Each year, the Bloomingfoods/Bloomington Cooperative Services (BCS) board of directors goes on retreat for two days to discuss the big picture for the organization as a whole. We ask questions based on what is happening in the world, in the lives of our member-owners, and with the local, regional and national food systems. With the help of our excellent facilitator, Michael Healy of the CDS Consulting Co-op, we come up with what might be called a guidance system which can be followed by our general manager.
Our general manager, George Huntington, and many of the Bloomingfoods staff must make thousands of decisions each year that will, to the best of their knowledge, keep the Bloomingfoods stores operating successfully. With over 8000 member-owners and hundreds of employees, this is no easy task. It is the job of the board of directors to provide both inspiration in a given direction and a set of limitations that prevent things we absolutely do not want to occur.
We fill our obligations by creating policies which the general manager must follow. These policies are examined each month, a few at a time, to make sure they are still relevant and that the GM is in compliance with them. One of the important policies we make is called the Ends Policy. This is a short description of what we want the GM to work toward in the foreseeable future. This year’s retreat focused on re-wording that Ends Policy.
Our Ends Policy now reads:
Because of BCS, people in Bloomington and South Central Indiana will have:
• a market for local, organic and healthy products, meeting the needs of consumers and producers;
• increased cooperative ownership that strengthens the local economy and community;
• a model of sustainable, profitable business;
• increased understanding of the local food system and its importance.
These goals are what we perceive to be the reasons our member-owners shop at Bloomingfoods. Our conversations with you, your votes choosing directors, and your input in filling out the Annual Survey are some of the ways that we glean information about what you want BCS to achieve in the community. The more you participate in a conscious, caring way, the more we can fulfill your highest hopes for creating the kind of world you want to live in.
We realize that we can’t change the whole world just because we hold some high ideals, but we can make our daily world experience something which is nourishing, engaging and cooperative in the businesses and social situations we are part of. We figure that if you know our priorities and those priorities have been based on your input, we will all be helping each other to reach our mutual goals. Thanks to all of you -- staff, member-owners, and customers -- who, even in the smallest ways, make shopping at Bloomingfoods more than just getting some groceries.
Carol Bridges, Secretary
Bloomingfoods/BCS Board of Director
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