Want to enjoy Thanksgiving
but don’t want to cook?

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Giving November

Throughout the month of November, the Davis Food Co-op will be matching donations for four wonderful local organizations listed below. This week’s organization is Center for Land-Based Learning. We will be accepting donations until 11:30pm on Monday November 30th. To make a donation, visit their donation page by clicking here.

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Pumpkin Decorating Contest Voting

Visit our Voting Form here to vote for your favorite decorated pumpkin. The pumpkin with the most votes will be revealed on our social media channels on 10/30 and the winner will receive a $50 gift card!

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DFC Ends #2:
Access to healthful, local and high-quality food

The Davis Food Co-op exists to serve as a community store and gathering place for current and future owners, so they have:
A thriving cooperatively owned business,
Access to healthful, local and high-quality food,
A store that makes environmental sustainability a priority and,
Staff who are valued, educated and motivated.

When the Davis Food Co-op started as a buying club of 10 households in 1972, they had a vision of changing the food system in the City of Davis to make the bountiful healthy and local foods in our region more accessible. Every decision that has been made from that point on has been done so to ensure that DFC is always providing its Owners and customers with the best available food that stay true to that vision.

Co-ops are the foundation of the natural foods industry as we know it today and DFC has consistently been focused on reamining the premiere grocery store for natural foods in Davis. Our Produce department is filled with primarily organic produce and we always prioritize bringing it in from local farms. Buying local produce ensures freshness and a high quality product for Owners and customers that are focused on purchasing healthy foods. Local produce is also more healthy for the planet as a whole since the food traveled less, which means less gas and packaging used during the process of getting on to our shelves. The prevalance of organic goods also means that you can be sure that the farm that grew the food did so without harmful pesticides.

Aside from just the Produce department, the whole store effort that DFC has taken to stock local goods has resulted in a current lineup of 447 local vendors that operate within 100 miles of the store. We make every effort to promote these products in store with “local” signage, promotions and social media highlights. As a locally owned business itself, DFC will always look to work with as many other local businesses as possible, especially those that are also providing high quality and healthful foods!

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DFC Ends #1:
A thriving cooperatively owned business

Building on top of the Cooperative Principles that all co-ops abide by, the Davis Food Co-op decided to create an Ends Statement which is a statement about the purpose of an organization, why it exists (rather than what it does) and how it does things. Ends statements are about the benefit or results of an organization’s work, who the beneficiaries are, and what it’s worth to produce those benefits.

The DFC Ends Statement identifies its purpose and shows how they will accomplish that purpose through four key characteristics. We will be exploring all four characteristics in individual blogs with this being the first of the four. The Ends statement is as follows:

The Davis Food Co-op exists to serve as a community store and gathering place for current and future owners, so they have:
A thriving cooperatively owned business,
Access to healthful, local and high-quality food,
A store that makes environmental sustainability a priority and,
Staff who are valued, educated and motivated.

As we explored in our blogs about the Cooperative Principles, Ownership is a key part of cooperatively owned businesses as it is ultimately the Owners that dictate the direction of the business and their needs are always the number one priority. The Davis Food Co-op has made its purpose to revolve around the idea that it is both a store and gathering place for the community of Davis. It is available and exists both for current Owners and those in the community who have yet to invest in the Co-op. As the first goal states, we do this so that the aforementioned community can have a thriving cooperatively owned business.

So why is it important to have a thriving cooperatively owned business? Well, similarly to what we discussed in the third cooperative principle, a thriving co-op ultimately benefits those same Owners who invest and shop at the Co-op. Greater product selection, more resources for worthy community causes, events, store upgrades, discounts and patronage refunds are some of the most important results of a thriving business. However, it should be noted that the goal is not just to be a thriving business from a financial perspective, but a thriving cooperatively owned business that also succeeds in remaining true to the cooperative principles.

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Cooperative Principle #4:
Autonomy & Independence

The fourth cooperative principle continues speaking to the impact of Ownership and Democratic control that are inherit in co-ops. Co-ops are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their Owners/Members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their Owners and maintain their cooperative autonomy. While this principle is more prevanlent with larger business such as agriculture or housing as opposed to grocery, the takeaway should be that cooperatives are not supposed to surrender their fundamental identity in order to get money or additional business partners.

This principle is mainly intended to speak to the core ideology of cooperatives; they exist to serve the interests and needs of their Owners at all times. They do not serve any ideology or outside influence and are completely autonomous in their decision making. The cooperative principles are meant to outline a basic framework without necessarily specifying goals or purposes. It is up to the Owners of each co-op to define their organizational goals and set policies aimed at achieving them. The fourth principle makes it clear that democratic governance is such a fundamental part of cooperatives that it is not to be surrendered for any reason, even for business partnerships or capital. This also echoes the third principle, member economic participation, which indicates that in cooperatives, unlike profit-driven organizations, money will never buy more control of the business, it will always be one vote per Owner.

The Davis Food Co-op has used its autonomy & independence to create this Ends Statement:

“The Davis Food Co-op exists to serve as a community store and gathering place for current and future owners, so they have: a thriving cooperatively owned business; access to healthful, local and high-quality food; a store that makes environmental sustainability a priority; and, staff who are valued, educated and motivated.”

The Board of Directors has also built upon these Ends to create a Five Year Strategic Plan for the Co-op.

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Cooperative Principle #3:
Member Economic Participation

As we know already, Members/Owners contribute equitably to, and therefore democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. The third cooperative principle explores the ways in which that capital can benefit Owners as investors in the business. Unlike large corporations, with sometimes distant and shadowy shareholders that benefit from excess profit, the Co-op exists solely to serve and operate in the interest of its community of Owners that shop at the store.

As we discussed in the first cooperative principle, an investment in the Co-op is really an investment into the community so that Owners and fellow shoppers can enjoy the benefits that profitability brings. A profitable Co-op means greater selection, more resources for worthy community causes, events, store upgrades, discounts and when applicable, patronage refunds. Patronage refunds are distributed by the Board of Directors in a decision making process that takes place after the conclusion of each fiscal year. The store’s profit is always accounted for and allocated in a way that best serves the health and longevity of the Co-op. If after those decisions are made and there is still excess profit available, the Board can make the decision to pay money to the Owners for their investment.

The Davis Food Co-op will always be run in a democratic way, so any surplus income earned by the Co-op is invested back into the Owner community in an equal and fair way. We encourage all Owners to consider joining and/or voting for the Board of Directors so that they can be more involved with the decisions that are made in regards to profitability of the store. At the end of the day, the better that the Co-op performs financially, the better return on investment that all Owners can receive!

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Cooperative Principle #2:
Democratic Member Control

The second cooperative principle dives deeper into a very important aspect of what is presented in the first principle. A cooperatively owned business is truly owned by its members and therefore, it is governed by a democratic decision making process. Owners actively participate in setting policies and making decisions through either electing or joining the Board of Directors. Each Owner has equal voting rights upon joining the cooperative and elected representatives are accountable to the Ownership.

The Davis Food Co-op’s Board of Directors largely focuses on Policy Governance, which helps focus the board’s responsibilities into three areas: setting long term ends (or outcomes) and organizational limits; holding the General Manager accountable for organizational performance within those ends and limits; and creating an active dialogue with Member-Owners about updating the ends of the organization. Ends policies are supposed to answer the overarching questions: what changes, for which people or need, and at what cost?

Each May, Elections for the Davis Food Co-op Board of Directors is held. In order for an Owner to run for an open seat on the Board, they must:

• Be a DFC shareholder in good standing.
• Prepare for, attend, and participate in monthly Board meetings and the Annual Ownership Meeting in May.
• Serve on one or two committees or task forces.
• Attend and participate in a day-long annual retreat in the Fall and/or Spring.
• Participate in Board training, as well as workshops, conferences, and DFC events throughout the year.
• Regularly read and respond to email correspondence.
• Devote time to learning about the co-op movement and the board decision-making tool Policy Governance.

Learn more about our Board of Directors and becoming a DFC Owner.

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Cooperative Principle #1:
Voluntary & Open Membership

For many co-ops, a recurring issue that they face is public awareness of what the cooperative model actually entails. We decided to use Co-op Month (October) to dive deeper into the guiding principles that shape all co-ops as well as provide insight into how the Davis Food Co-op has expanded on these principles to best serve the Davis community. More so than with traditional business models, co-ops do everything, from their daily tasks to large scale planning, according to the principles of the cooperative model.

To better understand the importance of the cooperative principles, it is important to understand a brief history of what a co-op actually is. The concept of cooperation started with the earliest human societies sharing all of their resources with one another for survival and began to take more formal shape in the late 18th century as people moved from farms to cities. Labor workers, consumers, farmers and producers banded together to make joint purchases of supplies and services to keep their collective costs lower as they entered into this new way of life. In their efforts to support one another’s new journey into city life, they became a co-op—a business run by the people, for the people. 

In the late 1960s and 1970s, the “new wave” of consumer co-ops in the US began. Born out of 1960s counterculture, these stores were opened by idealistic community members that wanted an alternative to the standard capitalism business models. Each co-op had its own set of standards and procedures, dictated by the Members/Owners of the co-op. These co-ops were pioneers in what we know today as the natural foods industry.

The first principle of all cooperative structures that were born out of that era is that they are open for everyone to join regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, political or religious beliefs and any other discriminatory based qualifications. While Membership (also known as Ownership) is open for everyone, it is not required for shopping at the Davis Food Co-op. The Co-op truly does exist as a community institution that is accessible to everyone. However, Ownership is highly encouraged!

By becoming an Owner of the Davis Food Co-op, you are investing not only in the store, but also in local farmers and artisans that offer sustainably sourced natural foods and products. You are also investing in programs that enrich our community, such as food drives for those in need, that the Co-op actively supports. As a community-owned grocery store, we are accountable to you, the members of our community who support and invest in us. We are committed to supporting the environmental, social, and economic concerns of all of our Owners. Over the next six principles, we will dive a little deeper into what Ownership actually entails and how you can further contribute to your local Co-op!

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Fall 2020 Board Updates

Welcome to the Fall Season!

Now that Fall is here, we would like to give a shout out and welcome to all of the UC Davis students starting the 2020-21 school year. Our city has felt so empty without the vibrance of the students and we are happy to finally see returning and new students bringing back life to the community.

It’s been a while since the board updated you on what we have been up to. The board has been working together with staff, behind the scenes to adapt to all of the new changes in our world. We have missed interacting with the community in the many events that typically take place at this time of year and look forward to when we can resume these in person.

To help keep safe during this pandemic, the board transitioned to virtual board meetings that Davis Food Co-op owners are welcome to attend. Dates of the meetings and details on attending virtually are on the Board section of our website, towards the bottom of the page. We would love to see you at our monthly meetings!

As many already know, we had a changing of the guards with our General Manager in June. As we said goodbye to Prassanna Regmi, our Operations Manager Laura Sanchez assumed the role of Interim General Manager and we are happy to say that this transition has gone very smoothly. The Board is now seeking qualified candidates to hire as the new permanent General Manager. If you or someone else you know is interested and feels they are qualified, please refer to the job posting here.

And speaking of more changing of the guards, during the  summer we gained a new board member who we would like to introduce to you. Please check them out below and give them a round of virtual applause for joining our board.

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