We are at a critical moment in history. Our co-op is a part of this moment.
For fifty years, the co-op has dedicated itself to building a strong local food system.
- A food system in which our entire community has access to local and sustainable foods
- A food system in which the co-op is thriving as a community asset and agent for positive change
- A food system in which local farmers and producers are thriving
- A food system that leaves minimal impact on the environment.
For fifty years, this has been our work.
As a leader in the co-op, I want to share how we plan to play a role in bringing about change now and in the future.
I have spent time with peers, our board and staff and community leaders asking how can we use the tools available to us within our zone of influence to create forward momentum toward racial justice. More simply: what is the work that we alone as a food co-op do more effectively than anyone?
There are five arenas where I believe the co-op can have the most influence and affect change:
- Buying power. As a $22 million business, we have significant economic impact. We have leveraged this buying power to help many local farmers & producers become sustainable. A next step is leverage that power to support and partner with Black-owned producers and vendors.
- Access. When we create access to good food, we empower our entire community. Our product choices, pricing decisions and store locations all have an impact. We have been proud of the success of our Double Up Bucks program which has helped customers save over $10,000 on fresh produce in just four months.
- Hiring & leadership development. As an employer that pays above average wages, we have good jobs. Recruiting and developing a workforce and leadership team that reflects the diversity of our community is key. Ads will begin this month in the Challenger and at Hispanics United of Buffalo (HUB).
- Fundraising. Our donations power is amplified when we leverage the power of our customers and owners. This month’s roundup programs have raised more than $11,000 for Black Love Resists in the Rust, Feed Buffalo and the Pride Center of WNY. We are stronger together.
- Welcoming. When we invite more people in and create a welcoming space for all, our community grows stronger. We can do this by living the first co-op principle of being open to all without discrimination and by embodying the spirit of kindness and generosity in our customer service.
We are good at all of these things. And we have opportunities to be even better. I ask for your support with this progress. Please share your best ideas and suggestions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.