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vote for your Board of Directors & bylaws online voting now available!

Membership is ownership! Thank you for participating in our democratic process.

election held October 15 – November 15, 2018
results will be posted no later than November 22, 2018

scroll to view the Board candidate’s essays

2018 Election Information Packet PDF (also in stores)
2018 Membership Ballot PDF (also in stores)
Only ballots inside envelopes inscribed with names and addresses of current members will be counted:

  1. write your name and address on an envelope provided at the ballot box
  2. insert one ballot into the envelope

Meet Your Candidates for Co-op Board of Directors

Candidates were asked the following questions:

  • Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
  • What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
  • What vision do you have for the Co-op?
  • What else would you like to share?

Desdra Dawning

Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I recently served for several years as a member on the Olympia Food Co-op Board. A physical injury that interfered with my ability to fully participate, led to my resignation. This has since been resolved. I have continued to serve on the member relations committee and written for the Co-op Table magazine and now feel physically capable of offering my services, and the knowledge and connections I gained as a former Board of Directors member to the Co-op and its members. The longevity of this vital business is my primary concern.

What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
During my Board tenure, I gained a deeper knowledge and understanding of Co-op business, its historical and current role in the community, and the more intricate aspects of running a cooperative business in today’s global marketplace. I am a writer and educator and highly value clear, honest communication in resolving difficult work situations, and in connecting Co-op members with the staff collective. I have written many articles for the Co-op newsletter over the past 7 years, and continue to do so.

What vision do you have for the Co-op?
We live in challenging times. The cooperative business model is more important to a sustainable world now than it ever has been. Competition and consumerism are not working for us, on a global scale. The Olympia Food Co-op has long served both our local community and the world outside as a role model in sanity. We are a collection of incredibly diverse humans with one underlying foundation: we all believe in equality, social justice and kindness. I see our Co-op – by doing our own inner housekeeping – continuing to grow and expand in offering this vision of sanity to our troubled world. On a more practical level, I want to be more involved in the Co-op expansion process. Bigger (more expanded) is not necessarily better, but changes definitely need to come to our physical presence in the Olympia community, in order for us to better serve in getting good food to our members.

What else would you like to share?
I would very much like to share in facilitating a reconciliation in our community between the Co-op Board of Directors and staff collective and any members who have felt discounted or misunderstood in years past. We can no longer afford to be weighed down by harsh judgments and emotions. It is time for us to open up conversation and discover, once again, our community humanity in the face of forces that gain strength from our division. United we truly do stand! I see the Board as the bridge that has the potential for serving in this capacity.

Frederick Jack Meldicott

Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I love the food co-op, it’s where I get most of my food! I’d like to be more actively involved in operating and improving the organization and have a strong desire to be a cooperative leader in our community. I’ve also been encouraged to apply by acquaintances who are past and current board members.

What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
I’ve studied the cooperative model, governance and management as well as sustainable agriculture and food systems as part of my academic studies. I have recently begun a career in cooperative development at the Northwest Cooperative Development Center and have received training on board practices and consensus decision-making. I am familiar with small scale, local and organic agriculture businesses and their challenges through work experience and my academic studies. I’ve got strong written and verbal communication skills, I’m a creative problem solver, and I have experience facilitating meetings and taking minutes. I’m also a bookkeeper!

What vision do you have for the Co-op?
Frankly, I’m pretty happy with the way the Co-op currently operates and mostly hope to help it continue to chug along. I am curious about the possibility of making the Co-op a truly multi-stakeholder model where the workers receive some ownership; my understanding is that the Co-op informally operates in this way to some degree already. I am also interested in the possibility of developing an online ordering platform for purchasing product from local growers and producers, creating a one stop platform could significantly streamline the process for procurement staff who currently have to contact many purveyors individually and could also potentially be expanded to the public thereby effectively creating a regional online based food hub.

What else would you like to share?
I take my work seriously but I don’t take myself seriously. My focus will be on providing the best service to the consumer owners and workers of the Co-op, not pushing my own ideas or agenda.

Jim Hutcheon

Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I have been a working member, volunteering in produce, for almost 5 years and I have served two years on the Co-op Board of Directors. At this point I feel like I have a better understanding of how things work at the Co-op. I feel that my experience and skills enable me to continue contributing in a meaningful way to the Board of Directors.

What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
I am organized, analytical, and a good communicator. I have a lot of practical experience motivating people. In addition to my work as a biology professor, I have organized fieldwork in foreign countries. In addition to basic administrative skills, I have worked with funders, organized volunteers, interacted with local stakeholders, organized budgets, and supplied field staff with food and resources.

What vision do you have for the Co-op?
My vision is for the Co-op to keep creatively finding ways to fulfill its mission. Although all of the goals of the Co-op are important, I am particularly interested in the first two goals: Provide information about food; make good food accessible to more people.

What else would you like to share?
I have been a vegetarian for 35 years and involved with food co-ops nearly all my adult life. I have a long standing commitment to the health of the individual, the community, and the planet. I believe strongly in the values set forth in the Olympia Food Co-op’s mission statement. Our food and our diet makes up a significant portion of most people’s monthly expenses and as such, I believe we all have a fundamental right to good and healthy food choices.

Mel Bilodeau

Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors?
I care very deeply about the well being of the Olympia Food Co-op (its members, volunteers, staff and suppliers) and I embody the philosophy of the Olympia Food Co-op in many ways. I have been an Olympia Food Co-op volunteer for 20 odd years and am a health enthusiast as well as a small, organic and local food business owner.

What general abilities and skills would you bring to the Board?
I value kind, thoughtful and clear communication and l continually practice these communication skills and seek opportunities to grow in effective ways. I am active in the Olympia community and have been a long contributor to several community groups through my years here in Olympia.

What vision do you have for the Co-op?
One vision I have for our Co-op is to keep and create ways to continue to enliven the staff. I would also be ecstatic to contribute to finding happy and effective ways to encourage people to reduce waste (like reducing every day packaging).

What else would you like to share?
In general being supportive is important to me, as well as keeping things as simple as possible even in the face of complexity.