Shortly after our 2020 Annual Meeting, the Co-op’s Board of Directors gathered for a weekend retreat (via Zoom, as is the custom these days). These retreats are an opportunity for the Board to gather without our usual business to focus and strategize and even socialize a little. Part of the focus of our most recent retreat was geared towards the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It felt like we had only scratched the surface of an enormous topic. There was recognition within the group of the growing societal awareness of systemic racism and the resulting societal inequity in our culture. We all could agree that more work could be done through our co-op, and the question then was not “if” but “how.”
The work that the Board of Directors at Monadnock Food Co-op does is within a structure of policy governance. Our policies serve as the scaffolding that defines our organization’s shape and structure and its function in the community. These limitations keep our work focused on our ends, accountable to our Member-Owners, and guide the General Manager in their work as well.
This coming year, we are devoted to reviewing our policies and ends statements and making sure that they are as open and accepting as we believe they are. We are committed to expanding our understanding of these societal challenges and helping to ensure that our Co-op’s principals are inclusive, fair, and welcoming to all. We want to understand how racial injustice has shaped our economic and social patterns, how inequities in the food system impact our neighbors, and what we can do to influence our community’s future.
Part of our mission states that we are “a marketplace that welcomes and connects community.” Ensuring that everyone is welcome at our co-op is very important to our Member-Owners as well as to our Board. We seek ways to demonstrate this objective by providing educational and transactional opportunities for our community to learn about our differences and embrace them in our co-op’s culture. This is a big first step, and we need others to share their experiences and vision with us. We hope you will join us in this process. Contact our Board at email@example.com if you want to share your experiences and ideas on shaping how we, as a community, address these many challenges. We are looking for ways to bring our community in with us for feedback learning and to help us all get there together.