Greetings, fellow cooperators! I’m Julian, the Great Basin Community Food Co-op’s new Member-Owner Services Coordinator. Well, not exactly new to the Co-op, but definitely new to this whole coordinating-services-to-member-owners thing. If you shop here frequently, it’s likely we’ve already met on the sales floor or at the register. If not, you’ll definitely be seeing more of me in the future, both in-store and in my two-dimensional digital form.
During our especially busy days (which seem to be happening more and more frequently), things around here might seem a teensy bit chaotic and disorganized from time to time. In reality, we’re actually some of the most organized, spreadsheet-populating number crunchers you could ever hope to meet. I’m not trying to say we’re all a bunch of pencil pushing bean counters, but I’ve definitely seen Excel documents titled “Quarterly Ticonderoga #2 Movement Projections” and “Y.O.Y. C.O.G.s Adzuki vs. Pinto.” Point being, we friggin’ love numbers. That’s why a couple months back, our Bean-Counter-in-Chief approached me with this number: 557. That’s how many member-owners I signed up and renewed in the last year.
But I’m not here to gloat. I’m here to reiterate to you what I told them when they asked me how I manage to sign up so many new members:
“I don’t really feel like I’m selling anything.”
Seems like a weird thing to hear from somebody who makes their living literally selling people things, but hear me out. When we sign up new members at the Co-op, what we’re really giving people is a means of affecting positive change and contributing meaningfully to the betterment of their own communities. Being a member at the Co-op means having a voice to speak up on matters that directly affect you and your family. Not all of the connections are as obvious as others, but at the end of the day, how and where you spend your money can have an array of far-reaching ramifications. Investing in the Co-op has a direct impact on:
The local economy. Your equity in the Co-op helps us continue sourcing wholesome food from local and regional farmers and producers, which means your money stays right here in Nevada. It also means we can pay these farmers a living wage.
The environment. When we use members’ equity to source from local farmers and producers, fewer carbon emissions are required to get food from here to there. Additionally, sourcing from organic and DROPP Approved farms means that fewer harmful pesticides and herbicides find their way into our water.
The community. Your equity contributions to the Co-op enable us to keep our doors open and function as a valuable resource for information, community engagement, and access to wholesome food for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
It’s hard to put a price on something as powerful as the opportunity to make a positive difference in one’s own community, but if you asked me, 20 bucks a year seems like a pretty good deal. To quote the formidable “Diamond” Dave Benke, “The only better deal in town is all-you-can-eat sushi.”
But as most of you are already well aware, being a member at the Co-op is about more than having a positive impact on our environment and local economy or cultivating a sense of community– it’s also about what YOU get. Here’s another number for you: $16.67. But more on that next time…
-Julian Jacobs, GBCFCMOSC