News Release — Hunger Mountain Coop
Oct. 6, 2017
Community Relations & Marketing Manager
Hunger Mountain Cooperative
By Alex Brown, president, Hunger Mountain Co-op Council
On November 2, the Hunger Mountain Co-op will hold its annual member-owner meeting. The Co-op’s deli is catering a free dinner, followed by reports on the store’s triple bottom line and a presentation on reducing food waste in central Vermont. This meeting is an occasion to strengthen our collective commitment to the Co-op’s environmental, social, and healthy-eating objectives, and to remind us of the financial benefits of cooperative ownership.
This year’s meeting will also include a discussion and floor vote on two suggested changes to the bylaws unanimously recommended by the Co-op Council. First, we propose changing the word “member” to “owner” throughout the bylaws. Membership implies a club with no ownership stake, but ownership conveys the true meaning of joining Hunger Mountain: making an investment, having responsibility for the store’s governance, and participating in its profits.
The second proposed change won’t alter the meaning of the bylaws, but it will make one section easier to read and use. We suggest reformatting the bylaw describing member voting as a table to clarify the existing rules. It’s necessary because cumulative additions have made it tough to follow how votes are conducted on a variety of topics.
The change in formatting preserves the bylaw’s meaning exactly as is, with one exception. We propose to delete a sentence that’s become outdated about voting by mailed ballots, a procedure we don’t now use. The bylaws don’t provide similar details for any other voting methods, but they do give the Co-op Council responsibility for determining how voting is conducted in each election, so we suggest taking out this one instance of overly-specific language.
At the annual meeting, members will discuss these bylaw proposals face-to-face, and vote to accept or reject the suggested changes. One of Council’s roles is reviewing the bylaws to make sure they continue to serve the Co-op, and to nominate the best ideas we pick up from other cooperatives nationwide. It’s our job to look for potential improvements and to explain our recommendations. Then it’s up to Co-op members (maybe soon to be called “owners”) to make a decision. Dialog at annual meeting forges trust to keep our Co-op strong.
If you’re a Co-op member, we hope you’ll add your comments to the conversation. Join us for dinner starting at 5:00 pm on Thursday, November 2 at Montpelier’s City Hall. Visit hungermountain.coop, email [email protected] or call 802.223.8000 to make a reservation. Come hungry, and come ready to meet and talk with your fellow member-owners.