PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

Meet the Candidates: Owen Rowe

The Food Co-op Board of Directors election is coming up May 2-15, 2016. You can read more about the election, and all of the candidates, on the Board Elections page.

You are also invited to join the candidates for cake, coffee, tea and conversation at our Meet the Candidates event on Wednesday, April 27th, 7:00pm in The Food Co-op dining room.

In the mean time, we will be introducing the candidates one by one here on the blog. Four candidates are running for four available seats. This blog features Owen Rowe. The other candidates are Marty Canaday, David Wayne Johnson, and Monica le Roux.

Owen Rowe webOwen Rowe

1. Personal statement, including anything you feel is relevant to your candidacy.

I have always identified strongly with collaborative and cooperative ways of working. As a Port Townsend resident off and on since 1997, I see the Food Coop as one of the centers of our unique culture. Helping steward this resource so that it can grow and thrive for future generations is one of the most meaningful ways I can think of to give back to PT.

2. Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors?

Having served by appointment since November 2015, I find that the issues, the process, and the people are perhaps the most engaging show in town. There are some huge decisions coming up about facilities and market position, and I want to see them through. I am not tied to any specific plan of action, but I am tied to completing the process in an open, collaborative, and above all imaginative way.

3. Describe your interests, experience, and expertise that may contribute to the Board’s activities.

I am a writer and translator, an arts and education organizer, and a systems thinker from my years in the software business. For many years I have served as a board member, volunteer, or staff in arts, culture, and community organizations. I currently serve on the PT Arts Commission and the Friends of the PT Library board, and work at Jefferson Community School.

4. What experiences have you had contributing to successful group efforts?

Whether on a work team or as part of a community organization, I feel most of service in two contexts: when digging into the details of a chosen project, and when debating the most (seemingly) abstract and philosophical issues of mission and strategy. I work to see that our end result is both in alignment with our highest callings, and accurate to the pixel. Either the whole forest with all its interconnections, or the intricate mechanisms of a single tree: not much in between.

5. The Strategic Plan’s first long range goal is Market Position, and it includes the following strategy: Develop and implement our long term facilities plan. What do you think should be considered in developing such a plan?

The sustainability of our community and our Coop in the long term–20, 50, or 100 years. As a community-owned business, we have an obligation to think inclusively about issues of food security and access, cultural and agricultural sustainability, and resiliency in the face of climate change and corporate capitalism. The Coop is physically and culturally one of the centers of PT, and both aspects must be maintained; a thriving Coop can and should be one of the key indicators of a thriving PT.

6. How would you encourage greater member-owner involvement in elections, member-owner forums and meetings?

Considered broadly, this is what attracted me to join the board in the first place. I think the Coop could do a better job creating value (not just monetary) around participatory, cooperative ownership, and demonstrating the benefits of belonging in building community and relationships. I think membership itself should be one of our core products. The attraction of elections, forums, and meetings should be the opportunity to collaborate with friends and neighbors, not some motivating issue or advantage to claim.

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