There are seven candidates statements available to read below. Make sure to vote by August 21st at 6:00pm; paper ballots are available in each store. To vote online, please contact Customer Service at 251-6776 or 284-7800; or go here for more information.
In the candidate application, we asked candidates to collect 20 Owner signatures supporting their candidacy, if they had attended a Board meeting and if they had served on a Willy Street Co-op committee. “Yes” responses (if any) are at the beginning of each statement.
“I am a long-time activist for economic justice, peace, and the environment, much-concerned now with food sovereignty, mutual aid networks, and community self-sufficiency.”
1. What strengths do you bring to the three Board initiatives of 1.) developing green initiatives, 2.) increasing financial accessibility, and 3.) developing our local food system? How will you utilize these strengths on the Co-op’s Board of Directors?
Please provide specific examples.
I am a retired librarian and 45-year veteran activist for labor, peace, the environment, and new economy movements. I have a passion for issues of food security, mutual aid networks, and community self-sufficiency.
I have supported worker justice issues for decades through union activism and labor solidarity, most recently organizing local Industrial Workers of the World union members to support the Palermo Pizza factory workers’ strike. I organize educational film screenings and community forums through the Solidarity Potluck, the Madison Infoshop, and the Peregrine Forum. In the past decade I have supported green initiatives in local government and the community through the Green Action Network (2006-2007), Progressive Dane, and the Green Party. I am a long-time community gardener.
One idea I have for developing our local food system is to set up seed libraries. These would be similar to the Little Free Libraries that we love, where people could drop off and share seeds at the end of a season for others to use, “Little Seed Library.”
2. Why do you want to serve on the Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors?
As Peter Kropotkin said, “Well-being for all is not a dream. It is possible, realizable, owing to all that our ancestors have done to increase our powers of production.” I wish to assist in the crucial work of the Willy Street Coop to build on its model of community involvement and cooperation. This is one of many models that we need to help us transition to a new, more sustainable, democratic, and workable economy of the future.
I am also concerned about adequate living wages and benefits for Co-op workers and the right of Co-op workers to collectively bargain. I wish to explore the reinstatement of the volunteer discount and to improve the discounts for low-income customers with demonstrated needs. I would make vegetable seeds more freely available through seed libraries in Madison and South Central Wisconsin. I would promote public transparency about the Co-op’s finances, structure, and practices.
3. What does “success” look like for the Willy Street Co-op?
Willy Street Co-op can enhance its success by expanding its partner role in maximizing local food sovereignty and organic agriculture in Madison and South Central Wisconsin. “Success” also requires insuring an inclusive community for workers and community members. The Co-op has been accused of uncooperative efforts to suppress workers’ attempts to organize, increasing disparities in wages between management and workers and among workers, taking away benefits from workers, and decreasing possibilities for member involvement and inclusivity. Such measures may bring the Co-op a certain kind of “success” for some people’s pocketbooks, but if a co-op is made of people then success includes addressing these issues. As I appreciate and applaud the achievements of the Willy Street Coop, I will also work with board members to help the coop realize it’s fully emergent potential as a just employer and community model.