Annual Meeting Round-Up
I returned from our Annual Meeting in New Orleans inspired by our membership and excited for the year ahead. Many thanks to Veggi Cooperative, Hollygrove Market, and Our School at Blair Grocery for an amazing day of site visits. Thanks to all our incredible panelists and workshop facilitators. Our gracious host, the New Orleans Food Co-op, deserves a special shout out for their stellar team that welcomed us to their city with open arms.
Board of Director Transitions: We enter into 2015 with three new board members and deep appreciation for those who have served before them. Michael Sligh (RAFI USA), Nelson Carrasquillo (CATA), Willow Coberly (Willamette Seed and Grain), and Allison Meyer (Seward Co-op) contributed countless time and effort to our movement and a legacy of thoughtful and courageous leadership. We are excited to welcome Ernesto Velez (Centro Campesino), Marty Mesh (Florida Organic Growers and Consumers) and Grace Cox (Olympia Food Co-op) onto the board at this important time in our organizational development
New Members: DFTA voted in two new members, Organically Grown Company (Wholesaler Stakeholder Group) and Ben and Jerry’s (Associate Member).
-Organically Grown Company (OGC) is the largest organic produce distributor in the Pacific Northwest. From its facilities in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, and Kent, Washington, OGC serves over 500 natural and fine foods stores and restaurants located throughout the Northwest, and retail and wholesale accounts in other western states and Canada. Over 95% of OGC’s product line comes directly from over 400 growers and 32% of products sold come from Northwest farms. OGC’s trademarked LADYBUG brand represents more than 30 family-owned, organic and Salmon Safe, certified farms in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia and is sold in markets throughout the United States. OGC has been recognized as a leader in sustainable business practices including sourcing 100% renewable energy in facilities, support for fair trade and charitable giving. Our mission is “Promoting health through organic agriculture as a leading sustainable organization.” www.organicgrown.com
-Ben and Jerry’s operates on a three-part mission that aims to create linked prosperity for everyone that is connected to their business: suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers, and neighbors alike. Watch this short video about Ben & Jerry’s values.
New Initiatives: We are developing a new initiative, quarterly membership webinars, to better engage in each others work beyond the annual meeting. We hope our membership will take advantage of these educational opportunities and let us know what kinds of guest speakers you’d like to hear and/or hot topics to discuss. First membership webinar is slated for Friday, March 6th. Details TBA.
The space we share during the Annual Meeting always reminds me of a Wendell Berry quote about the definition of community: “the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each others lives.” At it’s core the DFTA is so much more than a coalition. It is the place where we prepare ourselves for the conditions of community, a radical feat on which so much depends. Thank you for your commitment to this movement and one another.
Colette Cosner, Executive Director
Domestic Fair Trade Association