Cooperation, Community and Democracy
So we've had another election where the majority (or at least the majority of states) elected the President and other members of our government and the minority were left holding the bag. Half the country is jubilant and half the country is sad.
We're finding that there is an alternative model. Our co-op is practicing another way to do democracy. It's called Sociocracy. Through this model of organization, every voice is heard equally, elections are held by consent of everyone affected, new proposals to solve issues are crafted by everyone in the circle until everyone can consent. All our circles of engaged volunteers are in effective communication with the other circles so folks know what is going on throughout the organization. We are loving the community that this model of democracy is building! The best ideas can bubble up and the work gets done efficiently and effectively (for the most part!).
Currently the top circle (our development board) is crafting a program to make sure our neighbors on low or fixed incomes are able to become member/owners of our coop in a way that is affordable for them. Its called our Food for All program. More details to follow as we get them worked out.
We are three months into our membership drive and have 21 official member/owners. We are hoping to have 100 members by the end of the year so we can have our first official membership meeting and elect our first elected top circle. We have a very committed group of volunteers working on our action circles in the areas of membership, marketing, finance and diversity. Folks are hosting house parties and others are staffing tabling events around town to get the word out and encourage more member/owners. We are planning pop-up events and member/owner benefits with area farms and stores. If you want to get involved just let us know.
After we get a significant number of member/owners and we have the investment capital lined up from several sources including our members, foundations, government programs, commercial lenders and food co-op lending organizations, we will start looking for our store location. We hope to have the financing in order to build a 10,000 to 15,000 square-foot store. This will probably take about three years. We want our store to be a one-stop grocery store with plenty of parking and room in the aisles for the grocery carts. We hope to have a deli, hot bar, salad bar and a great place to eat and visit with friends and others in our community. Our food will be as local, as healthy, and as affordable as possible. We know that we are really building community through food and we want our store to be in a part of town that currently has food challenges. We want our store to be a warm and welcoming place for everyone in our town!
Help us build this dream by becoming a member/owner yourself. We welcome your comments and suggestions and look forward to meeting you at one of our events.
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Linda Jones, Founder and Co-President.