2022 Board Election

Make your voice heard.

The 2022 Board Election is CLOSED. It was open to all current members of Open Harvest Co-op Grocery, and ran from October 10th to October 31st.

Board Seats

Shah Uddin (Incumbent) - 270 Votes
Sara Brubacher - 253 Votes

The Board Election was uncontested and both Candidates are elected to serve.

The top 5 SEED Nominees (in green) have been chosen by voters to be a part of the 2023 SEED Program. The remaining 5 (in orange) was chosen at the discretion of our staff-led Harv-Aid Committee. Stay tuned for our full 2023 SEED Program calendar announcement!

SEED Recipients

Great Plains Trails Network - 132 Votes
Clinic With A Heart - 118 Votes
Nebraska Appleseed - 116 Votes
Intertribal Spiritual Lodges - 113 Votes
Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society - 104 Votes
Child Advocacy Center - 100 Votes
Wildlife Rescue Team - 86 Votes
Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center - 85 Votes
CASA for Lancaster County - 84 Votes
Bridge to Hope - 76 Votes
Mourning Hope Grief Center - 74 Votes
Nebraska Statewide Arboretum - 72 Votes
Wachiska Audubon Society - 66 Votes
Prairie Pines - 54 Votes
Karen Society of Nebraska - 45 Votes
Sadie Dog Fund - 41 Votes
Lincoln Community Playhouse - 41 Votes
Bright Lights: Summer Learning - 30 Votes
Stand in For Nebraska - 28 Votes
UNL Soil Judging Team Excellence Fund - 26 Votes
Preservation Association of Lincoln - 25 Votes
H.O.N.E.S.T.y Project - 19 Votes
Blixt - 12 Votes

The Board of Directors represents all 2,300+ owners and shapes the vision for the co-op while evaluating the current performance of the business through Policy Governance. A strong and successful cooperative depends on a highly functional and effective Board of Directors. Your co-op needs your input in guidance and leadership to continue to thrive as a cooperative business. Claim one of your most powerful rights of co-op ownership and vote today!

The Open Harvest Board of Directors is comprised of nine co-op owners who are elected by the general ownership and serve three-year terms. Any co-op owner may run for a board position and all active co-op owners in good standing by October 10th, 2022 are eligible to vote.

Owners can vote in the 2022 Board Election + 2023 Seed Recipients by:

  • Online voting (Preferred)
  • In-Store Kiosk (Preferred)
  • In-Store Paper Ballot

Your voter ID is your Owner #. Your voting key will be provided by email.  If you do not have an email on file, you will need to vote by paper ballot.

The Board of Directors is comprised of nine co-op owners who are elected by the general ownership and serve three year terms. This year, there are two candidates running for 2 open seats (one additional vacancy to be appointed).

Voting will take place through a secure, online portal e-mailed to owners, as well as an in-store kiosk and in-store paper ballot.
Online Voting is run through a third-party system, Election Runner, to ensure ballot & counting integrity.

Shah Uddin (Incumbent)

Why are you interested in serving on the Open Harvest Board of Directors?

After being on the Board for the last two years, I am eager to continue for the next three years. I am running to ensure that there is some continuity during the move for the Co-op. I hope that as the Co-op moves into its forever home, it is a place that is welcoming to all, on the cutting edge with green practices, and provides the best local produce; that is why I am running for the Board.

What skills do you bring to a board of a $3+ million business?

Along with being on the Board for the past two years, I have worked in customer service, warehouse management, and nonprofits.

What do you feel are the primary challenges and/or opportunities facing Open Harvest, and how could you help to meet such challenges/opportunities?

Growing the Co-op means focusing on how it can encourage its members and the community to be more green by offering a wide range of bulk items and local items that reduce the impact on the globe. I will be a consistent voice for more changes that encourage less waste and more green practices.

What do you believe has been your most important contribution to the board during your tenure?

My most important contribution has been encouraging the Co-op to look for more eco-friendly opportunities, and when looking for sites for the new store, ones that were bike path accessible.

Sara Brubacher

Why are you interested in serving on the Open Harvest Board of Directors?

I am a recently returned Nebraskan looking for ways to volunteer my time in the local community. I strongly believe in the mission of Open Harvest and that serving as a board director is a good fit for my skills, background, and interests. I studied Peace and Conflict Studies and worked for many years in community development, peace education and refugee resettlement. My experience led me to understand the essential role of health, of access to healthy and local food and herbs, and of local business – including alternative structures such as co-ops – in the overall goal of a just and sustainable society. In response I studied to become a clinical herbalist and am in the process of starting my own small business establishing a herbal clinic, growing herbs and vegetables, and providing space for events, retreats, and hospitality on a historic springfed prairie property.

Open Harvest is a cornerstone of the Lincoln community, providing an important place for the reciprocal relationship between local growers and producers and the members looking for those goods. I hope to be a board director in order to help it to continue to thrive, grow and serve this community.

What skills do you bring to a board of a $3+ million business?

I have experience serving on boards and committees. I was a board member of the nonprofit Mennonite Central Committee Ontario, which was undergoing a new build and relocation during my tenure. I also helped found and served as the chair of the Students and New Herbalist Subcommittee of the Ontario Herbalists Association, the most active committee in the organization with multiple activities organized per month alongside reviewing and rewriting internal documents.

I used to live in a cooperative housing community called Bread and Roses, where I was an active participant in co-op meetings and served on the grounds committee. In addition I worked several years at a health food and supplements store in Ontario. I have on the ground knowledge of the daily workings of such a store and an appreciation for the staff, customers and products. Finally, as someone in the process of starting my own small business, I am invested in learning and applying business financial details and other leadership skills that would benefit Open Harvest.

What do you feel are the primary challenges and/or opportunities facing Open Harvest, and how could you help to meet such challenges/opportunities?

The relocation of the store is likely both the primary challenge and opportunity currently facing Open Harvest. I have always believed things happen for a reason and even difficult situations can serve a purpose in a life, family or community. I see an exciting energy coming out of this forced move, with a focus on how Open Harvest can be even better. It would be an honor to be a part of this transition and to put my problem solving skills and initiative toward this task.

All members of society are being asked to exam our role in systemic discrimination due to ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, etc, and our role as settlers on Indigenous land. A cooperative such as Open Harvest, where the community is the owner, has a huge opportunity and responsibility to help lead the way in how this can be done.

I realize that as a board, our main responsibility is walking the line between serving the community while operating as a business that needs to balance the books at the end of the day. I also recognize that I am new and need to listen, watch and learn.

What is your motivation for running for board?

I think the Open Harvest Board is a volunteer opportunity where I can offer a unique set of experience and skills to truly serve well, while also meeting some of my own interests. My family has been shopper/owners at Open Harvest for years and I am motivated to see its operations continue. I believe that access to healthy, organic local food and wellness products, foods for special dietary needs, and waste-free bulk options are so important in a community. I worked in a similar store in Canada during COVID and cannot count the number of times customers told me how important it was for their lives that our store remained open during the many closures. I am excited about the cooperative structure and am interested in learning more about it and how this structure can be further used in the community. I believe it is a good option to encourage and create support for locally owned businesses that actually care about people and our relationship to the earth. I am also looking forward to meeting like-minded people and building relationships and a stronger community here in Lincoln.

Board Candidacy FAQs

Have you ever considered running for the Board?

Our ownership is diverse and talented. We know that many of you are qualified and willing to serve. Serving on the Open Harvest Board is a responsibility and an opportunity open to all Owners in good standing*.

Within the cooperative structure, Open Harvest Owners, Management, and the Board each have their own particular duties to perform. Guided by the mission statement and goals of the Co-op, the Board concentrates on strategic decision making, long-term planning, and on the business’s financial soundness. An active, well-qualified board is essential to a healthy co-op.

*Good standing: membership must be paid in full and in applicant’s name, not the name of another member of your household.

What commitment is required?

Directors serve for a term of three years and commit to working at least 5-10 hours per month. That time is spent reviewing the Board Packet materials prior to a meeting; the monthly, 2.5 hour board meeting; and it’s typical to have at least one committee meeting, action items, and/or activities per month. The board also has events and trainings we attend throughout the year. 

What benefits are provided for serving?

For their committed service, directors receive an annual stipend of $150, provided quarterly as a store gift card. But there are so many other benefits to board service including leadership development, personal and professional growth, having a positive impact on our community and co-op, building financial acumen, practice in strategic thinking and planning, and learning about Policy Governance.

How is the Board structured?

The board uses a formal system known as Policy Governance to establish a structure for our work. The Policy Register is the document which sets out the details of how we apply policy governance. The Register describes the roles and responsibilities of the board, and the methods it uses to oversee the co-op. Check out the Board Policy Register for the complete set of board policies. 

What are the responsibilities of the Board?

  • Support and develop the Ends Statement and other policies to reflect the needs of owners
  • Ensure financial solvency and integrity of the co-op by reviewing monitoring reports
  • Support the mission, vision, values, goals, and objectives of the co-op
  • Keep informed on the affairs of the co-op and come prepared to discuss issues before the Board
  • Evaluate performance based on monitoring reports and external audits
  • Learn about the natural foods industry and cooperative organizations
  • Learn about and practice Policy Governance   
  • Consider at all times owners input in decision making
  • Keep owners informed about the affairs of the cooperative

What are Board candidacy qualifications?

These are some of the skill sets that lend well to work with the Open Harvest Board, and are desired, but not required, in our next set of directors.

  • Critical thinking: Capacity to be objective and open-minded to evaluate information with reason, reflection, and analysis.  
  • Continuous learning: A passion for learning new concepts through training and independent research, and contributing to building the board’s collective wisdom.
  • Communication and interpersonal skills: Ability to write articles, speak in public, and other communication with small and large groups. To also convey ideas, problem-solve, listen, and participate in consensus decision making processes with respect.
  • Social justice experience: Understand systems of oppression.
  • Natural food and retail industry: Knows the trends, opportunities, and challenges of the retail industry, specifically the natural food market.
  • Board experience: Knowledge of the qualities of effective boards.
  • Legal knowledge: Ability to read and understand legal language, concepts, bylaws, and other legal materials.
  • Financial acumen: Understand financial benchmarks and documents.
  • Community representation: Experience representing a community through engagement.