When I returned to Vermont as an adult it was “seasons” that I was most excited about, those regular markers to break a year with change. Though my childhood self would completely disagree, spring and fall are now my favorites because they are nothing but change. Their transitory nature can make them seem fleeting and all too quick, but it is that same nature that gives them a sense of movement, of things, happening. It is incredible to see how quickly the static green buzz of summer can become crisp and swirling fall. Each year I look forward to seeing those changes in the landscape. There is a tree on my commute that I watch for each fall, trying to catch the exact day that it finally and completely is so orange it glows.
Autumn in particular also makes me think about other kinds of changes in our community. In the kitchen I work in we have gone from 40 employees to about 7, an example of what basically all restaurants are experiencing. We have seen the end of construction on Main Street, changes to our school district, stores close, and new ones open. And while many facets of this have been difficult, I think (and hope) that as a group we are getting really good at adaptation.
Another change I think about is my transition onto the MNFC board this past June. Almost immediately my appreciation for our local Co-op was deepened as I saw the hard work and serious thought that staff and board members give to the behind-the-scenes work of stewarding this community resource.
Another big change is Glenn’s announcement to transition away from General Manager. I, like many others, have a hard time imagining the Co-op without Glenn physically in the building. He is just always there in my mind, in the way that as a kid you can’t imagine your teacher anywhere but physically in the school, even during breaks.
But just like watching that one tree turn a perfect, blazing orange can be exciting, so too are the transitions around us. What can we bring to our thriving Co-op with a new manager? How can we get better at adapting to the next big change? What group of people can we assemble to make a new team? I have no idea, but I’m excited to find out.
Samantha Langevin is a Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member