Well it’s been a journey. After a second try, I am now a board member of the Brattleboro Food Co-op. The Co-op is a place I have shopped with my children their entire lives—starting as a cashier while pregnant with my son who is now about to graduate high school!
In November I had the opportunity to spend a day at Keene State College as a prospective BFC board candidate attending a Co-op Café sponsored by CDS Consulting Co-op and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA), a federation of more than 35 New England and New York Co-ops. NFCA represents over 144,000 members, combined annual revenues of $330 million, $90 million in purchasing of local products, and 2,300 jobs valued at $69 million. There is power in numbers.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion was a workshop led by Dr. Jude Smith Rachele on November 3, 2018 at the Shaker Museum in Enfield, NH.
If you haven’t been to the Shaker Museum in Enfield, it’s worth a trip! Eight of us from the Brattleboro Food Co-op joined about 40 others from a number of regional co-ops for a workshop on diversity held at the museum. Represented were people in diverse roles: general managers, human resource managers, board members, Co-op staff, one staff member from Neighboring Food Co-op Association, and one Cooperative Development Services (CDS) consultant.
I have struggled for weeks trying to write this December Food For Thought article. My intention is to write about my experience as an employee-board member, as well as to explain why I am choosing not to run for a full term.
The Brattleboro Food Co-op recently agreed to take part in a pilot program using the principles of restorative justice with our partners for retail theft. I was curious about restorative justice, and I found out that it has been around for at least 35 years around the world. The extent of the program varies from country to country, and from application to application. It has helped when prison overcrowding is prevalent by working with low level offenders to repair harm done, addressing other root causes when possible.
RSVP for the 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting and Community Panel Discussion!
6pm @ NEYT
100 Flat Street
I’m just completing the final year of my first 3-year term on the BFC Board of Directors, this time around. It’s very interesting to think back to my prior service on the Board back in the early 2000’s. At that time the Co-op was being lured out to Putney Rd. to fill an empty box store space. Kudos to the Cassidy brothers of BAST Corporation whose offer to sell the shopping plaza property to the Co-op turned us from renters into owners. That’s what made the numbers work in support of remaining in the downtown space. Now the Co-op is well-rooted as a downtown anchor. I for one wouldn’t want to imagine downtown Brattleboro without the Co-op walking distance from the residential and commercial core of our town. Over time it’s easy to take significant things for granted and forget the challenges we worked through to get to where we are today.
“Success is a balance of life where we can meet our own expectations while at the same time achieving success in our commitments to others.”
Co-op Projected to Give Over $700,000 This Year
As hopefully most Shareholders know, our Co-op has just had its first profitable year in many, with a net profit of about $30,000. This is great! This is something we should celebrate and of which we can be proud, while continuing to push for further business success.
I really enjoy the first Monday of the month when the Board of Directors come together to discuss the state of the Co-op. We all get to enjoy each other’s company, have a great meal from the Deli (always a home run), occasionally meet shareholders who are joining us for the meeting, and to discuss our Co-op. It has been so encouraging to see the Co-op doing better financially. It has also been wonderful to see how communication has increased and improved between and/or with shareholders, customers, staff, and our community.
Please think about serving on the Board of Directors of the Brattleboro Food Co-op. I recommend it.