Budget Planning

Working Together to Change the System

Hello to our cooperative community!

Late summer means it’s time for all of us who work at the Co-op to think about budgeting for the coming year. As we all know, there are always more needs than resources. That’s why budgeting is a great time for free-thinking and creativity, and to hear from many different voices.

If you read my messages, you know I like to bring everything back to co-ops and the dedicated people who work for them: why we work here, why co-ops exist, what we’re all doing to try and make the world a better place. All the people here—employees, members, board members, vendors, growers, shoppers—are part of something truly critical.

Here, a budget is more than just a budget. It’s a strategic tool to help a community resource continue to thrive for future generations.

Our new Finance Director, Jamie Shechtman, reminded me of this recently with her typical energy and optimism. Jamie’s new position here is, quite literally, her dream job. Ask her and she’ll be happy to tell you about it. She’s a long-time fan of cooperatives, people-centric, and future-thinking. Her world goes far beyond reports and spreadsheets to the people and communities these reports are designed to serve.

Before moving to Vermont, Jamie spent six years in Philadelphia, where she was a working member of the Mariposa Food Co-op, a member of Weaver’s Way Co-op, and a board member and treasurer for Food Moxie, a food cooperative educational resource and think tank. Many of us have colleagues at these cooperatives, a reminder of how connected we all are. And Jamie sees the same sort of passion and energy here that drew her to the co-ops in Philadelphia.

“My first impression is that the team here is fantastic,” she told me. “They care about the mission, which is awesome. I also think we’re in a time of change here, and I’m excited to be working with people who are looking for ways to be innovative. That’s been the best thing about my first few days here—hearing from everyone about their ideas.”

This brings me back to the budget, where our staff’s ideas can and should be the foundation for what we do, both next year and in the years to come. This is why I want everyone to feel part of the process. And when it gets tedious, I want everyone to be reminded that the work we’re doing is making a significant impact on the world around us.

“Food should be the great equalizer,” Jamie says, “but often it’s not. Everyone needs food to survive, and good food to thrive. Everyone should have access to good food, but they don’t. That’s why what we’re doing is so important. Our co-op and others like it exist to change the system.”

You’ll be hearing more about business planning and the budget in the weeks ahead. Thanks to all of our members, and reach out anytime!


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Amanda Charland

Amanda Charland is the General Manager of the Co-op Food Stores. She was first hired as the Co-op's Sustainability Coordinator in 2012, and joined the Co-op Leadership Team as Member Services and Outreach Director in 2014. She earned a Master's Degree in Cooperative Management in 2017, and she was promoted to Director of Cooperative Engagement in 2018. She was hired by the Co-op Board of Directors as General Manager in 2022. Contact her at acharland@coopfoodstore.com.

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