It is an exciting time for your Columbus Food Co-op as we prepare for the Fall and continue work on selecting a great location. As member owners we know it is a wise investment in our future and children's future to have a store that reflects our values, heritage, and diversity with resources as close to home as possible.
You the members elected Kevin McCracken, Sarah Grey, and I to the board last November and it has been an honor to sit on the board with them, and all the board members, as they've all taught and shared so much. As with last November, I am still happy to help in whatever way I can to bring a meaningful, cooperatively owned, full service grocery store to our community.
As a "working" board, our role is to serve the member-owners, the mission, and to get a store open! It's the toughest, and most rewarding, stage to be in. So, in the coming months I hope to hear from the community about exciting things like store design preferences, product mixes, and educational topics to address. We already have gotten a lot of awesome feedback on our renewed mission statement and core values discussion, so I know the passion is out there for this store. The sooner we can bump up membership (and eventually investments too) the better because we will have the store we've imagined. Sounds good, right?
During the fall of 2011, my life began to change, unbeknownst to me. The agent of that change was my involvement with the co-op. I began as a committee volunteer and within a year, I was serving on the board. It would be years before I understood the role that the co-op would play in my life.
For the past three years, I have served as board president of Columbus Food Co-op and my experience has been extremely gratifying. And now, I must prepare for more change. My commitment to the co-op has required me to postpone further graduate study. I now I find myself at the point where I can no longer postpone those studies.
So, I have resigned as board president in order to create more time to further my education. I remain an elected member of the board and ardent supporter of the co-op and its mission. You will still see me at annual meetings, the farm market, and various other co-op events. But, I find it necessary to step away from myriad behind-the-scenes meetings and commitments.
To facilitate the transition of leadership, I have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with new board president Jon Bachmeyer and with site coordinator, Dan Fleming. I have full confidence in Jon, Dan, and the rest of the board. We are on the cusp of exciting news and I am hopeful that we will realize our vision of a full-service cooperatively-owned grocery in our community. Our co-op is constantly growing and evolving and I view this change as one that is good for our co-op.
As I look back upon the past five years, I can think of many anecdotes worthy of sharing.
Here is one:
I was a participant in a co-op workshop in Bloomington last year. The presenter asked each person to share with the group what skill or strength he or she brought to their co-op. Each person (about 40) answered. The responses included, “unbridled enthusiasm,” “financial management skills,” “passion for healthy food,” and many, many others. I found it fascinating to hear the broad array of answers given with sincerity and without hesitation.
The presenter next asked participants to raise a hand if they believed that being involved with their co-op had changed their life. Immediately, every person raised their hand. There was no hesitation and no glancing around to see what others were doing. There was simply a spontaneous group declaration that each of us was immersed in a life-changing experience and that each was better for having done so.
For me, it was a moment of awareness unlike any other. The community connection I felt and the sense of purpose was never stronger.
I began volunteering in my community nearly 20 years ago. I have served on many boards and volunteered at many events. Nothing in my experience compares with the time spent serving our co-op. Our board has a level of commitment and effort that can only be described as an order of magnitude above any other board I have experienced. The friendships that have grown out of my board service and the people I have met have been among the highlights of my life.
So, I encourage each of you to give the co-op your passion, creativity, effort, and knowledge. What you get in return could change your life.
You don't have to wait until the store opens to receive benefits of being a Member-Owner! We're partnering with a growing number of local vendors and supporters who want to say thanks for being a Co-op Member and hopefully gain some new customers, too! Everyone benefits!
Stop by the Co-op booth at the downtown Farmer's Market to pick up your Member-Benefits card to show vendors and receive your discount!
Here's a list of benefits currently available:
Soapy Soap Company: $2 off essential oils
Fleming Family Beef: 10% off orders of $50 or less
Indiana Craft Jerky: $2 off bags of jerky (Aug. 6 only)
Nightfall Farm: 10% chicken
4 Paws Only: $2 off 1 lb bag of dog treats
Supporting local growers & producers make a big difference. Our local sales projections for year 1 of operations is $560,000 and that increases to $1.5 million by year 10! More money going back to local producers can help them expand and gives you the satisfaction of high quality food & products made by your neighbors.
This is a critical time for leadership at Columbus Food Co-op. Your board of directors is working hard on your behalf on several fronts to secure a new location and funding so we can get our store open. To do this, we need a full board of people who have the time and passion to be part of a working board at this time. Your democratically elected board will be accepting applications for board appointees at this time so we can keep moving forward on all fronts to get this store open! All appointed board members will be up for re-election during the co-op's next election cycle in November.
Our board meets on the first and third Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Commons. Typically, we only meet on the third Wednesday, but through August we decided to add the meeting on the first Wednesday as we have so many issues to address.
In addition to board meetings, we have an array of events at which it is helpful for board members to attend. The list includes:
- Annual meeting
- Member update meetings
- Farm market
- Service group presentations
- Volunteer recruiting & training meetings
- Tabling at various events
- Annual Street Fair
Click here for Board Roles & Responsibilities
Click here to download Application
Application deadline is Sunday, July 3. Submit to:
firstname.lastname@example.org as an attachment OR
Columbus Food Co-op, PO Box 1270, Columbus IN 47202 OR
drop off at Downtown Farmer's Market booth from 9-12:30pm on June 17, 25, or July 2
For any questions or more information about board service, feel free to contact Board President Kevin McCracken or Board Treasurer Mike Johnston
Kevin: 812-603-1964, email@example.com
Mike: 812-350-4628, firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to Kevin describe what it takes to be a board member and how serving for the Co-op has impacted him.
Mike Johnston, board treasurer, provides an update on the site progress and the board elected new board officers at the January meeting! Click HERE to read the latest Co-op news!
Below are the candidates for the 2015 Co-op Board of Directors Election. Three seats are open. Member-Owners will receive voting instructions via email. Member-Owners can (and are encouraged!) to vote at the Annual Meeting on November 18 at Donner Center at 5:30pm.
Click HERE to download the ballot with instructions on how to vote.
Your Co-op! Your Voice!
Sarah Grey, current board member
David Kadlec, current board secretary
Kevin McCracken, current board president
Read the latest newsletter HERE!
Subscribe by emailing email@example.com or come to the Open House this Saturday and sign up!
Columbus Food Co-op held a public meeting August 17th at City Hall, featuring guest speaker and food co-op consultant, Jacqueline Hannah. More than 50 people attended and each received an update on the development of the co-op, an explanation of how the Columbus Food Co-op compares to start-up co-ops nationally, and how the co-op will likely impact the community.
The co-op is raising capital through a combination of owner loans, commercial financing, foundation support, corporate funding, and angel investors. In order to fully fund the approximately $2M project, the co-op board is focusing raising the last $400,000 of the owner loan campaign. The co-op launched the next phase of owner-loan efforts and will continue until October 1st.
Jacqueline Hannah, a consultant with the national non-profit Food Cooperative Initiative (FCI) told those in attendance that of the more than 140 start-up food co-ops in the country, Columbus Food Co-op is among those most likely to open and achieve success. She praised the co-op for successfully raising more than half of the owner-loans needed to fully fund the project and expressed optimism that the co-op will successfully fund the entire project.
Hannah, a former general manager at Common Ground food co-op in Urbana, IL has more than 20 years’ experience working in the natural foods industry. She spoke about the impact the co-op will have in the Columbus community, including generating $560,000 in additional sales of products from farmers and producers within a 100-mile radius. By year 10, that amount would rise to $1.3M. Also the co-op would create 25 jobs in the first year and add an additional 35 jobs—all paying a living wage—by year 10.
Hannah said, “Columbus Food Co-op will create a new market for local farmers, stimulate the local economy, create living-wage jobs, and teach people how to buy and prepare affordable, healthy food. In addition, it will serve as the foundation of an emerging food culture in this community.”
Columbus Food Co-op is a start-up full service, natural food grocery store. For more information contact Kevin McCracken at 812-603-1964.
Right: Liz Brownlee from Nightfall Farm takes orders for holiday turkeys.
Above: Jacqueline Hannah, Kevin McCracken, and Mike Johnston report to the attendees and answer questions.
What You Will Do By Joining, Investing, and Shopping at
Columbus Food Co-op
1. You will keep dollars in our economy
For every $100 you spend at the Coop Grocery, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community.
2. You will embrace what makes Columbus unique
Columbus is known for our architecture and being “different by design.” Our community-built Co-op will reflect the uniqueness of our city, our producers, and our agriculture in and around it.
3. You will help create local jobs
Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for our neighbors, and the Food Co-op will pay significantly higher than minimum wage. We are positioned to hire 20-25 employees in year 1 and increase to 45 by year 5.
4. You will help the environment
Buying from the Food Co-op conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation, less packaging, and products that you know are safe and well made, because we stand behind them. Co-op groceries carry up 10 times or more local products than chain groceries. We expect to sell $560,000 of local produce in year 1 and increase to $1,000,000 in year 5. Local growers & producers are excited to grow for the Co-op and expand their productions to meet increasing local demand.
5. You will nurture your community
We know you, and you know us. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains. Co-op Principle #7 is “Concern for Community.” Co-ops typically spend 13% of their income on local charities where conventional chains devote 4%.
6. You will conserve your tax dollars
Shopping in a local business means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money available to beautify our community. Also, spending locally ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong—right here in your community!
7. You will help create the Co-op Grocery
As an owner/member you have a voice in all aspects of the Co-op Grocery. We will pick the items we sell based on what we know you like and want. We will carry a wider array of unique products because we buy for our own individual market.
8. You will take advantage of our expertise
You are our friends and neighbors, and we have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. We’re passionate about what we do. 83% of Food Co-ops offer classes on healthy eating, nutrition, and anything else the membership wants. We’re committed to providing education resources and classes with other local experts to foster a healthier, happier community.
9. You will invest in entrepreneurship
Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business ensures a strong community.
10. You will make us a destination
The more interesting and unique we are as a community, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone! Communities with Co-ops demonstrate strong values and pride in the people and local growers and producers.
Click HERE to read the latest newsletter!
There are many ways Co-ops are different than conventional grocery stores. Check out this 2 minute video from Portland Food Co-op in Maine, which highlights why Co-ops are good for everyone and gives you a glimpse into how we can have a positive impact here in Columbus.