By Scott Kamen, Board Member
It is no secret that the marketplace for natural and organic foods has become increasingly competitive in recent years. Brown rice, tofu, organic produce, and many other products that could once only be found in a local co-op can now be purchased at Wal-Mart and other big chain stores. As we face growing competition in the natural and organic foods market, the question of what purpose MVM Co+op serves becomes ever more important. When the Co+op Board met for its annual retreat in September, that question formed the basis of discussions on our Ends Statement—the statement of a long-range vision that summarizes the end results that we, as a co-op, aim to create in our community and beyond.
Looking out at the beautiful Organ Mountains from the home generously made available to us for the weekend by one of our owners, the Board discussed a variety of questions on the perpetually evolving purpose of MVM Co+op. What do we want to have as the end result of the efforts that we undertake as a co-op? Who do we want to undertake those efforts for? How are we different from the businesses that sell many of the same products that we do? With the aid of text scrawled on Post-It Notes and a sliding glass door as a blank canvas for arranging the often disparate ideas on those notes, we put together a draft Ends Statement that begins to express what we want to achieve and who we want to achieve it for: “As a result of all we do, we will have systematic inclusivity grounded in a fun, healthy, equitable, and democratic economy reimagined by the people of the desert for whom this is home.”
The Ends Statement drafted by the Board at its retreat is only the beginning of an ongoing process. With the recent appointment of Sierra Hirtzel as General Manager and a number of new faces on the Board, MVM Co+op is poised to look to the future. But we can’t determine what that future is going to look like without you. One of the most important ways in which MVM Co+op is different from the chain stores that sell many of the same products that we do is that it is democratically owned and governed. That means that you—our owners—determine the ends that our co-op aims to serve. What do you want to see as the end result of the efforts that we undertake together? Who do you want us to undertake those efforts for? Where do you want our co-op to be ten years from now? Join us at our monthly Board meetings or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you!