New Board Members

Being A Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op Board Member

As a new member of the Board of Directors, I frequently get asked why I choose to be a board member. We are all familiar with the refrain “voting with your dollars” as a shared value of conscious consumers. I choose to spend my money at the co-op because I believe in this slogan. I choose to be a member of the Board of Directors because I similarly believe in the concept of “voting with your time.” Being a member of the board allows me to “spend” my time committing to the power of democracy and to pursue lifelong learning.

Wendell Berry writes: “No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it.” In these unsettled times, participating in the democratic leadership of a cooperatively owned, local business allows me to practice living responsibly in my small part of the world. Our co-op may seem like a small fish in the big pond of the globe—whether we buy organic, fair trade chocolate chips at the co-op, or conventional chocolate chips at a big-box store may seem dolefully inconsequential in the face of the massive social-justice issues our world faces.  But, it’s really not; these choices matter.  Participating in the democratic ownership of the co-op, however, allows me to devote my dollars, time and energy to the pursuit of an alternative to our global status quo.

Being on the Board of Directors also offers opportunities for meaningful personal growth. I recently attended a cooperative board leadership workshop, and it was truthfully the most useful training that I have ever attended. In only a few hours, I had the opportunity to learn the history and saliency of the cooperative movement, meet board members from our neighboring co-ops, and learn essential skills for my board work. My highlight of the day was building MNFC’s financial model with LEGOs alongside Glenn, our General Manager, and Ann, a fellow board member! The concepts and skills I took away from that day have proven to be not only indispensable for my work with MNFC, but also highly translatable to my job as a cooperative leader of the Bridge School.

The election season for our co-op is in full swing. As you decide whether to spend your time filling out your ballot, and voting for new members of the Board of Directors, I urge you to remember Wendell Berry’s notion. Our co-op may be small, but voting for our board allows us to exercise our democratic muscles and live responsibly in our small part of the world, and thereby living fully in the world as a whole – Amanda Warren, Board Member, Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op

To learn more about the Co-op’s Board of Directors, click here.


Run for the Board of Directors!


It’s our very local election time! Please consider running for MNFC’s Board of Directors.  Spring arrives this month and with it the time when Middlebury Natural Food Co-op member-owners have an opportunity to participate more fully in the overall wellbeing of the Co-op.


We invite all member-owners to consider running for open seats on the Board of Directors. The voting takes place during the month of May. Elected winners are announced at the MNFC Annual Meeting, and new board members begin their term at the June Board of Directors Meeting.  There are four open seats this election season. Please see the information for potential candidates below. Applications are due must be received by Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Board of Directors Applications are available here.



Open Letter to Potential Board Candidates

Thank you for your interest in serving on the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op’s Board of Directors. The election packet provides you with an overview of Board functions and responsibilities to help you make your decision about running for the Board.  Please contact Kate Gridley ( or any member of the Board for further information.


Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the legal representative of the member-owners of the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op and thus is responsible for the overall wellbeing of the Co-op.  The Board exercises its responsibilities through its relationship with the General Manager, whom it hires and monitors. It is made up of 11 directors and one non-voting staff representative.  Each term of office is three years, and terms are staggered so no more than four terms expire each year. There are no term limits.


Powers and Duties

  • Provide linkage between the Board and member-owners.
  • Create policies that are consistent with cooperative principals and MNFC Ends. (Policy Governance-see below)
  • Monitor management performance on implementing policy.
  • Work to perpetuate the cooperative.

(Operations are the sole responsibility of the General Manager.)


Qualifications of Candidates

  • Be or become a member of the Co-op in good standing.
  • Express yourself in a clear, concise manner.
  • Work in a group and support decisions made by consensus.
  • Devote the time necessary to accomplish Board objectives and fulfill your term.
  • Communicate electronically using email and the Board’s web-based information sharing program.
  • Understand financial statements or be willing to learn through instruction.


Expectations for Directors

  • Make a three-year commitment to the Board of Directors.
  • Attend two Board orientation sessions and a training for cooperative boards in the first two years of your term. This is a one-day session typically held In Brattleboro on a Saturday in January. (MNFC pays for travel expenses).
  • Have familiarity with and adherence to the Co-op’s by-laws and Board policies.
  • Prepare for and attend monthly Board meetings (6:30-8:30pm, usually on the fourth Wednesday of the month at the Co-op), sub-committee meetings, a day-long annual retreat (early February), the Co-op’s Annual Meeting (early June) and Co-op community events. Time commitment averages 3-4 hours per month.
  • Take responsibility for Board duties and work together with understanding, mutual support and respect to make decisions that will enhance the viability of the Co-op.
  • Keep information and materials confidential when appropriate.


Policy Governance

The Board of Directors of MNFC operates using the model of Policy Governance. This model of leadership results in the General Manager making all operational decisions. Rather, the Board focuses its attention on the strategic direction of the Co-op, engaging with member-owners and monitoring management performance. Policies are developed by the Board outlining how the Board functions, how authority is delegated to management, what limitations management may have and to define Ends toward which management works. Management then reports to the Board in written monitoring reports as to compliance or non-compliance with these policies.



In recognition of the time and commitment required to prepare for and attend meetings, required trainings and events, directors receive a stipend of $ 600/year plus a 10% discount on all purchases (except alcohol) at the Co-op.

Committee chairs and Executive Officers receive additional stipends.



Applications should be submitted to Kate Gridley.


Via email:




Regular mail to:


Kate Gridley,

c/o Middlebury natural Foods Co-op,

1 Washington Street

Middlebury, Vermont 05753



Applications are due by Tuesday, March 14, 2017


New Board Members!

The votes were tallied and the results are in! We’re excited to announce the three candidates elected (or re-elected) to your 2016 Board of Directors:

Ann LaFiandra
Ann LaFiandra
Amanda Warren
Amanda Warren
RJ Adler ( Incumbent)
RJ Adler ( Incumbent)

Thank you to everyone who voted! One of the coolest things about being a member of the Co-op is that membership is ownership in your Co-op. Exercising your right to vote in Board elections is one of the best ways to shape the direction of your Co-op, and we’re grateful that so many of you took the time to do so! Voter turnout was excellent this year.

We also want to extend our gratitude to all of the candidates who ran for the Board this year. It was a record number! It takes guts to put your hat in the ring, and we’re thankful that you did. We hope you’ll consider running again next year!

It’s an exciting time for our Co-op and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store with these new leaders at the helm!