Candidate Statement: Art Sherwood

Art Sherwood

Image1. Why are you interested in serving on the board of Bloomington Cooperative Services, Inc?  I would like to help further the mission of the co-op particularly as it relates to building our sustainable local food system.  This involves sustainability efforts as it relates to economics, environment and the community.
2. What experience or involvement have you had with Bloomingfoods or other cooperatives?  Of course, I am a member of Bloomingfoods (along with my family…Gwen, Rett and Zosia). I also have strong connections to the co-op through our efforts with the Local Growers Guild and through our certified organic farm, LIFE. We started custom growing for the membership last year and provide a significant amount of produce to the co-op.
3. What do you see as the role of BCS, Inc. in the community?  Because BCS does not have the same financial pressures of large, natural food chains, it is able to actually take actions that are truly sustainable, including taking a leading role in the local community. I believe that BCS can provide leadership and education for our local community in ways that are not possible for other organizations, due to its mission and the fact that it is member owned.
4. What are opportunities and challenges that you see in the future of the co-op?  I believe that Monroe County will eventually be targeted by large national competitors in natural foods.  The co-op must position itself to maintain itself economically while not losing its soul. This will be a great challenge. I also believe that we will experience important challenges in the rebuilding of the local food system as resources are scarce and it is difficult to prime a pump that has been dry for so long.
5. Please share any professional, volunteer, or life experience you have had that will provide insight when serving on the BCS board of directors.  Include knowledge, skills, formal training, and education that will contribute to the mission of our co-op.  I am an associate professor of management at the Indiana State University College of Business (Ph.D/MBA/MA Indiana University).  I teach small business/entrepreneurship, business strategy and management. I also conduct research into sustainable practices in agriculture and the food industry and speak at a variety of conferences on the subject. I sit on the University sustainability council and have worked with many community groups in Southern Indiana.  These groups include founding work with the Local Growers Guild and as the USDA evaluator for the Growing Healthy Communities Project, including the Bloomington Commercial Kitchen and Incubator.
Finally, I am co-owner of LIFE Certified Organic Farm with locations in Morgan and Monroe Counties. I both work in the dirt and at the desk. 
6. What has been your experience in working cooperatively with small groups of people (such as being a member of a committee, team sports, or volunteer as part of a work group for any organization).  I have extensive experience in the above activities and have had the good fortune to have been a professor who teaches these subjects for the last seven years.
7. How do your values and lifestyle align with the values and mission of the co-op?  My lifestyle and values are very wrapped up with my family and our life's work. We value good food and do about 90% of our food shopping at the co-op and buy (and of course grow) local and organic when possible.  We value community, and are actively engaged. We value taking action to make the changes needed in our world, and we do this in many of the areas described above. The co-op has a mission that links very well with how we live and work. 
8. Please share any other brief statement that you feel is particularly important regarding your potential service as a member of the board.
 It would be an honor to serve the co-op as a board member. I promise I will work diligently with the other leaders and members to further the mission and to help the co-op continue to be a leader in our community.