by Tom Franks
The year 2002 was a big one for the BFC. We considered moving from our downtown location to gain more space for our growing cooperative. Our shareholders (then called “members”) and the community at large responded to this idea with a clear message that our presence downtown was valued. With the help of a group called Natural Logic we began to develop the framework for a sustainable and even regenerative cooperative business. And we began a multi-year, inclusive discussion to determine our Co-op’s vision for the long term. In 2006 this effort culminated with the issuance of “The 100-Year Plan – First Steps Towards the Creation of a Regenerative Market & Marketplace.” Our Co-op has successfully completed many of the first steps, including the building of our new store. This major accomplishment has been a significant focus of your board’s attention for many years.
With only 93 years to go, it is still not too late to make some adjustments based on new information. To this end, the board has begun a review of the six principle themes of the plan. We will review the progress we have made, discuss the relevance of the objectives in light of today’s circumstances, and our expectations for the future, and determine the next steps the Co-op can take. As is our practice, we will draw on the knowledge, experience, and aspirations of our shareholders first, and secondarily of the whole community. We will consider each of the principle themes at our board meetings for the next six months. Prior to that board meeting, board members will be present in the store (“tabling”) to discuss the next month’s theme. We encourage shareholders to offer their suggestions through the comment box in the store adjacent to Shareholder Services. And, as always, shareholders and community members alike are always welcome to attend the monthly board meeting.
The plan is available for download on the Co-op’s webpage. Below are the six principle themes, with BFC’s goal, the date of the tabling, and the date of the board meeting discussion:
In addition to collecting fresh input, the board will be drawing on the results of the 2011 Annual Meeting World Café exercise where we asked shareholder what they would like to see the Co-op do in the future. We anticipate presenting the overall outputs of our effort at the 2013 Annual Meeting for discussion. We’ll only have 92 years left at that point, but we feel it worth the time to engage our shareholders.
First up for discussion is the theme of Healthy Food. We believe that this is a top priority of our shareholders and shoppers, and that the production of healthy food has less impact on our environment. To champion healthy food, the Co-op engages in education and outreach programs, implements product selection guidelines informed by this goal and our Ends Policies, works to expand both organic and local product lines, and tracks its progress on each of these on an annual basis.
We have more questions than answers, which is appropriate at this point in time. Some of the questions that come to mind are:
1. Is healthy food a top priority for our shareholders, or has this changed since 2006?
2. What is the proper balance between a focus on organic product and a focus on local products?
3. How can we improve our education and outreach?
4. How can we better reach and serve those families of less abundant means, and how much should we invest in this effort?
Your questions, your insights, and your participation in this process will ensure that the plan, and the resulting activities the Co-op supports and the products the Co-op offers, meet the needs and aspirations of our community.
Scheduled Topics for 2013
BFC Goal: To champion healthy food.
Tabling 2/23/13, 2pm to 4pm
Meeting – March 4, 2013
BFC Goal: Proactively contribute in a material way
to the strengthening of our local economy.
Tabling 3/23/13, 2pm to 4pm
Meeting – April 1, 2013
BFC Goal: Impact minimally, restore, regenerate.
Tabling 4/27/13, 2pm to 4pm
Meeting – May 6, 2013
BFC Goal: Maximize service to our outlying
communities, minimize environmental impact.
Tabling 5/18/13, 2pm to 4pm
Meeting – June 3, 2013
Role in the Community.
BFC Goal: Ensure that BFC is an effective partner
in creating a sustainable community.
Tabling 6/15/13, 2pm to 4pm
Meeting – July 1, 2013
Upgrade Physical Plant
BFC Goal: Attaining maximum achievable efficiency.
Meeting – August 5, 2013