Yard to Market is a producers’ co-op. That means we are democratically governed and owned by the producers whom we serve. This is the second in a series of posts about the 7 Co-operative Principles which provide the foundation for how co-ops function. You can see the first post here.
Principle 2. Democratic Governance
Co-ops are owned by their members, and the business is governed by a Board of Directors, elected by and from the membership. At our first Member Meeting on May 31st 2014, Yard to Market’s members elected their first ever 5-member Board:
The Board is responsible for ensuring organizational performance on behalf of all of a co-op’s member-owners. This work includes developing clearly stated expectations through written policies; delegating responsibility for and authority over the achievement of stated objectives; and monitoring compliance with written policies. Yard to Market’s Board will also act as the development arm of the co-op, finding opportunities for funding to ensure long term sustainability and maximum returns to its member-owners. Our Board should be strategic and visionary with its view toward the future of our cooperative rather than focusing solely on the short-term.
The Board is involved in strategic planning, financial oversight, member-owner outreach, and community engagement. The Board of Directors does not make decisions about, become involved with or take part in any of the day-to-day activities or decisions regarding co-op operations- that task is reserved for the Managing Director (also sometimes known as General Manager or CEO) and the staff she employs. The Managing Director is accountable to the Board for organizational performance, and the Board is in turn accountable to the Member-owners for monitoring and promptly addressing any concerns with performance by the Managing Director.
The Board will meet approximately once every month, or 12 times per calendar year, and will engage with the member-owners of the co-op through seasonal seed swaps and gatherings as well as the annual member-owner meeting. Member-owners and members of the public are invited to attend Yard to Market’s Board Meetings, which are posted on the Calendar page our website.