Who is the Board?
The Co-op’s board of directors is directly elected by the ownership, and is made up of owners just like you. Two seats are reserved for worker-owners, elected by their peers. The entire group has a legal responsibility to ensure the Co-op’s well-being. Board members work to keep the Co-op accountable to cooperative principles, adhere to the Bylaws and make sure that the Co-op remains a sustainable business. They do this through a system of checks and balances called Policy Governance. The Board supervises the General Manager of the store, who is responsible for carrying out Board policies, including issues relating to staff.
What the heck is Policy Governance?
The Board represents and acts for the Co-op’s owners, whose votes imply trust that the Board is representing their interests. Board members are elected to three year terms and approximately one-third of the Board is up for election each year during a period that includes the Annual Meeting. The Board meets at least monthly, generally on the fourth Thursday, 6:30-8:30 pm, with a socializing time with snacks from 6-6:30 pm. Meetings are open to Co-op owners, with specific time reserved for owner comments. Committee meetings happen throughout the month.
Board meeting agendas are posted on the Co-op bulletin board and website one week prior to each scheduled meeting. Approved minutes of Board meetings are available on the website the week following the subsequent monthly meeting. Special meetings may be called as necessary by the Board, or by petition submitted by at least 10% of Co-op owners.
At this time, our Co-op has more than 3,800 owners!
Your Belfast Co-op Board of directors currently partners with CDS Consulting Co-op to help us develop the insight, skills, and resources needed to adapt to market challenges and to model teamwork and cooperation in our community. Through their CBLD (Cooperative Board Leadership Development) program, we have developed processes that allow us to approach our work grounded in our shared cooperative values.
Current Board Members:
Born and raised in the British Isles, Ron married and moved to the U.S. in 1974 where he became a U.S. citizen. He lived and taught in New Jersey for 29 years. During that time, he served on the board of the local public library and enjoyed being a member and supporter of Genesis Farm in Blairstown, NJ. He and his wife Diane have lived in Belfast since retiring seven years ago. He is vice-president of the Maine Celtic Celebration, where his primary responsibilities are vendor coordination and logistics, and volunteers in the summer at the Belfast Chamber of Commerce. Ron enjoys gardening, food and cooking, and has a strong interest in local, sustainable and organic food.
Long Range Planning, Bylaws committees
Betsy first became a Belfast Co-op owner when she returned home to Searsport after college in 1977. Later, while living in the Marshall Islands, she combined her midwifery skills with nutritional and gardening outreach work to address severe maternal and childhood malnutrition issues. Betsy was a member of the Cleveland Food Co-op while in Cleveland for ten years teaching at Case Western Reserve University. She and her son returned to Maine in 1999 to live and work on a fifty acre once-and-future farm in Knox. Since then, she has been active on several nonprofit boards. She served for three years as the state party co-chair for the Maine Green Independent Party, currently serves on the board of Food for Maine’s Future, is a member of MOFGA’s El Salvador Sistering Committee, and a worker-owner at Fedco Seeds.
Representative to Cooperative Maine
Alessandra breathes and dreams in midcoast Maine with her family. She was born in Delaware and lived all over the country before attending UMaine Orono, where she pursued an interdisciplinary major focused on dance, peace studies and permaculture. Before long, farming and a land-based lifestyle pulled her away from conventional education and inspired her to continue her education through hands-on, experience-based living. After interning on an organic farm, she met her husband and they settled down to build a home and family. She’s since studied with several herbalists and become a trained birth doula. Alessandra now focuses her energy on her family, and is thrilled to actively participate in the healthcare and education of her four young children.
Finance, Board Development, and Bylaws committees
Bindy was born and raised in Belfast, then lived ‘away’ for many years during which she served as a worker-member at Hungry Chuck’s Co-op in Waterville and at Puget Consumers Co-op in Seattle. Past board experience includes ten years on the Belfast Area Child Care Services Board. She has retired from her profession as family nurse midwife and presently teaches yoga and is developing Eastside Herbs & Gardens at her home in East Belfast. She is married and has two grown daughters. Passions include the great outdoors, gardening, hiking, food & herbs fresh from the garden, and dancing.
Membership, Management Oversight committees, past president 2010-2014
Zafra is the Finance and Information Systems Manager for the Co-op, and the former Business and Human Rights Program Coordinator for Amnesty International USA. He spent ten years working in performing art management and production with theater and dance companies in New York City and regional theaters in New York, Washington, DC, New Hampshire and Maine. He returned to Montville, where he grew up, in 2007 and started work at the Co-op almost immediately. Recently relocated to Belfast, he spends his time outside of the Co-op raising his son, brewing beer, cooking and sailing (not nearly enough).
Board Development, Finance committees
Andrew grew up in Huntington, Massachusetts. In the 1980’s, working first at Bread & Circus Supermarkets in Front End Operations and then earning a degree in Electronics Technology. He went on in the 1990’s to earn a BS in Electrical Engineering Technology with work in that field and finally, in 2000 earned a MS in Environmental Studies at Antioch. He has volunteered throughout his life, teaching computer skills in Philadelphia and Environmental Education in Lesotho, Southern Africa. Moving to Belfast, Maine in 2007, Andrew has involved himself in Permaculture, Community Resilience and been a regular shopper and member-owner at the Belfast Co-op during his tenure here. He enjoys gardening, growing food, and bicycling, the latter of which he often does to raise money for causes of local interest.
Board Development, Membership Committees
Membership, Bylaws committees
Jerry lived in Northport starting in 1953. He owned and operated Darby’s Restaurant in Belfast for 26 years and was an advocate for the Co-op since the 1970’s. He was been a scallop and lobster fisherman and the early Co-op store was one of his best customers. Maintaining the Co-op’s reputation for being trustworthy was a major goal for Jerry.
Finance, Management Oversight committees
photos by Megan Marsanskis