It was such a pleasure to see so much participation at our Annual Meeting this year.
Thank you, Lee, for taking the time to share your approach, accomplishments, and the values that guide you in serving the Brattleboro Food Co-op. Managing our cooperative is a big role and your enthusiasm, openness, and transparency have made the transition not only relatively easy but rewarding for our shareholders and staff members.
These past few months, our Board of Directors has been exploring the origins and future of the Brattleboro Food Co-op. Themes that often arise are our role in the community, our responsibility to our shareholders, securing long-term financial stability so that BFC can continue to serve; reaching and engaging shareholders in the modern world, and navigating the space between the values that birthed the modern co-op movement and what our shareholders value most in their Co-op, today.
Our panelists’ discussion mirrored many of those themes.
Some areas of strength that came up were:
- BFC’s role as an anchor of our community in downtown Brattleboro.
- Our role in driving resources to other community organizations, such as Groundworks Collaborative.
- Providing diverse, nourishing, and local food.
- Striving to provide a positive, supportive, wage-appropriate working environment.
- Supporting the success and growth of local growers and makers.
- Creating a welcoming and safe space.
- Modeling how businesses can thrive on cooperative values and democratic control.
Some current or upcoming challenges BFC faces are:
- Navigating demographic changes, including the growing wealth disparity we see daily.
- Cultivating strong, outcome-based partnerships to support community members.
- Assessing how to meet our increasingly diverse communities’ food needs and wants.
- Continuing to work towards the greater inclusion of people of color (aka global majority) in our board rooms, staff lounges, and shopping aisles.
With strong leadership and community commitment, our cooperative has weathered many storms in these past 45 years. As we look forward, we face an array of new challenges: food accessibility in the face of sky-high inflation; navigating the environmental challenges already unfolding in our world; fiercely advocating for inclusion and equity for all members of our society and retaining the fiscal security necessary to continue serving our shareholders, our staff members, and our diverse communities.
Thank you to our panelists Amanda Witman, Andrew Courtney, Curtiss Reed Jr., Emilie Kornheiser, and Patrick Moreland for taking the time to share your passion for and concerns about the Brattleboro Food Co-op.
We hope to share this time with all of you in person, next year!