From Your Board: July 2018

Almost exactly four years ago, I applied to run for Common Ground’s board. At the time, I worked for a nonprofit that focused on local food and farming, and my motivation for joining CGFC’s board was mostly because I care about the importance of locally grown food and having a connection to the people who produced it. The co-op, then, was a logical place for me to find a sense of community. The Ends (conveniently painted on the walls above the registers) are things I believe in, and I am proud to be a part of them. Though my original impulse to join the board was because I wanted to do “something” more around our local food system, the things I’ve learned are far deeper than that. The experiences I have had as a board member are more valuable than work done at a traditional job, simply because I choose to have them. I picked to spend my free time reading reports and looking at financial data. In the true spirit of a cooperative, I’ve been able to be part of projects that excite me, but the satisfaction of knowing what the co-op has accomplished and how I’ve grown as a result of my board service are the real rewards. When I joined the board, my financial experience was “I wrote a budget for a grant application and it was accepted”. Now, I’ve served as board treasurer for 3 years, developed presentations to educate new directors about financial reports, and recently had the honor of being a speaker at a national conference for co-op boards about how to talk about coop finances. In the last four years our board has worked to document and professionalize our work, and many of the ways we operate now versus when I first became a board member reflect that emphasis. In my opinion, the most important aspect of any potential board member is a values system that aligns with the cooperative principles. As we once again enter the board election season, please consider how you can help. If you might be interested in running for the board, you can get more information by reading through the candidate information packet, attending an information session, or coming to the July Board in the Store event on Friday, July 6. If you know other owners you think would serve Common Ground well, talk to them about running. Maybe the board is the right path for you to deepen your connection to your food and your community! Applications are due August 15. In Cooperation, Magdalena Casper-Shipp