Kristina, tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved in the Co-op.

Laura Moynihan had put an ad on some board asking for people to consider getting involved with the food co-op effort. This was in January 2008, and a friend of mine sent me the listing, thinking I might want to get involved. I’ve spent the last 17 years volunteering for parenting and birth organizations and this seemed like a logical next step.

4573_87869262461_6177739_nI put my three-month-old baby into a sling and went to the second-ever meeting of the food co-op steering committee. We were busy preparing for the first public meeting at the KUUF church, which brought in about 150 people and gave us front page coverage on the Kitsap Sun. It was a very exciting time, full of many ideas, and visionary people, and a long road ahead. What we heard a lot back then was how we ‘couldn’t do it here’, our community was too conservative and wouldn’t tolerate something like a food co-op. We weren’t discouraged, we just knew it would take a little longer, and we’d have to work a little harder. So far, I’d say we were right, and the fruit of that tenacity and hard work really shows in our amazing progress.

 
Last February you declined to run, after serving on the Board from the start.
It still makes me chuckle at myself a little bit that I decided to run again for the board. I’m so invested in this group – not only the board, but the member-owners. I think a lot about whether my fellow member-owners feel connected and invited in, whether they are engaged, getting the information they need and deserve, opportunities to participate. I hold that space as a board member, trying hard to always see things from a member’s perspective and not as part of the leadership.

It’s too easy to get busy with the work and forget this important perspective, sometimes. I left my position as President in February of 2014 feeling like it was time for a new voice to lead us, and I still feel that is true. I also recognize that I hold specific knowledge of the history of the co-op, where we’ve been and why we did things the way we did, from which any iteration of the board will benefit. I also maintain wonderful, warm relationships in the community and with the members that I think help the board accomplish the work we need, and facilitate good communications between the board and members. Last, I deeply understand the work that’s ahead so there’s no learning curve with me as a board member, I was able to jump right in and support Jeff as President, the new, amazing and talent board that has emerged, and help propel us forward.

Beyond that, do you have ideas about what you’d like to do on the Board?   What’s your specialty?

My specialty is relationships. I really think that everything that we do really comes down to that. We need volunteers? How connected is our membership base, where they’ll desire to help? It’s time for a capital campaign? How much trust have we built with our members so that we can confidently ask for their help and support?
With relationships as my focus, increasing access to information, responsible levels of transparency, and adherence to our democratic process are where members see me demonstrate that. I think it’s easy to become complacent about things that feel overly process heavy, but it’s those processes that ensure that we are living our values, the ones that drew in almost 670 households in this community. This board does an incredible job learning about these processes and is supportive of maintaining them, and hopefully the members feel confident leaning on the board as the momentum starts to increase exponentially over the next 3-9 months.

One thing I feel strongly about accomplishing as a board member is developing better relationships with our economically diverse community. It’s critical that we set programming in place to assist our financially challenged neighbors to have access to membership, as well as offering well-labeled, locally grown and organic food, and the educational opportunities they’ll have access to through the co-op.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your hopes for the Co-op?

I’ve been talking at this membership for seven years, I feel like they know anything else I’d have to say! I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and I know it’s taken a long time. I just want to extend my deep and sincere (looking you all in the eyes) gratitude- your willingness to keep up the energy and trust the board, to show up at events, ask great questions and have faith that we’re on the right track, has kept our cups full at times when it seemed the uphill journey had just grown steeper. Members, please come to board meetings! The board appreciates every time a member joins us at dinner before the board meeting, and especially when you stick around and tell us what’s on your mind during the board meetings, so please consider it! And last, if any member has any questions, I love to get your emails, so don’t hesitate to contact me.  kristina@kitsapfood.coop

Board Member Spotlight – Vice President Kristina Kruzan