February Board Reflection

While February’s weather has been anything but warm and welcoming, the February Open Harvest Board meeting warmly welcomed a new board member, Ashley Kobza. Ashley brings a strong interest in the co-op along with the desire and motivation to be involved and open to the larger community of member owners. Her commitment fills a vacant three-year board term.

At this month’s meeting the Board reviewed NCG’s 2020 trends report which highlighted consumer shopping priorities and habits following the onslaught of the pandemic. The top consumer statements the board discussed directly related to health issues and healthy foods. In its forty-five year history Open Harvest has been Lincoln’s leader in supporting the connection between health, sources of food (local food in particular), and the food we eat.  Open Harvest is the best year-round source for local and organic produce. With nearly 30% of sales coming from within Nebraska and our neighboring states, our local supply chain was largely uninterrupted due to the pandemic. Open Harvest didn’t experience the shortages that many other food retailers experienced due to national product distribution. The pandemic has illustrated the vulnerability of national supply chains, thus highlighting the importance of fostering a strong local network of food producers.

In an effort to mobilize a membership of over 2,500 member owners and to better serve the larger community, the Open Harvest Board is undertaking several initiatives.

First, board and staff proceed on preparing for and planning a future relocation. Due to its importance this requires a detailed plan of readiness and a strict timeline that is currently being determined.

Also, with the intention to connect in other meaningful ways beyond shopping at the co-op, the board is soliciting interest in a readers’ group and formation of the DEI Collaboration Committee. These are two ways for our member owners to better connect and know our community and to discover what and how Open Harvest might better serve in achieving its Ends. Check the Open Harvest website and future e-newsletters for more information.

It shouldn’t take a pandemic to be present and mindful in our daily interactions with our “essential workers.” By expressing our common humanity and honoring the shared dignity of each human being, one to one, we can go far in making our community inside and outside our co-op the community we seek.