seward has annual member meetings. Is this not a topic that could be approached at that meeting? I don't agree with the idea that people will send a message with their dollars, in this case, simply because there is hardly any transparency. Is Seward going to label all Eden Foods product clearly, so people can easily identify and avoid it?

Al Nowatzki
Al Nowatzki

I know both Todd and Liz and they're both awesome.

Carrie Graf
Carrie Graf

Interesting that they are now trying to draw a line between health issues and food issues. Isn't healthy food their whole reason for existence? Pretty lame.

URNotSMRTTT
URNotSMRTTT

@davidmpls5 

1. We have separation of church and state for a reason, kiddo

2. "Human beings need freedom to realize their individual destinies." So, your solution is to take away the freedom of choice for women?

3. Not everyone who has an abortion or is pro-choice is an atheist. Duh.

4. Morning after pills aren't abortions. They prevent pregnancy so women don't need abortions when the condom breaks or they get raped.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@davidmpls5 that would be dope!  we wouldnt have to hear about church or gods word


how was mass last night David? was it powerful?

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

@davidmpls5 Wait. Are you under the impression that atheists believe everyone should be forced to have an abortion? Do you actually believe that, simply because someone is pro-choice that they think all babies should be aborted, thus entirely ending the whole human race?

Pro-Choice person here: Have all the children you want. As long as you are a caring parent and raise your kids to be good people, I truly don't care.

Furthermore, keep in mind that, even though I support a woman's choice to have an abortion, I would hope my girlfriend, finacee, wife, etc. never chooses to terminate. Just because I believe the choice should be there does not mean I'm going to use that choice to terminate.

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0 topcommenter

Actually Jess its a woman's health issue. Contraception is used from more than just birth control. So this is requiring woman to purchase medicines that they need to treat their diseases. I thought that Co-ops were more that just food issues, I thought they were about equality, human rights and a better world. Maybe I'm mistaken and the corporate mindset has taken over there as well.

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0 topcommenter

Do you support Hobby Lobby? Do you support businesses that support Hobby Lobby? By selling their product Mississippi Market is supporting Eden Foods, not women's rights. I say F boycotting Eden Foods, boycott Mississippi!

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0 topcommenter

Excellent Point Vanessa. Are you listening Liz?

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

@NormBorlogg You're right about farmers being conservative but they're not disagreeable and antisocial. 

I work with many people who grew up on farms and they are the most helpful and friendly people you could meet. One can assume their parents are the same. 

Farmers have to be social because they depend on each other for help and favors. When something breaks on the farm and there is no repair shop within a hundred miles you call your neighbors.


When I have a problem at home or with a car the guys and gals who grew up on farms always offer help and advice. The farm kids know how to fix things and how to work together as a community, something you rarely see from the city slicker kids. 


ProudCoopShopper
ProudCoopShopper

LOL. You can probably tell by how it says "EDEN FOODS" on it. If this issue is truly important to people, they should be self-educated enough to identify the offending brand on the shelf.


If the products don't sell, the co-ops will stop carrying them. End of story. This is what Mr. Kolod is banking on. Voting with your dollars will absolutely make an impact here. Trying to limit the options for other shoppers because a company's beliefs don't match yours.. Well, that seems a bit hypocritical, don't you think?

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0 topcommenter

Just not awesome on everything, like women's rights, right?

davidmpls5
davidmpls5

@URNotSMRTTT @davidmpls5


1. That's why the state must not establish Secularism as a religion.  That's why Hobby-Lobby won. Kiddo.

2. I didn't mention women's freedoms.

3. Duh.

4. This is a grey area, at best.

davidmpls5
davidmpls5

@barbertj23 @davidmpls5 I said nothing about taking away what you euphemistically termed "the option of choice".  We need freedom from a government that would impose secular beliefs on citizens that have their own beliefs.

davidmpls5
davidmpls5

@OlWillyClinton @davidmpls5 Atheist, totalitarian governments (Red China) already establish criteria for which they require abortion.  We are heading in that direction, if we aren't careful. You are free to have any beliefs you want, just don't impose them on the rest of us.

NormBorlogg
NormBorlogg

@midwestexplorer81 well i grew up on a farm in northern MN (red river valley) 10 years ago and i'm pretty disagreeable and my dad's a real asshole.


i don't know how old you are but that sounds like a description of farming 100 years ago. these days there is no "something breaks down and no repair shop within 100 miles" - John Deere has service contracts and they just send their guys out if there is a problem. we don't fix anything, it's all $500K combines with warranty programs that are invalidated if you try to service them yourself. 

URNotSMRTTT
URNotSMRTTT

@davidmpls5 Uh. You clearly don't know what secularism is. Also, we live in a secular country. We always have. Welcome to reality.

PS: You obviously know nothing about the morning after pill and how it works.

Remember to keep breathing, buddy!

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0 topcommenter

@davidmpls5 @OlWillyClinton actaully david it is you who is imposing you beliefs on the rest of us. Health insurance is part of my compensation at work. Its part of my pay, telling me that I can't be covered for certain things with insurance that I am paying for is imposing your beliefs on me.

NormBorlogg
NormBorlogg

@davidmpls5 it's too bad we didn't have the abortion panels set up before your parents decided to have you. we could have given your mom and dad a simple IQ test that would have shown their offspring (you) would be too dumb to be allowed to exist.

OlWillyClinton
OlWillyClinton

@davidmpls5 No one is trying to impose their beliefs on you. No one has any plan in mind to force anyone to have an abortion. You've cooked up this entire scenario in your own head. It's simply not real.

davidmpls5
davidmpls5

@NormBorlogg

The sincerity of your remark is only equaled by it's kindness.

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