Develop Your Leaders

Unity: The New Co-op Mission

The founding vision for Outpost was to be a "safe-haven for people who felt like they weren't included" and Mehnert contends that that mission is truer today than ever. Drawing comparisons to the social rebellions of the 60s and 70s that birthed many of our modern Co-ops, Pam Mehnert General Manager at Outpost Natural Foods in Milwaukee, WI, examines the conditions that our co-ops [...]

Who Is Helping Who?

In his role as Executive Director of a Non-Profit Young Kim, Board President at Outpost Natural Foods in Milwaukee, WI explores implicit biases that we may bring with us while reaching out to "aid" communities of various ethnic and class distinctions. His is a cautionary tale that warns against bringing in our own preconceptions and baggage while at the same time attempting to erode [...]

Study Guide for Cooperative Principles: Fostering Racial and Economic Equity in Cooperatives

Discussing each principle and value through the lens of racial and economic equity will provide a starting point for promoting a more inclusive and effective movement. This is a resource for boards of directors, management teams, and study groups who especially want to explore the impact of dominate white culture on co-ops, and who want to find a way to create a dialogue to [...]

Using Monitoring Reports to Ensure Organizational Alignment

The Board’s Job Creating board policies is no easy task. Clearly articulating the board’s expectations of a general manager takes a lot of energy and focus—so boards can justifiably congratulate themselves once they’ve written down their expectations in a way that a manager can easily understand. But the board’s work doesn’t end there. Many boards, once they’ve created their policies and learned to empower—rather [...]

Generating Board and GM Efficiency through Monitoring

Medford Food Co-op Medford, OR Year founded: 2011 Member investment: $100 Number of members: 3,200 Number of employees: 35 Retail square footage: 4,300 + 700 off-site café When Anne Carter came to Medford Food Co-op in Medford, Oregon, the startup co-op had been open for two years and was still establishing its operations and governance. Their internal situation was mirrored in the community-at-large. Medford [...]

Using Marketing to Build Success: Making Cooperative Ownership and Governance Real

By Rebecca Torpie, Thane Joyal 196 May-June 2018  What does it mean to be an owner of a consumer cooperative? At the most fundamental level, cooperative ownership means that we are in business together. And for the owners of a cooperative that is under substantial market pressure (and what business isn’t?), everything the business does needs to match the needs and aspirations of the community that [...]

Strengthening Co-op Elections: How Boards are Ensuring that Members Can Vote for Excellent Candidates

In her book Democracy’s Edge, Frances Moore Lappe makes a strong case that a healthy democracy is about much more than elections and voting. Even so, board elections are still a particularly important and visible part of cooperative governance. A successful board election includes at least two critical elements: enough qualified candidates on the ballot and enough information so that members can make educated [...]

Welcoming Managers New to Cooperatives

Remember the first time you walked into a food cooperative? Maybe your initial reaction fell somewhere along the continuum of “I found my people” to “what in the world is this place?” Maybe you liked the food. Maybe you liked the mission. Or the people were nice. And that convinced you to stay. Ultimately, when people walk into a food co-op, we want them [...]

Customers – The Heart of the Co-op

Essential viewing for any cooperator wanting to stay on top of the latest efforts being made by National Co+op Grocers (NCG) to drive the food co-op sector forward with strength and sustainability.  Dave Olson, Co-op Development Director with NCG, shares the 2018 vision, which focuses on being great grocers, and focusing intently on not just customer service, but the Customer Experience.  Watch at an [...]

Inspiring a Generation of Cooperators — Marilyn Scholl Inducted into Cooperative Hall of Fame

In a world where individualism is often romanticized, there are still some who never doubt that groups of people can be mobilized for the common good. They know that when given the opportunity, most people want to do their part. The great leaders cultivate a belief in everyone’s capacity to contribute to a vision and get things done. Marilyn Scholl is one of those [...]