The room was packed with members and employees at the July North Coast Co-op Board of Directors meeting at the Eureka store. The agenda, which is available a week before the meeting at Customer Service, was packed as well.
During the member comment period, a delegation from the North Coast Berry Boycott Solidarity Committee thanked the board for supporting the boycott until Sakuma Bros. agrees to negotiate a legally binding contract with the workers of Familia Unidas por la Justicia. The committee will be meeting with staff to provide members with more information about the boycott.
After reviewing the member-owner feedback on supporting lifting the ban on the sale of raw milk in Humboldt County, and including the comments of member-owners at the meeting, the board voted to support the effort to legalize the sale of raw milk in the county.
Board President Dave Feral reported that he had spoken to representatives of the Hoopa Nation who have requested our help in forming their own food co-op. Discussions are ongoing with Hoopa. Helping them form their own food co-op would be very much in keeping with our cooperative principles Concern for Community and Cooperation Among Co-ops. Dave also announced that efforts are underway to establish a meat processing/butchering facility in the county for local farmers. A special presentation on this topic will be given at the August 4 board meeting, which will be held at 6pm at the Co-op’s Ten Pin Building warehouse in Arcata. Please join us.
Board Secretary Colin Fiske gave updates on the various committees. Progress is being made by the Member Action Committee to establish a program for volunteers to work on Co-op projects. The proposal for a single-person membership to align with the bylaws (for all new memberships) was discussed and will continue to be discussed. Watch for more on this in future issues of the Co-op News.
Proposals coming from the Earth Action Committee that have been cleared for more investigation include installing an outlet for charging electric vehicles at the Eureka store. This project comes from Roger, a well-known proponent of electric vehicles and a longtime Co-op member-owner. A $500 limit was placed on investigating the possibility. The waste stream, recycling and compost bins are set to be updated and given new signage with the help of Zero Waste Humboldt.
Board members are also concerned that someone needs to fill the award-winning energy and waste audit role performed by Brenda Harper, who recently retired. Harper will be at the Earth Action Committee meeting in July to talk about energy auditing.
Lastly, the board is moving closer to finding a new General Manager. We have been pleased at the number of qualified applicants and will be starting to conduct interviews in the next two or three weeks. This time of transition from one leadership style to another has been difficult and we are very thankful to Ron Sharp for taking on the interim GM role as we strive to create a more democratic, consumer and worker friendly environment in our co-op.
This article first appeared in the August 2016 Co-op News.