Ownership is Membership: A Magical Combination


By Martha Whitman

We hit a magic combination for this year’s annual meeting. Between a good location (Indian Pueblo Cultural Center), good food (hard to go wrong there), and a guest speaker (Gar Alperovitz), we had a full house. It was a time of breaking bread together and opening a door to sparking new ideas and direction to community wealth building. We invited Gar Alperovitz because of what he and others have accomplished at Cleveland’s Evergreen Project. Their work resonates with our needs and demonstrates how co-operatives could play a stronger role in New Mexican communities and economy.

In a nutshell, the Evergreen Project secured business from the city’s anchor institutions and with that they were able to create worker co-operatives to service that business. Jobs were created for the local residents and more money now remains within the community. We at La Montanita are not experts in this model, we are a consumer owned co-op, but we want to be part of a future where more people are empowered to shape our communities. La Montanita is an anchor institution for many growers and producers. Our growth helps them and others establish livelihoods, but what are the other opportunities? What other groups could identify other anchor institution needs and then organize to service them? What resources are needed to support that and how do people get access to the resources?

It is such questions the Co-op’s board of directors is driven to explore. If you’ve been thinking about this too we hope you will contact us and share your ideas. You can reach us at bod@lamontanita.coop. If you want more information about the Cleveland Evergreen Project, visit www.community-wealth.org. As Gar mentioned at our annual meeting this work speaks to systemic change and will take time to achieve. Luckily we aren’t strangers to the concept and with more minds banding together we have every reason to be hopeful.

ABQ Hour Exchange: How Can We Help Each Other?


By Robert Allen, ABQ Hours

Have you ever needed a helping hand with a chore but you didn’t know who to call? Or didn’t have the money to pay someone for help? Not everyone has family, friends and neighbors who can help out in a pinch. Even if you do, sometimes they are busy or not around to help. Becoming a member of a service exchange is like having an extended family that can help when you need it.

Founded in 2013, ABQ Hours Exchange is a community network for the greater Albuquerque area, where members exchange services with one another without the use of money. Members earn time credits for providing service to other members and in turn spend the time credits they earn on services they need for themselves. Service can be as simple as giving someone a ride to the airport or the doctor, or as complex as helping someone pack up their apartment and move. You can also learn a new skill or just share your experiences. Regardless of the type of service, you earn time credit for the service you provide, “an hour for an hour”.

Work or service exchanges have deep roots in our history. Barn raisings and quilting bees were common in rural areas at the beginning of the last century. Mutual aid societies were also common in immigrant communities where people struggled to make a new life with limited financial resources. As modern life became more mobile and families and communities became more fractured, the benefits of mutual aid were overlooked by an increasingly global and monetized economy. In the late 1960’s a St Louis, Missouri housing development, facing a decline in funding for social programs, created a community service exchange called the More Project. Later in the 1980’s, inspired by the success of the More Project, Edgar S Cahn, a former speech writer for Robert F Kennedy and poverty activist, developed the concept of “Time Banking”. Today, there are hundreds of time banks and service exchanges around the country and the world which are helping people build healthier and more sustainable communities.

On the third Tuesday of every month ABQ Hours has a New Member Orientation where you can learn how to become a member and start trading services with other members. We also show you the online software members use to connect with one another and arrange exchanges. Our next orientation will be: Tuesday, December 16th, 6pm-8pm, at the Albuquerque Center for Peace & Justice

202 Harvard Drive SE, Albuquerque. In addition, we have a community potluck every other month, where you can learn about the Exchange from our members. Locations vary, so check our website or Facebook page for upcoming dates and times. If you are interested in becoming a member or would like more information about the ABQ Hours Exchange and Time Banking, please go to our website at www.abqhours.org. For News and Events also check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/abqhours


Vegan Chopped Liver


Vegan Chopped Liver

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Serving Size: 8-10

From lrvonne Newman

This amazing dish, the result of a simple to prepare recipe, will surely get a welcome reception. Lentils, walnuts and brown rice form a perfect trio and harmonize so well together that they only need a few added ingredients to complete the recipe. Served as an appetizer, sandwich spread or as a great addition to a buffet, the authentic flavor belies its plant base. A wonderful dish for the upcoming holidays!


  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups raw walnut pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked long grain brown rice
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely shredded (large-hole hand grater recommended)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1 3/4 tablespoons red miso
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine lentils, water and salt in an open 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to medium, and cook until tender, but still firm, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Whirl walnuts in a food processor until almost smooth. Add cooked rice, onions, carrot, Tamari, miso and ground pepper to processor. Drain and discard any excess liquid from cooked lentils and add to mixture. Process combination until smooth and light, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer mixture to an attractive lettuce or kale-lined bowl or platter. Garnish with chopped green onions or chopped/sliced olives. Serve with whole-grain bread.

Co-op Member Patronage Refund for 2014 Declared


December 2014

Dear Member,

Your La Montañita Co-op Board of Directors is pleased to announce a patronage dividend in the total amount of $425,000. This represents 1.69% of member sales for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2014. Of that total, the Board has approved a cash refund to members of $110,000 (0.44%, down from last year’s 1.30%) and the retention of the balance in member equity. The patronage dividend is one of the main economic links between the Co-op and its members; the dividend allows members to share in the financial health of the Co-op in proportion to their patronage. For many members the cash refund will exceed your annual membership fee of $15.

Each Co-op member will receive a cash refund equaling 0.44% of her or his purchases from the Co-op during the past fiscal year in cash or store credit. Members can claim their cash or credit at the register at any La Montañita store. (Members who live outside of New Mexico will receive a check.)

If you would like to further support your community by donating your cash refund, please stop by the Information Desk for details. Please be aware that just not claiming your refund is not the same as donating it, because the Co-op has to pay tax on unclaimed refunds.

The remaining balance of the patronage dividend, $315,000, will be retained, in the Co-op’s member equity account. This is the members’ portion of the Co-op’s profits that remain in the business, and represents your direct contribution to our abilities to open new stores like the one on the Westside, replace expensive equipment, make improvements to existing stores, expand our Food Shed project, support various community endeavors, and stay fiscally sound.

By claiming your cash or credit, you will also be accepting the retained equity portion of the dividend. Shortly, the Co-op will send you a letter that will list your portion of this year’s dividend, your cash refund, and your equity retainage, as well as the cumulative amount of equity retained over the years in your name. This letter will also have the bar code you need to claim your refund, and will also provide you with the deadline by which you have to claim your refund, August 15, 2015. You may claim your refund at the register at any Co-op location or use it to purchase food. You will be asked to show identification to claim your patronage refund.

This is our 24th annual patronage refund in the past 25 years, and it is your support of our Cooperative that makes this possible. Your patronage dividend is a tangible result of your membership/ownership and participation in our viable alternative economic model. Your Co-op Board of Directors and Staff are sincerely grateful for your support, and we thank you for another great year at La Montañita.

We wish you a safe and joyous holiday season, and look forward to serving you in the year ahead.

In cooperation,

La Montañita Board of Directors:

Ariana Marchello, President                        Lisa Banwarth-Kuhn        Jessica Rowland

Martha Whitman, Vice President                 Jake Garrity                      Rosemary Romero

Marshall Kovitz, Secretary/Treasurer          Leah Rocco                       Tracy Sprouls

Stress Free Holidays Require Planning


By Dr. Cheryl Lentz

Are you tired of always feeling you are putting out fires around this time of year? Do you feel you are always rushing from one holiday event to the next? Overwhelmed and over worked? Let’s find a different way to enjoy the holidays this year and become a holiday planner and list maker. Taking just a few minutes to plan your time and plan your events often allows one to feel more in control of the holidays. No one plans to fail, they often simply fail to plan.

To avoid the holiday feelings of overwhelm and rushing, let’s take a few minutes to think about how to have a stress free holiday. Simply find a favorite time management software in your phone or computer, or use the old fashioned way of pen and pencil. Next, we need access to a calendar, and a list of ALL the things we need to do this season. From attending the family holiday parties to Christmas Shopping– holidays can be fun WHEN we plan carefully.

To start, make a list of everything you have to accomplish and put a date and time in front of it. Be sure to allow plenty of time to complete each activity well in advance of deadlines. No need to rush. When we plan our time, we can actually enjoy the process and put a bit more jingle into our holiday cheer.

When we schedule all of the details of our day, we avoid feeling overwhelmed. The secret is to simply break each event into smaller pieces. When we take the time to plan completing each piece, we often avoid that OMG feeling that we forget to do something. No need to rely on your memory; whether 20 or 60, when we rush, we often forget things. Simply write them all down, schedule your To Do List, and plan your way into a stress free holidays.

Dr. Cheryl Lentz is a Co-op member and the author of Expert Success Solution.