Thanks to all members who attended our Annual Meeting 2018. We appreciate all comments and questions provided. You can find all of them in this section. They were answered by our Board of Directors and our General Manager.
Board of Directors in Attendance: Karen Rich (President), Ken Bradford (Vice-President), Sharon Tobar (Treasurer), E. Kim Coontz, Errol Cabinian Dauis, J. Faye Dixon, Dana Marsh and Treva Valentine.
General Manager: Prasanna Regmi.
- How does the board work the GM to keep this friendly motivated staff? (Answered by Karen)
The Davis Food Co-op follows the Policy Governance model to hold the GM accountable. There are 12 different policies that the GM has to report to the board on to ensure it is meeting or exceeding expectations set by the policies. One of those Executive Limitation Policies is, B6: Staff Treatment and Compensation. The store conducts an employee survey through outside consultants usually CDS Consulting, Co-op. Based on the results, management takes on action on results from the survey. The consultant recaps with the board on any findings from the surveys to help them understand how the Co-op did compare to their peers.
- Can we get multiple modalities for input, not just once a year or survey, and an outlet for members to share ideas. There needs to be more communication when the annual agenda is being created so that members have some input in the process. The comment card also asked how the reset would improve back stock conditions. (Answered by Ken)
Ken reminded everyone that the store posts information on the Governance Board in the store. The meetings for the board are posted on our Events Calendar online and the agenda is posted a full week before the board meeting both online and in store. The board meetings and charters take place during an open session that all members are encouraged to attend. Dana added that board members are also Davis Food Co-op members and they represent the community.
Prasanna responded on back stock conditions and informed owners that this reset is part of a bigger reset that has different phases. Future phases will address the issue of back stock. During the initial presentation for the makeover plan in September 2017, Prasanna presented a multi-phase plan to the Board. The plans include several changes to our existing buildings and expand the warehouse and the back room. In order to do further phases of the project, the store is planning a market survey to take place in 2019.
- Which board members had read the bylaws (new and old)? He felt that the new bylaws were adopted without comparing the new with the old and that it is important to understand what was given up? (Answered by Treva)
Treva responded and said that she had certainly read the new bylaws and because she was elected after new bylaws were written, she has not read the old ones.
- Could you provide an example of what was changed when the new Bylaws were adopted? (Answered by Ken)
Ken answered that one change was on how we are able to conduct online elections vs. using only paper ballots.
- Is there any other form of participation for owners, especially one that is distinct to Co-ops apart from voting and finances? (Answered by Karen and Dana)
During the Annual meeting, Karen went over the Cooperative Principles, which includes the democratic member control of the Co-op. This means that a member/owner in good standing can attend board meetings and participate in task forces. During our monthly board meetings, we set aside an owner comment period during which the members can voice their opinions and concerns. While the Board might not follow up specifically at that particular meeting, either the store or the board will follow up with the individual directly. The Davis Food Coop is not the only board that struggles with communicating with owners. We are trying our best and next year we will see more change. Dana added that if anyone wanted to change something they could run for the board.
- Are there any plans to issue Community Investment Shares? What are we doing to reduce the union bank loan balance and could we have more SKU's (individual barcodes unique to specific products)? (Answered by Prasanna)
Our current loan balance is $2million, on which the Cooperative is making monthly payments.
We would like the second phase of the reset, (solar and roof) to be funded by investment shares. The store will present this proposal to the board for the next phase.
With this reset, the SKU's may or may not change. The store is working with the National Co-op Grocers to review our overall movement in the store and they will be making some recommendation on categories and product line. Based on their data, decisions are made regarding the SKU's.
- Why do we not have chip readers? (Answered by Prasanna)
Vantiv is the company that the store uses for all Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) payments at the register. Vantiv had assured that they would be chip ready in the Spring of 2018 but have not been able to meet their deadline. We will be sending information once the store is ready to accept the chip readers in the future.
- People usually take their time to shop bulk and park their carts, was traffic in Bulk and Produce considered during the store reset plan? And will Bulk's capacity remain the same? (Answered by Prasanna)
Yes. The traffic was considered in the new area and the aisles have enough space for shoppers to easily shop. Besides bulk, the produce aisles are bigger than the original spacing because we are considering foot traffic there as well. As far as capacity is concerned, the answer is similar to what she said regarding SKU's. The decision will be made based on the data received from NCG, but we are definitely looking at more nut grinders.
- What is "greenwashing"? (Answered by Prasanna)
Green Washing is when companies skew the meanings of messages to falsely promote themselves as an environmentally responsible. For example, the Davis Food Coop's definition of local is 100 miles; whereas, a company that is greenwashing would label their products as local but define local as 250 miles.
- Can we have a small café like Sacramento Natural Foods Coop or Whole Foods? (Answered by Prasanna)
This is a budgeting matter. If the reset goes further after the member survey, then the store will try to do that after ground level changes are made. Our phase 1 makeover, does not address the deli department.
- Will Q&A from this meeting be reported to owners and how? (Answered by Prasanna)
Zareen is taking notes on these questions and we will find a way to report these answers.
- One member requested that the Davis Food Coop encourage more vegan products.
We carry quite a bit of vegan products in the store but are always taking suggestions if you would like us to carry something in particular. Recently, we started carrying Jule's vegan cheese in our store and it's been a super hit! Please send us your suggestion online.
- Suggest a link to the website to view and participate in monthly meetings online for people that live a bit further away from the store. Members are actively updated on operations, financial performance, improvements regarding governance to drive member engagement.
The minutes from the previous Board meetings are posted online the month after the board approves the minutes. The GM provides store information that includes operations and financials while the Board provides governance updates.
- Would like to hear more about how DFC is engaging in minimizing waste, maximizing recycling and reducing plastic packaging.
Our makeover has a sustainability component tied to it. We are moving bulk to the center part of the store to reduce packaging and encourage bulk sales. We recently formed a green team in the store to identify different ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and are looking into getting compost bins for outside to maximize recycling.
Recently we partnered with UC Davis and help supply food to their Pantry. Since starting to partner with them in January, we have donated over 2000 lbs. of fresh produce to the center. We donate a staggering amount of chicken greens on a daily basis, 44 pounds on an average. We also know that there is more work to be done and will take the proper steps to get there.
This week we started our Green Team and the goal is to be more sustainable. A green team is a cross-functional group that leverages the collective experience, knowledge and passion of staff at all levels of the co-op to identify and carry out sustainability.
- Could you move the community bulletin board to the front of the store? Like the front of the store or better yet, to the patio area?
We currently have two boards. One is inside the store, while the other one is outside.
- Do we still have a comment/suggestion box?
Yes. Our owner services desk houses the suggestion box. You may also fill out suggestions online to get your questions answered.
Compliments/Feedback to work on:
The power point for stakeholder input would have been easier to follow if more statistics were provided. Two slides that said, "Project Summary" and "What we learned" had a lot of information.
The President's report and the GM report were both clear and well presented.