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Board of Directors Report: Our Board & Our Process PDF Print E-mail

by Anne Senni
February 2016

The BFC Board of Directors is made up of ten interesting individuals from widely varied backgrounds who bring with them a range of skills and viewpoints. We have among us three former business owners, a faculty member at a local college, two staff members, one union steward, an early education advocacy group’s field supervisor, a social services program director and community organizer, a property manager, a real estate sales manager, a green building business owner, and a former grief counselor.

Within the group, we may have had previous friendships and casual or business associations before we joined the board. Some of us were strangers. We all came to our positions as directors with ideas about what we had to offer and what values were most important to us. We may have been inspired to run by concern about BFC happenings that we were uncomfortable with or by enthusiasm about what a great place the Co-op is. We may have joined out of a simple urge to serve.
Whatever the motivation, the one thing we all share is a willingness to work as a team on the job of BFC’s governance and on a vision for a healthy, productive, and sustainable future that strives to best serve our fellow shareholders and our community. In practice this means that we bring all our mishmash of personalities and perspectives to bear on the issues facing our Co-op, and through each of our contributions we try to make sure that the needs of our shareholders are met and that our business is maintained into the future. In doing this we are guided by the principles and values we aspire to in our Ends Policies.
The BFC exists to meet its shareholders collective needs for:
1. Reasonably priced food and
products with an emphasis on healthy, locally grown, organic, and fairly traded goods;
2. A welcoming community
marketplace;
3. A workplace community where cooperative values are modeled;
4. A regenerative business that has a net positive environmental impact;
5. A sustainable local economy;
6. Relevant information about
food and related products, the environment, and the Cooperative Values and Principles;
7. Reasonable access to participation in the cooperative.

We accomplish this through an organized meeting and committee framework that allows us to get a lot done in short periods of time, i.e. we use a modified Robert’s Rules meeting procedure, have a well defined agenda, and a specific focus for each committee. These boundaries are loose enough to leave room for creativity, as this board tries not to be too rigid, allowing room for concerns and passions of the moment to be tended to as needed.

Occasionally discussions get heated, as often there are conflicting opinions. As long as mutual respect and civilized behavior hold sway, then these tensions are healthy and will reflect the scope of differences among our shareholders. The trick is to take these discussions and, through work and compromise, come to a determination about what is best for the BFC. When that conclusion has been reached and a decision made, then this group of diverse individuals commits to stand as one behind that decision. Although we may have personal feelings that differ, and we may be more or less enthusiastic about a specific decision, we know that we have thoroughly explored all its aspects and have come to the most feasible endpoint we can—our dedication to the stewardship of our Co-op has led the way to make the best group decision possible.

Diversity of attitudes and opinions, and yes, conflict are useful tools. If used constructively, with open minds and honest effort to attain agreed upon goals, this melding of our group will be productive. With our work, dedicated management and staff, and the input and support of our shareholders, we can work together to assure that the
Brattleboro Food Co-op thrives well in the future.