Having now had our first official co-op meetings with members and non-members, what hangs in the air is the value of bringing people together.
We are more convinced than ever that having a common space and common mission is so important for us here in McLeod. There have been many local brave pioneers in natural foods, organic farming, natural medicine, community food access initiatives, etc and they showed up. Until now we have not shared a common space or clear mission. You could feel the strength in the meetings. It was humbling to see all who came out. If I could I would have visited with each person for at least an hour – what a wealth of knowledge in these meetings!
We had some amazing partners turn out and one I’d like to mention were the General Manager and Customer Service Manager from St Cloud’s Good Earth Co-op. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to us and were willing to offer that. We are grateful for the support!
The most common questions we heard were probably these:
Do you have a board?
Answer: We have a board of advisors including about 7 people. Dr. Terry Morse, Carol Streufert, Leah Winter, Wayne Rusch (Local BeeKeeper), Emily Gruenhagen (Local Business Person), Glenn Gruenhagen (State Representative District 18b), Kathy Prellwitz (New Century Academy Chairperson), Karl Holmberg (Founding Member), Alycia Gruenhagen (local business person and Founding Member) plus others.
This is not a Board Of Directors – it is a board of advisors who have been very involved. The Board of Directors is elected by the members and usually serve 2 year terms. With so few members we have been leary to take an official vote. Once we open we will conduct an election of the official board.
What are the needs? Is there a list?
Answer: There are too many needs to count and more become obvious every day. We will do our best to provide a common shared document listing needs and opportunities to volunteer next week. Donated/sold/loaned items to the co-op can be dropped off on those days. Comments and suggestions welcome.
What are the next priorities to open?
Finalize licensing, aquire equipment. Lamb Shoppe and others have offered a loan arrangement for some critical equipment. Stove, hood and work table are purchased and coming next week.
Painting should happen next week.
Flooring also has to be ordered for shelving and installed but this is not critical to open.
Seating – we do not have any yet. We are looking at mismatched well loved furniture. If you have a table or chairs to donate write to us at email@example.com.
If there’s one thing we could do after this meeting what is it?
Please volunteer! We will set up work days and a million tiny things will come up as we get closer. Sign up for a work day or volunteer to take something that you might do from home or in a private meeting with leaders (I.e. signage, administrative, technical, etc).
Submit your product for consignment. We would like to offer local goods for sale on consignment at first. Think of a creative way to display your product uniquely or work with us on the existing sandhelving we have. This is McLeod – wouldn’t it be nice to find local McLeod made goods in a common store?
Become a member-owner! Our value as a local co-op is determined by our commitment to the mission: making natural foods available to all in our area. Everyone makes a difference. Your membership connects you to this common mission and keeps our community healthy and strong.
Okay that was three things! Thanks to everyone who showed up. Great work McLeod! Stay with us and lets get this done.