What does it mean to be a co-owner of MVM Co+op? It means having so many powerful statements that you can make to others.
- "I am part-owner of a locally-owned business! My dollars are staying in our community!"
- "I support over 100 local vendors by shopping at MVM for their products."
- "I can get a discount at 57 local businesses, many health-related, because of my MVM membership."
- "I can special/bulk order very easily at the Co+op."
- "I am a voting member: I can elect Board members, who work to ensure the success of the Co+op, and I can attend Board meetings and speak during the Member Forum."
- "My membership supports the community through outreach/educational events."
I can say all of the above, and I also want to say that MVM Market is almost my one-stop-shop (I also shop at the Farmers Market). I do not shop at Albertsons, I do not shop at Wal-Mart, I do not shop at Natural Grocers, and I do not food-shop at Target (just kitty litter). Why? Becacuse I know that my dollars do the most good here -- in this store, in this community, supporting the investment that I made 37 years ago when I joined. (I also save a lot of gasoline!)
So, all you Owners, let's look to the future, as the Board does once a year at our Annual Retreat: We create a vision, always keeping in mind the membership and its needs and desires, as evidenced in our annual member survey. This year, we paired up and brainstormed our visions of what the Co+op would look like 5 years from now. Here is a taste of this year'ss visioning, as quoted from the Retreat Report:
In 5 years, 30% or more of what we sell is produced in-house. The MVM Kitchen will be a destination eatery, and the Grab n' Go section will be a robust display that enhances our brand. Our reputation is "we are the place for good food that supports local production and is a critical component of developing a strong local economy."
The Co+op as a community that's inclusive of and serving the region, empowering a majority of our broader community through their relationship to us; creating individual autonomy through the power of education, information and a strong network of cooperation. Ending dependence on corporate structures in the region by creating the cooperative setting to share gifts, talents and resources, ultimately raising the quality of life.
Thinking beyond a grocery store. Having more low-income customers, such that we become an important part of the local economy. Having a mobile food truck. A location in El Paso, or Anthony. Looking at the Cleveland Evergreen model for our community. A bakery. Encourage all kinds of co-ops.
A place where people feel motivated and inspired to create -- we are the place to forward with projects from, to give people the space to do what they can to forward the mission. Make better use of the location we are at -- there's a lot of opportunity with co-location with the gym, high school, NMSU. In five years we are an annoying presence in the community -- you can't not know about us, at the University, at the public schools -- it's the place where ideas can flow freely, a fun workplace with bouncy balls to sit on a climbing wall in back. A space of creativity and incubation.
After a busy day in her office at the Las Cruces Medical Center, Dani makes a quick pit-stop in the courtyard of the med center at the MVM food kiosk. She fills her cup with a green smoothie and hops on her bicycle and heads down to NMSU to teach her Community Organizing class. She notices two of her students munching on wraps from the NMSU MVM food kiosk. Small world, she thinks. After class, she stops by the library to say hi to Theresa, who is rushing to leave so she can get to the Co+op. She tells Dani to meet her later at the MVM tasting room. Theresa zips over to the Co+op and picks up some produce for dinner. Wow, she thinks, I just got five different things from five different local farms! Life is good. At the checkout, Siddeeq Jr, who is working evenings as a cashier to save money for the electric scooter he wants, asks Theresa if she wants to renew her standing bulk orders. Perfect timing, she says.
To paraphrase a famous song, you can say that we are dreamers, but we really believe in the Co+op. We hope that you will join us to create and support a strong presence in our community.
Carolyn Gressit, for the MVM Board
Contact the MVM Board of Directors at: