Sunday, September 15, 2013

Board Candidate: Chris Weekes

Hot off the press: previews of our 2013 candidates for the Board of Directors! You'll also find the information below in the October-November newsletter, along with your ballot. Voting runs from October 15th - November 15th. In addition to choosing four new Board members, you'll also have an opportunity to vote on four proposed changes to the Co-op's bylaws.

Want to know more about the candidates? Mark your calendar for the Annual Meeting! October 27th, from 1-4 pm at the Olympia Ballroom. Great food, candidate speeches and the first round of member discussion on recent research into whether the Co-op should change our legal status (currently, we are a not-for-profit under RCW 24.03.) We look forward to seeing you there!

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Board Candidate: Chris Weekes

Why do you want to be on the Co-op Board of Directors? 

I am new to Olympia, very recently transplanted from Tampa, FL, and have found the Co-op to be a vibrant asset to the community. I believe that volunteering my time on the Board would provide a unique learning experience and foster my further engagement in the local food movement.

What general abilities would you bring to the Board?  What specific abilities and experiences would you offer to help provide direction in dealing with the Co-op’s challenges?

I have previously worked in management positions in local government and non-profit organizations. I have experience in marketing and PR, fundraising, public outreach, and grassroots organizing.

What do you see as current strengths of the Co-op that you would like to see maintained?  What would you like to see changed?

It is exciting to be in a city with such a focus on sustainability and local food, and I believe that the Co-op is increasing access to affordable healthy foods as well as providing valuable education through low-cost nutrition classes and workshops. A few simple improvements I've thought of would include a new member orientation FAQ on the web or in print, to explain how shopping here differs from a conventional grocery store, for example the clipboard for PLU codes. It would also be a sanitary improvement to have tongs available for the fresh bakery items like the bagels and pastries.

What vision do you have for the Co-op for the next five years?

A continued emphasis on local, organic foods and public education on issues of food sovereignty is critical.  It is important to think outside the box to improve access to healthy food for all, regardless of income, age or ethnicity. One possibility would be to partner with other organizations to implement a bike sharing program, similar to the commuter bicycle share program in San Francisco, but with baskets for toting food or other products, and with an emphasis on safety. Another possibility would be to add a smoothie bar to either current store or to a new location (if expansion has been researched and approved).

Other comments 

In the short time that I have been in Olympia I have felt sincerely welcomed in this friendly city and I look forward to making it home and raising my daughter here. Thank you for the opportunity to grow and get involved.