What do you love about BriarPatch Food Co-Op?
I love that BriarPatch continues to be a place of connection for our community. As time moves forward, many of us have gotten caught up in work that involves sitting and staring at a screen in some fashion, and so I am grateful that Briarpatch continues to be a lovely grocery store where people come to connect on many different levels. We enjoy the human connection with the other customers, and with the employees. We are connecting financially with our farmers and local food suppliers. We connect with our long standing ideals of shared community and gathering food. These connections are part of what nourishes us. Another thing I love about BriarPatch is that we are a consumer owned cooperative. This gives us the freedom and opportunity to have our values considered in our business practices. Our success is measured by financial solvency, the quality of being an exemplary employer, being supportive to the stewardship of other organizations in our community and working towards being a champion of sustainability. How will we learn from what others are doing and how will we set the example? Because we are not beholden to shareholders requiring the greatest return on investment, we are able to put some practices into place that we believe will serve the greater good. There are many people involved with the BriarPatch who understand this and feel a great sense of purpose around these causes. I love these people!
Why are you running for the BriarPatch Food Co-op Board?
I’m running for another term on the Board because I love how the BriarPatch is evolving in our community. I worked in the store when it was on Joerschke Drive and transitioned to the Sierra College Drive location. As a former employee, I know how far we have come as an organization putting structures in place that have assured we will reach our goals. We have created meaningful work for people and have become one of the largest private sector employers in the county. Over the years we have purchased the building, expanded the parking, and invested in enough solar energy to cover about half of our electrical energy needs. We have worked to be more inclusive of all people and it shows in our hiring practices and our broader owner member base. We have transitioned from being a buying collective to a small natural foods grocery store to being a strong reflection of the local identity of Nevada County. While we have achieved so much so far, I am excited to see what we will achieve next. We have our Ends Policies that guide us and a group of community minded individuals assuring that we are plodding in a direction that is aligned with these values. We grow and thrive by serving our community’s needs well. I am proud to be a part of this.
Why will you make a good Board Director?
I show up prepared, with an open mind, and I appreciate the growth in understanding that adverse opinions provide. The BriarPatch Board has become a well-designed organization. Board members are educated on our policies and have understanding of how we can effectively achieve our goals. We have opportunities to learn the histories of the different waves of the cooperative movements. I have made time to go to the co-op conferences and have seen what BriarPatch has accomplished as a nationwide example of a strong cooperatively owned grocery store. The shared understanding of what has worked and what has failed gives us the freedom to move forward prudently making sound judgement based on experiences of the past or what is going on now. As a board, we have tended to be conservative in the projects we have taken on and yet we understand that in order to grow our impact on the community we must continue to grow and learn and evolve. I understand that BriarPatch serves a wide variety of individuals and that we will never be all things to all people, but we can continue to strengthen ourselves, each other, and our community. As the chair of the Owner Engagement Committee, I strive to gain an understanding of what is important to the 8000 owner members of the BriarPatch so that the Board can continue to guide the Briarpatch to achieve a meaningful balance of what we all want together. We each have an opportunity to serve in our BriarPatch community. Spending our money and our time here are a couple of ways. I have been honored to serve on the Board and hope to continue this honor another three years.