Our Annual Meeting & Celebration is open to all Member-Owners and their guests. This will also be the first night of voting for new Board members! You can vote right here at the meeting!
Participating in Board elections is one of the most important ways to make your voice heard as a Member-Owner of our democratically owned and operated business.
From 6:30 - 7:15, it is social time. We will have lots of free food, as well as a cash bar. Relax, meet your fellow Co-op Member-Owners, and just enjoy our Co-op community.
The business meeting will take place from 7:15 - 8:00 pm. Our General Manager will give a presentation on what our Co-op has accomplished over the past year and what we aim for in the future. If you have ever been curious about the business side of our Co-op, this is the part to attend. We will also be thanking our outgoing Board members and discussing elections.
If you can’t make it to the meeting, voting will continue online and in the store through 5pm on Thursday, May 9th. You will be getting emails about that.
Please note that we have a new location this year:
SPACE Gallery at 538 Congress St. limited free parking is available on Free Street and surrounding streets. The Spring Street Parking Garage is also available, directly behind the venue.
Meet Your 2019 Board Candidates!
I want to be on the board as a means to become more engrained and involved in the broader Maine farmers and food industry. Additionally, as a recent reside of 1.5 years, I'd like to be able to promote the mission of the Co-op as I continue to meet other Portland residents. Lastly, I want to take my logistical and analytical side and use that to further overall business discussion.
The Co-op provides a unique opportunity to get state-wide farmers, produce and products showcased in front of a large urban audience. As Portland continues to grow, it will remain important to expose the city’s community to what other counties and regions are producing within Maine.
The skills I have and believe will be of value to the board lie within team management, project implementation management and execution, as well as process improvement and assessment.
As a project manager in my full time job, management of goals, expectation setting, budget forecasting and overall end result evaluation are skills I exercise on a daily basis. While I have not formally worked in grocery, I have ~15 years experience in retail where I will be able to relate to seeing things from a customer and customer service lens while reviewing store performance and activity.
Supporting local businesses in our community is very important to me. The Portland Food Co-op strengthens our community by financially supporting local farmers and vendors while providing healthy food options to our neighborhoods.
We are in a unique position of NOT being a big box store in Portland. We can provide a true "customer centered experience" of a smaller local grocer. The Co-op offers nutritious local food while minimizing our carbon footprint--we are not transporting our food from long distances. We offer a much "fresher food" option for foodies and those with dietary concerns. For customers living "in-town" we also offer a walkable or public transportation option.
Having worked in the non-profit sector as a Development Director; I gained experience working with special events, training of volunteers/staff, budgeting, and relationship development. While working in the grocery sector I gained management experience in several departments while handling personnel issues and budget projections/revenues. Lastly, as a commercial underwriter/broker I was responsible for profitable management of a large business portfolio. These positions required refined negotiation skills.
In leadership positions I have always had either a pre-established goal or have asked for a goal. This is the only way to assess how you are doing and/or what you need to hopefully achieve. If goals aren't met or are exceeded then comments as to "why" are helpful for future planning.
The Portland Food Co-op is financially sound and soon needs to begin looking at future long term growth options. This is an exciting time to be a part of the Co-op, as a board member. I would welcome the opportunity to be a small part of our continued growth!
In my third year as a PFC Board member, I’ve decided to run for another term because I am in a better position than ever to help ensure the Co-op’s success and to represent you, the Member-Owners. Melissa Emerson and I started our Board terms among folks who all contributed to opening the store, but after this year, we’ll be the only ones with that experience. Board members as well as the general manager and other staff have educated me about the Co-op and the Board's job, and I want to pay the lessons I’ve learned forward.
The PFC supports Portland’s celebrated food scene, the city’s role as a destination for new Mainers (from other parts of the US and from abroad) and its many independent businesses. We help drive the local food economy through a focused effort on sourcing from Maine farms and producers. Our staff are involved at the local, state and national levels with organizations such as the India Street Neighborhood Association, Portland Food Council, Farm Fresh Rewards and National Cooperative Grocers to ensure that everyone in the Greater Portland area has access to the to healthful, sustainably-produced food and to the Co-op community.
I’ve been fortunate to assume leadership of the PFC Board, advancing from secretary to vice president and, currently, president. These roles have allowed me to engage deeply in co-op governance as the Board has matured. I am proud of how both the Executive Committee and full Board have evolved, and I believe that we can continue to ambitiously and adaptively address the PFC’s needs. I mentor colleagues in my day job. I hope to develop similar mentorship relationships with fellow Board members so that newer members can confidently take on leadership positions, ensuring both continuity and innovation.
When I first joined the PFC Board, we were reviewing the prior interpretations of the policies to be monitored. This taught me how to think about the Co-op’s governance system, and I continue to build on that knowledge in each review of the GM’s monthly reports. I’ve found that it is equally important to make suggestions and ask for clarifications in a timely manner as it is to celebrate the Co-op’s achievements. In 2018, three fellow Board members and I led the development of our new Ends policy, which aims to codify what the PFC wants to achieve.
I love real food! So at a time when mega-companies increasingly drive our agricultural production, food distribution and retail away from real food, I want to help the Co-op to succeed as a local, sustainable, profitable and value-driven organization, striving to increase the Co-op’s accessibility to the broad diversity of individuals and communities in the greater Portland area. I also want to help foster greater representation of that diversity among Member-Owners and the Maine farmers, producers, and vendors – recognizing the systemic obstacles faced by most.
Beyond serving as a food retail space selling outstanding local, natural and organic foods, I see the Co-op as hub to serve the broader Portland community making healthy local food more accessible to all, raising awareness in the community and schools about growing food, avoiding food waste, supporting local growers and producers, and more sustainable habits. The Co-op also represents a space for democratized decision-making by Member-Owners, supporting like-minded groups and organizations with shared values.
I’m a lawyer with more than 10 years of project management experience, most of it in the non-profit sector defining and implementing strategies to empower local civil society organizations in sub-Saharan Africa and Afghanistan defend and assert the rights of local communities affected by mega-projects such as dams, palm oil plantations, mining, oil and gas operations. I manage my own consulting business and have served in a Director role at two international non-governmental organizations in Washington DC, including budget oversight responsibilities.
I have designed and facilitated bottom-up processes defining long-term goals for coalitions working on corporate accountability in challenging contexts across the African continent, and nationally on community rights in Guinea, Liberia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each of these processes involved a broad range of actors, from small community-based groups in rural settings to leading national and international non-governmental organizations. Progress towards the goals of each coalition requires understanding complex challenges, breaking ambitious goals down into manageable, actionable items that can drive change, hold people accountable with defined responsibilities, and result in just community outcomes.
The Co-op serves a vital role in the local food economy. As a current Board member, I would be honored to continue my role in service to the Member Owners, and to contribute to supporting the PFC as a leader and role model in the Portland community. I have seen firsthand the thoughtful and passionate individuals that support the work of the PFC, both in the store and on the Board; strengthening our local food economy, supporting staff, vendors, the environment, and consumers in a way that embodies integrity, democracy, and co-operative principles.
Inspired by the success of the retail store, I believe the Co-op is poised to engage even more meaningfully in the community and to dive deeply into its role as an agent for education, cooperation, and uplift for the full spectrum of Portland’s diverse citizenship. A critical member of the local food network, the Co-op has, and can continue, to significantly bolster the physical and economic health of its larger community. This is a wonderful place to shop, connect, and support our personal and economic communities. The co-op can and should serve as resource and support to all of Portland.
My leadership experience encompasses my work within the Board and beyond. Currently I serve as the Vice President of the PFC Board, prior to that I served as the PFC treasurer, and established and chaired the PFC Board Perpetuation Committee in past years.
Additionally, for the past 9 years I have owned and managed by own business, selling garden seeds and supplies to home gardeners locally and nationally. I manage a staff of as many as 35 in our peak season and have experience in all parts of running and managing a high-volume retail business.
My business background entails a multitude of strategic planning and project management. I have developed and executed growth plans around marketing, finance, management, and leadership in my role as a business owner and have successfully grown my business over the past decade.
Additionally, as a PFC volunteer since 2014, during the membership drive before the store opened, and then involved either in a committee or as a Board member, I have been thrilled to see, and participate in, the Co-op evolving into the thriving marketplace it currently is and seeing it continue to grow. I hope to support that growth into the future.
We have never had to expel someone from the Co-op and hope that we never have to. This is a drastic measure that should only be considered when someone has intentionally acted in a way that harms the Co-op. Our current bylaws state that this process requires a vote of the Member-Owners. The Board is asking the Member-Owners to adopt a new policy which better outlines the types of acts that would qualify for expulsion and allows the Board to act on behalf of the Member-Owners in this process.
The current section reads:
Section 2.9 – Withdrawal and expulsion. A Member-Owner may withdraw at any time upon notice to the PFC. A Member-Owner may be expelled by vote of Member-Owners for cause after being provided at least ten days notice of the charges and an opportunity to respond in person or in writing or by counsel. Upon termination of Member-Ownership, all rights and interests in the PFC shall cease except for rights to redemption of capital pursuant to Article VII of these bylaws.
The Board is asking Member-Owners to approve changing this to:
Section 2.9 – Withdrawal and expulsion. A Member-Owner may withdraw his or her membership voluntarily at any time by written notice to the PFC. Membership may be terminated involuntarily by the Board of Directors of the PFC for cause after the Member-Owner is provided fair notice of the reasons for proposed termination and has an opportunity to respond in person or in writing or by counsel. Cause may include intentional or repeated violation of any provision of the PFC’s bylaws or policies, actions that will impede the PFC from accomplishing its purposes, actions or threats that adversely affect the interest of the PFC or its Member-Owners, willful obstruction of any lawful purpose or activity of the PFC, or breach of any contract with the PFC. Upon termination of Member-Ownership, all rights and interests in the PFC shall cease except for rights to redemption of capital pursuant to Article VII of these bylaws.
While we have no immediate intention to change the fiscal year of the Co-op, the Board is asking the Member-Owners to allow them to make this decision, should it be in the best interest of the Co-op.
The current section reads:
Section 9.1 – Fiscal year. The fiscal year of the PFC shall coincide with the calendar year.
The Board is asking Member-Owners to approve changing this to:
Section 9.1 – Fiscal year. The fiscal year of the PFC shall be fixed by a resolution of the Board of Directors.