You may or may not be familiar with the fact that the Brattleboro Food Co-op Board and the General Manager operate under a set of guidelines called Policy Governance. Under these guidelines, the General Manager is responsible for all day-to-day operations of the Co-op while the Board is responsible for hiring, overseeing and supporting the General Manager. The work of the Board for the last year has been dominated by the search for and hiring of a new General Manager. We could not be happier with having found and welcomed Lee Bradford. Going forward, our immediate responsibility is to assist and support Lee in his first year with us. The good news: Lee is off to a great start!
At our August Meeting, the Board engaged with another important responsibility, the long term health and vitality of the BFC. Board President Jerelyn Wilson set aside time within our agenda for deeper discussion and brainstorming. She posed the question, “How do you see the Brattleboro Food Co-op fifteen years from now?” This first threw me back into thinking of the enormous changes of the last fifteen years, which are a reminder that the Co-op has never been static, changing through time and circumstances. There is no reason to assume that the next fifteen years will be any different.
Jerelyn’s question ignited a lively discussion of what we could imagine, what might be possible, what might be dreamed. Is this the only building we will need? Some Co-ops grow into multiple sites and can offer a variety of services. If we think of ourselves as not merely a grocery store but as a way to meet our members’ needs cooperatively i.e. outside of the strictures of capitalism, what might we do? I once belonged to a co-op that offered cross-country skis and snow tires for members. One co-op we know of operates an auto repair garage! If we are here to meet our members’ needs within the cooperative business model, what might we imagine? What might you imagine?
The next fifteen years will come with opportunities and challenges whether we think about them in advance or not. It seems best to give them some consideration. If you have ideas, or if you would be interested in participating in this conversation, you can be in touch with us by emailing us at email@example.com. Or consider attending an upcoming Co-op Café where Board members will offer you a snack, a drink and an opportunity for conversation. We’d be happy to hear your hopes and ideas!
by Calvin Dame, Board Member