Your Board, Getting Involved In Co-op Governance
After attending our Co-op’s Annual Meeting in September, I wanted to take the opportunity as Board Development Chair to share with all of our member-owners more about how our board works, what we do, and how you can get involved. Of course, it’s never too early to consider running for the board so I hope you will take this as an open invitation to learn more!
The board is composed of 11 members who are elected to serve three-year terms. In May 2023, four positions will be up for election. We anticipate that we will have a mix of incumbents running as well as open spots. The board is made up of board members who live all over Addison County and hail from around the world. We have a blend of backgrounds including teachers and professors, farmers, community engagement specialists, artists, 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 does the board even do? The board has three primary roles: 1) to represent the 5000+ member-owners of the Co-op, 2) to oversee and support the general manager, and 3) to provide strategic and financial oversight for the Co-op. Board members craft and monitor policies that ensure our Co-op is meeting our mission and our ends. As you know, the Co-op recently underwent a big leadership transition, with Glenn Lower retiring in March after 28 years at the Co-op and Greg Prescott starting as our new General Manager on April 1st. Our role, more than ever, is 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 boardroom. 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, equitable, and inclusive space for all member-owners, and we believe that diversity among board members is essential to our work.
I love serving on the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board. I believe that Co-ops are integral partners in a sustainable food system and our Co-op is a key partner to this vision locally. I have been honored to participate in the democratic processes of our Co-op and am excited to be able to support others in keeping more dollars and decisions local!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you want to run for the board, you can learn more here. Applications are due March 12, 2023.
Erin Buckwalter is Chair of the Board’s Board Development Committee.