Olympia Food Co-op floundering

October 20th, 2015 by Ken

I joined the Olympia Food Co-op a couple of years ago for a number of reasons.   I wanted access to local home-grown food products, I wanted to support local agriculture and farmers,  and I wanted to join the Tulip Credit Union – which makes loans to low income individuals.   The Co-op was located close to Lacey and membership was free to seniors.

I’ve been unable to join the credit union because I can never find anyone around the co-op that can help me with that chore.  Other than that, I’ve been happy with my membership and have started using the co-op more.

The Olympia Co-op claims a membership of 20,000 and I can’t dispute that.   But a recent election to the board  found only four candidates for four positions.   Lack of interest in serving on the board, coupled with recent flaps about products from Israel and a resultant lawsuit leads me to believe that leadership in the co-op is floundering.

I wondered about the lack of interest given that the co-op serves a need – and I think I found it.   In a recent board report in the co-op news, a comment struck home.   In August the staff and board of the Olympia Co-op underwent “anti-oppression” training.    You heard me right.   The board and staff of the co-op underwent “anti-oppression” training.

They were involved in all kinds of “anti-oppression” training including what is called “Microaggression Theory” based on the idea that what we say unintentionally can be oppressive and hurtful to others.   For example – – asking someone where they are from conveys the idea that the person doesn’t belong here.

Saying I don’t understand – when talking with someone with an accent – also implies that the person doesn’t belong.  Saying “Do you work here” conveys the idea that you are superior to them.   And answering a question before it is asked also implies superiority.

I’m not certain I buy into the theory of microagression – but if I were asked to serve on the board of directors of a food co-op – – I would be more concerned about buying and selling my product – – making certain that my customers get the best food for the lowest price and be more interested in government policy related to food production.

Making social statements and taking social stands belongs somewhere else.

Posted in The Real News

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