|Board of Director's Report: Then & Now|
When I was a kid, we ate homemade whole wheat pizza. We made pesto and canned tomatoes from our garden. My father made jam from the strawberries he grew. We ate arugula, romano, and salty Chinese dried sausages. Every week my mother took me with her grocery shopping. We went to the Asian grocer for produce and to the health food store.
The health food store wasn’t a co-op— this was suburban New York— but it had that smell. You know the smell right? It’s the magic one that everyone talks about, from “the good old days.” I wasn’t lucky enough to grow up here in Brattleboro, but I still know the smell. I wasn’t a founding member with that sense of camaraderie gained from hauling sacks of beans and dividing them up on a pool table. I never saw the bins on the dirt floor, and I never, ever, sat around a room deciding anything by consensus. But I understand the nostalgia. I often wish my grocery bill was cheaper, I don’t like stumbling over tourists on my way to get some bay leaves, and I’m still sad that buying yogurt in bulk is a health hazard.
But there is so much that we gain from how far we’ve come— food safety and freshness, safer working conditions, but for me the most important piece is inclusivity. We have about 160 employees— we’re able to provide living wage jobs to a huge portion of our community— jobs with both opportunities for advancement and opportunities for leadership. We have a much wider range of products now— something for everyone, and I think that brings a wider range of folks into our store and makes it easier for someone to get everything that they need, rather than just some speciality items. Anyone can walk into our store and participate as a shopper or a shareholder. They don’t need to know another member, learn a secret handshake, or even know how to figure out a tare weight (though that helps).
Our governance is inclusive as well. By running our board with the system known as policy governance, folks can join the board without having thirty years of institutional memory or a degree in business. They just need to care about our Co-op, listen keenly, and communicate effectively with our GM, our shareholders, and other board members about our policies. So I invite you, if you’re feeling that nostalgia, to spend some time in our bulk section breathing deeply; offer to carry some wheels in the cheese dept; and join our board to listen deeply. I think you’ll find that the best of the past is right here with us.
BFC Board Meeting: Monday, November 7th @ 5:15 in the BFC Conference Room
Seeking Candidates for the Board of Directors! Are you passionate about the health of your Co-op? Want to support long-term planning of your community owned market and deli? Stop by Shareholder Services any day (10am-7pm) for more information.