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Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2010 JoomlaWorks, a business unit of Nuevvo Webware Ltd.
Board of Directors Report: We've Been Busy! PDF Print E-mail

By Beth Neher
August 2016

Here it is, mid-year already, and I want to give you a snapshot of the Co-op’s Board of Directors’ activities so far this year. We’ve been busy, and there have been some changes we want to share with you. Here’s an update of what your Co-op board has been doing:

First the changes: in April, staff director Anna Edson stepped down. It was with regret that we accepted her resignation and hope that she’ll consider running for the board again in a year or so. Then in May, after leaving the Co-op to take up an exciting and challenging position with Let’s Grow Kids, Vicky Senni stepped down. Again, it was with great regret that the board accepted her resignation. In one case the board decided unanimously to fill the vacated seat We are delighted to now have Ruth Garbus as an employee director. In the other case, the board decided unanimously to leave the seat unfilled. This was because Vicky's resignation happened later in the year, and it would have been challenging for someone to join the board at that point.

On a different topic, we are delighted to have found a new attorney, Heather Wright, to consult with us as needed on board-related questions or issues. Her name is Heather Wright, and she has deep roots and experience in the world of cooperatives. In addition, she teaches a human resources focused course in the management programs at Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies, so has a connection to Brattleboro. She attended the June board meeting so that all board members could meet and talk with her, and she could get to know us. We’re very pleased to have Heather to work with.

Committee Work
As you know, some of the work of the board is undertaken in committee, and then brought back to the board for discussion and sometimes a vote. We started the year with six, and now have five active groups, each working on a different focus:  

  • Planning the annual meeting in November;
  • Recruiting potential board candidates to run for election, also in November;
  • Clarifying and refining the board policies and bylaws identified last year as needing work;
  • Reaching out to shareholders and non-shareholders for stories, and sharing board news more effectively; and
  • Planning the board retreat in December.

The Policies and Bylaws Committee has been working on changes and clarifications to policies we found unclear last year. So far the committee has proposed – and the board has voted to accept – changes to policies regarding board director attendance at meetings (QIV 3.6.3) and how the boardwill act in the event of a director leaving the board during their term (QIV 8.5). The committee proposed adding additional language regarding staff directors who leave the employment of the Co-op during their term.

The committee is currently discussing the part of the Code of Conduct that states whether employee directors will, or will not, attend or participate in discussions that determine the General Manager’s contract.
The committee has been exploring the issue from multiple points of view; no specific proposal has been brought to the board for discussion yet.

And the Policies and Bylaws Committee has recommended bylaw changes that you’ll see on the November ballot.

Finally, members of the board and the GM attended the Neighboring Food Cooperatives Association meeting in April in Greenfield, MA. At the meeting, we listened to a presentation by a board member from City Market in Burlington on how the board has used strategic conversations to prepare for their role in the store expansion, which is now in progress.

Strategic conversations are informal discussions focused on policy and planning. The purpose of the conversations is for the board to educate itself about what drives its policy decisions by gathering information, ideas and opinions, and engaging in open, thoughtful discussion. No decisions are made in the conversations, and the discussion is less structured; the point is to exchange ideas, build shared knowledge and develop (or deepen) a sense of teamwork.
We have since had our first strategic conversation. We watched a short video on the current competitive supermarket environment that cooperative markets find themselves in and the impact on co-ops nationwide. We spent an hour of our June meeting on this strategic conversation, and found the discussion after the video rich and positive. We look forward to additional conversations this year.

In addition, five board members attended the CCMA (Consumer Cooperative Management Association) conference, held this year in Western Massachusetts (Amherst). It was an opportunity for board members to meet and talk with fellow cooperators from across the country and to attend workshop sessions. Please ask board members for their impression of the event and the sessions they attended.

Shareholders are welcome and invited to attend our meetings. Please let the board administrator know if you’d like to come and stay for dinner with us. We welcome your participation. Really.

Finally and very importantly, please consider running for the board. We are excited about the ways we’re exploring, growing, and moving. We’re looking for shareholders to join us in this time of positive change.



BFC Board Meeting
Monday, August 1st @ 5:15pm
BFC Conference Room


The Board of Director will be tabling on Saturday, August 6th from 2-4pm



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