Summer Board Update
A lot of people told me there would be a steep learning curve during my first year on the Open Harvest Board and they were not kidding! Last year’s cohort of elected board members definitely hit the ground running, and I am grateful for all that I have learned and experienced in such a short period of time.
One of the most impactful aspects of that learning process has been a greater understanding of the co-op and local food industry. I am a more knowledgeable consumer and have a better understanding of the challenges, successes and benefits of the local food community. And, I have an even greater admiration for the folks who do this work and produce sustainable, local, and organic food and products. I also expected to learn more about the financial piece of the co-op industry/business and that has proven to be the case. I especially appreciate all the resources available to support that learning, which I knew would be a challenge. A special thanks to Amy, the General Manager, who provides us with the necessary information to make that part of the process less challenging!
Several experiences have stood out to me during my short time on the Board. One of the highlights was the opportunity to visit the Merc Co-op in Lawrence, KS and attend a training session to learn about policy governance and our role as a board member. I also appreciated the opportunity to be with other board members and Open Harvest’s management team at the annual strategic planning retreat. It gave us all a chance to get to know each other and discuss our collective vision for the co-op.
All in all, building on established relationships and cultivating new ones has been the most meaningful part of the experience. It feels good to be with a group of people who care so much about the future of the local food community and are dedicated to Open Harvest’s success.
Serving on the Board has shown me how my personal values align with the co-op values of self-responsibility, mutual self-help, democracy, equality, equity, and community. Nearly all the decisions we make and the work we do are done with these values in mind and it makes serving on the Board more meaningful. I am also encouraged by the discussions we have as a Board related to social justice, equity and inclusion and our commitment to making the co-op a place where all people feel welcome and respected.
It is an exciting time to serve on the Board! I am thankful for the opportunity to work with Amy and the other board members to be part of Open Harvest’s future successes. The positive energy is contagious and being part of a community that works democratically and intentionally to make decisions is refreshing. If you would like to be more involved in the co-op’s future, please consider serving on the Board. It is hard work, but it is also work that truly makes a difference!