It’s time for the annual Food Conspiracy elections, where co-op owners vote for members of the board of directors and choose local nonprofits to receive grants from the Coopertive Community Fund.
Hold onto your iPads – co-op owners can vote online this year. We’ve contracted with a company called VoteNet Solutions, which will be hosting our online elections. Owners can click on a button at the co-op’s website and then will be directed to the Food Conspiracy elections’ portal. There, owners will enter their login (owner no.) and password (first initial and last name) information.
After logging onto the site, you’ll be able to vote for candidates for the board of directors (there are 7 candidates for 7 spots) and non-profits to receive Co-op Community Fund grants (there are 6 candidates and 3 will receive grants). This year, there are no proposed changes to the co-op’s bylaws.
As in prior years, co-op owners will be able to vote on a paper ballot at the Annual Meeting if they have not already voted.
What if I don’t have a computer?
You can come to the co-op and use our in-store computer, which will serve as a voting booth during the election.
What if I don’t trust computers?
We’ll have paper ballots at the co-op. You can fill one out at the store. Or take one with you, fill it out and return it.
How will we ensure that people don’t vote more than once?
VoteNet keeps track of who has voted online and who hasn’t. VoteNet will send the co-op a list of
the names and member numbers of owners who voted online (though not who they voted for – that info is kept confidential). A group of volunteers will compare the names and member numbers on the outside of the envelopes containing paper ballots with the list of people who have voted online. Any paper ballots cast by people who have already voted online
will be invalidated.
What are the benefits of conducting elections online?
Online elections are less expensive and use a lot less paper. Better still, it should make validating ballots a whole lot easier.
You must be an active owner to vote. Active owners are up-to-date on their equity payments. Only the primary member from each
household may cast a ballot. To clarify your membership status or who the primary member is on an account, please stop by the coop
or contact Coley at 624-4821 or firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Go to FoodConspiracy.coop. Click on “Co-op Elections.” You’ll be directed to the elections portal.
2. Enter login (owner no.) and password info (first name of primary owner).
3. Read the board candidates statements and the Cooperative Community Fund profiles.
4. Vote for up to seven Board of Directors candidates and three Cooperative Community Fund candidates.
5. Online voting begins Feb. 1. Ballots must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 2.
If you vote by paper ballot (paper ballots are available at the co-op):
1) Fill out your ballot. Fold ballot, then insert it into an envelope. Seal envelope.
2) Place your sealed envelope inside another envelope and seal. Write your Co-op Member Number on the outside sealed envelope. Print and sign your name below your member number.
3) Place your envelope in the store’s ballot box; or mail your envelope to the store (Food Conspiracy Co-op, 412 N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705, Attn: 2012 Election).
4) Ballots must be received in the store by 12 p.m. Saturday, March 3, 2012, or be brought to the Annual Meeting by 5 p.m.
The Board of Directors Candidates
I believe that Food Conspiracy serves an important role in our community. It is a values-based business that shows that it is possible for an enterprise to serve its community while being economically self-sustaining. It is a model that shows that putting profit and short term gain at the expense of the health of the community is not necessary to be a successful business. I believe that given the impact that the practices of larger, strictly-for-profit businesses have recently had on our community there is no more important time than now for us to work to build this different model. I have been a customer of the co-op for more than twenty years and see this moment as a particularly important time for its owners to be active in guiding the future direction of the co-op as it grows and expand beyond its present location. I have been actively involved in creating a local food system in the restaurant business for the last five years, and am currently farming a plot of land that supplies five restaurants with locally grown produce. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I work part time for a small, Arizona-based distributor that supplies beer to the co-op.
Rachel Julia Chapman
I’ve been a Food Conspiracy owner since July. Before moving to Tucson, I was a member at The People’s Co-op in Ann Arbor, MI; the Phoenix Food Co-op in Toledo, OH; and the Cleveland Food Co-op, where I volunteered in their herb and spice department. I study Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona, where I also teach Spanish. Some of my other interests include anthropology, photography, long distance hiking and of course, healthy food! Food has always played an important role in my life, from weeding my
mother’s enormous vegetable garden as a child to being active in the respective community food co-ops. The Conspiracy Food Co-op is currently transitioning into a period of expansion. I see this expansion as a positive step towards the co-op’s increasing role in the greater Tucson community. I’m very excited about the possibility of being an active part of this expansion as a future Board member!
I have 10 years experience working at Food Conspiracy Co-op and am in my third time as a board member. I have more than 45 years experience in the food service industry (grocery markets, health food stores, co-ops and restaurants), working as chef, retail manager, culinary teacher and author. I have also served on the Board of the Vegetarian Resource Group of Tucson. Also a gardener and musician, I have long supported local agriculture, community activism and sustainability. I have been a volunteer in Tucson in Adult Education (GED and ESL) and community gardening. I fully support the mission of the Co-op and hope to play an active role in guiding the Co-op and local agriculture and community into the future.
As an owner of the Food Conspiracy Cooperative I have come to greatly value the emphasis placed on food ethics, community
outreach and owner participation which is why I wish to remain on the board of directors. As a board member I am interested in continuing and increasing community outreach and education regarding food sustainability and the importance of ethical consumption. I strongly believe that community education is invaluable to influencing new and excited owners and keeping current owners engaged. My contribution to the board will be a passion for the principles of the Food Conspiracy Co-op and the community it represents. I look forward to a future of stronger ties with local producers and a Food Conspiracy that continues to meet and exceed the expectations of its owners.
For me, cooperatives are the ideal business model. Although I have never served on the board of a co-op, I have extensive experience managing projects, understanding business operations, and reading financial statements through my work at Technicians For Sustainability. Furthermore, over the past year I have had the pleasure of being a part of in-depth discussions on how to transform our company into an employee-owned cooperative. These discussions have taught me a lot about the cooperative model. I am a member of the Food Conspiracy Co-op, REI, and the Menlo Farms CSA (where I volunteer on the farm each week). I served on the governing
board of several organizations while in college (including: AED Honorary, Blue Chip, Residence Life, Student Health Advisory) and I look forward to the opportunity to serve on the board of the co-op. As a board member I would focus on two main objectives: Educating and informing the community about the co-op and the many benefits and opportunities it offers; Helping implement strategies to help the co-op reduce its environmental impacts as a business. I would also contribute to the Board by bringing my organizational skills and my divergent thinking to Board discussions. I work well when I have a group of individuals to bounce ideas off of, and I hope that my experience with group brainstorming and decision-making will be an asset to the Co-op.
Iʼve been a Food Conspiracy Co-op customer since 1971,an owner since 2010,and a Board member since April of last year.Since joining the Board I have been involved with exciting new projects including the Hoff building expansion,the remodel of our existing facilities,and development of a hiring process for a new GM.These are exciting times for the Co-op,and our community. There is a shift in consciousness occurring in our community and around the globe.We do have a choice regarding the quality and types of food we eat.It is important to know where our food comes from, how its grown and that farmers are paid and treated fairly. Co-opʼs make a big difference because we are connected with other independent businessʼs and organizations and we are united.When we buy local,jobs are created and our community grows as well. I have owned and operated many businessʼs over the years in Tucson,including a market.The business model of the co-op, which utilizes Policy Governance, is different and refreshing. With the Trolley connecting the UA, Downtown and the west side of Tucson and with the increased awareness of the beneﬁts associated with Co-opʼs,the Food Conspiracy Co-op will grow quickly.I am excited to have the opportunity to continue my service to the Co-op and our community.
I have been involved in providing food for people for over 50 years; be it growing up in a family-owned ma and pa grocery store, starting the first natural food store in Manhattan, owning and operating organic food trucking companies in Florida and California, managing a food cooperative in Northern California, and building and operating a natural food store in the mountains of Northern California (appropriately called The Good Food Store). When my family moved to Tucson in 1986, I immediately became a Food Conspiracy owner, and was subsequently elected to the board of directors, where I held several positions, including treasurer. My college degree is in accounting and I have extensive experience in non-profit accounting and many facets of finance. I am currently a board-appointed Food Conspiracy director and the treasurer on the board. In addition, I am a volunteer Director and Treasurer for two (501(c)(3) non-profit corporations and am a consultant for other non profits who have a need to develop financial best practices and their accounting systems which then enables them to make prudent and wise decisions. If elected by the membership, I would project that my focus would be to continue to listen and learn where my skills are most needed and to assist the Food Conspiracy in both developing and meeting their short and long term goals.
The Cooperative Community Fund Candidates
1. BICAS (Bicycle Inter-Community Action & Salvage) is a 501(c)3 collectively run community education and recycling center for bicycles. We welcome and serve people of all ages and walks of life. Since our founding in 1990 we have trained thousands of youth and adults in the trade of bicycle repair, maintenance and safety, and restored thousands of bicycles. Our programs, which solicit participation from the entire community, include: (1) Build-a-Bike workshops that teach the refurbishing of bicycles and safe riding skills while integrating problem-solving and intergenerational / cultural understanding; (2) a Work Trade Program that enables all community members, regardless of economic circumstances, to work for shop credit while learning and contributing to the collective;
and (3) a Community Tool area to encourage community members to become avid learners and advocates for sustainable transportation while fixing their own bike.
2. BorderLinks has been raising awareness around issues of sustainability, immigration, community formation, development, and social justice in the Tucson community and the borderlands for over 20 years. Our educational programs encourage participants to explore the root causes of these issues and then find ways to take action in their own communities. BorderLinks Sustainable Food Program is a leader in education about the connection between the food system and migration, focusing on the effects of food and trade policy and issues of sustainability in general (i.e. water and energy use). We not only teach participants about the importance
of eating local and organic food as a way to promote social justice, but we act as an example by providing local, organic, and vegetarian meals to participants while they are staying at our facility. We maintain an on-site garden that provides us with fresh vegetables for the meals, and recently installed a rainwater catchment system to harvest rainwater for the garden. As a result of our programs, participants are able to understand the root causes of migration, and that sustainability efforts protect our environment and help solve injustices in the borderlands and beyond.
3. The Community Food Bank anticipates and meets the food needs of the hungry in our community through education, advocacy, and the acquisition, storage, and distribution of food. The Food Bank began serving the people of Tucson and Pima County in 1976, and has several different ways to help people get food. One way is an emergency food box — a box of food that doesn’t have to be in the refrigerator. If a hungry person doesn’t have a kitchen we can give them a box of food that doesn’t need to be cooked. The Senior Brown Bag program helps older people who need food. Once a month they can get a grocery bag full of food. Infant boxes are another way we help. Babies need formula. An infant box gives a mom ten days of formula for her baby. We also help people grow their own
food. If someone wants to have a garden in their yard, we can help them plant the garden. They can grow vegetables and herbs themselves.
4. Sky Island Alliance is a grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the rich natural heritage of native species and habitats in the Sky Island region of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. We work with volunteers, scientists, landowners, public officials, and government agencies to establish protected areas, restore healthy landscapes, and promote public appreciation of the region’s unique biological diversity. In the mid-1990s, Sky Island Alliance pioneered landscape-level conservation planning by integrating the science of conservation biology with grassroots organizing and on-the-ground restoration. With our partners, we put together the first comprehensive regional conservation plan for this magnificent landscape. By engaging a broad coalition of scientists, land managers, and citizens to create this science-based conservation blueprint and then implement it, we “connect the dots” between conservation planning and conservation action. Over the past 20 years, Sky Island Alliance has become a leader in conservation policy, grassroots organizing, and achieving on-the-ground results throughout the Southwest. What makes us successful is our unique combination of citizen involvement, science-based decision-making, field
expertise, and policy know-how.
5. Tucson Village Farm is a working urban farm built by and for the youth of our community. A program of Pima County Cooperative Extension, TVF is a seed-to-table program that reconnects young people to a healthy food system, teaches them how to grow and prepare fresh food, and empowers them to make healthy life choices. TVF offers year-round, instructional, hands-on programs for youth, targeting urban youth from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The farm serves as a safe urban location where youth can come to be out of doors and engage in physical activity while contributing to and participating in local food production and preparation. TVF offers a variety of hands-on education programs for children and adults alike. Programs include: Growing Forward, our K-5 agriculture and nutrition education program for school groups; Farm Camp, a 35 hour farm immersion for children ages 7-11; Family Workshops in which parents and kids learn gardening and culinary skills side by side; and Digging Deeper, a service learning program for middle school and high school youth.
6. Watershed Management Group is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was founded in 2003. Our mission is to develop and implement community-based solutions to ensure the long-term prosperity of people and health of the environment. We engage community residents through hands-on projects and work together to address issues such as the urban heat island effect, water shortage, erosion, flooding, loss of biodiversity, and to increase local food production. We are leading the way to create a more livable and sustainable Tucson. Our achievements include:
• Creating an award-winning neighborhood-scale model of green infrastructure to harvest storm water and green neighborhood streets.
• Working with the City of Tucson to design city-approved green infrastructure features and promoting their implementation.
• Establishment of our Co-op program, which allows members to earn a sweat equity credit by volunteering on other members projects in order to install green infrastructure and practices at their own home.
• Establishment of twelve public water harvesting demonstration sites throughout Tucson.
WMG will use the Cooperative Community Fund Grant to further our goal of increasing local food security by teaching backyard urban agricultural practices while emphasizing water saving techniques, and promoting a culture of local food production through our Co-op program.