Your Board…Getting Involved in Co-op Governance
It’s an exciting time of year at the co-op as we look ahead to board elections in May. Maybe you’re considering running for the board or are just interested to learn a little more about the board and how it works. As Board Development Chair, I’d love to take a few minutes to share some about who our board members are, what the board does, and how you can get involved.
First, the board is composed of 11 members who are elected to serve three-year terms. This year, three positions are up for election and in the next two years, four positions will be elected each year. The board is made up of a diverse mix of board members who live all over Addison County and hail from around the world. We have a mix of backgrounds including teachers and professors, graphic designers and community engagement specialists, artists, chefs, parents, nonprofit directors, and folks working in public service. This diversity of backgrounds and skills makes our board stronger. Further, we all have in common a passion for the co-op and our democratic principles.
You may wonder what the board even does? The board has two primary roles: 1) to represent the 5000+ member-owners of the co-op and 2) to provide consistent leadership to support the general manager. Board members craft and monitor policies that ensure our co-op is meeting our mission and our ends. As you know, the co-op is currently undergoing a big leadership transition, with Glenn Lower retiring after 28 years at the co-op and Greg Prescott starting as our new General Manager on April 1st. Our role, more than ever, will be focused on ensuring a smooth transition and the continued strong financial and community-focused position of the co-op.
Each year, we are committed to recruiting new board members to make sure we have fresh voices to bring diverse perspectives to the board room. We see that both institutional knowledge from longer-serving board members and fresh perspectives from newer board members are equally valuable. As a board, we are committed to JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) work, not just in board recruitment but in holding these values central across all of our work. We are working hard to ensure our co-op is increasingly a more welcoming, open, and inclusive space for all member-owners, and we believe that diversity among board members is essential to our work.
If you are interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to reach out – we always love to hear from our fellow members. If you have thoughts or questions to share with the board, please let us know: email@example.com. And if you want to run for the board, you can learn more here – applications are due March 13th!
Erin Buckwalter is a Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member and is Chair of the Board’s Board Development Committee