Menomonie Market Food Co-op

Menomonie Market Food Co-op is a customer-owned grocery store in downtown Menomonie, Wisconsin offering a wide variety of local, organic, and natural products.

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Cast Your Vote in our 2019 Board Election

Menomonie Market owners, the poll is officially open for the 2019 Board of Directors Election! Stop by the store any time between 7:00am on Friday, August 30th and 3:00pm on Sunday, September 8th to cast your vote, or vote at our 2019 Annual Meeting if you’re joining us there.

MEET THE CANDIDATES

Steve Hanson, Incumbent Vice President
Candidate Statement: I have served three terms on the MMFC board, and am seeking election to a fourth term. My time on the MMFC board has been very personally rewarding, and a wonderful chance to give back to the local community. The board serves many functions, but mostly is concerned with the long-term goals and aspirations of the co-op. We are at a very exciting time with the co-op. Our recent expansion gives us more opportunities to be a leader in the community, both economically and spiritually.

It is, in some ways, also a slightly more trying time—we have a much larger financial commitment in the store, and have intentionally put the co-op in a position of debt. We are quickly moving in the right direction and now have the privilege to be able to consider our future and new ways to lead. I would appreciate the opportunity to continue to be part of that.

Candidate Questions

1. Please discuss your prior experiences serving organizations through board participation, committee membership, or leadership positions.

I have served in a number of leadership positions over the years. I have been on the board of Menomonie Market for three terms, and am interested in signing up for a fourth. I also was a member of the Steering Committee of the Citizen Action Western Wisconsin Organizing Co-op and have worked with the boards of many non-profits in my role as an Internet Consultant. I am currently membership director for the Dunn County chapter of the Wisconsin Farmers Union and served on the water committee of Wisconsin Farmers Union. Currently I am the publisher of WisCommunity, a newspaper for the Chippewa Valley.

2. MMFC employs a Policy Governance model in conducting board business. Please discuss policy governance and how you feel you might contribute to this type of governance at the Menomonie Market Food Co-op.

I have worked within the Policy Governance model for over eight years at MMFC. This has been a valuable framework to guide us through our work life as a board, and was particularly useful during the recent store expansion. I believe the Policy Governance framework is particularly valuable because it recognizes the limitations of power of the board, and keeps us on track evaluating our performance and the performance of the co-op as a whole.

3. Tell us about what experience you have had, if any, with organizational financial statements or organizational decisions about financial matters.

I run a small business and have for fourteen years, so am familiar with financial statements, and need to make financial decisions on a frequent basis. I have also been on the MMFC board for years and am familiar with the workings of the co-op’s finances. Currently I am developing new methods to make WisCommunity profitable and sustainable.

4. What motivates you to run for the board? What do you hope to gain through participation?

I have greatly enjoyed my position on the board. I initially ran out of an interest in the operation of the co-op, and in an attempt to give back to a business that I have valued while living in Menomonie. It has been clear to me since being on the board that it is so much more than that, and a genuine opportunity to fulfill my obligation to help make the community stable and prosperous.

5. As a cooperative, MMFC has a special set of principles it follows. Please discuss an aspect of the seven cooperative principles you find interesting or meaningful.

I find all of them meaningful, but perhaps most importantly I find Principle 6 meaningful. The cooperative model is important in and of itself as a way to build stable businesses that have somewhat different goals and mindsets than traditional corporations. Building strong relationships with other cooperatives is important as it strengthens the entire cooperative economy.

6. Through its mission as set out in its Ends Statement, how do you see MMFC influencing the larger communities to which it belongs?

Menomonie Market has strong effects on the local business community and the people in the area. We can see this most clearly in the store expansion and growth of the co-op. A larger and growing co-op gives us an opportunity to not only be a business leader in the community, and an anchor store of the downtown area, but also allows us the chance to hold classes, educate our members and the community as a whole about food issues, and to help build stronger community bonds by donating to other organizations and forging strong connections. I look forward to seeing MMFC become a stronger leader in the Chippewa Valley community.

7. What else would you like to share that could be relevant to your potential board participation?

I look forward to the opportunity presented by another term on the MMFC board, and a chance to continue to work with the other wonderful board members and the amazing staff at MMFC. The co-op has changed greatly in the eight years I have served and I look forward to further growth.

Barb Button, Incumbent Board Member
Candidate Statement: I’m a Wisconsin native and grew up in the country eating wild game and garden produce. I am retired from UW-Stout, where I managed the public website and participated in marketing and strategic planning. I applied to join the Board last year to fill a vacant position, and am seeking re-election because I’m deeply committed to the success of the co-op, to member ownership and the cooperative principles, and to the long-term health of my community. I’m happy to accept these responsibilities, to be an open-minded learner, and hope to make a positive contribution to the co-op.

Candidate Questions

1. Please discuss your prior experiences serving organizations through board participation, committee membership, or leadership positions.

I’m a past member of the Menomonie Market Board of Directors, and served on the Board that adopted and began implementation of policy governance. I’ve also worked as a development and strategic planning consulting for the MMFC, the Bridge to Hope and other organizations and groups. I’m retired from UW-Stout, where I managed the public website and participated in strategic planning, marketing leadership and other institution-wide leadership activities.

2. MMFC employs a Policy Governance model in conducting board business. Please discuss policy governance and how you feel you might contribute to this type of governance at the Menomonie Market Food Co-op.

I believe that policy governance offers a unique and effective combination of diligent monitoring and creative opportunity (via executive limitations) for organizations. This system removes the problems associated with micro-managing and Board involvement in operations, and engages the Board in the challenging and appropriate task of fostering an organization that is firmly targeting its Ends, while remaining open to new ways and ideas.

3. Tell us about what experience you have had, if any, with organizational financial statements or organizational decisions about financial matters.

I have budgeting experience from my position at UW-Stout, where I managed the web budget and where I served as interim Marketing Director for eight months, managing the (~$800,000) operations budget for the marketing office. The transition of the MMFC Board to policy governance provided an amazing opportunity to set comprehensive goals and determine how best to achieve them; this experience was a valuable financial education grounded in our organization’s ‘Ends’ Statement and guided by the owners’ vision for the co-op.

4. What motivates you to run for the board? What do you hope to gain through participation?

I applied to join the Board last year to fill a vacant position, and am now seeking re-election because I’m deeply committed to the success of the co-op, to member ownership and the cooperative principles, and to the long-term health of my community. I love to read, think and discuss in this context, and the process of coming to good decisions is fulfilling to me. I’m happy to accept these responsibilities, to be an open-minded learner, and hope to make a positive contribution to the co-op.

5. As a cooperative, MMFC has a special set of principles it follows. Please discuss an aspect of the seven cooperative principles you find interesting or meaningful.

I believe that the “autonomy and independence” principle is more important than ever. In our global economy, large corporations influence or govern much of the supply of goods in the world, and do not operate for the greatest good of any country, much less region or community. The ability of co-ops to be a vehicle for independent economic operation based on the needs and desires of their members is unique and necessary, and provides intangible as well as obvious benefits. Owners engaged in their co-op are a social and emotional force as well as an economic one.

6. Through its mission as set out in its Ends Statement, how do you see MMFC influencing the larger communities to which it belongs?

The Menomonie Market store is a powerful statement to the community about the portion of the population that is interested in thriving in all ways. The food supply, the educational activities and classes, the friendly presence all make a statement about long-term viability and interest. The co-op has also set an example of contributing to the community in non-competitive ways, e.g., supporting the Farmer’s Market, the EDC grant, and being a clear voice for community health and well-being with local governing bodies. Our grants to local farmers illustrate our long-term commitment to viable farming in our region.

7. What else would you like to share that could be relevant to your potential board participation?

My owner number is 19. I joined the co-op when it was in the “Silverwear” building next to the pub. I’m not tied to the past, though, and am interested in being part of whatever happens next.

HOW TO VOTE

To cast your vote for these candidates, visit the store between 7:00am Friday, August 30th and 3:00pm Sunday, September 8th, or join us at our 2019 Annual Meeting at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion in Wilson Park on September 8th from 3:00pm-6:00pm.

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