Michael Potter, CEO of Eden Foods.

Michael Potter, CEO of Eden Foods.

by Sue Ann Rybak 

Weavers Way Co-op is hosting a public forum at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17, at Summit Church, 6757 Green St., to discuss the recent controversy regarding the Co-op’s decision to continue to purchase products from Eden Foods, an organic food company, despite the company’s attempts to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that companies who provide health insurance must cover all Food and Drug Administration-approved forms of birth control. 

Eden Foods CEO Michael Potter claims that forcing companies to compile with the law “forces citizens to violate their conscience.” 

According to a statement written by Potter on Eden Foods’ website, “Eden employee benefits include health, dental, vision, life, and a fifty percent 401k match. The benefits have not funded “lifestyle drugs,” an insurance industry drug classification that includes contraceptives, Viagra, smoking cessation, weight-loss, infertility, impotency, etc.”

Last year when Potter first filed his suit the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against him, finding that as a for-profit corporation, the company couldn’t exercise religion. But the Supreme Court’s recent ruling allowing Hobby Lobby, which is owned by a family of evangelical Christians, to be exempt from covering emergency contraceptives such as “morning after” pills because it violates that religious beliefs. 

The nation’s highest court ruled that “closely-held” corporations can opt out of covering some forms of birth control because it violates their religious beliefs. 

Because of the Eden Foods action, many members of Weavers Way have called on the co-op to boycott Eden Foods products.

According to an article in the August edition of The Shuttle the co-op carries almost 70 different Eden products.

The Local covered that issue here.

Last year, Weavers Way asked members if their buying decisions were affected by the political views of manufacturers and other companies. The poll found that 82 percent of members said their views were affected by the views of manufacturers and other companies, but, less than half those polled thought the co-op should take an official stand.

Weavers Way Board President Jeremy Thomas said in a statement, “This is a diverse issue, and more complex than it seems on the surface. We haven’t taken an official position either way, and want to avoid rushing to judgement. This meeting is the first step in creating a fruitful and educational dialogue.” 

While participation is limited to Weavers Way members, the public is welcome to attend.  For more information or RSVP call 215-843-2350 ex. 118 or email outlook@weaversway.coop