Dear Co-op Owners,
We hope you’re enjoying the arrival of summer, despite the rainy weather. It’s a season of growth, and that holds true for our cooperative as well.
As we kick off a new board year, we’re excited to be working from a set of new board policies. These policies guide our General Manager, Amanda Charland, and govern our cooperative.
Among these policies are our vision and values statements. They serve as a compass for our policy work and enable us to remain focused on our mission.
Our vision is a well-nourished community cultivated through cooperation. This embodies our commitment to fostering a thriving and interconnected community, where everyone’s needs are met and respected.
Our values statements have been developed over several years through extensive engagement with our owners and stakeholders. This collaborative process has allowed us to identify four key areas of importance.
- Employees: We value the well-being of our employees and their families. This means providing comprehensive support, promoting a healthy work-life balance, and offering professional development opportunities. By investing in our employees’ welfare, we ensure a harmonious and dedicated team.
- Community: We value a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, which starts with our employees. Through active engagement with individuals from different backgrounds, we foster an environment of respect, acceptance, and belonging. We advocate for equal opportunities and work to create a community where everyone feels valued and represented.
- Local: We value a resilient local food system and economy. By sourcing locally, supporting local producers and businesses, and collaborating with community partners, we help create a sustainable and thriving local ecosystem. Our aim is to strengthen our local community and reduce our environmental impact.
- Environment: We value being a regenerative business with a positive environmental impact. We promote environmental stewardship through sustainable practices and active investment in initiatives that have a positive and measurable impact. As a regenerative business, we strive to minimize our ecological footprint and actively work towards a healthier planet.
With approximately 27,000 owners and nearly 400 employees, our cooperative is a sizable organization. Implementing impactful changes at this scale takes time.
However, significant progress has already been made at the board level, particularly over the past year with the arrival of our new General Manager, Amanda. It was through collaboration between Amanda, Member Services, and the board that our values statements were first developed. We believe this policy development is novel in the cooperative grocery industry.
As we emerge from the era of social distancing, the board is reexamining what cooperation truly means. We have come to understand that it begins with acknowledging each other as individuals, and celebrating our diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We are committed to fostering a culture of access and belonging, where everyone feels welcome and included.
As the President of the board, I am incredibly proud to be a part of this essential organization in the Upper Valley. However, my greatest pride stems from witnessing the tremendous work of our dedicated employees, both new and seasoned, who continuously strive to ensure that our cooperative upholds the diverse values of our communities, and continues to meet the needs of the Upper Valley by providing food access, offering automotive repair services, and through charitable giving.
Thank you for being an owner of our shared cooperative. I look forward to providing you all with another board update next quarter.