Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) are a crucial part of everything we do as a Cooperative, and in many ways, it’s written right into our Mission, our Vision, and the Cooperative Principles. We know that in order to support a thriving cooperative, it’s deeply important to be inclusive and hear from a diverse range of voices in the community – which is why we’re writing to you today.
Late last year our Board of Directors made the decision to appoint a Committee to begin the process of drafting a DEI Statement for Littleton Food Co-op, in order to educate ourselves and better inform our efforts to create a more inclusive community, and implement policies that support that initiative. This committee includes some of our Board Directors, our Marketing and Community Outreach staff, and a consultant who specializes in developing DEI initiatives in business and non-profit organizations.
The first step involved many hours of meetings, brainstorming, and revisions to develop an initial draft that included our Mission, Vision, and the Cooperative Values and Principles. Once that was complete, we put the draft statement on some big posters and asked the Co-op’s employees for their input. We got a lot of great feedback and lots of enthusiastic stars, arrows, notes, and underlines! After a few weeks, the Committee met again to review the first round of feedback and prepare a draft to present to the wider community.
This is where YOU come in! The current draft of our DEI statement is below, and we’re looking for your thoughts, feedback, and edits. Remember, this is still a draft, so it’s not intended to be perfect. We’ll do our best to take everyone’s feedback into consideration as we begin developing the final version of the statement.
DEI Statement (Draft)
“We, the Littleton Food Cooperative, envision a thriving, inclusive culture that represents the growing variety of experiences and backgrounds within our community.
With our commitment to cooperative values, we will ensure that you are heard, seen, and empowered. We stand to celebrate all identities as vital to our ecosystem.
Together, we will co-create a local marketplace that is accessible, democratic, and sustainable.”
Share Your Feeback
Please let us know what you think! Your feedback is vital to this process, and we want to collect ideas from as many people in our community as we can. Are there words that you feel don’t work? Should we be more specific? Do you have questions about the process? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
About Our Consultant, Angela Menendez
Angela is the head of Activate Inclusion, a local DEI and Leadership skills consulting agency here in the North Country. She specializes in developing inclusion, equity, transparency, and engagement in the organizations she partners with. Learn more about Activate here, or view her Linkedin.
Mission, Vision, & Principles
To provide a community-owned marketplace that supports local and promotes healthy choices for people and planet.
Our Co-op is a catalyst for cultivating a vibrant community and regional economy.
The Cooperative Principles
1. Voluntary and Open Membership
Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
2. Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.
3. Member Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the cooperative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their cooperative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the cooperative, and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
4. Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their cooperative autonomy.
5. Education, Training, and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
7. Concern for Community
Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
Source: International Cooperative Alliance
Special Thanks To Our DEI Committee!
Vanessa Robbins, Board Director
Danielle Shaw, Employee & Board Director
Matthew Whiton, Employee & Board Director
Becky Colpitts, Member Services & Community Outreach Coordinator
Angela Menendez, DEI Consultant