Will you become the next owner to run for the Board of Directors?

After nearly 14 years of offering the best food in Northfield, Just Food Co-op reminds me every time I shop about why I joined and became an owner-member:

  • I’m assured every day that I’m buying food that is clean, nutritious, and healthy
  • My grocery dollars are supporting local producers who I’ve met and visited their farms
  • I’m greeted every time by the most knowledgeable and friendly staff anywhere
  • Just Food is part of a community of people who value accessible, good food for all, living wages for workers, and fair prices for farmers, and support a connected network of wellness providers
  • As a cooperative enterprise, Just Food’s business model is designed to share its success with all of its owners – like me!

Just Food relies on its committed member-owners, valued farmers, and Co-op employees to ensure its continued success as the place for great food in the next 14 years.  It also requires that a group of motivated, caring, and thoughtful members take that extra step and run for the Board of Directors. Are you that person?

Who are the Board of Directors?  The board is a group of nine owners elected by the owners of the Co-op to govern the organization on behalf of all owners.  Under a system known as Policy Governance, the broad responsibilities are to:

  • Set strategic direction for the Co-op. We do this by developing policies that guide the Co-op in the direction of healthy food, fairness in all our relationships, sustainability in our community, and serving as a resource for education and information.
  • Evaluate the performance of our one employee – the General Manager. We monitor the GM’s performance through a series of policies that grant the GM flexibility to be creative while ensuring the Board will receive necessary information to identify any problems.
  • Perform a variety of tasks to ensure the assets of the Co-op are protected. We perform a variety of tasks/functions to provide context by which important decisions evaluated and acted upon.  Some activities may include updating the Co-op’s by-laws, approving contracts not delegated to the GM, and conducting an annual meeting for all owners/investors.

What are the commitments of a Director?  Each director is elected for a three-year term, and typically three seats are up for election each year.  This staggered approach allows for continuity on the Board as some leave complete their terms and new members start.  We have monthly meetings that last about three hours.  The overall time commitment is about 10 hours per month with meeting preparation, meeting attendance, and possibly an hour or two per month committed to other activities.  These may include owner outreach events, the annual meeting, and educational opportunities. Andwe start each meeting with an awesome Just Food meal!

How do I sign up?  You can find application materials and more information here, or pick up an application packet at the Customer Service desk. Applications are due July 15 [Good news – this has been extended to August 10!]. The election is held in October, and while the new board term officially begins in January, newly elected members are asked to attend the November and December board meetings to become familiar with the issues the board is working on.

We strongly encourage potential applicants to attend at least one board meeting. If you haven’t been to a meeting before, the June 20 meeting would be an ideal opportunity.  Please email gm@ justfood.coop at least a week in advance to let us know you’ll be there for dinner and the meeting.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Penny Hillemann (507-581-6036 or pdhillemann at gmail.com). We’ll be glad to chat with you and set up a meeting to go over things in more detail.

By Dirk Peterson, Board Director