Letter to the Editor from the Veggie Co-Op

By The Veggie Co-Op

The members of the Veggie Co-op temporarily stopped their radical protest and unchained themselves from Alvin’s egg cartons last week to read your staff opinion article about our egg controversy. What we read did not reflect our experience, and we would like to clarify a few things. When the confrontation with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (DOA) occurred outside of the co-op, we notified Residential Life, which responded with support for our desire to continue to buy eggs from Alvin. When school administrators grew concerned about the increasing media attention given to this story and directed us to suspend our transactions with Alvin until the legitimacy of his business was confirmed, we sent a respectful email to Keith Edwards explaining that while we disagreed with the decision to err on the side of caution rather than food justice, we offered the alternative that we engage with Alvin through financial processes not associated with the school and in transactions not taking place on Macalester property. Eventually, through the persistent effort of Res Life staff and constant communication between Residential Life and the Co-op, it was determined that Alvin’s practices were in full compliance with the DOA and the Co-op will now proceed with our purchasing (through school accounts) as before. As Peg Olson recently told co-op members in passing, she never felt that Res Life was “at odds” with the Veggie Co-op, and that we had the same goal throughout the process, though we acknowledge different priorities. Although we considered radicalizing and throwing eggs at school administrators, we ultimately decided against that strategy because we were concerned about our future egg supply, and also because such extreme activism seemed inappropriate given the effective ongoing communication between the Co-op and ResLife and because our commitment to this issue reflects a year-long challenging process to develop the values of our community, which is formed around intentional food choices, and not an immature knee-jerk reaction to authority. We appreciate the attention you have given this issue, and we look forward to more thoughtful and informed opinion articles in the future, to be read while enjoying Alvin’s eggs.