From The General Manager: June 2018 Update

Happy June!

On behalf of the council and myself, thank you to the nearly 100 members who participated in our Dinner and Discussion last Tuesday at the Montpelier Senior Center. We have been hosting these springtime member-owner discussions for at least five years and this year’s event was by far the largest turnout.

After a nice meal, our focus was planning for the Co-op’s future. I shared some information about our recent shopper survey, the Co-op’s current situation, trends in the broader food co-op sector and grocery industry, and some of the projects that staff are envisioning for the coming three years. You can view my slideshow here.

Members then had a chance to share their thoughts, and there were suggestions about everything from the price of cheese to revisiting the Co-op’s mission. One of the most interesting questions was could the Co-op play a role in bottle and can redemption given the news that Montpelier’s M & M Beverage will soon close. Overall, it was a very positive and constructive evening, and the Co-op came away with a lot of good ideas to consider.

It’s always gratifying to talk with members about our co-op and the difference we do and should make in the world. As I pointed out Tuesday, democratic ownership and meaningful member participation will always be what is truly unique about cooperatives. This year’s council is making extra efforts to dialog with our members. Thank you to the dozen or so folks who came to our recent Coffee/Kombucha With The Council events. We look forward to hosting more such small events soon.

Remember labeling of genetically modified foods? In 2016 our co-op worked hard with many partners to support passage of the State’s unique law mandatory labeling of GMOs. Our success was short-lived as a new federal law was quickly established to supplant our state law. The federal law requires labeling but not in the clear and direct way Vermont envisioned.

After two years of preparation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its draft labeling rules for comment. I encourage you to visit the USDA website and share your thoughts before the July 3 deadline. I plan to offer more insight into the draft rules in the next eNewsletter, but one obvious flaw with the rules is the option to use a QR code in place of plain text. The whole effort to require GMO labeling is based on our right to know so we can make informed choices about the food we eat; obscuring information only serves the interests of those who feel they have something to hide. For more information visit Just Label It.

See you at the Co-op,

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