I don’t know that I understood what ‘grassroots’ means as deeply as I have learned it by working toward our grocery store. Before I got involved with the co-op, I was a busy doula attending births with clients all over Kitsap County. With no budget for marketing, I considered myself a ‘grassroots’ marketer- making it up as I went. Before that, I volunteered for non-profit organizations that supported parents in making gentle choices for their families. I even served on a Board of Directors from a distance- the board was scattered all over the world and we did our meetings by conference call (before Skype and the like existed). I felt like these experiences gave me something to offer when I volunteered to help out on the original Steering Committee for the food co-op, back in February 2008.
I have spent the last five years learning to become a leader of a group of people who agreed to stand on the foundation of our shared ideals and reach for the stars. We are such a diverse group, with so many talents, principles, skills, and things to offer. We have our own challenges individually, as families, as neighbors, and as a community, and while juggling all of these things, you and I turn toward each other as friends. Are we not amazing, dynamic beings?
Five years, we’ve been at this friends! Five years. Hundreds of board meetings, hundreds of committee meetings. Personal conflicts and hurt feelings, changes in direction. Five Fall Fairs, dozens of booth events, articles written, and speaking engagements. Together we’ve welcomed babies, we’ve grieved those we’ve lost. We’ve broken ground and ended relationships, and together, you and I, we’ve sought to inspire each other, hold each other up, and raise the standards for the way we live.
Grassroots is so much more than just a term, it is a visual for the way we live. We tend the roots of our community so that we can grow together, by taking care of each other in large and small ways. We reach toward the vision that brings us together and we keep the faith that this is a worthwhile effort.
It is about food, but it’s also about friends, and community. How has this process enriched your life? Have you made new friends? Business contacts? Have you gotten ideas for expanding your own business, or gotten access to new resources? Have you had fun?
I sure have, and I still get giddy every day we have a board meeting that I get to be with some of the most giving people on the planet, representing even more incredible people that share our community. I am fiercely proud of the work we’ve done, and the standards we have created. Let’s wish this co-op a Happy Birthday and go together into 2013 with our eye on the prize.
Blessings on us all!