From the General Manager – August 2018

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Annual elections for our Co-op’s governing Council are coming up this fall. We will have at least four open seats and I hope you will consider running for one of them. Serving on the Council is service indeed: challenging work for no pay. Puzzling through complex problems with other volunteers. Sometimes setting aside personal preferences for the greater good. Although the work is demanding, the rewards are real and the service is critical to our cooperative and its mission. 

Each year we have a new Council and I have had the pleasure of working with 15 of them. Over that time, there has been amazing variety in individual skills and abilities as well as group dynamics. I love the fact that different people can bring their unique mix of experience and interests and work together to fulfill the governance functions of a modern, successful and constantly-evolving cooperative. The common thread is steadfast commitment to our Co-op and the mission to help build a vibrant community of healthy individuals, sustainable local food systems, and thriving cooperative commerce.

There is no doubt that we need skillful Council members now more than ever. The grocery business has changed considerably over the past decade and the rate of change is likely to only increase in the coming years. The local food scene has also evolved into a sophisticated network of food producers, processors, distributors, retailers and more. The cooperative business model is more relevant than ever, yet the obstacles to cooperative development are formidable. And our local community is undergoing its own significant shift as our founding members reach retirement age and increasingly, like the rest of Vermont, we see our future in younger generations. Considering our Co-op’s multiple roles as customer, employer, purchasing agent and all-around community hub, the stakes are high.

To navigate these waters will require strong governance. We need it all: the visionary and the practical, conservative and bold perspectives, people willing to listen and speak up. Leaders.

In short, we need you. You and other member-owners who can work together to represent the membership, establish a meaningful vision and provide the leadership to guide us forward. It will be hard work to be sure, but it’s critical to our enterprise and hopefully rewarding to those involved. I have never served on the Council myself, but my impression is that, as it is with the best service opportunities, Council members generally get more than they give.

If serving on Council sounds like a good fit for you, here are some possible next steps:

• Check out our Council Candidate Information Guide.
• Watch one of our candidate information sessions.
Read the last meeting packet.
• Listen to past Council meetings.
Contact me or one of the current Council members.

Election applications are due September 4. Thank you for supporting our Cooperative.