A shopper approaches as I haul my groceries to the car. He says, “I’ll take your basket back for you.” Suddenly, a stranger has become a mythical symbol of new possibilities, the world has become the place of kindness we wish it to be.
Years ago, I used to walk a route to town and would often pass the same woman. She would look up and say, “You look beautiful today.” One sentence, out-of-the-ordinary, not “How are you?” but more like “Yes!This is who you are (or even, who I wish you to be), a beautiful being.” It was a great teaching.
And what does this have to do with grocery shopping? Well, in our board policy manual, we have what is called an “Ends Policy.” It states: “Bloomington Cooperative Services encourages a healthy local, national, and global environment by operating sustainable (environmentally, economically, socially equitable) businesses which provide wholesome options to our members and community.” The rest of our manual breaks this down into the ways we intend to achieve these Ends.
As a group of people cooperating to strengthen the health of our local community, we can ask ourselves, “What one small thing can I personally do today to make this town/ business/ home the place that helps me feel vibrantly alive?” It might mean you resolve to buy the 100% fruit juice instead of the sugared pop. Or, maybe you choose to plant heirloom seeds this year so that you enrich the seed bank supply. You might decide to bicycle or recycle or set up your greywater system. Or, maybe you write a special note of thanks to someone you usually take for granted for something that may not always be there for you.
In these times, when many world and societal stresses are occurring, every ounce of creative helpfulness you can muster will make our local world healthier. The challenge of a changing economy can be the impetus to break free from ways of doing things that were never really that satisfying anyway. The BCS board reviews at least one of its policies every month to see if we are on target and to make sure the policy meets the needs of the times. In our Ends policy, “wholesome options” is purposely broad so that we have the freedom to think beyond “grocery shopping” alone and tune ourselves to the big picture. We really appreciate your cooperation in helping us reach our stated Ends in every possible way that we are able. Working together for the greater good is, after all, the new beginning everyone is hoping for.
by Carol Bridges, Secretary, BCS Board of Directors