Each year, the BCS/Bloomingfoods board has a mini-retreat in December to refresh ourselves on our personal ideas of what BCS can become in the future. This year, after many months of having to attend to reports and financial numbers each meeting, we decided to use some theater games to bring out our vision in a new way.
Each board member and our general manager brought three symbols of what we hoped Bloomington would look like in the next 25 years. As we sat the symbols on the table before the group, we explained why we had chosen it. One of the themes that emerged was a strong desire to see the community become more like the 1950s Main Street in the sense of welcoming small businesses, this time more of them being co-operatively-owned.
We also felt a need to divert the cultural emphasis on acquiring more and more for oneself by pointing out the benefits of a simpler lifestyle, less dependent on the things which now pollute the planet. We recognized the importance of the decisions of single human beings and the impact of even the smallest dollar amount being spent in support of local and organic wares.
We don't expect BCS to start every future co-op, but we are very inclined and prepared to help other co-ops start up. In fact, we have been doing so for many years. There could be co-ops for artists, health therapists, daycare, tool lending and just about every other kind of business. We would like our town to be immune to the job loss and home loss disasters that have been experienced elsewhere in the USA.
It was pointed out that we are the authors of the next chapters of Bloomington life...not just your board of directors, but you...everyone who lives here in our region. You help facilitate these goals by being educators as you tell your friends and families why you choose to purchase wholesome foods and why you have joined a co-op. BCS can do classes on such things, but it is your everyday influence that will have the strongest effect on the people you know.
At our meeting, when asked to create a human sculpture of how we see the co-op now, and then a second human sculpture of the co-op 25 years in the future, we observed that a very important quality taking place now is friendly relationships. In the future, we see this expanding even more into friendly community. We hope for more businesses based on the cooperative principles.
It was exciting to see how closely our values are aligned and to know, from increased membership and financial support from our member-owners, that you also value this vision. Keep spreading the word. We are remaking the world together, something good to remember now that the year of prophecy, 2012, has ended.
Carol Bridges, Secretary
Bloomington Cooperative Services Board of Directors
Image courtesy of the Cooperative Grocer Network.