January, February and March board meetings
With buds swelling on the fruit trees and thoughts of local tomatoes and summer peaches creeping into my dreams, it’s time for the quarterly board report.
During member comment period at the Board of Directors meeting in January, one member in attendance mentioned concern about Humboldt Creamery products being of lower quality than they used to be. General Manager Melanie Bettenhausen said the Co-op is aware there had been recent problems with products, particularly relating to the heavy cream. Due to poor road conditions and product being transported a longer distance, she said, there has been trouble with heavy cream being turned into butter by the time it is placed on the shelves.
This conversation highlights some of my favorite parts of being a board member—we talk about transportation concerns, the definition and importance of “local,” and how these ideas directly and indirectly impact the environment through their production, transport and consumption. We could easily fill several board meeting agendas with just the details of these issues. Member input is vital to our process and we appreciate member involvement in all forms.
At the March meeting, we touched on concerns regarding Ben and Jerry’s ice cream testing positive for glyphosate, and strategies for educating members and shoppers about potential issues like these. This discussion will continue at Member Action Committee meetings.
Co-op Access Program
The Member Action Committee reported that the Co-op Access Program is continuing with all currently enrolled members, and there will be no new enrollments until there is a report and evaluation of the pilot program.
We had a special presentation at the February board meeting from David Cobb and Tamara McFarland from Cooperation Humboldt, which is a new non-profit organization that intends to work to develop a solidarity economy across the north coast. Cooperation Humboldt has many goals that overlap and interact with the values and goals of the Co-op and we look forward to working together in some capacity.
Another conversation at the February meeting was about how the board makes decisions. Per our bylaws, the board functions by majority, so in instances where we do not all agree, the board may take a stance that not all individuals agree with. Our job is to represent the interests of you, the members, and we don’t always concur on what that is. This is another opportunity for me to point out that your input as a member is vital to us serving you well as board members.
A discussion we had at the February meeting was regarding the quality of ingredients in the deli. As you have hopefully heard, the Co-op has a purchasing policy that is being integrated into purchasing decisions at the stores. This is an ongoing process and conversation and we will continue to communicate as the process evolves.
At the March board meeting, the board approved of bylaws edits recommended by the Policies and Procedures Committee to clarify that you must be at least 18 years old to be a Co-op member and that any individual may only hold one membership. The Nominating Committee also recommended updating the Board Policy Manual to more clearly define the timeline in which a board applicant can contest exclusion from running for the board.
And with that, we are a quarter of the way through 2018. I am looking forward to snap peas, asparagus, spring greens and your continued and growing participation in the Co-op democratic process!