Notes from our 2022 Board Retreat

Our Board recently held a day-long retreat to look back over the last year and to think strategically about our goals for next year and beyond. I thought folks might be interested in what we talked about and where we got in the planning.

Our Cooperative contracts with a consulting group that provides technical assistance and professional advice on board governance to Co-ops all over the country. One of the services provided by our consultant is to help us organize and then facilitate an annual retreat. The purpose of the retreats generally is to engage in strategic thinking on topics that are impacting our co-op now and in the future. In early April we spent a day together examining “what’s next” and what we need to be doing now to prepare for that future.

As we move into a second decade (do you believe it?) of operations we wanted this to be an opportunity to consider the internal and external environments that will prepare us to make “fast, smart moves”. Despite the challenges of inflation and the supply chain, the current economic environment presents opportunities to place greater emphasis on local food and on developing a strong community, based on the local food system and the culture, talents, and capital available right here in the Monadnock Region.

How can we engage those Member-Owners who want to be more involved? How can we ensure access for everyone in these challenging times? How can we maximize the influence of more than 4000 Member-Owners to build a stronger more welcoming and resilient community?

Our Ends Statements reflect the vision of the founding members of our Co-op. Here they are:

Monadnock Community Market exists to meet our community’s needs for:

1. An accessible, community-owned downtown food market

2. A marketplace that welcomes and connects the community

3. A healthy, sustainable food system

4. The support of local farmers and producers

5. Appropriate education and training for the community

6. A strong, sustainable, and improving local economy

In our Board Retreat, we reflected on these statements and will be engaging in a process to determine if the current ends are still relevant, useful, and complete. Are they enough to guide our decisions into the next decade? How we will do that deep thinking is still in discussion, but we expect it will include conversations with Member-Owners.

Finally, over the last year, I have shared here our process of policy review with a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion lens. We have nearly finished that review and will turn our attention to ways we are living those values throughout the work of our Co-op.