Thursday, March 01, 2007

People's Food Coop Board - throwing my hat into the race

I'm trying to be careful about not biting off more than I can chew when my new baby gets here, but I've wanted to be a board member at the People's Food Coop since I left work there two years ago. This would have been impossible during the last two years because I had so much to learn at Zingerman's (I go overboard in the amount of research I do sometimes). But when Chris, the current President of the board came to me and told me I should run, I figured now was the time.

One of the submissions required for the election was a statement of candidacy limited to 350 words, here's mine:

I believe that members of the coop: want to shop at the coop and be involved with the coop more than they are; are active members because they want their money to have a positive impact on their community and on their world but realize that most of the food one buys has a dark side to it economically, ethically, and environmentally; would like employees working for them at the coop to feel PFC is a socially, progressive employer recognizing every employee's value to the coop, trying to evolve into the most democratic, consensus-oriented workplace that can exist. Our members should be proud of our coop, acknowledging that while we're not perfect, we are continually striving to be an example of what can exist when people give thought and moral pause to their economic choices beyond merely the maximum financial return on their investment.

For four years in New York City, I was an active member of Ganas, a 100+ member intentional community, that ran three recycling businesses on Staten Island. Our group spent three hours every day deciding business issues among 20 of us, building consensus on all decisions. While that depth of exploration isn't necessary here, that experience taught me how to organize people, generate consensus, respect diverse opinions, and run a business communally, all while keeping a constant eye on higher priorities. The last 15 years of my life have been devoted to my scholarly and passionate obsession with food. I worked at the coop for a year and am now the olive oil and vinegar expert and frequent tasting host at Zingerman's Deli.

I recognize the next three years, with planned expansion and choosing a new general manager, as a period of vital growth and change during which the Board must be vocal and active in creating inspiring visions of the direction the coop sails and organizing members in support. I will be tenacious, passionate, and dedicated to setting a course that we can all be proud of taking.