PT Food Co-op

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

Archive for the ‘Board of Directors’ Category

Food Co-op Expansion Open House

September 20th, 2017 by markb

by Lisa Barclay

Thanks to all who attended our open house on The Food Co-op’s expansion Tuesday, August 22. Members pored over the draft layout for the store and talked with General Manager Kenna Eaton and board members about the details. We appreciate your thoughtful questions as well as your support.

New Store Layout

Members were particularly interested in the plan to move the dining area to the front of the store. This change will enable us to relocate the Wellness Department to the main body of the store and it will also encourage people to pay for their food before they eat it. In addition, eliminating the deli cash register should help with the congestion around the deli case. We expect that both cashier fast lanes will be open at lunch time, which could make buying your deli purchases actually faster than now. There were some questions about the distance from the deli to the eating area, but such a separation is actually quite common and seems to work smoothly for other stores.

The Bulk Department will move into the current dining room and Wellness will use some of Bulk’s current space as well as the south entrance area, and the south door will be closed, allowing us to utilize all our space while keeping the expansion fairly small. 

The back rooms will be expanded, making them much more usable for storing product and stocking shelves. The staff is pretty happy to be getting a second bathroom, one they don’t have to share with maintenance! And the fish and meat department will move out of their closet-sized work space and out from under the feet of the deli and kitchen staff. Seafood will get its own case, and we’ll be able to offer more local meat, supporting local businesses.

We’ll be digging into the hill behind us a little and building a retaining wall, in order to have enough room for all our recycling, composting, and waste. It should be easier for staff to access and much tidier! But sorry, while we won’t be losing any parking spaces, we won’t be gaining any either. 

Finances

On the financial side, some members asked how much cash we have in the bank to weather any setbacks. We have well over a million dollars in the bank and the projections for this project never have us below twice the industry standard for cash on hand, so we have a wide margin to work with. We’ve been saving and planning for this expansion for years and we are being fiscally conservative. 

We were also asked why we aren’t getting our loan from a credit union, as a fellow cooperative. Our current loan is with Kitsap Bank, so any bank that wanted to loan us money would need to first buy that loan from Kitsap (because of how loan priorities work), which could be a convoluted, expensive prospect. Kitsap is a local, community-oriented bank, and while we haven’t negotiated a loan yet we think that keeping our loan with them will be the most favorable option for us. (In addition, credit unions are set up more for individual customers than for businesses, sort of the way The Food Co-op is mainly for consumers, not businesses.)

Timeline

We had hoped to break ground in November, but these things always take more time than you hope, and we still don’t have a frim fate set yet. We’ll probably start by constructing the new addition, and then we’ll work on the inside of the store, bit by bit. Our contractor has experience in these kinds of remodels, so while there are sure to be disruptions, they should be able to guide us through. And remember, we need you to keep shopping while the construction goes on! We can look at it as an adventure, imagining what is being built behind that plastic sheet or where the bread might be this week.

In the meantime, you can see a drawing of what the Co-op might look like, along with other materials about the expansion, in the dining room and on the website (under expansion updates). The plans are naturally subject to change, but they give us an idea of where we are headed, and it’s fun to look around the store and imagine what it will be like in a year. Thank you for all your support!

Strategic Plan Renewal: Internal Capacity Building

September 11th, 2017 by markb

by Lisa Barclay

This year the board is reviewing and revising our strategic plan to update it for another five years. The plan has five goals, also known as Ends, and these Ends are what help make The Food Co-op different from your usual store. At the July board meeting, we worked on the third End, Internal Capacity Building. Here’s what we came up with: 

New A3 Title: Thriving Workplace

End: An engaged staff and board use their increasing knowledge, skills, and passion to create a thriving workplace.

Strategies:

  • Cultivate best practices as an employer, including fair wages and benefits as well as opportunities for staff and board development.
  • Strengthen internal systems that inspire all staff members to achieve goals and have fun!
  • Encourage a workplace culture that supports our cooperative values.
  • Continue to improve the functional efficiency of our workplace.
  • Equip the management team and board to:
  • Exemplify the cooperative values
  • Govern effectively
  • Lead organizational change
  • Strategically address emerging issues

Overview:

This End reflects our belief that everything starts with people, that to have a good store and a successful cooperative, we must have a workplace where staff, management, and board all thrive.

To review this End, the board consulted with our member-owners and our staff-members. We concluded that the current title did not capture our goal very well, so we changed it to Thriving Workplace. Though thriving workplace is repeated in the End itself, we decided this emphasis is good. We also recognize that the title is not self-explanatory, but most titles are not—they invite exploration rather than explain outright. The End itself is the explanation.

We added passion to the End because we want staff and board members who are passionate about their co-op, and we also thought it nicely reflected the holism of head, hand, and heart. We brainstormed a list of some qualities we thought should be part of a thriving workplace: Positive, open, transparent, healthy and safe, efficient, supportive, inspirational, diverse, accountable, compassionate, and respectful.

The strategies written five years ago have worked well, so we did not change them drastically. We did decide that the cooperative values—one of the qualities that makes us different from corporate stores—should be explicitly mentioned in the strategies, so we added them. We also heard other good ideas for building a thriving workplace that may not have been added as strategies but were noted as ideas to try out.

Many of the rest of the changes were for clarity rather than to modify the strategies themselves. We could not quite agree if fun should be referred to explicitly, but we were all agreed that working at the Co-op should be fun, so we are leaving it in for the time being.

 

Strategic Plan Renewal

July 7th, 2017 by markb

As section “owner” for A2, I summarized our revisions in this report for the June consent agenda. At the Board’s November 2017 work session, we will have a chance to revisit all five sections revised over the course of the year before formally adopting our new 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. – Monica le Roux, Board President

Section Title: Food System Development

End: We will collaborate with consumers and producers to support a resilient local and regional food economy, ensuring a diverse food supply.

Strategies:

Increase quantity and diversity of locally and regionally produced food available through the Co-op.

Provide information and assistance to local farmers and producers to help them meet the growing demand for local products.

Expand and strengthen relationships with independently and/or cooperatively owned producers and distributors.

Collaborate with local partners to:

  • Raise community awareness of and community support for local food production.
  • Strategically address gaps in food production, storage, and distribution.
  • Contribute to the development of the local and regional food security plans.
  • Support local wholesale buyers in purchasing more regional and local products.

Overview:

In renewing this End, the Board consulted with our member-owners and staff, and came to the conclusion that our original reason for creating this End still held true: as an organization, our most concrete ability lies in growing the market for local, independently owned, and/or cooperative businesses. In order to do so, however, we must collaborate with various partners to create a resilient local and regional food economy, for only in such a system would the foods and products we hoped to help to market be available.

During our research for renewal of this End, our member-owners emphasized to us their belief in the importance of partnering with other organizations and businesses, and ensuring a diversity of foods from local sources. Our staff made helpful points about distinctions between the Food Coop’s “sphere of control” and “sphere of influence” as well as pointing out the need for an End and Strategies that could be meaningfully monitored. Further Board discussion revolved around the concepts of resiliency, movement within systems, and what good and useful “development” looks like. We believe the results of all our efforts (as seen above) will direct our organization’s efforts into a future we can all support.

What’s Next?

A3—Internal Capacity is up next. Here is what this section currently says:

Inspire and develop leadership, commitment, and passion within the organization.

Strategies:

  • Cultivate best practices as an employer, including fair wages and benefits and opportunities for professional development.
  • Strengthen internal systems that inspire all staff members to achieve goals and be rewarded for their efforts.
  • Encourage a healthy workplace culture that engenders fun, learning, safety, effective communication, and kindness towards others.
  • Continue to improve the functional efficiency of our workplace.
  • Grow skills and ability of the Management team and Board to:

Govern effectively

Address strategic issues

Lead organizational change

Stop by the alcove in the store Tuesday July 11, between 10 and noon to talk with Board members and share your thoughts on this part of our strategic plan. We’ll discuss revisions at the July Board meeting and, as always, members are welcome to attend. At the end of the year, we’ll revisit all five sections for minor adjustments, then formally adopt our new Strategic Plan—taking The Food Co-op to our 50th Anniversary in 2022!

Keep an eye on this blog and the Board’s board in the store for more opportunities to engage. We hope to see you at a Board meeting—or contact us at coopboard@foodcoop.coop with your input.

We Ate Local: The Food Co-op Annual Meeting

July 6th, 2017 by markb

The Food Co-op Annual Meeting

Eating Local was the focus of our annual meeting this year, held on June 4 at Fort Worden.

We Ate Local

Kristan McCary, director of food services at the fort, really came through for us when we requested that the food be sourced locally. As we all know, in early June local produce can be a bit sparse, but the folks at Fort Worden went to the Saturday Farmers Market and picked up lots of lettuces and veggies to let people put together scrumptious salads, and then they rounded it off with local breads and cheeses. We heard lots of kudos for the food.

Sustainable Connections—Bellingham’s Program to Support Local

Our guest speaker was Sara Southerland, the Food and Farming Program Manager of Sustainable Connections up in Bellingham. Sara spoke about the extensive programs they have to help local producers, farmers, and businesses meet the “triple bottom line”—that is, they help local businesses work not just for profit, but also for people and the planet. We were particularly interested in hearing about their “Food and Farm” program, which includes an “Eat Local First” campaign. In Port Townsend, we do many similar things, but their efforts are both extensive and interconnected .

Sara told us that the Food and Farm program works to grow the market for local food and local farmers by creating connections. She joked that she feels like a matchmaker, connecting farmers and fisherman with restaurants and grocery stores through events like farmer-chef mixers and a Local Food Trade Meeting as well as by partnering farms with chefs, in a sort of “buddy” system. They also supported the formation of a NW Washington Chef’s collective, which has brought together people who are usually competitors, but who found they can learn from each other.

The Food and Farming program also has an educational aspect for business owners and farmers as well as for shoppers. They teach businesses how to differentiate themselves, and for novice farmers, they have a new farmer training program. Sara said that new farmers often start with a passion for agriculture, but they need help with business plans and how to make a profit. Another part of the program is called “Food to Bank,” which provides training and raises money to pay new farmers to provide food to food banks and shelters.

An educational campaign, Eat Local First, is the centerpiece of their efforts to educate shoppers. They began by surveying shoppers to see how people thought of local food as well as the barriers to buying more local products, and discovered two important barriers were a lack of sufficient labelling of local food (in restaurants, for instance) and what to do with local products once you bought them.

To launch the campaign, they asked businesses to take the “local food pledge” to increase by 10% the amount they spend on local food. They then asked their community to try to shift their purchases to local by just 10%, because that figure seemed attainable and not too much to ask. Their mantra became “just one out of ten items in your cart.” Business participants agree the campaign increased sales of local products, but an added benefit was businesses became more willing to work together and co-promote, even when they might seem to be in competition. The business atmosphere become more cooperative!

To promote local food, Sustainable Connections also produces a Food & Farm Finder map and organizes a farm tour as well as an Eat Local Month in September, when restaurants specially feature local food on their menus. They also have Harvest of the Month, when a specific local product is featured in the schools, restaurants, and grocery stores.

All in all, Sara gave us a lot to think about and discuss, and we followed up the next morning with a meeting to bring together people in the community interested in promoting local food to meet Sara and discuss the possibilities for our county. Lots more ideas were thrown into the mix, and we plan to follow up with meetings focused on how to connect and expand the Eat Local efforts in our community.

 

The Business End of the Annual Meeting

In addition to all this eating local, we distributed our annual report, which details how we are doing toward fulfilling the Food Co-op Ends, that is, our long-term goals. The annual report is available at the front desk at the store as well as online here. General Manager Kenna Eaton reviewed 2016, outlining our progress on our five-year strategic plan as well as reviewing our plans for remodeling our store. (For more information, check out the Store Expansion section of this website.)

Kenna also announced that, due to a profitable year, we were able to give some of that profit to our staff in the form a “gainshare” bonus and we will also have a member dividend distribution again this year. The amount distributed will be less than last year, because we will save some to help with our remodel. The distribution rollout will begin June 19 with notices being sent to our members. (Again, more information is available elsewhere on this website.)

 

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put on the annual meeting.

We’ll see you all next year!

 

Images from our Annual Meeting

Thank You to Janet Welch

November 3rd, 2016 by Rachel Williams

One Person Can Make A Difference

From Kenna S. Eaton, GM

This October marked a milestone for The Food Co-op: Janet Welch, board member extraordinaire for over 12 years, tendered her resignation.*

Janet and her husband Willi were the first people I met six years ago when I applied for this position. They went out of their way to make me and my husband feel welcome—and when they turned out to be our island neighbors on Marrowstone, we really felt like we had come home at last.

Janet served on the Food Co-op board for longer than any member ever has and she sure worked hard, too. She gave generously of her passion, her knowledge, and her skills. She weathered many interesting times, from potentially divisive boycotts right through strategic planning and researching our facilities options, always striving to remain true to her values and keeping her sense of humor.

Most recently Janet served as board president for three years, making sure that we stayed on course, that we did our homework, and that we could answer those tough questions she posited for us. Our “hats off” to Janet for making a difference!

*For a copy of Janet’s resignation letter, please read the board packet for the November 2016 board meeting.

board-tractor

From Monica le Roux, Board President

Janet was an integral part of the Food Co-op Board for over 12 years, working incredibly hard to make sure that as each wave of new board members was elected, the history of our organization and its mission and principles remained in the forefront of our minds as we took up our new tasks.  She will be missed for her vivid energy, her excellent writing, and the sense of humor she brought when it was most needed.  We know we continue to benefit from her example, and she leaves with our resounding thanks for everything she shared with us.

Your Opportunity to “Taste” Board Membership

July 19th, 2016 by Rachel Williams

From Your Food Co-op BoardSilly Board June 2016

Sometimes owner-members approach us about serving on the Co-op Board but express reservations about making a 3-year commitment or running in a competitive election. Here’s an opportunity for one or more of you!

Our by-laws allow for the direct appointment of one or more members to serve until the following election (subject to a board vote). Last year, we appointed two interim board members because one of our members was leaving the board early. This worked so well—we obtained two hard working board members for seven months and one of them chose to run in the board election this spring—that we decided to do it again. So, if you wish to get a “taste” of what it’s like to be shaping the exciting future of the Co-op, this is a chance for you to do that without making a long-term commitment up front!

If you are interested:

• Come to our August 2 and/or September 6 Board meetings at the Co-op Annex at 2110 Lawrence Street.

• Pick up an application and information packet from the Member Services Desk (MSD) or download one here: 2016 interim candidate application. Fill out the application form and either submit it to Rachel at boardassistant@foodcoop.coop or drop it off at the Member Services Desk by September 13. And please note, you need to attend at least one Board meeting as part of the application process.

If you have any questions, contact Rachel Williams at boardassistant@foodcoop.coop or Lisa Barclay at boardsecretary@foodcoop.coop.

A Hot Time At The Palindrome – 2016 Annual Meeting Recap

July 19th, 2016 by Rachel Williams

On June 5, the newly reopened Palindrome hosted The Food Co-op’s 2016 annual meeting. The day was unseasonably hot, the audience attentive, and the food scrumptious!

Of Electric Cars and Ceramic Plates

In an effort to lessen our carbon footprint and to provide transportation for members without cars, we contracted with PTeRider, the new electric bus service, to deliver members who had entered our contest to win a ride to the Palindrome. In addition, we were able to use real plates and forks—although not glass cups due to the complications of county rules—thanks to the PT School District and the district’s food service director, Stacey Larsen, who lent us some of the plates that were collected last year in their plate and silverware drive.

Paella House Feeds the Member Masses

Paella servingThe day culminated in members enjoying Paella House veggie paella and manchego salad while young local musicians played old-time music. Square dancing was involved! Find the Paella House at the Saturday Farmers Market and check out their website, http://www.paellahousept.com.

Co-op Had Great Year in 2015!

Board President Janet Welch began with meeting by welcoming member-owners and noting that two members had set up a display on the deck of the Palindrome to inform fellow members of the pervasiveness of plastic packaging. Next, General Manager Kenna Eaton talked about how cooperatives support economic democracy, a prerequisite for political democracy. Then Kenna unveiled the 2015 Annual Report, which details the Co-op’s successful year, with financial statements and fun facts as about our work to fulfill our principles (the annual report is available online and at the Member Services Desk). Then she announced our first member dividend distribution! (You should have received either an email or a mailer about your dividend. If you haven’t, contact Dan Goldstein at dan@foodcoop.coop.)

The Importance of the Cooperative Economy

To open the second portion of the meeting, Board Treasurer David Wayne Johnson explained how the cooperative economic model combines the best of capitalism and socialism, because co-ops compete in the open market yet are democratically governed—plus co-ops are owned by their customers and/or workers, not outside investors. Co-ops also have a higher multiplier effect than other businesses in terms of money put back into the community. Further, the seven principles of cooperatives— voluntary membership, democratic member control, economic participation, autonomy and independence, co-operation among co-ops, education, and concern for the community—mean that co-ops don’t just have a positive economic impact, they have a positive social and quality-of-life impact. David noted that we often don’t realize all the co-ops around us in the community, and he introduced the local cooperatives in attendance at the annual meeting.

Cooperatives Bring Jobs and Stability to Italy

David T holds Commons 2Next on the program, co-op expert David Thompson described the impact of cooperatives around the world. As an example of co-op power, he recounted the story of the Emilia Romagna region in Italy, where cooperatives are a major part of the economy, and employment, living-wage jobs, and disposable income are all higher than in other areas of Italy.

Summary of David Thompson’s Talk on Emilia Romagna

There are a billion members of co-ops world wide, providing employment for 100 million people, more jobs than with all corporations together. With co-ops, capital is a servant rather than a master. The region of Emilia Romagna in Italy shows what the future might look like if we work together.

An Economy Built on Co-ops

For the most part, Emilia Romagna is an agriculture state, with some little villages and towns. What they have done with co-ops in amazing. Cooperatives are a way to stay small while accomplishing great things. In Emilia Romagna, parmesan cheese is made by a cooperative of 10,000 village dairies. Averaging 12 cows each, they provide a third of Italy’s milk as well as supply milk to cheese co-ops. Farmers make a decent living, so they dont leave looking for better work. And the cooperative economy is strongly interconnected—for instance, the warehouses for storing cheese in each villages (worth millions of dollars) are financed by co-operative banks.

In Italy, A Co-op is the Largest Retail Business

In Italy, consumer co-ops have much more market share than capitalistic chains. Co-op Italia, for instance, has 53,000 employees and $15 billion in sales, making Italy the only country where a co-op is the largest retailer. Co-ops build solidarity, promoting each others’ products and sharing retail developments, etc. Members also support their co-ops; as an example, Co-op Italia needs to borrow very little money from banks because members lend money through a mechanism at the cash register.

In addition, Italy collects 3% of the profit from every co-op in the country into a cooperative development fund. As of 2010, the fund had 404 million euros, and a group elected by the members chooses what to do with that money. This fund was the inspiration for the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation (David Thompson is the president of this foundation, which supports the development of all kinds of cooperatives in the US).

Cooperative Emilia Romagna Has Higher Standard of Living

How does this affect the economy of Emilia Romagna? About 30% of the total economy is from the co-ops. Emilia Romagna has the highest percentage of family firms, the highest disposable income, and the highest employment rate of women in Italy. Reciprocity is a critical part of the co-operative economy, helping create livable wages that enable people to buy homes, live well, and save money.

The story of Emilia Romagna is important because sometimes we dont know what the future might look like because we havent seen it. Emilia Romagna shows what happens when people come together even in small villages. In Port Townsend, we have the opportunity to build an economy that houses us, feeds us, farms for us, and provides living wage jobs. We have a responsibility to continue to build on what has been bequeathed to us.

Download David Thompson’s slides here: I ER Co-ops in Emilia Romagna 2014 stats

Note: David Thompson also participated in two other events—a mixer with representatives from local cooperatives at Finnriver on Saturday night and a Sunday morning coffee meeting at the Co-op dining room to discuss cooperative housing possibilities in PT. The coffee meeting drew about six member-owners, plus three board members, Kenna, and David. Participants were concerned about affordable housing and David provided good information on the way cooperative housing can be part of the solution, although it is still hard to reduce costs. He told the group ways to seek information and support, including government grants. The attendees decided to continue the discussion at a later date and have since met again, although they’ve morphed more into an affordable housing group than one about cooperative housing. If anyone is interested in joining these efforts, please contact Mark Cooper at mark.cooper@thomsonreuters.com.

2016 Annual Meeting June 5

May 13th, 2016 by Rachel Williams

Hello Fellow Cooperators!

The Food Co-op Board of Directors would like to invite you to our Annual Meeting June 5, 3:00-7:00pm at the Palindrome.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Co-ops in our Community” and we are fortunate to have cooperative expert—and Cooperative Hall of Fame inductee—David Thompson as our guest speaker. Representatives from many local cooperatives will also be attending, so you can find out all about what they do, not to mention play Co-op Bingo for a chance to win a Food Co-op gift card.

First you’ll learn how The Food Co-op prospered in 2015. Next board member David Wayne Johnson will give us an overview of our local co-ops and then introduce David Thompson, who will speak about the history of cooperatives and our exciting future. After his talk, we’ll have food, Co-op Bingo, and music! The Paella House will serve veggie paella and salad (with arugula, spinach, Manchego cheese, etc.); Eaglemount wine and cider will be available for purchase; and local musicians will play old-time music.

RSVP before May 30, and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a $100 Food Co-op gift card! (You must be present at the annual meeting to win). Click here to RSVP.

Please carpool, if possible. You can look for a ride or offer a ride at the ride share board at the front of the store. In addition, the Co-op has contracted with the PTeRider, the new electric shuttle service in town, to carry 14 member-owners from the Co-op to the Palindrome and back. For a chance to be one of the 14, please submit the form under Board’s board in the store by May 23.

See you at the Palindrome,We are stronger together

Janet Welch, Board President
Monica le Roux, Vice President
Lisa Barclay, Secretary
David Wayne Johnson, Treasurer
Peter Bonyun, Board Member
Catherine Durkin, Board Member
Patricia Smith, Board Member

The Food Co-op Annual Meeting

June 5th, 3-7pm
The Palindrome, 1893 S. Jacob Miller Road, Port Townsend, WA

Schedule
3:00 -3:45            General Meeting and Member Questions
3:45-4:00             David Wayne Johnson talks Co-ops in Our Community
4:00-5:00             David Thompson Talks Cooperative History and Future
5:00-7:00             Co-op Bingo, Mingling, Paella, and Old-Time Music

The Eaglemount Tasting Room will be open during the meeting.

Meet Our Guest Speaker David J. Thompson

David Thompson lives and breathes co-ops. He grew up near Rochdale, England, the home of the Society of Equitable Pioneers, usually considered the birthplace of the consumer co-op. After emigrating to the U.S. in the 1960s, he became immersed in the civil rights and anti-war movements. Seeing the immense numbers of people gathered in marches and rallies, David realized that if they worked together in cooperatives, they could change the world. Since then, he’s been involved in many kinds of cooperatives in many countries—from helping found a cooperative bank in the U.S. to working to get blacks into cooperatives in apartheid South Africa to helping cooperatives behind the Iron Curtain to building cooperative housing. Maybe he could give Port Townsend some tips on cooperative housing!

Today David is president of the Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation, which collects and distributes grants to cooperatives all over the United States. One of its most interesting campaigns—Give Where You Live—creates individual co-op funds, enabling co-op members and shoppers to make donations to an endowment that in turn donates to local nonprofits.

David is also a prolific writer on co-ops, including Weavers of Dreams about the founding of the modern cooperative movement as well as innumerable articles. And he even makes time to write short fiction. At the annual meeting, he will tell us about the history of cooperatives as well as the wealth of opportunities for cooperatives in the future.

Meet the Candidates: Owen Rowe

April 28th, 2016 by Rachel Williams

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.

Meet the Candidates: Monica le Roux

April 19th, 2016 by Rachel Williams

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 Monica Le Roux. The other candidates are Marty Canaday, David Wayne Johnson, and Owen Rowe.

le Roux PhotoMonica le Roux

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

My family moved to Port Townsend in 1988, in time for me to attend 6th grade here.  In 1995 I graduated from Port Townsend High School, and moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington.  Having spent 7 years in Seattle, and 3 on the East Coast, I returned to Port Townsend in 2006, and settled happily in to work at William James Bookseller, and eventually the Rose Theatre as well.  I ran for the Co-op Board in spring of 2013, and was elected in May of that year.  I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a home in January of 2014, which has enabled me to feel like my roots finally have an anchor.  I look forward to seeing what might come next!

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

I feel like my work on the Board of Directors this last three years has been both productive, and immensely satisfying. It’s been a huge learning curve as well—it’s only in the last year and a half that I could truly say I’ve found my footing.  These next three years are going to be crucial to the evolution of our organization, and I would like to continue to contribute my time and experience to our upcoming discussions and decisions.

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

I am deeply interested in the health of our local food system, in food security during challenging times, and in financial stability in an economic climate that I believe may become increasingly difficult. My time on the Board and the education pieces we’ve participated in—workshops and conferences—have given me what I believe to be a good grounding in Co-op governance.  I am also two-thirds of the way through completing a certificate in Bookkeeping, which has been very useful in providing a greater depth of knowledge in financial matters.

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

I believe that I have learned a great deal about teamwork and collaboration in my last three years on the Board. This has only reinforced what I’ve learned in various other situations in my life: in the past, as a member of the crew of the sailing ship Adventuress and others, and now, participating in the management of the Rose with a wonderful group of people.

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?

I think that whatever option we choose, we need to commit to it whole-heartedly for success to be assured. If we are to pledge serious time and resources to a project, it should one that serves our current and future member-owners’ needs well, that links us more thoroughly to the greater community, and that can be sustainable for the longer term—preferably the next 15 to 20 years.

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

The best way I’ve seen to make involvement rise is to give member-owners issues to care about and a clear way to participate—well advertised, accessible locations for physical meetings, and on-line options for those who have difficulty making it to a meeting in person. Clarity in the process is crucial as well—for more complex issues, who will be making the decisions, which types of decision will be made, and on what time-line?

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