Board Corner: September/October 2021

Marty Seltman, Board Member

The East End Food Co-op has more than 15,000 member-owners. We belong to the Co-op for a variety of reasons. When my wife, Janet, and I joined 30 plus years ago, the Co-op was the only place in town to get healthy organic food. While organic food is more readily available now, the Co-op is different from any other store. We are guided by our “Ends Statement” that we will create a “sustainable member-owned business open to everyone, an ethical and resilient food infrastructure, a vibrant, dynamic community of happy, healthy people, and creative vision to transform the future.” In addition to shopping at the Co-op, there are many ways that you can be an active part of this effort.

When I joined the board this year, I became co-chair of the Member-Owner Participation (MOP) Committee. This committee aims to assist the board in creating and sustaining a participatory community of member-owners and continually increasing member participation. This active committee works closely with the Marketing & Member Services (MMS) Department to identify and develop activities and programs of interest to members.

To better understand our member-owners, the MOP Committee conducts a survey every other year. The 2020 survey was done with the support of Dr. Nadine Lehrer, Associate Professor of Food Studies at Chatham University, and her class, who helped design the questions and analyze the responses. Just under 50% of those who responded wanted to be involved in the Co-op beyond shopping.

Perhaps the most active way to get involved is to run for the board. The election process for 2022 has begun! You can declare your candidacy through September 19. If you’re not ready to run for the board, you can learn about those who are running and vote. You can meet the candidates at the annual meeting. This meeting is a great way to meet fellow cooperators, and board and staff, and learn more about what’s going on and where we hope to go as an organization. As a bonus, there is always great food! More details of the annual meeting will be announced soon.

Another way to become involved is to participate in one of our programs. These have mostly been put on hold during Covid, but we hope to resume them soon. These programs are often educational sessions related to food & nutrition, food justice, sustainability, and health. Members are encouraged to suggest topics and/or offer to present programs. Contact MMS Manager, Elly, at ehelgen@eastendfood.coop with your ideas!

Finally, we are about to embark on a major expansion project. There will be several ways for member-owners to be engaged in this process. There are positions on the expansion committee, and there will be a number of member-owner forums to learn about and contribute to our plans. There will also be ways to support our expansion financially. Details about this will be available soon.

We hope that you will find a way to become more active in our community of cooperators. By signing up for our member emails, you can learn details about the various opportunities. Just shopping at the Co-op helps support local farmers and our overall goals, but there is so much more that you can do.