**Voting has ended for the 2023 Elections**
Voting for the 2023 Board candidates begins
Sunday, February 26th, 2023 at the end of the Annual Meeting.
Scroll Down to Meet The 2023 Candidates!
Owners may vote for up to seven board candidates or abstain: One owner, one ballot. The election will run from February 26th, 2023 until March 19th, 2023, if a quorum is not reached the vote will be extended.
Owners may fill out a paper ballot in the Co-op or they may vote online. The link for online voting will be emailed after the end of the Annual Meeting. If you have not received an email invite to vote: please vote via the paper ballot in-store AND/OR make sure your Owner account has the correct email address at Customer Service.
This election is not contested. For a duly-called vote to be valid, ten percent (10%) of members in good standing must take part. Our current count of member-owners in good standing is 4794; therefore we will need 479 member-owners to cast their ballots. Candidates must receive a number of votes equal to at least 25% of the total ballots cast to be declared elected.
Seven candidates are running for nine open seats; four of which are three-year terms, two of which are two-year terms, and one of which is a one-year term. In accordance with the Belfast Community Co-op Bylaws, among the winning candidates, the top vote-getters will be elected to the longer terms.
The election and addition of seven director candidates would bring the total number of directors to eleven.
Any questions or issues about voting please contact email@example.com
We are pleased to introduce you to the 2023 Belfast Co-op Board Candidates!
Steven Boas: I love visiting health food stores and co-ops whenever I travel. I have been to cute towns and locations with cool stores in Maine, Vermont, many other states, and in other countries including Germany and France. I have a lot of exposure. And out of all of it, I am proud of the Belfast Community Co-op. I promise that those experiences and my business knowledge will be useful to the decisions that the Co-op board must make. The Belfast Community Co-op is a big part of my life and of the lives of many of my friends. I’m glad that the Co-op provides such wholesome, local food. I aim to see the Co-op continue to build relationships with local farmers, fishermen, bakers, brewers, and chefs to help provide more great foods and grow the food system. Visitors to Belfast consistently share with me how much they appreciate the friendliness and smiles. The Co-op has consistently been a place for those jovial interactions. Health and happiness go hand in hand. The Co-op has gone above and beyond to put into practice measures of inclusiveness and equity. And I hope to see the Co-op continue to remain fair and open. And on top of it all, I’m happy that the Co-op is about to become even better with future expansion. I hope to ensure that the process will address the Co-op’s admirable missions while listening to and reflecting on what I hear from the member-owners. I’m excited about a new deli, cafe, and more space for bulk foods. I look forward to being a voice on the Belfast Community Co-op Board.
Corinne Burr: In the ideal, food brings us together at every step of its journey, from the fields and forests, grown and harvested together, to the markets and stores where we buy those ingredients, to the kitchens in which we cook them, to the tables around which we share the meals. The Co-op has an important role to play in this journey, and if we do things right, it can fulfill many steps along the way. The Co-op has the potential to step into greater prominence in the community by reclaiming its role as a gathering space, not just to buy groceries, but to pause and connect with other members and with the greater community. I’m aware of the discrepancies in food access for community members and I think it’s critically important that the Co-op develop or support the development of companion organizations that support members in receiving more subsidized food pricing so that local and organic food be available to a much broader demographic. I think this is one of the key ways to support the Co-op’s principle of concern for the community, as well as its values of equality, inclusion, care for others, and social responsibility. When food is accessible to all, all feel welcome. When a gathering space is provided and doors are unconditionally opened, all feel welcome. When greeted with a smile, all feel welcome. There is so much good already being done, and so much more that can come. Everyone is worthy of a safe environment to work, gather, nourish themselves, to bring their families. Everyone is worthy of access to good food. Everyone is worthy of a space to go that opens its doors freely to them. We all belong here and there is a way forward where everyone wins. Through visions of renovation, there is the potential to meet many of the community’s needs, and I’d love to see as part of that an expansion of support for more local farmers and producers, even on small scales. I value opening up conversations and I believe that in order to effectively serve the community, we must work more to open up conversations with the community, and to support members in becoming active participants in the Co-op’s evolution. There are voices that do not speak and others who are not being heard. I’d like to bridge this gap and feel that we must do so in order to effectively serve, and include, the diversity of our whole community. To these visions, values, and projects, I bring my strength of will, enthusiasm, and passion, my ability to synthesize information and ideas, ask needed questions, look at broader perspectives, and reach for greater possibilities than what we currently accept and believe in. I am excited to be involved in an organization that is so central to the community that its reach and potential feels limitless.
Babette Cohen-Solal: When we first moved to Maine 8 years ago, the Belfast Co-op very quickly became a central point of my acceptance into and of the community we chose to become our own. I was 15 then and now am nearly 23 and about to start my own family. Coming from that perspective; of a mother looking to build a safe, supportive, and healthy community for my child as I had, my vision for the growth of the Co-op really focuses on being a place to gather for the community. I believe that we should look at making the Co-op a place that is inviting and welcoming to everyone in our community through a focus on local food and products as is in accordance with their mission. Having more variety and rotation of healthy, fresh, and locally prepared food is a great way to highlight the local food that makes our Co-op unique and also can help us be less dependent on other distributors. I also think it is important to remember that the Co-op staff are an integral part of the Co-op, its growth, and its welcoming nature. Their safety and work conditions must be taken into consideration and addressed. The renovation projects are very important to me. Before we moved to Maine, my childhood revolved around the co-op my mother started with a few friends when I was born, as a way to provide good quality, local food for our family at an affordable price. By age 10 I knew the ins and outs of running a food Co-op with active working members. With these experiences, I learned that a co-op functions best when it has active members embodying the values of the community. In turn, those community values will then be embodied by the co-op so it can give back to its active members and the community at large. All of these values are indispensable, for the co-op, and its members. I also learned that focusing on the local food we all love and have in common is the only way to truly make all welcome. This is a goal I feel strongly about, and I’m hoping to see it realized and passed on to the next generations of members. I want to be an active member. This is why I am running to be elected to the Board Of Directors.
Susan Cutting: I have been serving on the Belfast Community Co-op’s Board of Directors for the past two years. I would like to continue to serve because I care a lot about our Co-op, and I value representing the owners in supporting the growth and evolution of this vital hub of our community. As Vice President for 1 year and President for this past year, I have been able to deeply engaged in the Board’s work. I appreciate our modified consensus process, and I enjoy facilitating the board meetings, keeping up with the demands of policy governance, taking part in all three board committees as much as I can, and communicating with our owners. With the expansion initiative and rebranding, there has been a lot to learn and do; it has been an exciting time to be more involved.
The more I have learned about the planned renovation, the more I understand this to be a critical step for our Co-op. I have heard from Co-op management and other workers about the aging infrastructure of our building, and for me, worker and shopper safety is #1. We also need more shelf space to fit more affordable, local, and sustainable products to sell to our expanding community of owners and other shoppers. We need our café back—because our community misses it so. We need to continue to offer the shop-for-me program so elders and others who have been relying on it can continue to access our food and healthcare products. And, we need to improve energy efficiency, because it’s the right thing to do for our planet.
What I would most like to see this coming year is more owner forums and other ways for owners to share their perspectives and priorities with the board. I want to hear from owners about their vision for the future of the Co-op: what do we want social and environmental responsibility to look like in 10 or 20 years? How can we support our workers as they select healthy, sustainable, local, and affordable products for our shelves? How can we reduce our use of packaging while embracing convenience? How can we continue to draw diverse shoppers, owners, and workers? As people become more open to being in groups again, I hope we can bring back educational programming and offer more owner-board connection opportunities. I believe in the wisdom of a group that contains diverse and varied perspectives. The long-term sustainability and viability of our Co-op depend on this. Let’s brainstorm our vision of the future, and consider how to guide our Co-op toward these aims.
Rio Greeley: As a former worker at the Co-op, space, and worker safety are particularly important to me. I remember many cramped sessions in the Deli Kitchen and the Produce Alley, so ensuring that workers have ample room to maneuver while performing their duties is essential.
As someone who lives close to the Co-op, I myself rely on it to fill many of my needs. I think with the implementation of the Shop-For-Me system, we have helped expand our services to those who might struggle with coming into the Co-op regularly, and I think we should continue to explore areas where we can ensure that those without geographical or financial means can continue to gain access to the quality food the Co-op can provide.
I believe that the Co-op can continue to act on its values by continuing to work and collaborate with other nonprofits and organizations in the area. The Common Cents programs the Co-op provides are a fantastic example of our values, and I believe we can extend our hands out in other ways to help all of us thrive.
I believe that the Co-op bulletin board has helped with the spread of Community Activities, and I am hopeful that the eventual reopening of the Co-op Cafe can help return a sense of community that has become faded in the past couple of years. I also believe that we could host or sponsor more events (when it is safe to do so), such as a community game night, helping out a local farm, or even clean-up work at the transfer station or other such events to help foster trust in the broader community.
I think it is very important to make sure the Co-op is transparent about any issues relating to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion so that both the workers and the members can be assured that the organization as a whole is working to further the interests of the community and the well-being of its members. Programs such as the Owner Rewards Program are fantastic, and I think the Co-op should explore more areas to help aid those who may struggle to afford the prices of healthier products.
I have previously worked for the Co-op, so I am familiar with its inner workings. In my employment at The Game Loft, I also monitor the Game Loft Youth Board, which acts similarly to a normal Board of Directors, so I have a good measure of experience with how Boards operate.
John Krueger: As the current Treasurer of the Board, it is a huge responsibility to review and support the many financial key indicators and pro forma needed to assure a successful renovation project. My time on the board has also been a tremendous learning experience. One reason that I am “running” is to offer an experienced continuity to the board during an important initial phase of this project. My hope is for this complex project to go forward successfully. A successful downtown “cooperative center” includes many things: financial strength to pay back loans and grow, better safety, better energy efficiency, a new deli and café, and increased retail space for quality produce. As a technology guy, I support the importance of understanding and presenting financial information that assures that fiduciary responsibilities are being met and that our owners, who the board represents, are informed. My 23 years as a selectman of the Town of Liberty, 3 years on the SAD#3 school board, 11 years on the MOFGA board and my career as Laboratory Director for the State Health Laboratory provides experience to make decisions within a formal public decision structure. In each of these roles, our cooperative’s values listed in the application had high importance. One desire in transitioning from the policy-governed MOFGA Board to BCC was to assure that there is an efficient cooperative marketplace for Maine’s organic produce. One of my hopes in participating with our BCC is to allow our Values and the Global Ends Statements to continue to gain traction in a “world community” that could learn from the Cooperative’s success. A more awakened society will value how Cooperatives support sustainable agriculture and illuminates the interdependence between a healthy environment, local foods/commodity production, and thriving communities. The adopted concepts of Member and Community ownership will allow cooperatives to grow financially and serve as a standard for democratically governed cooperative commerce. I supported the new name change to Belfast Community Coop as part of an effort to reinvent our cooperative with a fresh new name and experience. I believe adding WIC is an excellent start to engaging an important contingent of our BCC community. Total transparency to our owners and even our workers has been difficult because of COVID. I wish to continue our success to get out the votes to our members. Our Cooperative Principle two helps to assure diversity, equity, and inclusion to our members equally; one member one vote. The Board has a responsibility to encourage an active dialogue with Member-Owners about updating our ends: what changes, for which people or need, and at what cost. I do hope that more owner forums, our open Café, and continued excellent media outreach will demonstrate our openness to our entire community.
Jim Miller: I think it’s most important that we have a safer environment for our staff and the addition of a hydraulic lift cannot come soon enough. I believe the café reopening contributes to our community of shoppers and differentiates us from our competition. I believe if we are lacking in quality food it should be up to the staff via Doug Johnson to correct the issue. My exposure to the Co-op over the last several years has been in the area of finance. (I have volunteered for the last 6 plus years.) If we are lacking an awareness of equality, equity, etc., (I am not aware) I would expect a discussion at the board level. If we need to improve our community relations, the board, and membership should be involved in what is lacking and how we will rectify it. I think the answer to how we might put diversity, equity, and inclusion, front and center is to once again start with board and member analysis, and create a plan with clear goals. I do appreciate the role of a board and a general manager and that role needs to be respected. I have served on several boards, some formal and others not so much. I was a board member of the Co-op during its time on lower Main Street and on High. I was Treasurer for most of the dozen years I served on the board. I am currently on the Restorative Justice board and have served for 8 years as Treasurer. I consider myself a team player and a good listener. I recently retired and have the time and energy for this assignment. Three years is a commitment I can make.
The Co-op would like to extend a warm and heartfelt thank you to the directors at the end of their term and to the directors who had to move on this past year: Stephen Brimley, Kristin Clements, Michael D’Amico, Cristiane Gil, Marion Grahek, Elaine Mack, Charlie Pattavina, Buck Sawyer, and Edward Sheridan. Buck Sawyer passed this year and we honor his memory.
Our outgoing directors, along with all those who have served on the Board in the past, have spent countless hours in service of the Co-op and their expertise, perspectives, and professionalism will be greatly missed. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.
Click here to find out more about the Co-op’s Board of Directors
See you at the Annual Meeting on February 26th, 3 PM!