News from Friends & Farmers Cooperative – January 21, 2013

(From Elizabeth Crisfield)

Friends and Farmers –

We are off to a very busy start in 2013. Read on for information about joining the Board of Directors, progress on the feasibility study, and outreach events.

Interim Board of Directors Forming

We are forming an Interim Board of Directors and we want to invite you to join! At the Steering Committee’s December meeting, we voted to incorporate as a subchapter T Cooperative. The incorporation process requires us to have a named Board of Directors and bylaws. While it would be preferable for the Board to be elected, we have no formal membership yet.

Current Steering Committee members who are willing to take on the legal responsibility of being a board member are currently preparing statements of interest and bios which we will publish so our prospective membership knows who is serving on their Interim Board of Directors. We wanted to make this opportunity available to all the community members who have shown an interest in the co-op so far.

If you are interested in joining the Board at this time, please reply to this message which a statement of interest in board service for the Friends and Farmers Cooperative by Friday, February 1. Our bylaws will specify that a formal Board of Directors will be elected when a sufficient number of members have joined the cooperative… this will probably be next summer or next fall.

If you have any questions about this decision or the role of the Board please don’t hesitate to ask. An information packet for Board members is also being prepared.

Treasurer Needed

We are still seeking someone with a financial background to serve as Treasurer. At the least, this person would have to keep track of our donations and expenses, but over the coming year there will be grant applications and hopefully awards, business plans, budgets, etc. that we will need someone to be responsible for. If this sounds like you, please step up! Feel free to forward this message to a friend or colleague that you think would be perfect for this job.

Keystone Development Center Feasibility Study Underway

The Steering Committee met on Saturday, January 19 with Kate Smith, Executive Director of the Keystone Development Center, a York, PA-based “non-profit corporation dedicated to providing technical and research assistance to groups who wish to organize as cooperatives.”

Kate interviewed the Steering Committee to assess the leadership potential of the group and understand our vision in preparation to perform a feasibility study for a cooperative grocery store in State College. KDC is able to perform this study without charging us thanks to a grant to support cooperatives that will benefit rural communities. Since our co-op aims to increase the marketshare for local/regional products, we fit that definition.

Kate may be hosting additional focus groups over the coming months, so please look for updates on this process and attend if you can. We are also planning to survey our prospective membership to glean more information for the feasibility study and we hope you will all submit your ideas when we release that survey.

January 31 Community Potluck

Finally – we will be attending a potluck on Thursday, January 31 at Grace Lutheran Church in State College entitled “Resources for Stewardship of the Earth.” If you are interested in attending this event, aiming to help sustainability committees connect their membership with like-minded community organizations, please RSVP to the Grace Lutheran Church Green Team by Friday, January 25.

Thanks to all of you for continuing to spread the word!

-The Friends and Farmers Steering Committee (soon to be Interim Board of Directors)

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