Patronage, Policies & Progress

The month of January was a busy and productive one for the Davis Food Co-op Board of Directors. It has been a challenging 6 months, but with the help and guidance of interim general manager Steve Kobs, the Board has been able to return its focus to more strategic areas, including a day-long planning meeting on January 30th. We appreciate the ongoing support of hardworking staff, loyal shoppers, and sincere member/owners - both supportive and critical - as we work to keep our cooperatively-owned business on track and moving in a healthy direction. Since December, we have made a number of strides:

· We approved a Patronage Refund allocation of 100% of eligible 2014-15 profits, to be distributed back to member/owners in an amount of approx. $220,000;

· We received and accepted a 2015-16 Store Budget, bringing our Co-op back into compliance with its policy on Budgeting & Financial Condition (B4);

· We addressed several personnel issues, to bring the store into compliance with our Treatment of Staff (B2), and our Compensation and Benefits (B3) policies;

· We approved a draft of Updated Bylaws, to be distributed for member/owner input prior to putting them up for a vote in the Spring election;

· We rescheduled our Policies Update meeting until February 28th, in response to (and create time for additional) input from member/owners;

· We added a board meeting on March 21st, so that we could incorporate owner input on our Bylaws & Policy revisions before the election deadlines; and

· We hired Gary Walburger, of executive search firm Burgess, Leighton and Associates, to lead our search for a general manager.

For 40+ years, the Davis Food Co-op has changed, grown and adapted to fit the needs of the business and our community. Our history includes periods of conflict and differing opinions - a strength of cooperative ownership that can, at times, be frustrating. More changes will be needed to assure that we are treating staff fairly and meeting our obligations to owners. With that it mind, the Board will be promoting additional discussions with member/owners, including facilitated conversations with owners who have expressed concerns. Grounded in a shared love for our Co-op, we hope to identify common interests and move forward cooperatively.

The Board is excited about the future. We are preparing for the Spring election, gathering input from owners on bylaw and policy reforms, and improving accountability. In this challenging and exciting time, we encourage owners to consider running for open seats on the Board, to attend forums, and provide input on the bylaw revisions. The years ahead will not be without challenge, but we know that as a cooperative business we stand stronger together.